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According to RT, citing a Levada Center poll,

Over 50 percent of Russians are disappointed in the government of Dmitry Medvedev, which, they believe, is unable to curb growing prices and provide jobs for people, a new poll has revealed. Some 23 percent said they were absolutely sure that the government must resign, with another 30 percent telling Levada-Center that they were also leaning toward this opinion. This means that a total of 53 percent would like the country to have a new cabinet. Trust in the government has crumbled since September, when only 23 percent advocated its resignation. Meanwhile, the proportion of people who believed the government should stay in charge was 40 percent, with 14 percent expressing full confidence in the cabinet, and 26 percent saying that resignation wouldn’t be the best idea.

Source: http://www.levada.ru/en/ Jan 15th 2019 (details here: https://www.levada.ru/en/ratings/ )

This was very predictable and, in fact, I did predict just that when I wroteA comment I just saw on the YouTube chat of the inauguration was succinct and to the point: “Путин кинул народ – мы не за Медведева голосовали” or “Putin betrayed the people – we did not vote for Medvedev”. This is going to be a very widely shared feeling, I am afraid (…) Medvedev is unpopular and that most Russians hoped to see a new face. Yet Putin ignored this public sentiment. That is a very worrying sign, in my opinion“. In a subsequent article I wrote that “it is quite clear to me that a new type of Russian opposition is slowly forming. Well, it always existed, really – I am talking about people who supported Putin and the Russian foreign policy and who disliked Medvedev and the Russian internal policies. Now the voice of those who say that Putin is way too soft in his stance towards the Empire will only get stronger. As will the voices of those who speak of a truly toxic degree of nepotism and patronage in the Kremlin (again, Mutko being the perfect example). When such accusations came from rabid pro-western liberals, they had very little traction, but when they come from patriotic and even nationalist politicians (Nikolai Starikov for example) they start taking on a different dimension. For example, while the court jester Zhirinovskii and his LDPR party loyally supported Medvedev, the Communist and the Just Russia parties did not. Unless the political tension around figures like Kudrin and Medvedev is somehow resolved (maybe a timely scandal?), we might witness the growth of a real opposition movement in Russia, and not one run by the Empire. It will be interesting to see if Putin’s personal ratings will begin to go down and what he will have to do in order to react to the emergence of such a real opposition“.

Think about it in this way: we know from ALL the past elections that the pro-Western segment of the Russian population is somewhere around 1-3% (that is why they cannot make it into the Duma). But let’s generously give that hardcore, liberal, opposition 5%, for argument’s sake. So if 53% of Russians want a new cabinet, and if 5% of Russians are hardcore pro-Western liberals, then who are the remaining 48%?

Or in this way: if 53% of Russians want a new cabinet, and if Putin’s approval rating is still somewhere in the 65% range, who are those Russians who like Putin but dislike the Medvedev government?

There is an easy cop-out argument which I´ve often offered to explain away this fact:

Levada Center is officially classified as a “foreign agent” under Russian law. This makes sense: for one thing, Levada Center receives most of its financing from abroad, including the US and even the Pentagon! Furthermore, Levada is staffed by liberals (in the Russian meaning of the word which really means “pro-US”) whose biases are also reflected in their work. However, while this is all true, Levada is still credible enough to be cited even by Russian officials. Finally, the kind of results Levada publishes are often generally similar to the finding of the official VTsIOM polling institution, not down to the percentage point, but often reflecting similar trends (check out the VTsIOM English language page here: https://wciom.com/ ). So the fact that Putin is much more popular than Medvedev or that the majority of Russian people are unhappy with the government really is not in doubt.

So regardless of the actual numbers, it is clear that the Russian government is only popular with those whom it allows to make a lot of money (corporations and various millionaires and billionaires) and that everybody else strongly dislikes it.

And yet, recently Putin was asked if he was happy with the government and his reply was “on the whole, yes“.

This type of political yoga is hard to sustain in the long term: if Putin is the champion of the interests of the common people, and if most common people feel that the government cares more for millionaires and billionaires, then how can the President say that he is “on the whole happy” with the government?

It is truly a crying shame that the basics of Marxism-Leninism is not taught in schools and colleges any more (even some self-described “Communists” are clearly clueless about what Marx, Lenin or even Hegel taught!). Not because the solutions advocated by Marx and his followers are so universally effective, but because one can use the Marxist-Leninist conceptual toolkit to better understand the world we live in and, one can do this without necessarily endorsing the solutions offered by Marxism. For example, in the West at least, very few people are aware of this very simple Marxist-Leninist definition of what a state, any state, really is. According to Lenin, the state is simply an “apparatus of coercion and violence by which the ruling class governs the society“. Specifically Lenin wrote:

In essence, the state is ruling apparatus created from the human society. When such a group of people appears, one which is only concerned with ruling over others, and which for that purpose needs a coercion apparatus which can force people to obey by means of jails, special units, armed forces, etc, – that is the moment when the state appears (Lenin, collective works, vol 39, page 69).

From a Marxist point of view, any state is always and by definition the dictatorship of the ruling class, which is a good thing, at least according to the Marxists, when this ruling class is the workers and people, and a very bad thing when the ruling class is the plutocracy.

ORDER IT NOW

In the post-modern West, where political discourse has been reduced to a particularly nauseating form of intellectual flatulence, the very notion of “class” and “class warfare” has been fully replaced with vapid (pseudo-) identity politics which completely obfuscate all the real issues and problems our world is dealing with. Thus, by removing the concepts and categories needed to understand the nature of the struggle which is taking place internationally, but also inside each of the countries currently living under the AngloZionist yoke, the leaders of the Empire have deprived the people they rule over from the means to understand why and how they are oppressed. All that nonsense about “gay” rights, gun control, #meetoo, the many sex scandals, the struggle for racial identity (White or Black or any other), abortion, drugs and all the rest of the crap we are fed on a daily basis by the AngloZionist propaganda machine are primarily a distraction to keep the eyes of the general population from the real issues. In a way, this zombification and re-direction to fake topics serves exactly the same function as the red cape of the bullfighter: to keep the bull busy with trying to gore a harmless red piece of cloth while completely missing the real cause of his suffering and eventual death.

From that point of view, the Russian people are much better informed and have a much better understanding of what is going on. For example, while in the West the people define “democracy” as “people power” (or something similar), in Russia the joke is that “democracy is the power of the democrats” which, in Russia, is a general codeword/euphemism for “pro-US wealthy liberal” who want to turn Russia into some kind of “bigger Poland” or something equally uninspiring.

Various pro-Western “intellectuals” like to say that this is an old Russian pathology: to say that the Czar (President) is very good, but his court (the Ministers) are bad and that this makes absolutely no sense. These are the folks who go as far as denying the existence of a struggle between what I call Eurasian Sovereignists (roughly Putin supporters) and Atlantic Integrationists (roughly Medvedev and the “economic block” of this government).

The folks who deny this remind me of something Berthold Brecht once wrote after the 1953 uprising in Berlin in a short poem entitled “The Solution”: (emphasis added)

After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

This deep alienation from the Russian masses, this notion that the Russian people have, yet again, failed to heed the “wise words” of the “progressive intelligentsia” and other (mainly financial) “elites” has plagued the Russian ruling classes since Peter I and is still at the very core of their worldview. Believe you me, the Russian “liberals” and the folks in the West who deny that there is any 5th column in Russia are psychologically and politically joined at the hip: neither one of them can accept this. Furthermore, both the Russian “liberals” and the western believers in the values of “democracy” and “free market capitalism” share exactly the same worldview: they want the Russian people to become “Europeans” not in a geographical sense, of course (geographically speaking most Russian live in the European part of Russia), but culturally! This is what the Popes wanted, this is what the French Freemasons wanted, this is what the Nazis wanted, and this is what the AngloZionists want. That dream to turn Russians into Europeans while totally cleansing them from any “Russian-ness” is what united *all* the invaders of Russia over the centuries.

But the “stubborn” Russian people just don’t seem to “get it” and, for some totally mysterious reason, they always resist all these “benevolent” western attempts at “civilizing” them.

This is exactly what we see today: Putin and his Eurasian Sovereignists try as hard as they can to *sovereignize* Russia; in other words, they want to make Russia *truly* Russian again. Sounds basic, but that is categorically unacceptable to the Russian plutocrats and to their supporters in the West. Thus any kind of defense of the Russian-ness of Russia is immediately and contemptuously dismissed as “national leftism”, “nationalism” or, God forbid!, “monarchism”. And when the person trying to make the argument that Russia ought to be Russian uses Marxist concepts or categories, these arguments are also dismissed out of hand as an “outdated rhetoric of a system which has failed and discredited itself”. What they fail to realize is to say that the collapse of the Soviet Union was due primarily/solely to the Marxist or Communist ideology is just as stupid as blaming the current collapse of democracy in the US on the writings of the Founding Fathers rather than on the SOB politicians who are destroying this country day after day after day. Tell me: when the US finally bites the dust, will you simply declare that “democracy is dead” and that the “collapse of the US proved that democracy is not a viable regime”? So yes, the Soviet Union did indeed collapse, broken into 15 pieces by its own ruling elite (the Nomenklatura), but the ideas contained in the Marxist-Leninist ideology have not only not been “defeated” – they have not even been challenged (more on this issue here).

But, thank God! most Russians are still not willing to be incorporated into the “European cultural Borg collective“, at least not in the cultural sense. And in spite of 300 years of oppression by various pro-western regimes (with various degrees of russophobia, not all were equally bad), the Russian people still want to remain Russian, not just by speaking a language, but by having a ruler and a regime in power which they feel defends their interests and not the interests of the ruling class. They want to live in their own civilizational realm, and not the kind of post-Christian intellectual desert the West has become.

Many decades of rabid russophobia by the rulers of the AngloZionist Empire have convinced the Russian people that they have no friends in the European or North American ruling elites and that true freedom comes through liberation, not submission. That, and the appalling example of the consequences of the “Euromaidan” in the Ukraine.

At the end of the day, it is not about GDP or the availability of cheap consumer goods. At the end of the day, it all depends on real, moral, ethical, spiritual and civilizational values. This was true 1000 years ago and this is still true today. At least in Russia.

It is very important to keep a close eye on this trend: the appearance of slowly but surely growing (truly) patriotic opposition (as opposed to the CIA-paid clowns in the Russian liberal camp). As for the “official” opposition (LDPR, KPRF and the Just Russia), they might decide to grow a few teeth, initially small, baby teeth only, but if this trend accelerates, they might decide to look a tad more credible. Until now the rather lame and ridiculous LDPR & KPRF parties are just a collective form of court jesters with no real opposition potential. Just look at how the KPRF, thoroughly discredited by their crazy choice of the millionaire Grudinin for candidate, jumped onto the pension reform PR-disaster to suddenly try to launch a referendum. This would never have happened in the past.

The political landscape in Russia is becoming more complicated, which is both good and bad. It is bad because Putin’s personal political credit suffers, however modestly for now, from his continuous inability to purge the Kremlin from the 5th columnists, but it is also good because if things get bad enough Putin will have no choice but to (finally!) get rid of at least the most notorious 5th columnists. But fundamentally the Russian people need to decide. Do they really want to live in a western-style capitalist society (with all the russophobic politics and the adoption of the terminally degenerate “culture” such a choice implies), or do they want a “social society” (to use Putin’s own words) – meaning a society in which social and economic justice and the good of the country are placed above corporate and personal profits.

You could say that this is a battle of greed vs ethics.

The future of Russia, and much of the world, will depend on the outcome of this battle.

UPDATE: well, just as I was mentioning that the fact that Levada Center and VTsIOM mostly agree, at least on trends, the Russian media is now reporting that the latter now also is reporting a drop in the popularity of Putin. And just to make things worse, the Russian authorities have deported an (in-)famous anti-Nazi Ukrainian journalist, Elena Boiko, to the Nazi-occupied Ukraine in spite of the fact that Boiko had requested political asylum in Russia. Now, Boiko is a very controversial person for sure (and, personally, not *at all* my cup of tea), but the sole fact that Russia would deport ANY anti-Nazi activist to the Nazi-occupied Ukraine is disgusting and revolting. And, sure enough, the bovine-excreta is already hitting the proverbial fan as now members of the Duma, journalists and various personalities are demanding explanations for this absolutely stupid and deeply immoral act. Sadly, can only agree with Nikolai Starikov who speaks of a “liberal revanche” following the “Russian Spring” of 2014. If this kind of nonsense continues we will see a further deterioration of Putin’s personal rating along with a gradual degradation of the Russian political environment.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Vladimir Putin 
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  1. peterAUS says:

    Promising start:

    the majority of Russian people are unhappy with the government really is not in doubt.

    it is clear that the Russian government is only popular with those whom it allows to make a lot of money (corporations and various millionaires and billionaires) and that everybody else strongly dislikes it.

    if Putin is the champion of the interests of the common people, and if most common people feel that the government cares more for millionaires and billionaires, then how can the President say that he is “on the whole happy” with the government?

    then loses focus, fast:

    In the post-modern West, where political discourse has been reduced to a particularly nauseating form of intellectual flatulence, the very notion of “class” and “class warfare” has been fully replaced with vapid (pseudo-) identity politics which completely obfuscate all the real issues and problems our world is dealing with.

    and then reverts to the “usual Saker”.

    Well, some other time, perhaps.
    Say….. in 2020, hopefully.

    • Replies: @Herald
  2. I am talking about people who supported Putin and the Russian foreign policy and who disliked Medvedev and the Russian internal policies.

    It’s a false dichotomy, you’re talking about. At the end of the day, Russia will need a lot of money to pay for Putin’s foreign policy, and without pension reform Russian government will surely run out of money. You cannot feed your soldiers with духовность , you know.

