FRIDAY JULY 31 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Disintegrating Russia
(2) EDITORIAL: The Kremlin is Lying about Unemployment
(3) Another Original LR Translation: Annals of Spectacular Russian Humiliation
(4) EDITORIAL: Saakashvili, Ascendant
(5) Aslund: Russia is the Black Sheep of BRIC
NOTE: Is Russia on the verge of collapse (again)? We lay out the compelling evidence in our special issue today. The Caucasus is in flames, and Russians are arming themselves. The Kremlin’s own people are turning against the regime. The nuclear strike force is held together with duct tape. In Georgia, Saaskashvili still roars like a lion. And Russia is exposed as the black sheep of BRIC. How much longer can this version of Russia last?
NOTE: Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment of her Russia column on Pajamas Media is up and running, exposing the Kremlin’s effort to create a holy Russian empire in collusion with the Orthodox Church. Makes your skin crawl.
Today we offer a wealth of material showing how Russia is coming apart at the seams. To start off, two recent reports from the Russian press, relayed to us by the indispensable Paul Goble, indicate the Russia is cracking and crumbling at its very foundations.
First, Goble reports how the Kremlin’s totally failed policy in the Caucasus is threatening wider social instability; then, as if to emphasize the first point, he reports on how Russians across the country are stocking up on guns.
Russia’s Government is Lying about Unemployment
As Russia’s economic situation deteriorates ever more dramatically, the Kremlin is beginning to lose control over its domain. Vladimir Putin’s latest public tirade, in which he ordered Sberbank to lend more and told them the price the could lend at, ignoring the institution’s desperate financial condition, had to send chills down the spine of any remotely qualified economist anywhere in the country. Sooner of later, men of good conscience are going to speak out. Common sense will compel them to do so. As in the time of Stalin, Putin’s only “response” will be violence.
Blink and you’d have missed it, for example, but a tiny item last week on the Kremlin’s own ITAR-TASS newswire told the tale. We’ll reprint it in full, just in case it disappears:
24 July 2009
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
- Vitalii Portnikov
Why did Yuri Solomonov, the chief design engineer of the Bulava and director of the institute which designed the rocket, resign? Is his departure from the job merited or the just top brass interference? Who is to blame for the failures of Russia latest big missile project after it was so proudly promoted to the public by the government?
Maybe Solomonov was not really up to the task, maybe his institute bit off more than it could chew? Perhaps the designer was hamstrung by having to play two roles – after all, when you are in charge of an enterprise, it cannot be easy also to have to deal with product faults. Or is it maybe that Russia’s military-industrial complex is no longer what it once was?
Saakashvili, Front Page and Center
We here at La Russophobe live for moments like the one last Monday morning, when we clicked open the New York Times website and saw the lead story, complete with massive photograph of the beaming President of Georgia and headlined: “Georgia’s Leader Escapes Damage in Biden Visit.”
Anders Aslund, writing in the Moscow Times:
First-half results are arriving, presenting many countries with shocking declines, but the record is quite varied. Whatever standard we choose, Russia is underperforming.
The country’s natural comparison is with the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China. According to JP Morgan’s current forecast, this year the gross domestic product of China is expected to grow by 8.4 percent, India — 6.2 percent, while that of Brazil is expected to shrink by 1.0 percent, and Russia — 8.5 percent. During the first half of 2009, China and India have been forging ahead, while Russia’s GDP plunged by 10 percent.