Corruption in Putin’s Russia thrives as economic freedom dies

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As the Heritage Foundation’s Alexis Mrachek reported, Russian protesters have taken to the streets in recent weeks to express their widespread anger and frustration at the lingering corruption in their country.

Coinciding with Alexei Navalny‘s Stop and conviction by the police state of Russian President Vladimir Putin on false accusations, the opposition leader’s allies issued a devastatingly effective statement Youtube video showing the Russian people and the world indisputable proof of the regime’s systematic corruption since Putin and his KGB cronies took power.

The video is also a striking illustration of the aggression speak Putin’s dictatorship on economic freedom in Russia, which is measured annually by the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index.

The 2020 edition of the index indicates that the Russian economy suffers from structural weaknesses, low levels of investment and a poor demographic outlook. The link between political power and property is strong in Russia, with some senior officials (eg Putin) using their government positions to amass vast land holdings.

Corruption is pervasive in the highly centralized authoritarian government. Private companies are regularly targeted for extortion by law enforcement and organized criminal groups.

Navalny’s video shed light on the Heritage Index’s analysis on corruption and weak rule of law, illustrated with real people and places in Russia.

According to FoxNews.com, the video has been viewed over 100 million times worldwide. In it, Navalny patiently and thoroughly paints a portrait of a corrupt, ambitious and utterly cynical young KGB officer named Putin. Beginning in the early 1980s, Putin and his KGB friends plotted and charted their way to unimaginable power and wealth in post-Soviet Russia.

The video presents the most tangible and scandalous symbol of this corruption; namely, the neoclassical “Putin’s Palace” on the Black Sea, with its “casino, skating rink, theater and helipad. ”

The video describes a vast paper trail linking billion dollar palace ownership to Putin, despite his protests to the contrary.

The palace exhibit also highlights the index summary describing the lack of economic freedom in Russia today. It is weak because the combination of a subjugated justice system, widespread corruption, and links between bureaucrats and organized crime groups has compromised the integrity of government.

As long as the government tolerates the high levels of corruption revealed in Navalny’s video, while pursuing statist, nationalist and protectionist economic policies and maintaining a cautious approach to foreign investment, the index predicts that the expansion economic freedom in Russia will be difficult.

Navalny, with immense courage, fights for greater economic freedom in his homeland. His vision of a better way of life and a better standard of living in Russia could be realized if enough of his fellow citizens displayed the same bravery and demanded it. The first signs of this are cautiously positive.

This piece originally appeared in The daily signal


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