Annals of Russian Propaganda
This cartoon from the Russian humorist Sergei Yelkin (a/k/a “Ellustrator“) neatly encapsulates Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s view of the current status of the Russian economy, shown as the woman on the table being frightened by a tiny mouse named “crisis.”
This view, of course, is dead wrong on three different levels, and reveals Putin’s extreme ignorance of the basic elements of governing a market economy.
First, in terms of fundamentals the economy is a total disaster. Russia’s total dependence on exports of crude oil (it has not even developed the ability to refine the oil and export gasoline, much less to export any other product) has been exposed, as has the deep corruption of its financial markets and political system.
Second, even if the economy were fundamentally strong and somehow “overreacting” to a minor downturn in the world economy, the mere fact of that overreaction would be indicative of a very serious problem. Why is a strong market so easily panicked?
And third, it’s simply breathtaking that Putin would think he can pull the wool over the eyes of his countrymen as to the first two basic facts. How can anyone possibly take his claims seriously when rather than attempt substantive argument his tactic is to persecute anyone who dares to claim there is a real crisis? Isn’t that rather obviously the act of a man who is in the wrong?
Vladimir Putin is hopelessly out of his depth. He has never run a business, never studied economics, never even lived as a citizen in a real market economy. Instead, he has spent his whole life learning how to “solve” problems through lies and propaganda, blunt trauma and brute physical force. The people of Russia chose to ruled by a proud KGB spy, and now those chickens are coming home to roost.