The Gangster Who Reigns Over the Kremlin

In December 1564, Ivan IV took himself off into exile. From the remoteness of Aleksandrova Sloboda he wrote two letters to officials in Moscow, one announcing his abdication, the other stipulating that he would return to the throne only on condition he be granted absolute power. There were positive aspects to Ivan’s rule, especially in the earlier years, and “Fearsome” rather than “Terrible” might be a better rendering of his popular designation, and yet there is something wretchedly Russian about those obtuse boyars pleading, in the end, for Ivan’s royal restitution. Masha Gessen’s The Man Without a Face and even more so David Satter’s It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway do nothing to disabuse us of the notion that Russia as a whole remains clueless when it comes to addressing the most basic principles of democracy and the rights of the individual.

This review first appeared in Quadrant‘s June 2012 edition.
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In August 1999, Boris Yeltsin announced that Vladimir Putin, Head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), was to be the new prime minister of Democratic Russia. Shortly thereafter, contends Gessen, the FSB made Yeltsin an offer he could not refuse. If Yeltsin allowed Putin to replace him as the president of the Russian Federation, Yeltsin could expect to enjoy the full protection of the intelligence service for the rest of his days, along with immunity from prosecution for any transgressions committed during a decade in office. The ailing and politically vulnerable Yeltsin assented. For almost seventy years the Chekists had been the sword and shield of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Now, thanks to the demise of the USSR and Yeltsin’s instinct for self-preservation, a criminal cabal with a lineage dating back to Felix Dzerzhinsky’s Cheka commenced ruling Russia in its own right.

As a consequence, argues Gessen, Vladimir Putin has spent the past twelve years effectively transforming Russia “into a supersize model of the KGB”, the world’s first bona fide mafia state.

On a personal level, Putin turns out to be a complete embarrassment, like so many gangsters before him. At the time of his emergence from virtual obscurity into the spotlight of national attention, state propagandists created a mostly fictitious biography of the mysterious KGB colonel from St Petersburg. One authentic anecdote remains, however, and what a tale it tells. Here, according to Ludmila Putin herself, is the circumstance in which the thirty-one-year-old Vladimir proposed to his future wife: 

“Little friend, by now you know what I am like …” And then he went on to describe himself: not a talker, can be pretty harsh, can hurt your feelings, and so on. Not a good person to spend your life with. And he goes on. “Over the course of three and a half years you’ve probably made up your mind.” I realised we were probably breaking up. So I said, “Well, yes, I’ve made up my mind.” And he said, with doubt in his voice, “Really?” That’s when I knew we were definitely breaking up. “In that case,” he said, “I love you and propose we get married on such and such a day.” 

The word creepy comes to mind. Sadly, this is only a hint of the flaws of a man who has resolutely demolished democratic Russia, put out contracts on his critics, and stealthily amassed an alleged personal fortune (by 2007) of some $40 billion. (editor’s note: Since 2012, when this essay first appeared in Quadrant, Putin’s wealth, according to Foreign Policy‘s reckoning and other sources, is in the vicinity of $200 billion.)

Over the years Putin has repeatedly stolen the assets of prosperous companies and individual billionaires, the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2004 providing as good an example as any: 

And with the assets of the country’s largest private company hijacked in broad daylight, Putin had claimed his place as the godfather of a mafia clan ruling the country. Like all mafia bosses, he barely distinguished between his personal property, the property of his clan, and the property of those beholden to his clan.  

Putin’s compulsion to pilfer apparently knows no bounds, high or low. In 2005, while hosting a delegation of American businessmen in St Petersburg, Putin expressed his admiration for the 124-diamond Super Bowl ring of Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. With no more ado Putin pocketed the ring and abruptly left the room: “After a flurry of articles in the US press, Kraft announced a few days later that the ring had been a gift—preventing an uncomfortable situation from spiralling out of control.” Putin’s insatiable greed, contends Gessen, is not a case of kleptomania so much as pleonexia, “the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others”.

Putin’s character is not without complications. He might be a thug, a vulgarian, and the perpetrator of state-sponsored scams that rival the accomplishments of the Congo’s Mobutu Sese Seko, but he evidently conceives of himself—at least in his more sanguine moments—as an incorruptible and dutiful servant of Russia and its patriotic intelligence service. Not dissimilarly, Joseph Stalin possessed all the personal attributes of a Genghis Khan while at the same time regarding himself as a first-rate practitioner of Marxism-Leninism. A fantasy only makes the megalomaniac more dangerous. The delusions of the little guy who in earlier days was several times Champion of Leningrad Sambo are no laughing matter.  

