Editor’s Note: We are delighted to welcome back to our pages the irreplaceable Dave Essel, master translator of the Russian media. Today we begin publishing installments of the third white paper on the Putin regime issued by former first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, along with co-author Vladimir Milov. Dave’s prior two translations appear in our header, and have been recognized by such lofty publications as the New York Review of Books. As we have previously reported, the malignant Putin regime has already moved, in classic neo-Soviet fashion, to confiscate and suppress this manuscript before Nemtsov could try to distribute it, as it did with the others. Following is the introduction and the first two chapters.
An independent expert report by
Vladimir Milov and Boris Nemtsov
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
In February 2008, we published our report “Putin – The Results” [TN: translated by me as “Putin: The Bottom Line”]. It seemed to us back then that it was about time to review what he had brought about now that his presidential term was coming to an end. We assumed that the policies of his successor would differ in at least some ways from those of the previous incumbent. However, Putin continues to play a key role in Russian politics and the course which he followed for 8 years has barely changed.
A great deal has happened since 2008. Russia has plunged into a deep economic crisis. Instead of growing, the economy is contracting. A budget deficit has replaced a former surplus, millions have lost their jobs. Prices, utilities foremost among these, are rocketing. Meanwhile, the number of billionaires has doubled and social and inter-regional inequalities have worsened.
Official propaganda would have it that everything is still fine, the country has weathered the crisis, has conquered terrorism and is beating corruption, that we are proceeding by leaps and bounds along the road of innovation and modernisation, that we are respected around the world, that we are getting wealthier, that there is less poverty, that men and women are bringing forth children, and that “Russia dying out” was a thing of the wild nineties.
The purpose of this report is to tell the truth about what is happening in Russia, to dispel the myths put about by the powers that be, and to relate real information to our fellow-countrymen who for 10 years have not been getting that from the cheerful and frequently false information disseminated by the government-controlled TV and print media.