This supposed rebuttal of Putin, which "rebuttal" calls Putin's points spurious, is reframing the point to create a strawman to knock down. It does not actually rebut Putin's points.
President Putin did not say no money changed hands. However, the damage done to the Russian economy by the neoliberal, unhelpful, counterproductive hand shoved into Russia while the unfortunate drunkard, Yeltsin, was "in charge" is deliberately not brought up by Leonid Bershidsky, the article's author.
Bershidsky says Russian nukes were still a threat, as if that defeats Putin's larger picture. Putin: "Once the condition of the nuclear complex, the armed forces and the economy had been seen, international law appeared to be unnecessary." You'll notice that Putin was referring to Russia's total situation. It was in zero shape to fight the US. Russia was in a severe, Western-induced depression and under chaotic leadership at best. Unlike the current shape of Russia, there was almost a complete lack of ability to use MAD as any sort of foreign or military stick.
Bershidsky says that Putin's expressed view about the 1917 Bolshevik revolution is spinning. If Bershidsky cares to debate Putin's view, I'm here. I can more than defend what Putin stated about that. I know he's exactly right, and I know how to explain it. Good historians and political scientists have known very well for many, many decades that capitalism was dragged kicking and screaming into the mixed economy with welfare-state aspects and the other aspects Putin mentioned while working overtime domestically and internationally to thwart the very cause they were so dragged: the competition socialism posed (and still does in its truly democratic form) for the hearts and minds of the masses.
Where Putin fails in his understanding and expression is that he avoids the subject of the right-wing within Communism versus the left-wing within socialism. Russia and the USSR were not democratic-socialist states/unions.
The rest of Bershidsky's screed is his imagination/speculation, his own sales pitch, spinning what he claims is Putin's spin.
Oh GOD! (Not in vain) As much as I am no Clinton or Trump fan, it is utterly clear to me that this article ("FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow") is deliberately written of, by, and for neoconservatism, which will throw anyone under the bus in order to "get" (throw mud at) Putin and Russia. Here's the problem. There may be a problem, but this article, at best, assumes waaaay too much. It is entirely one-sided. It doesn't say "alleged." It doesn't address why anyone should withhold or reserve judgement. It doesn't state why the FBI or anyone in it could have gotten things wrong or could even have fabricated or distorted things because of his or her or their wrongdoing or overriding ideology or orders from on high from who knows whom.
Yes, someone went to prison, but anyone with any knowledge about what can, has, and could have happened, won't simply say that that's that, that that's "proof," or that even if it is proof of one party's guilt that it proves the entire thrust of the article.
Lastly, let's not forget that when all of this was happening, Putin was not quite the boogeyman he has by now been painted as being. Let's not forget that once upon a time, Putin was extremely open to getting along famously with the US and that it was the neocons surrounding George W. Bush, and GWB himself, who cast the first stones while Putin wasn't even guilty of even alleged crimes because the neocons didn't even allege any.
I totally agree with Robert Parry concerning the framers' intentions; however, the actual words of the US Constitution's Second Amendment remain more than problematic. "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Here's why.
Even though the people and their arms are not being used for the purpose of a well-regulated militia, that does not remove the right of the people. The reason is that the state retains the legal authority to form such a well-regulated militia. If the right of the people to keep and bear arms were removed without properly altering the amendment, then the entire amendment would be nullified, which simply can't legally be done in any such manner.
The fact is, the right of the people to keep and bear privately owned arms is not necessary for a well-regulated militia. The question concerns the security of a free state. Is the right of the people to keep and bear privately owned arms necessary for the security of a free state? The framers weren't worried from that angle, but should we be? Should the Second Amendment be amended or removed to accomplish the needs of the current United States of America, which is facing a huge number of murders via privately held guns. It would not be a panacea, but would it be heading in the right direction more than leaving everyone who passes a background check armed with a private gun or guns?
I think so.