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Russia Elections 2018: The Sovkhoz Candidate
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Latest development: The KPRF has nominated 57 year old Pavel Grudinin as its candidate.

This is the first time that the KPRF has gone with someone other than old warhorse Zyuganov since 2004, when Nikolay Kharitonov got an unimpressive 13.8% in the Presidential elections.

pavel-grudinin

Coming from a blue-collar background, Grudinin graduated from an agricultural engineering college in 1982, and has since worked on the Lenin State Farm – as head of a mechanical workshop from 1982-89, deputy director from 1990-95, and director to today. During this period, the Lenin State Farm transitioned from state ownership to a cooperative owned by its workers, and successfully sells apples and strawberries to Moscow.

He has been involved in politics since 1997, when he was first elected deputy to the Moscow oblast Duma from 1997-2011. He was a “trusted man” of Vladimir Putin in the 2000 Presidential elections and a member of United Russia until 2010, when he left and joined the KPRF instead he has been an independent ever since but consistently supported by the KPRF.

In 2011, he made the following comments in an interview with the magazine Russian Reporter:

Apartments in the Lenin State Farm are significantly cheaper than in Moscow, but not everyone can settle there. Grudinin, as the head of a state within a state, conducts a harsh national policy, closing the borders to migrants.

Grudinin: “Maybe this is nonsense, I never did this before, but now I do. I tell the investors who build apartments to look at ethnicity. If you sell apartments to the wrong people, I will not work with you. There is such an understanding – face control, where an investor, before buying the apartment, personally talks with everyone. Ivanov – great. Zagorulko – great. Lukashenko – okay. Arutyunyan – think again. Even if we get less money as a result. I am not Rogozin, I don’t think he’s right, but I can see we have a problem. We need to restrict entry. Why do we need so many Uzbeks? Buy machines, and they replace a dozen Uzbeks. There’s be ten times fewer janitors, but everyone will have a vacuum cleaner!”

Interviewer: “Why do you not like Uzbeks?”

Grudinin: “I understand that this is a problem. Ethnic conflict is the future of our country. It’s already clear. Children come to school, not knowing the Russian language. People from the entire aul arrive arrive here. When there is a fight on the playground a white and a black fight, the whites flee if the black wins. But if the white wins, then all the blacks gang up on the white. When there are two of them, it’s not so bad, but there’s a problem when there’s many of them.”

“We had one case a year ago when a ten year old boy crashed his bike into a girl and broke her lip. She got fixed up in hospital and her grandmother went to talk to the boy’s mother. She smashed her door closed. One would think that that would be the end of the incident, but no. The mother phoned her husband, who gathered twenty Azeris, found the girl’s father and grandfather. Afterwards they said that if there were any further problems with their children, they would kill them. On finding out about this, I looked at the CCTV footage, and discovered that the apartment where they live is rented out to one of our farm’s employees. I summoned him, and told him that he has a week to clear them all out – or I will fire you, and your problems won’t end there. And I then phoned the police chef and told him, “Strike up a criminal case and carry it through to the end. Do not take money.” Because this is a bad thing. If our people get drunk, they will go beat them up. And I will have have such a huge mess on my hands. Everyone will suffer.”

Unfortunately, Grudinin’s former colleagues in United Russia, perhaps unhappy with his defection, decided that this interview was extremist and filed a complaint. It’s worth noting that Grudinin didn’t stand by his words, insisting instead that the journalists had quoted him out of context. But that didn’t prevent him from being taken off the ballot box in the 2011 Moscow oblast Duma elections. An appeals court cleared him a couple of years later.

He failed to get into the State Duma as a KPRF deputy in the 2016 Duma elections.

Grudinin was nominated as the single candidate of the Left in a series of primaries organized by Sergey Udaltsov’s Left Front in November 2017. He was also recommend as Prime Minister of Russia by the Second Congress of the National-Patriotic Forces of Russia (NPSR), under President Yury Boldyrev, on December 22. Soon after, his candidacy won a secret vote in the KPRF, and he was officially nominated by Zyuganov and unanimously supported by the Central Committee of the KPRF.

Pavel Grudinin’s platform

On looking through his campaign advertising, one gets the impression that they are looking for some sort of Red/White reconciliation (or what some rather less flatteringly call the Red-Brown alliance).

For instance, here’s one of the images posted in a VK support group. Though they could do with a professional designer.

grudinin-campaign

He seems to have normal relations with the LDPR. In 2012, Grudinin was photographed with LDPR leader Zhirinovsky at the 2012 strawberry harvest at the Lenin State Farm. This was, apparently, not a one-off.

But that’s about where this dallying with nationalists ends.

Writing today for the pro-Putin/patriotic but not really nationalist Vzglyad, Olga Tukhanina went so far as to compare him with Navalny and Boris Yeltsin, but with less rhetorical talent.

Paraphrasing his replies:

Where to get money? Nationalize big enterprises and introduce a progressive tax on the rich (but couldn’t clarify who counted as rich).

What is your economic program? Don’t know, but we’ll gather a team of the best economists, and they’ll write one.

How to get rid of corruption? Lee Kuan Yew managed, he even jailed two of his friends. Who are the two friends you’re going to jail? Do they know about this? My friends are all clean. Then the Singapore variant won’t work, jokes one of the hosts.

We should be friends with the Ukraine. But what if the Ukraine doesn’t want to be friends with us? Then he’ll consult with the Communists and think of something. (My friendly note for Grudinin: The Ukraine banned its Communist Party).

Yes, Crimea is Russia. But what to do with those in the West who think otherwise? Don’t know, I’ll have a Foreign Minister for this.

Russia should end with its imperial ambitions. Better to produce things instead.

We should bring back the Politburo.

In fairness, he has been personally involved in helping with humanitarian supplies to the LDNR, and says he will continue with them indefinitely.

grudinin-on-ukraineHowever, his stances on the Ukraine are if anything even more schizophrenic than the Kremlin’s:

  1. We will continue being friends with the Ukraine
  2. The Ukrainians are a brotherly people
  3. The drunk Poroshenko is not the Ukrainian people
  4. Even a bad peace is better than any war
  5. If the Russian Federation gets busy with its own problems and improves itself, then its neighbors will want to be friends with it

He might want to be friends with the Ukraine, but they certainly don’t want to be friends with him. Not least since he intends to continue economically supporting the LDNR. At least the liberals’ position on unequivocally pulling all support for the Donbass make sense. The idea of “brotherly peoples” is a fading Soviet trope – either they are a subset of the Russian nation, as Russian nationalists insist, and even Putin has at times said; or they are just another neighboring nation, as liberals and the West insist. Of course Poroshenko is not the Ukrainian people – he is about 25% of them; another 25% support the overtly nationalist Tymoshenko, perhaps 10% are hardcore ultranationalists, 15%-20% are genuine Europeanist liberals. The more relevant information is that only 15% can be considered Russia sympathizers.

Summary

This is what Pavel Grudinin’s platform essentially boils down to:

  • Political and foreign policy illiteracy at the highest level. “That’s what my Foreign Minister is for.”
  • Doesn’t even have a platform yet (unlike Zhirinovsky, Navalny).
  • The Venezualization of the Russian economy.
  • Strong position on immigration, but with no credible assurance that he’ll actually stand by his words if things get inconvenient.
  • No indication on his stance on freedom of speech. The KPRF formally opposes the removal of Article 282. Perhaps Grudinin has a different opinion since he was actually the subject of a politically motivated prosecution under “anti-extremism” legislation, but that’s not something to count on until and unless he clarifies his position.
  • Communist rhetoric against Russian imperialism converging with liberal talking points, just as Egor Kholmogorov had predicted.*
  • Muh unitary anti-fascist Ukraine.
  • The restoration of the Politburo to cap it all off and mark the Communist Party’s final descent into complete and utter farce.