A courageous investigative journalist of long standing, Masha Gessen provides us with an array of fresh insights in The Man Without a Face, including an account of Putin’s behaviour in August 1991 during the short-lived attempted putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev. Putin, at the time only an enigmatic figure in the regional politics of St Petersburg, shrewdly kept a low profile throughout the drama. We are led to believe, however, that his secret sympathies were probably with the communist hardliners intent on reversing Gorbachev’s experiments with perestroika, glasnost and demokratiya. Not that Putin, a product of the cynical world of Late Communism, could ever be accused of having an ideology. From the outset the young Vladimir worshipped not communism but the Russian state, or more specifically the KGB, and it would be a stretch to claim much more than this on behalf of his younger spiritual self, other than a passion for his (relatively) fast car and bashing up people who aggravated him.

Putin has never represented anything of substance. He talks tough on law-and-order issues but he and his henchmen are themselves above the law. He wants to return Russia to its rightful place on the world stage, but investment in the armed forces remains problematic and he has made a total botch of Chechnya. Putin’s good fortune in foreign policy has been his current opposite number in the White House pursuing a policy with the Kremlin called “Reset” (also known as appeasement). Putin, for his part, is only interested in Realpolitik, more of which we are likely to observe if Obama is re-elected in November. Economically, the Putin Show has mostly ridden on the back of a five-fold rise in the price of oil, allowing Russia to navigate its way through the GFC and avoid the economic meltdown of 1998.

In short, whatever success Putin has enjoyed over the years, he remains a leader of no moral or visionary seriousness. It is this absence of an ideology, suggests Gessen, which points to the Achilles heel of both Putin and his United Russia movement. Once the message seeps into the public consciousness that Putin is less a high-minded strongman than a low-life fraudster, his days of uncovering ancient treasures at underwater archaeological sites in front of the cameras will be over.                                            

Gessen’s optimism on this point, it needs to be noted, has a lot to do with completing The Man Without a Face during the heady days of the 2011 anti-Putin protests in Moscow. The final chapter, “Epilogue: A Week in December”, is written in the present tense and in the style of a diary. We observe despondency at the “falsified results” of the parliamentary elections, which assigned Putin’s United Russia 66 per cent of the vote, giving way to the elation of participating in a series of enormous public demonstrations. Not even the glacial weather could impede the righteous indignation of the crowds. However, in March this year the OSCE confirmed the overall integrity of elections that saw Putin secure a third non-consecutive term as president with 63.5 per cent of the vote, the one caveat being that “procedural irregularities” occurred in a third of the polling stations. The anti-Putin movement has since gone into abeyance.                   

Gessen explains Putin’s dominance over the years in terms of his duplicity, in addition to a hoodlum-like propensity to “whack”, “ice” or “burn” anybody who causes him grief, from the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya to the whistleblower Alexander Litvinenko. At times, argues Gessen, his entire political message can be summed up in four words: “Don’t mess with me.” In twelve short years Putin has nationalised the media, subverted the independence of the judiciary, annulled the autonomy of provincial governorships, and accelerated the corruption of everyday life. Gessen notes that in 2003 Transparency International ranked Russia as more corrupt than 64 per cent of the world’s countries, but by 2010 it had become more corrupt than 86 per cent of the world, slotting in between Papua New Guinea and Tajikistan. Putin’s “rule of terror”, as Gessen puts it, has emasculated the Russian people.               

Gessen is an enormously brave writer, and yet there is something absent from her rationalisation of Putin’s pre-eminence in modern-day Russia. While more than justified in characterising her protagonist as the most powerful Don in the land, she fails to satisfactorily explain why Russians tolerated this preposterous fellow in the first place, and why so many still do, the recent anti-Putin protests notwithstanding. She laments the anomie that pervades the vast majority of the populace, but their passivity surely predates the rise and rise of Vladimir Putin. David Satter’s It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway provides an answer.

