EDITORIAL: The Times they are a-Changin’

EDITORIAL

The Times the are a-Changin’

The Russian RTS stock index's performance last week

The Russian RTS stock index's performance last week

A year or so ago, when the U.S. and Russian stock markets were at historic highs, the ratio between the two was roughly 6:1.  The U.S. Dow Jones average was valued at 14,000 while the Russian RTS average was at 2,400.

Times have changed.  Both the U.S. and Russian stock markets have suffered debiliating setbacks, but the impact on Russia has been far, far worse.  Today, the Dow Jones stands at 7,500 while the RTS is at 500. That means the ratio betwen the two is now on the order of 15:1. The relative size of the U.S. stock market compared to Russia’s has, in other words, increased by more the double following the onset of the global economic slowdown.  It now stands in the appropriate ratio given the relative sizes of the two countries’ GDPs.

Last Friday shares in Russia’s leading (and state-owned) banking institution, Sberbank, lost 10% of their value, and the RTS closed down nearly 6%.  Russia’s massive energy monoply, Gazprom, was down 8%.  The RTS was down 100 points from 620 at the beginning of the week, posting a loss of 16% on the week and once again flirting with crashing through the critical 500-point psychological barrier.

Between February 11th and 18th, Sberbank’s shares plunged from $0.56 to $0.40 in value — a loss over the course of one week of $0.16 or a nearly 30% of their total value, a stunning figure for a financial institution not onlyh backed but run by the Russian government itself (on Monday, Sberbank stock retreated another whopping 10%).  Gazprom, equally synonymous with the Russian government itself, saw its shares on the RTS plummet from $3.60 to $3.00 during the same period, a loss of almost 17%, horrifying but not all that bad when compared to Sberbank.

And the Kremlin is getting very, very desperate.  Streetwise Professor points out that it has just inked a deal with China in which it has basically sold its soul for investment capital.  Russia gets a $25 billion loan in exchange for 15 mllion metric tons of oil at a fixed price for 20 years.  Russia has apparently promised China a price of $20/barrel, meaning that the effective interest rate it will be paying China, in addition to guaranteeing it a flow of oil for decades, is a whopping 23%. SWP is not surprised:  “Given the dire financial straits of Rosneft, and the strong Chinese bargaining position, and their reputation for hard-nosed negotiating, I would expect the Chinese to be able to extract a very nice deal. ”

As Vladimir Putin’s chokehold on Russia tightens, things are getting worse and worse. Unemployment is rapidly approaching double digits, the value of the ruble has crashed and the nation’s savings account has been squandered in a futile attempt to stave off the crash. Russia, quite simply, can no longer afford the ignorant incomptence of the KGB simpleton tho rules it.

34 responses to “EDITORIAL: The Times they are a-Changin’

  1. “The relative size of the U.S. stock market compared to Russia’s has, in other words, increased by more the double following the onset of the global economic slowdown”
    this phrase doesn’t say a thing of the life of the people. “things are getting worse and worse” – sure they are. But by far, not so bad than in the Ukraine, or the Baltics, or many other places. In Russia, the biggest blow has been dealt to the rich – they own stock that’s quoted on the RTS, billionaires become millionaires on the weak demand etc. But people are not thrown out of their homes en masse as in the US -far from it. The biggest problem is inflation – but that’s much lesser problem than that of a loss of jobs, wealth, homes and equity that took its toll on the majority of americans.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    You simply have no idea what you are talking about. Russia’s unemployment is nearing double digits, the currency has lost a third of its value, inflation is well past double digits. The stock market is in freefall and liquidity for business investment has been totally wiped out.

    Not sure where you got the idea that “people are not thrown out of their homes en masse” in the U.S., but maybe from reading Izvestia and watching government-controlled Russian TV?

    It’s really sick, and sad, that instead of realizing the need for regime change as Americans have done, Russians simply go on rationalizing their failed government just as they did in Soviet times.

    Pathetic.

  2. Bobby’s comment and others like it maintain this constant drumbeat of, “The near abroad is even worse off than Russia; therefore Russia is victorious.”

    Do I understand the intended message correctly? The nation of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin now prides itself on being a slumlord, casting a shadow over mighty Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, defeating the military juggernaut that is Georgia, and by inciting political schism in the political and demographic monolith that is Ukraine. The true measure of a civilization’s worth and dignity isn’t by its own inherent strength but by the instability of its neighbors. “In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

  3. Bobby, try reading free media instead of Russian propaganda.

    By the way, there are a hell of a lot more Russians losing their jobs than Americans.

