A conversation with:
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Moderated Discussion with:
The Hon. John Herbst
Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center
Brian Whitmore, creator of RFE/RL’s “The Power Vertical” blog and podcast and “Daily Vertical” video primer, argues that the metaphor fits in a number of fundamental ways. Putin's Kremlin seeks to corrupt its environment — both at home and abroad — in order to control it. It uses threats, intimidation, and extrajudicial violence to achieve its goals. It has teams of enforcers to harass, harm, and — if necessary — kill its enemies. It is run by a tight cabal of "made men" who oversee their own crews of capos and underbosses. The “made men” are led by a godfather-like figure whose main function is to settle disputes among them. The Putin Syndicate has its code and its rituals. It has a team of respectable consiglieres, who give it a facade of respectability. And its goal is simple: self-perpetuation and self-enrichment.