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.
Lebvedev bought the Standard newspaper;
since then he has dramatically increased its circulation by making it a free from charge paper, now 4 times as many people read it. He now charges more for advisertuising space, the strategy appears to be working, and the Standard is this year expected to make a small profit, the first in a number of years, he plans to adopt a different strategy for the Independent it is likely he will turn this into a glossy up market semi magazine and it will cost more than the current Independent.
Lebvedev has not interfered with the editorial control of the Standard, he knows because of his KGB past he would be “crucified,” believe me his every move is being watched and scrutinised,
Owning both British and US established media gives Lebvedev and Prokhorov instant access to the political elite of both countries, what they plan to do, or hope to achieve long-term is yet to be established, The Russian state has a very weak lobby in both countries, even small Nations like Georgia have a more highly developed and effective lobby, whether these gentlemen will lobby on behalf of the current regime an alternative, or even themselves …well your guess is as good as mine!.
I don’t know if Prokhhorov will expand into Media in the States, but I would not be surprised.Both appear to be looking for establisment approval and influence.
I saw this 60 minutes episode yesterday, and Mr. Prokhorov came across as a vulgar and ostentatious thief and criminal that he probably is. So, I doubt he would get much approval from the establishment.
The asolutely biased pro Prokhorev scam on
60 minutes , was an absolute disgrace . It made
him look like an urbane , brilliant , ecctentric
multi billionare rather than the thieving ,
corrupt scoundrel that he really is . As are all
the oligarchs , because that is what the system
created . I noticed that they made a special effort
in making a point that purportedly , his hands
are not blood stained . That is almost as funny
as finding a politician that is not corruptible ,
or a Chicago cop that doesn’t take bribes .
It’s a bloody shame that an major American
team , albeit a lousy one , should wind up in
the hands of a foreign crook .
I agree with you, Oleksander. It boils my mind to see foreign crooks buy what rightfully belongs to domestic crooks.
Mass entertainment is crucial to American national security, and only domestic crooks with top secret security clearances should be allowed to own basketball teams and other entertainment franchises.