tv Future of Russia President Putin CSPAN April 4, 2018 10:27pm-12:03am EDT
show host, armstrong williams, talks about journalism today and trust in the news media. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern thursday morning. join the discussion. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. next, a panel of experts on russia discuss the future of the company -- of the country under vladimir putin. they hosted this 90 minute event.
on behalf of brookings and the center for the united states and europe, i would like to welcome you to this, i think, timely conversation. we have a distinguished panel. i am elina player kovac, i am the foreign policy program. right is somebody many of you likely recognize. drop tile become a distinguished fellow and resident at brookings. of course was president bookings for many years and deputy secretary of state in the clinton administration and other distinguished titles. thank you for joining us. professor angela stent who is the director of the center for eurasian, russia, and east european studies in georgetown university. has spent time working at the national intelligence council, the office of policy has held positions in the u.s. government as well.
she is one of the most prominent experts on russia and russia foreign policy today. thank you, angela. to my left, i have the chairman of the board foundation and vice chairman and, i want to think the foundation for their help in working with us in highlighting some of the issues that have been taking place in russia, especially with regards to the opposition. and, i thank you for joining us here today. last and not least, we have the contributing writer to the atlantic who has written for a number of publications and was a correspondent to form policy and is working on a new book on russia that i am looking forward to when it comes out.
tumultuous couple of weeks in affairs between russia and the west and we have seen a mutual expulsion of and aats or spies response from the russian side of over 150 russian diplomats. at this tenseare points in the relationship, many of our colleagues have commented that's this is the lowest points ar era and weold w are entering a new phase of a cold war. this is a phrase we have heard many times, like in 2014 after the invasion of eastern ukraine. we would hear similar commentary that this is the lowest point in our relationship and where could
it go from here and we had not hit the bottom yet, as we have now seen. i want to start with you. you spent a significant amount of your career working on russia in the 1990's and you have seen a development in the relationship. significant are these latest actions in the larger picture of u.s. and russian relations? are we really in a new cold war or is this something even worse? >> both. , indeed, in what you 2.0."call "cold war sight and whatin we can now see is quite onerous -- ominous. has some significant
significant and from the first version of the cold war. dangerousirst, the zero-some game that russia and ,he west are playing and particularly on the russian side, that brings back a lot that many of us in the room , as like the and first cold war, there is an ideological dimension and a geopolitical dimension. front, russia has been
reverting to an autocratic system of governance and is waging war by other means democracies.tern on the geopolitical front, , beyonds carving out the borders, spheres of what i would call interest and domination. trying, with some success, to rattle nato countries and is building up a new generation of nuclear weapons. so, already, that meets the .efinition of a new cold war
the difference is, between the s,rst and the second cold war' this is more serious. there is no process underway to mitigate the perils of the hot war. most concerning is the following. on both sides, particularly the russian side, the increase of the arms race and we are not seeing anything in the way of arms control. that important parts of the old has pretty much gone out of business and what we desperately need is to revive
, go into new areas, including the digital area, and there isn't any of that going on , and the old treaties are wasting away. another difference that disadvantages the west is what is happening to the andsatlantic institutions the transatlantic confidence and trust. all of these are in a rocky state, to put that lightly. andcauses are on both sides the european project is stalling and, in some respects, it is going off course and even backwards. atlantic andof the in our hometown here, there is a
unique and troublesome aberration that the united states administration has, as far as i can see, no coherent policy on how to deal with russia that is breaking dad and that never has been a case. in fact, there were policies that did not work, but there was policy and there was strategy. this new situation goes to the president of the united states. , he still clings to an affinity for vladimir putin and other authoritarian leaders and, that, in itself, disqualifies him as a champion and protector of western values and interests.
