Robert: ol·i·garch ˈäləˌɡärk/ noun noun: oligarch; plural noun: oligarchs 1. a ruler in an oligarchy. 2.(especially in Russia) a very rich businessman with a great deal of political influence. By Anne Applebaum Pittsburgh Post Gazette During the course of a long career, Paul Manafort, the ousted boss of the Donald Trump campaign, has helped oligarchs and crooks of all kinds come to power. He worked for Ferdinand Marcos and Jonas Savimbi; in Ukraine, he helped transform an ex-convict, Viktor Yanukovych, into a corrupt president who fired on demonstrators and eventually fled the country. Given all of that, recent reports that Yanukovych’s party allotted Manafort $12 million in off-the-books cash should hardly have come as a surprise. Now he’s been pushed aside by the differently sinister figure of Stephen Bannon. But before Mr. Manafort fades from view, it’s worth looking at what his affiliation with Mr. Trump tells us about both of them. Quite a lot has already been written, including by me, on the multiple connections between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the Trump campaign. But the deeper point has not really been driven home: The real problem with Mr. Trump isn’t that he is sympathetic to Russian oligarchs, it’s that he is a Russian oligarch, albeit one who happens to be American. By this, I don’t mean that Mr. Trump eats caviar or hangs out in Moscow nightclubs, although for all I know he’s done both of those things. He is, rather, an oligarch in the Russian style — a rich man who aspires to combine business with politics and has an entirely cynical and instrumental attitude toward both. The Kremlin actively seeks to buy politicians all across Europe. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has explained that he gave money in the past to candidates from both political parties — the majority Democrats — because “I support politicians ... and that was because of the fact that I am in business.” He has never shown any interest in real policy debates or political ideas, just in whom and what he could buy.