By: Jeff J. Brown
Cross linked with 44 Days www.44days.net and Sound Cloud https://soundcloud.com/44-days/moscow-beijing-express-russian-oligarchs-versus-chinese-billionaires-201575
China’s billionaires and Russia’s oligarchs have been in the media lately, due to a variety of business transactions, between these two allies and around the world, not to mention all the absurd sanctions the West has been piling on Russia over the last year and half.
Always suspicious of the mainstream media behind the Great Western Firewall, I asked myself,
Why are the rich Chinese guys called billionaires, while the Russian ones are known as oligarchs?
My suspicions were aroused, because oligarch is very pejorative. Oligarchs govern an oligarchy, which is defined as,
A form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.
Hmm… Does that sound like Russia today, or more like the United States? I then raised my eyebrows reading this definition of oligarch, on Google,
Oligarch: (especially in Russia) a very rich businessman with a great deal of political influence. (image by www.google.com)
Thus, at least in the English language, the very negative connotation of an oligarch is now officially linked to images of Russians. I always tell my students: words are powerful things.
To get to the bottom of this cognitive dissonance, that superrich Chinese and Russians are given very disparate appellations, I decided to do some research – to find out the truth. I created two tables, one of China’s Top Ten Billionaires http://www.forbes.com/china-billionaires/list/ and another one with Russia’s Top Ten Billionaires. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Russian_people_by_net_worth For China’s wealthiest, I read their biographies in Chinese on Baidu and in English on Wikipedia. For Russia’s richest, I referred to English Wikipedia and a few other websites.
First, the Chinese:
|China’s Top Ten Billionaires|
|He Xiangjian||72||Midea||Appliances||Entrepreneur||High School||CPC||None|
|Lei Jun||45||Xiaomi||Smartphones||Entrepreneur||BS IT||NPC 2013||None|
|Li “Robin” Yanhong||46||Baidu||IT||US IT||US MS IT||Self-Made||None|
|Li Hejun||47||Hanergy||Solar Power||Mr. Mysterious||Late life PhD||Self-Made?||None|
|Liu Qiangdong||40||JD.com||IT||Entrepreneur||BA Lib. Arts||Selftmade||None|
|Ma “Jack” Yun||50||Alibaba||IT||School Teacher||BA Ed.||Self-Made||None|
|Ma Huateng||43||Tencent||IT||Entrepreneur||BA Lib. Arts||Self-Made||None|
|Wang Jianlin||60||Wanda||Real Estate||Climbed Company Ladder||BA after PLA||PLA & CPC||None|
|Wang Wenyin||47||Amer||Mining, Copper||Entrepreneur||High School||Self-Made||None|
|Zong Qinghou||69||Wahaha||Food Processing||Entrepreneur||High School||NPC 2013||Back taxes?|
|CPC: Communist Party of China|
|PLA: People’s Liberation Army|
|NPC: National People’s Congress|
|Dirt: any kind of known fraud, embezzlement, collusion, organized crime, theft, etc.|
At first glance, a number of characteristics stick out. Three of China’s richest people are older, while all the others are 50 or younger. Six of the ten are in technology fields (IT, solar and smartphones). Most of them got their start to the top by being entrepreneurs, which is the classic path around the world. The other tried and true method is like Wang Jianlin, who worked his way up the company ladder, the hard way.
Three of them didn’t go to college and two others went to university later in life. One of them, Li Hejun, of Hanergy, has almost no information about him, even in the Chinese press, which really stands out.
Only two of them can be construed as having the right connections, to make their way to the top, He Xiangjian and Wang Jianlin, via the CPC and the PLA. Two others, Lei Jun and Zong Qinghou, were recently elected to China’s National People’s Congress, but only long after they became billionaires.
In the Dirt category, only one out of ten has anything questionable about their business dealings, at least which has been made public. Mr. Zong Qinghou is rumored to owe some pretty significant back taxes. He’s rich enough that he could just cut them a check. But it looks like for now, instead of being arrested, he his paying them back quietly. So, it would appear that China’s ten richest came about their success, without overtly committing any illegal acts.