  4. But by far, not so bad than in the Ukraine, or the Baltics, or many other places.

    Don’t know about Ukraine (but I suspect, neither do you) – but to compare what’s happening in Russia to what’s happening in Baltics (I can talk about Latvia, and my friends say that it’s even better in Estonia) you must be living in Zimbabwe or inside ORT tube.
    The biggest problem is not inflation – it’s layoffs for some and reduced wages for the rest. It’s rapidly growing prices on top of reduced incomes. Third, it’s falling ruble in the situation when half of basic goods bought by ordinary people are imported.

    You are delusional. Try to spend a month in Kaluga or Perm and then repeat the BS that you are saying.

  5. “not so bad than in the Ukraine, or the Baltics, or many other places”

    ah but you see Ukraine and the Baltics are at least doing something about the problem – they’re having public discussion, they’re cutting costs like crazy (Estonia) and when things are really bad (Latvia) then they have a new management – that is, without killing any of the old management.

    and still, ask any of the inhabitants of those countries that you say are worse off than Russia, even be they russophone people, and they’ll tell you that they would rather stay where they are because it’s worse in Russia.

  6. Dear Russophobe,
    Pathetic is the epithet most suitable for your argumentation. “Russia’s unemployment is nearing double digits” – so is America’s, to speak nothing of France (always near 10%). “The currency has lost a third of its value” – the dollar lost more than 50% to euro since 2001, ruble only 10%. The ruble’s fall – I tell you myself getting paid in rubles and making payments in ruble too – does not affect me in the least, not till summer when I will go on vacation – if I do – to some foreign country. “Stockmarket in freefall” – Russia’s 70% compares quite well with US’s fall of 50%, taking into account that only 2% of (the most wealthy) Russians own stock, while 60% of american own theirs and get wiped out presently on all their life-long investments. And don’t forget all the Ponzi’s now uncovered daily in the us – they just robbed people of billions without any of your nicities such as “stock market”. “Liquidity” – now that’s really a hit of yours! All have agreed by now – except maybe you – that the american crisis of liquidity, so called liquidity crunch, caused this turmoil in the world in the first place, their reckless financial policy and military adventures, and to see the Fed printing money like mad, Hillary touring the world with a beggar’s hat for money etc etc etc and to say that Russia suffers from lack of liquidity is nonsense. “maybe from reading Izvestia and watching government-controlled Russian TV” – the fact that I am here speaks for itself. While you are completely drowned in your own hatred , probably spending all you time writing your own and reading your “correspondents'” t–d-smelling articles. “the need for regime change as Americans have done” – they never changed any “regime” , they just elected a new president. The same did we – last year. I personally voted for another candidate, he lost – so what. This president is ok, and there will be more elections. Nobody came to me and shot me for voting wrong. We said that Bush was bad for america and the world long ago, but they elected him again in 2004. So what? It was their choice.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Being an illiterate ape, you are apparently unable to read the post you are commenting on. A year ago the ratio between the US and Russian markets was TWO TIMES MORE FAVORABLE to Russia than it is now. Russia’s market has fallen FAR furrther than America’s and faster. If you think it’s good for Russia that market holdings are not diversified, you are an utter moron. It only goes to show how utterly primitive Russia’s economy really is — and how incredibly stupid is it for the Putin regime go squander billions propping up a market that doesn’t matter? Your “comments” are profoundingly imbecilic and ignorant, as if you live in a a wild forest wearing only a loin cloth and scratching yourself for entertainment.

    U.S. unemployment is lower than Russia’s and its averge wage is immeasurably higher. Russians live in poverty that is getting worse every day, and Russian men can’t expect to reach age 60.

    Russia has had a MASSIVE contraction in industrial output (you would know this if you actually read this blog instead of just vomiting on it like a monkey) and there are widespread protests in the Far East calling for Putin’s head on a platter. Yet, his government persists unchanged while America has made a radical reform.

    You ignore all these basic facts and blabber like an ape attempting to rationalize a totally failed government. Your statements are toxic poison to the interests of the people of Russia. You are a loathsome and contemptible little reptile, utterly pathetic.

  7. Disgusting

  8. Bobby, yes you are.

  9. Bobby, you are a parade of ignorance in which all I hear is the clamoring of the wretched idiot cymbals. Russia is a fool’s paradise and you are being fooled.

