OPINION

Russian civil war

The arrest of the fugitive media baron Vladimir Gusinsky at Athens airport signals Greece’s involvement in the civil war that has swept the political and economic elite in Russia. This involvement has international repercussions at the highest level, as the Greek government is under strong pressure not to extradite Gusinsky to Russia. The pressure is not only coming from Israel and the Jewish lobby in the United States but also directly from the US government. This should come as no surprise, as Gusinsky was one of the two «oligarchs» who channeled US influence in then President Boris Yeltsin’s government during the 1990s. Gusinsky has, no doubt, committed a plethora of economic crimes. All of Russia’s «oligarchs» made huge fortunes during the 1990s, squandering public money under the eyes of the political elite. Also, there is no doubt that Gusinsky is being charged for political reasons – for the same reasons that Boris Berezovsky was «purged» and Michail Khodorkovsky and Roman Abramovich are to be «purged.» The distribution of the wealth of the former Soviet Union allowed some individuals to extract hundreds of billions of dollars which they then deposited in Western banks. Russian President Vladimir Putin has realized that it is impossible to build a viable capitalist system on a parasite economy. Therefore, he has set out to expropriate the property of the former «oligarchs» only to divvy it up among other businessmen who will invest it in the country. Gusinsky is already a spent force in this battle – which makes things easier for the Greek government. Putin is not that keen to have him back, as he has already eliminated him. For their part, the Americans do not expect much from him; they are merely backing him in case he proves useful in the future. The Russian civil war will not be decided in Athens, it seems.