Response of Russian nationalists: Thanks but no thanks. As one of them noted in the comments to one of Egor Kholmogorov’s posts, he “offers the worst of both Communism and Russophobic liberalism (sovok + betrayal of Russians, and the permanent consolidation of Russia’s dismemberment)”. I think it’s safe to say that any Red-Brown alliance is dead in the water.

What is the electoral context?

People are already making comparisons with Alexander Lukashenko, who rose from collective farm director to President for Life in 1990′s Belarus.

This sort of “tough manager” (krepky hozyistvennik) shtick may have played well in 1990s Russia. But we’re approaching 2018. It isn’t going to fly now.**

Here’s one of the strongest trends in Russian politics: Communist voters are dying out.

As of the 2016 Duma elections, the KPRF was 2x popular as the LDPR amongst 60+ yo’s, whereas the exact reverse is true amongst 18-35 yo’s.***

It is also hard to see how heading a farm named specifically the founder of the Soviet state is going to be relevant in a country where the percentage of people saying Lenin was the “greatest man in history” has dropped from 72% in 1991 to 32% by 2017.

My interpretation:

1. The KPRF, led by a tired Zyuganov who clearly wants to retire, is making a last hail mary to remain relevant in a Russia whose youth doesn’t care a fig for Marxism-Leninism or the world anti-imperialist struggle. Grudinin appeals to both its core voters, and potentially, to some of the LDPR’s as well.

2. Considering that LDPR/Zhirinovsky has become the main locus of discontented voters it is quite possible that Grudinin’s candidacy was approved or even requested by the Presidential Administration.

Or both could be true, I suppose.

I don’t see Grudinin getting much more than Zyuganov would have got (i.e. around 7%).

Much will depend on the results of his debates with Zhirinovsky and Sobchak, but as was confirmed today, both of them are far better versed at rhetoric and performing on TV.

* From 12 Myths of the Bolshevik Revolution: “In reality, regardless of which question we consider, appeals to the Soviet experience are block brakes on our future progress. It is either a false alternative to the liberal solution, or it is the liberal solution. Therefore, it is of no surprise that we are hearing increasingly Bolshevik overtones in the rhetoric of our liberal cliques, for example, in the matter of anti-clericalism. The Zyuganov era of traditionalist-friendly Communism is coming to its inevitable end, and is becoming displaced by a new era of Communist liberalism, which is hostile to the Russian traditional values that are held in equal contempt by both liberals and conventional Communists.

** No matter how much Israel Shamir might wish it were otherwise.

*** As I have noted on several occasions, this developments in Western countries, such as the United States and France, where the elderly vote conservatives (Cruz/Jeb!, Fillon) but their grandchildren vote nationalist (Trump, Marine Le Pen). Adjust for Russia’s “conservatives” being Communists, are it all slides into place.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Communism, Politics, Russia, Russian Elections 2018 
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  1. From Navalny to Grudinin, aspiring Russian leaders are so ignorant on the economy, it’s depressing. It’s like they don’t consider this issue important enough to study and understand it in some detail.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    All they need to know is how to do PR and foreign policy or at least how to win foreign friends.

    Sadly, Mister Karlin seems to agree, hence "that’s what my Foreign Minister is for" is counted as such a negative. The thing is that the focus on foreign policy makes the implementing of anti-migrant policy difficult. It does win you friends in your country, but not abroad among the people who matter.

    "Doesn’t even have a platform yet"

    He was not a legit candidate until recently.
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  2. I don’t know, the Politburo (or rather its Standing Committee, even smaller than a Soviet Politburo) seems to work very well for China.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    As Sailer would say, China is full of Chinese. That seems to account for most of the difference.
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  3. @Felix Keverich
    From Navalny to Grudinin, aspiring Russian leaders are so ignorant on the economy, it's depressing. It's like they don't consider this issue important enough to study and understand it in some detail.

    All they need to know is how to do PR and foreign policy or at least how to win foreign friends.

    Sadly, Mister Karlin seems to agree, hence “that’s what my Foreign Minister is for” is counted as such a negative. The thing is that the focus on foreign policy makes the implementing of anti-migrant policy difficult. It does win you friends in your country, but not abroad among the people who matter.

    “Doesn’t even have a platform yet”

    He was not a legit candidate until recently.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    We're better off sticking with the Putin regime. Somehow, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of economic policy, appointing all the right people, giving them freedom to implement correct policy.

    Few people in Russia understood what central bank was doing in 2014-2015. But Putin stood by Nabiullina. He resisted calls for capital controls.
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  4. Of course Poroshenko is not the Ukrainian people – he is about 25% of them

    Is it true that Poroshenko is a jew? If so he represents about 0% of them.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    His number two, Vladimir Groisman is a Jew.
    , @AP
    His father is a Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity, and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian. Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian, if one overlooks his greed (more so than Putin - Poroshenko has been married for decades and has 4 kids, and has spent a lot of money on churches).
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  5. How did he have time to sit in the Duma when he had an agro-enterprise to run?

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Moscow Oblast Duma.

    His farm is located in this oblast.
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  6. “Arutyunyan – think again.”

    Isn’t that an Armenian name? I thought Armenians weren’t that unpopular in Russia (or at least not as disliked as Muslim Caucasians and Central Asians).

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    I was often hearing complaints about Armenians, similar to complaints one hears about Jews. The head of an academic department of one of Moscow's medical institutes was complaining about how allowing one Armenian into a position of authority meant eventually the ethnic Russians would be squeezed out, replaced by more Armenians, leading to an incredible increase in corruption and concomitantly catastrophic drop in academic standards.
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  7. @Art Deco
    How did he have time to sit in the Duma when he had an agro-enterprise to run?

    Moscow Oblast Duma.

    His farm is located in this oblast.

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  8. @neutral

    Of course Poroshenko is not the Ukrainian people – he is about 25% of them
     
    Is it true that Poroshenko is a jew? If so he represents about 0% of them.

    His number two, Vladimir Groisman is a Jew.

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  9. Of course Poroshenko is not the Ukrainian people – he is about 25% of them; another 25% support the overtly nationalist Tymoshenko, perhaps 10% are hardcore ultranationalists, 15%-20% are genuine Europeanist liberals. The more relevant information is that only 15% can be considered Russia sympathizers.

    You give no sources for these figures. Please do.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    They're not hard figures, they are estimates, based on what I have seen of Ukrainian opinion polls.
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  10. either they are a subset of the Russian nation, as Russian nationalists insist, and even Putin has at times said; or they are just another neighboring nation, as liberals and the West insist.

    What sayest thee Anatoly? How about a full explanation of your stance for once, not some mealey-mouthed evasion of the question, lest I start to think that real Russian nationalists are a timid sort?

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  11. @Mitleser
    All they need to know is how to do PR and foreign policy or at least how to win foreign friends.

    Sadly, Mister Karlin seems to agree, hence "that’s what my Foreign Minister is for" is counted as such a negative. The thing is that the focus on foreign policy makes the implementing of anti-migrant policy difficult. It does win you friends in your country, but not abroad among the people who matter.

    "Doesn’t even have a platform yet"

    He was not a legit candidate until recently.