  10. Bobby, for starters, Google is your friend, you putz. Unemployment in the US hasn’t crossed 9%. I wouldn’t believe any stats coming out of Russia as we all know that the Kremlin controls them.

    And, the US unlike Russia isn’t solely dependent on oil and commodity revenues. Nor are we a third rate autocratic country run with an economy managed by the FSB morons. Economic cycles of boom and bust happen, they always will, open free democracies survive better than thug states.

    It’s hard trying to figure out what your pointless point is.

    Send us a postcard this summer from your foreign vacation and let us know how those roubles work out for you. And, why would some lame probably unemployed semi-literate troll living in his mom’s house in south Jersey(just a guess) be using roubles at Coney Island anyways?

  11. Russia’s real crisis is coming. The oligarchs owe $600 billion to banks (mostly European) coming due in 09. And remember, this is off a 2008 GDP of $1.2 trillion – and 2009 is going to be worse – even the Russian Government is now predicting a 2.4% drop and if the month of January is more trustworthy than government hacks, that number becomes 8.8%. In other words, Russia as a nation is making only two dollars for every one they have to pay back or refinance (good luck on that) THIS YEAR.

    Now, the government still has cash available – about $300 billion, on which they themselves need to pay back $30 billion. But even if every other kopek went to paying off Deripaska and Co’s liabilities, that still leaves them over $300 billion short.

    Where will they get that money? The only result I see is Putin saying “Yeah? Try and get it.” Which drives the European banking system into ruin and creates a run on the ruble. Anyone have any more input on this situation?

  12. Hello Bobby,

    The Russian stockmarket is roughly 20% or 1/5 of what it was. The US stock market is roughly 1/2 of what it was. Relatively, the US stock market index is 2.5 times greater in value than the Russian market during this turmoil.

    Or to put it another way, if you had $1 dollar each in the US and Russian markets. You would have now 50 cents in the US and 20 cents in the Russian. You are 2.5 times better off with the US market.

    That is hardly comparable.

    The unemployment rate in the US is presently 7.6%.

    In Russia, companies have many ways around laying off such as wage arrears or time off without pay. The official figures are open to a lot of manipulation. If the official rate is 10 percent, it is probably much higher.

    Lots of people in the US own stocks, bonds, and homes. It is a sign of wealth. Are you saying that if one does not own such things, he is better off when the items fall in value? It simply means that he, a pauper, had really nothing to lose, except perhaps a job. It is not a good argument.

    There have been some losses to fraudulent investment advisors. But the total value of wealth remaining far exceeds these rather diminutive losses.

    Russia lost $200 billion over the past 6 months and continues to lose by propping up a currency far above its market rate. It is curtailing liquidity to banks, strangling them in effect and the country, to protect against the Rouble’s fall. Not wise by any means. This liquidity crisis is Russian made, not US made.

    As for the nonsense that this is a US problem radiating throughout the world, why are Russian billionaires suffering? Because they created conditions for themselves similar to those facing some US citizens. They took on far too much debt. In fact, throughout the world there was no shortage of persons and businesses seeking to borrow large sums of money for whatever venture came to mind. Look at the financial state of Russian banks and companies. As bad as some US companies and banks may be, there are comparatively healthy when compared with their Russian counterparts.

    The central bank of Russia is about to double up the currency supply. This means a doubling of the money supply, which means a halving of the value of money. What one might buy for 20 roubles will soon cost 40 roubles.

    The US would not dare do such a destructive thing. Borrow they are by adding to the debt. They might add $1 trillion to a $ 15 trillion money supply for inflation of at most 6.8%. They are not debasing the money supply with printed US dollars as Russia is to do with the Rouble.

    The only nation with its cap in hand is Russia offering huge returns to the Chinese on a recent loan. The US Government borrows at 3%.

    The Democrats took firm control over the Senate and Congress in addition to taking the Presidency. That is a massive change in Government.

    What party still controls most of the Russian parliament and will perhaps for ever?

    Gary Marshall

  13. Bobby, give it up. No matter what well put together argument you write they will never agree with it or even accept your differing point of view.

    You’ll just get abuse from LR and the staffers on the site posing as visitors to the site.

