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Vladimir Putin isn’t just angering leaders from Berlin to Washington. He’s irking some of his richest friends, too, by snubbing their pleas to end the conflict in Ukraine and ostracizing all but a handful of hardliners.
The ruble’s plunge has heightened opposition to Putin’s backing of the rebellion in Ukraine among his wealthiest allies, prompting the president to shrink his inner circle from dozens of confidants to a small group of security officials united by their support for the separatists, two longtime associates said.
Putin is increasingly suspicious of men who owe their wealth to their ties to him and who are being hurt the most by U.S. and European sanctions, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisal. The 21 most affluent people in the country lost a total of $61 billion last year, a quarter of their combined fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Businessmen who have long been close to Putin are “on the periphery now,” said Sergei Markov, a political consultant who helped monitor the referendum in Crimea that led to Russia’s annexation of the peninsula in March.
The core group around Putin is led by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov, Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to Markov.
Back in Moscow, there’s growing alarm being voiced among the elite about the political and financial costs of staying the course on Ukraine.
While Putin’s approval rating remains near an all-time high and most Russians support aiding the rebels, the collapse of oil prices and a looming recession have led two prominent former officials to call on the Russian leader to find a way to end the fighting -- rare public prodding in a country where the Kremlin controls every major media outlet.
“There is a group of people in the upper echelons trying to protect themselves from losses,” Pavlovsky said. “They are critical of Putin but they can’t challenge him because he can easily crush them. That makes them even more unhappy.”
originally posted by: hopenotfeariswhatweneedunless of course he is in bed with them
originally posted by: learnatic
a reply to: Xcathdra
Many years ago I read phrophcy (Tuesday Loband Rampa) that said that Russia and Americia will become friends but will not remain friends for long. Cant remember if he said that war wil result.
bugger a.g.e, its a terrible disease.
originally posted by: Xcathdra
originally posted by: LOSTinAMERICA
I know, but it was the only video I could find where he was crying. He's good at crying.
unusual for a man who hunts T-rex and wrestles saber tooth tigers shirtless.