Staunton, August 26 – In recent times, Vladimir Putin and his regime have attacked a variety of Russians and Russian organizations as foreign agents because they have received money from the West. But in the last week, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, Putin himself has acted suspiciously in just the same way as those he condemns.
The Kremlin leader has been promising one-time cash payments to various groups in the population just before the elections, something that in any normal country would be viewed as a an attempt to buy their votes, the economist says, all the more so since he has not provided them with the levels of assistance during the pandemic other countries have to their citizens (echo.msk.ru/blog/v_inozemcev/2893196-echo/).
But there is another dimension to this which hasn’t attracted much attention but should, Inozemtsev continues. Putin made his promises on August 22 and August 24, but on the day in between, a day usually remembered for the deal Hitler and Stalin made that opened the way to World War II, Moscow got a serious cash infusion from the West.
This year, on August 23, something else happened. The IMF announced it was distributing 650 billion US dollars in SDRs to its member countries. Russia received 17.56 billion of these – or 1.3 billion rubles – precisely on this date. This money is not a credit and doesn’t have to be returned. And its amount and timing raise some intriguing questions.
This money “from nowhere” Putin has distributed in part to the Russian people who are expected to be grateful to him and not to “the Washington obkom” from which it in fact came and “not to the Western leaders” who made this tranche possible. Under Russian rules, the Putin regime become a foreign agent, even though it will naturally deny that fact.
But it would seem that this action should lead Russians to ask whether anyone could behave in a more “amoral” way that the Russian powers that be have, all the more so because the Kremlin ruler is distributing only about 40 percent of this found money to the population. The rest will go to the favored projects of the rulers, including the siloviki and organs of repression.
What has occurred, Inozemtsev says, is “a very important event. From this time forward, one can say that practically all payments” by the Russian regime to the population “have been financed not by the Kremlin but by a financial organization with its headquarters in Washington, D.C.”
That is something those getting this money and those who don’t should be reflecting upon when they go to vote, Inozemtsev says. It is also something those in the West who allowed this to happen at precisely this time should be reflecting upon as well.