  14. *NEW YORK, Oct 17 (IPS) – With a massive spike in the number of
    foreclosures and evictions over the past two years, communities
    throughout the U.S. have witnessed the sprouting of tent cities — many
    of them home to once middle-class citizens fallen victim to the economic
    downturn.*
    One woman told BBC
    that she used to live in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. When her
    husband fell ill, it became impossible to make ends meet.
    These families have often lost their homes due to an event like
    eviction, foreclosure or a family crisis, but cannot find available and
    appropriate shelter.

    “They become the ‘hidden homeless’, moving around from place to place —
    sleeping in cars, on couches, sometimes in shelters, sometimes with
    friends and sometimes with family. Unfortunately, our country chooses to
    deny this reality and doesn’t define many of these people as homeless,”
    Rosen told IPS.
    “The tent city in St. Petersburg, (Florida, US – to avoid any doubt), is even supported by the
    government” [bravissimo!!!]

    Keep on surviving, looking for WMA in Iraq, building coalitions of the willing to suck each other’s cocks for a fee, electing illiterate presidents (sons of CIA-thugs), studying your own semi-english, erecting Hovervilles all over the planet, exterminating native populations for resources’ and land’s sake and giving yourself all the Nobels in economics for it for the rest of your life.
    Respectfully yours, Bobby from Coney Island with pockets full of rubles.

  15. Bill: thanks for support, I just from time to time take part in that kind of exchange – I dont know why really, I know I am not going to convince anybody.
    Gary: 1) “Russian stockmarket is roughly 20% or 1/5 of what it was. The US stock market is roughly 1/2 of what it was” – that’s if you take the absolute highs. But if you look say, at what it was on 9/11 – even on that very bad day for america, it was much higher that now, while Russia’s is still twice or more higher. It just grew too fast thats all.
    2) “Lots of people in the US own stocks, bonds, and homes. It is a sign of wealth. Are you saying that if one does not own such things, he is better off when the items fall in value? It simply means that he, a pauper” – I know many people in the US. Typical example: young guy got married, father gave him $40K, he borrowed 200K from a bank – and voila: he’s got his “sign of wealth”. Now he is half way to being evicted. I, too, have my 40K, here in Russia, but I keep renting an apartment and saving on to be able to buy a flat or a house cash down – now I’m a pauper of course, according to your classification. The fact is, we live according to our means, and you are building your own version of communism at the expense of the world. But the world, too, has limited resources, while Americans have unlimited appetites.
    3) Money supply: “The US would not dare do such a destructive thing” – please look up http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/usfd/page3.pdf – you’ll see the US monetary base doubled in a couple of months in the end of last year. Only it doesn’t work – bank just sit on it, keep it in their fed accounts because they dont believe anyone is going to repay any credit if they do extend it.
    4) US bank are “healthy” – this is simply ridiculous. They are all of them technically bankrupt, at least all who more or less big. Only they are TBTF – too big to fail, have you heard such term? Thats why in all practical senses they have been long nationalized, having swallowed tens and hundreds of billions and begging for more. No such picture in Russia.

    That said, this is a senseless debate. What I wanted to say in the first place, is not that Russia lives better (15,000 per capita GDP vs. 48,000 in the US), but that this crisis struck America harder. Manipulating stockmarket results proves nothing. Our weaknesses turned our strenths in crisis. As to our corporations’ debt, nobody is going to bail them out. For me, I’d welcome their transfer , partial or complete, to foreign owners. Nothing at all bad in that. Japan owned the Empire State Building once – who remembers that now?

  16. Guys, look at your 401k. I noticed that when they listed the average annual total returns they usually gave several columns: “1 year”, “3 year”, “10 year”, and “since inteception”. I’m not a specialist but I suspect there is a reason for doing this. How about comparison of DJ index to RTS along these lines?

  17. Bobby,
    Russia has exterminated plenty of “native peoples” to get at resources.
    How do you think Russia got hold of Siberia?
    Grow up little man.
    BTW, you talk an waful lot about sucking cocks, maybe that is your freudian slip showing?

  18. Andrew – that’s your poor brain’s slip. Russia got hold of Siberia 1) 400 years back, and 2) it was -well, almost – bloodless. Most peoples submitted to Russians because they got protection from Mongols and other nomadic tribes. America keeps killing 1) millions in Iraq and Afganistan 2) right now, even as we are talking, putting on a big act of human rights and a mask of a civilized nation. All the Siberian peoples are right there where they were 400 years back, but where are Cherokee et al? Running tax free casinos to be sure, the several dozens left of them.