    We’re better off sticking with the Putin regime. Somehow, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of economic policy, appointing all the right people, giving them freedom to implement correct policy.

    Few people in Russia understood what central bank was doing in 2014-2015. But Putin stood by Nabiullina. He resisted calls for capital controls.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Somehow, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of economic policy, appointing all the right people, giving them freedom to implement correct policy.
     
    Can't say I am impressed by the results of his economy policy.

    https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/charts/russia-gdp-growth.png?s=rudprqoq&v=201710161341v&d1=20070101&d2=20171231

    Too much trust in "western partners" which later created problems for projects like the SSJ.
    , @Polish Perspective
    I agree that Putin's economic record is not terrible. He seems to be a fiscal hawk and has set a very conservative budget at $40 per barrel of oil, which has already been broken before the year has even ended.

    But with regards to capital controls, neoliberal economics says its always a bad thing but I'd just note that in the "impossible monetary trinity", East Asian countries have always chosen to sacrifice capital controls first. Again, another heresy in the church of neoliberalism, but allowing free capital movement - especially foreign capital - may not always be a good thing, especially in situations where there are 'sudden stops'. The East Asians learned this the hard way in 1997, which is why they've been cautious on this.

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  12. @Verymuchalive

    Of course Poroshenko is not the Ukrainian people – he is about 25% of them; another 25% support the overtly nationalist Tymoshenko, perhaps 10% are hardcore ultranationalists, 15%-20% are genuine Europeanist liberals. The more relevant information is that only 15% can be considered Russia sympathizers.
     
    You give no sources for these figures. Please do.

    They’re not hard figures, they are estimates, based on what I have seen of Ukrainian opinion polls.

    Read More
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  13. @neutral

    Of course Poroshenko is not the Ukrainian people – he is about 25% of them
     
    Is it true that Poroshenko is a jew? If so he represents about 0% of them.

    His father is a Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity, and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian. Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian, if one overlooks his greed (more so than Putin – Poroshenko has been married for decades and has 4 kids, and has spent a lot of money on churches).

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    • Replies: @melanf

    Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian
     
    Personal Church of Poroshenko family (the icon depicts Poroshenko with family).

    https://strana.ua/pub/a/f/6/f66d32e3d9a9c7264f270564a5ad97be.jpg

    Putin's flirting with the clerics disgusting, but "religious" Poroshenko even more disgusting.

    , @neutral
    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws. So you have a jew and Georgian battling it out to who should rule Ukraine (hmm, I am trying to recall where such a power struggle happened in history). I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.
    , @RadicalCenter
    So, as the man said, Poroshenko is a Jew in a provable and meaningful sense.

    Presumably you are aware that Jewishness is a biological race and not merely a religion. This is science, not politics or emotions.

    Hence, for example, the drastic proven correlation between Ashkenazi Jewish genes and Tay-Sachs Disease (1in 3,600 compared to almost nobody for almost all other groups in the world). A heritable disease can’t be inherited or caused by someone’s thoughts, feelings, or philosophy. It is inherited due to distinctive genes.

    Whoever converted or claimed to converted in Poroshenko’s family, he is Jewish.

    Don’t Ukrainians generally deserve to be (and want to be) led, or ruled, by their own people, rather than by foreigners? This isn’t a particular anti-Jewish comment. The same criticism applies to the Georgian who was, bizarrely, appointed governor of some Ukrainian oblast in recent years, and he is not said to be Jewish.

    Don’t Jews and Georgians constitute minuscule percentages of Ukraine’s population? Of people who self-identify as Ukrainians and have Ukrainian as one of their native languages, aren’t almost none Jews or Georgians? This is not a fair situation.

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  14. @German_reader
    "Arutyunyan – think again."

    Isn't that an Armenian name? I thought Armenians weren't that unpopular in Russia (or at least not as disliked as Muslim Caucasians and Central Asians).

    I was often hearing complaints about Armenians, similar to complaints one hears about Jews. The head of an academic department of one of Moscow’s medical institutes was complaining about how allowing one Armenian into a position of authority meant eventually the ethnic Russians would be squeezed out, replaced by more Armenians, leading to an incredible increase in corruption and concomitantly catastrophic drop in academic standards.

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    I had the impression that diaspora Armenians at least were roughly on the same IQ level as Slavs (many haven't lived in the near-east for centuries), though I'm obviously biased in that respect.
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  15. @Felix Keverich
    We're better off sticking with the Putin regime. Somehow, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of economic policy, appointing all the right people, giving them freedom to implement correct policy.

    Few people in Russia understood what central bank was doing in 2014-2015. But Putin stood by Nabiullina. He resisted calls for capital controls.

    Somehow, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of economic policy, appointing all the right people, giving them freedom to implement correct policy.

    Can’t say I am impressed by the results of his economy policy.

    Too much trust in “western partners” which later created problems for projects like the SSJ.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Sure. There is plenty of room to criticize Putin's record, but I don't see how any of his opponents could have done better on the economy given how clueless these people are. For example, if Navalny tried implementing stuff from his economic program such as his 25.000руб minimun wage or his tax reform, he would seriously fuck things up. Grudinin's ideas would make Russia look like Venesuela, and you know what that means.
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  16. @AP
    His father is a Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity, and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian. Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian, if one overlooks his greed (more so than Putin - Poroshenko has been married for decades and has 4 kids, and has spent a lot of money on churches).

    Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian

    Personal Church of Poroshenko family (the icon depicts Poroshenko with family).

    Putin’s flirting with the clerics disgusting, but “religious” Poroshenko even more disgusting.

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    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @AP

    Putin’s flirting with the clerics disgusting, but “religious” Poroshenko even more disgusting.
     
    I'm not a particular fan of Poroshenko but this silly icon doesn't strike me as something terrible.

    The man built a personal chapel attached to his house and depicted his family in worship. It's good that he wasn't painted with a halo, at least :-)

    Putin dumped the mother of his 2 children, his wife of 20+ years. Poroshenko has been married to the same woman since university and has 4 children with her. He seems to be conduct himself in his private or personal life as a religious person should, at least. His professed Orthodoxy seems more genuine than does Putin's.
    , @The Big Red Scary
    Can you comment further on your objections to “flirting with clerics”? Is this a general disapproval of any Russian political leader publicly taking an interest in religion? A disapproval of the current hierarchy of the Russian Church? Or something else?
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  17. @Mitleser

    Somehow, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of economic policy, appointing all the right people, giving them freedom to implement correct policy.
     
    Can't say I am impressed by the results of his economy policy.

    https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/charts/russia-gdp-growth.png?s=rudprqoq&v=201710161341v&d1=20070101&d2=20171231

    Too much trust in "western partners" which later created problems for projects like the SSJ.

    Sure. There is plenty of room to criticize Putin’s record, but I don’t see how any of his opponents could have done better on the economy given how clueless these people are. For example, if Navalny tried implementing stuff from his economic program such as his 25.000руб minimun wage or his tax reform, he would seriously fuck things up. Grudinin’s ideas would make Russia look like Venesuela, and you know what that means.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Commentator Philip Owen who seems to be familiar with the Russian economy noted

    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml-WWUKULAA

    Grudinin notes the importance of investment.

    More must be invested by government and private sector and for that they need more income and cheaper loans, hence progressive taxes and lower interest rates.

    Grudinin’s ideas would make Russia look like Venesuela, and you know what that means.
     
