Eines der erstaunlichsten Phänomene unserer Zeit ist, dass Putin in unterschiedlichen Kreisen als großes Vorbild verehrt wird. Dabei liegen die Fakten über seinen Werdegang seit langem auf dem Tisch: Er und seine Clique waren und sind ausgesprochen begabte Staatsdiebe. Eine hervorragende Zusammenfassung darüber, wie sich Putin gemeinsam mit der russischen Mafia den Staat unter den Nagel riss und gleichzeitig reich wurde, kann man im neuen Buch der Politikwissenschaftlerin Karen Dawisha nachlesen: Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?.
Anne Applebaum bespricht es ausführlich für die The New York Review of Books unter dem adäquaten Titel How He and His Cronies Stole Russia:
He also carried off an extraordinary public relations coup, and one with far-reaching significance: for four years, between 2008 and 2012, Putin put a seemingly pro-Western, apparently business-friendly, decoy president in charge of the Kremlin. The reassuring presence of Dmitry Medvedev not only inspired Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s “reset” in American foreign policy, but lulled almost everyone in Europe into accepting a gangster state as a difficult but legitimate partner. During the four years of the Medvedev presidency NATO’s military readiness declined further, Western financial institutions became more dependent on Russian money, and Western politicians turned their attention to other matters.
Yet during this same period, as during his own presidency, Putin never abandoned the mafia methods Dawisha has so painstakingly described. Instead, he reshaped Russia’s political system in order to ensure that they could continue. Though Dawisha argues that Putin always intended to recreate an authoritarian, expansionist Russia, one could also argue that an authoritarian, expansionist Russia was the inevitable result of Putin’s need to protect himself, his cronies, and their money.
Either way, no one now doubts that, despite the talk of “reform,” he made no attempt to encourage truly entrepreneurial capitalism inside Russia or to create a legal system that would allow small businesses to grow. Courts became increasingly politicized and markets ever more distorted. Oligarchs and businessmen at all levels who did not play by his rules were destroyed.