President Vladimir Putin has lost the war. Not the one with Washington for the future of Europe, eastern Ukraine, and the Kremlin itself. That war isn’t going so badly for Putin. The one he is losing is with the Russian oligarchs on whether they will repatriate their assets from their offshore havens, subject themselves to genuine auditors, and pay Russian tax.
Putin conceded defeat, a powerful international banker believes, when the president announced late last month that he accepts the establishment of Russian trusts to hold assets and income onshore and offshore without liability to pay domestic tax. According to Putin on March 25, “this is an innovation in our legislation, which before we didn’t have.”
“Russian capital,” the banker says, “has been saying from the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine that it wants Putin to abandon his deoffshorization plan. It’s going to succeed because the sanctions imposed since the conflict began have cut off the regular supply of capital to Russia. Capital isn’t patriotic, at least not in Russia. Putin is obliged to pretend he can persuade the oligarchs to act in the country’s interest. But he’s pretending. The proposed new law on trusts shows it.”
The proposal to legislate for the Russian version of Common Law, English-type independent trusts was put to Putin explicitly last October by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE, Russian acronym RSPP). It ran into opposition at the Finance Ministry. On December 19, when Putin hosted Christmas carols for the oligarchs (pictured below), Finance Minister Anton Siluanov wasn’t assigned a place. For more on who sat where and what was sung, read this.
Why the Name of This Blog?
The whole land is in desolation…there is mourning everywhere–all because the the Fisher King is wounded. (1)
Parsifal stumbles upon the Fisher King but stays quiet and misses his first opportunity. His mom or his mentor had told him: “don’t ask too many questions.”
After being raked over the coals by the “hideous damsel”, whacking his way through forests for forty years, and berated by the Hermit, Parsifal again finds the castle of the King. This time he’s got enough experience, courage and wisdom to ask a question: “Uncle, what ails Thee?” (2) In some versions, “Whom does the Grail serve?”
I can identify. I once served in a war that I didn’t believe in and did so because I was partially ignorant and also fearful of rejection by family and society.
1)Our land and rulers are wounded. Many activists are strong on this point.
2)Each of us carries the wound, too. Many spiritual and psychological folks are strong on this point.
3)It’s the approach of this weblog, following the guidance of Erich Fromm, R.D.Laing,M.L.King, Thich Nhat Hanh,Starhawk, David Edwards, and others, that “liberation”, whether individual or societal, needs work on both fronts.
Finally, not irrelevant, Parsifal, a Christian knight, has a Muslim brother, Feirefiz, whom he does not know.
(1)Johnson, Robert. He. Religious Publ. Co., 1974, p. 8.
(2)Campbell, Joseph. Creative Mythology. Viking Press, 1968, p. 561.