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The Daily Vertical: This Is Putin's Normal (Transcript)


The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

So Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev apparently owns a vast empire of mansions, estates, yachts, an Italian vineyard, and an 18th-century palace.

And Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika's family has amassed vast wealth through questionable deals and ties with notorious crime groups.

Millions of people have seen the videos produced by anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny, most recently the expose of the Russian prime minister last week.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

And last year, the Panama Papers revealed an elaborate scheme involving a web of offshore corporations and shell companies, tied to Vladimir Putin's closest cronies, and designed to pilfer and launder Russian state assets.

They made headlines around the world.

And there will certainly be more revelations to come.

But here's the thing. None of this matters in Russia -- and none of it probably will matter.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov can get away with dismissing Navalny's investigations as works of fiction and Putin can call the Panama Papers an American plot to discredit Russia.

But the subtext here is important. Because according to the logic Russia operates by, calling these things corruption is fiction.

As political analyst Lilia Shevtsova recently noted, in an autocracy, where power and property are fused, there can be no such thing as corruption.

So Navalny is wrong. Medvedev and Chaika are not corrupt. They're just establishment politicians in a kleptocratic regime.

This is Putin's normal. There is no corruption.

There is only loyalty and disloyalty.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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