Tag Archives: neo-soviet failure

Special Extra — The Russian Stock Market, in Freefall

The Russian stock market is in freefall

The Russian stock market is in freefall

One picture truly is worth ten thousand screams as the Russian stock market closes this week.  The RTS index is down over 6.5% on Friday, just one day, barely above 1400, down one thousand points or an astonishing, appalling 40% down since its summer high of 2400.

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Special Extra: Russia’s Economy, Imploding

How low can it go?

How low can it go?

Over the summer, the Russian stock market reached a new high of 2,400 on the RTS index.  As Vladimir Putin’s crazily provocative statements about a major steelmaker reverberated through the markets, they began to plunge, so that by the time of the Georgia invasion Russia’s markets had lost a jolting 25% of their total value — and this despite historical highs on the price of Russian crude oil.

Then came the even crazier Georgia assault, and the markets plumbed new depths, sinking to a shocking valley below 1600, a startling loss of 800 points or one-third the total value of the summer high.

Finally last week the markets seemed to stabilize a bit, and clawed back a hundred points of their historic losses, and yet any hope of sunnier days proved a typical Russian illusion. 

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Russia’s Military Embarasses itself in Georgia

The Times of London reports on the shoddy, embarrassing quality of the army Russia sent into Georgia, one which NATO could easily have brushed aside at will if it had chosen to do so — yet another serious error made by the Putin regime in connection with the Georgia conflict.

Pictures of triumphant Russian soldiers sitting on armoured personnel carriers as they were driven through towns in Georgia will be among the lasting images of the seven-day war. But the victory did not tell the whole story, analysts said yesterday.

The ageing vehicles were so lightly armed and so uncomfortable and hot to sit in that the Russian soldiers felt safer perched on top. “At least they could then react quickly if there was an attack,” Colonel Christopher Langton, an expert on Russian armed forces at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said.

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Exposing Russian Failure at the Olympics

Writing in the Moscow Times columnist Georgy Bovt makes the point we made a week ago, namely that Russia failed miserably, by its own standards, at the Beijing Olympiad (it didn’t even play soccer, its men’s basketball collapsed in humiliating fashion, it was whipped head-to-head by the USA in men’s volleyball and women’s basketball, and it failed to produce a single memorable athletic performance).  And then he explains why this happened, seeing a connection between the fact that Russia is a sick nation (its male population doesn’t reach age 60 on average) and its lame atheletic performance.  A certain insane commenter who shall be nameless (because he is brainless) previously claimed nobody but LR could claim Russia had failed in Beijing, so although our mission is in fact to be far ahead of the curve on Russia, we admit to a special relish in publishing this post.  We’d say nice try, dummy, but it wasn’t even close. Those who rationalize failure in Russia are its worst enemies. Those who call up on it to rise and meet challenges are its best friends.

With the Olympic Games over, we can now take a look at whether Russia achieved the status of athletic superpower.  Unfortunately, our athletes did not fulfill the medals quota set by the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Leonid Tyagachyov. Russia’s track and field athletes were the only ones to meet the quota, largely because a modern stadium was built in Irkutsk for them to train in before the games so they could adapt to the Beijing time zone.

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Russia’s Neo-Soviet Class Crisis

Rich and Poor in Russia

Rich and Poor in Russia

The Moscow Times reports that the more things change in Russia, the more they stay the same. The nation still labors under the same appalling class inequities that provoked the Bolshevik revolution and persisted in Communist times:

Nikolai Nikitin by all appearances is Russia’s Average Joe. The 82-year-old retiree with blinking blue eyes supplements his monthly pension of 4,000 rubles ($170) with what grows in the garden in front of his small wooden house. His nephew Mikhail, 47, brings home another 15,000 rubles ($635) a month from his job as a security guard. Together they barely scrape a living. Nikitin may not be so average in having surpassed the country’s male life expectancy of 59 by 23 years. But in his neighborhood, he stands out for his poverty. Nikitin is encircled by wealth.
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