  19. Russian expansion was most certainly not “bloodless”, look at the crimes comitted in the caucasus or the wars in central asia.

    As for “almost bloodless” well that is certainly not how the Siberian natives tell it.

    But still, you are a Russophile hypocrite, so I don;’t expect you to understand.

    By the way, ever heard of the circassians, you Russians wiped out 94% of them.

  20. By the way, the “bloodless annexation” is a bit of a myth. Large areas that were unnocupied were easily and bloodlessly annexed. But the nomadic tribes and the Buriats (overlords of the area) were not so keen on Russian overlords (a similar feeling amongst most other people subjected to Russian rule)

    http://www.reec.illinois.edu/outreach/K-12_Resources/update/update78.html

  21. Hello Bobby,

    I did read through your latest.

    Very true. The Russian stock market way back in 2002 was a diminutive 400. It rose 6 times to 2400 and collapsed.

    Russia came off the absolute lows of 98 when things could not have been much worse for the nation. The rise from 2002 was more a rebound from this pathetic state. The stock market tracks perfectly with the rise in the price of oil and resources, with which the index is heavily laden, and with the subsequent fall in the price of resources.

    The US is a far more diversified and mature economy. Its stock indices will not rise precipitately with increasing resource prices, but nor will it fall as precipitately with them.

    What matters to investors are recent events, not events of 8 years ago. Investors borrow or invest based upon present news, not news of 8 years ago.

    To say that one is worth 80% less than 8 months ago means much more than saying one is wealthier than 8 years ago. I am sure you would agree.

    And to say that one is worth 50% less than 8 months ago is far better than saying one is worth 80% less during the same period. Up until 8 months ago, the Russian stock market seemed a better bet. But not any more and by a large factor.

    Yes, I am sure you know many people in the US and know there finances well, but what matters here are general facts. It never really matters what your debts are. One could be the most indebted person on the planet, and still the wealthiest. What most fail to take into account are the value of one’s assets.

    Yes, the US has debts, more debts than any nation on earth. But it also has assets, more assets than any nation on earth. And the value of those assets, though diminished with the recent financial turmoil, still far surpasses the value of all those debts.

    Who is wealthier: a person with savings of $10,000US and no other assets and no debts, or a person with debts of $50000US and assets of $130,000US?

    I know the answer to that question and so does everyone else. Of course, if your savings are in Roubles, they have declined in value this past 6 months. The US dollar has gained against every other currency. Thus, the discrepancy in wealth widens.

    With the money supply, I am not talking about all of M1. I am talking of the printing of currency, which forms only a portion of M1. The Russian Government is about to flood Russia with Rouble notes, doubling the supply of money and halving its value in Russia. This will halve the value of all that money you have worked so hard to save. The value of 2 roubles will become 1 rouble. And the value of the rouble on international money markets will steeply drop to reflect the Zimbabwezation of the Russian monetary unit.

    Check the figures. In the US in 98, the currency supply stood at about $600 billion. It is now 50% larger. The Russian currency supply has gone from 180 billion to 4 trillion, an increase of 2500%. Now it is to double from that exorbitant value causing a large increase in inflation. Mugabe has a monetary competitor.

    Buy gold, US dollars, diamonds, or a home right now. You can thank me later.

    I said the US banks were relatively healthy compared with their Russian counterparts. The larger still have a combined net worth of some US$300 billion. What is the combined net worth of the larger Russian banks? Certainly, not US$300 billion or its proportioned value!

    Your figures on Russian GDP are greatly dated given the decline in the value of the Rouble and the collapse in resource prices. Also, that figure is a purchasing power equity figure that is highly dubious. Russian GDP per capita is probably around $5000 US.

    The following describes a tent city near LA, California, a region of millions of people. Do note that the 140 member tent city is one of the larger ones. A number of those comprising the 400 figure and forced to leave had homes in the form of trailers. Most of those being evicted from their homes that the generous state and eager banks financed should never have received mortgages on such inexplicably easy terms. Only in the US will the financially insecure obtain homes. The evicted just go back to renting apartments or homes as they always have, some right next door to the homes they were forced out of.

