Daily Archives: September 18, 2009

September 20, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Only Russians Fail this Spectacularly

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Putinomics on Life Support

(3)  Russia wants War in Iran

(4)  Putin’s Neo-Soviet History “Lessons”

(5)  Russia as the Beast

EDITORIAL: Only Russians fail this Spectacularly


Only Russians fail this Spectacularly

Imagine your feuding neighbor claims you destroyed his car worth $7,500 and demands you pay him.  Now imagine you refuse, and he files a lawsuit against you for $22,500 in damages.  Why that amount? Let’s say your neighbor is Russian, and that explains a lot.  You battle in court for a while, and then your neighbor agrees to drop the case in exchange for your payment of $14.  Not $14,000 mind you, or $140, but $14.

Who won?

Exactly this just happened in Russia’s lawsuit against the Bank of New York.  After sensational headlines and vituperative allegations from the Russians about “fraud” and “theft” by the Bank, after a claim by Russia that $7.5 billion had been stolen and a lawsuit filed by Russia claiming $22.5 billion (three times more than the alleged theft), Russia settled last week for $14 million.

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EDITORIAL: Putinomics on Life Support


Putinomics on Life Support

Streetwise Professor reports:

The monthly GDP indicator data suggested the Russian economy continued to contract in August. However, the annual rate of decline slowed further from May’s revised record -9.9%. In August the GDP Indicator registered -3.9%, the highest reading in 2009 so far. The Indicator has now spent nine months in negative territory, a longer sequence than the previous seven-month spell from September 1998 to March 1999. The currentaverage rate of decline is also much sharper than in the previous downturn, at -6.4%.

Worse than 1998! 

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Russia wants War in Iran

Radio Free Europe explains why Russia is sending dangerous weapons to Iran. It wants war.

If his spokesman Dmitry Peskov is to be believed, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in his Valdai club discussions with foreign experts came out against both military action and against imposing further sanctions on Iran.

The paradox here is that it was the Kremlin’s decision not to support the UN Security Council proposal to impose new sanctions that pushed Washington, Israel, the Persian Gulf, and Europe closer to consensus on a military solution to Iran’s nuclear crisis. By blocking sanctions, Moscow is trying to deprive the international community of any leverage against Tehran.

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Putin’s Neo-Soviet History “Lessons”

Alexander Etkind, a St. Petersburg native and a reader of Russian literature at Cambridge and a fellow at Princeton University, writing in the Moscow Times:

Soviet ideology was always about the future. By contrast, today’s official Russian ideology seems to be focused squarely on the past.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s recent article for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza — written to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland — expresses his determination to make 20th-century European history a major part of the Russian government’s business. That article reflects the deep, unresolved problems of Putin’s era: the inability to distinguish between the Soviet past and the Russian present; an unscrupulous mix of political conservatism and historical revisionism; and indifference, bordering on incomprehension, with regard to the key values of democracy.

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Russia as the Beast

Russia as the Beast

Russia as the Beast

Source: The Moscow Times