Yesterday’s reporting by 60 Minutes about corruption in Russia must have been most embarrassing to the Russian leadership who is trying to look good right now with the Olympics going on. Corruption seems to be rampant there, all the way to Putin and his cronies. After watching the 60 Minutes piece, I wondered to myself if I would ever want to do business in Russia, knowing what I know? Hell, no, was my conclusion. Any reputable business in the Western World must be scared to death about doing business in Russia, and those in Russia right now, unless corrupt themselves, must be thinking about pulling out.
The Russians kill people who oppose them. It’s that simple.
So it was no surprise when I read this in Rolling Stone today:
The presence of these Marc Rich entities is particularly noteworthy. According to famed Forbes reporter Paul Klebnikov, who was assassinated in 2004 after years of reports on Russian corruption, Rich made a fortune in the early Nineties striking crooked deals with the Soviet bosses who controlled the U.S.S.R.’s supplies of raw materials – in particular commodities like zinc and aluminum. These deals helped create a fledgling class of profiteers among the bosses of the crumbling Soviet empire, a class that would go on years later to help push Russia out of its communist past into its kleptocratic present.
We have a plutocratic America and a kleptocratic Russia. Now I just need a new term for China.