    Neither Chavez nor Maduro were successful entrepreneurs. The former was a former officer, the latter a former bus driver.
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  18. @melanf

    Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian
     
    Personal Church of Poroshenko family (the icon depicts Poroshenko with family).

    https://strana.ua/pub/a/f/6/f66d32e3d9a9c7264f270564a5ad97be.jpg

    Putin's flirting with the clerics disgusting, but "religious" Poroshenko even more disgusting.

    Putin’s flirting with the clerics disgusting, but “religious” Poroshenko even more disgusting.

    I’m not a particular fan of Poroshenko but this silly icon doesn’t strike me as something terrible.

    The man built a personal chapel attached to his house and depicted his family in worship. It’s good that he wasn’t painted with a halo, at least :-)

    Putin dumped the mother of his 2 children, his wife of 20+ years. Poroshenko has been married to the same woman since university and has 4 children with her. He seems to be conduct himself in his private or personal life as a religious person should, at least. His professed Orthodoxy seems more genuine than does Putin’s.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Putin dumped the mother of his 2 children, his wife of 20+ years.
     
    How can we know that’s what happened?

    She quickly grew tired of publicity (in fact, she never liked staying in the limelight), and interestingly married another man within a year (or maybe two?) after their divorce. Probably she’s had a lover for years. While Putin still doesn’t publicly have a girlfriend, even though probably he could’ve arranged one (whether Kabayeva or someone else) if he wanted to.

    Putin is known as a workaholic, which wives tend to grow tired of as well, and it often happens that they start cheating. Besides, the vast majority of divorces are initiated by the wives. It was probably politically more useful to publicly say that it was a mutual decision. But even if Putin already had a lover before his wife had one (of which there is no evidence, though it’s possible, and Kabayeva is obviously the secret lover of someone since 2009 at the latest), it would probably have been better for him to just keep the marriage publicly. It was very awkward for him not to be accompanied by his wife already in the last few years of their marriage.

    And whoever his mistress was, she still hasn’t come forward publicly. If she wanted to stay in hiding, he could’ve hid her without a divorce, in fact, it would’ve been easier.

    So at worst he had a mistress and his wife didn’t want to overlook it (especially since she never liked being a First Lady anyway), but possibly the wife started cheating on him and dumped him. For Putin the latter possibility is contrary to his macho image, so he probably would do anything to hide that fact.
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  19. @AP
    His father is a Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity, and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian. Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian, if one overlooks his greed (more so than Putin - Poroshenko has been married for decades and has 4 kids, and has spent a lot of money on churches).

    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws. So you have a jew and Georgian battling it out to who should rule Ukraine (hmm, I am trying to recall where such a power struggle happened in history). I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.

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    • Replies: @AP

    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws.
     
    So?

    Both Poroshenko's parents are natives. His mother is an ethnic Ukrainian and his father is an ethnic Jew, who converted to Orthodox Christianity.* Jews have lived in Ukraine for many hundreds of years.

    Before Poroshenko there was Yanukovich, whose parents were Russian and Belarussian immigrants to Ukraine.

    *This actually is questionable, come to think of it. Poroshenko denies being of Jewish descent:

    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/58633/ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenkos-jewish-enigma-jewish-world/#/

    And his father's Russian and Ukrainian wikipedia pages also don't indicate nay Jewish descent, stating that the Poroshenko family appears on old censuses as Little Russians/Ukrainians. So I retract my statement about Poroshenko being half-Jewish.

    I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.
     
    So do Russian nationalists disown the Swedes and Germans who ruled Russia prior to the Bolsheviks taking over?
    , @Art Deco
    The Law of Return would allow him to settle in Israel as the 1st degree relative of a Jew and his children as 2d degree relatives. They would be recorded in Israel's census statistics as gentiles. About 5% of Israel's population are recorded as non-Arab gentiles. I think were he to formally convert according to the procedures of Orthodox Judaism, he could count as a Jew. (AFAIK, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist conversions are not regarded as authentic under Israeli law).
    , @Gerard2

    So you have a jew and Georgian battling it out to who should rule Ukraine (hmm, I am trying to recall where such a power struggle happened in history). I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.
     
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!..I know...it's hugely embarrassing , a farce for this inept pseudo-nation,Ukraine. A jew ( who made most of his money from Russia and with Russian investment), versus the Georgian, ex-georgian..married to a dutchwoman...with both the jew and Georgian controlled by Americans...and when they do some delegating...canadians, lithuanians, poles and so on
    ...and this Georgian when he's anxious, like in a Ukrainian court, does all his communicating in Russian...even though he speaks perfect Ukrainian...( and by the way most of these few actual ukrops who are in power speak Russian in ther private lives)

    What a joke
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  20. For those interested, here is an interview with the man. I don’t find him very charismatic, but he might get better as he finds his feet.

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  21. @neutral
    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws. So you have a jew and Georgian battling it out to who should rule Ukraine (hmm, I am trying to recall where such a power struggle happened in history). I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.

    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws.

    So?

    Both Poroshenko’s parents are natives. His mother is an ethnic Ukrainian and his father is an ethnic Jew, who converted to Orthodox Christianity.* Jews have lived in Ukraine for many hundreds of years.

    Before Poroshenko there was Yanukovich, whose parents were Russian and Belarussian immigrants to Ukraine.

    *This actually is questionable, come to think of it. Poroshenko denies being of Jewish descent:

    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/58633/ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenkos-jewish-enigma-jewish-world/#/

    And his father’s Russian and Ukrainian wikipedia pages also don’t indicate nay Jewish descent, stating that the Poroshenko family appears on old censuses as Little Russians/Ukrainians. So I retract my statement about Poroshenko being half-Jewish.

    I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.

    So do Russian nationalists disown the Swedes and Germans who ruled Russia prior to the Bolsheviks taking over?

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    • Replies: @neutral
    You don't think there is a slight difference between being ruled by either Stalin or Trotsky, or Catherine the Great?

    It also does not matter where in the world you are, jews are always jews first and never American/German/Ethiopian/Russia/Ukrainian/etc first.

    , @Mr. Hack
    It appears to me that Poroshenko has taken Galatians 3:28 to heart. It would do the world a lot of good if more were to do the same:

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
     
    , @5371
    Reminder that there's no such thing as a "Russian or Belarussian immigrant to Ukraine", any more than a "Yorkshire immigrant to Lancashire".
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  22. @Felix Keverich
    Sure. There is plenty of room to criticize Putin's record, but I don't see how any of his opponents could have done better on the economy given how clueless these people are. For example, if Navalny tried implementing stuff from his economic program such as his 25.000руб minimun wage or his tax reform, he would seriously fuck things up. Grudinin's ideas would make Russia look like Venesuela, and you know what that means.

    Commentator Philip Owen who seems to be familiar with the Russian economy noted

    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate.

    Grudinin notes the importance of investment.

    More must be invested by government and private sector and for that they need more income and cheaper loans, hence progressive taxes and lower interest rates.

    Grudinin’s ideas would make Russia look like Venesuela, and you know what that means.

    Neither Chavez nor Maduro were successful entrepreneurs. The former was a former officer, the latter a former bus driver.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Commentator Philip Owen who seems to be familiar with the Russian economy noted
     
    If you value this guy's opinion so much, I recall him praising the actions of Russian central bank, describing it as "little short of brilliant".
    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/debunking-the-myths-about-weapons-deliveries-to-the-ukraine/#comment-1966317

    Mind you, that's the same RCB that hiked interest rates to 17% in December 2014, because it was necessary at the time.