    Regards,
    Gary Marshall

    ***********************************

    A number of American centres have documented the problem, including Baltimore, Reno, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Fresno and Seattle. One of the larger settlements is in Ontario, Calif., about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles. There, about 140 people live in tents, motorhomes, trucks and cars, next to the Los Angeles International Airport. The population numbered about 400 in March, but authorities decided the settlement was too large and unmanageable and ejected about half of the residents, towing away vehicles and motorhomes.

    ************************************

  22. Gary – 1) American economy is more diversified etc etc: agreed. I never argued to the contrary. I said: Even if you imagine that the 2% of Russian shareholders bought their shares at the very height of the market, and then fell 80%, thats much less pain to the nation (given, again, that the very holdings were either miniscule or they are held by very rich people) than about 60 % Americans falling in equity 50%. Did I say that 2% of Russians being shareholders is a sign of a great economy? I didn’t. I just said that the effect of this stockmarket fall is negligent for the people of Russia. I know, I live here and most my neighbors and acquaintances don’t even know where are the indexes are now or where they ever were.
    2) One could be the most indebted person on the planet, and still the wealthiest. – Sure he can, if his debt is smaller than his assets are. This is arithmetic. Your example proves it. But its not like that every time is it? Sometimes the debts are bigger, or the person’s addictions are great so he can’t sustain his status quo. Then comes the bust. Who could imagine that Lehman would go bust? Speak of the health of your banks. Now, any US bank that doesn’t get help from the government, will go bankrupt immediately, except maybe very small local credit unions. Because as I said in my last example, when the guy went to the bank he got his $200K, but did the bank have this sum on its balance sheet? No, it borrowed it (maybe 4th or 5th time over on the same security) from Freddie of Fanny, which in turn boorowed it from the government which borrowed it from China or the public. Now some people, having taken a loan, work hard to repay it, but some build, with the very same money, a fortress, buy a truckload of ammunition and challenge the lender to come try and take it back.
    3) Inflation in Russia is 13-14%, big but nowhere near Zimbabwe. GDP figures are from http://www.cia.gov. While you are there, don’t forget to look up Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq and wherever else US is involved in building “democracy”.
    4) “Only in the US will the financially insecure obtain homes.” As I said, communism. :)
    5) I believe you are an honest thinking person. We are not blind over here, we see all that is bad in Russia. What I am against is the approach in the West, that I call historic nihilism. A nation must live its own history, not take it on the platter as a ready made dish. Look at Iraq – they should have found a way to overcome Hussein themselves, to breed their own heros of whom they could compose legends and songs as their national pride. You deprived them of that right in trying to build your hollywood – big mac-gay parade – borrow hard and live happily ever after civilization , but as the russian saying goes: whats good for a russian is death for a german. It is a great pity that you can sympathize only with submitted , defeated nations eating out of your hand and thinking your thoughts.

  23. Hello Bobby,

    I do not disagree with you. If one lives in misery, then he knows nothing of leaving it or returning to it. For the US generally, there is prosperity mingled with some occasional misery.

    In the US, their assets are always greater than their debts. It is the wealthiest nation on this planet and has been so for near a century. Companies come and go, even banks. Lehman’s went bust, but many other lenders have not. Some suffer because of poor lending policies. Others do very well. At this time, suffering is on the rise. But many banks have not sought financial help from the Government. For them, this is a buying opportunity.

    The banking business consists of a lender borrowing money from the markets or depositors and lending it out, profiting on the margins. This is the precarious nature of banking. It has always been this way. That is why one should eschew banks that lend recklessly because they will not survive. The current crisis can topple the most secure banks. Lehman’s had a large amount of capital behind it. So did Citibank. But in a period of falling equities and real estate followed by a recession, large buffers that took years to build can evaporate within a few months.

    You do not need me to tell you this. Again, the US is suffering. No question. But it will not suffer as Russia will these next couple of years. As bad as conditions are in the US, they are far worse in Russia. Foreign investment because of the criminal actions of the Russian Government has vanished, Russian companies and banks incurred huge debts with western lenders, the resource market has collapsed, the Russian people have very little to see them through the crisis, the value of the Ruble, already ravaged by inflation, will continue to fall and abruptly if the Government moves to printing the promised 4 trillion in currency notes and distributing them.

    I can go on all day long.

    As for Iraq, the Iraqis are free to kill each other or free to live peacefully with each other. Formerly they chose to kill. Now the impulse is on the wane and they are learning to live peacefully. That is life.

