Russia, buy one Get one Free!
Russia is on sale. Act now, shoppers, these deals won’t last!
For the first time since the economic collapse of the 1990s, Russia is placing massive chunks of state assets — even assets which just months ago the Kremlin was proclaiming “strategic,” on the auction block at bargain-basement prices.
Why? The answer is simple: The Kremlin is running a massive budget deficit, speedily approaching $100 billion, and it has no other ready source of cash.
So the only question now is: How long before the Kremlin takes them back from the moronic suckers stupid enough to pay for them. Because in Russia, property is not owned. It is only rented from the state, at the Kremlin’s pleasure.
Which is why, of course, Russia finds itself in such desperate economic straits that it must hold a firesale on state assets in order to cover the rent payments. It dare not borrow, for fear of being influenced by foreigners. It dare not use reserves, already dangerously depleted by the 2009 financial crisis. It must sell.
No single act could better emphasize the absolute failure of the Putin regime, except perhaps the shamelessly rigged elections.
The Kremlin does not — it cannot — pause even for a second to consider the possiblity of actual reform. How about letting some real businessmen out of jail, like Mikhail Khodorkovsky, men who could encourage real investment interest from foreigners, wage a real war on corruption, and change Russia for the better? Not a chance, says the Kremlin! Because to do that would mean empowering folks outside the Kremlin’s walls, and that would endanger The Power.
So Russia will just go on selling assets and natural resources until they all run dry and Russia becomes known as the Great Northern Sahara.