It seems the White House has decided try and de-legitimize Russian President Vladimir Putin in the eyes of the Russian people in an attempt to weaken his hold on power as the Russian economy weakens. Although the comments did not come from President Obama himself, it is assured that this type of statement, even though coming from a fairly junior official, was approved at much higher levels.
BBC reports, Adam Szubin, who oversees U.S. Treasury sanctions, has told BBC Panorama that the Russian president is corrupt and that the US government has known this for “many, many years.”
He said: “We’ve seen him enriching his friends, his close allies, and marginalising those who he doesn’t view as friends using state assets. Whether that’s Russia’s energy wealth, whether it’s other state contracts, he directs those to whom he believes will serve him and excludes those who don’t. To me, that is a picture of corruption.”
American intelligence on Mr. Putin’s personal business dealings and hidden wealth obviously have been known to the White House for some time. It is curious that the administration decides to go down this path and release such an accusation as negotiations heat up over East Ukraine and Syria. Perhaps it is a shot across the bow to the Kremlin, a herald of things to possibly come if Moscow doesn’t come to some kind of acceptable resolution in the negotiations. Or perhaps it is just another barb in a string of comments by the Obama administration in its personal dislike of the Russian president and his regime.
The Kremlin, obviously seeing the underlying agenda behind the remarks from the American executive branch, didn’t take too kindly to Mr. Szubin’s statements. “It’s an official accusation,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists in a conference call.