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Under President Vladimir Putin, cronyism has replaced Russia's once-burgeoning capitalism.Indeed, Putin has helped his friends a great deal.Putin has essentially nationalized Russia's elites. As the better-known offspring of Russia's previous generation of oligarchs have steadily left the country, the children of Putin's cronies have taken their place.Among Putin's golden youth, the sons of his St. Petersburg cronies have done particularly well, usually by working in privatized companies. Consider the case of the lesser-known Putin crony Nikolai Shamalov and his two sons. Shamalov managed medical-equipment sales in Russia for Siemens AG until 2008, when the United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fined Siemens $1.34 billion for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The sons of Putin's KGB friends have also ascended quickly in the corporate world. Sergei Ivanov, the namesake of Putin's former chief of staff, first became a vice president of Gazprombank at age 25, and then the president of Alrosa, Russia's state-owned diamond company, at 36 . Putin even defended Platon at his annual news conference in December 2015 .
The Achilles’ heel of Putin’s regime: financial havens
remarkable economic progress
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