FRIDAY JULY 29 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Russia for Sale
(2) EDITORIAL: Russia, Drunk and Suicidal
(3) EDITORIAL: Russia’s Retirement Paradox
(4) Russia, Buried by Shale
(5) Russia cannot Innovate, Doomed to Fail
(6) Documenting Russia’s Arms Export Fraud
(7) Annals of Shamapova
(8) CARTOON: Putin’s Quadriga Problem
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the influential American Thinker blog details the shocking attempt to divert vast areas of governmental power outside the Russian Constitution as the neo-Sovietization of Russia is completed by dictator Vladimir Putin.
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the mighty Pajamas Media mega blog details two shocking breaking news stories, first the secret attempt by Barack Obama to derail the US law on Magnitsky and then the revelation that Russian forces bombed the US Embassy in Georgia. Required reading!
NOTE: They say Boris Berezovsky has married supermodel.
NOTE: Check out Putin and Medvedev as gay lovers?
Russia, for Sale
One of the most hilarious Russophile notions we’ve yet encountered is the way they attempt to attack Transparency International’s international index of corruption by claiming it is only a “perceptions” index and only places Russia at the uncivilized bottom of its list because of anti-Russian bias — as if all the talk about corruption in Russia were nothing but hot air and not based on any measurable reality.
TI needs no defense from us. It is a world renown organization of international objective scholars with unimpeachable credentials that provides an essential monitoring service.
But still, it’s genuinely pleasurable for us to watch the expressions on the faces of these idiot Russophiles change when they see a report like the one that aired on Russia Today, of all places, recently. Perhaps by accident, the Russian Interior Ministry decided to admit, and RT decided to report, that the average size of a bribe in Putin’s Russia has increased by a stunning 700% in just the past year.
In other words, the forces of corruption in Putin’s Russia are not receding, they are going hog wild.
Russia, Uncivilized, Reckless and Suicidal
Russia has the ninth highest murder rate on this planet, higher than any other major industrialized nation. No other nation in the world has a higher divorce rate. Only only four nations drink more alcohol. By contrast, Russia doesn’t even rank in the top 125 nations of the world for life expectancy.
If a person showed this kind of absolute, grim and dismal failure, a psychiatrist would no doubt classify him as a suicide risk. Indeed, Russia seems to be, for all the world, an entire nation hellbent on suicide — and indeed only five countries on this planet have people more likely to commit suicide than Russians.
Many intelligent people would suggest that there is a direct connection between Russia’s place in the world’s top ten for murder, suicide and divorce and its top-ten position for alcohol abuse. Certainly, the Russian government sees it that way. For this reason the Kremlin has launched a policy of open warfare with alcohol, dramatically increasing taxes on both vodka and beer (a drink which, until recently, Russia classified as a “food”).
But the notion that Russia can solve its problem of alcohol abuse using brute force measures like taxation is abject nonsense.
Russia’s Retirement Paradox
A Russian man on average lives to the age of 61.8 years while a Russian woman reaches 72.6 years of age. This places Russia a shocking #135 on a list of 194 world nations when ranked for overall average life expectancy (65 years — Russians perish right at the time most Westerners are just starting retirement).
The stunning gap of more than a decade in average lifespan between Russian men and Russian women is matched by virtually no other country on the planet. Even in Japan, the country with the longest-lived women in the world, the gap between men and women is well under a decade.
But what is even more bizarre is Russia’s pension system, which awards retirement to women at 55 and to men 60. This means that the average Russian man would only enjoy a pension for 1.8 years, while the average woman would get one for 17.6 years. Simply by virtue of being born female, a woman would get nearly ten times more pension benefits.
Shocking, isn’t it?
Chron Energy reports:
The natural gas boom in the U.S. has weakened Russia’s influence on European energy supplies and could keep Iran’s influence in check for years to come, according to a new study from the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.
The study, “Shale Gas and U.S. National Security,” says the surge of drilling in shale formations will have an impact on global supply for years to come and limit the need for the U.S. to import liquefied natural gas, or LNG, for at least 20 to 30 years.
That means more LNG shipments from the Middle East will be available for Europe, which has been beholden to Russia for a large portion of its gas, supplied by pipelines.
Vladimir Terletsky writing on Rus Business News:
Russia will be unable to become an innovation-driven country in the near term, as, despite its tremendous area, there is no demand for innovative developments. Large companies prefer to purchase off-the-shelf technologies in other countries; talented scientists, in their turn, leave Russia, finding no comfort in living and working at home. Experts see monopolists as the main hindrance to progress, as being the closest to government money. The “RusBusinessNews” columnist is sure that only transnational corporations can make them move; however, the authorities show no haste to allow them access to the Russian market.
The inimitable Pavel Felgenhauer reports:
The Russian defense industry is in crisis; its officials blame the defense ministry for withholding funds, while Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov in turn accuses arms producers of making weapons of questionable quality and charging unjustified high prices (EDM, July 7).
Russia’s ruling tandem of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have called for tempers to be calmed and for all to work together to allow rearmament plans to be implemented. At the same time, Medvedev agreed that the defense ministry must not procure “trash,” but must receive the best quality for its money and import foreign [Western] weapons as a measure of last resort (www.kremlin.ru, July 12). Two weeks ago, Medvedev threatened to “execute” troublemakers within the defense industry and sack leading bureaucrats responsible for defense industry problems that are preventing rearmament. Up to now nothing drastic has happened, but the crisis continues to fester.
What happens when Russia’s second-best player, ranked number five in the world and seeded second in the tournament, plays an American ranked #169 in the world, unseeded in that tournament?
If you were wondering about the answer to that question, you got your answer at the Bank of the West WTA tour event in Stanford California last week, the opening event for the hardcourt season. Russian Maria Sharapova, who we call “Shamapova” because of the fraudulent nature of her record, faced off against American Serena Williams.