One particularly disturbing episode in Russia’s recent history helps clarify the problem. Gessen and Satter agree that agents of the FSB, if not Putin himself, were instrumental in the terrorist attacks on apartment buildings in Moscow and two other Russian cities in 1999, when 300 civilians lost their lives as a result of the explosions. Although the slaughter was officially blamed on Chechen terrorists, most pundits now believe that the atrocities were perpetrated by Russia’s intelligence service to create a groundswell of support for the Second Chechen War and the political ascendancy of Vladimir Putin. Only he could deliver lines like this in response to the perceived crisis: 

We will hunt them down. Wherever we find them, we will destroy them. Even if we find them in the toilet. We will rub them out in the outhouse. 

If the conspiracy theories are true—and in Russia, unlike the West, conspiracy theories about politics are more likely to be true than not—then Putin’s mendacity at the time was breathtaking. How, Gessen might argue, could ordinary Russians be expected to see through such depraved deception?                             

The disturbing fact, however, is that in many cases they did, and yet a large proportion of them still voted for Putin in the 2000 presidential election. David Satter’s thesis is that Russia “differs from the West in its attitude towards the individual”. In the West, or so his argument goes, “the individual is treated as an end in himself”; in Russia, on the other hand, “the individual is seen by the state as a means to an end”. This calamitous state of affairs has haunted Russia through centuries of tsarism, seven decades of communism, and now twelve years of Putin, in which the Russian individual is expected to “submit to the supererogatory claims of a de-ideologised Russian state”. Although Putin’s Russia might not be a reconstituted Soviet Union, the average Russian has reverted to the Soviet habit of accepting that “nothing is higher than the goals of the state”.

In the last years of Gorbachev’s rule and for much of Yeltsin’s tenure an opportunity presented itself to undo the habits of old, but circumstances and the difficulty of the task resulted in the project for the most part being abandoned. What Russia needed to do, contends Satter, was to confront the brutal truth of Dzerzhinsky, Stalin, the Great Terror and the labour camps, but also the reality of generations of co-opted Russians who were “denied the possibility of living in a society based on higher values and moral choice”. A brief anti-Stalin phase ensued in the wake of glasnost revelations of the late 1980s—for example, the long-denied Soviet culpability in the 1940 Katyn massacres—but, like the recent anti-Putin rallies, momentum soon abated. The statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the homicidal founder of the Cheka, might not have been returned to Lubyanskaya Square, but his spirit everywhere haunts the land.

The task ahead for the Russian people, if they are to truly liberate themselves, is to desist with “nationalist delusions” and the attendant nostalgia for the good old days of the Soviet empire. Instead, argues Satter, they need to think seriously and responsibly about their country’s future. Rather than romanticising Stalin, they must build a “national symbol of repentance” and candidly acknowledge the complicity of their antecedents in the Great Terror, not to mention their own compromises during Late Communism. Satter has a wonderful account of the children and grandchildren of Anastas Mikoyan attempting to evaluate the merits or otherwise of a man who “participated in the crimes of the regime but also did considerable good”. Eventually one of them arrives at a useful moral formula: “If a person did what he was forced to do, it is necessary to forgive. If he did more than necessary, he should be condemned.”

From a Western perspective, at least, the ethics of a person such as Masha Gessen rate very highly. Whether a majority of her compatriots would concur must be a matter left to conjecture. How many might censure her for bringing the standing of the President of the Russian Federation into disrepute? These would be the same people who continue to trade their personal integrity for the false security of FSB rule. Well might we ask them what protection Putin’s deadly bungling afforded the submariners on the Kursk, the hostages at the Dubrovka Theatre, or the schoolchildren of Beslan?    

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
by Masha Gessen
Riverhead Books, 2012, 304 pages, US$27.95 

It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway
by David Satter (Yale University Press, 2011)

400 pages, US$29.95


Daryl McCann is a frequent Quadrant contributor

22 thoughts on “The Gangster Who Reigns Over the Kremlin

  • Peter Marriott says:

    An informative piece. Russia and the Balkans are pretty hard to unravel at the best of times, which is probably why they produce such good literature and the courageous people who write it. I have to resist joining in the chorus against Putin I’m afraid, because I’m pretty sure the Ukrainians are as corrupt as hell as well, and up to their eyeballs in subterfuge at practically all levels, and as for the Islamic Chechens, the less said about them the better in my view, other than to note that the military commander of Isis…was one.
    One thing I do think is that if Donald Trump was still President, this would never ever have got this far….the present mob just don’t know how to talk to someone like Putin I feel.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    One thing I left out. I have a sneaking suspicious a lot of the stirring and meddling that has produced this mess can be sheeted home to the unelected crowd running the EU ?