on top of that, the investigation into a possible --sian connection between russian connection to his casts a dark shadow over his motives and also a hamstrings his relations with congress and his own executive branch. to vladimir putin has a lot crow about and it is far more than just a rigged election, which is what we were originally going to talk about today. he is in a position i think he is smug about and it is particularly dangerous because
he has gotten away with so much and he will probably try to get away with more. west has a lothe to think about and repair and renovates. -- renovate. that.thank you for you paint a dark picture. is it your view that we are still in a downward spiral and have not quite hit the bottom? it seems we going towards a more intense environment. we are now getting into prophecy. with the, particularly american side of our politics, i ive not been right at all and
there is aat two-sided aspect to answer your question. you put this up for us at the beginning. life,are incidences in our personal lives, our national lives, our global lives, where theget into a trouble and senses that the situation will probably have to get worse before it gets better. there are a lot of alarms going off and not everyone is fully awake. , in thed, i assume that interim, however long this lasts, whether the situation is
as bad or worse, as long as we don't blow up the planet, the political west, as shaky as it is now, is still rooted in a democracy. vladimir putin seems to be on a roll and is basing his power on a retro great system that is basicallywed and is the same system that failed russia as the ussr in the last cold war. electionstioned the and we will talk about them. it is shocking to me that we are conceptualizing having those thatrsations and it seems .o many events have taken shape
affairs, things more rapid and intensified pace and it is difficult to make sense of it, if we are trying to think more strategically. angela, i want to turn to you. russian response to the expulsions that we talk about, it was not expected. hand, i am curious to get your sense of the point of view of the kremlin towards the west. thatmir putin's aids said
a summit thatd would take place between putin and trump at the white house and that caused consternation. given the unified western response and the dual track approach we have seen with this and the more aggressive and hawkish activities in response to the aggression. how is the kremlin looking? you recently said that you think that vladimir putin might be
looking for an offramp. what do you mean? i want to go back and talk about the remarks from earlier in the discussion. one of the things you were involved with in the 1990's as a russian policy person was this idea that, if you promote the economic integration into this, there would be a moderating impact. the we have today is europeans that are economically dependent and the interdependence with european .nd russian relations russian money, as we know, is very present in great britain and that is a reason why the british have been slow to take the measures they could have after that poisoning.
yorkis also present in new and in the real estate market. gives an influence that is different from the cold war and is economically isolated and makes it more difficult to deal with these issues because of the fact that there are a number of russian businesses that are dependent on their relations with russia and it makes it harder to respond. what we see is a trump and will leave congress out. we have the forward-looking that inship and he said think i can get along with
russia and vladimir putin. why wouldn't we want to do that? you have the executive branch that has taken a tougher line , with tillerson and in their farewell speeches, they sound the alarm generalssia and i think mcmaster said that again. obviously, general mattis has said tough things about russia and the kremlin looks at this look to exploit that. the rhetoric and they can strike mar-a-lago.
now, you see the other side of it. thatugh trump had signaled he had offered the congratulatory phone call to have a meeting with vladimir putin, obviously, it is the think they don't like these expulsions and you have so few diplomatic personnel that you would like to do and they would like to pursue this you said that there was unity and there was a unified response. there is a number of central european countries and there was in perfect unity there
, but still solidarity with great britain. this and he was a little bit more critical of russia. now, he has said that we have to find a better way of dealing with this and the chancellor said, at the same time, you have the president who goes to the st. petersburg economic forum and i think that vladimir putin recognizes that they would like to find this and nobody likes a high level of tension. that we will probably anti-western rhetoric that isn'tng and going to change, but they will see if they can exploit the
differences and we are still waiting for the secretary of we thought about them taking the initiative now. they personnelut and there are -- do you think that the kremlin is wanting to insert itself before these individuals have a chance to shape politics? they have said very tough things about russia. >> i want to turn to the elections and this is an
and you havent worked very actively with the political opposition and it wasn't a surprise. he had 77% of the vote and over 67% turnout. this is at least in terms of the this.y of to what extent is this broad support for vladimir putin real? does this show that vladimir putin has a clear mandate to continue on? you for the question
and thank you for hosting this discussion this morning. today, discuss russia things are not always what they seem to be. the technology, the numbers, we talk about vladimir putin and his coming presidential term. thing that is not quite what it seems is the election. this in awice put mediaion, but most of the does not use the quotation when they described the election polls at will talk about turnout and results and, more astonishingly, most world presidentncluding the of this country, they picked up the phones and said
congratulations messages. hasspectacles of procedure more to do with the democratic emkin villagesot did. i think that the organizations a mainhe oce, of election watchdog, they are known for their consciousness and the report that came out the morning after the so-called presidential election, it was scathing and the head of the , choice without competition is not real choice. he continued and said that
fundamental freedoms are restricted and the outcome is not in doubt and elections lose their purpose. he was being diplomatic. the elections lost their main purpose, to enable citizens to choose a change of the government. of course, we on the the outcome was never in doubt. the figures were announced and they were shockingly close to the figures being leaked from the presidential administration. itction day, they changed but amendment to make sure that it would coincide with the anniversary of the invasion of crimea. that is how the elections work. .his is a sign
when we are certain about our procedures and not certain about the outcome -- in russia, for years, it has been the opposite in the outcome is never in doubt. haveal organizations conducted extensive monitoring and documented all the violations that took place, from voting and all of the usual things that we have heard about for years. teachers, doctors, people who depend on the state, they get coworkers to to vote -- of the l things that we have heard about for years. coerced to vote and take pictures to show that they are tavoting for the right candidate. webaw the installation of cameras. when you don't have a real judicial coer system, --
there are many instances of ballot stuffing. they are documented. in many regions, once again, we have seen the plane rewriting of protocols. we refer to these regions that and thiset-style 90% -- of course, the television coverage has been skewed for years and we don't even need to talk about any of those violations or abuses because, in the most important way, the election was rigged before the polling praises -- places or opened. e open.
