Ex-wife of Putin's 'banker' says prez's inner circle 'makes The Godfather look like Frozen'
The ex-wife of one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's former associates has described his inner circle as making the legendary blockbuster 'The Godfather' look like Disney's 'Frozen'.
Countess Alexandra Tolstoy gained access to Putin's cortège through her relationship with Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev, who was once dubbed as Putin's "banker" before being branded a traitor. Tolstoy and Pugachev's whirlwind relationship was explored in a Netflix documentary called 'The Countess & The Russian Billionaire', created by the BBC. In a recent interview with GB News’ Eamonn Holmes, Tolstoy claimed that those closest to the Russian strongman were some of the nation's richest people and were "ruthless" in their approach.
“I spent eight years I would say living in Putin’s circle, I was in the same room as him a couple of times, I lived in this oligarch’s world,” Countess Tolstoy began. “I can say that it makes the Godfather look like Frozen. It is ruthless, these people have no empathy they have no normal human emotions," she added.
The iconic 'Godfather' trilogy tells the story of a powerful Italian-American crime syndicate as prodigal son Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, reluctantly joins the Mafia to replace his father Vito Corleone played by Marlon Brando. The movies recognize the money and power that comes with life in the Mafia but at the cost of grave violence and threats.
Tolstoy's claim comes as Russian oligarchs across the globe face heavy sanctions from Western countries as a response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some are hoping that imposing heavy economic sanctions on individuals with close ties to the Kremlin would force Putin to withdraw his troops. While many see the Russian president's invasion of Ukraine as a bid to defend his legacy as a leader, Tolstoy doesn't agree. “I’ve seen a lot of experts talking about Putin’s legacy [and] I don’t think it's that," she opined. "I think he has a narcissistic personality disorder and it’s much more about a bruised ego. It’s very personal and he sees his ego diminished by the West and he’s just lashing out,” she explained.
Tolstoy tied the knot with Pugachev in 2008 while working as an English tutor. The couple had three children together before parting ways in 2015. According to the Daily Star, Pugachev was once a close friend of Putin's and owned major shipyards aside from the world's biggest mine. He was also the co-founder of a Russian bank Mezhprombank, which had to be bailed out for $1 billion in 2008. Pugachev fled Russia in 2011, following claims that his relationship with Putin had soured and not what it used to be. He was subsequently placed by Russian authorities on Interpol's most-wanted list and had his assets frozen after being accused of profiting from the economic crisis of 2008. In 2015, when he separated from Countess Tolstoy, he was reportedly number 3 on the Kremlin's hit list and plagued with death threats.
Putin and his inner circle “make the Godfather look like [the Disney movie] Frozen”.— Isabel Webster (@IsabelWebster_) March 8, 2022
It’s “ruthless, they have no empathy and no normal, human emotions.” Watch the full I/v with Countess Alexandra Tolstoy on my insta: @IsabelWebstertv #RussianUkrainianWar #oligarchy #Tolstoy pic.twitter.com/isSPHXVSke
Countess Tolstoy opened up about her relationship with Pugachev in Netflix's 'The Countess & The Russian Billionaire'. She told documentary producers that she had never felt "such a connection to someone” but revealed that it became a “nightmare” shortly after. She also claimed that many of the problems Pugachev faced were due to their relationship.