The Panama Papers continue to reverberate around the world.
They've caused a prime minister to fall in Iceland. They've prompted an investigation against the president of Argentina. And they've caused major political headaches for British Prime Minister David Cameron and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
But in his first public remarks on the revelations of offshore shenanigans, Russia's humble servant, Vladimir Putin, said they are nothing but an American plot to weaken Russia.
Presumably, they were also a plot against Iceland as well.
But the one thing that really jumps out at you when you look at the Panama Papers is that they shed light on the difference between corruption in Russia and in the West.
The Western officials exposed in the leak were essentially caught hiding legitimate earnings offshore, apparently to avoid taxes.
But what was exposed regarding Russia is something of another order of magnitude entirely.
While Putin's name doesn't figure in the Panama Papers, they document an elaborate scheme involving a web of offshore corporations and shell companies, tied to Putin's closest cronies, and designed to pilfer and launder Russian state assets.
And this is the difference between corruption in Russia and in the West.
In the West, corruption is a bug in the software.
In Russia, it's not a bug, and it's not even a feature. It's the software itself. It's the whole operating system.
The Panama Papers weren't a plot against Russia. They exposed a plot against Russia by its own rulers.
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