  3. Incomprehensible gibberish. The scribblings of an unfocused yet obsessed mind.

    • Replies: @Rogue
  4. @Felix Keverich

    MMT – Modern Monetary Theory.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
  5. @animalogic

    Huh? If you’ve got a point, get to it.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  6. Not because the solutions advocated by Marx and his followers are so universally effective, but because one can use the Marxist-Leninist conceptual toolkit to better understand the world we live in and, one can do this without necessarily endorsing the solutions offered by Marxism.

    The phrase of the year, so far. Superb.

    • Agree: byrresheim
    • Replies: @Erebus
    , @Vojkan
  7. Erebus says:
    @Felix Keverich

    He did. You missed it. MMT solves the ” run(ning) out of money” issue. MMT, “with Chinese characteristics” is how China pays for everything it needs, and why it can’t go bankrupt.

  8. Erebus says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    No access to AGREE button, but agreed nevertheless. Marx’s paradigm is a toolbox.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  9. @Erebus

    Sounds like magic to me. So the next time we’re facing budgetary shortfall, we’re supposed to shout “MMT” at it, or something – is that how it works? It will solve the issue?

    Didn’t work so well in Venezuela.

    Technically, no government can go bankrupt so long as all its liabilities are enumerated in domestic currency, but the currency can become devalued to the point that your pension will not be able to buy toilet paper, which is exactly what happened Modern Monetary Venezuela. 🙂

    • Replies: @kemerd
    , @Erebus
  10. Marxism-Leninism is intellectual mumbo-jumbo, intended to justify the existance of the Soviet system. Has no validity or relevance outside the Soviet system.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
    , @anon
    , @Paw
  11. The MSM and its allies in the controlled alternative media, and the global private-interest financial, investment and banking system, are a tag-team, indispensable to each other. Control of money and control of information. The first narrowly concentrates wealth and thus power and influence. The second through agenda-driven selection, lies, censorship, spin, misdirection and so on – disinformation – controls people’s sense of what is real and possible, thus dis-empowering them.

    The American military and CIA have provided most of the overt and covert ‘muscle’ for that control system.

    The combined effort of narrowly controlled and narrowly advantaging globe straddling finance, media, and muscle has facilitated the development of a near global Empire. In common with traditional Empires this new Empire had totalitarian ambitions: but since its reach was global, this is really a first attempt at global totalitarian control.

    Russia under Putin – leaving aside China – has developed enough strength to attempt alternative modes of communication and finance and development, not as adjuncts or subordinates to the Empire’s efforts in those regards. And their military is antidote and opposition to the totalitarian project.

    The forgoing is pretty obvious stuff, but I think that the Saker’s concluding paragraph provides a limiting summary of how the issue can play out.

    “But fundamentally the Russian people need to decide. Do they really want to live in a
    western-style capitalist society (with all the russophobic politics and the adoption
    of the terminally degenerate “culture” such a choice implies), or do they want a
    “social society” (to use Putin’s own words) – meaning a society in which social and economic
    justice and the good of the country are placed above corporate and personal profits.

    You could say that this is a battle of greed vs ethics.”

    This is a simplistic way of looking at the choices available. We are all caught up in transitional culture processes, no matter where we live. The conjunction of the cornucopia of new technology and unprecedented environmental and social challenges is everywhere at play, leading who knows where?

    What the Russian people have been given, and this is near singular on Earth, is a protected and enhanced opportunity of developing a culture in which honest national discourse is a predominant feature. This is in complete contrast to the predominant ‘fake news’ system of discourse control that is in place in so many countries. And full and honest discourse will create its own original cultural developments.

    The Russian adoption of more honest discourse is already having global influence. An example is Russia Today, which far from perfect and all that, still provides an enormous advance over the extremely controlled western mass media, and a powerful foe to ‘fake news’.

    Perhaps the most visible exemplar of rationale discourse has been Putin himself, with for example his marathon annual Q and A with the Russian people, or his articulate well considered sallies on many issues

    And with that – if Russia can use unfettered reason writ large as a prime ingredient of cultural and political development, as a basic developmental ‘steering tool’ – then the simple dichotomy of “western-style capitalist society” vs “a society in which social and economic justice and the good of the country are placed above corporate and personal profits” , as much as I’m sympathetic to the latter, seems to me to be a limiting way of expressing the range of potential beneficent possibilities.

  12. The MSM and its allies in the controlled alternative media, and the global private-interest financial, investment and banking system, are a tag-team, indispensable to each other. Control of money and control of information. The first narrowly concentrates wealth and thus power and influence. The second through lies, censorship, spin, misdirection and so on – disinformation – subverts people’s sense of what is real and possible, thus dis-empowering them.

    The American military and CIA have provided most of the overt and covert ‘muscle’ for that control system.

    The combined effort of narrowly controlled and narrowly advantaging globe straddling finance, media, and muscle has facilitated the development of a near global Empire. In common with traditional Empires this new Empire had totalitarian ambitions: but since its reach was global, this is really a first attempt at global totalitarian control.

    Russia under Putin – leaving aside China – has developed enough strength to attempt alternative modes of communication and finance and development, not as adjuncts or subordinates to the Empire’s efforts in those regards. And their military is in effective opposition to the totalitarian project.

    The forgoing is pretty obvious stuff, but I think that the Saker’s concluding paragraph doesn’t really summarize the nub of how the issue can play out adequately.

    “But fundamentally the Russian people need to decide. Do they really want to live in a
    western-style capitalist society (with all the russophobic politics and the adoption
    of the terminally degenerate “culture” such a choice implies), or do they want a
    “social society” (to use Putin’s own words) – meaning a society in which social and economic
    justice and the good of the country are placed above corporate and personal profits.

    You could say that this is a battle of greed vs ethics.”

    This is a simplistic way of looking at the choices available. We are all caught up in transitional culture processes, no matter where we live. The conjunction of the cornucopia of new technology and unprecedented environmental and social challenges is everywhere at play.

    What the Russian people have been given, and this is near singular on Earth, is a more protected and enhanced opportunity of developing a culture in which honest national discourse is a predominant feature. This is in complete contrast to the predominant ‘fake news’ system of discourse control. And full and honest discourse will create its own original cultural developments.

    And the Russian adoption of more honest discourse is having global influence. An example is Russia Today, which far from perfect and all that, still provides an enormous advance over the extremely controlled western mass media, and a powerful foe to ‘fake news’.

    Perhaps Putin’s example as an articulate, knowledgeable and reasonable communicator – ‘head and shoulders above other western political leaders’ in Paul Craig Roberts’ words – is both inspiration and symptomatic of Russia’s potential in this regard.

    And with that – say reason writ large as a prime ingredient of cultural and political development, as a basic developmental ‘steering tool’ – then the simple dichotomy of “western-style capitalist society” vs “a society in which social and economic justice and the good of the country are placed above corporate and personal profits” , as much as I’m sympathetic to the latter, seems to me to be a limiting way of expressing the range of potential beneficent possibilities.

  13. kemerd says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Sounds like magic to me. So the next time we’re facing budgetary shortfall, we’re supposed to shout “MMT” at it, or something – is that how it works? It will solve the issue?

    Didn’t work so well in Venezuela.

    Venezuela and Russia cannot be compared as Russia is able to produce most of its needs on its own. MMT indeed does not have an answer for countries with severe trade deficit or vulnerable to attacks via sanctions which Venezuela clearly is and Russia is not. Under such a regime as long as a country can pay for imports (that has to be paid in foreign currency), the country cannot go bankrupt or economy cannot be sunk by foreign influence.

    MMT is indeed serious economics and actually a logical conclusion of Keynes and Kalecki’s work under fiat money regimes. In that respect, giving it a separate name is not appropriate as it is not really original but correct nonetheless.

    I would also like to remind Martyanov’s dictum that a plumber should not offer opinions on brain surgery: Applies to economics as well as weapon systems.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
  14. @kemerd

    I would also like to remind Martyanov’s dictum

    You mean the wise sailor?

    Venezuela is sitting on world’s largest petroleum reserves and used to be fairly prosperous country, until the government of Hugo Chaves began to implement a socialist experiment in the country. Now this country has a shortage of toilet paper and its oil output is collapsing. Venezuela’s problems are largely the result of socialist experiment – the same malaise that brought down USSR.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  15. If you believe (like Arthur Berman, James Howard Kunstler, Steve Angelo and Gail Tverberg) that cheap energy is a thing of the past, Russia has much more leverage than the West. It has the oil and natural gas and we don’t. The U.S. imports about 40% of its energy needs. Europe needs Russian natural gas to stay warm. Who is going to be better positioned in an energy starved future? John Michael Greer believes that the two centers of civilization hundreds of years from now will be centered in Western Russia and the Ohio River Valley.

  16. Serrice says: • Website
    @Felix Keverich

    I recognise you from Karlin’s comment sections, do you have any insight into why the Saker’s articles are nuts these days? I used to read him years ago and I could’ve sworn he made sense, now that I come back he seems to have gone mad.

    • Replies: @voicum
  17. @Felix Keverich

    … until the government of Hugo Chaves began to implement a socialist experiment in the country.

    and a charming combination of sanctions and sabotage was deployed against the country.

    You do not have to feel even the slightest sympathy for Hugo Chavez and his policies to notice that, to put it mildly, not all of Venezuela’s problems are homemade.

    • Replies: @Cyrano
    , @map
  18. Seraphim says:

    Is really Russia facing an existential threat because of the pension reform?

  19. @Erebus

    None of those tools worked.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  20. @Felix Keverich

    Not necessary!
    Marx did came to conclusion that Communism will happen through socialism in the most advanced capitalistic country. If you are familiar in present trends in US congress, than there is a possibility that Marx was right after all.
    ……………………………………………………………….
    Lenin did defy Marx with the claim that Communism can be built in any country regardless of the development. Obviously Lenin was in error.

  21. Russia is being ran by criminal capitalistic gung. Nothing good can come out from thieves who stole everything that was built by few Soviet generations at great effort. Those who say let Russia recuperate and heal do not get that one cannot heal with foreighn object protruding especially when the object is cancerous. It influences everything, sucks Russia dry, kills it off and degenerates her. Putin is the man who is at the very top of the pyramid. The wealth and number of dollar billionaires grew under his rule many fold, while rights of common folk have been completely destroyed with pension being the last thing left and ruined. Saker is either naive or ideologically driven and thus blind. Not only Marxism leninist offer the tool kit to understand current situation but it offers solutions like it did in 1917. What should be added is power structure and balance of it along with to prevent what happened with Soviet leadership that got to the point of destroying own country to become new capitalists. There is no signs that current regime is becoming more socially oriented and ir cannot happen. It is as usually about who owns means of production and who is in control capitalists and their lap dogs or working people and their representatives.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Seraphim
    , @yurivku
  22. Erebus says:
    @Erebus

    Sounds like magic to me.

    Well, it not only sounds like magic, money is a sort of magic. Here’s some quick, grossly truncated thoughts on the question of money.

    99.% of the people on the planet chases money for most of their waking lives, but very few can tell you what it is. The few who can, tend to rule the world and so aren’t interested in telling everyone how they’re doing it.

    “Money” is a human construct, an abstract plane that overlays, and gives context/framework to human economic activity as [i] a store of value, [ii] a unit of account, and as [iii] a medium of exchange. As it is a construct, and not a real thing, its only criteria for success is that the context/framework it creates be sustainable.

    Our current system, in which money is created and enters the economy as somebody’s liability is not ideal for a number of reasons.
    [a] because only the principal enters the system, it depends entirely on debts increasing elsewhere in the system to pay the full liability which includes the interest. Systemically speaking, it’s the modern version of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Thus debt necessarily rises indefinitely, and only rising defaults can stop its expansion. Defaults rise precipitously when economic growth slows to the point where the new debt can’t service the old. Economic growth slows for a number of reasons, but a primary one is when the carrying costs of the very debt that drove it rises to a point where people and enterprises recoil from taking on new debt. The West, otoh, is at a much more dangerous point. Due to a lack of productive opportunities, the bulk of new debt is going into speculation and consumption. A double whammy.
    Parenthetically, that is the systemic reason we’re at/near ZIRP – to “force feed” debt into the system so it can continue increasing in the face of slow/no growth in the real economy.
    [b] a financial plane inevitably thus grows to “manage” the excess of debts generated on the monetary plane, overlaying it in the same way as the monetary plane overlays the real economy. Namely, parasitically. Unchecked, the parasite will eventually grow to kill the host. We’re almost there now.
    With the grotesque amount of debt now in the system, the “financial industry” has grown into so thick an overlay on top of the monetary and economic planes as to burden both to their breaking points.
    As debt is always paid, either by the borrower or the lender, there is no mechanism to save the system. As defaults in the real economy increase, they will eventually pull the rug out from under both of the parasitic planes. “Eventually” is now in the foreseeable future. When they implode, the real economy is where all the wealth will reside, and be generated in the post-collapse world.

    MMT (dis)solves that problem by having the Sovereign issue currency directly into the economy – aka: government spending.
    China’s SOEs borrow from China’s SOBs (State Owned Banks) and spend that money directly into the economy by building productive enterprises, infrastructure, etc. The “debt” that one branch of the CN govt, the SOEs borrowed was created by another branch, the SOBs. Intra-governmentally, the money that the “debts” represent functions only as a Unit of Account. No value changed hands – or only to the extent that moving a dollar from your wallet to your shirt pocket before spending it was a transfer of value. That money goes to pay suppliers, engineers, contractors, workers, etc who supply real goods, services and labour and in turn spend that money downstream into all the farmers, consumer goods mfrs and retailers to improve their lifestyles. As long as the money issuance is generally restricted to real, productive purpose, there will always be a rough balance between the amount of money in the system and economic activity. This is aka “sustainable”.
    America used a similar system in its early days with the issuance of Colonial Scrip, Pennsylvania’s being the most successfully managed of them. The Banksters of the day (aka: The Bank of England) tried put a stop to it – creating one of the reasons for the American Revolution.