Now let’s look at Russia’s Top Ten:
|Russia’s Top Ten Billionaires|
|Alekperov, Vagit||64||Lukoil||Hydrocarbons||Climbed Company Ladder||BS Eng.||Privatization, Self-Made||None|
|Fridman, Mikhail||51||Alfa||Consortium||Entrepreneur||BS Eng.||Government||Fraud|
|Lisin, Vladimir||59||Novolipetsk||Steel||Climbed Company Ladder||BS Eng.||Privatization, Self-Made||None|
|Mikhelson, Leonid||59||Novatek||Hydrocarbons||Climbed Company Ladder||BS Eng.||Privatization, Self-Made||None|
|Mordashov, Alexei||49||Severstal||Consortium||State Company, Entrepreneur||BS Eng., UK MBA||Privatization, Self-Made||None|
|Potanin, Vladimir||54||Interros||Consortium||Entrepreneur||BA For. Aff.||SCP, Family||Fraud|
|Prokhorov, Mikhail||50||NY Nets||Consortium||High Level Government||MBA||Government, Politics||None|
|Timchenko, Gennady||62||Volga||Consortium||State Company, Entrepreneur||BS Eng.||Privatization, Self-Made||None|
|Usmanov, Alisher||61||Arsenal FC||Consortium||High Level Government||BA Intl. Law||SCP, Family||Early Fraud?|
|Vekselberg, Viktor||58||Renova||Consortium||State Company, Entrepreneur||BS Eng.||Privatization, Self-Made||Fraud|
|SPC: Soviet Communist Party|
First, compared to China, Russia’s Top Ten are, on average older, but within a fairly tight band, 49-64. Unlike the Chinese, Russian billionaires are much more likely to be widely invested in a number of different sectors, via consortiums (conglomerates). Two of the ten are in hydrocarbons and one is in steel. The rest are all over the place. Russian billionaires are just as entrepreneurial as the Chinese, with eight of them working their way to the top. Russia’s billionaires are a very educated lot. All of them have at least a college diploma, with seven of them in engineering.
For connections, four of the ten, compared to China’s 2/10, have the kind of Rolodex that may have helped their careers. The other six are self-made success stories. They were undoubtedly in the right place at the right time, back in the 1990s, with the massive selloff – many would say giveaway – of the Soviet Union’s state assets. Russia’s richest didn’t create these conditions, but they too advantage of them, apparently mostly legally.
In the Dirt department, three of the ten are known to have committed some kind of financial legerdemain. Mr. Usmanov was judicially exonerated twenty years later for Soviet era crimes, but a search on the internet will show that some people do not agree with that ruling. They say he was crook. We will probably never know, one way or the other.
To be honest, with the horrible reputation that Russia’s rich have been given behind the Great Western Firewall, I was pleasantly surprised at this list. I was expecting a long rap sheet on every one of these guys. I checked the aforementioned Wikipedia list for the next ten richest Russians and was again, very startled to see that most of them have no “controversies”. Only one of the #11-#20, Roman Abramovich has definite dirt on his hands. Oleg Deripaska has a bad smell, as it seems organized crime hovers around his dealings a lot, but still, no arrests. Dmitry Rybolovlev was imprisoned but later exonerated, when others were arrested on charges of a contract killing. Like Mr. Usmanov, at this point, who knows?
Does Russia have its fair share of bad guys? Probably no more than the West. Ronald Reagan’s administration was the most corrupt in American history. Yet all the hundreds who went before justice then, could easily commit the same crimes, starting in Bill Clinton’s presidency, up to today, with no consequences in sight. Now, high ranking members of US government and corporate criminals routinely commit perjury while testifying, walking away with a big pat on the back for a job well done. The insidiously corrupt revolving door between state and business just keeps on spinning. Do we need to discuss the totally rigged stock, bond, gold, silver and derivative markets? The wholly bogus “official” US government statistics on employment, the consumer price index (CPI) or the gross domestic product (GDP)? Or how about the LIBOR and swap rates, as well as the London gold fix? Then there is the plethora of offshore tax havens and the outright looting of billions from middle class pension funds. What can we say about all the stench of corruption in Brussels, which is a laughing stock across Europe? Or the Gilded Age, sunshine bribery racket in Washington, DC, where President Obama and Congress poll lower than a dried dog turd? Just web search these various key word combinations: “scandal”, “financial”, “corporate”, “political”, “American”, “US”, “European”, “2014”, “2015”, etc., for enough eye scorching filth to blind you.
