More than six years ago, on October 1, 2008, with the 2008 presidential elections just a month away, the left-wing Nation magazine published an article entitled "McCain's Kremlin ties".[i] This article investigated the ties between one of the richest and politically most powerful persons in Russia, the husband of Boris Yeltsin's grand-daughter, Oleg Deripaska and the long-time US Senator and, at the time, the Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
The article made much of a meeting between Deripaska and McCain in the coastal Montenegrin town of Kotor on August 30, 2006. Allegedly, McCain celebrated his 70th birthday on board of Deripaska's multi-million dollar yacht Queen K, which at the time was anchored there.
As the member of the six-person US Senate Republican delegation visiting several European countries, McCain made a stop in Montenegro to give support to US ideological and political assets/vassals, including the Speaker of the Parliament Ranko Krivokapic.[ii] It appears, however, that McCain had also other appointments to keep.
Still, from my perspective, the equally important part of the article is the elaboration of the tightly-knit business links between Deripaska and Nathaniel Rothschild, the only son and heir of Lord Jacob Rothschild who, as the New York Times claimed in 2007, may become "the richest Rothschild" yet.[iii] The article notes that the lobbying of the US corporate intelligence company Diligence, partially owned by Rothschild, helped Deripaska receive an important loan from the World Bank/EBRD.
More generally, the young Rothschild, known to promote a radical transnational neoliberal agenda, has been very active in helping Deripaska cultivate friendly relations with the influential British and US politicians. He had also helped McCain's bid for presidency, having hosting, together with his father, a McCain fundraiser at London's prestigious Spencer House in March 2008.[iv]
That same year, the close ties between Deripaska and Rothschild led to the eruption of another scandal. This time the target was an EU rather than a US politician. The British Labor politician Peter Mandelson, the EU Commissioner for Trade, met with Rothschild and Deripaska on board of Deripaska's yacht (just like McCain earlier), only this time not in Montenegro, but in Greece (the island of Corfu where Rothschild owns an estate). It was alleged that they talked about EU import tariff reductions which would favor Deripaska's alluminum business.[v]
Both sides denied the reports, but, as the British Conservatives continued to complain, Rothschild wrote an open letter to the media, stating that Mandelson's Conservative 'shadow government' counterpart John Osborne was not only also present at the meeting, but even tried to solicit a donation from Deripaska for the Conservative party.[vi]
Obviously, this only stoked the fires of the scandal further with mutual accusations flaring. It also revealed to what extent major British politicians have been under the sway of powerful but secretive business monopolies. And to what extent democracy (the rule of the people) in the West has become a pipe dream.
In relation to this and other Mandelson's dealings with Deripaska, in 2010 Rothschild was named "a puppet master" by the British tabloid Daily Mail, the designation he considered libelous and which led to his suit against the newspaper. However, the High Court judge Michael Tugenhadt thought otherwise and Rothschild lost the case in 2012.[vii]
Deripaska's and Rothschild's friendship is also strongly affirmed by their joint business investments in Montenegro. They make an excellent rule-despising company to the corrupt Montenegrin prime minister and regional mafia strongman Milo Djukanovic. Thanks to his friendship with Djukanovic, Rothschild was granted Montenegrin citizenship in what was an extremely nontransparent manner. This citizenship can offer him protection from the eventual EU or Russian criminal prosecution.[viii]
In 2014, the geopolitical situation in Europe has radically changed. Russia found itself exposed to the brutal US-EU sanctions and the pressure of NATO covert intelligence and military operations. As many observers have pointed out, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Russia is at stake and the President Vladimir Putin is doing his utmost to rise above the momentous challenge.
However, without paying very careful attention to the activities of his inner circle of oligarchs, Putin will probably not be successful. Precisely because of his close ties with Rothschild and the enormous profits both had derived from the transnational neoliberal agenda, Deripaska seems to me as the person most likely to turn against Putin at some crucial moment in near future.
Several years ago, Deripaska himself admitted in an interview on BBC that he was already pressured by the US intelligence agencies to cooperate with them against Russian interests.[ix] He claimed that he had refused and that his US visa was revoked as a result. However, this time around, when Putin is being marketed in the US-EU as Hitler's younger brother, he may be offered much more to change sides. Perhaps even the presidency of Russia. After all, he is a member of the Yeltsin dynasty.
In fact, the turning of the Russian economy toward controlled markets and import substitution, which is necessary if Russia is to protect its sovereignty, will make persons like Deripaska appear anachronistic. Their tremendous riches will seem to the vast majority of the ordinary Russian people as the unpleasant remainders of the unjust past they would rather forget and move on. This will make Deripaska's position even more precarious and make him even more willing to act on behalf of the neoliberal world order which made him a billionaire but which Putin must of necessity wreck.
So far, Putin acts as if he noticed no danger. In November 2014, Deripaska was included in the Russian business delegation at APEC summit in Beijing and was a moderator of Putin's speech at the occasion.[x] But with Rothschild ever present in Deripaska's favorite haunts in Switzerland, Greece, Montenegro and elsewhere in Europe, the danger will only grow over time. Forewarned is forearmed.
Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org