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Originally posted by CosmicCitizen
A cable from the US embassy in Madrid talks about the "unanswered question" of the extent to which Mr Putin is implicated in the mafia and whether he controls its actions.
The leaked cables also show that Washington believed Mr Putin was likely to have known about the operation to murder former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. The Kremlin has denied any involvement.
"Criminal elements enjoy a krysha (protection racket) that runs through the police, the federal security service, ministry of internal affairs and the prosecutor's office, as well as throughout the Moscow city government bureaucracy," Mr Beyrle says.
In one cable from February this year, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says "Russian democracy has disappeared".