The Further Misdventures of Anna Matveeva
On December 14th of last year, we posted about a woman named Anna Matveeva, whom we called a “Russophile idiot” because she was writing shamelessly dishonest and moronic lies about the Putin regime on the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” blog.
Two weeks after we did so, the Kremlin’s propaganda network Russia Today hired her as one of its own bloggers (she’s “employee 66”), and she posted about the economic crisis. Surprise, surprise, surprise!
She opens her treatise with the following line: “Right now, the world is a very interesting place to be.”
What kind of lunatic writes something like that? People are going bankrupt and being wiped out left, right and center, Russia is ruled by a proud KGB spy, wages are falling, prices are rising, and this imbecile finds that “interesting”?
She continues: “It was expected that the U.S. presidential election would turn messy, with a possible McCain victory and disastrous divisions for the world’s most powerful state.”
A lie. It never was. Obama led all polls from start to finish and the Republicans were given up for doomed at the outset. McCain wasn’t even a real Republican.
Then this: “Some feared that the power change in Russia would generate clashes with the opposition, a disproportionate police response and produce a leadership ripped apart by rivalries.”
Lie #2. They feared exactly the opposite, that the opposition would do nothing but rather be crushed by fear and preemptive state action so as to render the “election” a total sham. That’s exactly what happened.
Then comes this doozy:
The financial crisis underscored the fact that recent prosperity was built on unsustainable foundations consisting of crazy lending and borrowing, sky-high oil prices and unaffordable housing. Russia enthusiastically participated in this bubble by raising its labour costs despite low productivity and a mediocre quality of services. Now everybody is waking up to face the harsh realities of the need to live according to their means.
Note well, dear reader, that it was “Russia” and not “Putin” who made the error, and in fact “everybody” is responsible. Things must be pretty darned hot in Putin’s kitchen if his own sycophants are forced to admit Russia is in crisis. Yet only in Russia is regime change unthinkable. But in the U.S.? She states ominously:
As the country most exposed to the 2008 crisis, the U.S. was heading towards an internal collision between polarised social forces threatening to disrupt the established order. The answer came at a historical moment in a choice of an unconventional leader winning against all odds.
Against all odds? He was the overwhelming favorite in polls and won by a near landslide!
Lie #3: “Most exposed?” Russia’s economic downturn has been far more severe than America’s, by any measure.
Then she gets down to the truly nasty business of really obscenely dishonest propaganda:
By contrast, the European financial crisis has not led to any significant political or social consequences. Citizens by and large trust that existing governments are doing their best in the given conditions. Opposition parties do not come up with solutions radically different from what the ruling parties offer, while scoring political points out of the governments’ perils appears as a mauve tone. In the time of trials, the financial crisis has brought the citizens and the state closer together. Miraculously, the stakes of the EU, previously seen as an ineffective institution ridden by internal strife, have consolidated under Sarkozy’s leadership, with the Union playing a proactive and unifying role.
2009 will show whether the European model holds true for Russia, or whether the social contract between the rulers and the ruled was mostly based on the oil-and-metals boom which generated short-term prosperity and a ‘feel-good’ factor, rather than lasting credibility of the government. So far, the effects of the crisis have only had a limited effect upon politics, as society is trying to adapt to new circumstances rather than challenge them. However, if the misery of human experience is to increase, it will test the resilience of the population and of the governing institutions. The lesson of the August 1998 crisis was that the fall of a government and a major political reorientation was the price of recovery.
Maybe we missed something, but we don’t think elections have taken place since the financial crisis began in any major European country. Moreover, what possible “effect upon politics” in terms of elections could there be in a country that does not allow opposition candidates on the ballot and has no opposition presence in the parliament? How is this unmitigated gibberish any different than the sewage which used to issue from the mouths of the Politburo members in Soviet times? Is she really arguing that because Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy are still in office, there’s nothing wrong with Putin staying in charge either?
She continues: “It is deeply symbolic that the ‘Hero of Our Time’ is an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush – a small man defying the world’s most powerful leader. ” Indeed, it is very symbolic indeed — symbolic of the abject desperation of the Moscow Kremlin that they would make such a person their hero. How much more pathetic can these idiots become before they collapse? Suppose a Georgian reporter throws a shoe at Putin — would her reaction be the same?
Then comes this amazing statment:
In 2008 the cracks in the world order, which emerged out of the collapse of the bi-polar world, became more apparent. The application of the ‘might is right’ principle has reached a deadlock in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the intervening powers are at a loss how to handle these hopeless situations.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, but not in Georgia and Ukraine?
She states: “Attempts to hold territories together by international will came to a futile end with the Western recognition of Kosovo and the Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, thus paving the way for other aspiring separatists.” So, Russian recognitition alone is to be equated with that of the entire Western world?
She ends with this:
The Russian appetite for getting at the West has also reached its limits. Russia will need cooperation with the West more than the other way around, as it will be unable to finance its own needs without western capital, and will have to relax its terms of business. Now the high levels of non-commercial risk of dealing with Russia are less likely to be offset by high returns, with the inevitable consequences of foreign capital flight from which harsh lessons will have to be learnt by the leadership. Every cloud has a silver lining. Apart from hardship, crises can mobilise societies, and unleash creative potential and entrepreneurial spirit. However, they can also produce more inward-looking perspectives, more xenophobia and anti-immigrant pressure when jobs are being cut. We are likely to see both sides of the crisis and hope that it is not going to last for too long.
That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? She’s saying that Russia will become a completely different country than it has been for the past ten years without the slightest bit of regime change. She’s saying, in fact, that no specific person in the regime is responsible or needs to be replaced. And above all she’s saying that now, because Russia’s circumstances have changed, it’s suddenly and magically become a trustworthy partner.
Isn’t that what we thought about the USSR?