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545. Fellowship with men (VIII)

This might sound pedantic, but Russia has “plutocrats” not “oligarchs”; although the popular impression is otherwise. The general view propagated in the media and by the so-called experts is that Russia is ruled by “oligarchs”, men like the former Chelsea owner Abramovich; yet an oligarch is really a powerful person, and “oligarchy” a powerful group of persons. By contrast, men like Abramovich seem to be rich and influential, yet they do not exercise power; and they are not defined by the exercise of power alone, they are defined by their wealth—they are plutocrats.

At a certain point, perhaps in the mid-1990s, the division was more unclear: there were wealthy men, often former functionaries in the Soviet apparat, who had used their insider knowledge and networks to profit from the chaotic market reforms that happened after the USSR collapsed. These men had both money and power; and yet I also have the impression that these people were rolled up, largely by Putin, sometime in the early 2000s.

The impression I have is that Russia is ruled by “Tsar Putin I” and his allies, since no man rules entirely alone. In other words, Russia has defaulted to the government Russia always has and always will have: Tsardom. If “oligarchs”—the plutocrats—really ruled Russia then we would have seen Putin in consultation with them before he invaded the Ukraine. Putin’s power of action would be constrained by what the “oligarchs” thought—yet there is no indication any such consultation took place. It seems rather that Putin, basically a military professional not a plutocrat, took a decision and wealthy Russians had to lump it—even if it meant their super-yachts were seized from under them.

The confusion arises because people misunderstand the difference between wealth and power—a common mistake when it comes to Jewish power, often overestimated for this reason. Wealth brings you influence, but ultimately it is not power. Money came relatively late in our evolutionary history, although everyone wants money and money opens many doors we do not really understand it. Indeed, even though everyone wants to be rich—by whatever metric they use—most people resent the wealthy. They feel that somehow the wealthy have acquired so many possessions through selfish hoarding—as if we live in a little village and the man with more boar meat than the others has so much because he snaffled more than his share from the hunt.

Ironically, the West is much closer to an oligarchy than Russia. The West is dominated by informal power-patronage networks buried within our state bureaucracies (aka “the deep state”). A figure like “America’s doctor” Fauci is a true oligarch. He has far more power than Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk; even though in comparison his wealth, though above average, remains modest. Yet if Fauci wanted to do so he could shutter every Amazon warehouse in the country, or make SpaceX work half-time through onerous medico-bureaucratic restrictions. Fauci is an unelected bureaucrat who effectively answers to nobody and owes his position—as all bureaucrats do—to back-scratching and timeserving; he has few checks on his power, either from other people or from market discipline. He lives in and by a patronage network—a true oligarchy, he is “America’s oligarch”.

Fauci is not recognised as such partly because he is a doctor; and, as Jewish and Indian mothers know, to be “a doctor” equals automatic respect—the national shaman is venerated. “My younger son founded a multibillion-dollar Internet company, but of course my older son is a doctor,” we could imagine a mother saying. We naturally esteem the oldest roles: soldier (warrior), doctor (shaman), and farmer (hunter). Merchants and traders came later and so are always viewed with suspicion, their power is overestimated; and they are always, no matter how parsimonious and charitable they are, regarded as greedy—not to mention that we suspect that the reason we have to go to work is due to men like them, and most people hate work.

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