there were two major opposition figures that were trying to challenge and one was boris nim was alexyhe other navalny, who was the only candidate who conducted a real campaign. boris was killed three years ago navalny was not allowed to run because of a core conviction by the russian authorities. it is not difficult to win an election when your opponents are not actually on the ballot and repeat, tooe west often, this kremlin propaganda line that vladimir putin is so popular among russian citizens and it is important to keep in
mind that the popularity has never been tested in a free and fair election against genuine opponents and it wasn't a few days ago. >> he has 80% approval ratings. to the, they had fallen 50's. it is not that he is untouchable, but the administration of the state is under control of the kremlin. >> if he is so popular, why is he afraid of a free of election or competition? not just the national elections. they are a spectacle. this is elections at all levels. the fourth-largest city in atsia, a city that stands
y abolished direct elections, which was a norm in russian cities and is now approaching extinction. regional eight capitals with directly elected mayors. nos was run through and official explanation was needed and every knows the reason. a charismatic opposition proposition -- opposition candidate defeated the united hesia party candidate and has called for the release of political prisoners and has supported navlalny.
he was directly-elected and the kremlin was not happy about that. they decided not to have an election altogether. the obvious question that needs to be posed more by people in is, if the regime is popular, wire they are afraid to let people vote? >> i want to go back to something said today. assia is more integrated part of the global economy and that is a difference between the cold war years, but they are more politically isolated at the same time and increasingly so because of the vladimir putin foreign policy adventures, if you want to refer to them is that. i want to get you into this conversation. do you agree, to some extent, that the encouraging into the ukraine and the intervention in syria and the meddling in the syrian elections is starting to backfire on a grand scale and is
hampering the larger strategic goal of making russia grade on the world stage or do you think that the relationship can be one where popular support continues to track with more and more foreign policy adventurism from vladimir putin that before i answer that, i want to touch on something. the week ago, there was a fire in ae siberian city where locked movie theater, 60 people burned to death. 40 were children. putin came in, the streets were cleared. he did not meet with the people.
the governor apologize not to the people but to the president. which tells you about who is accountable to whom. a russian sociolog professor has done research tout who actually responds the surveys. the tone of the media made people who did not agree became more taciturn. more hesitant to answer these questions. the very outgoing supporters of prudent. putin.
the quoting of his popularity rating, i find it to be strange. and irritating. they are like, our president has this approval rating. as if they are comparing similar things. adventurism, i think we can certainly expect to see more. in some ways, they are working and in other ways they are backfiring. one is often the response to the other. syria was seen, i think correctly, as a response to the isolation. this was a way to muscle his way back in from the cold of geopolitical isolation and sanctions.
is what worries me about the incoming secretary of state and advisor. withre so obsessed terrorism, especially mike pompeo. the islamic world. putin a perfect opportunity to play the counterterrorism card, which he does to great effect. western politicians, not providing much help in terms of counterterrorism. the foreign country that provided the most foreign fighters to isis was russia. it was not saudi arabia. it was russia. a lot of the fighters that came from the muslim north caucuses were sent to syria with the help of the kremlin. all while russia was talking about how in syria, we are fighting isis. defending only ones
i have a feeling there is going to be another kind of spectacular egregious act that he initiates in the coming year to get himself out of this corner. westis something for the to keep in mind, looking at this, with all of this i think putin is still trying to renegotiate the terms of surrender in the cold war. the mirror expulsions on the russian side, the statements about how the west has not proven anything in terms of the poisoning and election meddling, is putin trying to show the west and especially america is not in a position to punish russia. if you are the side punishing, you are the superior side.