    Russian economy is affected by numerous structural problems, which cannot be fixed with government directed investment and subsidized interest rates. That's just path towards corruption, inefficiency, high inflation, fiscal insolvency, i.e. Venezuela.
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  23. @neutral
    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws. So you have a jew and Georgian battling it out to who should rule Ukraine (hmm, I am trying to recall where such a power struggle happened in history). I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.

    The Law of Return would allow him to settle in Israel as the 1st degree relative of a Jew and his children as 2d degree relatives. They would be recorded in Israel’s census statistics as gentiles. About 5% of Israel’s population are recorded as non-Arab gentiles. I think were he to formally convert according to the procedures of Orthodox Judaism, he could count as a Jew. (AFAIK, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist conversions are not regarded as authentic under Israeli law).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    No offence, but are you Jewish by any chance? You seem very familiar with Israeli laws.
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  24. @AP

    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws.
     
    So?

    Both Poroshenko's parents are natives. His mother is an ethnic Ukrainian and his father is an ethnic Jew, who converted to Orthodox Christianity.* Jews have lived in Ukraine for many hundreds of years.

    Before Poroshenko there was Yanukovich, whose parents were Russian and Belarussian immigrants to Ukraine.

    *This actually is questionable, come to think of it. Poroshenko denies being of Jewish descent:

    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/58633/ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenkos-jewish-enigma-jewish-world/#/

    And his father's Russian and Ukrainian wikipedia pages also don't indicate nay Jewish descent, stating that the Poroshenko family appears on old censuses as Little Russians/Ukrainians. So I retract my statement about Poroshenko being half-Jewish.

    I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.
     
    So do Russian nationalists disown the Swedes and Germans who ruled Russia prior to the Bolsheviks taking over?

    You don’t think there is a slight difference between being ruled by either Stalin or Trotsky, or Catherine the Great?

    It also does not matter where in the world you are, jews are always jews first and never American/German/Ethiopian/Russia/Ukrainian/etc first.

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    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    It also does not matter where in the world you are, jews are always jews first and never American/German/Ethiopian/Russia/Ukrainian/etc first.

    About 4/5 ths of American Jews cast ballots for Rashid Khalidi's buddy, Barack Obama, who the most antagonistic to Israel of any American president in the last 70 years. Intermarriage rates among American Jews approach 50%. The most intently Jewish part of that population are Orthodox communities around New York and in the Hudson Valley, whose political interests are thoroughly local.

    , @RadicalCenter
    You are right, unfortunately, as to many Jews, by their own account,

    A Jewish friend of mine started dating someone a few years ago. Explaining her background, he said, “She’s a Russian Jew.” I remarked even to him, not a ‘Jewish Russian’, eh?” We are close enough that he did not take offense, and he knew what I meant right away. He said, “she hates Russians.” This from a woman who grew up in Russia - because Russia allowed her family into their lands back when - and whose native language is Russian. I’ve hung out with them many times, and she’s actually quite engaging and friendly to me, and never has she reported being mistreated by Russians because she is a Jew.

    Admittedly, I’m not sure whether to criticize her for her lack of loyalty to Russia and its people, or propose that white European-descended people adopt a similar approach, intense group solidarity and identity no matter where we live.
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  25. @Felix Keverich
    We're better off sticking with the Putin regime. Somehow, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of economic policy, appointing all the right people, giving them freedom to implement correct policy.

    Few people in Russia understood what central bank was doing in 2014-2015. But Putin stood by Nabiullina. He resisted calls for capital controls.

    I agree that Putin’s economic record is not terrible. He seems to be a fiscal hawk and has set a very conservative budget at $40 per barrel of oil, which has already been broken before the year has even ended.

    But with regards to capital controls, neoliberal economics says its always a bad thing but I’d just note that in the “impossible monetary trinity”, East Asian countries have always chosen to sacrifice capital controls first. Again, another heresy in the church of neoliberalism, but allowing free capital movement – especially foreign capital – may not always be a good thing, especially in situations where there are ‘sudden stops’. The East Asians learned this the hard way in 1997, which is why they’ve been cautious on this.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    You need free movement of capital if you want your country to receive foreign investment: if they can't pull out their money, they are not going to bring it in. That's what happened in Ukraine.
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  26. A question at times in my mind, is that of vote-count fraud in all countries, including Russia.

    This has become a more complex issue with the somewhat-surprise Trump victory, where I think the usual USA vote fraud – with several million illegal votes for Hillary in 2016 – was overwhelmed by the media-hidden groundswell of both support for Trump, & hate for corrupt Clinton. One downside of the Trump victory, is that it may have gotten people throughout the world to trust more in ‘elections’.

    There is an oft-quoted Joseph Stalin statement about vote count fraud, and the most authentic version I could find seems to be this one, from the 1992 ‘Memoirs of Stalin’s Former Secretary’, by Boris Bazhanov:

    “You know, comrades,” said Stalin, “that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this – who will count the votes, and how!”

    Also Emma Goldman’s famous line

    If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.

    In the USA, vote count fraud seems to be both egregious & frequent. Prominent US military officers, including Major General Bert Stubblebine, argued the wholesale fraud of the USA 9-11 New York towers demolition, and in Florida there was a very popular military Colonel running for Congress who promised to ‘expose 9-11′ upon election. Despite enthusiastic crowds hearing him and seemingly certain victory, the official ‘count’ of his votes was suspiciously minimal.

    The worst corruption in the USA is their mafia of corrupt lawyers and bribed judges, and last decade there was a worthy US grass-roots movement, ‘Jail 4 Judges’, trying to restore a form of the ‘citizens grand jury’ which could bring judicial corruption charges … it was supported by millions of USA legal system victims and their families. Their referendum got on the ballot in the USA state of South Dakota … but then the vote count claimed the anti-corruption initiative, got even fewer votes than the number of people who signed the referendum petition!

    One funny vote fraud example, is that against New York USA governor candidate Jimmy McMillan, of ‘The Rent Is Too Damn High!’ party, who amongst a field of 8 or so candidates, totally stole the show & won citizen’s hearts in an 18 October 2010 debate. The original video of him, now deleted, had over 5 million views … he was the candidate everyone talked about, in New York State and elsewhere … yet the claim is, he only got a few tens of thousands of votes, whilst Hillary’s friend won millions of votes, absolutely absurd … Here’s a 1min16s sample from the debate, the unique Jimmy McMillan

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    was a very popular military Colonel running for Congress who promised to ‘expose 9-11′ upon election. Despite enthusiastic crowds hearing him and seemingly certain victory, the official ‘count’ of his votes was suspiciously minimal.

    That would be Col. Robert Bowman, once a quite accomplished engineer an Air Force Colonel. He hadn't had a workaday job since 1982 (he was born in 1934, died in 2013). He was also the 'bishop' of a self-founded religious sect. He lived on the Florida Space Coast, which is a preferred retirement destination for career military. Some men just lose it as they age, though this usually happens somewhat later in life than it happened to him.

    There was nothing 'suspiciously minimal' about Col. Bowman's vote count. The Republican candidate usually collared about 60% of the ballots in that constituency at that time and Bowman's performance was above the median. Brevard County, which was the heart of the district during that decennium, has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate all of twice in the last 60-odd years. Col. Bowman's opponent was a physician with a couple of advantages: he was the incumbent member of Congress and he wasn't a kook.
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  27. @Mitleser
    Commentator Philip Owen who seems to be familiar with the Russian economy noted

    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml-WWUKULAA

    Grudinin notes the importance of investment.

