What does Trump see in Putin anyway? – The Washington Post
Instead, the overmatched alcoholic Boris Yeltsin permitted the looting of the Russian economy and, in 1999, gave way as Russian president to the former spy from St. Petersburg. Putin brought order to the looting by creating a mafia of oligarchs. He kept the people happy for a while with promises to restore a glory that never was. At 20 years, he has reigned longer than any Russian leader since Joseph Stalin, but with the usual dreary results.
Today, the case for including Russia at the table of major players is nonexistent. Measured by total gross domestic product, Russia is not even among the top 10 countries in the world. Measured by per capita GDP, it doesn’t make the top 60. And it’s going backward. The purchasing power of the average Russian has fallen by more than 10 percent over the past five years. In the same period, foreign investment has dropped to virtually nothing while more than $300 billion of Russian wealth has been shifted out of the country. These financial trends are a clear vote of no confidence in the future of Putin’s leadership.
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As a candidate, Donald Trump said he wouldn’t worry about the profitability of his companies as president. Now he claims the presidency is costing him billions. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)
Moreover, what puny powers Putin does possess are marshaled in direct opposition to the interests of the G-7 members — and to the G-7 itself. The point of the annual meetings is to encourage cooperation; Putin seeks to encourage division in the Western alliance. Hackers linked to the Russian military have interfered in elections in the United States, Britain, France and Italy, according to intelligence agencies. They’ve targeted energy firms in Germany and stolen cryptocurrency in Japan. The Aspen Security Forum recently heard from Microsoft that only Iran and North Korea are in Russia’s league when it comes to being state sponsors of digital mischief.