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Moscow playing waiting game in ongoing war, says Kremlin critic who once ran Russia’s largest foreign investment fund

Russia is playing a waiting game, with high hopes that the early unified Western response to its invasion of Ukraine collapses and the financial and military aid that Kyiv receives dries up, said a prominent Kremlin critic who once ran Russia’s largest foreign investment fund. 

“(Russian President Vladmir Putin) is losing the war because the Ukrainians are getting western equipment from the United States and (the European Union). But he continues to throw more and more men into battle to die,” said British financier and activist Bill Browder.

“Putin’s big bet is that he doesn’t have to win the war, he just has to outlast the patience of the West.” 

He added that foreign sanctions have frozen around US$300 billion of Russia’s central bank reserves, crippling Russia’s economy and military efforts. 

Mr Browder was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, after which he was denied entry into the country and declared a national security threat for exposing corruption in Russian state-owned firms.


Mr Browder, the chief executive of investment firm Hermitage Capital Management, believes Mr Putin is gambling on former US president and Republican Donald Trump winning the presidential election next year, which would likely see support for Kyiv dwindle. 

“So Putin is waiting it out, hoping that the financial (and) military support for Ukraine collapses with the presidential election in November 2024,” he told CNA’s Asia Now on Tuesday (Oct 3). 

Since then, Mr Browder, who has faced death threats for being a leading critic of Mr Putin, has fought for visa bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers and corrupt officials.

“I’ve been at this for almost 14 years and I’ve survived 14 years, so I intend to survive many more years. It does require major changes of behaviour, new protocols, all sorts of security arrangements,” said Mr Browder, who has written two books on corruption inside Russia.

“But in the end, I’m not backing down, and I will carry on fighting for justice for victims of Putin’s oppression as long as I can. I’m not going to let their threats derail me.”


His team has traced the money from Russia’s tax fraud and found that it had gone to 26 countries, including the US, France and Italy. 

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