Will Mr. Putin Follow in the Footsteps of Filipino Dictator Marcos?

by Bobby Reyes

President Reagan with President Ferdinand Marcos and wife, Imelda, during a state visit in 1982 outside the Oval Office | Photo via Wikimedia Creative Commons

Part IV of the “Ukraine Crisis” Series

It has been reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin is secluded in a well-protected and secure “hideout.” It is said to be far from the Kremlin, which is in the capital city of Moscow. Many of his top cronies (the oligarchs) and military officials are reported to be with him. It seems that Mr. Putin has reinvented the adage of Don Vito, the Hollywood godfather, of “keeping friends close and enemies closer.” Is it now the other way around? It also appears that all his cronies and top generals are unarmed. Only the security people of the Russian president carry weapons.

President Putin must have studied the fate of many dictators that ultimately were unceremoniously replaced. Many of them were sent packing, along with their family members and some of the top cronies, off to exile — just like Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Philippines. The more-unfortunate ones could leave the presidential (or imperial) palace only in a horizontal position and often in a coroner’s van, as in the case of Emperor Caligula of the Roman Empire and Führer Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany.

This columnist narrated how the ouster of Mr. Marcos became part of the so-called “Reagan Revolution” and his role in Philippine history.

The Reagan White House sent officials to the Philippines to oversee the ouster of Mr. Marcos — after he declined to resign. They relied not only on the American Embassy’s contacts among the Filipino decision and policymakers but also on the cronies of the Filipino president. The cronies wanted, of course, to save themselves and their fortunes. It was easy to get a majority of the Filipino military leaders, as apparently Mr. Marcos was gifting them regularly in millions of pesos only (but never in greenbacks). Many cronies gave up to the new government a significant portion of the loot they held in trust for Mr. Marcos. And reportedly shared the balance with the new civilian leaders and the military leaders that aided the peaceful and nearly-bloodless “People-powered Revolution of 1986.”

“The Reagan White House sent officials to the Philippines to oversee the ouster of Mr. Marcos — after he declined to resign. They relied not only on the American Embassy’s contacts among the Filipino decision and policymakers but also on the cronies of the Filipino president.”

Then the federal government confiscated real estate, properties, bank accounts, and even an expensive collection of paintings, jewelry, and artworks of the Marcoses in the United States. The Swiss government allowed a secret account of the Marcos Family to be turned over to the new Philippine government.

But the “Reagan-orchestrated People’s Revolution” against Mr. Marcos prevented a bloody civil war that would have occurred if they did not bring Mr. Marcos, his kin, in-laws, and some of his cronies to Hawaii in exile.

President Putin is allegedly orchestrating the playbook of almost-all dictators. Raiding the public treasury and treating the country’s Central Bank as a personal piggy bank. Hiding the loot with the use of dummies, as personified by chosen friends, in-laws, and relatives. Dictators enable their cronies and dummies to get control of state-owned firms and monopolies and/or government contracts that were “sold” or “awarded” in supposedly-public bidding. And privatized.

Mr. Marcos was said to have accumulated in 20 years as the Filipino president more than 20-billion American greenbacks (that probably now are the equivalent of more than $63-billion in valuation as of 2020). As Googled, a greenback in 1980 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $3.14 in 2020, increasing $2.14 over 40 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.90% per year between 1980 and 2020, producing a cumulative price increase of 214.09%. And thus, some financial experts think that the controlling vested interests in Russia have accumulated more than the equivalent of 20-trillion (spelled with a T) in American dollars and Euro currency. If reports were accurate, Mr. Marcos would lose his record of being the world’s biggest thief — and be replaced by a Russian.

President Biden is apparently doing his version of the “Reagan Revolution” that started the downfall of the Marcos Dictatorship. The Biden Administration has launched the “Operation KleptoCapture (OKC).” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced last Wednesday, March 2, 2022, the formation of a Task Force called “KleptoCapture.” The Task Force will employ federal law enforcement resources to hold accountable corrupt Russian oligarchs. Here are the details about the OKC.

“President Biden is apparently doing his version of the “Reagan Revolution” that started the downfall of the Marcos Dictatorship. The Biden Administration has launched the “Operation KleptoCapture (OKC).”

Or perhaps the Russian military leaders and the oligarchs may like to follow in the footsteps of more than 5,000 members of Nazi Germany’s armed forces that staged an ill-fated coup in 1944. Some 4,700 were executed after a court-martial found them guilty of the unsuccessful plot to eliminate the Führer.

Remember Col. Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators that attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the Führer of Nazi Germany? The assassination attempt happened inside the German dictator’s Wolf’s Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The name “Operation Valkyrie” nearly succeeded on July 20, 1944. It was the code name of the conspiracy to dispatch Adolf Hitler and seek peace with the Allied Powers.

Yes, indeed, poetic justice always prevails. But after all was said and done, Nazi Germany’s Führer and his wife committed suicide in his Berlin bunker. And Mr. Marcos died in Honolulu (HI) of lingering illnesses just 3-years and 7-months after his exile.

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