Yes, Russia has some really bad actors. Ihor Kolomoyski, a Ukrainian billionaire, working with the West and Israel, is presumed to be helping organize some of the genocidal butchery in the eastern part of his shattered country, including the 2014 mass murder of 48 innocents in Odessa. Yet, is Barak Obama any better? He signs off on a weekly hit list, sending out drones across the world, killing and maiming thousands of innocents. Bill Clinton and John Major/Tony Blair gleefully exterminated hundreds of thousands of children in the 1990s, while enforcing genocidal sanctions on Iraq. And let’s not forget what Mr. Clinton did to Serbia. Later, Tony Blair and George Bush massacred millions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As we have since learned, these two resource rich countries were just a warmup for Western perpetual war and carnage across the planet. In 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron gaily bombed Libya and its people back to the Stone Age. Are these murderers any different than Mr. Kolomoyski?
One very good explanation as to why Russia does have its fair share of criminal billionaires, is that they came to life during a period of social, economic and political anarchy. This happened in the 1990s, when President Boris Yeltsin opened up his country to predatory plunder, literally the rape of nation, by colonizing Western banks, corporations and governments. In that kind of environment, psychopaths thrive at the expense of everyone else. Many of the Wikipedia biographies of the more infamous, criminal Russian/Ukrainian billionaires point out that they were associates of the utterly corrupt Yeltsin, who was in fact their and the West’s spineless patsy for pillage. Let’s not forget, Russia’s criminal corporate class was and still is very much an important ally of Western criminal corporatocracy.
A strong case can be made that if China were put in the same situation as 1990s Russia, it too would have a whole slew of criminal billionaires to deal with. Thanks to history, the Chinese know this all too well. During their 110 year, colonial Century of Humiliation, 1840-1949, there were similar, 1990s-Russia conditions throughout much of the country. Who was in charge? Really nasty oligarchs, called war lords and gangsters, who worked arm in arm with Western colonialists, corrupt government officials and wealthy local compradors, to suck dry the country’s natural and human resources. The granddaddy of them all was the fascist KMT’s Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-Shek. The first order of the day, wherever the KMT came in control, was to be the Grand Pimp of all the criminal gangs, to control the drug, prostitution, gambling, loan sharking, protection and arms rackets. That doesn’t even count all the KMT’s financial crimes, like looting treasuries, skimming off contracts, counterfeiting, etc. Such is the order of the day, when chaos and anarchy reign. For the Chinese masses, Mao Zedong and liberation in 1949 couldn’t come soon enough.
There are fewer criminal billionaires in China these days, for several reasons. First, the market here is so huge and economic growth has been so torrid, that they can make all their money reasonably ethically. Secondly, Baba Beijing (China’s leadership) keeps a very firm grip on the economy. It has many laws and regulations in place, similar to what the United States had, thanks to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Sadly for the US, they were disdainfully dismantled by the 1% elite. This started during the Reagan administration, in the 1980s, picking up rapid pace through later presidencies and is still ongoing today. All the pervasive, Western financial and political corruption we see today can be largely blamed on thousands of abrogated laws and regulations, which were put in place to rein in humanity’s avaricious greed heads. Thirdly, unlike the West, corporate and government crooks really get prosecuted in China and do long, hard time in prison. If their actions are egregious enough, they will get a lead bullet in the back of the head. It pays much more, with negligible risk, for billionaires and bureaucrats to blatantly break the law in the West, than in China.
In closing, the Western mainstream media has done a brilliant job of further trashing Russia’s reputation, by smearing all wealthy Russians as “criminal oligarchs”. In terms of propaganda coups, it ranks right up there with tarring people and countries as conspiracy nuts, liberals, extremists, commies, terrorists, and the whole panoply of slurs, which is ruthlessly used by the Washington-London-Paris consensus. This includes ceaseless attempts to discredit Baba Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party. Behind the Great Western Firewall, this all results in the effective brainwashing and control of the masses. If that sounds like a strong statement, remember, they call it a “free press”, and 99% of the people actually believe it is true.
China’s richest person, Ma “Jack” Yun and Russia’s top billionaire, Vladimir Potanin, apparently came by their wealth the hard way: they worked for it. (images by Getty and The Moscow Times)
I agree that Ma Yun got his money from working hard (hes the head of the famous Alibaba group), but I disagree that Potanin did. Potanin got his money from the 1990s “loans for shares” program…
Thanks for reading, Massinissa,
I agree the Loans for Shares program was exploitive, taking advantage the situation, but it was not illegal. Shall we say, “unethical”?
