Tags: russian president vladimir putin | criminal gangs | russia | mikhail khodorkovsky

Russian Exile: Criminal Gangs May 'Manipulate' Putin

Russian Exile: Criminal Gangs May 'Manipulate' Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

By    |   Saturday, 17 March 2018 10:38 AM

Russian exile Mikhail Khodorkovsky claimed Russia's President Vladimir Putin is surrounded by gangs who may have "learned how to manipulate" him, Real Clear Politics reported Friday.

Khodorkovsky, formerly an oil oligarch, now lives in the U.K. and heads the Open Russia Foundation, which is based on George Soros' Open Society Foundation. In an interview with the BBC, he said it was an "interesting question" whether or not Putin controlled the gangs or they controlled him.

"Until about three or four years ago, I would have said unequivocally yes, he controls them, he is the main boss of the gang. Now, I would be more circumspect," Khodorkovsky said. "Today, in my opinion, this inner circle within the criminal gang has learned how to manipulate [Putin] quite effectively, and we have seen this demonstrated a number of times."

Khodorkovsky explained the gangs were separate from the GRU, which is the main military foreign-intelligence service of the Russian Federation.

"There is a very small group inside the Kremlin, in our opinion up to 100 people, who are the main beneficiaries of the Putin regime, and who knowingly act as a criminal gang," he said. "The criminal gang in the Kremlin can sometimes call on the services of the GRU. But the secret service may sometimes decide that they've done enough for the criminal gang, and act on their own initiative as they see fit."

British authorities are currently investigating the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England in early March. President Donald Trump joined with leaders from France, Germany and Britain to issue a joint statement on Thursday condemning the attack.

Khodorovsky said it "looks as if either the secret service [GRU] without the approval of the Kremlin, or secret service with the approval of the Kremlin" was responsible for the attack.

"I have been thinking about it, and I don't know which is worse. Either Putin has given his consent to this operation, or he doesn't control the secret service to such an extent that they can do it without his approval," he said.

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Russian exile Mikhail Khodorkovsky claimed Russia's President Vladimir Putin is surrounded by gangs who may have "learned how to manipulate" him, Real Clear Politics reported Friday.Khodorkovsky, formerly an oil oligarch, now lives in the U.K. and heads the Open Russia...
russian president vladimir putin, criminal gangs, russia, mikhail khodorkovsky
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Saturday, 17 March 2018 10:38 AM
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