Businessmen are “serfs” in Putin’s Russia

Businessmen are ‘serfs’ in Putin’s Russia, warns Sergei Pugachev – Financial Times – October 8, 2014
A former close associate of Vladimir Putin Sergei Pugachev has said Russian businessmen were all now “serfs” who belonged to the president, with none of the country’s companies beyond his reach.
The Russian economy had been transformed into a feudal system where businessmen were only nominal owners of their assets. “Today in Russia there is no private property. There are only serfs who belong to Putin,” Sergei Pugachev said. “Now there is Putin and there are his lieutenants who carry out his orders – and all cash generated is put on the balance of Putin,” he said.

Mr Pugachev’s comments have fresh resonance amid the ongoing dispossession of another Moscow tycoon, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, whose arrest last month – and a subsequent court decision to seize shares in his Bashneft oil major – is still sending shudders through the country’s business community.