The Biggest Russian Weapon Against the West Is Corruption

Will the war in Ukraine change that?

25 February 2022

Martin Ehl

Senior Fellow

Putin’s most powerful weapon is not visible at first sight and can take many forms.

Ukraine is neither a member of NATO nor the European Union. Yet, in recent weeks it has appeared to belong to the Western community of democracies by the public support that politicians have expressed and the military aid that has been directed to Kyiv. There is no need to be under any illusions about politics, but hypocrisy plays a huge part in Western support for the Ukrainians who are now defending their country against the aggressor Russia.

We have our fingers crossed for the Ukrainians, but we have been unable to do anything to blunt the main weapon that the Russian regime is using against democracies — corruption.

Corruption in Heart of Europe

The most visible face of this failure is that of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is in charge of the company building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and is due to take over the entire state-owned Gazprom in the summer. He is now estimated to have a fortune of around 20,000,000 euros thanks to his work for Russian companies.

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Martin Ehl

Senior Fellow

Visegrad Insight Senior Fellow. Martin Ehl is the Chief Analyst at Hospodářské noviny (Economic daily)

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