Russia’s independent TV channel Dozhd (Rain) has recently reported on a rumor that ex- Russian railway chief and amateur political philosopher Vladimir Yakunin was forced to leave his position because his son, who has lived in the UK for five years, sought citizenship there. Personally I doubt this, because it suggests that there is some concept of shame about this hypocrisy at the top levels of power in Russia, which I find really hard to believe.
You see, one thing about the Russian elite is that they have this profound arrogance which almost seems deliberate. Whether it’s presidential spokesman Peskov’s watch, valued at over $600,000, or Duma deputy Mizulina’s son living and owning a business in morally bankrupt Belgium, the Russian elite have hitherto done very little to hide their excess from the people. For one they know the people are suppressed, divided, and confused. Second, it’s a show of power. I really think these leaders have true contempt for their fellow Russians and imagine themselves as a class apart from them. Not fully European, as they wish to be, but definitely not Russian.
See earlier this year Yakunin himself was lecturing students on his own personal world conspiracy theory, preaching about the evils of consumerism and globalization. Later in the lecture someone asked him about his son living in London, and Yakunin’s response was that “it happens.” Most likely Yakunin never expected one of the “cattle” to ask such a question. In Russian society the social betters lecture you and you don’t question them. Of course there was no big uproar over his son living in London then. One could argue that his son hadn’t applied for UK citizenship at that point, but I don’t think that matters. People in Yakunin’s circle believe they have this right to preach the evils of the West to the cattle while they enjoy all the West’s evil fruits. This is a display of power, the right to say do as I say and not as I do.
Now there is another allegation that was floated, which says that Yakunin was told to cut back on siphoning money out of the railways and he did not obey this instruction. This I can somewhat believe. The idea of a top member of the Russian elite being physically incapable of not stealing is entirely believable. What is more, notice that he merely steps down and changes position, whereas in a country with rule of law, he’d be publicly indicted in what would be a major scandal for months. This is what happens in Russia. You may not get actually punished for stealing, but you can be removed from a privileged position. So I can believe that someone at the top told him to cut back a little bit, no doubt because of the crashing economy, and he failed to heed the instruction.
Members of Russia’s elite may face sanctions from the top for stepping out of line, but blatant hypocrisy is no problem. Remember that these are the same people who have been attacking the West for years now, all the while taking the money they stole from their own people and shoveling it into Western banks, real estate, corporations, and universities.
UPDATE: Apparently Yakunin himself denies that his son’s UK citizenship was a factor in his leaving. For one thing, he claims his son already had the UK citizenship prior to the time he supposedly applied for it. The rest of his denial is simply hilarious and perfectly demonstrates the way Russia’s elite relates to the people they rule:
“There is no relation. Just look at how many Russian officials have a green card [permanent residency in the U.S.] or dual citizenship. Their wives and children reside abroad and no one cares about that a tiny bit.”