Jeff in Beijing
What is “legal” is perhaps even more relative than what is “ethical”. With all due respect, neither is the point. The point is, is Potanin a good man, a man you personally can trust? Knowing that he became rich from the “loans and shares” program, i cannot say i am inclined to say yes.
It is not about ethics, it’s about probability. The probability of him being an exploitative, ruthless individual rather than a “hard worker” is higher with the given knowledge.
Not that it makes any difference. A good billionaire is a dead billionaire.
“In 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron gaily bombed Libya and its people back to the Stone Age. Are these murderers any different than Mr. Kolomoyski?”
Yes. They are far, far worse.
Your material is a good starting point for others to investigate and argue or dispute.
What is interesting is that these men have become rich as their nations have become successful. And a few of them in each category are important in sectors of industry that are critical to future growth. So, if a nation or nations are to rise and raise their people from poverty into an industrious and educated society, the engine appears to be entrepreneurship and state managed capitalism with social programs that benefit the masses but don’t pull down the system with debts.
Russia’s debt is very well managed and small. China manages huge wealth funds better than it manages its local governments’ debts, but China is unlike any other nation. It will find its own way from problem to solution, creating and innovating with Chinese characteristics, a very apt term they use to define their path to the future.
Usmanov, from his reported actions that I have read, seems to be very patriotic and effusive with his wealth used for national charity and cultural benefit. (Perhaps, repentance for past sins?)
Keep your articles coming. Very enriching information.
Thanks for reading Larchmonter,
I am sure that in the background, all these guys have a tendency to push boundaries. My main point is that Westerners have been brainwashed into believing that all Russian rich people are a bunch of criminals. That is apparently not true.
Jeff in Beijing
Are Russian oligarchs any different from Ukrainian ones? Perhaps not by much. The big difference in Russia is Putin and some semblance of a functioning security apparatus. That, and the massive natural resources, of course.
“What is interesting is that these men have become rich as their nations have become successful. And a few of them in each category are important in sectors of industry that are critical to future growth. So, if a nation or nations are to rise and raise their people from poverty into an industrious and educated society, the engine appears to be entrepreneurship and state managed capitalism with social programs that benefit the masses but don’t pull down the system with debts.”
Your trickle down capitalism is the source of the oligarchs (Rothschild et al).
Your growth is the source of the rape of the planet for future generations.
The inheritance of your children (or those of the Queen of England) discriminate against the unborn (of the weak) in the most heinous way imaginable.
I would be very surprised if those Chinese and Russian billionaires did not all have serious government /political connections under the surface. Once some one becomes very rich (millionaire) they tend to acquire the connections in business and politics that propel them to billionairehood.
The real question is why we need or should have billionaires? The production of billionaires means that the economy is sick. That sickness may be masked by rapid economic growth as in China or it may be obvious as in the US, Russia and various “developing” countries, but its still sickness.
There is no need for billionaires in society.
Totally agree, Ngoyo.
I do not understand what of “popular” has a Popular Republic where there are so many billionaires.
The same for Russia as it is showed to be a future social state.
Ngoyo, I agree that billionaires are symbolic of a skewed economic system. I am all for Huey “Kingfish” Long’s “Share Our Wealth Program”, from the 1930s. It was so popular that he was killed by the 1%.
Jeff in Beijing
“Every man a king!” if I recall correctly was Long’s slogan. The confederate plantation oligarchy (surely closer to the true meaning and spirit of the word “oligarchy”) must have hated that! The true test in the first half of the 20th century has to have been the effect on blacks, especially in the south. I don’t know if Long was anti-racist (not an easy feat for whites in those times, anywhere, but especially in the south) but at least his roads and bridges could not have been segregated, so all benefited. except those that are threatened by the rise of those they feel they must squat on and hold down, to maintain their identity of being “better”.
The Russian super-rich can ultimately only earn admiration to the extent they develop Russia and brighten the prospects of all Russians. It seems that once more, when that is totally possible, the needs and costs of national defense against a world oligarchy again slow up the process for the patient and not so patient Russian masses. If the defense holds and the living standard climbs for a few decades (has that ever been allowed to happen?) without serious setbacks, Russia will be happy indeed. And a lot of peoples around the world will be happy for them.
Very well said, Mind and Soul. Thanks for reading. Jeff in Beijing
“The Russian super-rich can ultimately only earn admiration to the extent they develop Russia and brighten the prospects of all Russians.”
