Phil Richardson: How to succeed in Russia without hardly trying

By Phil Richardson

Oligarchy – A form of government in which power is vested in a few persons or a dominant class.

I refrained from doing any part of this essay until the discomforting match at the so called conference and the one-on-one interview by NBC’s newest Talking Head, Megyn Kelly, with Russian President for Life Putin were both concluded. It could hardly be called a contest. Putin leaned back in his chair before Kelly completed her first question, and grinned, as if to say, “Oh, you want to begin with repeating that ridiculous falsehood.” He ended their debate with an insult, “Have they all lost their minds over there (In the USA)?”

The people who went to school with Vladimir Putin, who trained in the martial art of Judo or served with him in the MKVD or later KGB, Russia’s intelligence services, including scores of Putin-Made multi-millionaires, could be heard in the audience, sniggering at his condescending putdown of Ms. Kelly Sunday evening.

If I could have sent anyone to brave the lion in his den, I would have chosen CBS’s Leslie Stahl. Still, anyone sitting in Kelly’s chair would have received the same treatment that Kelly did. The audience was packed in favor of Putin, and he knew it.

I can only guess that Vladimir Yakunin, the head of the Russian Railway System, was in attendance. Yakunin was given the responsibility for constructing the infrastructure for the Sochi Olympics, a boondoggle that Bloomberg news estimated to have cost the Russian people $51-billion, but there is not the slightest doubt of who made Sochi happen: Vladimirovich Putin.

The Number One oligarch-buddy of Putin’s is Arkady Rotenberg. They met when Rotenberg’s father enrolled the 12-year old Arkady in a Judo class where Putin was already a student. The two became sparring partners and close friends. When Putin became vice-mayor of St. Petersburg, he helped Rotenberg start a professional judo club there. Members won numerous awards, including nine European Cup championships and four Olympic gold medals in judo competition in the 1990’s.

Where is the former Yavara-Neva judo school manager today? According to Joshua Yaffa, a journalist based in Moscow and a fellow of the think tank “New America,” Arkady Rotenberg is now a Russian oligarch-magnate in banking, construction, energy and transportation. He is currently boss of the 12-mile long bridge being built across the Kurch Strait, intended to more firmly connect Crimea to Mother Russia and cost her citizens at least three billion dollars.

The story of his meteroic rise to the near summit of the Russian oligarchy is only one of many engineered by the amazing Spymaster Putin.

 

Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller, is a retired broadcast executive residing in Tucson, Arizona. He is the author of three books – “Water Dream,” “The Prosperity Coal Company” and “Miguel: Narcotraficante.” All are available at Amazon.com.

“He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself.” – Joseph L. Menchen

 

 

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