    More must be invested by government and private sector and for that they need more income and cheaper loans, hence progressive taxes and lower interest rates.

    Grudinin’s ideas would make Russia look like Venesuela, and you know what that means.
     
    Neither Chavez nor Maduro were successful entrepreneurs. The former was a former officer, the latter a former bus driver.

    Commentator Philip Owen who seems to be familiar with the Russian economy noted

    If you value this guy’s opinion so much, I recall him praising the actions of Russian central bank, describing it as “little short of brilliant”.

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/debunking-the-myths-about-weapons-deliveries-to-the-ukraine/#comment-1966317

    Mind you, that’s the same RCB that hiked interest rates to 17% in December 2014, because it was necessary at the time.

    Russian economy is affected by numerous structural problems, which cannot be fixed with government directed investment and subsidized interest rates. That’s just path towards corruption, inefficiency, high inflation, fiscal insolvency, i.e. Venezuela.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Mind you, that’s the same RCB that hiked interest rates to 17% in December 2014, because it was necessary at the time.
     
    Was keeping the interest rates in the double-digits for years the right decision?
    I don't think so.

    https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/charts/russia-interest-rate.png?s=rrefrate&v=201712151039v&d1=20141026&d2=20171226

    The fact remains that the inflation declined more than expected, but at the same time the recovery of the economy is fairly slow.
    They overdid it.

    Russian economy is affected by numerous structural problems, which cannot be fixed with government directed investment
     
    That is what they are doing, though.

    Note what happened to Moscow City.

    It was supposed to attract foreign investors, it ended up attracting state-owned companies and ministries.

    It’s a reversal from Moscow City’s early days, when the likes of International Business Machines Corp. and KPMG LLP snapped up the premises, with the share of foreign businesses peaking at 80 percent in 2006. More than a decade later, Russian companies account for 71 percent of the total space, according to Colliers International. The government and state-run firms make up a third.

    The takeover began after the global credit squeeze almost a decade ago, when the failure of developers gave their creditors among state banks ownership of properties in the district. When Russia plunged into recession in 2015, and demand for new offices collapsed, lenders opted to use the space for their own needs, according to Alexander Bazhenov, an office-market analyst at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. in Moscow. In 2015, vacancies in Moscow City reached 40 percent, he said.
     
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-11/skyscraper-city-becomes-a-citadel-of-putin-s-state-capitalism
    https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/iVzex3.IPlis/v1/-1x-1.png
    https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/877700/62369043.25/0_17a646_6003382a_XXXL.jpg
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  28. Looking at the Levada poll, I find it interesting that the young have not continually dropped their nostalgia for the FSU.

    Looking at the youngest age group, there even seems to be a small secular climb from 2007 to 2017. I suppose the question I have here is if this is driven by economics or by a sense of lost status/importance (or both). Also, is this nostalgia being exploited by nationalists?

    If I read Egor correctly, he seems to be implying that Russian communists are slowly converging with their Western counter-parts and as such a lot more of their communist ideals are rooted in softer values which are fundamentally liberal. As such, I doubt that would allow them to tap into the more expansionist/imperialistic Soviet past, which might explain why nationalists do better among the young.

    Still, the danger here is that nationalists inadvertently become just a vehicle for expansionism without regard to Russia’s unique opportunity to root itself as the nation-state of the Russians, and only the Russians. A sort of civil nationalist creed about ‘muh national strength’ á la Reagan in the 1980s will not do that. Though I admit I am extremely limited in my knowledge of Russian politics, but I just worry that nationalist opposition will be co-opted and/or derailed like in so many other nations to mean nothing more than muscular civic nationalism which ultimately doesn’t solve the root issue of blood and soil.

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  29. @AP

    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws.
     
    So?

    Both Poroshenko's parents are natives. His mother is an ethnic Ukrainian and his father is an ethnic Jew, who converted to Orthodox Christianity.* Jews have lived in Ukraine for many hundreds of years.

    Before Poroshenko there was Yanukovich, whose parents were Russian and Belarussian immigrants to Ukraine.

    *This actually is questionable, come to think of it. Poroshenko denies being of Jewish descent:

    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/58633/ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenkos-jewish-enigma-jewish-world/#/

    And his father's Russian and Ukrainian wikipedia pages also don't indicate nay Jewish descent, stating that the Poroshenko family appears on old censuses as Little Russians/Ukrainians. So I retract my statement about Poroshenko being half-Jewish.

    I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.
     
    So do Russian nationalists disown the Swedes and Germans who ruled Russia prior to the Bolsheviks taking over?

    It appears to me that Poroshenko has taken Galatians 3:28 to heart. It would do the world a lot of good if more were to do the same:

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    ... nor is there male and female
     
    Well, many in America and Europe are taking that to heart, at least.
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  30. @Polish Perspective
    I agree that Putin's economic record is not terrible. He seems to be a fiscal hawk and has set a very conservative budget at $40 per barrel of oil, which has already been broken before the year has even ended.

    But with regards to capital controls, neoliberal economics says its always a bad thing but I'd just note that in the "impossible monetary trinity", East Asian countries have always chosen to sacrifice capital controls first. Again, another heresy in the church of neoliberalism, but allowing free capital movement - especially foreign capital - may not always be a good thing, especially in situations where there are 'sudden stops'. The East Asians learned this the hard way in 1997, which is why they've been cautious on this.

    You need free movement of capital if you want your country to receive foreign investment: if they can’t pull out their money, they are not going to bring it in. That’s what happened in Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @JL
    Capital controls were instituted during the crisis of 2014-2015, but they were done informally. State owned firms were told to convert their currency revenues into Rubles to ease the pressure on the local currency (of course, Sechin was exempt, but what else is new?). The authorities learn from each successive crisis; during 2008-2009, when the CBR was the lender of last resort, the banks took the funding and used it to speculate against the Ruble. Furthermore, MinFin has now publicly stated that, if there is a new wave of sanctions-induced crisis, they will formally introduce temporary and limited capital control measures.

    Your textbook understanding of economics has little relation to the real world. Quite often, the reality is just the opposite, as it is with muh no capital controls. You can point to Venezuela and Ukraine, but what about China and India? These are two countries with extremely strict capital controls that have been showing some of the best growth rates globally over the past decade. Considering their share of global population, these examples are more relevant than those other two basket cases.
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  31. @Art Deco
    The Law of Return would allow him to settle in Israel as the 1st degree relative of a Jew and his children as 2d degree relatives. They would be recorded in Israel's census statistics as gentiles. About 5% of Israel's population are recorded as non-Arab gentiles. I think were he to formally convert according to the procedures of Orthodox Judaism, he could count as a Jew. (AFAIK, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist conversions are not regarded as authentic under Israeli law).

    No offence, but are you Jewish by any chance? You seem very familiar with Israeli laws.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    1. No.

    2. A precis of the revisions to the Law of Return is available with a Google search. The idea was to allow Soviet / Russian Jews to bring their close relatives with them. It would be helpful to American Jews wishing to settle in Israel, but very few American Jews do so. (Fewer than 60,000 in Israel were born in the United States).
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  32. @Felix Keverich

    Commentator Philip Owen who seems to be familiar with the Russian economy noted
     
    If you value this guy's opinion so much, I recall him praising the actions of Russian central bank, describing it as "little short of brilliant".
    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/debunking-the-myths-about-weapons-deliveries-to-the-ukraine/#comment-1966317

    Mind you, that's the same RCB that hiked interest rates to 17% in December 2014, because it was necessary at the time.

