For decades, Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs have been steadfastly loyal to each other for one reason and one reason only: money. He’s made them richer than they ever imagined, and they’ve made him the wealthiest man in the world. However, Putin screwed it all up when his reckless behavior brought costly sanctions against Russia. Now recent developments suggest the fed-up oligarchs may be ready to take down Putin and his puppet Donald Trump.
Not everyone following the Trump-Russia scandal fully grasps this, but it’s always been all about sanctions. The United States placed heavy sanctions against Russia in 2012 after Putin and his cronies murdered a Russian dissident named Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Those sanctions have since personally cost Putin billions of dollars, and his oligarchs have all suffered financially from it as well. When Putin installed Donald Trump into the Oval Office, his primary goal was to get those sanctions lifted. Instead that plan has backfired, and the U.S. is enacting even harsher sanctions against Russia in retaliation for election meddling. That leads us to the events of this past week.
It all started when a pair of major British newspapers simultaneously ran stories claiming that Vladimir Putin is considering quitting in early 2018 so that he doesn’t have to undergo the rigors of running for reelection. These stories were both farces, because Putin has always rigged the elections he’s run in, and therefore he doesn’t need to go through any such rigors. But these two stories were planted in the media by someone. It had to have been done by the Russian oligarchs, and it had to have been for the purpose of letting Putin know that he’s on notice.
This week it was revealed that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin spoke by phone for more than an hour on Tuesday, just ten days after they held a lengthy private meeting in Asia. This suggests they’re both in panic mode, and they’re trying to calibrate their emergency responses. If the oligarchs do decide to take Putin down in order to get the United States to ease Russian sanctions, they’ll take Trump down in the process as well. We could be looking at the Pee Pee Tape after all.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report