A Tale of Two Russian Oligarchs
Recently the world learned that Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev would purchase the British newspaper The Independent and that his colleague and Mikhail Prokhorov, who is purchasing the New Jersey Nets basketball team, would be featured on the leading American news program 60 Minutes.
So the question arises, of course: Are these new-and-improved Khodorkovskian oligarchs, who are building power bases abroad they can use to to challenge the corrupt KGB regime of Vladimir Putin, or are they Putin’s agents, infiltrating our society as a way of bolstering Putin’s power? Lebedev, who also owns the mighty Novaya Gazeta, is a KGB spy just like Putin.
Our answer is simple: It just doesn’t matter.
Russia is such a pathetic mess these days that it simply doesn’t pose an “infiltration” risk to the West. The risk posed by Russia is twofold: That it will lash out against its tiny neighbors in fitful and desperate acts of neo-Soviet imperialist aggression, and that it will persecute millions of its own citizens until it, once again, collapses. There is no reason to believe that either oligarch can have any appreciable affect on either of these risks one way or the other, not even if they wanted to.
There is no reason to believe that they are inclined to take the risk boldly run by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and no reason to believe that if they did their fate would be any different than his. That is, the lemming-like population of Russia would stand idly by and watch them railroaded by an obviously corrupt “justice” system, if not killed outright like other Russian patriots such as Anna Politkovskaya.
And more important, there is no reason to believe that either oligarch could rationally feel the people of Russia are worth taking such a risk to save. Their selfish, childish behavior in seeking to blame “democracy” for the suffering caused by decades of Soviet misrule and their own reckless, irresponsible failure to hold their own government in check, their willingness to “vote” like sheep for a return to power of the same organization, the KGB, that caused the collapse of the USSR and that carried out the worst mass murder campaign against Russians in world history, all this bespeaks a nation that is not worth saving, that does not want to survive, that is hellbent on national suicide.
NOTE: John Helmer has more on the sordid machinations of Putin and the oligarchs over on his blog.