What absolute twaddle.
Wealth inequality is greater in Russia than practically any other Western nation.
Randy Newman wrote a song dedicated to Long; Kingfish and recorded Long & Castro Carazo’s Every Man a King. Both great songs.
Thanks a million for these musical memories, Erebus. Awesome! Jeff in Beijing
I don’t think Billionaires are “created” based on a “need” by society. They become billionaires due to all kinds of reasons. I do, however, can understand that perhaps having children that are simply born rich makes society unequal. Thus to a degree, I do think perhaps the “death tax” makes sense…..
People tried to raise spiders for their silk, which is strong, but trying to keep them in one place was a problem. They kept eating each other, so a stock of 50 spiders would turn into one large, well fed spider. Billionaires seem to have a spider mentality (and also build large webs).
Hilarious analogy, but so true. Just look at Ukraine – spiders eating each other.
Thanks for the info. In fact only recently in our family we had some argument over a statement by some relative that practically all the rich people in China were born rich, whihc of course is totally ridiculous by itself, as there were NO rich people in China just 30 years ago….
Thanks for reading, Alan,
Jack Ma was a school teacher. I read their bios in English and Chinese. None of them came from wealthy backgrounds. Have your friends read this article!
Jeff in Beijing
This is off topic, but everyone should watch this brave lady
Presenter: Viktoria, please continue.
Viktoria: I have heard from the
oligarchs who represent the Kiev
regime that it’s crucial for them
to join the anti-war movements.
And here you are, alleged to be
of the “Anti-War Movement.”
Video: (under 3 minutes)
Ukrainian Viktoria Shilova Confronts Ukrainian
Propagandists with Their Victim
Viktoria: By the way, mothers are
gathering near Verkhovna Rada. They
are going on the street with placards,
saying “Stop the war on on Donbass.”
I don’t know how long they’ll manage to
stay there. There’s lots of noise about it –
and I do understand that you do have to
work for the oligarchs’ money.
I live in Kiev, myself. 85% of the
population here hates you for killing
You didn’t say anything to this baby. I
want you to see her. (Takes wounded
baby off the lap of an armless, wounded
mother). Look at her!
You look at her, too! This is who you kill
and maim! See? See her? There are a few
hundred children like her! Look at her, do
you feel sorry for her? Her 11-year-old
sister was killed! Torn in half! Do you feel
sorry for this baby or not?
Just look at these people!
Presenter: There, there, Konstantin!
Viktoria: Dear Sirs! These people – I’d like
to finish, please – Look at their faces! They
work for Euros or dollars – for which, I don’t
know. Can I say something?
Ukrainian Regime Representative: You
can’t talk like this.
Viktoria: It’s a circus! It’s a circus! 10,000
killed in Donbass is a circus to them! And now
I’d like to –
Ukrainian Regime Representative: Don’t
kindle hatred –
Viktoria: Come with us on July 2nd, to
Ukrainian Regime Representative: Why
wasn’t I invited once?
Viktoria: You appear every day on the
Ukrainian Regime Representative: Why
wasn’t I invited even once?
Viktoria: I’ll tell you why. Because there are
criminal charges against me!
Ukrainian Regime Representative: You are
making a speech here, while no one can say
one word of truth! (Glaring at the Presenter).
Viktoria: Invite Anechka to a TV show!
Presenter: Dear guests, dear guests from
Ukraine. I understand that you are full of
emotions, which is understandable, in this studio.
I just want to – yes, I agree with you. I agree on
politeness, Vadim. Vadim, Vadim…I agree on
Nevertheless, I’d like us all to remember that
not only millions of TV viewers are watching us,
now – but also, our guests found the strength to
come to this studio, after everything that has
happened in their lives.
P.S. Please share ForbiddenKnowledgeTV
emails and videos with your friends and
colleagues by clicking on this button:
Share on Twitter, too.
That’s how we grow. Thanks.
Alexandra Bruce, Publisher
Daily Videos from the Edges of Science
Isn’t privatization theft? It sure seemed that way in Russia.
There are a lot of angles to this discussion, but the first is that China’s rich created something for the most part, whereas a typical view in Russia is that Russia’s oligarchs acquired ownership through what should be illegal means. The USSR was incredibly wealthy, and it should be no surprise that the work of hundreds of millions of people would be substantial if concentrated into ownership by a few dozen. The Ukraine had or has the highest number of billionaires per GDP in the world. Of course, it is an oligarchical system.
