Was there any doubt in your mind this election was about Donald Trump making massive amounts of money? You can judge for yourself if he is following the blueprint of Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin's wealth is estimated by some of the corruption and investigative groups at 40 Billion dollars. He only claims his modest official salary of approximately $100,000 a year. All of the rest of his massive wealth is from his business dealings. Russian Government officials are not supposed to have any business interests. So Putin, as ex- KGB officer, is careful to hide his tracks. Although his expensive tastes are visible in the watches that he wears which vary in cost from $18,000 to $500,000 he doesn't have any officially reported riches. All of his assets are held by his "close ones." That's not a term I made up or some speculation on my part but it comes from an investigative documentary called Putin's Hidden Treasure. It's available for viewing on Netflix and elsewhere on the internet. You can see for yourself a model of what Trump has planned for the United States. This film contends Putin has used political maneuvers and schemes to create his 40 billion in wealth.
Investigators say he is the one building a palace of marble and gold that cost approximately one Billion Euros. This palace in the south of Russia. It is visible on Google Earth. Go to Google Earth and enter "Putin's Palace Interior" to view inside shots of the ornate marble and gold extravagance. You can also search for exterior shots to see the scope of Putin's "Versailles."
Like Trump, Putin doesn't take kindly to people who criticize him. In Putin's case his critics tend to disappear or die under questionable circumstances. In Trump's case, for now, his actions are just limited to Twitter Storms. But once Trump gets his hands on the power of the presidency who knows what will happen.
Make sure you go to Netflix to watch Putin's Hidden Treasure. If you don't have Netflix ask to watch it a a friend's house who does have Netflix.
The movie describes a systematized system of bribes on a massive scale. Every contract that is entered into has a "commission" paid to a government official or business associate of 30-70%. In one example cited in the movie a "commission" of 439 million dollars was paid to a hidden partner. Vladimir Putin, always the careful ex-KGB officer, uses a code name whenever the money that is his is described. One of the people present at the meeting confirmed to the investigative reporter that this code name was indeed Vladimir Putin.
The movie then goes on to describe several infrastructure projects like a road from St. Petersburg to Moscow and buildings at the Sochi Olympics in Russia that cost many times what comparable projects cost. One of Vladimir Putin's "close ones", Arkady Rotenberg, made a commission of 4 Billion Euros on the Sochi Olympics. On the road project the investigative team at BankWatch traced the source of the funding to the Russians. Many of the same techniques exposed by the Panama Papers, like shell companies and tax havens were used to confuse and hide the truth. The Guardian reports it was revealed by the Panama Papers that 2 Billion was traced to Putin. It was claimed in the movie that the Russian Citizens know that the road project was just designed to enrich Vladimir Putin. This is probably the reason why Trump has made rebuilding infrastructure a part of his plan. He's seen, by Putin's example, it is easy to make huge profits through secret dealings and hide them through silent partnerships, undisclosed "close ones", undeclared business partnerships, and undisclosed conflicts of influence, and shell companies. After all didn't Trump tell us that he hasn't paid any taxes for 20 years while millions of hardworking Americans paid tax rates far higher. Trump's own word's- I'm smart and I know how to use the system.
Like Putin, Trump surrounded himself with a small group of close associates he trusted that profited from his political power. Trump said that he is surrounding himself with successful business people because he said that they are going to be working for a "better deal." A better deal for who - Donald Trump or Donald's "close ones?"
I believe Trump is planning on following the same blueprint of using his political power to increase his wealth, silencing his critics, and buying up media outlets so he can control the message. Since he didn't disclose his tax returns the congress, investigators, reporters, and the American people have no idea what potential conflicts of interest lay in the future. We have no idea of the many ways Donald Trump is going to use his political power to enrich himself and get a "better deal" - for himself or his "close ones." Trump has said that he is surrounding himself with successful business people who will get a "better deal." But a better deal for who? In Vladimir Putin's case his "close ones" included a childhood friend who had a construction business Arkady Rotenberg. You remember Arkady Rotenberg the man who made 4 billion Euros from the Sochi Olympics. A project that cost the Russian nation many time what it should have.
You always knew on some level this was all about Trump, all about enriching himself. "Making America Great" was just a means to his end of enriching himself. In one of the presidential debates he famously boasted he could kill someone in the street and his supporters would still stick with him.
But I think the one thing his supporters will not stand for is Donald Trump selling the democracy and the United States of America to Russia for his own personal gain.
To learn more read our next post The Twelve Trump Days of Christmas - Donald's Gifts to Vladimir Putin and Russia.