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Yes, informative, especially about the Russian view of the State as a revered almost mystical’authority’, stemming right back to Czarist days. Russia itself as an ‘entity’, like a badly treated mother, runs through a lot of Russia’s great literature: it even dominates in Amor Towels’ recent moral fable ‘A Gentleman in Moswcow’, which is strongly anti-communist but very pro the ‘essence’ of Russia, benighted but ever brave. Very closely connected to this is the Russian Orthodox Church, which is missing from McCann’s analysis above. In recent years Putin has placed himself and the Church as one, with strong compliance from Church Patriarchs glad to have a supporter who has ensured that there is not even a thin line of paper separating the Church and the Russian State these days. Putin kisses Icons and is a regular Church attender. The people of Russia respond very warmly to that. We need to recall that Stalin it is now thought died as an Orthodox believer. We know he started out as an Orthodox Seminarian.
    I recall too the Russian woman, single-traveller wife of an oil oligarch, who clung to my husband and me on a Pacific cruise, because my husband speaks a little Russian from his British schooldays when it was taught. Her own husband, she told us, would never rise above the prevalent corruption she was quite happy to admit was endemic, ‘so he drink, he drink vodka, and he smoke and then he drink vodka again’. Alcoholism is rife in Russia and it allows corruption to thrive.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    This charming and educated Russian lady, with whom we conversed in a mix of fractured English (her’s), fractured Russian (my husband’s) and fractured French (mine), had travelled to Australia to visit her son from a first marriage, and was taking the cruise to fill in some time. She found herself a leery boyfriend with a pony tail half way through the short trip but after a few days returned to our company at dinner, the theatre and dancing and classical music performances, saying he was ‘not very interesting’. It seemed to be code for her rejection of his romantic advances, said with that dismissive accent Russian women do so well.

  • ianl says:

    From 2007-2011 I did half-dozen mining development projects in Russia. Mostly the actual sites are in various parts of Siberia with the entities involved operating from offices in Moscow. A longer-lasting project was actually based entirely in central Siberia, with a tough oligarch running the entire province in conjunction with his two sons. [Perhaps naively, I had no real interest in the impenetrable politics of the country, especially the larger picture, but local and provincial power structures were critical to project development. Apart from trying to ensure an honest project line, I was motivated by an intense curiosity of what every day was like behind the curtain, and the actual geology/engineering of the district were extremely interesting].

    The oligarch with his budding dynasty is a Ukranian (I’m told that he has since suffered a stroke and is back in the Ukraine, leaving the province to his sons). He did *not* trust Russians and so had recruited and staffed his security and information services at the top level with Ukranians. Head of police, head of security, head of legal – all Ukranian.
    He maintained that in a tight situation, Russians could not be trusted to support their employer.

    His office complex in the Siberian town had a metal detector frame in the small entry area, much like an airport entry. A way to live, I thought.

  • rosross says:

    I spent quite a bit of time in Russia about 14 years ago and Putin, regardless of Western views, is popular at home.

    Understanding the backstory is critical in terms of perspective. We are not going to stop wars without first understanding how they are brewed long before they start most of the time.

    The real question is, who would be surprised if the Americans, in response to the Chinese setting up missile bases in Canada and Mexico, invaded and occupied Canada and Mexico?

    No-one. Well, that is the Ukraine scenario.

    The Russians long ago requested Ukraine not be allowed to join Nato and the Americans and Nato agreed. The Russian version of the American Monroe Doctrine which seeks to protect American borders and regional interests.

    Monroe Doctrine
    a principle of US policy, originated by President James Monroe, that any intervention by external powers in the politics of the Americas is a potentially hostile act against the US.

    Then they changed their minds and over the past 10 years the Americans and Nato have been moving their missiles closer to the Russian border.

    After decades of protesting and demanding they stop, the Russians have acted just as the Americans would act – remember Bay of Pigs – if threatened on its borders.

    The backstory makes it clear the US and Nato have pushed the Russians into this. They were looking to get Ukraine into Nato having promised they would not, so they could roll their missile launchers up to the Russian border.

