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Products of this store will be shipped directly from Hong Kong to your country. Shop By Category. My Orders. Track Orders. Important Links. Follow Us. App Download. US UK. Thank you for subscribing! Please check your email to confirm your subscription. By setting up new banks and other crucial conduits of capital for a Russian system that lacked even a central bank, they not only skimmed assets off budgetary flows, but sometimes directed the budgets of entire ministries.

Taking advantage of runaway inflation, these more enterprising asset-strippers were able to cycle rubles through Wall Street and back to Russia for a higher return. They also picked off protected industries like oil and gas by lending the Russian state money with the proviso that, if it defaulted, the industries would be protected no more, and open to a Russian-oligarchs-only bidding war. Khodorkovsky went so far as to boast that his Menatep bank was designed to capture government assets, while another oligarch, Pyotry Aven, delivered the now notorious line about billionaires in Russia not being made by business, but appointed by the state.

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Oligarchs appointed by the state—as Wood sees it, this is the essence of the Russian system. When Putin had special forces dramatically wrest Khodorkovsky from his private plane on a Siberian runway and imprison him, the Russian public was mostly behind Putin. The oil and gas companies they operated had once formed the backbone of the Soviet system. These enterprises had formerly provided housing, health care, even education for the many hundreds of thousands of Russians they employed.

Putin recognized on some level that s-style asset stripping—which threatened the livelihoods of large portions of the citizenry—could not go on indefinitely without imperiling the legitimacy of his government.

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But at the same time he believed the state could only continue to function with some of the oligarchs—the oligarchs on his own side, that is. The goal was primarily stabilization, not reform. Like Seoul, Moscow increasingly emphasized the collective sacrifice of the mid-twentieth century, when social equality was more real, all the while shutting off the possibility of its return.

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On taking power, Putin slowed some of the privatization of health care inaugurated by Yeltsin, pumping more funding into the old system. What appears as straightforward statism under Putin—returning 45 percent of the oil industry to the state and centralizing the electric energy sector—has also been combined with an expansion of the duties of oligarch-run firms to provide at least some of the former social benefits that predecessor firms extended under Soviet rule. The second of half of Russia without Putin is given over to foreign policy, on which Wood makes some striking observations.

There seems little reason to believe that Putin was not telling the truth, for instance, when he claimed that he once asked President Clinton if Russia could join NATO. Thomas Friedman, all counseling against it. Within Russia, Wood sees a kind of seesawing between the pro- and anti-Western orientations continuing right through the present. The Kremlin either sulked on the sidelines or greenlighted the NATO interventions in Kosovo and more recently Libya, only later to regret that it had not more forcibly opposed them. On the other hand, there have been a series of measures Wood sees as defensive, though hardly condonable reactions.

Chapter Four - On The Circuit - Reflections - Volume Two

Bush at the Bucharest Summit. Just remember, I want to be with you no matter what. Short of hurting my mom or something like that, we need to keep escalating things until she agrees to let me stay here. It's important. The next few minutes seemed to drag by, but then suddenly I could hear Donovan escorting my mom back to the sitting room where we'd been waiting for the last half hour. As Donovan bowed and then retreated from the room with only a trace of his normal limp, I tried to adjust to the fact that things were already going a different direction than I'd expected.

Mom had only been dating Russ for a few weeks, a couple of months at the max. I never would have expected for Mom to bring him along on a mission to come collect her wayward daughter. Mom and Russ both took the chairs that Alec offered them, and then sat down slowly. I couldn't read the expression on Mom's face, but both she and Russ seemed content to let Alec start the discussion. I appreciate you coming out here, Mrs. Paige, Mr. Under other circumstances I would have flown out to you rather than asking you to make the trip, but I'm afraid I'm not able to travel right now.

That was Alec-speak for the fact that the Coun'hij could attack us at any minute.

Alec's power had finally fully manifested. That meant he could protect us all as long as he was around, but if he were to fly out to New York it would leave us all vulnerable. You didn't exactly leave me any choice. I got a call from my daughter from a blocked number telling me to be on your plane with a date and time. I winced. A cowardly part of me wanted to just hang back and let Alec take the brunt of the attack, but that wouldn't be fair.

That's not Alec's fault, Mom. I was the one who insisted on not giving you any more information than that. I didn't want to risk you causing him problems. Mom looked at me for the first time, I mean really looked, and I saw just how mad she was. Do you have any idea how worried I've been, Adri? First your school calls to tell me that you weren't in classes and then you didn't answer your phone when I called. You needed to be here?

Adri, this is the place that you just left. We talked and you agreed that Alec needed a wakeup call. You left here for a reason. I fought a rising tide of anger and forced my voice to remain even. Yes, Mom. I left for a reason and I came back for a reason. Alec and Rachel need me here right now, and I'm going to stay here.


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It looked like my mom was going to start yelling at me, but Russ put a hand on her arm and spoke for the first time. Alec, I've been talking to some of my contacts in the FBI. Nicole hasn't filed a police report yet, but once she does it will be routed right to the FBI.

You've kidnapped a minor and taken her across state lines. The repercussions are going to be pretty serious. Alec shook his head. I haven't kidnapped anyone. Adri left the state of New York without my knowledge. I have a dozen people ready to testify to the fact that Adri came here of her own free will, up to and including the pilot of the plane that brought her here. Your pilot. That's hardly a very independent witness, Alec. Trust me, things will go much better if you just back down and let Adri come back to New York with us. It was like watching two dogs circling each other, looking for a weakness.

I almost wanted to think less of my mom for bringing Russ along, but I understood why she had. Neither of us was versed in wealth, not like Russ or Alec were. Mom knew just how much influence Alec had in Sanctuary from when we'd lived here before. Mom couldn't combat that, but there was a chance that Russ could. Besides, it would be pretty hypocritical to look down on Mom for bringing Russ into the picture when I was sitting here hoping that Alec could wave a magic wand and make everything work out with my mom.

The thought served as a goad and I waved my arm at Mom to get her attention. I know that you don't like it, but I'm determined to stay here and I'm willing to go as far as I have to for that to happen. If you fight me on this then I'll get legally emancipated. Mom went white and collapsed backwards into her chair like I'd hit her. It was Russ who tried to calm both of us Paige women down. Let's not do anything hasty. Adri, I know you and your mom aren't seeing eye to eye right now, but emancipation isn't a trivial thing to pursue.

There isn't even any guarantee that you'd win. Alec looked at me with a question in his eyes, but I nodded so he took a deep breath and responded.

Journal Information

I have a team of lawyers who are very confident they can win the preliminary case, and in fact we've already got feelers out to two of the three judges we think are most likely to try the case, and given the circumstances, they are both in agreement that Adri would win.

Russ' smile wasn't in the slightest bit ruffled. You're bluffing. Adri has no way of supporting herself.

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No judge in the world is going to stick their neck out that far. The ruling would be overturned in appeals so fast that everyone involved would get whiplash. I felt my expression stiffen. Alec and I hadn't gone into those kinds of details.