When we “won” the Cold War and the Soviet Union dissolved, Russia began to adopt “free market” reforms, including privatization and allowing ownership of private property. Naturally, sociopaths of all kinds grabbed all of the power and property that they could, leading to a sort of wild-west capitalism in which the strong and corruptible made out like bandits while the average citizen suffered and paid their new, greedy landlords. The more inclined you were to cheat, steal, and threaten violence, the more successful you became. The oligarchy of the Soviet Union gave way to the mobster oligarchy of Russia.
When Putin came to power, he brought stability to the winner-take-all system, but not reform. Putin is also an oligarch, and oligarchs look after each other. Their interests are the same.
As it turns out, Russian oligarchs have the same interests as American oligarchs, British oligarchs, Italian oligarchs, and so on. They all want to retain and, preferably, increase their wealth, and they don’t care at whose expense they do it. With money comes power, and these people have a great deal of both. With their interests aligned, the confederacy was born.
Aside from the wars that make some corporations a lot of money (see: Middle East, Afghanistan), the real war today is an information war. Unfortunately, it’s one that Alex Jones, friend of oligarchs, participates in. This is Russia Today’s (now RT) entire reason for being:
…statements by RT’s editor-in-chief in 2012–13, covering earlier years, indicate that the station’s mission and philosophy are not journalistic but military, and it serves as an “information weapon” parallel to the Ministry of Defense in times of conflict — including at present.
Without firing a shot, Russia and her oligarchs have managed to destabilize the western world. This is obviously in Russia’s political and strategic interests as a nation, but it’s also in the interest of rich people.
It’s ironic that the information campaign (pushed by the Mercers, Steve Bannon, Nigel Farage, Facebook, and every other rich crook you can think of) stresses nationalism, when the goal of these people is anything but. If you break the system badly enough, you can rewrite the laws to suit you. Invested in fossil fuels? Why put up with costly regulations just to protect people’s air and water? Change the law and get rich! Don’t like taxes? Change the law so the upper classes pay nothing! Do you see $$$ in Britain’s NHS that should be going to you? Privatize it, and make people pay!
The reason the oligarchs in Britain are in bed with the Russian oligarchs on Brexit is to get out from under those humanitarian and environmental regulations that they would like to ignore. There’s money to be made here! In the US, a very pliant Trump has been selling off our government piecemeal to the highest bidder. It’s all about power and money and the desire to skirt the laws.
Nationalism may get people excited to sign their futures away for less freedom and systematic discrimination (if not outright murder), but most oligarchs don’t really care about this as long as they rake it in. The ones who do care, however, are the most dangerous. Because those are the people who will excuse any atrocity in pursuit of their “vision” (see: Dominionists, Steve Bannon, Betsy DeVos, etc.).
If you’re going to sell something for used parts, you generally have to break it first. All of these right-wing movements are about the breaking. Once broken, like the former Soviet Union, the jackals will rush in to take what they can, and they don’t care what wreckage they leave behind. Welcome to the age of the oligarchs, who believe they can live comfortably in their gated communities without being touched by climate change, species extinction, pollution, or the stink of their own corruption.