  • Sindri says:

    A succinct, clear-eyed summation from Daryl McCann of the grubby little gangster and sociopath who runs Russia, and what do we see by way of response on QoL? Navel-gazing, ludicrous apologia for Putin, including the fatuous and childish line that there is some analogy with the Cuban missile crisis. The clear-eyed, anti-totalitarian founders of Quadrant would be laughing if it wasn’t so pathetic.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    For my part in this discussion, the compliance of the Orthodox Church and the extent of Russian alcoholism are surely worth some consideration, Sindri? These things assist and allow Putin to keep his authoritarian control. Frank Knopfelmacher may have had something to say about that, about the forces that enable power seizing by a ‘grubby little gangster’ (and who is disagreeing with this descriptor? not me, nor anyone reading Daryl McCann’s piece, I suspect).
    Putin rules because so many allow it, as well as in spite of many Russians resisting him. Peter Marriott started off well by saying it is a hard situation for outsiders to unravel. And it is. Perspective taking from all sides may not be too out of order. The US, NATO and the EU have woven a tangled skein of intrigue and the Germans have stupidly put their heads on a block asking for decapitation; Putin has capitalised on it all, claiming to have more of a case than is ever warranted and going in illegally and hard against a sovereign nation. That is what bullies and dictators do. That is what Putin is doing.

  • Sindri says:

    Sorry, Elizabeth, I certainly didn’t mean you. I perhaps expressed myself too warmly, but I am irritated beyond measure by the glib comparison with the events in Cuba. That country was already in a tight military alliance with the Soviet Union at the time, something that the US just had to accept. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. What changed was that the USSR tried to secrete nuclear missiles into Cuba. There are no nuclear missiles on the NATO frontline. It is fanciful to think that there ever will be in Ukraine. Some people seem to believe that as soon as you join NATO your border bristles with nukes. It’s a silly misconception, and, in the current circumstances, a dangerous one. The other urban myth is the supposed guarantee, promise or assurance that NATO would not move eastward, as a condition of Russia ‘s not opposing German reunification. Not even Gorbachev suggests that occurred, yet it is a central item of Putin’s mendacity. Ukraine is not obliged, politically or morally, to abstain from joining whatever defensive military block it likes.
    Moreover, Putin doesn’t believe he’s about to be invaded by NATO. He thinks NATO members are a bunch of pantywaists, which is why he’s in Ukraine at the moment. It’s useful for him, however, to encourage this idea that Russia fears “encirclement”.

  • Michael Waugh says:

    Surely Sindri is correct about this, that is, that the old USSR satellite states , with their new-found independence, are not obliged to nevertheless remain under the oppressive heel of Russia. It is entirely to be expected that, with freedom, those countries want to enter trading and security arrangements with the west. That was why the Soviet block collapsed. That is why these countries sought independence. Neither the West nor Russia can legitimately demand that these nations remain constrained to the demands of Russia.

  • Rebekah Meredith says:

    Thank you, Sindri and Michael Waugh. It is certainly disappointing to find several people on this conservative site apparently fairly unconcerned about the invasion by an almost-Communist country of a much smaller one with at least some freedom. (It is important, too, to remember that some of the countries that Hitler absorbed were oppressive and corrupt–he was still a dangerous bully who went on and on until appeasement finally stopped). Is it partially motivated by a belief that the regular media could not possibly be right in anything? If so, then the Anzacs are not worth remembering.
    I acknowldege that the situation is complicated, but if after the last two years of bemoaning our lost freedom we have no sympathy for a country overrun by Russia, and think it’s not THAT bad, then “navel-gazing” is a good description of us.
    Do we not have enough sympathy for ourselves, the Canadians, AND the Ukranians?

  • pmprociv says:

    Rebekah, I agree — and which country in its neighborhood would qualify as being more oppressive and corrupt than Russia itself?
    As for this bleating about NATO and missiles along Russia’s borders, exactly who has the reputation of being the aggressor here, using the pretext of preventing others from attacking it? And just how much provocation would it take for NATO members to actually use those missiles? The fact that they can stand by passively now, and watch while wringing their hands, paralysed by fear and indecision, while Ukraine is mercilessly annihilated, says it all. Putin, a classical street thug and KGB operative, has perfected his game of bluff, against much more naive, albeit militarily stronger, opponents.
    As I’ve just detailed in a related article [https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2022/02/eurasianism-putins-new-world-order/ ], Ukraine is richly endowed with natural resources, yet this basic fact seems to be ignored by all the pundits, who prattle on about about history and destiny.. Surely, this arch-conman’s chief, and obvious, motive is to get his sticky fingers onto those riches, to cement his position as not only the world’s richest person, but also its boldest (and smartest?) political leader. He’s a “silovik”, who couldn’t give a stuff about the weaker Russian people, seeing how much he’s stolen from them (and how much bullshit he feeds them in return). It’s now the Ukrainians’ turn . . .

