NYT When the Obama administration imposed sanctions on individual Russians last month in response to Moscow’s armed intervention in Ukraine, one of the targets was a longtime part-owner of a commodities trading company called the Gunvor Group.

His name, Gennady N. Timchenko, meant little to most Americans, but buried in the Treasury Department announcement were a dozen words that President Obama and his team knew would not escape the attention of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin. “Putin,” the statement said, “has investments in Gunvor and may have access to Gunvor funds.”

The statement went on to say “Mr. Putin may control $40 billion or even $70 billion, in theory making him the richest head of state in world history”

Nonsense! The Pharaohs of Nubia and Kemet, Darius the Persian Emperor, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Augustus, every Roman Emperor until the end of the age of the Antoine’s, Chinese Emperors in the Ming Dynasty, Kings of the Ghana Empire, The Mali Empire and the Songhai Empire – all Heads of State, to name but a few, certainly had more assets than Putin does today if the rumors are indeed accurate.

Even recently Colonel Gadhafi, a few years ago was said to control $150 billion before the US government ordered his killing when he decided he no longer wanted to trade in the US Dollar.


Obama and his administration may just be jealous. He rewards the 1% in the US while the private sector middle class gets destroyed and they are not nearly as generous as Russian oligarchs have been to Putin.

Assuming the best case scenario, from the US standpoint, how does this affect one’s judgment about, or invalidate, Putin’s policies? Is this germane to his resistance to American global hegemony? Does this somewhat reverse the facts of fascist and Nazi-antecedent participation in the Kiev government? Does Putin’s wealth or lack thereof change the reality of a US-assisted COUP of a democratically-elected government in Ukraine?

Some perspective here is necessary. If one cannot refute the policies of Russia, then go after the man – Putin; in plain language, demonize. Paradoxically, we blame Putin here for what in America is worshipped, to wit, the accumulation of wealth.

How have it both ways, the insinuation that Russia somehow is still communist, then attack the leadership of capitalistic enrichment – forgetting all the while America’s participation (e.g., Jeffrey Sach as the tip of the US policy iceberg) in the systemic transformation.

All this may come back to haunt the US: Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard vacations, palsy-walsy attitude towards Wall Street, his administration’s record of deregulation and presiding over the flagrant misdistribution of wealth in US history. Obama strikes the NYT writer as the envious guy, nose pressed to the window, hoping the wealth he so admires will rub off. And clearly he exults in the trappings of office deplaning from Air Force One with pomp and pageantry.

The US can criticize Putin by all means, but should do so on policy, not on personal matters, unless the latter can be shown relevant to policy itself.

While we are at it, it is also time to sort out the international financial system, so that some politicians(especially in the West) with grudges against others in Africa, Asia, Latin America and others cannot impose sanctions willy-nilly on other countries and individuals.

We need a truly independent, international financial system out of the reach of politicians.

A few weeks ago, Oxfam published a report showing that 80 US billionaires are worth as much as 3.5 billion other poorer human beings. If you are really interested in rich people and ill-gotten gains you do not have to go too far.

It’s time to stop this silly game. The issues surrounding Ukraine and the instability that it can create in the region and beyond and the rift that it can bring about between Russia and the West are too serious to be used by some busy boys in the Treasury looking for Putin’s wealth.

It is time for grown up diplomats to find a way out of this artificially created crisis, including a neutral status for Ukraine to be in friendly terms both with the EU as with her neighbor Russia with which it has had long centuries of relationship, instead of being used as a football in a geopolitical game.


All of these completely irrelevant attempts at character assassination can’t hide the fact that States have interests and Empires have spheres of influence. Military adventurism has come naturally to the American Imperium, and since the West has come to believe that they are essentially a messianic people they have had Manifest Destiny backed up by the Monroe Doctrine to justify US involvement in a centuries long quest to achieve Imperial ends by military intervention across the world.

The Russian Empire has a very similar history, often to achieve very different imperial goals, the most important of which has been to secure warm water ports. Crimea which is Russia’s Portal to the Black Sea is the one jewel in the Russian Imperial Crown which no Russian could seriously contemplate losing to America’s Imperial Mission Creep.

Certainly Washington knows this, but chose to ignore when they facilitated the overthrow of the legally elected and pro Russian President of Ukraine. Russia responded predictably, and Putin has probably done what any responsible Russian leader would have done in the same circumstances.

Rather than continue this idiotic and dangerous Imperial Game of tit for tat, both America and Russia should be seeking to assure the Finlandization of Ukraine and stability within what Russia rightfully considers her sphere of influence.

Britain when in similar circumstances in the 19th Century was forced to concede to the imperatives implied by the Monroe Doctrine to avert war. Can the EU and the US do less for peace in the face of MAD?


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