    By the way…

    Technically, no government can go bankrupt so long as all its liabilities are enumerated in domestic currency…

    … is false.

    Most CBs are part of the IMF system. (Only 4 aren’t, and you can guess which 4 they are by looking at who the West wants to bomb.) As such, they are contractually restricted in the amount of their own currency they can issue. Usually, the restriction is a ratio to the “hard currencies” they hold in reserve. That’s why Russia’s CB can’t increase the money supply and drive Russian growth. If they’re up against the ratios, IMF CBs can’t issue their currency to pay their bills – aka insolvent, if not bankrupt.

    The Chinese, OTOH, signed similar agreements, and then told the IMF to pound sand. Oh, they follow the black letter law to the last letter, but they found all the loopholes and cracks in the edifice and created domestic entities & policies that slip through them. Simply put, they outplayed the West’s financiers at their own game. That’s why they’re the new enemy-du-jour. They would have soon required bombing as well, but the Chinese, planning ahead, knew this and made it impossible.

    Sorry, as this grew to be nowhere near as grossly truncated as I’d hoped, I figured the hell with it and just kept typing. Now I don’t have the time to edit it.

  23. Cyrano says:
    @byrresheim

    If Socialism was such a bad idea and Capitalism such a superior one – why not let the Capitalism win the popularity contest on its own merits, why does the Capitalism has to prove that it’s better than socialism by waging war on the clearly inferior system? Is it pure humanism that motivates democracies to “rescue” countries which were split in half between the superior Capitalism and inferior Socialism. When was the last time Socialist country has attacked capitalist one to prove that it’s better? Koreas, Vietnams don’t count for the simple reason that they are same countries with “democracy” sponsors from abroad supporting the “superior” system. Again, using pure humanism as a motivating factor.

    • Replies: @EoinW
    , @byrresheim
  24. Erebus says:
    @Johnny Rico

    None of those tools worked.

    Marx’s tools are analytical, thus descriptive and not prescriptive. When his early readers tried to turn his tools into normative formulas, Marx reportedly quipped: “Evidently, I am not a Marxist”.

    Developing a new economic system that avoids the deficiencies revealed in other systems by Marxian analysis is not “Marxist” per se.

    Ask the Chinese. They seem to have made a go of it. Nothing “Marxist” about the system that grew out of Marxist analysis.

  25. Rogue says:
    @Johnny Rico

    Yes, I tend to skim through this guy’s articles mostly for the chuckles.

    Not everything he says is rubbish, but that’s probably true for most people.

    According to the article, Napoleon and Hitler invaded Russia to force the disagreeable Russians (though not the wicked Ukronazis!) into becoming more like other Europeans.

    They had no other motives or goals; only that, you see …

  26. Kim says:

    People keep quoting Venezuela’s vast oil reserve but always neglect to mention that these reserves are NOT conventional oil as found in Saudi Arabia but are in fact tar sands.

    It is not irrelevant that the Venezuelan govt are worse than useless, but neither is it irrelevant that it is VERY expensive to turn tar sands into useful petroleum products.

    And that is the most basic source of Venezuela’s woes: her “oil” reserves are not economic at any price that would allow the world economy to continue to operate smoothly.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
  27. padre says:

    Unlike the USA, they at least have a pension system!

    • Replies: @Alden
  28. Annatar says:

    I don’t see what issue the Russian people have with the current administration, the main economic indicator that impacts most people directly is real wage growth, and it is not as if wages have been stagnant, real wages grew by 7.4% in the first 11 months of 2018, no reason to believe December data will be any different, if 7% real wage growth isn’t enough for people, then nothing will be. Real wage growth was slow in 2017 at 2.9% but it has accelerated significantly since then.

  29. @Erebus

    Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th Prime Minister, 1938. “Once a nation parts with control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes that nation’s laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.”

    From about 1939 to 1974 the Bank of Canada directly emitted large amounts of financing for worthwhile public projects into the Canadian economy. This has enormous broad benefit, and was not inflationary.

    This policy was discontinued in 1974, in what former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Paul Hellyer describes as a kind of financial coup by the then head of the Bank of Canada Gerald Bouey. Subsequent to that 1974 change of policy, which in effect fully re-integrated Bank of Canada into the private Central Bank system, Canada’s National Debt ballooned, and borrowing and taxation were re-established as the options for govt financing, to Canada’s great detriment.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  30. Erebus says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Hah, my #22 was supposed to be a reply to your #9. Sigh.

  31. Herald says:
    @peterAUS

    That was the usual dose of “Peter Aus” obfuscation.

    • Agree: ChuckOrloski, bluedog
  32. This is the author’s classic line: “Russians are not Europeans”. The fly in that ointment is that all Europeans think they are not “Europeans”. None of us accept that there is such a thing as “the European people”. We are all different and it’s the juxtaposition of that diferentness that is the underlying basis of European culture. Thus, what the author is actually saying is that Russians are … typical Europeans!

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
    , @anon
  33. mike k says:

    The game being played by many commenters here is to show how much smarter they are than the Saker. Mostly, they are not winning this game.

    • Replies: @Reuben Kaspate
  34. EoinW says:
    @Cyrano

    Well written!

    Chavez’s biggest mistake was playing by democratic rules. The contest isn’t a fair one when the American Empire only pays lip service to their version of democracy, lies to control the narrative, and uses coercion to win.

    How can socialism be the problem in Venezuela when 99% of the people lived in poverty before Chavez was elected? Socialism is exactly what every developing nation needs to level the playing field. Allende would have succeeded in Chile had the USA not intervened to destroy the country. The problem isn’t socialism, it is economic inequality maintained by the Anglo-American empires. Socialism is the natural option to combat this inequality. The real problem is the USA’s chief export has always been to destroy countries that do not cowtow to pax Americana.

    • Replies: @onebornfree
  35. Erebus says:
    @Robert Snefjella

    This policy was discontinued in 1974, in what former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Paul Hellyer describes as a kind of financial coup by the then head of the Bank of Canada Gerald Bouey.

    In such case, it occurred under Pierre Trudeau. It surprises me that a man as worldly and astute as Trudeau would allow a “coup” to take place on his watch. One wonders if he traded it for the BNA Act’s patriation? It’s certainly true that Canada’s national debt skyrocketed under him.

    As for Hellyer, he’s made many astute, and many ill-considered statements. One would have to have a look at the policy documents to see if Hellyer’s claim was one or the other.

    • Replies: @Robert Snefjella
  36. God bless Putin and Russia and Assad and Syria for defending Christians in Syria and standing against the TRINITY OF EVIL aka the Zionist controlled U.S. and Israel and Britain and their creation ISIS aka AL CIADA and all of its offshoots.

    Russia under Putin has become the largest producer of wheat and is building a huge dairy industry and all of this benefits the common people and any one who doubts this can go to youtube and enter Russian farming and watch the dozens of videos proving that Russian agriculture is on the rebound and sanctions have not hurt Russia and in fact have benefited Russian agriculture.

    Critizim of Russia is sour grapes!

    • Agree: Mulegino1
  37. Do they really want to live in a western-style capitalist society (with all the russophobic politics and the adoption of the terminally degenerate “culture” such a choice implies), or do they want a “social society” (to use Putin’s own words) – meaning a society in which social and economic justice and the good of the country are placed above corporate and personal profits.

    For the inhabitants of the EU member states mutatis mutandis :
    Do they really want to live in a society ran by multinationals and globalists, (with all the russophobic politics, and the destruction of European cultures, such a choice implies), or do they want a “social-democratic society”, meaning a society in which social and economic justice and the good of the country are placed above profits and dictatorial rule ?

  38. @Michael Kenny

    all Europeans think they are not “Europeans”

    with maybe the exception of the Belgians, because Belgium never existed

  39. Epigon says:

    Saker has always been trash and nonsense.
    I have never perceived him as Russian, especially not an Orthodox Russian.
    I just have this urge to distrust and disregard each and every diaspora, especially one residing in hostile nations. However, in case of Saker, his CV points to him being a particularly nasty individual with problematic events and actions in 1990s regarding Chechnya and Yugoslavia.

    • Replies: @Anon
  40. onebornfree says: • Website
    @EoinW

    EoinW says: “..Socialism is exactly what every developing nation needs to level the playing field. …”

    “If one understands that Socialism is not a ‘share the wealth’ program but is in reality a method to consolidate and control the wealth, then the seeming paradox of super rich men promoting Socialism becomes no paradox at all. Instead it becomes logical, even the perfect tool of power-seeking megalomaniacs. Communism, or more accurately Socialism, is not a movement of the down-trodden masses but of the economic elite.” From: “None Dare Call It Conspiracy” -Gary Allen

    “The State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens”
    Leo Tolstoy,

    “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” – Frederic Bastiat

    Regards, onebornfree

    • Agree: DESERT FOX
    • Replies: @anon
  41. anon[244] • Disclaimer says:
    @Felix Keverich

    The foundation of the capitalism is based on exploitation at home and abroad . The foundational base is the 3 rd world . Capitalism including those based on 17- 20 th century’s colonization would have not succeeded the way it has . We intentionally forget that the western capitalism is much more destructive than the soviet marxism . Soviet marxism failed because it did not colonize the rest of the world and make them pay for its survival the way Capitalism did.

    No one talks of the vile corrupt despicable poor situation of Congo Niger Nigeria or Gabon . They are capitalist friendly crony dictatorial countries whose existences without any media reported daily grinding poverty and violences are possible due to the western support and media silence . They are not socialist they are not capitalist . They are support countries . They maintain support and enrich western capitalism . They ( king cronies dictator and limited choice based elected leaders ) in turn get western protection support and help . The media ( western ) don’t refer to them , don’t remind of them , and don’t bother about the plight of the citizen . Their disenfranchised citizen support the western capitalism like the slaves propped up the culturally savvy educated well dressed well fed elites of Greece and Rome.

    When those illegal manipulated created support system are gone, west ‘s capitalism as we know for 400 hundred years will be gone . Reason of the disconnect we see in the west is because the system is failing at the margins at the borderlands, at the periphery of the control ,whose victims are the middle class . The margin will move to the centers slowly and the elites will start killing each other and fighting each other . Capitalism can’t feed and can’t enrich and can’t hold the promise as it used to before . Because the major victims of the 400 yrs capitalism have become also successful capitalist themselves . It is like the 19 th European dynasties are challenging each other over the territories . It is like Pope being threatened by new ideologies from the fringes . Pie is shrinking . Capitalism’s success has so far been left externalities un -addressed . Externalities are in the ruins of the 3rd world .

  42. anon[244] • Disclaimer says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Interesting attempt to discredit saker’s argument . “European” is not the religion -thing or language -thing . It has those component to make common stupid comfortable under the tent that touts democracy freedom past glory and unsaid but implied superiority under the watchful eye of NATO ,Brussels- Washington -London -Chicago known as consensus. Russia resist the watchful eyes not the language or there religion or even the past glory .

  43. @Felix Keverich

    I wonder if any other commenters are as dumb as I am. I didn’t know that Putin wasn’t in charge of pretty much everything in Russia. Saker says that Medvedev, as Prime Minister, actually runs domestic policy, while Putin, as President, runs foreign policy. It seems that these two have been taking turns being either President or PM for a few decades now.

    With these two constantly at odds, it would be like our President and VP being of different parties, except that our VP has no power (unless it’s Dick Cheney). But I do think that our President, elected to an office designed for the 18th Century, has far too much on his plate for any one person. A country the size of the US should have both a President and PM, but I’d like to see them run as a slate, not in opposition to each other.

  44. @Erebus

    Going from memory, in Hellyer’s book The Money Mafia, his impression was that Bouey’s decision was taken without real political understanding or guidance. Noteworthy was an attempt in recent years to restore that Bank of Canada fund-emission function via the court system. The attempt failed. The lawyer representing the group making the effort, Rocco Galati, indicated that the media in Canada had received pressure not to cover the story. The government of Canada at the time the court case was initiated was under Harper Conservative rule.

    As to how astute Trudeau was, or how much practical influence he had when it came to national financial matters, I don’t know. There was a lot of economic flux at the time involving the US dollar, oil, high inflation and gold. There was a big jump in Canadian interest rates around 1974. In any case, the emission of funds directly for productive purpose, without taxation and borrowing, is a beneficent unacknowledged elephant in the economic policy-options room.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  45. Even as an old timer, I am drawn to the arguments made by our “Dissident Right”(DR), who seek to find a Third Way between destructive international capitalism and destructive international socialism. That movement is Nationalism. Some might call it Fascism, though that loaded term has become far too pejorative. It is not surprising that one of the heroes of the US DR is Mr. Putin.

    The people making the best oral arguments for this third way that I’ve listened to thus far are Mike Enoch and Eric Striker. Do not dismiss them lightly. They are obviously highly intelligent and their movement is growing. As young white males are increasingly marginalized and oppressed by the dominant culture, they have nowhere else to go. Old-time GOP civic nationalism is dead, killed by the Diversity Cult that they foolishly embraced. On their own, after Trump, and given the snowballing demographic catastrophe, the GOP could never again win another national election. At some point there will be an uprising, unless young indoctrinated males have been become like frogs in slowly boiling water, who don’t realize they are being scalded alive until it is too late.

