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James O'Brien perfectly explains why Vladimir Putin wants to interfere in UK politics
22 July 2020, 11:07
James O'Brien perfectly explained why Vladimir Putin is so desperate to influence UK elections - it's all about keeping hold of his money.
The LBC presenter has been covering corruption from Russia for over five years on his show, after one caller told him about his role in fighting it. That caller was the now-famous anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder.
After the long-awaited Russia report was finally released yesterday, James responded to some commentators' claims that people don't really care about the interference.
And he revealed what Putin's aim is - keeping hold of all the money he's stolen.
Speaking on LBC, he said: "The reason why Vladimir Putin wants to destabilise western democracies is really easy to understand - it's the only way he gets to hold on to his money.
"Putin has stolen billions from the Russian people. Every oligarch worthy of the name - whether they live in London or Leningrad - has also stolen billions of pounds/dollars/roubles from the Russian people.
"Look at what happened to the President of Ukraine a few years ago. He was found to have trousered huge sums of money that he'd nicked off his own people, culminating in the discovery of a pirate ship made of gold in his back garden.
"What happened? They kicked him out.
"The Ukrainian people looked to the West and saw functioning democracies and thought 'why can't we be more like that? Why do we have a crook in charge of our country?' The crook of course was put there by Putin.
"Putin watched that happen and thought 'I've nicked loads more money than the bloke in Ukraine, I'd better start to make some efforts to make that look to the West less attractive.
"Fast forward and what's happened in the finest liberal democracies in the history of humanity? Donald Trump is in charge of one of them and Boris Johnson is in charge of the other with Brexit, the most incredible act of self-harm ever taken by a country in the history of humanity now just six months away.
"The destabilising of the liberal democracies in the West have been an absolute success for Vladimir Putin and his cronies."