WikiLeaks cables condemn Russia as ‘mafia state’…(Just Like AmeriKa!!)
Kremlin relies on criminals and rewards them with political patronage, while top officials collect bribes ‘like a personal taxation system’
Wednesday 1 December 2010
Russia is a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a “virtual mafia state”, according to leaked secret diplomatic cables that provide a damning American assessment of its erstwhile rival superpower.
Arms trafficking, money laundering, personal enrichment, protection for gangsters, extortion and kickbacks, suitcases full of money and secret offshore bank accounts in Cyprus: the cables paint a bleak picture of a political system in which bribery alone totals an estimated $300bn a year, and in which it is often hard to distinguish between the activities of the government and organised crime.
Among the most striking allegations contained in the cables, which were leaked to the whistleblowers’ website WikiLeaks, are:
• Russian spies use senior mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations such as arms trafficking.
• Law enforcement agencies such as the police, spy agencies and the prosecutor’s office operate a de facto protection racket for criminal networks.
• Rampant bribery acts like a parallel tax system for the personal enrichment of police, officials and the KGB’s successor, the federal security service (FSB).
• Investigators looking into Russian mafia links to Spain have compiled a list of Russian prosecutors, military officers and politicians who have dealings with organised crime networks.
• Putin is accused of amassing “illicit proceeds” from his time in office, which various sources allege are hidden overseas