Oligarchs were not the only ones to take advantage of the transition to enrich themselves. Government officials did just as well, some at the very highest levels. Take for example Pavel Borodin, Yeltsin’s assistant in charge of Kremlin property, and Mikhail Kasyanov, who as Finance Minister came to be called “Misha Two Percent” for the rake-off he received for providing financial information in advance.1 But in a throwback to the Soviet era, there were also a small number who sought to enhance their institutions even more than themselves and, by extension, the scope of Russia’s national influence. They operated as if the Soviet Union had never disintegrated. This meant acting to promote Russia’s political and strategic interests even if such acts had negative economic and financial consequences. Such behavior is what leads business leaders to rank Russia as a finalist if not a winner in rankings of the most difficult and corrupt countries in the world in which to do business. This reflects not only the dishonest practices of private businessmen, but the sometimes deviant behavior of government officials and their recurrent resort to extortion.