Daily Archives: November 11, 2009

November 13, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Uninsurable Russia

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Another Russian Crucified for Patriotism

(3)  Ryzhkov on the Berlin Wall

(4)  Kiselyov on the Berlin Wall

(5)  Russia and its Miraculous Flying Phone

NOTE:  Russia is that special country where every day is Friday the 13th.

EDITORIAL: Uninsurable Russia


Uninsurable Russia

Streetwise Professor tips us to a recent report from Reuters which concludes that the Kremlin’s neo-Soviet nationalization of resources has made the country “uninsurable.”  The reports states:

Madagascar, Ecuador, Kyrgystan and others have also seen examples of expropriation or effectively forced renegotiation that have worried insurers. However, in some other countries — such as Brazil or South Africa — a slight rise in leftist rhetoric has had less impact on premiums. The industry is particularly concerned over risks in Russia, where extractive projects have become almost uninsurable.

This is what Vladimir Putin has done to his country. It is uninsurable  (which means that normal business can’t be done there) and it is mentioned over and over again in the same breath as Ecuador.  And in fact, it makes Ecuador look good by comparison.  Putin’s Russia is degenerating by the minute into a banana republic, except that instead of fruit Russia has natural gas.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Another Russian crucified for Patriotism


Another Russian crucified for Patriotism

polJust like the Soviet Union before it, Russia has a barbaric practice of crucifying its patriots.  When Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova tried to expose corruption and torture in Chechnya, they were murdered.  This practice dates far back into Russian history when the likes of Pushkin and Solzhenitsyn were similarly persecuted for trying to keep their country from falling into the abyss.

And now it’s happened again.  

When police officer Alexei Dymovksy (pictured above) found himself unable to resolve massive corruption by working with his superior, he posted a YouTube video and made a  direct appeal to Vladimir Putin.  The result was predictable:  As its own little gift to the world in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dymovsky was immediately fired.  This is a man who risks his life on a daily basis for a couple of hundred dollars in monthly wages, perhaps earning $2.50/hour if he is lucky, and who is reaching out in desperation to curtail a practice of corruption which is documented by international surveys, such as those from Transparency International, as being among the very worst on the planet.  Putin ought to pin a medal on this man and make him a cabinet minster. 

Instead, he’s fired.

Continue reading

Ryzhkov on the Berlin Wall

Former Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who ended the Cold War and forever ended the threat of a global nuclear holocaust, has a simple answer for those who continue to blame him for the collapse of the Soviet Union and for “giving away” the former Soviet satellite states to the West. “What did I give away?” Gorbachev asks. “I gave Poland to the Poles and Czechoslovakia to the Czechs and Slavs.” And as it turned out, Russia went to the Russians as well.

Gorbachev never tires of reminding people of his political program at the time that the Berlin Wall fell: “We made an agreement [with Western leaders] to build a free Europe, a unified system of security … that would serve the interests of Germans, Russians, Europe and the whole world.” That is the principle value of perestroika, glasnost and Gorbachev’s “new thinking”: Every individual was given the chance to determine his own path. The only problem is that everyone chose different paths and traveled down differing roads over the past two decades.

Now, 20 years after the Berlin Wall fell Nov. 9, 1989, we see how much Europe and Asia have expanded and become stronger, while Russia has declined and continues to lag behind.

Continue reading

Kiselyov on the Berlin Wall

Former NTV pundit Yevgeny Kiselyov, writing in the Moscow Times:

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and this is a good time to look at the lessons we learned from it.

I recall how I walked into work one day about six weeks after the Berlin Wall fell. A co-worker who was always joking around called out to me as I entered the room, “Have you heard the latest news? There was a revolution in Romania.” “Stop trying to play me for a fool,” I snapped back. “I was just in Romania, and there is no way a revolution could take hold there.” My colleague was offended. “I’m serious,” he said. “They really had a revolution. The army switched over to the demonstrators, and Ceausescu fled Bucharest on Dec. 22.”

That left me speechless.

Continue reading

Russia and its Miraculous Flying Phone

Yulia Latyina, writing in the Moscow Times:

In October, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Rusnano head Anatoly Chubais visited the Mikron factory in Zelenograd, located 37 kilometers outside Moscow, where the newest Russian 180-nanometer microchips are being produced. An agreement was signed there stipulating that if the state invests another 16 billion rubles ($556 million), the plant can begin producing cutting-edge 90-nanometer chips.

Over the last decade, microchip circuit spans have halved every two years. On Sept. 15, two weeks before Putin’s visit to the company, Intel Corporation announced a new 32-nanometer chip. Almost all major companies currently use 45-nanometer chips. That means that by the time Mikron begins producing 90-nanometer chips in four years, Intel will probably be working with chip circuits as small as 5 to 10 nanometers.

That would be like if the fellows at high-tech firm Sitronics showed Putin a newly developed fighter bomber with a top speed of only 100 miles per hour and promised that they could double the speed if the state pumped another $200 million into the program.

The guys at Mikron were not fired on the spot.

Continue reading