you are the senior parent in this relationship. i think putin is trying to aggressively show he is an equal. recalcitrant trialed -- child you punish. the west into a corner. it exacerbates the psychological motivations of the russians. process, i a remember when i was in a correspondent in moscow. they were trying to figure out, is he going to come back? i won many bottles of cognac
betting with russian political reporters. these very easy to win that's just by predicting the worst-case scenario. unfortunately, when dealing with russia, putin reward you with over time if you make the worst-case scenario production. i am going to venture a prophecy. things are going to get far worse before they get better. , for example, with the expulsions of american diplomats it hastern diplomats, become harder for russians to travel to the west. it is becoming nearly impossible to get a visa. of talk and worry
about a new iron curtain descending. that is a fear. it is going to become harder and harder for russians to travel outside of russia. which is a big worry, especially for the educated classes. i think things are not going to get better between the u.s. and russia while put in his power -- is in power which means while he is still alive. everythingwith except for the last point. the answer is, we don't know. >> that he is healthy? is going to stay in power for as long as he is alive. i agree he wants to. that is another term. what are the next six years of prudent going to look like? there can be two things. he could be there for as long as
he is healthy and alive. there could be another possibility. i am a historian. modern russian history teaches us is political changes in our country can start quickly, suddenly, and unexpectedly. er boastedor minist about his small, victorious war against japan in 1904. i don't think lenin, when he gave a speech to the social when he told him my generation will not live to see the decisive battles of this coming revolution. he expected it would begin six weeks later. idle to a lot of people in
august, 1991, by the end of the month the coming as party would no longer exist. and neither would the soviet union. things can begin to change suddenly and unexpectedly. stayee mr. putin wants to in power as long as he is alive. he is not going to be limited by constitutional terms. was up to every dictator to stay in power as long as they wanted to, every dictator would stay in power. say, good friend likes to he likes to repeat this phrase. grew nicolette chuck the romanian leader had 99% percent approval two weeks before he was ousted. yourwant to go back to take on some of the ideas julia, angela talked about.
you said russia is becoming more isolated. wetend to think, because have tried to isolate russia, it is isolated. we saw that after the crimean annexation. china a partnership with which is stronger since the crimean annexation. the in the end, russia is junior partner. for both countries now, and i think the future, this is the kind of instrumental partnership the chinese are in increasing their economic relationship. the two leaders support each other. the two leaders support each other. they don't question each other's
domestic systems. another populist pretty that has enjoyed good relations with the soviet union, russia over time. voting patterns, these are countries that did not condemn russia. and then what will we have with mr. putin, negotiating with the iranian leader. there are a large number of countries. we can talk about latin america, other asian countries, that view russia as an authoritarian country. a lot of countries are willing to accept that. i think this is a cautionary tale. the only other thing is, i believe president putin would like to stay in office for the rest of the time allotted to him
. it would be quite easy for him to change the constitution to make him leader for life. with muggy weather admir is that russian history is predictable until it is not. despite all the economic weaknesses, we were wrong. >> which is the majority on this panel. >> i remember once after the soviet collapse, there was a culpa about why we did not see this coming. a number of us said, gorbachev did not so why should we? you.went to go back to what struck me about your
initial comments and cautionary this despite that we had on paper shift in u.s. policy. identifying russia and china as without apetitors, clear, coherent strategy you were talking about, our ability to compete in the way some of national security establishment envisioned the u.s. being able to compete, they are very limited. our tools are limited. >> i think you are asking what what i hope to see? i would be surprised to see it soon. from the united states and its
of the guarantor of the atlantic community. i think this is a classic example of of foreign-policy issue that has got to be fixed here in this town. also, not just the government outfits like ours, are getting out into the country. i don't think there is anything like the kind of knowledge and concern in a lot of america. is focused on our own problems here. that is hugely important.
to go back to a transatlantic where itat picks up was started, obama left it. the word russia did not come up in what i just said. thatve to get our own camp into being a real camp. can i ask one question? be iaid intriguingly, may am over in treating it. ng it.rigui you said perhaps the poisoning was part of a cleanup operation. by the way, i am sure many of you know the russians have
fairly high levels -- at fairly high levels are saying this is a provocation. did this to mi six, these people. let's put that aside. , i don'tsuggesting know that much about his background, could come forward as a witness for the investigation that is going on in this country? >> i don't know. of aems like it is part larger crackdown coming from people who talk to the west, the partial admission of guilt to cyber operatives. who had been the number one and number two. anybody inwn on
russian intelligence who talks to the west. >> fair enough. there probably is going to be more to the story. survivearly if patients . >> we were talking before we came in, the case, you essentially took my question from me. it showed very clearly the extent to which the kremlin continues to use disinformation narratives to muddy our understanding of what has been happening. , there arecussing organizations that have been tracking the potential explanations, what really happened with them. there are over two dozen. the u.s. did it.