    Hussein repeatedly threatened that region, a crucial region for the entire world, with feints and invasions. Now those nations such as Saudi Arabia or Kuwait and even Iran need not fear a nuclear armed Iraq under Hussein. Of course, he deceived every one into believing he was succeeding in such efforts. But do not blame the deceived for the efforts of the deceiver.

    Certainly, the Iraqis would have at much cost in blood, destruction, and turmoil overthrown their rulers and his apparatus. I wish they had. But the US felt an immediate dethronement necessary.

    Afghanistan is much better off today than it was under the Taliban. There are certainly problems all over the place, but progress is there though painfully slow. It certainly surpasses by far the ruinous Soviet effort and outcome. All the Soviets left where burnt out military equipment and misery for all. At least the US can claim some victory in health, education, and some stability with a relatively small fraction of Soviet losses.

    I am sure the Kosovars are much happier than they were when faced with living beside their fellow Serbs.

    I do not think that you see all that is bad in Russia. Its far worse than what citizens in most nations can imagine. For Russia to be at or near the bottom of just about every measure of civilization is astonishing knowing how gifted intellectually the people of that region are. I have people who left the Ukraine many decades ago living and working peacefully and prosperously all about me. Russians do very well for themselves when they leave their homeland.

    The saying you utter says a great deal about the thinking of Russians not only regarding themselves, but other nations and peoples as well.

    But it should not be, “What is good for a Russian is death to a German.” It is “What is good for a Russian dictator is death to Russians.”

    Let nations live their own history without trying to intervene.

    The US aided in freeing Japan and Germany from their dictators. I would not class their subsequent behaviour as eating out of US hands. I would think it more applies to Soviet actions or desires in the aftermath of WW2 until its pathetic collapse, a disposition Putin seems to possess in his dealing with former Soviet states now so stubbornly and overtly independent.

    My how limited your understanding of Soviet history is.

    At this time, I would be very worried about the reverse saying, “What is good for others, is death to Russians.”

    Gary Marshall

  24. “It is a great pity that you can sympathize only with submitted , defeated nations eating out of your hand and thinking your thoughts.”

    Funny, that sounds like Russian imperialism to me.

    Bobby, you are a hypocrite (though this is hardly surprising considering you ar a sovok)

  25. It is useless – I give up. I give you facts and figures, you give me lectures on goodness and how well Ukrainians do in America (not in Ukraine believe me).
    “The US aided in freeing Japan and Germany from their dictators”. It aided Russia to free Germany, indeed (I’ll keep the A-bombardment of Japan out of it, not to begin). If Hitler were victorious, I am sure you’d have said here that US aided to free Russia. If you imply that US made Germany prosperous – no it didn’t. They prospered and were mighty civilization long before US was on the map; Germany became prosperous (and fascist,yes) in 193o-ies under Hitler notwithstanding the US-British robbery of it; but of course you think that all that is good is thanks to America, and all thats bad is due to Russia. What to say when even your president thinks that automobile was invented by americans. So of course were the wheel, paper and gun-poweder, mathematics and medicine etc. You are silly children with no history, so you just NEED to usurp some history from other nations. Thankfully I know many NORMAL Americans who don’t read this blog. I, too, having visited it for three days in a row, bow out. Good luck in your crusade, but if you feel an urge for an” immediate dethronement” in Russia – chuck the thought and run.
    .

  26. Hello Bobby,

    The Ukrainians I know left because of encroachment and annexation by the Soviets. They have done very well for themselves in this part of the world. Those with Russian origins have prospered as well.

    Do tell me how East Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, and all those other nations enslaved by the Soviets prospered following the close of WW2?

    All those nations liberated from Nazi rule by the West, by Britain and the US, did flourish, which does counter your deranged statement that the US likes conquered nations eating out of its hand. This more describes the Soviets, and imitators such as Putin. He would like nothing better than the Ukraine, Georgia, or even the US supplicating and trembling on bended knee before his surreal throne of world dominion. But they do not, and with Russia in its prelude to collapse never will for at least a very long time.

    Putin, as the calls for deposition grow not only from the people but also from opposition and allies among him, is probably on his way out. soon.

    I am sorry that Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, forged a partnership with Hitler and caused the Russian people and their compelled allies such pain. Is that not always the consequence of blind stupidity!

    If the US should ever feel the need to commandeer history from another nation, I am sure Russia would be a choice the most remote. No one wants Russia’s history, not ever.

