Putin’s Russia, Setting Records
That’s a record. It’s the amount of the Russian people’s money, in billions of dollars, that Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin spent in foreign currency to buy (or “defend”) the Russian ruble in the month of December, 2008. In other words, to fraudulently alter its true value and hide the Kremlin’s policy failure from the people. It’s over 15% of all Russia’s foreign exchange cash reserves on hand at the beginning of the month. Russia had never spent as much in any prior month in its history.
Another record for Putin’s Russia. It’s the amount, in billions of dollars, that fled from Russia to other countries for investment purposes in 2008. Never in any prior year in Russian history had that much capital flight occurred in just one year.
And yet a third record for Putin. It was the cost of one U.S. dollar in Russian rubles at the close of trading last Thursday, the highest value the American currency has had in the modern history of the ruble. It means that now all foreign goods, which Russia depends on for survival, cost more than they ever have before.
That’s only the tip of Vlad Putin’s record-setting iceberg, of course.
For instance, on Putin’s watch (as showin the graph at left), Russia has experienced by far its greatest one year loss of value in stock market equities ever, with shares down nearly 80% in the final three quarters of last year. On Thursday, the RTS index crashed through the 600-point psychological barrier to close below 570. It is projected that Russia will run at least a $100-billion budget deficit next year as the Kremlin revised its forecast for the price of oil down by a whopping 20%, from $50/barrel to $40. But the $40 is the current selling price of Urals crude, and analysts say a further revision to $30, triggering the massive deficit, is in the offing.
As we report below, Putin is also setting records in the category of “winning enemies and alienating people,” polarizing virtually the entire civilized world by starting out the year buzzing Americans with nuclear bombers, then sending weapons to the likes of Iran and Syria, and finishing up by invading Georgia and waging energy warfare against Ukraine. Now, only rogue states like Nicaragua and Libya can be counted as Russian “friends.”
In short, its virtually impossible to describe in words how utterly ruinous for Russia has been the rule of the proud KGB spy named Putin — a name eerily similar to other insane despots who have ruined Russia in the past, specifically Lenin and Stalin. But unlike those Communist warlords, Putin was not thrust upon the nation regardless of its desires. Though his “elections” were surely rigged the fact is that huge numbers of Russians went to the polling place and voted for Putin, and more important turned their backs as he destroyed opposition politics and critical media. The people of Russia have allowed their national clock to be turned back to Soviet days, and they are now feeling the neo-Soviet consequences of failed policy and economic stagnation.