Next, the current Western paradigm is owned and controlled by the Western financial oligarchy, so it might be better to go back fifty years or more when searching for a critique of the system. A basic critique came from Plato:
Plato defines oligarchy as a system of government which distinguishes between the rich and the poor, making of the former its administrators.
An oligarchy is originated by extending tendencies already evident in a timocracy. In contrast to platonic aristocrats, timocrats are allowed by their constitution to own property and thus to both accumulate and waste money. Because of the pleasures derived from it, money eventually is valued over virtue, and the leaders of the state seek to alter the law to give way and accommodate to the materialistic lust of its citizens. As a result of this new found appreciation for money, the governors rework the constitution yet again to restrict political power to the rich only. That is how a timocracy becomes an oligarchy.
Also, Wikipedia is called CIApedia by some for a reason. It is going to put lipstick on a pig for people like Khodorkovsky. He is probably something like “a self-made man and human-rights activist” instead of “a criminal frontman oligarch for the Rothschilds bent on destroying Russia”.
Thanks Paull II for reading. I agree, privatization is unethical, but not necessarily illegal. The main point of my article is that Russia’s “oligarchs” are another example of Western propaganda brainwashing its citizens to reflexively hate Russians.
Jeff in Beijing
Jeff J. Brown said:
“The main point of my article is that Russia’s “oligarchs” are another example of Western propaganda brainwashing its citizens to reflexively hate Russians.”
now “all” that Western propaganda brainwashing its citizens to reflexively hate
Russiansit’s own & Russian oligarchs and the worlds problems are ended.
Paul II said:
“He is probably something like “a self-made man and human-rights activist” instead of “a criminal frontman oligarch for the Rothschilds bent on destroying Russia”.”
Since the Rothschild’s (etal) were in control in the early 1990’s how can you conceivably imagine that a group with such power power could have it taken away? why is it not obvious that the scum that currently run Russia must be the same as that that runs the rest of the world?
I enjoy much of your analysis and all of your comment but I find some of your logic here incredulous.
same in Greece http://journal-neo.org/2015/07/03/what-stinks-about-varoufakis-and-the-whole-greek-mess/
“…The Greek oligarchs, with their untaxed billions hidden in foreign bank accounts, are willing to see their own nation destroyed to hold on to their billions. That’s real hate.
That was a pretty good article but I believe the whole thing about greek oligarchs holding billions in offshore accounts is overstated and part of the propaganda. Even if you confiscate all their money its a drop in the bucket. There simply is not that many super rich greeks. The four shipping magnates of Greece only have a combined net worth of less than $8 billion.
Secondly holding their money in foreign accounts is smart. Only an absolute idiot would keep his money in a greek bank. And the Cyprus bail-in not only demonstrates why its wise for them to keep their money away from home banks, it guarantees that they will always keep it away. The ending of the article is preposterous, that the supposedly self hating greek billionaires dates back 600 years due to shame for defeat at the hands of the Ottomons, complete nonsense. The rest was good.
Thanks, Jeff, very interesting.
Is there any information about education of these people in regard of domestic vs abroad?
As for Why are the rich Chinese guys called billionaires, while the Russian ones are known as oligarchs?
Yes, this is a typical msm bs serving to oligarchs of the so called “west”.
Donetsk Republic Claims Ukraine Army Uses Chemical Weapons
Ukrainian security forces used chemical bombs during the shelling of the village of Semenovka in Donbass.
According to the First Deputy Defense Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Sergey Shamberin, Ukrainian security forces used chemical bombs during the shelling of the village of Semenovka in Donbass.
Following the firing of such weapons people had to be treated in hospital for poisoning.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that Moscow is concerned about the reports of Ukrainian armed forces using incendiary bombs.
“In some cases when these chemical shells were fired at our positions, they burnt through the asphalt and went a meter and a half into the ground. There was also some sort of haze at the spot where the shells went in. A lot of people were poisoned,” Shamberin said as reported by Donetsk media.
@ Jeff J. Brown,
Thank you for yet another insightful article.
Would it be fair to assume that you can’t be Santa Claus, if you want to make it to the top?
But I agree with your take on Western Propaganda/smears. It has reached a point where it becomes nauseating to read headlines or develop a severe rash while gnawing through paragraph after paragraph and as a result nearly mouth vomit…
Is it possible [for you] to add footnotes to these articles?