  46. @mike k

    A long winded piece at best…

    • Replies: @anon
  47. anon[244] • Disclaimer says:
    @onebornfree

    Gary Allen failed big time He didn’t include the cronyism in capitalism . Cronyism is nota fluke not an accident It is built in the system . State power keeps it alive and often births it as well.

  48. anon[244] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reuben Kaspate

    https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/424511-managing-russias-dissolution

    advice to a would be killer how to dismember and hide the body parts of a live disinfected animals from the doctors at the US Think tank.

  49. peterAUS says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Russia is being ran by criminal capitalistic gung. Nothing good can come out from thieves who stole everything that was built by few Soviet generations at great effort. Those who say let Russia recuperate and heal do not get that one cannot heal with foreighn object protruding especially when the object is cancerous. It influences everything, sucks Russia dry, kills it off and degenerates her. Putin is the man who is at the very top of the pyramid. The wealth and number of dollar billionaires grew under his rule many fold, while rights of common folk have been completely destroyed with pension being the last thing left and ruined. Saker is either naive or ideologically driven and thus blind.

    Don’t say….

  50. Alden says:
    @padre

    USA does have a pension system.

    It’s so generous that any Asian Indian Russian Armenian Israeli foreigner who arrives on s tourist visa and presents documentation to the American social security office that the foreigner is 65 years old gets an American pension

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  51. Russia has still long way to go to perfect its tax system.

  52. @Erebus

    Leninism stalinism grew from Marxism and they are quite practical. But definitelly Marxism is a theoretical tool.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  53. Schuey says:

    As always I enjoy your writing, you give average people of the west like myself a glimpse, an outsiders mind you, but a glimpse into modern Russia. My only critique is that you openly say Marxist ideas have not been challenged, then less the a paragraph later say the only way to freedom isn’t through oppression. Now I’m not sure how to say it, while one should take heed of Marx’s words, one cannot discount the murderous submission it commands. One can respect him for being a so called visionary but his ideas, wherever implemented anywhere in the world have led to poverty and death. This cannot be overstated and the fact that it is becoming fashionable here in the west is quite sad, since you’re an American now Saker to my knowledge, you must know the fundamental difference is freedom from government. That was the original idea anyway, libido dominande has long since ruined what was the greatest experiment in liberty in history. I’d advise you to visit the Mises institute website anytime if you need a proper demolition of Marx, or visit north Korea, Venezuela for modern examples.

  54. @Alden

    Have you ever been to the US? In your hypothetical case, the Social Security pension of that person would be 0 dollars and 0 cents per month. The person won’t be even eligible for Medicare: that requires 5 years of legal residence.

    • Replies: @Alden
  55. @Sergey Krieger

    There was a joke in my college day in the USSR that describes the difference between Marxism and Leninism best:
    – What is philosophy?
    – It’s trying to catch an absolutely black cat in an absolutely dark room.
    – What is Marxist philosophy?
    – It’s trying to catch an absolutely black cat in an absolutely dark room knowing full well that he isn’t there.
    – What is Leninist philosophy?
    – It’s trying to catch an absolutely black cat in an absolutely dark room knowing full well that he isn’t there and from time to time exclaiming “Gotcha!”

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  56. Anon[642] • Disclaimer says:
    @Epigon

    Do you think he tried to be a Chalabi but wasn’t such a good con man so took to the blogosphere?

  57. @AnonFromTN

    I remember those jokes. But did not Lenin and Stalin catch the cat? I think they did. It is different matter that their successors let the cat escape. I actually think Marx nailed it theoretically and Lenin Stalin via trial and error nailed it practically. Unfortunately there seemed to be some missing points. First attempt.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  58. map says:
    @byrresheim

    Venezuelans are incapable of developing the expertise to drill and produce their own oil with the resources they have. So, they opt for the easy solution of relying on foreign expertise.

    Then they get the bright idea of electing a communist who will then steal all of this wealth and…poof…everyone will be rich.

    But the expertise then goes away…so they become poor again.

    The problem with Venezuela is that there are too many Venezuelans.

    But it’s nice to see communists fall back on their own canard of “wreckers and saboteurs.”

  59. voicum says:
    @Serrice

    That is because you do not understand what it is he’s talking about. Work harder.

  60. What I do not understand that CIA is picking up this kind of refuse.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  61. @Sergey Krieger

    If you ask me, Lenin missed the cat by a mile (besides, it wasn’t there to be caught). In fact, if you follow Marx’ theory, Russia could not have been a success. And it wasn’t. Now, that’s as far as socialism is concerned. However, alternative social structures that are more human-oriented than cutthroat capitalism driven by blind greed (which apologists call free market), are possible. Soviet experiment showed that heavily regulated state capitalism can be one of them. However, the regulation thing was overdone. Besides, the elite in such a society inevitably turns greedy and forcibly moves it to a standard cutthroat capitalism where you can steal a lot more. As they are near the trough, they help themselves to the loot more successfully than others. That’s what happened in the USSR.

    China is performing another experiment with less regulation. So far it’s better for the people than suicidal globalization espoused by the biggest thieves (apologists call them successful businessmen) in the US and its vassals. But we’ll see where it leads. My feeling is that the end would be the same: greedy elites will toss away any pretense of caring about an average Joe (average Wei, Min, Li, or Qiang) and revert to wholesale robbery, like Russian elites in 1991.

    The most valuable point in Marx’ methodology is the idea that social structures reflect the economy. Unregulated capitalism is suicidal, but regulated capitalism will remain viable as long as most goods and services produced are suitable for the market economy. Everything that loses its value when consumed (food, clothes, furniture, etc.) is suitable. Everything that does not (knowledge, as well as art, including prose and poetry, paintings, music, etc.) does not fit the market, so the system creates crutches to make it fit, such as patent law, copyright, etc. When the majority of products do not lose value upon consumption, i.e., do fit market economy, the social system will change to something appropriate for this state of affairs. Naturally, “proletariat” is about as likely to create this new society as medieval peasants were to create capitalism. It will disappear along with bourgeoisie, just like serfs disappeared along with feudal overlords. If you read early Marx’ works, when he was a theoretician, you’d see that this was abundantly clear to him. As soon as he tried to become a politician, or even political theorist, he abandoned the truth for quick gain. A castrated bastard version of his socio-economic theory became Leninism (or Maoism, or whatever –ism). It gained popularity because it lost scientific validity. After all, 100 is an average human IQ, and it’s pretty dismal.

  62. ariadna says:

    For someone who believes that
    “one can use the Marxist-Leninist conceptual toolkit to better understand the world we live in,”
    the Saker seems to have a loose grip on the most fundamental tenet in the marxist “toolkit,” namely, that it is the material existence that has primacy over the spiritual/ethical/ideological aspect.
    (Marx aparently believed the ancient saying “Primum vivere deinde philosophare.”)
    The Saker, however, says “At the end of the day, it is not about GDP or the availability of cheap consumer goods. At the end of the day, it all depends on real, moral, ethical, spiritual and civilizational values.” Trying to eat his marxist cake and have it.

  63. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Decent people have dignity and self-respect, so they cannot be subservient puppets. If you want a puppet, your only choice is scum.

  64. @AnonFromTN

    I actually was meaning the question of so called elites as missing point. Already Roman’s tried to control elites via their system of double magistratures and time limits on being in position of power. I believe two questions were critical, that of power structure and control and limitations of elites , basically check and balances, rotation, quick dismissal of failures and so forth, the second would be money. When Lenin and bolsheviks took power in the country where according to Marx there could be no socialism, they had to make lots of trails and made obviously mistakes as the whole thing had been never tried before. However I disagree about the first attempt not being success. Considering from where they took Russia and what they achieved it is clear success. It depends what one sees as success or failure. In consumerism terms it was not very successful but in building country where people could lead meaningful life and brought up a better human beings confident in tomorrow it was success. But as stalin already noted, cadres, or as he called them damned caste, decide everything, and they decided. This issue should be addressed obviously.

  65. APilgrim says:

    Alcohol consumption per capita world map

    Alcoholism is a continuing drain on the Russian Economy.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  66. Erebus says:
    @Robert Snefjella

    On reflection, the ’70s were a watershed decade for the world’s monetary system.
    Economically, it was all about the stagflation that resulted from abandonment of the gold standard. CBs were shocked when the USD defaulted on its gold obligations, and the USD ceased to be “good as gold”, overnight. Doubtless there was quite a bit of confusion with nobody really knowing how/if a purely fiat system would work. Currencies fluctuated dramatically and gold skyrocketed in response.

    Central bankers, I’d guess are rarely historians, much less contrarians, and resisting the solutions that international CBs had agreed amongst themselves going forward to cut a new, Canadian trail would be too much to ask of a small and relatively powerless CB like the Bank of Canada.

    Canada’s main customer and supplier was, and remains the US. With the US’ order of magnitude higher population, 2-3 orders higher level of influence in the world, and sharing a ~9kkm border, it shouldn’t surprise one that Canada opted to become the USA’s Scotland, rather than the USA’s target à la Libya, Syria, N. Korea, Iraq, and Iran.

  67. @AnonFromTN

    I have had some thoughts. Social “sciences” are not actually a science. There is no laws of nature determining social economic progress and structure. For all I know we all can die tomorrow and there will be no “natural ” capitalism of chance of communism ever to come to fruition. You mentioned average human IQ. We are currently on the road to kill ourselves under this capitalism, with only another viable system out since 1991. Nothing is determined. However, if we do not move to the next evolutionary level of social economic organization , I doubt we survive for long. Nothing is predetermined. Were there no Lenin, there would be probably no Russia. Were Krushev to die before stalin death USSR would have still be around and what about Gorbachov dying in tractor accident …

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  68. @Sergey Krieger

    I think you ascribe too much to Lenin. Russia would have rebounded one way or another regardless. Say, I am not sure things would be much worse if February 1917 revolution were the last one.

    On the emotional level, I would rejoice if Khrushchev or Gorby met a premature death (BTW, the latter piece of shit is still alive). However, I don’t think that would have saved the Soviet system. It was based on individual power. Power attracts the corruptible and corrupts them further. There were no built-in checks and balances, but even that is not a panacea. Just look at the US: Founding Fathers thought they built checks and balances into the system, but the elites bypassed them all. If what we have today is democracy or even republic, I am the Emperor of the East. Greed won in a greed-based society, as is only natural. Social reorganization will be sped up by the suicidal course now followed by the elites in the US and its vassals (or we all die in WWIII, and then nature will try creating intelligence again, maybe more successfully). If we survive, the most likely outcome would be heavily regulated capitalism (something like social democracy used to be in Europe) for another century or so. Then humanity might be ready for something different. But it won’t come until the economy requires it.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  69. @APilgrim

    Is it a trick of light, or is Australia the same color as Russia, and most of the EU even darker? So, who is being drained by alcoholism?

  70. Alden says:
    @AnonFromTN

    No it doesn’t. 65th birthday they get SSI and Medicare even if they arrived the day before they walked into the SS office.

    And all Americans get either SSA if they worked or SSI if they didn’t work so saying the US doesn’t have a pension system is just ignorant

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @anon
  71. If I do look at society today I would say that mostly probably only manual labor and scientific researchers do a useful work, the rest of the society is totally useless.
    So in my estimation I would say that only 25% of society is useful and 75% of society is useless.

  72. @Robert Snefjella

    I agree with Senfgella . and from the Saker article I quote:
    “In essence, the state is ruling apparatus created from the human society. When such a group of people appears, one which is only concerned with ruling over others, and which for that purpose needs a coercion apparatus which can force people to obey by means of jails, special units, armed forces, etc, – that is the moment when the state appears (Lenin, collective works, vol 39, page 69).”

    “a new type of opposition to the nation state is slowly forming.. ”

    I submit a proposal for a modern definition of the nation state:

    The nation state is a weaponized structure, designed by ruling class consensus, which is constructed by actors with sufficient wealth, political and military strength to prevail.

    The object of the designed and constructed armed structure (state) is to feedback sufficient information to the designers to facilitate maintenance and structural improvement so that ruling-class appointed politicians can use the structures to control and regulate the behaviors of those targeted to be governed.

    and exactly as you point out =>the People everywhere must decide do they want ” a culture in which honest national discourse is a predominant feature”. I wonder if the nation state and honesty are mutually exclusive?

  73. Paw says:
    @Felix Keverich

    And the Russians never wanted any Marx-Leninism. It was imposed on them with the help of German and other foreign imperialists..Through their wars ,etc…..With the help of many millions of money. Any theory about money leads into the Hell , no matter how it starts..How many promises issues. We the Slavs know that for centuries.
    How do you like the world scientific rule of the Invisible hand of the Market…
    And how everybody including the very powerfull pres. Clinton of the USA declared .
    No one, he said can do anything.
    Who knows anything about the deep troubles of the Russia after 1990 , including the crisis 1998 far worse than 1929, can see what Putin means for the Russia and the world..
    Tsunami of pathological hatred only confirms that.
    Putin is far best and the human too, what ever the Russia has had. And the world too. Looking back , to find any statesman in our history only confirms that..
    Any criticism then is shallow and unsufficient…

    • Replies: @yurivku
  74. MEFOBILLS says:
    @Erebus

    China pays for everything it needs, and why it can’t go bankrupt.

    China uses a form of sovereign money, not MMT.

    China has four large State Banks, and they emit debt instruments, and sometimes cancel said instruments. This then leaves debt free money in their economy (no mirror to the debt instrument).

    MMT conflates private banking with government. The U.S. is not a sovereign issuer of currency, it is a sovereign issuer of TBill/Bonds, which are debt instruments. These instruments then put a sector of the economy on a debt hook. Granted, if the Debt instrument (TBill) ends up on the FED ledger, then the FED shuffles the interest back to Treasury.

