A New Low in the Annals of Russian Stupidity
We’ve chronicled some amazing instances of Russian stupidity here on this blog over the years, but this one may well take the cake: It was announced last week that Russia was “considering” the possiblity of cooperating with OPEC to reduce the world’s supply of crude oil and artificially jack up prices. Oil prices actually rose on the news, about 1% but still below a — for Russia — sickening $52/barrel. This notion is stupid on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to begin.
Firstly, one might have hoped that after four long months of truly brutal, vicious economic bad news caused in no small part because American demand for oil declined owing to a downturn in the U.S. economy, Russia would have learned the lesson about killing the golden goose. Russia’s “president” spent years trying to undermine the U.S. economy, and the net result was that the U.S. did in fact enter a recession, one that has now virtually obliterated the Russian stock market and sent the wider Russian economy into a horrify tailspin. So, what now? More of the same?
Secondly, is it really possible that anyone, much less anyone in the Kremlin, can believe that Russia can afford to reduce its revenues on crude oil exports? It seems not, since no sooner had this report appeared than the Moscow Times was reporting the Kremlin’s plans to raise oil output. And it’s obvious the Kremlin must do so, because the falling price per barrel means it must sell more or face massive shortfalls in budgetary revenue — to say nothing of revenue the oil companies need for investment and exploration.
Thirdly, has Russia forgotten already the way it marketed itself to the West as an alternative to OPEC, and hence an important player to be included at tables such as that of the G-8? How can Russia possibly expect any reaction in the West other than an escalation of the cold war if it allies itself with the fanatical Islamic regimes who control OPEC? Indeed, perhaps the Kremlin wants to antagonize the West, and thereby perhaps create concerns about oil supply that will drive up the price even further.
Reports also circulated last week that a “resurgent” Russia was “making waves” in South America. Apparently, Russia not only believes it can sustain a presence supporting Hugo Chavez despite Russia’s foundering economy and Chavez’s increasingly untenable government, but believes that it can induce the U.S. to back away from Georgia and Ukraine by doing, in some form of malignant quid pro quo. Have Russia’s rulers even considered the possiblity that the U.S. will simply escalate its own involvement in Russia’s neighboring regions, just as occurred in the Cold War?
It appears not. Indeed, it appears that Russia’s so-called “rulers” have not considered any of the consequences of their actions, just as the rulers of the USSR never did. We fully expect, therefore, Russia to destroy itself in the same manner.
Last week, it was also reported that the Russian Orthodox Church had sent a representative to Havana to decorate Communist madman Fidel Castro with the “Russian Orthodox Church Order Glory and Honour.” For a church to pin a medal on a Communist is something so bizarre that it could only come out of Russia, where the church has become nothing more than the mouthpiece of the Kremlin’s effort to create what can only be called Holy Russian Empire. It should suprise nobody, of course, since that same church has been worshipping at the alter of Vladimir Putin, a proud KGB spy, from the beginning of his rule.
What a surprise! Nobody ever heard about russian natural stupidity! What result can you expect after centuries of heavy drinking? The generation of morons.
Actually “centuries of heavy drinking” are a myth. Before 20th century Russia had the some of the lowest alcohol consumption per capita rates in Europe. France, Belgium and England always led the way. Western Europe still leads; currently Portugal, Ireland, France, Germany and Czech Republic and Romania consume about 10-12 liters of alcohol per capita, while Russians consume about 8.6 liters. The only problem is that Russians consume more vodka, while Europeans consume more wine and beer. Cheers parvus!
LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:
You need to document your factual claims by posting a link to source material. If you don’t your comment is subject to deletion as it violates our comment publication guidelines.
Your “only problem” is actually a rather gigantic one, leading Russian men to live less than 60 years on average, nearly 20 years less than the average Western European and not in the top 100 countries in the world. That you would rationalize Russian drinking rather than calling for reform is highly indicative of truly patholotical hatred of the Russian people.
jason, I am really curious about your sources (8.6 liters) as well. Quick search on Russian site shows the consensus of about 12-15 liters.
The official statistics based on alcohol sales in 2005 is 9.7 liters and experts agree that the real number is approximately 1.5-2 times higher.
I wasn’t looking much for alcohol consumption pre-20th century; but in order to call it a myth you got to be more specific than that. Otherwise your credibility goes south very quickly!
The problem with the “official” statistics is that they often overlook much of the alcohol that is actually consumed.
The WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004, for example, notes: “In many countries there is alcohol available which lies outside
of the recorded sphere. This is often called unrecorded alcohol. ”
Examples of this unrecorded alcohol includes: “home production, in many countries licit for wine and beer, while illicit for spirits” and “surrogate alcohol intended for industrial, technical or medical purposes.”
If you spend any time in Russia, you will realize that a lot of the unrecorded alcohol consumed includes: samogon (homemade moonshine) which is the mainstay in many Russian villages; “spirits” or pure alcohol obtained from hospitals or other sources and finally the drink of choice for desperate alcoholics, Troynoy cologne (“Тройной одеколон”) that can be bought in any market for a handful of rubles.
If you add this “unrecorded” alcohol consumption, then you easily get alcohol consumption rates that are 1.5 to 2 times higher as Felix notes.