The writers of the New York Times feature seem puzzled why Putin would run the risk of accumulating a secret fortune that would make him among the richest men in the world. After all, he has government planes, palaces, limousines, and every other luxury at his disposal (including $80 million in watches). Even to ask this question reveals a lack of understanding of Putin’s Russia. Putin and his inner circle live in fear of a “Russian Spring” that could unseat them when they least expect it. They cannot place their fortunes in Russia with its lack of rule of law. A deposed Putin living in Switzerland would require a king’s retinue of guards, cronies, and servants. He would need to pay huge sums of money. He would not be caught, like his deceased rival, Boris Berezovsky, depressed in his English manor, down to his last $10 million.
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