    This paying of interest (after Wright Pattman) is why MMT folks think U.S. is a sovereign issuer. It’s not. Deficit in trade means deficit spending, and at source the deficit in money supply is made up by BOTH private debts and public debts to private banking corporations.

    Say it isn’t so! It is so. Another thing MMT does is say that Tax income goes into the trash, but this is obviously false, it is respent.

    Russia can always buy their gold, which comes out of Russian soil, and then stuff it into the Central Bank reserve loops, or use it for FX.

    Once it is in reserves, then the bank can issue Rubles, even 10:1 per Basel rules.

    MMT is correct in that the money supply can flex to the amount of goods and services production, but they get a lot wrong.

    See http://www.sovereignmoney.eu for a better understanding of where MMT goes off the rails.

    Russia’s central bank is sort of in the hands of the fifth columnists, but there is some flexibility now that FX capital flight is fixed, and there are few Russia debts denominated in dollars.

    Yes, Putin could stimulate the local economy with debt free issuance, especially into households, and then take up the debt free in taxes on consumption.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  75. Seraphim says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Hang on a second, wouldya? Wasn’t ‘Marxism-Leninism’ (actually Lenin himself) which offered the ‘toolkit’ to understand the current situation? Didn’t he inaugurated the NEP? To attract ‘foreign investment’ through “generous concessions to foreign capitalism”, no less? Clearly to repay the debt contracted with the German-American ‘gung’ bankers (Warburg-Schiff) who advanced the money for the putsch called the “Great October Revolution”. Do you say that the same ‘gung’ put Putin on top of the pyramid scheme?

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  76. yurivku says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Russia is being ran by criminal capitalistic gung.

    Well, that’s true.

    Saker is either naive or ideologically driven and thus blind.

    Probably both. His saying about “millionary Grudinin” is one of the stupiest points of his. “Millions” of Grudinin is a result of dirty black PR company which was conducted during president’s elections.
    Despite he’s clearly not poor, but almost any Duma’s deputy has more millions than he has.

    His point of 5% of liberals in Russia is close to reality, but here (for obvious reasons ) this percentage much higher (Keverich, Karlin …).
    But what Saker was trying to say is beyound my understanding – yes, we hate Medvedev, yes despite minority in society liberals are majority in govt, yes support for Putin goes lower and lower…
    Here the Saker stops being afraid to say – Putin must change something or just go out.
    This simple conclusion is clear to everybody in Russia, but I and eg. Felix having opposite recipes for the future…

  77. @AnonFromTN

    Things were not bad at all until Gorbachov. There is no place without some problems. Also, problems accumulated in Russia by 1917 were of such magnitude that it took Lenin and stalin genius and terrible struggle to resolve them. I wonder what wo yo ld have left from Russia and especially when germans would start their drive to the east without what was done by Lenin stalin duo by 1941. Concentration of power in one person and frequent bad choices of the person to occupy that position was Achilles heel of the system. It all comes to organization of power but idea of common ownership of the means of production and all major resources for common good was right decision and I see our future in that. Capitalism requires constant expansion which is impossible in limited system and it eventually degenerates people.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  78. yurivku says:
    @Paw

    Putin is far best and the human too, what ever the Russia has had. And the world too.

    As for world – may be, except for turning the other cheek after being hit is not a best strategy and at final it leads to ww3. But yes, basically he’s best of what we can see around. Of course it’s not too hard being surrounded by imbeciles.

    As for Russia – he’s building a strong country just to defend money stolen from a people, money which belong to oligarchs, his oligarchs in difference from those Khodokovsky, Gusinsky, Berezovsky … who tried get the whole blanket to themselves. Now oligarchs share some money to the state, but not to people.

    Every Russian sees that, except probably those who like Saker looks at Russia from US or EU.

    Any criticism then is shallow and unsufficient…

    Was it the voice of God? Nevertheless, you can worship him, but I and many won’t.

  79. Vojkan says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Marxist dialectical materialism is to Hegel’s dialectical idealism what applied Mathematics is to Mathematical theory. The problem with humans is that their behaviour has more to do with quantum physics than with Newton laws. The problem with theories, however logical and mathematically valid, is that if empirical evidence contradicts them, trying to alter reality in order to make it fit the theory will never prove the theory right. It can only prove the vanity of the theorists, and vanity is always a recipe for disaster.

  80. APilgrim says:

    Nations with the highest alcohol consumption.

    [MORE]

    1 Belarus 17.50
    2 Moldova 16.80
    3 Lithuania 15.40
    4 Russia 15.10
    5 Romania 14.40
    6 Ukraine 13.90
    7 Andorra 13.80
    8 Hungary 13.30
    9 Czech Republic 13.00
    10 Slovakia 13.00
    11 Portugal 12.90
    12 Serbia 12.60
    13 Grenada 12.50
    14 Poland 12.50
    15 Latvia 12.30
    16 Finland 12.30
    17 South Korea 12.30
    18 France 12.20
    19 Australia 12.20
    20 Croatia 12.20
    21 Ireland 11.90
    22 Luxembourg 11.90
    23 Germany 11.80
    24 Slovenia 11.60
    25 United Kingdom 11.60

    https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/who-drinks-the-most-alcohol-consumption-by-country.html
    https://ourworldindata.org/alcohol-consumption
    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.ALC.PCAP.LI

  81. @Alden

    Tell me more about it. I brought my mother (89 y o at the time) from abroad recently, so I know all the hoops first-hand. Your post clearly shows that either you never were in the States, or have no idea what you are talking about.

  82. @Sergey Krieger

    The problems were quite visible before Gorby. That scum and his retinue in Moscow betrayed everything to enrich themselves, but they did not create the problems inherent in the Soviet system. I graduated in 1980, in Brezhnev period, so I know these problems first-hand. In the republics local bosses wanted to be lords of their own fiefs, however pathetic, rather than vassals of the Moscow overlord.

    The republics got exactly what they deserved, at the same time ridding Russia of parasites. However, the thieves in Russia did not get their comeuppance yet, which is a pity. I agree that wild unregulated capitalism they turned to (to maximize their loot) was clearly against the interests of ~90% of the populace, but they were no more democratic than the commies before them, so they did not give a hoot about opinions and interests of the common people.

    But the key problem was negative selection of leaders. That’s why traitorous scum got to the top. If it weren’t Gorby, some other greedy scoundrel (say, Yeltsin) would get to the top and do the same thing: the whole elite was rotten to the core and eager to steal much more than the Soviet system allowed.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  83. APilgrim says:

    High levels of alcoholism & drug abuse are detrimental to the economy & social fabric of any nation.

    This is not to say that teetotaler nations have any merit, because they do not.

    We can debate questions of cause & effect for widespread addiction versus societal collapse.

  84. @yurivku

    Yes, Putin and Xi look so good on the international arena because they are compared to Western “leaders”, all of whom are pathetic nonentities. Putin is no more than an ordinary man with reasonable intelligence and some common sense. Maybe he is the best Russia can have right now, after the catastrophe of the 1990-s, but he is certainly not ideal.

    From what I hear from the people who live in Russia, either Putin shifts his policy and gets rid of liberals in power, or he becomes just like Western “leaders”, beholden to the greedy elites and despised by the people. His propaganda plays the Ukrainian disaster well, as only a total moron (or a paid agent of the Empire) would want something like that in Russia. But the dichotomy between his dominance and maidan is a false one: there are other viable options.

    The key problem today in Russia is that state policy depends too much on the individual. This makes the state unstable. This was the problem in the Soviet system, and it resulted in its demise. Russia needs developed institutions that limit the powers of both the president and the government, as well as healthy patriotic opposition (not the court jesters like Zhirik along with CIA-funded liberal scum it has now).

  85. Anonymous [AKA "books"] says:
    @MEFOBILLS

    MEFOBILLS – after reading some of your recent comments, I would like to know if you have any book recommendations to understand the rise of such economic systems as the American School, Canada before 1974, Germany between 1933 and 1940, etc. Or any books that you think are good histories of economic thought. Thanks for your contributions.

    • Replies: @MEFOBILLS
  86. @Seraphim

    NEP was not about foreighn investments but about deploying internal forces for restoration of the country ruined by ww1 and subsequent civic war. Lenin was a genius. He quickly discarded things that did not work. He was quick thinker. Regarding those fairy tales of yours , it was debunked long time ago.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  87. @AnonFromTN

    Putin is smart he is waiting in shadows. But he should finally switch to progressive tax and slightly increase the purchasing power of Russia’s population.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  88. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Alden

    You might be referencing to some assassinates in housing Medicaid given to refuges from Soviet in 1990 .

    It is not that easy to find out eligibility of permanent resident and of refugee

    No visitor on visitor visa get anything. Nothing.

    • Replies: @anon
  89. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Waiting in the shadows would be a smart strategy for someone who does not want to show his hand, like the Deep State in the US. When you become a president with real power, like Putin, you don’t have the luxury of waiting in the shadows. You get praised or blamed for everything that happens in the country, like Chinese Emperors of old were held responsible for crop yields, and were blamed by the populace when crops failed. Putin cannot pretend that something was done without his knowledge, nobody in Russia would believe it.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  90. @Kim

    It is not irrelevant that the Venezuelan govt are worse than useless, but neither is it irrelevant that it is VERY expensive to turn tar sands into useful petroleum products.

    And that is the most basic source of Venezuela’s woes: her “oil” reserves are not economic at any price that would allow the world economy to continue to operate smoothly.

    Venezuela’s cost of production is about $20 per barrel. For the US, shale oil production costs are estimated at $73 per barrel.
    https://knoema.com/vyronoe/cost-of-oil-production-by-country

  91. @AnonFromTN

    I think that despite some drawbacks interests of the Soviet people were covered pretty well. Now as Russian people interests are truly in the garbage bin and no one pays attention to their opinion it is a very good retrospective view. I believe that overall idea behind communism is fair and just but human nature and definitelly power structure and elite handling must be addressed. Regarding people opinion. Does their opinion ever matter? Common folk got it the best as it can get under communists. They were not happy? Ow they must be. Also, we all got free and pretty good education. I would not say the government did not care for people real interests.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  92. @AnonFromTN

    O. K. Lets talk business. What would you like him to do?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  93. @AnonFromTN

    Agree all that and reversal of so called privatization aka thievery of 90s along with restoration of all lost rights that Soviet citizens enjoyed. Basically Russia has got same issue, too much dependence on the man at the top.

  94. @yurivku

    I see the problem is a complete lack of personalities of similar scale to what bolsheviks had 100 years ago, even decent people. Another one is organization led by said people with goals. I believe reciepe from Vladimir Lenin is still valid. It just has to be adjusted to surqumstances.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @yurivku
  95. Vojkan says:
    @AnonFromTN

    True, state policy in Russia depends too much on one individual but as long as the people who have elected him agree with the policy, and as long as the policy is a sound one, I see no problem.
    On the other hand, no single individual in the USA can change the policy decided by the Deep State even though that policy is totally insane and even though he has been elected by the people to end the insane policy. Bear in mind that Americans have systematically elected the candidate pretending to be less bellicose and they have systematically ended with a president bombing foreign countries without even a semblance of casus belli.
    Every single foreign policy initiative by Putin so far was justified. Not a single one by the USA since WWII has been.
    On the domestic front, one can argue about how free are the Russian media but the opinions expressed are undeniably far more diverse than what can be seen in the MSM in the West.
    Putin certainly isn’t perfect, he’s only human, but if people in the West were proposed the choice between Putin and the scum posing as their elite, it would be no contest.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @yurivku
  96. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Well, I am not the president of Russia. I would like him to curb oligarchs (by rights, thieves belong in jail) and promote more equitable distribution of wealth in the country, i.e., do something that reduces the robbery of the common man (and woman). However, I recognize that Putin likely must balance between what’s right and what keeps him in power: big thieves would have no compunction just murdering him, like big US thieves murdered JFK.

  97. @Sergey Krieger

    Yes, Soviet system was fairer to the common man, but its elite selection doomed that fairness. Hence, we have what we have: a bunch of thieves (oligarchs) who robbed the people in the 1990s keeps robbing them under protection of the state. Historically speaking, Soviet system existed for a very short time (about 70 years), and its collapse proved that it was not stable. I wish there were a stable reasonably fair system, but so far it did not emerge.

    • Replies: @APilgrim
  98. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    It is not that easy.

    Meant not that difficult

  99. @Sergey Krieger

    I have a healthy respect for Marx (before he jumped into politics), but not for Lenin. I think Lenin was an opportunist and unscrupulous manipulator, pretty ruthless when it came to holding onto power. Stalin followed in the same rut. The elevation of Khrushchev showed that after the system was established, it favored nonentities.

    The society that Bolsheviks built was fairer than cutthroat capitalism, but it did not last long, which in my book must be considered when we evaluate it.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  100. @Vojkan

    That’s exactly what I was saying here or in another thread. Putin and Xi look really great compared to pathetic nonentities that are now called “leaders” in the West. On a normal human scale, he is a reasonably intelligent man with some common sense, nothing more.

    As far as foreign policy goes, Russia and China behave sensibly, whereas the Empire and its sidekicks firmly follow suicidal course of indiscriminate banditry.

    The media in Russia isn’t free, but it is much freer than in the West. You get a wide range of opinions in papers and on TV, whereas in the “democratic” West you get the same BS and blatant lies everywhere. The kind uniformity of “opinions” we see today in Western MSM compares only to the worst periods of Hitler’s or Stalin’s rule.