as a.k. did it provocation. which is the latest narrative. the latest one you were talking about, he was poisoned with buckwheat. brought.daughter ofse are the same kinds tools and tactics. i do think it is effective in muddying the water. there are a lot of people that don't really know what to think. they give the russian strategy of plausible deniability more leverage. >> that answers a question i was going to put forward. it is a little bit the question
a lot of us were asking. was,it became how clear it the russian state was meddling in our election. did they think they were going to keep that as a covert operation? or did they not really care? the same question comes up with the poisoning. hand, i can imagine them saying, there will be some fallout and we will lie. confuse people, which they are doing. justll also teach not formerrs from russia, spies, it will say, we can take care of ourselves and our interests anywhere in the world. >> i think it was very similar,
or not to similar from the the dupont circle hotel. you see the u.s. government, the russians in some ways following the same line saying, he got forceand died of blunt iauma to the head, neck, don't know how drunk you have to get. even though he was staying in a hotel room paid for by the doj. i remember when it happened, i trying they are not even to look like a rare isotope. they just beat the ship out of him. a clear signal, this is what happens when you try to talk to the west. clear, inbeen very
his mind there are two categories. there are opponents, who he grudgingly respects because they are pursuing their interest. it is a judo match. then there are traitors whom he said, this is when the illegals came back. them, whereceived does the motherland again? traitors deserve to die in a ditch and will always be found there. doesn'tian government quite know what it wants to do. are sorting this out, russian to russian. happened on u.k. soil but get out of here. this is like a tony soprano style hit. we are cleaning up our own stuff
to read the other hand, they cannot admit that because then the punishment is deserved. want to also kind of admit it. you saw on russian state tv, crazy political talk shows that have become the most popular thing on tv. they are saying, we did not do it, it iswe did pretty awesome, but we didn't. the same thing goes for the russian election meddling. power.s their they want to admit to it but they cannot. weird,e stuck doing this the dance of a naughty kid. or oj.
>> i am not going to confess that i watch homeland. . pity the show runner they are trying to keep up, but reality is trumping them. something a back to wonderful writer about russia has written about in his new book. called, dressed up for a riot. he talks about how contemporary russian literature is in the realm of phantasm caloric -- fantasy. lesbians, poisoning. lesbians, poisoning. he talks about why this is the case, why there is not more realist. it will literature -- more realist. russianre describing
realist, and you add a little bit more, you are immediately in vampires.of lesbian we find ourselves in a similar situation. them,an comedians, u.s. they talk about situations coming out of the trump white house. in thef they saw it writers room, they would say, that would never happen. >> we are running a little tight on time. mics coming be some around. keep your questions in the form of a question. let's see. the gentleman on the right? mic is coming around. >> thank you so much. great program. i have a question.
since the so-called annexation, crimea, particularly around schools, whether people are being forced to change from to russian. infrastructure. what is happening in crimea today regarding the shift. others could join in also. clark's thank you for the question -- >> thank you for the question. crimea has become an electoral sultanate. 90% plus results were announced for putin. what we know about what is happening in crimea, the level of political repression is perhaps even higher than in russia proper i should say.
especially true with the crimean tartar community. forced to leave or are in prisons. , 146of the prisoners people. i want to draw attention to that. the number is comparable to the late soviet time. -- andre sacher speech 126 in that prisoners of conscious in the soviet union. people he knew of himself. the list that memorial puts out is by no means exhaustive.
it is based on conservative criteria. what constitutes a political prisoner. even by those criteria, there prisoners inical russia today. more in the soviet union than 1975. a lot of those are from crimea. crimea has become one of the objects of these corruption schemes. brothers involved in the construction of a massive bridge supposedly being built to link hunting a no russia with crimea. underlying all of this, the first time in a century, we have become a country with internationally unrecognized borders. i think that is a fact that needs to not be forgotten.
one of the narratives is thatver domestic problems, is a constantly running theme in those talk shows. one of the constant narratives of all of that, whatever the domestic or economic problems, putin has stored russia's greatness. i really have a big problem with that narrative. in the supposedly horrible making 90's, russia was invited to join the g8. putin was kicked out. western powers fighting sanctions. to me, that is not restoring greatness. for the first time in a century, we are a country with two nationally unrecognized borders.
