WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, on July 20 conducted a briefing on the topic, "KLEPTOCRATS OF THE KREMLIN: TIES BETWEEN BUSINESS AND POWER IN RUSSIA."
The following panelists spoke at the briefing:
- Brian Whitmore, Senior Russia Analyst, Radio Free Europe
- Ilya Zaslavskiy, Research Expert, Free Russia Foundation
- Dr. Anders Aslund, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
- Marius Laurinavicius, Senior Analyst, Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis
- Ambassador Daniel Fried, Distinguished Fellow, Atlantic Council
Eighteen years after he first took power, Vladimir Putin rules a Russia increasingly characterized by censorship, political repression, and human rights violations. A central feature of Putin’s authoritarian regime is sprawling corruption. This corruption undermines the legitimacy of public institutions domestically and internationally via an opaque network of interlocutors who enable assets to be stolen from the Russian people and hidden abroad.
While the president is the primary beneficiary, the Kremlin’s brand of kleptocracy depends on a loyal group of cronies, who acquire untold wealth by ensuring that state institutions follow Kremlin directives, and that private businesses play along or stay out of the way.
The briefing will examine the dynamics of Putin’s closest circle in order to establish who most strengthens and benefits from his rule. Additionally, briefers will analyze how these cronies advance Putin’s geopolitical goals and interests.