    • Agree: Ron Unz
  101. Seraphim says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    If by fairy tales you understand the financial help for the revolution offered by the Warburg-Schiff cartel, it must be said that they are not ‘mine’, and they have been never ‘debunked’, but shoved under the carpet, covered up.
    And Lenin’s ‘quick thinking’ was very much slowed in his last years due to a ‘cerebral illness’ (oh, the syphilis hypothesis was indeed debunked) which started to manifest after the assassination attempt of Fanny Kaplan.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  102. @AnonFromTN

    What you did say I have said it with one sentence.
    Putin should introduce progressive tax. (I do hope that you know what is progressive tax.)

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  103. @AnonFromTN

    Calling the plotters of JFK’s murder as being thieves is both misleading and being very kind to them. JFK was not assassinated for money nor riches but for power and control.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  104. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Progressive tax on income from the loot acquired by robbery won’t solve the problem. He needs to do mire than that.

    As to progressive tax per se, I sure am familiar with it, as I am paying it in the US. However, progressiveness here ends very early, so that those making 500 thousand per year and 500 million per year pay the same rate. Now, guess in whose interests these rates are made the same? In whose interests the inheritance tax was abolished? Who got the biggest chunk of every tax cut in this century? The answer to these questions will tell you who runs this country. And it’s certainly not “we, the people”.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  105. @NoseytheDuke

    ower and control means money: just think Federal Reserve or MIC.

    But you are right in one thing: calling murderers thieves is too kind. By rights, they should face the firing squad, rather than jail time. However, in a system run by them they face nothing of the kind, just more power, control, and money.

  106. @Seraphim

    I’ve always meant to ask: does it bother you or others that Fanny Kaplan was as Jewish as they make them?

  107. APilgrim says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Whereas what we have in the USA is a bunch of thieving oligarchs, following corrupt privatization scandals, under Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush-II and Obama.

    Oh and we have a corrupted, lying, scientific, medical, drug, nuclear, climate-change, banking, national security, DOJ, FBI, Wall Street, astronomy, and IT Tech community.

    Our congress is full of lying, corrupted narcissists, PERVS, and spooks. Oh and our media is worse.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  108. APilgrim says:

    How do I unblock AnonFromTN?

    His recent comments are spot-on.

    Did I block him at some point, or did UNZ?

  109. @AnonFromTN

    Let me note something if I may. If somebody earns 5oo million Than he invest 499,5 million, than he pays the same taxes as somebody earning 500 thousand. This leads to unrestricted growth of Capital.
    There is no tax on investment, Tax is only on personal consumption.
    There is the problem. (Particularly if the investment end up in foreign country.)
    There are another complications, but I do not feel to go into that.

  110. anon[151] • Disclaimer says:
    @Erebus

    Good explanation but help me a little more by clearing the abbreviations
    what is SOE
    OTOH
    And what does debt creation mean? Is it money created or is it money borrowed ? or both?
    Does“hard currencies” include dollars or yen pound or minerals like gold silver platinum ?
    Thanks

    • Replies: @Erebus
  111. yurivku says:
    @AnonFromTN

    From what I hear from the people who live in Russia, either Putin shifts his policy and gets rid of liberals in power…

    Correct, also see my post #79

    The key problem today in Russia is that state policy depends too much on the individual.

    Well, that’s true also, but that level of stablity we saw during … bush, clinton, bush, obama, trump, – is no better. And if at the beginning of that chain it could be tolerated – now it’ll almost certain will get us to stone age where alive will envy to dead, dying in nuclear winter.

    As for Putin we did not talk about corruption – all Putin’s friends, relatives, far acquaintances luckily (!) got awfully rich. Same story is to wives and children of nomenclatura, and he never tried to break this system.

    All those cases with punishment to corrupted officials were consequences of struggle under politic blanket.
    Corrupted people still are on all levels of power.

    But it’s our internal affairs, externally , as you well know, Russian are peaceful people. Nevertheless is somebody will be stupid enough to get us really angry he’ll regret all the rest of his life if any…

    So now everything depends on the West, not Russia.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  112. yurivku says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    I believe reciepe from Vladimir Lenin is still valid. It just has to be adjusted to surqumstances.

    I won’t agree with you here, but it’s clear that we need to get the best from our past instead current criminal type of capitalism.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  113. yurivku says:
    @Vojkan

    True, state policy in Russia depends too much on one individual but as long as the people who have elected him agree with the policy, and as long as the policy is a sound one, I see no problem.

    But there is a problem. I would say (all estimates are my own without any statistic base)
    – 10-15% support Putin because he gave then money/power (officials, friends, friends of friends …)
    – 15-20% support him because belive in good Tsar and bad surroundings (mostly old people or low educated)
    – 20-25% support him because see nobody else (but they can’t see, system won’t allow anybody decent to appear)
    -15-20% added by voting system i.e. fake votes

    approx 40% are strictly against him from economic/patriotic positions and about 5% are liberals of worst type (mainly Jews).

    And number of those who are against current system is going higher (pension reform, taxes, Kuril islands, corruption and more).

    So it is a problem. Ukranian coup is one of the deterrent reasons, but it’s also dangerous because the pressure is increasing and no output created for steam.

  114. Erebus says:
    @anon

    SOE = State Owned Enterprise. The Chinese govt owns the big infrastructure companies – railways, road builders, steel mills, miners, cement makers, food distribution, etc etc etc. Provincial govts also own companies. Some of these have branched out wildly into unrelated fields, and are now divesting themselves of “non-core” businesses.

    OTOH = On The Other Hand

    And what does debt creation mean? Is it money created or is it money borrowed ? or both?

    I assume you’re asking about how money enters the system. Easiest explanation is by way of example. When you walk into your local bank and ask for a car loan, the bank doesn’t have the money you’re asking for in a vault, or anywhere else. If they approve your application, they will quite literally create the money at the same moment that they deposit it into your, or your car dealer’s account. It didn’t exist until that moment.

    Does“hard currencies” include dollars or yen pound or minerals like gold silver platinum ?

    Since 1971, “hard currency” generally meant a strong currency that’s globally traded and can serve as a reliable and stable store of value. Gold has always been a hard currency, but its use as a reserve has been much discouraged in favour of holding USDs. When the EUR came out, it was thought that it would rival the USD but the US’ veto power in the World Bank and IMF kept it in its place. Currencies in the IMF’s SDR basket – USD, EUR, JPY, BPS, and as of Oct 2016, CNY are by definition hard currencies. Even so, it’s obvious that terms like “reliable” & “stable” are becoming less and less applicable to any of them. Hence, gold is making a comeback, at least for a few Central Banks.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  115. @AnonFromTN

    Close but no cheroot. Lots of people have lots of money. Money can’t buy you love and it doesn’t necessarily buy you power either. Some power over some people, yes, but not total power. Total power is required for total control.

    The Federal Reserve has a lot of power as does the MIC but that it is still working towards having total power but does not yet have it accounts for the growing panic over the assent of Russia and China who are both stocking up on gold while building up their defensive forces. That the power the FED and MIC have on the American people is great yet is tenuous accounts for the many false-flag mass shootings which are designed to build support for repealing the Second Amendment to the constitution.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  116. @AnonFromTN

    If to count that he was using every opportunity to achieve his major goal sure we can call him opportunist. He was quickly discarding things that were not working. The whole project of building much muster and fairer society had never been attempted before, hence they had to proceed with a lot of errors and tried asatrials. Their intent however was made clear right away to build just and fair society for majority. Intentions of the current criminal regime in Moscow are also quite clear as there was very consistent line of doing everything at the expense of majority and to make thievery permanent. All this pep talk by Putin about rising incomes is just th at. Income can ik increase and also decrease, but retirement age , free education, healthcare , shelter and so forth are not in those intentions. Now Lenin and stalin had ty o cling to power to achieve their goals of building just society. Politics has never been made by wonder hearted. It is idealism. Lenin also was right about constant need to cleanse the party of the scum who always cling ty o the party in power. This was not implemented later and scim accumulate li sted and reversed everything len ik n and stal ik n worked for. Both died poor having accumulated nothing. I am damn sure Putin hot some lots of skeletons in the closet that are being hidden from the public and nice eggs nest.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  117. @AnonFromTN

    You see. And who but people like Lenin and stalin method they used can deal with this sort of people. Being who you are, I wonder, is there genetic causes behind this sort of behaviour by so called members of elites both in Russia and elsewhere?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  118. @yurivku

    I understand. I have been reading in Russian media and internet a lot about need to continue moving forward and not to look towards remedies in the past. Here comes the question. When one takes wrong turn and keeps going forward no matter what and refuses to return to right path… ? I do not think there is need to invent a bicycle. The most important things were working and coveted und et r Soviet power. There were issues like it is always the case but with experience accumulated and other examples from the past they can be addressed. Anyway, Russia is hard place both geographically and in terms of climate and neighbors. Majority never had it that good as under Soviet power. So, imho the choice is clear. But ty here is no such party and people at this moment
    Hence Putin looks like a towering genius while being average man.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  119. @Erebus

    So vague. As Deng said,”It doesn’t matter if it is a black cat or a white cat – as long as the cat catches mice, it’s a good cat.”

  120. How successful has Putin’s leadership been? Or how has Russia done under Putin?

    How does the quality of life of Russians now compare to say year 1999? 20 years ago.

    How does the wealth, equity and income and employment opportunities, of Russians today compare to 20 years ago?

    How is the Russian military now as compared to then?

    How is the external Russian debt now compared to then?

    How is Russia’s agricultural production, in quality and quantity, now as compared to then?

    Big steps: Crimea has returned to Russia. The Chechnya wars and related issues have largely been resolved. Syria has been given critical life support from Russia.

    Do something of the same exercise for say the United States, or France or Germany or Britain.

    There was an interlude when Medvedev was President, and Putin was not fully in charge. The UNSC resolution establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, a resolution based on lurid lies, was passed, was not opposed by Russia, and Libya was destroyed, largely by air.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  121. Erebus says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Hence Putin looks like a towering genius while being average man.

    If Putin’s “average”, what are we here? Not even chopped liver, and we’d be flattering ourselves if we think the rest of the West’s leaders are making up some sort of a rear guard behind us.

    No, I’d say that anyone who can get the best out of a Lavrov, or a Shoigu, or a Rogozin (?) – men who could be Presidents anywhere – and maintain their loyalty is not cut from the same cloth we are. We here are the “average”. It’s one thing to rise to power and turn a country like Russia around in the face of daunting internal and external challenges, it’s quite another to go on doing it for 2 decades like a machine.

    If he, through luck or circumstance, he got the best of men to ride shotgun for him, he undoubtedly earned their respect along the way or they would have abandoned him and he’d have disappeared. On my balance sheet, Putin’s the 21st century’s Bismarck.

    • Agree: Ilyana_Rozumova
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  122. @NoseytheDuke

    Thank goodness they don’t have total control. It’s hard to get total control of human society, unless you degrade humans to something much lower (as the elites are assiduously trying to do in the “democratic” West). Even Big Brother in “1984” did not have total control, not for the lack of trying. But money translates into power, and the power of money corrupts more than any other.

  123. @Sergey Krieger

    I don’t think Putin has serious money salted away somewhere. My impression is that he is too smart for that. If he kept this hypothetical nest egg in the West, it would have been discovered and stolen by other thieves by now. If he kept it in Russia and lost his position, it would be confiscated by the new powers. I think he relies on having whatever he wants while being President, and that’s why he will cling to power until death. The same was true for Lenin and Stalin. I have no doubt that he has quite a few skeletons in the closet, but likely fewer than Lenin or Stalin.

  124. @Sergey Krieger

    I don’t think it’s purely genetic, although greed has analogues in the animal world (most mammals and birds are aggressively territorial).

  125. @Robert Snefjella

    Comparing now to the 1990s is not quite fair: that period was a catastrophe brought about by shameless thieving by greedy oligarchs. Lots of people became dirt-poor, the social safety net was destroyed (the resources were stolen). So, everything today is much better than in 1999, people’s living standards, the military, agriculture, while the external debt is much lower.

    But that does not mean that Russia developed to its full potential. While the majority of the people living there (as far as I know; I don’t live in Russia) approve of his foreign policy, particularly of challenging the Empire, many are unhappy with his internal policies. The thing that irks people most is that the majority of mega-thieves of the 1990s (oligarchs) are still thriving, syphoning off the resources that could have contributed to people’s living standards and country’s strength.

  126. @Erebus

    Bismarck wasn’t a genius, either. He had reasonable intelligence and a lot of common sense, but that’s all. In politics this places you way above the average.

    • Agree: byrresheim
    • Replies: @Erebus
    , @Seraphim
  127. @yurivku

    You are right that the stability under clinton, bush, obama, trump is the stability of the cesspool, hardly something to wish for. I agree that the main problem in Russia now is the same as in the US: pervasive corruption and the top. In the US it ruined the rule of law: most politicians and billionaires belong in jail by American laws, but as these criminals are the ones enforcing the law, they go unpunished. Similar things are happening in Russia: most oligarchs and nomenklatura deserve to be hanged, but instead they enjoy their power and riches.

    Internationally Putin’s policies are mostly correct. I wish they were as good internally, but they aren’t.

    • Replies: @Robert Snefjella
  128. @APilgrim

    That’s a concise summary. What we need is an action plan.

  129. @Cyrano

    That, sir, is in so many words what I wrote.

    And it is true.

  130. @AnonFromTN

    You assert that ” the main problem in Russia now is the same as in the US: pervasive corruption and the top.” Not sure what your complete thought would be. Perhaps you intended something like “:pervasive corruption, including corruption at the top.”

    But is that really an adequate assessment of the “main problem” in either the US or Russia?

    So, for example, consider the American Empire project with circa 1000 military bases outside the US, and the CIA long standing commitment to subversion etc just about everywhere. Included in this project has been the spending of trillions of dollars on nuclear weapons, and destroying various countries. Would that qualify as a “main problem”? And I am sure you can think of other “main problems”.

