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April 30, 2014 at 6:44 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin is richer than the czars

The United States and its Western allies are waging a creative fight to push back against Russian aggrandizement in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Economic sanctions are being imposed on Russian governmental officials, President Vladimir Putin and his investment comrades.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia. (EPA/Sergei Chirikov)

President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
(EPA/Sergei Chirikov)

The latest  U.S. sanctions go after 17 Russian companies with connections to Putin’s pals. Saber rattling has been replaced with securities roiling, with specific prohibitions on oligarchs traveling abroad to nurture their investments and snuggle up to their offshore bank accounts.

So much for decades of Cold War propaganda about those commies. They got over that Marxist  stuff pretty quickly, except for self-serving socialism among a favored elite.  Sorta like banks that are too big to fail in this country. The New York Times had a story that puts Putin’s estimated wealth at “$40 billion or even $70 billion.”

A website called The Richest, notes: “Under his administration as the country’s president, Putin passed into law new legal and land codes, reduced tax profits, and implemented a flat 13 percent income tax. He is also known to support the defense and nuclear industries.”

Putin could attract tea party endorsements with that economic resume.

These financial tactics have a lot more appeal than putting soldiers and tanks on the ground. From the trenches to the tranches.  If the overall strategy works, maybe the novels recording this moment in time might reflect the change. Instead of “The Guns of Navarone,” it will be “The Collateralized Debt Obligations of Crimea.”

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