speak to things do not restoring greatness, they speak to something different. >> i was just in crimea a year ago to see what it looked like after the annexation. all i saw was, first of could not use my credit cards. i didn't think to bring cash. things had gotten expensive. had dried up. it turns out there was a reason crimea was part of ukraine, that was the only land it was physically connected to. for some reason, ukraine didn't want to keep supplying them with water and electricity. things have gotten tight. i will tell you a story that encapsulated it for me. i went to meet with the head of the cossacks in sevastopol. he had been out leading the events of the so-called russian
spring. me all aboutg health finally he did not have pension --is regimen russian pidgin known as ukrainian. ar tod found a great ts look up to. the jews were responsible for everything that had happened that was bad. stayed as his friends, who were all small businessman. one came in with a cane. very quickly, the conversation changed from how great putin was and russia was and how they were ofally home after being part this fake country called
ukraine, about how moscow had come to crimea. bureaucrats were trying to take away their businesses. each person had a criminal case open against them. they were complaining. -- they all voted in the referendum to join russia. basically what you are describing is russia. you are now in russia. the courts are used as a weapon of state corruption. we were watching ukrainian news. we did not know that is what was going on in russia. we did not know that would come here. the deeply regretted -- some of these were cossacks -- they deeply regretted joining russia. said, i'm sorry to break this but it is your's or civil --
irreversible. if you had your druthers, what would you want? they thought about it for a while. one of them said, if i could i would like crimea to go back to being an autonomous republic and then maybe join israel. you know israel is full of jews, right? as, but they are not as bad russian bureaucrats and it is a society of laws. >> didn't the kremlin pull out all stops? all the stops to get the vote out in crimea? on theas held anniversary of the annexation. >> the situation is by all worse than mainland russia. >> theych more isolated
are finally building a bridge. >> we will see what happens. gentleman on the left please. >> i have been dealing with foreign-policy issues in the past. my question relates to the amount of support the oligarchs give putin. is that important to his theinued existence as leader of russia? the second part, there are many reports oligarchs make huge investments in london and new york. they depend on show companies. yet the u.s. presumably does not have adequate legislation. there are bills but they never seem to move ahead, which would require companies and real
estate purchased is to reveal the true ownership of the buyer. be to useant would it such legislation to get at the assets of the oligarchs. with this have some impact? >> is a good question. >> thank you. we keep coming back to the terminology. appropriate the term oligarchs is. the people 1990's, who tried to influence state decisions and government decisions, the people we refer to as oligarchs, that is a different bunch of people. 90's, that was to say the least a not ideal political setup. rich people trying to dictate to
an elected government what to do. had made their fortunes not because they were close to the government. the people we call oligarchs are colleagues of putin from the kgb. his old judo partners. fortunes towe their the fact they are close to put in. they just enrich themselves because they are close to the guy on -- at the top. i want to go back to something that was mentioned at the beginning. integrateduch more into the international economic system. thatinly if we want to use term again, the oligarchs and corruption aspect is integrated. that is a crucial difference. there are many similarities.
political prisoners, even the numbers are similar. asevision stations serve propaganda. the nation of the -- nature of the political system is similar. there are similarities, but differences. politburo the soviet did not keep their money in western banks. they did not i real estate in florida and the south of france. kids tonot send their study in western schools. these people do. they want to steal in russia and spend in the west. that is phenomenal a parker double standards. who deny people principles of democracy but want to enjoy the privileges of western countries that have rule of law and democracy for themselves and their families.
from the point of view of western countries, for someone to export corruption, somebody else needs to import it to read if you welcome these people on your soil and your banking system, you are enabling corruption. for years, western countries have been doing that. -- last fewhe next years, we are seeing a countermovement to that. expressed here in the united states. since then, for other countries. -- four other countries. laws thatpassed these put down what should be a simple principle. if you abuse the norms of democracy in your own country, you will not be able to come here and receive visas and open bank accounts.