    But is it even a plausible equivalence, Russia vs the US, even if we were to grant you that “corruption is the main problem’? I grant you that there seems to be pervasive institutional corruption in the US.

    But, for example, how does the corruption of mass media in Russia compare to the corruption of mass media in the US?

    Or, say, how does the FDA corruption in the United States compare to the comparable institution in Russia? I notice for example that Russia is stressing organic agriculture and opposing GMO foods, while in the United States Monsanto and its like are privileged. And so on.

    I think a more complete summary of the various corruptions to be found in Russia and the United States would reveal a situation which would not flatter the US.

    Incidentally, there was a time some decades ago in Canada when the governing party and leader fell to 8% support in the polls. I see Macron is heading in the same direction. Putin’s numbers are still quite good; besides, for the public to publicly disagree with some of a government’s policies is a healthy sign. Vigorous debate is good.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  131. @Erebus

    “loopholes and cracks in the edifice and created domestic entities & policies that slip through them. Simply put, they outplayed the West’s financiers at their own game.”

    Is it like US ‘s own habits of having different accounts on defense spending , rogue operation spending , off the book earmarks for military contingencies?

    It has to be . US has lost periodically trillions but has not allowed that affect the economy.

  132. @Robert Snefjella

    I think I recognize the pattern: you see Russia better than it is, just like back in the day looking from the USSR we believed that the US (and West in general) is much better than it was (of course, it got even worse now).

    In particular (with the stipulation that my info is from friends and relatives living in Russia, i.e., not first-hand; the court of law wouldn’t allow it as “hear say”):

    Bases all over the world and endless wars are to a large extent tools and means for stealing taxpayers’ money by MIC contractors. A fresh example: Iraq war was used by Halliburton, Blackwater, and their ilk to get multi-billion no-bid contracts (basically, to steal money). The whole Pentagon budget is a huge swindle: the last clear victory of the US military was in the war with Grenada (population ~90,000) in 1983.

    Media: yes, in Russia you get a lot more variety of opinions in papers and on TV, whereas in the “democratic” West we reached the uniformity of “opinions” and lies reminiscent of the worst times of Hitler’s or Stalin’s rule. Yet most media in Russia are for-profit, like in the US, which means that you want to trust them no more than you trust a used car salesman.

    GMO: here Russia is way better, as it does not allow GMO, like Europe. But the reason for that is not that the authorities in Russia or Europe are more benign: just the worst GMO-pushing monsters happen to be American companies.

    Corruption: in Russia, like in Europe and most of the world, many things that are perfectly legal in the US (campaign donations by interested parties, lobbyism, etc.) are criminally punishable, as they should be. Still, the number of billionaires suggests that there is a lot of thievery going on, and that it’s not punished.

    Popular support: yes, Putin’s numbers (even after they fell down from incredible unsustainable highs they reached after the liberation of Crimea) are much better than any Western politician can even dream of. What’s more, the numbers given by Western-funded polling institutions (like Levada center) are pretty much as high as those given by more pro-government pollsters. Much of it is because the majority of the people approve of his foreign policy, particularly of standing up to the Empire. But if you ask people about internal affairs, Putin’s support is much lower (admittedly, still better than that of practically all Western “leaders”).

  133. Speaking of chickens coming home to roost, in a Russia related story…

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/first-responder-in-skripal-poisoning-turns-out-to-be-britains-most-senior-military-nurse/5666143

    This one has to appeal to the coincidence theorists.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  134. Erebus says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Bismarck wasn’t a genius, either.

    I think facilities like “intelligence”, “common sense” and “genius” aren’t to be measured on some absolute scale. That scale simply doesn’t exist, imho.

    In the same way a great mathematician’s greatness is judged against his peers, and not against great geographers or biologists or hockey players, political leaders are to be judged against other political leaders. Internationally, against other international leaders. Domestically, against their domestic opposition.

    Now, one can argue that the West’s field is particularly weak at this time, and that would be a fair assessment, but I’d argue that even at their best they’d find a daunting adversary in Putin.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  135. Erebus says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    This one has to appeal to the coincidence theorists.

    Craig Murray quipped:

    For the Skripals to collapse on a bench from novichok just as the Chief Nursing Officer of the British Army walks past, is as probable as my vacuum cleaner breaking down just as James Dyson knocks on my door looking for directions.

    The Skripal Tales seem to have been written for I Love Lucy, or maybe Monty Python.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    , @Philip Owen
  136. @Erebus

    One only has to see how much more carefully Putin chooses his words and one simply has to appreciate Bismark as being much smarter than our current crop of Western “leaders” by virtue of his statement that, “the secret of politics is to make a good treaty with Russia”.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  137. @Erebus

    I imagine John Cleese to be hearing of this and thinking that if only the Pythons had been more absurdist he might have been able to afford a couple more divorces.

    • LOL: Erebus
  138. Seraphim says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Besides ‘reasonable intelligence and a lot of common sense’, Bismarck had a deep and extensive knowledge of the matters he was dealing with and talking about. The case in point is his warnings against military adventures in Russia. He was Ambassador to Russia (and France) where he got acquainted to all decision makers that he would meet subsequently in major moments of history and he could gauge all the factors that would shape the politics of those countries (including the fact that the Russians were of the ‘Greek’ religion).
    And he was in the big politics for twenty-eight years. Putin only nineteen. He has nine more years to go, to ‘retire’ at the same age as Bismarck.
    But certainly one can say about Putin what Disraeli said about Bismarck: “”Be careful of that man—he means every word he says”.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  139. Erebus says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Bismarck understood that Russia was the Heartland before Mackinder became famous for the idea. A good treaty with Russia is a good treaty with the Eurasian Heartland, and so is the secret to prosperity as well as politics.

    It still is.

    The dildos in charge of America’s destiny think they don’t need no stinkin’ treaty. They don’t even need to cooperate with the Heartland because they’re sure they’ll be able to just steal it. If only that damn Putin would get out of the way, it’d be theirs in heartbeat. They’re probably right, and that’s what makes Putin much more than “average”.

    Kissinger said “They’re smarter than we are” after going to Beijing in ’71. I don’t know if Kissinger was including himself, but it was surely an accurate judgement of the lot he had left back in Washington.

    It still is.

  140. @Seraphim

    I agree that Bismarck was an extraordinary political leader, intelligent, knowledgeable, and guided by common sense (all three are sadly lacking in all current Western “leaders”).

    Interestingly, one of the things that confuse Western “leaders” about Putin is that he always does exactly what he says. In Western culture it is expected that every word any politician utters is a lie (How do you know that the politician is lying? His lips are moving), so Putin with his honesty confuses Western politicians no end. I guess he learned that saying what you mean to do is a good way to throw Western “partners” off the track.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  141. Erebus says:
    @AnonFromTN

    While you…

    … agree that Bismarck was an extraordinary political leader, intelligent, knowledgeable, and guided by common sense…

    … he wasn’t …

    … a genius, (and had but) reasonable intelligence (from #127)…

    I’m having a hard time making sense of your point, here, Mr. TN. Are you simply differentiating between intelligence and talent? I agree, they’re not the same thing, but I hope you’re not confounding “intelligence” with the results of silly IQ tests, and similar pseudo-gobbledy-gook.

    Anyway, you don’t need to score high on IQ tests to be “an extraordinary political leader”, but you do need to be an extraordinary political leader nonetheless. Being extraordinary at almost anything takes a lot of what I call “intelligence” (as opposed to hi-IQ scores).

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  142. @Erebus

    I am not a member of the IQ sect. Like everybody, I do not know what IQ test is measuring; like sensible people, I do not buy an empty claim that it measures intelligence.

    My point is that you do not need to be a genius (which in my book also includes high creativity, which neither IQ nor similar tests can possibly measure) to be an outstanding political leader. That was always true, not only today with pathetic clowns at the helm of all self-appointed “democratic” countries. You do need to be intelligent and informed, and you need to let common sense (rather than wishful thinking) guide your decisions. If you are in high office, you must hire competent and honest advisors (as senior Bush put it, those who tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear) and listen to them. I am sure Bismarck had that, and Putin has that now.

    My other point was that current Western “leaders” set the bar so low that in comparison with them a well-trained dog would look really good, beating every one of them in both intelligence and common sense hands (paws) down.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  143. Erebus says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Frankly, I don’t what you mean by “intelligence”. For me, Putin’s extraordinary mental stamina (think of any leader in living memory who did 4 hr press conferences), consistently carefully chosen words, consistently correct policy choices and moves (at least in foreign affairs), as well as his accomplishments in sports and games like chess, belie an extraordinary level of what I call “intelligence”, and Putin’s list goes well beyond that.

    No typical person of “average” intelligence comes close to that – at least none that I know. Genius? Probably not, because geniuses tend to be very narrowly focussed, and are often useless outside of their area of interest. I would submit that a man who’s good at a wide variety of things, and extraordinarily good at a few is more “intelligent” than a math genius who can do 4th order differential equations in his head, but can’t figure out how to repair a lawnmower.

    We agree on IQ tests, however.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  144. @Erebus

    I agree that Putin is above an average person. But I still won’t call him extraordinary intelligent, despite his obvious abilities. Yes, he knows his stuff, so he can talk for hours (unlike Western morons) about wide range of things. In fact, both Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba could do that, for the same reason: they actually lead their countries and made decisions, rather than serving as mere figureheads of Deep State.

    Putin’s decisions are guided by homework done well and common sense, political leadership does not require creativity, only cunning. That’s why his decisions are usually sensible, and that’s why having much weaker hand of cards he often wins the game against clueless Western “leaders” with much stronger hand.

    I agree that genius is often specialized, not only in math (which is an extreme example), but also in science, music, literature, painting, etc. Very creative people in many of these fields cannot fix their taps or lawn movers, whereas a plumber or a handyman I call can do that in most cases. This does not place those plumbers or handymen above creative people, as they are also highly specialized, in very narrow areas, too. People who have no problem fixing a tap, sink, lawn mower, or a car usually can’t design a new one.

    But that’s all semantics. Bottom line is, Putin is much better at what he is doing than his Western “partners”, and that’s all that matters. Choosing the occupation where you are really good is a sign of intelligence, doing something you are bad at shows lack thereof. What I object to is worshipping someone who is good at something.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  145. MEFOBILLS says:
    @Anonymous

    Books,

    Start with Monetary History. There is no one place to start, so I will give you a path:

    1) Zarlinga
    https://www.monetary.org/buy-the-book

    2) Jones
    Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict between Labor and Usury

    3) Huber
    http://www.sovereingmoney.eu

    4) Michael Hudson
    He is a Classical Economist, don’t be confused because he is at UMKC – the home of MMT.

    5) Soddy
    Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt

    6) Cullen Roch
    Pragcap.com

    7) Only now can you wade into MMT, and you will be able to discern flaws. Hudson does a disservice by not going there.

    8) Irving Fisher of Chicago School – you will have read Huber at this point, so you will be able to understand Fisher, and some of his thoughts are flawed, but it gives a good review of the period.

    9) Stay away from Chicago School … the modern version, as it emanates Neo-Liberal Orthodoxy.

    10) Steve Keen if you are wonky and want to see models, and a take down of Neo-Liberal Economics.

    11) Stay away from Libertarians and Mises and junk economists. They lead you into cul-de-sacs of bad thought. Actually at this point, you can handle them – because you are well grounded.

    12) Always be Jew-Wise, they have been bad actors in economic history.

    13) The American Colonial Experience, especially Massachusetts Colony and Cotton Mather. Benjamin Franklins Colony and his state bank is another good study.

    Sorry I haven’t put together a curriculum .

    14) Nazi era is obscured from history – on purpose. You can get glimpses of it through Schacht, especially his book Magic of Money.

  146. Erebus says:
    @AnonFromTN

    I agree that genius is often specialized, not only in math …

    I didn’t want to swamp the post with examples.

    … political leadership does not require creativity, only cunning.

    I would submit that cunning is how creativity manifests in politics. Similarly, on the battlefield, or the chessboard.

    People who have no problem fixing a tap, sink, lawn mower, or a car usually can’t design a new one.

    A corollary to that is that people who can’t fix it, can’t design it either. The 2nd corollary is that people who have to fix it can usually tell the designer what he did wrong.

    What I object to is worshipping someone who is good at something.

    I don’t think anyone here worships Putin. Certainly, he inspires admiration and respect, both of which are a far cry from “worship”. Given the pivotal role he’s been given at this pivotal moment in history, we can thank the Gods that a man as intelligent and cunning as Putin is on the job. That’s as close to worship as I think anybody here is going to go.

  147. @Erebus

    I think we are nitpicking. We sure are lucky that the leaders of Russia and China are sensible people, because the West today looks like a lunatic asylum where the inmates took over. We are alive largely due to the common sense of Russian and Chinese leadership, as opposed to suicidal behavior of the US and its sidekicks supported by totally false narratives dominating the Western media and political circles.

    Being a sensible political leader certainly requires intelligence. Both creativity or genius are in the eye of the beholder, so each of us might as well keep his/her own opinion on that.

    What we agree on is that Putin (like Xi) is way above Western “leaders” in virtually everything. Their job is easier because they don’t need to lie as much as the Western “leaders”: hypocrisy is the pervasive thing in the self-proclaimed “democratic” West, whereas Russian and Chinese leaders can afford to be fairly honest.

  148. Cameron says:

    Marx discovered that if capitalism is the mode of production in a state the central driving rational for those in the state apparatus has no choice but to support the owners of capital who are engaged in a class struggle to extract surplus value from labour. This appears to be the case with contemporary Russia and is probably destined to be the source of another worker revolution.

