A Conversation With William Browder
How to Wield the Capital Weapon

In mid-April, American Interest publisher Charles Davidson spoke with Hermitage Capital co-founder and CEO William Browder about the ongoing impact of the Magnitsky Act, which he championed, amid the Ukraine crisis and the intensifying worldwide fight against financial corruption.

Published on: April 21, 2014
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  • Andrew Allison

    More wishful thinking about Putin who, IMO, is a very smart guy playing a reasonably good hand extraordinarily well. If the US were to seriously hurt him financially, he has a couple of options: cause even more trouble in the border States and cut of gas to Europe. The latter would result in Germany at least telling the US to back off. An alternative approach, distasteful as it is, is to give him what he wants, namely an end to the efforts to turn the Russian periphery into an EU subsidiary. That’s the carrot. The stick is membership in NATO for any country threatened by Russian expansionism.

    • Jim__L

      If we spend on ObamaCare instead of Defense, we won’t have a stick.

  • Pete

    So, the advise here is to financially target members of Putin’s cabinet and Putin himself.

    So in turn Putin says, “Give the money back or Paris becomes a radioactive wasteland.”

    Or maybe Putin picks Warsaw since Poland is agitating for America to prepare to fight Eastern Europe’s war for them.

    What do you do now, genius? Are you going to huff and puff in your ivory towers? Throw a hussy fit about how irrational you think the Ruskies are? What?

    And why bother with any of this the first place? For the Ukraine? Please. For the rule of law — like with Kosovo?

    You neo-cons are running on empty. The American public has already turned a deaf ear to your laments.

    • Andrew Allison

      Pete, Pete, as noted below, Putin has more effective tools at his disposal than dropping bombs. More to the point, why does everything have to be political? Browder is the grandson of a former head of the US Communist Party, and TAI has is increasingly listing to port! Not a neo-con in sight. What would have been worth mention is Browder’s problems with Russia, which may color his thinking.

    • Breif2

      So time passes and Putin says: “Give Alaska back or Washington becomes a radioactive wasteland.”

      What do you do then, genius?

      You can make a case for avoiding a confrontation over the Ukraine for either principled or prudential reasons, but the logic above was already silly when its slogan was “Better Red than Dead”.

      • Pete

        Ah, Alaska is different, Chief. Then you nuke Moscow and use missile defense to defend yourself.

        The point is that the US should fight all out for the US, not for Europe..

        • Breif2

          To keep things here friendly, we can probably agree that we should give serious thought as to what we’re willing to fight for, and then act accordingly. Drawing red lines with erasable markers makes it more likely that the “real” red lines will be crossed.

          • Pete

            Roger that.

  • Jim__L

    I’m curious how Putin might wield the cyber-weapon.

    Imagine, for a moment, that Putin has a large database of information gathered from exploiting “Heartbleed” — credit card numbers, logins, personal information, etc. At some point, a National player is going to try to deploy that information to invent e-Commerce raiding.

    Could systematic use of that information destroy peoples’ trust in e-Commerce sites? Probably. Could it crash financial institutions through a concerted wave of credit card fraud? Very likely. Could immense amounts of American (and European) money find itself in the pockets of Russian front companies, dumped there by our own electronic transfer system? It’s plausible.

    The capacity for mayhem is immense.

    • On the other hand, if Snowden’s early revelations were correct, the US should be well aware of this and, hopefully, well equipped to neutralize Russia on the cyberfront?

      • Jim__L

        Offense and defense are two different games. If the Heartbleed and Target Card incidents are any indication, my hopes are not high.

  • Anthony

    Thought from interview and general analysis: interpretation and analysis from Western perspective generally cast Russia/Putin as shortsighted, moving against history (post Cold War), revanchist, oppositional, etc. Although all this may be true, what is interpretation from Russian viewpoint (including Western defined oligarchs as well as typical Russian) regarding their historical sphere an Putin’s geopolitical greater Russian strategy?

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