Sources: Responsible Statecraft email newsletter, 3 May 2022; The Russian Reader, 24 October 2017; Stargirl Wiki, November 2020
Tag: Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute
The Treacherous Path
London’s Biteback Publishers have announced that this coming spring they will be publishing an autobiographical memoir, described below the fold, by Vladimir Yakunin, one of the most corrupt men in Russia.
It’s due in no small part to the large-scale, palbable treachery of Yakunin and his ilk (i.e., the current Russian elites) that the country finds itself in such a sorry state.
But Vladimir Yakunin is made of slightly different stuff than your run-of-the-mill Putin crony because a) he has been working overtime recently to launder his ill-gotten goods squeaky clean so his family members can live comfortable lives in the west; and b) for the past fifteen years he has been running an extensive active measures operation, Dialogue of Civilizations, for coopting, suborning, and otherwise neutralizing as many top-flight international academics, decision-makers, opinion leaders, and IR experts as he possibly can.
Previously focused on eponymous annual gatherings of these VIPs, under Yakunin’s generous patronage, in Rhodes, Yakunin has now transformed Dialogue of Civilizations into a so-called reseach institute, headquartered in downtown Berlin.
He was able to do this, in part, because the EU, unlike the US, has not placed him on its sanctions list. This would be inexplicable were it not for Yakunin’s furious gladhanding of god knows how many European officials and otherwise influential people over the years.
So, he is free to run amok in the EU and UK, a hardcore Russian Orthodox nationalist and “former” KGB officer (as Putin once famously said, there is no such thing as a “former” KGB officer), ultrarich and corrupt to the gills, to boot, pretending to be interested in dialoguing with movers and shakers from the remnants of the democratic world.
“A publishing house is nothing without top class authors,” Yakunin’s latest pack of enablers (useful idiots) write without apparent irony on their website.
I wonder how much Yakunin has paid them to publish the book.
Yakunin’s previous vanity press outing, 22 Ideas to Fix the World: Conversations with the World’s Foremost Thinkers, was published by New York University Press.
Although I don’t know how much that more subtly conceived pail of whitewash cost Yakuin (although that he did indeed pay for the book from his own pocket is frankly acknowledged by the book’s editors right up front), it did do the job of elevating the “former” KGB officer and now-former head of Russian Railways to the ranks of the world’s alleged “foremost thinkers,” as he was one of the twenty-two people with whom the editors conversed at length, alongside such leftist luminaries as Mike Davis and Immanuel Wallerstein.
In case you were wondering, I have never found a single review of the first book questioning the propriety of marshaling so many previously respectable figures and entities for the miserable task of making one of Vladimir Putin’s made men appear to be a respectable member of the world intellectual community.
Mum’s the word when Russian oligarchs and “former” KGB officers are footing the bill. Everyone wants to get paid and get along in life, right? TRR
Photo by the Russian Reader
The Treacherous Path
By Vladimir Yakunin
In 1991, Vladimir Yakunin, a Soviet diplomat and KGB officer, returned from his posting in New York to a country that no longer existed.
The state that he had served for all his adult life had been dissolved, the values he knew abandoned. Millions of his compatriots suffered as their savings disappeared and their previously secure existences were threatened by an unholy combination of criminality, corruption and chaos. Others thrived amid the opportunities offered in the new polity, and a battle began over the direction the fledgling state should take.
While something resembling stability was won in the early 2000s, today Russia’s future remains unresolved; its governing class divided.
The Treacherous Path is Yakunin’s account of his own experiences on the front line of Russia’s implosion and eventual resurgence, and of a career – as an intelligence officer, a government minister and for ten years the CEO of Russia’s largest company – that has taken him from the furthest corners of this incomprehensibly vast and complex nation to the Kremlin’s corridors.
Tackling topics as diverse as terrorism, government intrigue and the reality of doing business in Russia, and offering unparalleled insights into the post-Soviet mindset, this is the first time that a figure with Yakunin’s background has talked so openly and frankly about his country.
Source: Biteback Publishing