Putin’s Corrupt Oligarch Profits While His Soldiers Starve
VLADIMIR PUTIN’S invasion of Ukraine might have fared better if his circle of oligarchic cronies had been just a little less corrupt.
Reports tonight that Russia is asking China to supply basic food rations for its invading army indicate that the existing food supplies are woefully inadequate. Troops on deployment are meant to be supplied with “meals, ready to eat”, known in military jargon as MRE. Russia is already asking China to supply these, in a desperate effort to plug gaps in its own military planning.
On further investigation it seems that more than 90% of the contracts for supplying food to Russia’s armed forces had gone to one of Putin’s leading oligarchs, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Like many of his ilk, the half-Jewish Prigozhin has an interesting background that might not seem the ideal qualification for a position of trust.
He began a career of crime as an 18-year-old in Soviet-era Leningrad, convicted several times for offences of robbery, fraud and gangsterism, and eventually spending nine years in jail before emerging into post-Soviet Russia, which was and is ideal territory for professional criminals.
For almost twenty years Prigozhin has been a close friend and ally of Vladimir Putin, and therefore can do no wrong. But that doesn’t help the soldiers at the sharp end of Putin’s invasion, who are relying on food that Prigozhin was contracted and paid to supply, but which doesn’t exist.
Desperately hungry soldiers have been reduced to looting as they make their slow progress. Some of the MREs carried to the frontline proved to be more than seven years past their use-by date!
Prigozhin is protected partly because he now owns the Wagner Group, a private Russian paramilitary organisation that has profited from some of Putin’s foreign policy adventures, including security operations for African dictators.
Putin came to power pledging to root out the corruption that plagued Russia under his predecessor and patron Boris Yeltsin. Yet all that has happened is a rationalisation and concentration of corruption in the hands of fewer and more organised crooks. This criminality might be the final determining factor in Putin’s possible downfall and military failure.
* * *
Source: Heritage and Destiny magazine