So it appears that giving the Kremlin sound economic advice can get you accused of collaborating with terrorists.
Just ask Aleksei Kudrin.
Last month, the former finance minister accepted a job as head of the Kremlin's top economics think tank and agreed to draft Russia's long-term economic strategy.
Earlier this week, he told Vladimir Putin's Economic Council that Moscow needed to reduce geopolitical tensions for the sake of the Russian economy -- something few serious economists would contest.
Puti, however, was disdainful, claiming -- against all the evidence -- that Moscow did not initiate the tensions and that he would never "bargain with Russia's sovereignty."
And then, a day later, LifeNews, a media outfit with well-known ties to the Russian security services, ran an odd little story titled The Islamic Party of Aleksei Kudrin.
The article accused Kudrin and other Moscow liberals of consorting with Islamic extremists.
You've gotta wonder whether Kudrin still thinks he can influence Kremlin policy from within.
You've gotta wonder how much longer regime liberals like Kudrin and Electoral Commission head Ella Pamfilova will continue fooling themselves.
This regime cannot be reformed because doing so means abandoning the aggressive international posture that is the basis of its legitimacy.
This regime cannot be reformed because doing so means undermining its corrupt foundations, which would lead to its fall.
And this is not what Putin has in mind.