The true face of the Kremlin master is revealed

Posted on September 2, 2022, 7:45 AMUpdated on Sep 2, 2022 at 9:06 am

This is the book you must read this year. Because it reveals the true nature of the regime of Vladimir Putin, the tsar who decided to go to war against Ukraine and beyond, throughout the West. That of an authoritarian regime that dreams of greatness for Russia and, at the same time, mafia, the two aspects that reinforce each other. Then because this masterful work looks like a detective thriller, with his spies, his godfathers, his crooked Siberian businessmen, his financiers in Geneva under orders, his courtiers ready to whatever and his unscrupulous traders in London. Finally, because it is also a lesson in journalism. One can imagine the difficulty of finding sources that agree to speak about the master of the Kremlin – hence the fact that many testimonies are unknown – and the strength required of the author.

The Putin System

In a stunning investigation, in nearly 600 pages, Catherine Belton examines the course of Vladimir Putin and the people he trusted to rise, settle in power and stay there. This British journalist, former correspondent in Moscow for the “Financial Times”, who is now at the “Washington Post”, breaks down the Putin system, the relations of the oligarchs’ watch, the networks of influence, the money, which in addition to frequent European financial centers, London and Geneva lead the way, thanks to established bankers.

In the mid-1980s, the young Vladimir Putin found himself a KGB officer in Dresden. The location is important because the city is located in a western border country and is less guarded than Berlin. He was responsible for recruiting agents operating on the other side of the Iron Curtain and his presence in Germany would allow him to establish relationships across the Rhine, including Matthias Warnig, formerly of the Stasi, the East German political police. and current employer of North Stream. The collapse of the USSR shocked and shocked him. But some KGB agents sent to the West expected the end of the communist empire and began to create financial networks to recycle dirty money.

Putin’s membership in the KGB is particularly significant because the former Soviet secret services were a clan. And its members as well as the security services – the siloviki, in Russian – that enabled Putin to find himself the right hand of the mayor of Saint Petersburg in the early 1990s, to gain more useful port of the city where the hydrocarbons pass, by expelling the mafia gang “owner”, then to integrate the entourage of Boris Yeltsin and, finally, to appear as the successor of this president, hated by the Russian. We can also see them today in Putin’s entourage, like Igor Setchin, the former Deputy Prime Minister, or Nikolai Patrushev, head of the secret services, two men who knew the president in Saint Petersburg.

Imperial Russia revived

And since the arrival of Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in 2000, at the head of the country, all these ex-KGB, who have never digested the end of the Soviet empire, worked to raise money and “revive Imperial Russia “, as Catherine Belton Explained. For them, the end justifies the means. Monopolization of the wealth of the country – the sector of raw materials in the lead – with the help of the State apparatus, organized corruption of the justice system, intimidation, imprisonment, violence … everything is good for success.

At the same time, these methods and those of the Russian State are also put at the service of another cause: to make Russia again a power that counts on the planet after the humiliation of the Cold War. And for that, it is a question of undermining the democracies of the West, of buying off their elites – this is the case of “Londongrad” – and of financing or helping everything that weakens the West from within. The KGB guys were really good at it. They were even trained for it, Vladimir Putin was the first. Funding extremist parties, launching operations to hack enemy networks, recruiting relays of influence. This is a real operation of destabilization in which the Russian power launched itself more than twenty years ago. The closeness of the Kremlin to Marine Le Pen, the Italian Matteo Salvini, the head of the League, the Hungarian President Viktor Orban and even Donald Trump have only one goal: to overthrow the established order and strengthen -on the position of Russia. Putin’s so-called anti-system side is only aimed at increasing his power.

As we have seen, we are very far from the defender of Christian and Western values ​​seen on one side of Putin’s extreme right. Regarding the anti-Americanism of the master of the Kremlin, we understand from reading Catherine Belton that it is not enough to convince anyone who remains attached to the democratic idea. With the war in Ukraine and the tensions among Europeans, at the dawn of a difficult winter, the French translation of this book is an act of public safety.

Putin’s Men. How the KGB took over Russia before attacking the West

by Catherine Belton. Talent Editions, 592 pages, 23.90 euros.

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