„We won’t come with Kalashnikovs, we will come with money.“
This quote from the Russian president Vladimir Putin is more than a pretty bon mot. Russian investors have invested billions in London, state-owned enterprises and oligarchs have put a lot of money in German energy providers. Three large shipyards in the east of Germany are owned by a young entrepreneur from Moscow. Gazprom, the world’s largest energy provider, sponsors the traditional football club Schalke 04, as well as the French right-wing party Front National. In France the Kremlin has ordered two warships for more than a billion Euros. Is this all “business as usual” or is it strategies to enforce political interests of the Kremlin via economic power?
2014 was a deep geopolitical caesura. A new east-west-confrontation with Russia has begun. To what extend is it resolved by economic means? Does Russian money play a strategic role in Europe? Is it controlled by the “Kremlin plc”?