June 15, 2013

Kleptocracy Russia

It's long been suspected that post Soviet-era  Russia as headed by Vladimir Putin was just a front for the former KGB and dictatorial strongman to line his own pockets with insane amounts of wealth.  The government was one of theft from the people by those at the top - a kleptocracy if you will.  It might seem far fetched, but today I read this:
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed the real story behind a 2005 meeting with Vladimir Putin, during which the Russian president pocketed his Super Bowl ring, worth more than $25,000. Kraft, at the time, claimed the diamond-encrusted bauble was a gift, but he now admits Putin stole it, and the White House intervened when he demanded it back.

Kraft explained the incident happened while Sandy Weill and other business execs were in St. Petersburg. “I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring,’ ” Kraft told the crowd at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria.“I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Kleptomania if it's true.  Bizarre claim if it's not true.  In either case, weird. 
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