Standing Up To Putin with Bill Browder

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William_BrowderThis week’s Hardcore MBA guest is a little bit different. His career started out in a fairly straightforward manner, running businesses and heading up an investment fund in a foreign country. But in recent years things have taken a different turn, and he now finds himself at the forefront of a human rights movement. The man is Bill Browder, the country is Russia, and in this week’s podcast, he tells us his story.

Bill and I discussed:

  • His grandfather, ‘the biggest Communist in America’, and how Bill decided to become ‘the biggest capitalist in eastern Europe’.
  • The terrifying events that took place in the late 1990s, when Bill was declared a threat to the security of the Russian state and forced to flee the country.
  • And Bill’s current role as an advocate for human rights and the rule of law in Russia and around the world.

“Essentially, in Russia,” Bill says, “if you have anything of significant value, the authorities will use the power of the police to take it from you. Only the President has absolute power, and he maintains it through a system of loyalty – the people directly beneath him are allowed to get rich and to keep their riches, as long as they are completely loyal to him. The average Russian sees no benefit from any of this, they just get crumbling schools, hospitals, and roads. This is part of the reason for the war in Ukraine, to distract the population from the bigger issues in Russian society.”

This week’s podcast is a little shorter than normal, but the story it tells is just as important for you to hear as any discussion of the ins-and-outs of being an entrepreneur. I wish Bill all the best as he continues with his journey, and I encourage you to get a copy of his book, Red Notice. You can also find out more at Bill’s website.

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