Daily Archives: June 4, 2009

June 7, 2009 — Contents

SUNDAY JUNE 7 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Mr. Medvedev, his Carpet and his Broom

(2)  Russia: Slacker Nation

(3)  Kiselyov on Russia’s History Fascism

(4)  Images from Russia’s Racist Wasteland

(5)  Germany Suckers Russia into Automotive Boondoggle

EDITORIAL: Mr. Medvedev, his Carpet and his Broom

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EDITORIAL

Mr. Medvedev, his Carpet and his Broom

See Dima sweep.  Sweep, Dima, Sweep! Under the carpet! Sweep, sweep, sweep!

Streetwise Professor reports that last week Russian “president” Dima Medvedev announced a massive new slate of spending reductions forced upon his government by the national economic collapse.  Paul Goble reports that among these will be a brutal slashing of the budget for the 2010 census.

Let’s overlook the fact that the Putin regime is apparently still able to find plenty of funds for nuclear weapons and other ways of provoking and escalating the new cold war, sending all sorts of wealth to all sorts of places from Venezuela to Syria.  Let’s not focus on what these draconian cutbacks mean for the people of Russia.  Let’s instead watch Dima feverishly trying to sweep it all under the carpet.

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Russia: Slacker Nation

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We are inclined to nominate this brilliant essay from the Moscow Times by Vladislav Inozemtsev, the director of the Research Center for Postindustrial Society and the publisher and editor-in-chief of Svobodnaya Mysl magazine for the title of most devastating critique of Putinomics ever written by a Russian. Just goes to show there is still some hope left, while great patriots like this have the courage to speak out:

Russian experts and policymakers have increasingly raised the question of productivity, stressing that the country’s lag behind leading global economies has become an acute nationwide challenge. On May 15, President Dmitry Medvedev addressed the issue at a meeting on modernization and technological development and emphasized that “we must not forget one simple, unfortunate fact: Labor productivity in this country is currently equivalent to only one quarter of the labor productivity in the United States.”

According to the World Bank, every employed Russian contributes only $16,100 to the country’s gross domestic product, compared with $38,100 in South Africa, $48,600 in Greece, $59,400 in France and $74,600 in the United States.

But these numbers alone do not reflect the true scope of the problem. Russia’s low productivity is exacerbated by the fact that the country is dominated by natural resource extracting with relatively little industrial development in the real sector. Although the overall productivity in Thailand ($12,500 of GDP for an employed person), Brazil ($16,700) or Malaysia ($22,900) do not differ from Russia’s in a dramatic way, in these countries’ high-tech industrial exports account for 16.2 percent, 22.4 percent and 36.7 percent of all exports, while in Russia they constitute a meager 2 percent. Thus, Russia suffers not only from a low level of productivity but also from a counterproductive economic structure, slow technological progress and outdated labor relations.

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Kiselyov on Russia’s History Fascism

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Russian pundit Yevgeny Kiselyov, writing in the Moscow Times:

I would be fascinated to know if Westerners can fully appreciate the political significance behind President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision to create a special commission “for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia’s interests.” Most foreigners would probably say, “This is very strange. Doesn’t Russia have more pressing problems it needs to tackle, such as the managing the crisis, modernizing the country’s political and economic institutions or battling corruption?”

Had the year been 1950, when the Soviet Union was making colossal efforts to recover from the aftermath of World War II, foreigners would have been equally perplexed that Josef Stalin chose that moment to initiate a huge public debate on the Marxist approach to linguistics.

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Images from Russia’s Racist Wasteland

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A Russian photographer offers the following images of migrant workers in Moscow, how they live and how they work. Their indomitable spirit is an inspiration to us all, as is the rancid nature of their neo-Soviet oppression. Click the link for many more (hat tip Global Voices).

A

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Germany Suckers Russia into Automotive Boondoggle

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The Wall Street Journal reports:

The German government has bound the fate of General Motors Corp.’s (GM) European business to the faltering Russian economy by selecting auto-parts supplier Magna International (MG.A.T) as a partner for Adam Opel.

{Click the link to read the rest, explaining how Russia has been suckered into a major boondoggle by the Germans}