  149. Erebus says:

    I think we are nitpicking.

    Not yet, but we’re getting there.

  150. @Erebus

    Putin is obviously intelligent man. But nothing special. I see his main strength is that he knows his limitations and thus always act after consulting professionals. The case of Russia restoration was also simply of bringing order because the whole malaise of later 80s 90s was of basically mess in heads and complete power destruction. Considering power of president and support from power ministers he cou li d have completely reversed the whole privatization, put all thieves on jails and restore Russia to far better state that he has been able too. This clearly shows his intellectual limitations and also moral ones. For all troubles he did not have to build from zero as Soviet foundation in industries, MIC, science ,,education, organization and people educated in the Soviet un up n was there. It was not like real geniuses Lenin and stalin got Russia completely destroyed with basically nothing left even from meagre 1913 level and had to build rissia towards superpower status in 20 years from the scratch. The worst, from what I see russia is like a ship that is moving nowhere. It is still being afflicted by decease acquired and until what happened in 90s completely reversed t ht ere is not going to be full recovery. And Putin shows his clear intellectual limits by not understanding this.

  151. Erebus says:

    This clearly shows his intellectual limitations and also moral ones.

    Much more clearly than that, I think it shows [a] that the Presidency is not the only power node in a constitutional democracy, and [b] that Putin’s primary limitation is his almost religious adherence to black letter law.

    There are moral corollaries to that limitation, but to act outside the law may be be even more immoral.

    Lenin and Stalin were not so restrained. They were able to grasp almost absolute power, and they broke a lot of eggs in making their omelette without concern for law, morality, or even for the civilizational value of the eggs they were breaking. A lot of eggs were already broken when they came to power, but the net result was that they broke a lot more eggs than the resulting omelette warranted. Even so, some of the eggs they needlessly broke, and some who avoided the Egg Shoah came back to spoil the result. Similar words could be written about Mao.

    As Bush the Lesser famously said, “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier… “.

    At times, you and AnonfromTN seem to think being President is like being sole proprietor of a car garage. It isn’t. Not even close. Even in full blown dictatorships/monarchies like KSA where MBA is learning some lessons, there are limits to power. Had Putin arrested all the oligarchs/mafiosos and hung them upside down at the Moscow Ritz Carleton, he’d have been very likely to be taught a much more painful lesson than the one MBA is still learning. Quite likely it would have been his last lesson.

    Finding, and/or weaving that path amongst the power centres that rule the country at the grass roots level and the law that restrains and gives form to those internal power centres and their rivalries, yet allowed Russia to develop its quality of life and international standing is Putin’s achievement. Of course, he had help, but a Lavrov or a Shoigu doesn’t hang around unless they believe in the vision, and (critically) that the vision can be realized under his leadership. That vision, and his ability to sell it to the best of men and keep them committed to it over decades is Putin’s achievement. Lenin’s, Stalin’s, Mao’s and many others’ vision failed soon, even immediately after their deaths. At this moment, Putin’s vision looks to be workable well into the future. Barring extraordinary exogenous events, of course.

    That is how a statesman emerges from the rabble of politicians/careerists/sycophants/ideologues/interest groups that typically infest any country’s political power circles. Given that they’re so rare, I’m not sure that statesmen aren’t a kind of genius.

    Having said that, I am quite aware of the pitfalls of hero worship. The gross over-simplification of real events and trends that results is the least harmful of its effects. It aborts thinking and distorts/narrows perspective. To idolize, or to vilify individuals is to descend to a comic book level understanding of the world. That should and must remain limited to the West’s rabble of politicians/careerists/sycophants/ideologues/interest groups and, of course its MSM. It has no place in serious conversation.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  152. We have different view of morality. Lenin and stalin were creating society for majority. Putin refused to reverse illegal thievery and not only preserved it but considering growing number of billionaires made it a system. Current laws are laws created to make that thievery permanent and are against interests of majority, hence they are immoral and Putin by decision to preserve the theft is immoral. His latest destruction of the last right left from the Soviet times, namely retirement, is another proof of his moral views. Considering what he has created and his manual approach I wonder what will happen once he is gone. People know they were robbed…

    • Replies: @Erebus
  153. @Erebus

    Tell you what, we are not talking about limitations on power (which are actually beneficial), we are talking about the limitations of vision. I was in Russia just last September, and I wrote in one of the threads on this site that many things are actually better than they were when Russia was a part of the USSR. Moscow looks much better and became a lot more user-friendly: now there are cheap and expensive restaurants and cafes everywhere, you see a lot of new buildings (including museums), many old ones are in good repair and tastefully lighted at night, even provincial cities look better maintained, most federal roads are in better shape that they were back then (I drove from Penza to Nizhni Novgorod and back), you can use credit cards everywhere, you can exchange rubles and dollars in either direction, people can go abroad freely (now the US and EU are rate-limiting with their visa policies), etc.

    I see one major positive factor in that Russia got rid of a lot of parasites, “brotherly” republics and “brotherly” Eastern European countries. But at the same time it acquired another kind of parasites – oligarchs, who suck the wealth and transfer it to offshores. Apparently, they suck out less lifeblood from Russia than previous parasites, but they do steal resources that could have been used to improve the overall strength of Russia and living standards of its population.

    Of course, nothing is ever black and white, there are always shades of gray. To give you an example, both Chubais and Vekselberg are Jews and certainly both acquired their wealth by criminally punishable actions. However, Vekselberg, whose company built the bridge to Crimea, is useful to the country in many ways, whereas the fact that Chubais still manages a state corporation Rosnano is a blemish on the country. That is why most Russians are inclined to tolerate Vekselberg, but would be happy to see Chubais hanged publicly.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  154. Erebus says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Current laws are laws created to make that thievery permanent and are against interests of majority, hence they are immoral…

    Doesn’t Russia have a Duma, with a Prime Minister that makes the laws? You’ll have to be a lot more specific as to how “it’s Putin’s fault” to be convincing.

    His latest destruction of the last right left from the Soviet times, namely retirement, is another proof of his moral views.

    That’s just ridiculous. A fiscally irresponsible pension system is a “right”? Not on any planet I’ve been to.
    Have you any idea at all of the state of the world’s pension systems? They’ll be dropping like flies in the coming decade. In 10 yrs Russians will be thanking their lucky stars that it got reformed. Or, more accurately, made halfway sustainable by sharp pre-emptive action despite the expenditure of political capital. If administering a mildly painful inoculation against a terminal disease prophylactically is “immoral”, we do indeed understand morality differently. Your’s is the morality of entitlement. Lazy, and unrealistic.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  155. Erebus says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    I never experienced Soviet Russia, but did visit 2 Warsaw Pact countries in the ’80s. I visited Russia 2x in recent years for trade shows, and was singularly impressed by the vitality of Moscow and the surreal beauty of St. Petersburg. And that was despite both visits being in Novemberrrrr, with the weather doing it’s level best to keep mere mortals indoors.
    I agree with you that it’s all about vision. Some wag said that “politics is the art of the possible”, which means that no matter how grand the vision, you get there one “possible” step at a time.

    I’m reminded of an FDR anecdote in which he was impressed by a policy proposal from a labour group. He told them the equivalent of: “I like it. Now, go out and force me to do it”. IOW, create an undeniable demand that gives him the political running room required to push the new policy onto a recalcitrant Congress and 10,000s of entrenched bureaucrats.
    I may be butchering the anecdote, but like FDR’s, and frankly like Trump’s, Putin’s base needs to “force” him to do what’s right. If they just sit at home complaining, any vision even the greatest bring to the table will fail to rise above a dreamy “what if?”. Putin’s given Russians their pride back. Now they gotta go into the street and “force” him to deliver the rest of the vision.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  156. @Erebus

    How convenient. It is same old thing, good Tsar and bad nobility. I am talking supposed differences between government and president. There is no difference re nces. It is for suckers. Regarding pension system in Russia just like everything else it was different in the rest of the world and USSR . Soviet citizens had many rights that current Russian citizens do not have along with obligations of course. What socialist state could do with ease capitalistic cannot do. Plus usual need to steal. The fact is. Capitalism and good living in the west was not and is not sustainable and was result of thievery from the rest of the world, while everything we used to have was sustainable and done from our own resources. Hence obviously we had all important things covered but not extra. Retirement right was one of sich thing as it simply acknowledged t hff at after certain age, honest hard working people deserve their well deserved rest. Regarding this reform in Russia it will create lots of problems and will resolve nothing.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  157. @Erebus

    Now, in that you are 100% right. If the people just complain doing nothing, they won’t get anything they want. Russian people do need to force Putin to do the things they consider right, otherwise they have no one to blame but themselves.

    • Replies: @yurivku
  158. Erebus says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Capitalism and good living in the west was not and is not sustainable and was result of thievery from the rest of the world…

    Well, in the event “capitalism and good living” sustained itself for almost 2x as long as the Soviet system.

    You can chalk that up to the benefits of thievery over honest toil, but my point remains. The Soviet system is gone, and if Russians want a sustainable pension system, they will have to adjust it to the realities they’re living in.

    40 years ago, the life expectancy for Russian men was ~65-ish years (the numbers vary a lot), and a lot more young people were coming into the workforce. Today, life expectancy has climbed to ~71-ish yrs and continues to rise, but a fewer young people are coming into the workforce.

    One doesn’t have to be an economist to see that pension plans based on high growth rates and short lifespans go underwater when those parameters invert. We are entering an era of low/no economic growth and a responsible government must adjust or the system will crash. What can’t go on, won’t.

    The US, and most of the West hasn’t adjusted to the new realities, but it will be forced to. Left to themselves, the pension systems will adjust themselves uncontrollably, with horrible ramifications for the elderly population.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  159. @Erebus

    I think considering the state of modern capitalism and that there is no worthy future it is offering neither for Russians nor everybody else, I believe Soviet system will reappear. It was the first attempt and it was working. Current state of Russian demographic is exactly due to getting stuck in capitalism. Putin is intelligent tinkerer who has nothing to offer for the future and who has no worthy vision. Rather pathetic that person of this caliber is the best available choice. Regarding retirement reform in Russia. It is theft. First and foremost and another example of Russian regime dismantling whatever good left from USSR. Considering situation in Russia it will bring very bad consequences in every respect. Demography and trust towards government for example. Russian pensions are not exactly the kind of Soviet retirees enjoyed considering how much was cheap if basically free. Now retirees have to pay for everything from their meager pensions. Very few can live decently on those pensions. Western system was in overstretch already in 80s and survived this long due to fresh infusion of stolen resources from former USSR and eastern block. It never was sustainable under capitalism and relied upon theft.

    • Replies: @Erebus
  160. yurivku says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Russian people do need to force Putin to do the things they consider right, otherwise they have no one to blame but themselves.

    That’s true as well as Americans should force govt/neocons/jews/themselves to do something

    otherwise they have no one to blame but themselves

  161. Erebus says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Your comment is just a repetition of the same declarations you’ve made too often already. Declarations do not an argument make.

    Let me try a different tack…

    If Soviet males retired at 60 and died at 65, they enjoyed 5 yrs of retirement.
    How is that better than retiring at 65 and dying at 71? It means 6 yrs vs 5 of retirement, and surely working the extra 5 yrs is an improvement on being dead, so he’s ahead on both counts.
    Actually, given that life expectancy is rising, by the time the retirement age of 65 is fully implemented, the 71 may well have risen to 72, or even to 73. That’s 7-8 yrs of retirement.

    So, the Russian male can expect to live 8 yrs longer, and be retired 2-3 yrs longer, for 5 yrs more work.
    That’s a trade I’d make every time it was offered. Why do you find it unfair?

  162. 71 is average age for both men and women. Average life expectancy for men across Russia is still 65-66 years. Women average around 77. Hence men works until drop. But women will find it hard if impossible to live on just her pension without children providing help. I k ow that for sure from quite a few examples. Just recently, my dad’s friend died . As a former KGB colonel who occupied general position his pension was very high. 60 000 if I am not mistaken. After his death his wife who is my mom’s friend is in dire straits in Moscow area. Children are helping so it is ok. My parents in law say th as t they would not be able to look I’ve independently without each other pension… basically you take everything at face value. It is not that simple. Also, it is 21st century and we c look early have technologies and means to let people retire at 60, but of course not when it is capitalistic system with pie severely distributed against majority.

  163. @Erebus

    Notably, the USD and Euro are level pegging as trade currencies (not including internal EU trade – figures on SWIFT) but the Euro is nowhere near the USD as a reserve currency. Russia is an exception. It keeps Euro and Pounds as well as gold but only a minimum necessary amount of USD.

  164. @Erebus

    Except that it was in Salisbury. It is surrounded by military bases. It would be hard to avoid a military passerby.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  165. Erebus says:

    71 is average age for both men and women.

    I stand corrected. I typed “life expectancy russia male” into Goolag and assumed the interactive graph on the first page was for males. Apparently, not so.

    Hence men works until drop.

    Life expectancy is indeed shockingly low. According to the literature, Russian men drink until they drop. They’re going to have to stop that if they want a retirement.

  166. @Philip Owen

    Take a walk through Salisbury and chat to the first couple of hundred people that you meet and kindly report back on just how many of those people have a resume remotely similar to the military nurse who “just happened” to be right there at just the right time. Couple that with all of the numerous irregularities surrounding the Skripal incident and only a very committed coincidence theorist would not smell a plague of rodents.

    Can we also assume that your retirement funds are invested in buying lottery tickets too?

    • LOL: Erebus
    • Replies: @Erebus
  167. Erebus says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Can we also assume that your retirement funds are invested in buying lottery tickets too?

    Nope. He’s all-in on Musk’s Mars mission.

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