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Opinion

Soros turns on Putin and Bush

George Soros

George Soros, billionaire speculator and philanthropist, was in a bad mood when he addressed the US Russian Investment Conference in Boston last month. On November 6, "40 hooded goons" raided the Moscow office of his Open Russia philanthropic venture, and took away boxes of files.

The attack, Soros said, was the result of a dispute with the office's landlord, Kantemir Karamzin, over rent. But what really irritated the great man was the fact that these raids have occurred "with impunity". This, combined with the arrest at gun-point of oil tycoon Mikhail Khordorkovsky, leads Soros to believe Russia is heading for a dictatorship.

Soros said: "Going after Khordorkovsky gives a clear signal that no capitalist can be independent of the state. My hope was that robber capitalism would lead to legitimate capitalism. Now, we see instead state capitalism, where the state dominates the affairs of capital. This will hurt Russia's economy very seriously." He added: "I can hardly believe it is happening, but it is." He questioned whether Russia should still qualify for G8 status, an echo of comments by Americans such as senator John McCain and neo-conservatives Richard Perle and Bruce Jackson.

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