In Russia the New Mantra: “Don’t Steal…So Much”

Here’s an admission:  I sometimes feel sorry for criminals.  Not the dumb ones who know what they are doing is wrong but — even though there is substantial evidence to the contrary — they think they’re smarter than everyone else.  Not the cruel ones, who carry out gratuitous violence just for the sake of it.  No.  I sometimes feel sorry for the ones who’s criminal conduct was not deemed criminal just a few hours before they were ensnared.  They just happen to be without a chair when the music stopped, when they had no idea to suspect that the music would ever stop.

Take the Russian oligarchs for example.  No one suspects that the Russian oligarchy is the product of any kind of a meritocracy.  Everyone, and by that I mean “everyone”, suspects that if you have uber-wealth in Russia you stole it.  However, because you were given the green light by the powers that be, and perhaps were even sanctioned in your efforts as long as the proper patronage was paid, you were as legitimate as any entrepreneur anywhere in the world.

Now, for those unfortunate souls who steal without the safety net of pious indifference, the times they are a’changin’, even in Russia.

The latest example:  Ripples of scandal are spreading in Russia’s Far East, where, auditors say, $476 million in construction financing was misallocated ahead of a government summit meeting.

While that may seem like a lot of Rubles to go missing nowadays, it was merely a few Rubles between friends in the Russian oligarchy.  “You can have yours, as long as I get mine”, kind of thing.

What has changed?  The Russian people are fed up.

Read Ellen Barry’s New York Times article here:

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