BRUSSELS - For years, the Belgian political world rolled out the red carpet for Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs. That truth is now becoming all the more painfully clear.

Belgium's recent past is replete with examples of how oligarchs, in exchange for vast sums of money and investment, managed to get things done that mere mortals cannot even dream of. Sometimes visible, but more often in the shadows: from purchased naturalisations over the obstruction of legal investigations, the organisation of black PR operations, and tailor-made legislation, to shady investments.

With the investigative file The Russian Connection, Apache makes it clear how, for years, there seemed to be no antidote to the many Russian roubles. Only now that Putin is showing himself to be the devil in the Ukraine is the realisation of how problematic the Russian connection is cautiously dawning. Far too late.

Tom Cochez

Tom Cochez is a Belgian investigative journalist.

Jan Walraven

Jan Walraven works as an investigative journalist for the Belgian investigative journalism website Apache.
€ 6.000 allocated on 20/03/2020.