five countries is good but not enough. the point you raised about show companies, the way these people buy property, through american law firms. attorneyprotected by client privilege. there are issues on the hill to try to de-anonymize people. ways you choose to do this, under the processes of rule of law, judicial oversight, there is a built-in mechanism. the u.s. government will produce evidence. not a single person, several dozen people who have been is
admitted, have ever used this mechanism. any legal and rule of law it is highi think pride themselves on their adherence to democratic norms to read it is high time they stop enabling the abuses of those norms. >> can i just add one thing. the day before the russian election, reuters published a report saying just in south florida, trump properties, russians had bought about $100 million worth of trump property. one family, what they were able to uncover. i'm sure it is a conservative estimate. you have the trump children talking about how most of our
golf courses are financed by russians. when we talk about why this administration is reluctant to get tough on russia, this is something we have to look at as well. this repeats itself in many places. there was a big report by the new york times, new york, all these empty condos and properties, that have been bought but nobody lives there. some journalists did the tracking and tried to figure out, to all these different webs and layers, who is the end beneficiary? what they were able to find what they were able to do that, a lot of it did go back to dirty russian money, basically. a way they launder their money. through real estate, which drives up prices. >> this also has to come from
the citizens of these countries. londoners. new yorkers. peopleot just that these abuse these vague norms we take for granted, they are parking their dirty money here. they are forcing you out of your cities. you cannot live there anymore. i have friend to lived in london. they lived in kensington to. . most of the windows were dark. nobody lived there except for them. at the same time, londoners could only buy property two hours away from the center of london. even at that, at high prices. it probably wouldn't be hard to get grassroots support for this in america, the u.k..
did you want to chime in? >> to come back to your original question, the united states and the british should look carefully at the laws they have and should change them. they should not allow people to purchase real estate which is used for money laundering. to have these show companies whose ownership is not clear. our legal system is different from the continental europeans. to your other question, how powerful are these people? crimea,e annexation of where we sanctioned some individuals, it was a mistake to think that would somehow change what he was doing. it is a patronage system. these wealthy people owe what they have at the pleasure of the tsar. it is unlikely they would get
together and say, i can visit my homes and bank accounts, let's change the president. we should have no illusions. still, we should clamp down on the ability of russians to infiltrate our system with their money. you have members of the russian cabinet who own apartments and hills and whose -- homes and whose families lived there. >> with the tools the u.s. has, the question of personal sanctions. these are the tools we should use, not these broad economic sanctions that hurt the russian y affect these the russian economy. wast sounds simple, but it groundbreaking. you are assigned responsibility where it is due.
for human rights abuses and corruption to the people who are betrayed these. you do not punish an entire country for a small, unelected click. clique. they can say, the west, it is against russia. i am the protector of russian national interests. that is how he presents himself. when you prevent some corrupt mansion onbuying a miami beach, that is not seen as anti-russian. there was a poll the same year it was signed into law. described,caveats we the problems with polls, even with that there was a strong plurality of russian citizens who agreed with the principal. steal fromwho
russian citizens should not be allowed to go and enjoy a nice western lifestyle. there is no way the kremlin can present targeted personal sanctions as anti-russians. i'm not for sanctions on russia. i am russian. these are targeted, personal, individual. when the law was passed, it was called the most pro-russian law because it tries to hold to account people who steal from russian taxpayers. >> one more real quick. the pro-russian nature of these laws, there is something inherently anti-russian. i think a lot of us have been by the russo phobic,
propaganda machine. there is nobody more russo power,than the people in the way they talk about the people as dom and crazy. kind oft give them any decision-making power because they are like wild animals. uselessly as far away from them as possible but take their money. >> which also explains the image where healked about visited the victims. let me take it may be two more questions together. their and their. -- there and there. i am a reporter from germany. one reason why we are here, i
guess, is the meddling in the election. what do you expect for the midterms? will they be cautious? exactly the same? are there any consequences if they are being cut again? >> thank you, another question. the striped sweater. >> i have a question on economics. australia's gnp is roughly the same as russia's. how long can he support his establishment before they go bankrupt? >> let me take a third. >> i am a student across the street. a couple years ago, russia decided to get more involved in
the middle east. the election thought to be a problem, where many russians were killed. results were as expected. my question is whether or not the results will change the way couldn't approach the middle east? whether it will be the same or he might be emboldened. keeping in mind i just got a new york times alert president trump instructed military leaders to begin to prepare to bring out u.s. troops from syria. >> we have syria, we haven't talked about that yet. but actions the midterms and how long can the russian economy continue on this path? let me start with you. >> thank you for give me another chance. >> worst-case scenario.
