Everyone seems to think that Vladimir Putin is some terrible person. Sure, maybe he isn’t conforming to westernization through globalization, and maybe his people are starving. Maybe he’s super controlling and does things differently than how Americans prefer them, but there’s the key. Everything he does is just different from the United States, but does that make it wrong? If everyone took a good look at all of things that are so much better than they would be without Putin, they’d realize he’s not so bad after all!
Russian Oligarchs play a huge role in Russia’s economics and politics. An oligarchy is a small group of people that have control over something, and in the context of Russia, they have a lot of business control. While Putin doesn’t take a lot of the wealth in Russia for himself (a mere $153,000), it seems like his friends make lots of money. Yuri Kovalchuk is a good example of this. He was once Putin’s neighbor, and once Putin was put into power, Kovalchuk’s bank – Bank Rossyia – went from being a small minnow among many to a major player and Kovalchuk currently has a 30% stake in the bank. He’s worth 1.5 million dollars! Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it seems to me that Putin was so generous to his friend and former neighbor and pulled some strings so that he could get more money. I wish I had friends like that. But aside from his friends making lots of money, there is a small circle of Russian elite who seem to be controlling the money, which is something that was supposedly reduced when Putin came into power.
Russian oligarchs appeared to decrease drastically when Putin transferred his title from Prime Minister to President. Those who had been a part of the oligarchs that formed in the 1990’s seemed to lose the power that they had. The oligarchs formed at this time were the result of government cuts, mass privatization, and free trade, also known to many as “shock therapy,” because it was meant to shock the economy and reduce state monopolies and ultimately reduce the risk of the return of communism. Shock therapy simply changed the state monopolies into private monopolies, which run in the same manor. One example of this is Boris Berezovsky’s story. Under former president Yeltsin, Berezovsky was the most powerful Russian oligarch that there was. To make a long story short, Berezovsky helped Putin rise to power, and then Putin exiled Berezovsky. Putin is such an awesome guy for getting rid of the bad guys like Berezovsky and giving money to his friends like Kovachuk. Putin did so much to undo the negativity that oligarchs brought to Russia with his economic reforms. He did such a great job of knocking down the 1990 oligarchs!
But wait… what’s an oligarchy again? The definition is a small group of people that have control over something, and in the context of Russia, they have a lot of business control. So looking at where the money was in the 1990’s to where it is now, it doesn’t seem to have been distributed differently at all. The only difference is the name that owns the money. That’s weird! So the same oligarchs aren’t in power, but new oligarchs are, and these new oligarchs are all buddies of Putin. Again, I wish I had friends who would give rich people’s money to me! Putin’s such a solid guy. The amazing thing about what he’s doing is that even though he technically doesn’t control the money, he is still omnipotent and benevolent.
This is where Putin’s awesomeness can truly be seen. He’s doing an amazing job at controlling the oligarchs. “Mr. Putin enjoys nearly limitless power, having brought the oligarchs to heel, recentralized political authority, dismantled fledgling democratic institutions and put most of the economy back under state control.” While Putin seems to be all-powerful, he is not. The oligarchs are still thriving, but they are different than before. Putin spends a lot of time mediating oligarch quarrels and making sure that everything continues to go according to plan. I think it’s so awesome that Putin can control everything for Russia and make sure that the oligarchs don’t get out of hand. They need someone like Putin to control their quarrels and it’s awesome that he’s willing to step up and do that for them.
Putin is totally undervalued in our society. So what if Russian people aren’t happy? So what if the only Russian’s with money are Putin’s BFF’s? So what if he’s hostile and dictatorial? He’s doing an awesome thing by keeping these current oligarchs under control. There will be a day when Putin ISN’T in power and that’s the day and that’s the day that should be feared. The oligarchs will then have complete power politically and economically. Without Putin… Russia is doomed!