    Americans may not have invented the varied components of the automobile, but they did far more than anyone to perfect this modern necessity and increase affordability for all the world. The US has repeated this effort with many invention as have many free nations.

    What beneficial item, besides maybe a military weapon, has any Russian in its long history ever supplied the world?

    Gary Marshall

  27. Gary – You wrote…

    What beneficial item, besides maybe a military weapon, has any Russian in its long history ever supplied the world?

    There are some I can think of:

    1) The Periodic Table
    2) The 1812 Overture
    3) War and Peace
    4) Vodka
    5) Victory over Nazi Germany
    6) Sputnik

    There are others as well, but you can’t say that Russian society hasn’t made meaningful contributions to the world.

  28. Scott, I agree.
    But the evil that they have done far outweighs the good.

  29. Hello Scott,

    I agree with all your choices, save one.

    The allied victory over Nazi Germany for the Soviets was more the redemption of a immense blunder and outrage. The Soviets started the war as Nazi partners, eagerly attacking and obliterating neighboring nations. Suffering Nazi treachery, they survived with crucial and prodigious assistance from the US and Britain. When the allies landed in Normandy, the Soviets saw numerous German divisions withdrawn from the east and took advantage.

    I would not class the Soviet victory equal to that of the western allies. Forming an infernal partnership with the Nazis only encouraged them. And the Soviets only fought them because their duplicitous partner left them no choice.

    Gary Marshall

  30. Thank God I'm not Russian

    “You are silly children with no history, so you just NEED to usurp some history from other nations.”

    What a truly freudian slip from Bobby. Why did Peter I rename Muscovy to Russia? Was the “Third Rome” expression coined only to allude to slavery?

  31. Thank God I'm not Russian

    It is obvious how “Sputnik” was beneficial to Soviet propaganda, in the wake of crushing democracy in Budapest with tanks. How was it ever beneficial to the world? Do you have any idea what horrible poverty Russians were living in while Politburo was squandering their money in the bid to launch a satellite before the US did?

    1812? You mean when they left Moscow and let it be burned down? Yes, that would have been good for mankind if they did not rebuild it, but they did.

    Victory over Nazi Germany? Would Nazis even come to power, let alone develop such a huge military machine without so much support and assistance from Soviet Union? It is until now not known to within a million how many lives this “contribution” subsequently cost.

    War and Peace, Periodic Table? Yep, a handful of outstanding individuals actually survived in Russia against all odds, although generally the Russian society makes sure they are murdered for being too smart, for voicing their opinions, or just for fun, after some vodka.

  32. Gary & Co –

    There’s a really good book on what was going on leading up to June 22 called “Stalin’s Folly” by Constantine Plekhanov. Basically, the old story of “Stalin got blindsided” wasn’t really true. He was waiting to hit Germany in 1942, presuming that Hitler would be too busy with Britain until then to try anything sooner. But this meant that he took the old defense lines down before he could bring the new ones up and on June 22, the Red Army was in the worst possible position it could be in.

    But whether you call it redemption of previous evils or just plain dumb luck, the fact is that the USSR paid more in blood (by a factor of ten at least) for victory than the Western Allies did, and chances are, we couldn’t have won without them. Of course there was plenty of factors that brought the victory, and personally, I don’t think the USSR would have survived without Lend-Lease or the Winter of 41. That being said, there is a reason that one of the fates a German soldier feared most was a transfer to the Eastern Front.

    The 1812 reference was for that Tchaikovsky piece – you know, the one where they fire the artillery pieces out of the middle of the orchestra? Way cool, and way Russian. I agree that the failure of the 1812 campaign had more to do with French soldiers freezing to death than anything else. (But did you know that the French word “Bistro” comes from the Russian word “bystro” for quick? That’s how Russian soldiers in 1815 called for waiters in Paris.)

  33. As for Sputnik – it was the first object mankind launched into space. No, it didn’t do anything, but it was a a momentous occurrence all the same. And yes, the Soviet Union wasted tons of money on vanity projects like Sputnik and devastating Olympic athletes which could have been better used to provide goods for its people. This is why there is no more Soviet Union – the economic principles supporting it were fundamentally unsound.

  34. Thank God I'm not Russian

    Chances are, without all the massive Russian help to the Nazis, the Western allies would have crushed them with much smaller losses. I have difficulty seeing how suffering 10:1 losses compared to Germans can mean anything good to anyone – just the usual Russian contempt for human life, nothing more.

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