Comment on The Countess and the Russian Billionaire review — the 1 per centers who went peak Jeremy Kyle in The Times by Carol Midgley, April 9, 2020
If information available on the Internet is true, Sergei Pugachev comes from a Soviet military family. A career like his would be absolutely impossible without the full support of the Soviet/Russian inner power circle. The 1990s were presented to the outside world as some kind of a Russian ‘wild west’ rush. However, you ought to keep in mind that we are talking about a country where everyone and everything was subordinated to the Communist power collective through decades of terror. Such deep structures of utmost loyalty and fear do not mysteriously disappear.
The private ownership introduced in the 1990s was not so private. Big money was handled by trusted insiders. Private ownership in Russia is not the same as private ownership in the West.
Look at some of the guys who made big careers in Russian business post-1990. There is Mikhail Khodorkovsky, member of Komsomol, the youth organisation of the Communist party. Then there is William Felix Browder, grandson of Earl Browder, the general secretary of Communist Party USA. Both have spectacularly fallen out with the Russian state. However, they would have no chance to achieve anything in the first place, had they not belonged to the inner circle of the most trusted comrades.
It is more likely that these lawsuits and spectacular rows between Putin-led state and the so-called oligarchs are merely a spectacle, a diversion. The aims of the contemporary Russian state vis-a-vis the West are pretty much the same as the aims of the Soviet Union. Russian goals are long-term and the presence of Russian rich functionaries in the West allows to survey, gather information and exert influence without arising suspicion.
Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of two UK newspapers, is a son of a KGB functionary. Some in the British elites see nothing improper to be employed by him or to fly to his parties in Italy:
‘In a brief entry of ministerial interests on the Foreign Office website, Johnson declared he had an “overnight stay” with Lebedev on 28 April, travelling “accompanied by a spouse, family member or friend”.
Johnson did not give any further details of where he had been, who he was with or the reason for the visit – reportedly his fourth to Lebedev’s Italian home in recent years.’
This was 2018. The quote is from article in the Guardian.
They have successfully infiltrated western elites.
And it is in this context that the story shown in the documentary plays out. Alexandra Tolstoy was most likely honey-trapped in a planned operation. The humiliation she was subjected to on the Russian tv show was most likely planned as well.
Open quarrels and lawsuits between so-called oligarchs and the Russian state are most likely only spectacles for western consumption. Everyone knows that there is no life outside the power circle. You either belong, tooth and nail, or you are eliminated. These so-called oligarchs know this perfectly well. They are also not stupid to suddenly start thinking that they can rewrite the code of the Russian state, the code that has been shaped and hardened over decades of terror.