Anyway, a BIG thanks’ comin’ your way.
Thanks for reading, Daniel. My first column was referenced much better. I’ll be honest, I’m so busy writing Xi Jinping’s diaries that I lost track of time and realized I missed my July 1st deadline. So, to keep The Saker in a deservedly good mood, I crunched this one out. I will start on time next month!
Jeff in Beijing.
Jeff, please note that 6 out of 10 Russians made their money out of privatizations. Privatization is the legal theft of the commons, which was the precursor to Great Britain’s rise to empire.
And what about Khodorofski? He tried to sell off one of Russia’s crown jewel oil companies. Fortunately, Putin put a stop to his plan. I once spoke with a guy who worked for the owner of Russia’s big Aluminum company, who got control of it through Rothschild financing. The whole Yeltsin ripoff was the process whereby shares of state owned companies were distributed to the Russian people who had no understanding of stock ownership. The market manipulators drove the values down horrendously, and then vultures come in and pick up the pieces for pennies.
The shares of those companies, following the USSR, should have been put into a Sovereign Wealth fund, which would have provided stable pensions. But instead, the pensioners got the shaft. While Russia has recovered a lot, where would she be if that ripoff had not occurred, and those on that list who made their money through privatization, had had to do it the way Jack Ma did.
I forget his name, but one of the founders of Google is Russian. Had Russia not been driven into the ground, there would have been more of a place for Russian entrepreneurs in Russia, rather than their going West.
So that is the backdrop for the issue of Russian oligarchs. Legal means nothing, when the laws are designed to screw the people.
Thanks Eric for reading. I agree, a lot of what goes on in unregulated capitalism is unethical, but not necessarily illegal. And I am definitely not an expert on Russian billionaires. Capitalism is inherently corrupt anyway.
The main point of my article is that Russia’s “oligarchs” are another example of Western propaganda brainwashing its citizens to reflexively hate Russians. The West is very good at this and it works, sad to say.
Jeff in Beijing
There would very few people who has wealth and power who are not corrupt. This includes the entire world. Once my eyes opened I started looking and as we see, American, Chinese, Russian and to an extent most Europeans would be considered criminals and a good percentage would be ranked as accomplices to criminal gangs. The DEA and CIA are criminal gangsters protected by the US government. Such orgs exist in all countries. I was shocked to find that almost everyone was corrupt and it only requires a situation for it to happen. They might not think of themselves as such and they might not do anything for a decade.. But when the situation presents itself.. well. its human nature.. Now when I talk about corruption I mean taking advantage to gain prestige and money overtly using your influence or forcing others..
I would dare anyone to show me a single person of any stature that does not fall into this category.. My wife nominated the former Indian defense minister who was body searched at JFK on his way back from visiting Washington. His American handlers said they did not have the authority to overturn the TSA and his Indian bodyguards were told to stand down. My wife says his wife still shops at their usual super market, takes their kids to the standard government run public school, carries their groceries in their little Honda and lives in a 2 story 4 bedroom house in their old neighborhood where they have lived for decades. There might even be a few Russians like that. Although if Putin lived like that he would end up in gitanamo but I highly doubt he is corrupt in any way, the way he stands and talk with confidedance shows someone who believes in his self righteousness not out of arrogance but belief. Osama’s two faced talk makes him stumble all over the place no matter how much coaching he gets so does all western politicians. Very very rare to find humans with admirable traits, would be like 1 in a 100 in the population at large..
On the other hand you can see how the US defense minister level staff lives..
Also on the other hand, this trait is because of inter breeding with Netherlanders and denisovans humans and other archaic humans. The mutation made US wipe out anything that would compete with us. It also made us conquer the planet.. The amount of DNA of these others define how much of these traits are present in us. If not for these traits we would be as extinct as them. BUT on the other hand these traits might only let us last a little longer and a blink in the eye of time.. Unless we learn to recognize them and control them. EACH of us our self needs to see it in our self and control it. The other humans went extinct because they just could not match us for evil for evil.. We are just too conniving and cunning for out own good.. Just look at the middle east. I have no idea who is fighting who and who supports who. Who is the good guy and who is the bad. It is so convoluted that archaic humans just could not compete and from the looks of it, neither can we.
Thanks for reading mmiriww. Yes, the whole modern civilizational system is corrupt indeed, and run controlled by psychopaths.
