The Poligarchs, Oligarchs, and Stooges of the Paradise Papers

To Inform is to Influence

In Russia, Vladimir Putin has created a mafia state, with him as its patriarch.Photograph by Mikhail Svetlov / Getty

More than three hundred and eighty journalists have been studying an untold number of pages contained in millions of leaked files now known as the Paradise Papers, which detail the offshore assets and tax-avoidance mechanisms of a number of large corporations and super-rich individuals. These journalists are now producing dozens of stories, charts, and graphs that, among other things, connect various Russian businessmen and politicians not only to one another but also to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and American companies such as Facebook and Twitter. But, to understand fully what is being exposed, one must first understand what kind of state Vladimir Putin has created in Russia.

The Hungarian sociologist Bálint Magyar has a name for it: a mafia state. Magyar—who studied the Soviet Union…

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