    Russian economy is affected by numerous structural problems, which cannot be fixed with government directed investment and subsidized interest rates. That's just path towards corruption, inefficiency, high inflation, fiscal insolvency, i.e. Venezuela.

    Mind you, that’s the same RCB that hiked interest rates to 17% in December 2014, because it was necessary at the time.

    Was keeping the interest rates in the double-digits for years the right decision?
    I don’t think so.

    The fact remains that the inflation declined more than expected, but at the same time the recovery of the economy is fairly slow.
    They overdid it.

    Russian economy is affected by numerous structural problems, which cannot be fixed with government directed investment

    That is what they are doing, though.

    Note what happened to Moscow City.

    It was supposed to attract foreign investors, it ended up attracting state-owned companies and ministries.

    It’s a reversal from Moscow City’s early days, when the likes of International Business Machines Corp. and KPMG LLP snapped up the premises, with the share of foreign businesses peaking at 80 percent in 2006. More than a decade later, Russian companies account for 71 percent of the total space, according to Colliers International. The government and state-run firms make up a third.

    The takeover began after the global credit squeeze almost a decade ago, when the failure of developers gave their creditors among state banks ownership of properties in the district. When Russia plunged into recession in 2015, and demand for new offices collapsed, lenders opted to use the space for their own needs, according to Alexander Bazhenov, an office-market analyst at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. in Moscow. In 2015, vacancies in Moscow City reached 40 percent, he said.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-11/skyscraper-city-becomes-a-citadel-of-putin-s-state-capitalism

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    The fact remains that the inflation declined more than expected, but at the same time the recovery of the economy is fairly slow.
     
    Numerous factors affect the economic growth. Russia's working-age population recently started to decline - this will be a major drag on GDP till 2030. There is other stuff as well. Russia is plagued by low labor productivity. Soviet era industrial enterprises employ more people than they need, because the government tells them to, because that's their way of maintaining social peace. You can't just fire extra workers, because a lot of these industrial enterprises are located in isolated Soviet era "monotowns", where people have nothing else do. People won't move. Russia's labor mobility is low for the reasons that are economic, administrative and cultural.

    What I'm trying to say here is that there are certain enduring, "structural" reasons why Russian economic growth is slow. None of these issues will go away soon. Complaining about interest rates obscures a much more complicated picture of a disfigured, ailing economy.
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  33. Kasich, Jeb!, and Romney primary voters did, indeed, have a rather high median age. But this wasn’t the case for Rubio’s primary voters, and the median age of Cruz primary voters was substantially lower than that of Trump’s. What young people in the US want is not Trumpism (his approval numbers are abysmal with twentysomethings; strong among the Silent Generation), but Ron Paul-style libertarianism (with Bernie’s 2016 platform being a close substitute). I’m confident Trump’s support among the young has dropped the most since his election.

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  34. @Mr. Hack
    It appears to me that Poroshenko has taken Galatians 3:28 to heart. It would do the world a lot of good if more were to do the same:

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
     

    … nor is there male and female

    Well, many in America and Europe are taking that to heart, at least.

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    • LOL: AP
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Well, many in America and Europe are taking that to heart, at least.
     
    Unlike the silly svidomist fairy tale of a 'unified triune Russian nationality' during the medieval period, especially by Ukrainians. Looks like its a hard sell and difficult to substantiate, eh Anatoly? :-)
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  35. @5371
    I don't know, the Politburo (or rather its Standing Committee, even smaller than a Soviet Politburo) seems to work very well for China.

    As Sailer would say, China is full of Chinese. That seems to account for most of the difference.

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  36. @Mitleser

    Mind you, that’s the same RCB that hiked interest rates to 17% in December 2014, because it was necessary at the time.
     
    Was keeping the interest rates in the double-digits for years the right decision?
    I don't think so.

    https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/charts/russia-interest-rate.png?s=rrefrate&v=201712151039v&d1=20141026&d2=20171226

    The fact remains that the inflation declined more than expected, but at the same time the recovery of the economy is fairly slow.
    They overdid it.

    Russian economy is affected by numerous structural problems, which cannot be fixed with government directed investment
     
    That is what they are doing, though.

    Note what happened to Moscow City.

    It was supposed to attract foreign investors, it ended up attracting state-owned companies and ministries.

    It’s a reversal from Moscow City’s early days, when the likes of International Business Machines Corp. and KPMG LLP snapped up the premises, with the share of foreign businesses peaking at 80 percent in 2006. More than a decade later, Russian companies account for 71 percent of the total space, according to Colliers International. The government and state-run firms make up a third.

    The takeover began after the global credit squeeze almost a decade ago, when the failure of developers gave their creditors among state banks ownership of properties in the district. When Russia plunged into recession in 2015, and demand for new offices collapsed, lenders opted to use the space for their own needs, according to Alexander Bazhenov, an office-market analyst at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. in Moscow. In 2015, vacancies in Moscow City reached 40 percent, he said.
     
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-11/skyscraper-city-becomes-a-citadel-of-putin-s-state-capitalism
    https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/iVzex3.IPlis/v1/-1x-1.png
    https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/877700/62369043.25/0_17a646_6003382a_XXXL.jpg

    The fact remains that the inflation declined more than expected, but at the same time the recovery of the economy is fairly slow.

    Numerous factors affect the economic growth. Russia’s working-age population recently started to decline – this will be a major drag on GDP till 2030. There is other stuff as well. Russia is plagued by low labor productivity. Soviet era industrial enterprises employ more people than they need, because the government tells them to, because that’s their way of maintaining social peace. You can’t just fire extra workers, because a lot of these industrial enterprises are located in isolated Soviet era “monotowns”, where people have nothing else do. People won’t move. Russia’s labor mobility is low for the reasons that are economic, administrative and cultural.

    What I’m trying to say here is that there are certain enduring, “structural” reasons why Russian economic growth is slow. None of these issues will go away soon. Complaining about interest rates obscures a much more complicated picture of a disfigured, ailing economy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Russia is plagued by low labor productivity.
     
    Something that cannot be fixed without investments which require available/affordable loans.

    Russia’s labor mobility is low for the reasons that are economic, administrative and cultural.
     
    Isn't a major reason for that the fact a lot of Russian own their flats?
    , @Kimppis
    And aging population isn't a major problem in other Eastern European and near-developed countries? Many of which still have growth rates that are at or above the global average. It's isn't a problem in China? AFAIK, China's working age population is already declining as well, but that hasn't somehow magically stopped it from growing by almost 7% a year. (Even if China isn't as old as Russia is atm, China is also less developed - PPP GDP per capita - so Russia can't and doesn't need to grow nowhere near as fast, and China is a positive outlier anyway. Russia needs a yearly growth of "only" 3-4%, instead of 6.5%.).

    Russia isn't fully developed yet, and aging is not somehow going to stop it from converging. Of course it's not clear what you actually mean by a "major drag".
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  37. @Felix Keverich

    The fact remains that the inflation declined more than expected, but at the same time the recovery of the economy is fairly slow.
     
    Numerous factors affect the economic growth. Russia's working-age population recently started to decline - this will be a major drag on GDP till 2030. There is other stuff as well. Russia is plagued by low labor productivity. Soviet era industrial enterprises employ more people than they need, because the government tells them to, because that's their way of maintaining social peace. You can't just fire extra workers, because a lot of these industrial enterprises are located in isolated Soviet era "monotowns", where people have nothing else do. People won't move. Russia's labor mobility is low for the reasons that are economic, administrative and cultural.

