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Hello world, let me introduce you to Canada’s deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland. The daughter of a #Ukrainian immigrant, she speaks 5 languages (including Russian and Ukrainian) and has a lot of, erm, experience dealing with Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia. She features prominently in Bill Browder’s “Red Notice”, which documents his battle with Putin and the Oligarchs starting in the wake of Russia’s late 1990s economic collapse.

At 5 feet 2 inches tall, this diminutive lady has over the past week dramatically swung world events against Vladimir Putin. She was uniquely prepared for this crisis, and has almost single-handedly led the world in bringing Putin to his knees.

But let me rewind: Chrystia Freeland hails from the unlikely political hotbed of Red Deer, Alberta. Her dad was, from all interpretations, the son of a cowboy and a lawyer. Her mother Halyna Chomiak, who was Ukrainian by birth, was born a refugee in a displaced persons camp right after the Second World War in Bavaria, after her family fled the ongoing famine and Stalin’s takeover of Ukraine. Halyna became a lawyer and federal NDP candidate in Canada; and after moving to Ukraine in the early 1990s, was an author of Ukraine’s democratic constitution.

Ms. Freeland has a bachelors’ degree from Harvard in Russian History and Literature, and a master’s degree from Oxford in Slavonic studies. As a student, she spent several semesters in Kyiv studying and engaging with local activists seeking Ukrainian independence. There she acquired the KGB codename “Frida” and was actively tracked, engaged, and threatened by Soviet agents. The KGB, where Putin was building his power at the time, expressed concerns that she was doing material damage to the communist party as an activist, and used her as a case study. They had no idea what was coming.

After graduating she worked as a freelance journalist and eventually an editor for news outlets like the Economist, Financial Times, Globe and Mail, Washington Post and Associated Press over 20 years. Despite having been denied re-entry to the USSR in 1990, she eventually returned to and lived in Moscow as bureau chief for FT. Here she befriended Bill Browder and Igor Magnitsky and began to vocally report on the misdeeds of Putin and the Oligarchs. Insodoing, she became an existential enemy.

She returned to Canada in 2013 and entered politics, and has been at the right hand of the Prime Minister since 2015, originally as Minister of Trade and then Finance Minister. In 2014, she was one of 13 Canadians banned for life from visiting Russia by Putin himself — a list she declared herself proud to be on.

Even prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Freeland became Canada’s point person in response to the clear threat Putin posed to the country. On Tuesday Feb 22nd, days before the invasion, Chrystia began reaching out to her peers abroad and floated a number of sanctions that could and should be imposed against a belligerent Russian state. Among her proposals was the idea of cutting off Russia’s Central Bank — freezing the country’s overseas assets, prohibiting them from further borrowing, and nixing their so-called “rainy day fund” that was intended to be used as an economic buffer throughout this unprovoked war. She pitched this to the world’s governments and central bankers and quickly persuaded them to act after the invasion commenced.

The collapse of the Moscow Stock Exchange and the Russian Ruble, among other consequences, are a direct result of this action. Their economy is now in free-fall, by some estimates smaller than many African nations, and both Putin and his country are now flat broke. And she’s not stopping: our government is now, under her leadership, going after Russian assets in Canada — and encouraging other countries to do the same. She’s chasing the oligarchs right down into their financial rabbit holes.

The KGB was right about Ms. Freeland: but they picked on the wrong young lady, way back in 1989. This is her moment, and never has a person been so prepared for such consequential action. Among other résumé highlights, soon she may be able to add toppling a dictator.

Here, she is interviewed in 2000 about Russia’s bumpy and vastly unequal transition to capitalism: