We Told you So
On September 28, 2011, a perfect metaphor for the horror that is Vladimir Putin’s Russia appeared in The Independent, which has over the years been responsible for some of the toughest and most insightful reporting on Russia (hat tip: Streetwise Professor).
The paper wrote about how thousands upon thousands of stray dogs roam the streets of Moscow, how they have killed Muscovites in packs and how they pose all manner of serious health concerns, to say nothing of betraying Russia’s eternal poverty regardless of the propaganda the state may churn out. Yet Russians, idiots that they are, are fighting to keep these dogs on the streets, and do what they can to care for them.
Similarly Josef Stalin is beloved by Russians, even though he murdered more of them than any other person who ever lived.
And similarly, the proud KGB spy and murderer of Starovoitova, of Litvinenko, of Politikovskaya, of Yushenkov, of Shchekochikhin, of Girenko, of Klebnikov, of Kozlov, of Estemirova, of Markelov and of so very many others, known as Vladimir Putin, is being embraced as he declares himself president for life. Lenin, Stalin, Putin.
On April 2, 2006, we warned the world that it would be so.
Estonia Whips Russian Butt
Reader “Robert” directs us to a BBC web page which compares the performance of the nations in post-Soviet space on economics, health and democracy. It provides three charts which reveal shocking facts about the failure of Putin’s resource-rich Russia when compared with tiny Estonia, the leader of the group.
First comes economics, which reveals not one but three stunning insights about Russia:
The Russian Economy is Collapsing
In 2008, nearly $130 billion flew out of Russia, erasing the modicum of inflows registered in 2006 and 2007. For its size, Russia as an investment destination pales in comparison to South Korea. Total equity portfolio inflow into Russia in 2009 was just $3.4 billion, according to World Bank data, making it the lowest of the big emerging markets by far. India, China and Brazil all registered inflows over $20 billion. A recent opinion poll by the Levada Centre shows that 22% of Russia’s adult population would like to leave the country for good, up from 7% in 2007. It is the highest figure since the collapse of the Soviet Union, when only 18% said they wanted to get out. Over 50% of Russian entrepreneurs said that they wanted leave the country. “From a macro perspective, I don’t want to be in Russia,” says Justin Leverenz, emerging markets portfolio manager at Oppenheimer Funds in New York. “From an investor’s point of view, Russian politics are far beyond what I’m able to analyze.”
Believe it or not, those words appear in a recent article in which the author is trying to put a positive spin on Russia. Can you imagine what Russia’s economic critics are saying these days?
Drunken Russian Killers
When a TU-134 jet went down in Petrozavodsk, Russia on June 20th this year, some people (the Russian government included) wanted to blame the aging plane itself. Now, they own the poor plane an apology.
The 47 Russians who lost their lives on that flight were not killed by the plane, nor were they killed by any “evil” Chechen terrorist. They were killed by a fellow Russian, the navigator of the plane Aman Atayev. He was drunk at the wheel.
So even if the passengers had been flying in a brand new Boeing aircraft made in America with the latest technology, they still would not have been safe. Atayev’s mother says he turned to drinking as a result of his recent divorce, yet another omnipresent Russian social ill. She says so as if he were somehow the innocent victim of that divorce, but in fact one Russian man murders his wife every forty minutes, so it’s quite likely he brutalized his wife emotionally or physically or both, and that’s why she left him.
Does Britain still Remember Chamberlain?
Simon Tisdall, a columnist for The Guardian in Britain, says Russians think of British Prime Minister David Cameron a “useful idiot” who offers the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin “de facto, unthinking legitimization.”
Tony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Russia from 2004 through 2008, says that “Russia’s ruling elite has become immovable and predatory, elections are fixed, corruption is on a par with Nigeria, the legal system is pliable, and the police and security agencies untouchable.” He says its government is a sham: “While Dmitri Medvedev enjoys the title of president, Vladimir Putin continues to call the real shots.”
But despite that, the British idiot-in-chief recently traveled to Moscow and inked hundreds of millions in trade deals in exchange for ignoring Russian human rights atrocities and the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London.
Vladimir Putin, on the Take
We recently published a Special Extra post which contained a translation of an item from the Russian web. In it, a Russian website interviewed a high-ranking Russian corruption investigator who revealed shocking details about his investigation of Vladimir Putin for personal corruption while Putin was serving in the government of St. Petersburg.
In an almost casual fashion, as if it were obvious to everyone, the investigator reveals that Putin had both hands in the cookie jar of budget revenues in Piter. And, of course, to any human with a brain it is obvious. How else would Putin be able to afford to sport expensive watches and live in a network of palaces that span the globe? And if Putin were not personally corrupt, how could corruption flourish so openly in Russia, so that Transparency International routinely finds Russia to be the single most corrupt major civilization on this planet?
The fact that Putin’s personal corruption is so well documented, even in Russia itself, just goes to prove that Russians approve of it, just as they approve of Putin’s brutal crackdown on democratic values, including his brazen murder of political opponents like Starovoitova, Politkovskaya, Estemirova and Markelov. Indeed, we recently reported on the fact that a new arrest in the Politkovskaya case clearly shows the involvement of high-level Russian law enforcement in her killing.
Why now, Mr. Medvedev, why now?
Last week any intelligent Russian citizen had just one question in response to a pair of orders emanating from their so-called “president”: Why now, Mr. Medvedev, why now?
First, in response to the crash of an airliner that killed an entire Russian professional ice hockey team, Medvedev ordered the airline shut down. But intelligent Russians were asking: Why didn’t you shut them down before the crash, Mr. Medvedev? Why did you wait so long?
Then, in response to growing civil unrest, Medvedev authorized the Russian Gestapo to utilize water cannons, tasers and tear gas on peaceful opposition protesters who fail to disperse upon the illegal order of the authorities. Intelligent Russian citizens were asking: Why now, Mr. Medvedev?