Estonian President compares Russia's "authoritarian capitalism" to The Godfather

  • 2015-04-22
  • from wire reports and TBT staff, TALLINN

In an interview with the Voice of America's Ukrainian Department, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves compared the current situation in Russia to the film "The Godfather" and referred to the economic system there as "authoritarian capitalism," Postimees Online reports.

Ilves pointed out that capitalism is not necessarily accompanied by liberal democracy, although in the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a perception did exist that the free market would automatically bring about liberal democracy.

Ilves reminded listeners that there have been previous examples of capitalism under the control of oligarchs, of which a good example is Nazi Germany. "The term "national Socialists" did not mean anything, he said: it was an oligarchic society. A similar form of capitalism could also be seen under Benito Mussolini in Italy. What we are seeing now, is authoritarian capitalism, where the state power and mafia structures are closely connected. The state protects those who give them good contracts," he said.

He added that he watched the film of "The Godfather" with his son at Christmas, and commented that the film can be compared to what is currently happening in Russia.

Going on to talk about Russia's hostile propaganda towards neighbouring countries, Ilves said that it has been being taken more seriously for the past year and a half, whereas previously it was just laughed at.

"Today we can see how people gathered at Maidan are labelled fascists. This is what we have come to. In Great Britain, Estonia, Denmark and Lithuania a common position was reached: that common measures throughout the European Union have to be implemented against such propaganda. If only one country does it, it is of low effectiveness in fighting such propaganda," Ilves said.