The Russian government is going on a PR campaign to save the reputation of their government and primarily their leader, Vladimir Putin, who has come under fire in the media these past few weeks for his administration’s alleged corruption. The western media is portraying these new charges of corruption as unsurprising considering that such accusations have been reoccurring for years and because of the generally negative perception the West has of Putin as a corrupt pseudo-dictator.
According to Bloomberg View’s overtly sarcastic article title that is near the top of the google news feed: “Shocker: U.S. Knows About Corruption in Russia”. Russia on the other hand has been reacting to the accusations with purported shock (“US Shocks Russia by Calling Putin Corrupt” – Times of Oman), and a whole lot of indignation (“Russia slams White House over Putin Corruption Claim” – Daily Times).
Putin has been routinely accused of illegally amassing an enormous fortune for himself and, what the West denotes as, his “cronies” – a 2013 news.com.au article notes that there have been rumors floating around “Moscow high society” that Putin secretly holds large financial stakes in both the Russian oil company, Surgutneftegaz, and Russia’s gas monopoly, Gazprom, that “could now be worth between $60-70 billion, putting him in contention with Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the world with a $72 billion fortune.”
Beyond financial corruption, Putin’s government has also been accused of carrying out other questionable acts such as state sponsored assassinations. In particular, the assassination of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned in the UK in 2006 and claimed that Putin had probably sanctioned his murder – an accusation that, according to the BBC, has been reaffirmed by a UK public inquiry.