>> i am going to make the other mistake, the best case. the string of elections we have had over the last couple of months are a strong message to the importantly, most to the members of the house. who are representing red districts and trump territory. that is being defended -- diluted because of the craziness that comes out of this town. i think that could be a tipping point, both for the house of representatives and the senate.
trumpch case president will be in a differen different position. >> i think the question is will the interference continue. we read they are still interfering. something bad seems to happen every day. that will continue. whether the more nefarious cyber , including machines cop i think they will continue to try up. i hope we have better defenses against this. economy, having spent a lookr of years whether you
at the soviet economy, you say, this cannot continue. it hasn't diversified. it has major problems. go on like this, and yet they do. you should not underestimate the ability of russia and the russians to muddle through even as it becomes less modernized. you have to be cautious. does pullted states troops out of syria, it only to russia and iran's gain. an administration that is so concerned about iranian power, they would do this, i find it strange. russia has taken over in the middle east as the major power. russia is the only country that
talks to all in the middle east. most as and by honest broker. syria will present problems, i don't see that changing, i see them strengthening their role in the middle east. titled to have been use have been limited. when u.s. troops and mercenaries got into a fight, apparently a couple hundred mercenaries were killed, that could be very dangerous. i think russia is there to stay. this constant debate. we can look at what he has
actually done in the foreign policy domain. goodremlin has been very identifying vacuums in power. when the u.s. disengages, the kremlin steps in. also, gaps in our own society. where we have wedges, there is space in between, they see an opportunity to step in. very quickly on the midterms, we have been focusing on the election. all of us knew about trolls and bots. it was no surprise, the rest of america and the west has covered them. there was a report that came out by the department of homeland security, that basically said
there is russian linked malware on critical infrastructure systems in the u.s. that have not been activated. i think we are incredibly vulnerable. we haven't spent the time to shore up those. this is the real threat. i want to hand it over to you. >> the kremlin has been interfering for years. the first elections were in russia. competitive, real democratic elections. they have been trying to do this in many other countries. now western europe. there was quite a financial connected a moscow bank. everything is being discussed.
frankly, it comes down to the fact if there are not consequences, why not keep doing these things? on the syria issue, let's be careful talking about what these confirm. has -- putin sees what he is doing serving several interests. his propaganda image. i think syria is a very good case point, what people -- whens referred to as
military action was beginning, there was a poll showing two thirds of russians were opposed. also, relentless propaganda campaign. two thirds are now in favor of this. let's not talk about this in relation to quote unquote opinion polls. there is this sort of accepted many itthe minds of will at the end of the day be the economic situation that determines the change in russia. when the fridge finally beats conditions will deteriorate so much.
necessarily agree. the largest protests happened in the winter of 2009 and 2012. most of the people on the streets protesting belong to the affluent upper middle classes. it was about dignity, people feeling offended their votes were being stolen. it is not necessarily in my view the economy that is going to determine political fortunes. assume things are going to stay as they are today. rushing history has a way of surprising you. said.gree with what you >> on that note, join me in thanking our panelists.
policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, news guard co-ceo steven brill discusses journalism and fake news. and conservative radio and tv talkshow host armstrong williams talks about journalism today and trust in the news media. be sure to watch live at 7:00 eastern thursday morning. join the discussion. >> live thursday on the c-span network at 10:00 a.m. on c-span, army secretary mark esper on readiness. president trump was in west virginia for a roundtable on tax policy. at 6:00 p.m., former mexican president vicente fox and a member of the european parliament debate nationalism and globalism. on c-span2 at 10:00 a.m., a on autonomous weapons and international law. p.m., a discussion
on the trump administration's foreign-policy priorities. wednesday, facebook announced cambridge analytic a of up to 87 million users. thursday the discussion with carol mcsweeney on facebook's data and privacy practices following the cambridge analytica allegations. he can see the event live at 3:30 p.m. eastern here on c-span. facebook's ceo mark zuckerberg testifies before the house energy and commerce committee about how his company uses and protects the user data. we will have live coverage of his testimony april 11 at 10:00 a.m. eastern time on c-span three. q&a, theoretical physicist and author michio cut through talks about his career in science and his latest book. >> the norm for mother nature is
extinction. it is happening under our feet right now. you may see the bones of the 99.9 percent that no longer walks the surface of the earth. where different, we have self-awareness, we can see the future, we plot, we scheme, we plan and so perhaps we are going andvade this conundrum maybe survive but we need an insurance policy. that is why this book is different. the other books talk about the steps but what is the goal, where's the pot of gold out there? >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> this month we feature our studentcam contest winners, we asked middle and high school students to choose a provision of the u.s. constitution and illustrate why it is important to them. our second prize high school east winners.