The Failure of Putinomics
Last year, Russia experienced nearly $40 billion in capital flight. Money flowed out of Putin’s Russia at a rate of $3.2 billion per month. Russians voted with their wallets, and they voted that Putin could not be trusted and that a future ruled by him was bleak indeed.
So far this year, despite a crude oil prices above $100/barrel (and a stock market up one-fifth compared to last year), money is leaving Russia at a rate more than double that of last year. Already, in just the first four months of this year, Russia has hemorrhaged a stunning $26.3 billion — more than half the total it lost in all of 2010. The landslide vote against Putin in 2010 has turned into an absolute rout in 2011.
Russian Ignorance, Unbound
“One of our professors talked about him in a lecture. But I don’t really remember now exactly what he said.”
Those were the words of 17-year old Russian law student Maria Danilyants. The “him” she was referring to was Andrei Sakharov, and she was being asked about him by Michael Schwirtz of the New York Times because his wife Yelena Bonner had just passed away.
If you think Ms. Danilyants is an ignorant buffoon, think again. She’s by far the brightest person in her law school class, because not a single one of her classmates could place the name “Sakharov” at all. This is very much the same as if a class of American law students in New York City turned out to have no idea who Martin Luther King was. That is, if America had collapsed and been replaced by another country because it didn’t listen to King.
Cynics on Russia though we may be, we continue to be utterly stunned by the extent of Russian barbarism and ignorance. It is truly not inaccurate to refer to Russia as “Zaire with permafrost” and it is truly breathtaking that Russians can look at any other country and think themselves even remotely erudite.
Russophile Eugene Ivanov Proves Russians are Hopeless
Scary, no? The scariest thing is that he actually thinks he looks good!
It’s not often that we are called upon to defend the people of Russia from the unwarranted attacks of a Russophile, but when the occasion does arise we are very well pleased.
Such is the case with a recent article for the shameless Russophile propaganda project known as “Russia Beyond the Headlines” by the shameless Russophile shill Eugene Ivanov (who scarily poses on his blog in the same type of black leather coat the NKVD wore during an execution of a dissident, and which just recently came back into fashion in Russia).
Ivanov claims the people of Russia are clueless idiots because the vast majority of them think that their court system is corrupt when in fact it routinely rules in their favor. We strongly disagree.
Putin pulls a Clinton
What do you think, dear reader, when you gaze upon the image above (click to see it full size, if you have the stomach for it). Do you think: “Who in God’s name would be so warped as to arrange a scene like that, much less want to photograph if for posterity?”
That’s what we thought, too! Would you then be surprised to learn that the person who composed and photographed this image has just been hired as one of the official photographers for Vladimir Putin, so-called “prime minister” of Russia?
So were we!
Victor Davidoff, writing in the Moscow Times, explains the shamelessly fraudulent and likely illegal means by which Vladimir Putin is generating support for his “People’s Front” initiative:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin first floated the idea of creating the All-Russia People’s Front on May 6. A week later, the front’s founding document was published. Since then — a little over a month — Putin has arguably become the most popular politician in history. Today his front has several million supporters and about 500 organizations as members. According to information from the local branch of United Russia in the Khabarovsk region, half a million people support the front out of a total population of 1.34 million. In one day, 39,000 employees of the holding company Siberian Business Union joined the front; that is, four divisions in military terms, an apt comparison when talking about the people’s front. Putin, it would seem, has outdone Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong — and he has done it without resorting to terror.
Other Russia reports on Garry Kasparov’s recent testimony before the U.S. Congress (click here to watch a YouTube of his Q&A session afterwards):
On June 17, United Civil Front leader and Solidarity co-leader Garry Kasparov testified before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the grave state of Russia’s political, judicial, and economic systems. Touching on issues ranging from rampant corruption that has exploded on an exponential scale to the perpetration of terrorist acts in occupied Georgian territory, not to mention the overall lack of freedom of speech or free elections and an endless list of other civil rights violations in the country, Kasparov called on congressional leaders to take a stand and stop treating Vladimir Putin and other corrupt Russian officials as members of an actual democracy in economic and diplomatic affairs.
A full transcript of the speech is printed below. The listed appendices were submitted to the committee along with Kasparov’s testimony.
My thanks to the Committee and to Chairman Ros-Lehtinen for permitting me to testify here today. My name is Garry Kasparov. I was born in the Soviet Union in 1963 and currently live in Moscow. Until my retirement in 2005, I represented first the USSR and then Russia as the world chess champion. After I left the sport, I joined the pro-democracy movement in my country, motivated by the disturbing course change away from freedom that Russia was undergoing under President Vladimir Putin. I could not accept that my own children would grow up in a totalitarian state as I had. And to those who have suggested that I should leave Russia for my family’s convenience and safety, I say that it is my country, one I proudly represented around the world for decades, and so let the KGB leave, not me.