21 December 2007

Is it Truly Megalomania When You are Europe's Richest Man and Can Destroy the World at Will?

Vladimir Putin is not only Time's Man of the Year. He has accumulated a personal wealth of over US $40 Billion, which makes him Europe's wealthiest person. He is also the man who controls a huge arsenal of nuclear tipped missiles aimed at western Europe and North America. His domestic enemies end up dead, in a mental hospital, or in prison. The jury is still out on what happens to his foreign enemies.
The claims over the president's assets surfaced last month when the Russian political expert Stanislav Belkovsky gave an interview to the German newspaper Die Welt...Citing sources inside the president's administration, Belkovsky claims that after eight years in power Putin has secretly accumulated more than $40bn (£20bn). The sum would make him Russia's - and Europe's - richest man....Putin "effectively" controls 37% of the shares of Surgutneftegaz, an oil exploration company and Russia's third biggest oil producer, worth $20bn, he says. He also owns 4.5% of Gazprom, and "at least 75%" of Gunvor, a mysterious Swiss-based oil trader, founded by Gennady Timchenko, a friend of the president's...Asked how much Putin was worth, Belkovsky said: "At least $40bn. Maximum we cannot know. I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about." He added: "It may be more. It may be much more.

"Putin's name doesn't appear on any shareholders' register, of course. There is a non-transparent scheme of successive ownership of offshore companies and funds. The final point is in Zug [in Switzerland] and Liechtenstein....Putin has created a new, more streamlined oligarchy, his critics say. "The crown jewels of the country's wealth have ended up in the hands of Putin's inner circle," Vladimir Rzyhkov - a former independent MP - wrote in Monday's Moscow Times....

Putin seems to have consolidated his power within Russia quite well. High oil and gas prices have helped considerably, and add significant clout to Russia's non-nuclear threat. Consider Putin a financially savvy and well placed "mafia don." A very wealthy don with the power to destroy the world.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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