Dr. Moti Nissani and I addressed this in two recent radio shows. You may want to give them a listen. He is a very informed and fascinating person to interview:
Best from Beijing, Jeff
“Although if Putin lived like that he would end up in gitanamo but I highly doubt he is corrupt in any way, the way he stands and talk with confidedance shows someone who believes in his self righteousness not out of arrogance but belief.”
Geez, i’ve heard it all now, Putin is not corrupt because he stands and talks with confidence and believes in his self righteousness – these are all classic traits of a sychopath.
Why, even if Putin is good, do you think the other psychos that surround him (and have wealth and power and are therefore corrupt) would allow him to remain?
From a probability basis – it’s so unlikely you can forget about it.
Like it or not we are all (West/East, North / South) in the hands of the psycho oligarchs.
A comparison with the top ten American billionaires (or Mexican, say) might be instructive.
I agree with Overther, though. Whether in Russia, China or the United States, one billionaire is too many, and the chances of any given billionaire being a positive influence on the world’s political economy is virtually zero.
Thanks for reading, Purple Library Guy. I originally intended to compare China’s and Russia’s “nouveau riche” to Latin America’s billionaire colonial families, as baseline, but it just did not fit in the end. But you are right, Corruption, abuse of power, wealth and politics are inseparable, in any culture or civilization that is organized along hierarchical lines. Please see the above two links to interviews with Dr. Moti Nissani. We discuss this at some length.
Best from Beijing, Jeff
Remember the (rather free) quote from Balzac: Behind every great fortune there is a great crime.
The original text is even better: Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait. (The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, becuse it was properly executed.)
Name any guy who became billionaire and when you investigate him you will find out that cut some corners and did some dubious things.
The presence of billionaires – whether in the US, Russia, China or elsewhere – points to problems in maintaining a just society.
Not entirely dubious. In countries where the law says everything in and under your land is yours, all the way down to the molten core, and you find oil or diamonds? Many nations started out as small groups of people, with no uniting state to claim ownership of the natural resources in the name of everybody. Tribes may have shared visible resources — rivers, the fish in them….often coming to agreement after costly battles, sometimes by the same avoidance animals use, where the weaker stand back until the stronger have had their fill.
In the modern world of course, considering wealth of industrial origin, often corners were cut or existing laws were just easy to circumvent.
Later comes the current situation, where the legislature is captured by the wealthy, so laws are made specifically for their benefit. This seems to apply more to large corporations than to individuals. This is the point at which retaining a just society becomes close to impossible.
“This is the point at which retaining a just society becomes close to impossible.”
aka Russia (among many others)..
So true, Wim. Any system that allows a few hundred billionaires to live on backs of six billion fellow human beings surviving on less than $10 a day, is evil and corrupt in and of itself.
Thanks for reading. Jeff in Beijing
“Stop the war of the 1 against the 9999”
Can you please have a word with the saker to get him to change his
“Stop the Empire’s war against Russia” motto?
(I love the blog, and used to love that motto – but i’ve seen through that and it’s now driving me crazy)…
thanks a lot for your well written thoughts.
I fully agree that even the whole EU has become totally brainwashed. There isn’t any decent newspaper or magazine with a greater influence that hasn’t corrupted by US/companies, political parties, security-complexes, military complexes etc. etc. .
I would like also to remark, that as long as super-rich people in a country provide decent jobs and decent salaries no harm is done however, taxes shouldn’t go off-shore.
However, if citizen in a country are looted/exploited to the point that far too many individuals have to work two, three or even more jobs in order being able to provide for their families something is rotten in such a state.
Also if a government exploits pension funds, restricts proper education, medical supports even for the poor who cannot afford, such a government belongs to the Middle Ages of Europe which everyone should hope that such conditions as during the Middle Ages in Europe will never ever return ! However, as is shown within the US these ages are coming respectively already there.
And Europe isn’t farther behind as long as the politicans accept bribes (modern and up-to-date word for it is “lobbying”!!). European politicans, despite that they should respect the votes of its citizen they are willing to sell out its populations !! How sad !!
lazy logic (unless you are rich to begin).
“I would like also to remark, that as long as super-rich people in a country provide decent jobs and decent salaries no harm is done”
Holy Batman – maybe it’s more than the billionaire’s we (the 999 [rather than the 9999]) need be concerned of?
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Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was looking for! “Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them.” by Rita Rudner.