  • pmprociv says:

    P.S. Of course, that should have been: “in a comment responding to a related article”. Sorry if confusing — it wasn’t my article!.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    pmprociv, your economic list, placed on Bendle’s article 25/2, is very revealing. I hope you don’t mind that I have copied it to the latest ‘Ukraine’ thread as it does contain information not readily available elsewhere and those interested in this geopolitical struggle don’t always read back thread too much.
    My view is that Ukraine has always been seen by Czars and communists alike as rich and thus Russian.
    It is easy to see why Putin wants it; which doesn’t deny that he sees himself as a Russian saviour for taking it. One does wonder, however, how much the Ukraine oligarchs will welcome their Russian competitors. We don’t hear much about these, but they must be underwriting quite a lot of the opposition?

  • Sindri says:

    Thank you Rebekah. I’ve let off quite a bit of steam in this thread, because although the factual issues may be complex, the moral issues aren’t. Putin has in the past got quite a bit of sympathy, not only from some conservatives, but also from the left. There are the addled fools and crackpots like Jeremy Corbyn, who likes Putin because of nostalgia for the the Soviet Union, and the dreary US-haters for whom Russia is my friend because she’s my enemy’s enemy. A certain kind of conservative likes him for much the same reason: he pretends to champion certain traditional values, so some people think he’s a jolly good chap with a moral backbone, and overlook the mass of contrary evidence: the murders, the lawlessness, the looting of state resources, and now this. Hitler, too, conned a certain kind of conservative in the 1930s, for the same reasons. A lot of people thought Hitler was a jolly good chap, until he started a war.

  • Phillip says:

    rosross, totally agree with your comment. Putin has clearly explained his rationale for entering Ukraine (many youtube videos to example such evidence). The Russian government is completely frustrated with the unauthorised intrusions of NATO and USA into Ukraine to install missile bases aimed at Moscow. Why do they (USA) need to do that? The corruption of USA is the major cause of this war. If the USA concentrated on cleaning up its own internal problems then the whole world would be in a safer and more economically stronger position.
    Can someone tell me why the Australian Government is choosing sides in this altercation and then why are they choosing Ukraine?

  • Sindri says:

    “Phillip”: no-one has installed missile bases in the Ukraine aimed at Moscow or anywhere else, and certainly not NATO. Ukraine is not a NATO member. There are no nukes on the NATO front line, anywhere.
    Memo to Quadrant online: this post, with its fabrications and clunky English, is very typical of a piece of Russian disinformation. Is there any way of checking the provenance of this rubbish?

  • Phillip says:

    Oh let the good times roll – Ukraine be damned as the cesspit of the USA/NATO corruption scams. Why does Ukraine want to align with the Schwass new world order? How many biomedical labs in the Ukraine have been pumping out the vaccine syrup for Fauci and friends?
    And the irony?
    The Biggest Idiot the Democrats Ever Nominated to the USA White House now imports about 20million barrels of oil per month from Russia.
    Sanctions?! What a joke. Even bigger joke that Morrison is dishing out my tax dollars to the Ukraine.
    I repeat my opinion (actually a fact) – if the corrupt USA government elites and CIA stop interfering in other countries petty arguments then the world would be a safer place.
    Can anybody inform me of a battle involving the USA since WW2 that has improved the worlds peace or justified the rationale for interfering? Probably not, but I can assure you the USA will only go where there is oil or some monetary benefit to the corrupt elites of the USA.
    Mr Putin, do your best and expose the corruption of the Biden crime family and their cohorts of soulless money-grabbers.

  • Michael Waugh says:

    I have a suspicion that Sindri may be correct about “Phillip”.

  • Sindri says:

    Korea to start with, “Phillip”. Otherwise the whole peninsula would be languishing under the Kim dynasty, eating grass.

  • Rebekah Meredith says:

    Sindri–The US obviously went into Korea because of her oil reserves, right?

  • Sindri says:

    It was the Kimchi and the BBQ beef.

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