KYIV, September 23 / Ukrinform./ The real power in Russia belongs to a group of persons gathered in an informal structure similar in many ways to the organized criminal group with its leaders and a "godfather".
Expert on Russia, Western journalist Brian Whitmore told the panel at the Atlantic Council entitled "Putin's syndicate", Ukrinform correspondent reports.
"The process of decision-making in this country in many ways operates in the same manner as a criminal syndicate, since the decisions are made not by the State Duma nor by the government, but by an informal structure - the expert said.
Therefore, Whitmore noted that the decision is made in Russia by about 12 persons, who hold key positions and run their own small groups. They are led by the so-called "godfather" who settles all disputed issues. All gang leaders are respectable and respected people in the Russian society and have their lawyers who are defending their interests.
This syndicate, according to the journalistm, poses as the state. To prove that the structure is criminal, Whitmore noted that it uses threats, intimidation and violence to achieve its goals. To achieve this objective, it has all essential tools, even to eliminate dissenters. The power source for this structure, according to the expert, is corruption.
"Corruption as a phenomenon, unfortunately, exists everywhere, including Europe. But I cannot find in the history another case where the government have used the criminal corruption as they do in the Russian Federation under the leadership of Vladimir Putin," the expert said.
Whitmore has been studying Russia since the 1990s, when he worked as Boston Globe's correspondent in Moscow. The journalist also wrote for the English-language version of The St. Petersburg Times and The Moscow Times". Now he works in Prague, Czech Republic, at Radio Liberty, covering mainly issues on the European security, energy, the military and the internal processes in Russia.