    What I'm trying to say here is that there are certain enduring, "structural" reasons why Russian economic growth is slow. None of these issues will go away soon. Complaining about interest rates obscures a much more complicated picture of a disfigured, ailing economy.

    Russia is plagued by low labor productivity.

    Something that cannot be fixed without investments which require available/affordable loans.

    Russia’s labor mobility is low for the reasons that are economic, administrative and cultural.

    Isn’t a major reason for that the fact a lot of Russian own their flats?

    Read More
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  38. @AP
    I was often hearing complaints about Armenians, similar to complaints one hears about Jews. The head of an academic department of one of Moscow's medical institutes was complaining about how allowing one Armenian into a position of authority meant eventually the ethnic Russians would be squeezed out, replaced by more Armenians, leading to an incredible increase in corruption and concomitantly catastrophic drop in academic standards.

    I had the impression that diaspora Armenians at least were roughly on the same IQ level as Slavs (many haven’t lived in the near-east for centuries), though I’m obviously biased in that respect.

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  39. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... nor is there male and female
     
    Well, many in America and Europe are taking that to heart, at least.

    Well, many in America and Europe are taking that to heart, at least.

    Unlike the silly svidomist fairy tale of a ‘unified triune Russian nationality’ during the medieval period, especially by Ukrainians. Looks like its a hard sell and difficult to substantiate, eh Anatoly? :-)

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  40. @AP

    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws.
     
    So?

    Both Poroshenko's parents are natives. His mother is an ethnic Ukrainian and his father is an ethnic Jew, who converted to Orthodox Christianity.* Jews have lived in Ukraine for many hundreds of years.

    Before Poroshenko there was Yanukovich, whose parents were Russian and Belarussian immigrants to Ukraine.

    *This actually is questionable, come to think of it. Poroshenko denies being of Jewish descent:

    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/58633/ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenkos-jewish-enigma-jewish-world/#/

    And his father's Russian and Ukrainian wikipedia pages also don't indicate nay Jewish descent, stating that the Poroshenko family appears on old censuses as Little Russians/Ukrainians. So I retract my statement about Poroshenko being half-Jewish.

    I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.
     
    So do Russian nationalists disown the Swedes and Germans who ruled Russia prior to the Bolsheviks taking over?

    Reminder that there’s no such thing as a “Russian or Belarussian immigrant to Ukraine”, any more than a “Yorkshire immigrant to Lancashire”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Well, I’ve seen people from Lancashire and Yorkshire almost come to blows over who brews the better beer.
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  41. @AP

    Putin’s flirting with the clerics disgusting, but “religious” Poroshenko even more disgusting.
     
    I'm not a particular fan of Poroshenko but this silly icon doesn't strike me as something terrible.

    The man built a personal chapel attached to his house and depicted his family in worship. It's good that he wasn't painted with a halo, at least :-)

    Putin dumped the mother of his 2 children, his wife of 20+ years. Poroshenko has been married to the same woman since university and has 4 children with her. He seems to be conduct himself in his private or personal life as a religious person should, at least. His professed Orthodoxy seems more genuine than does Putin's.

    Putin dumped the mother of his 2 children, his wife of 20+ years.

    How can we know that’s what happened?

    She quickly grew tired of publicity (in fact, she never liked staying in the limelight), and interestingly married another man within a year (or maybe two?) after their divorce. Probably she’s had a lover for years. While Putin still doesn’t publicly have a girlfriend, even though probably he could’ve arranged one (whether Kabayeva or someone else) if he wanted to.

    Putin is known as a workaholic, which wives tend to grow tired of as well, and it often happens that they start cheating. Besides, the vast majority of divorces are initiated by the wives. It was probably politically more useful to publicly say that it was a mutual decision. But even if Putin already had a lover before his wife had one (of which there is no evidence, though it’s possible, and Kabayeva is obviously the secret lover of someone since 2009 at the latest), it would probably have been better for him to just keep the marriage publicly. It was very awkward for him not to be accompanied by his wife already in the last few years of their marriage.

    And whoever his mistress was, she still hasn’t come forward publicly. If she wanted to stay in hiding, he could’ve hid her without a divorce, in fact, it would’ve been easier.

    So at worst he had a mistress and his wife didn’t want to overlook it (especially since she never liked being a First Lady anyway), but possibly the wife started cheating on him and dumped him. For Putin the latter possibility is contrary to his macho image, so he probably would do anything to hide that fact.

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  42. @melanf

    Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian
     
    Personal Church of Poroshenko family (the icon depicts Poroshenko with family).

    https://strana.ua/pub/a/f/6/f66d32e3d9a9c7264f270564a5ad97be.jpg

    Putin's flirting with the clerics disgusting, but "religious" Poroshenko even more disgusting.

    Can you comment further on your objections to “flirting with clerics”? Is this a general disapproval of any Russian political leader publicly taking an interest in religion? A disapproval of the current hierarchy of the Russian Church? Or something else?

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Can you comment further on your objections to “flirting with clerics”?
     
    The Orthodox Church (or rather the worst representatives of the Church) has become the equivalent of LGBT activists in America and Europe. Cohesive and aggressive minority, which, thanks to democracy achieves the realization of its antisocial goals (paying to politicians by votes). The organization has long stuffed a dirty paw in the state Treasury, while seeking for themselves legitimized the privileged status. In America, the privileged minority - gays and African Americans, but in Russia the privileged minority - the clergy and Orthodox freaks ("activists").
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  43. @5371
    Reminder that there's no such thing as a "Russian or Belarussian immigrant to Ukraine", any more than a "Yorkshire immigrant to Lancashire".

    Well, I’ve seen people from Lancashire and Yorkshire almost come to blows over who brews the better beer.

    Read More
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  44. @Felix Keverich
    You need free movement of capital if you want your country to receive foreign investment: if they can't pull out their money, they are not going to bring it in. That's what happened in Ukraine.

    Capital controls were instituted during the crisis of 2014-2015, but they were done informally. State owned firms were told to convert their currency revenues into Rubles to ease the pressure on the local currency (of course, Sechin was exempt, but what else is new?). The authorities learn from each successive crisis; during 2008-2009, when the CBR was the lender of last resort, the banks took the funding and used it to speculate against the Ruble. Furthermore, MinFin has now publicly stated that, if there is a new wave of sanctions-induced crisis, they will formally introduce temporary and limited capital control measures.

    Your textbook understanding of economics has little relation to the real world. Quite often, the reality is just the opposite, as it is with muh no capital controls. You can point to Venezuela and Ukraine, but what about China and India? These are two countries with extremely strict capital controls that have been showing some of the best growth rates globally over the past decade. Considering their share of global population, these examples are more relevant than those other two basket cases.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Russian government sometimes fails to strictly adhere to orthodox economic policy. This is not an argument against the orthodox economic policy. Orthodox economic policy is what makes Russian economy less of a basket case. Trying unorthodox solutions is an easy way to fuck things up. Putin seems to grasp that. Grudinin does not. This is what makes Putin a superior leader.
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  45. successfully sells apples and strawberries to Moscow.

    The funny thing about those Lenin Sovkhoz strawberries and apples is that they are very high quality and essentially an exclusive good, very difficult to find and actually buy, and expensive. So the commies are supplying Moscow hipsters and SWPLs with “locally grown, organic”. Which is more evidence to support the commie/liberal convergence theory.

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    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
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  46. @JL
    Capital controls were instituted during the crisis of 2014-2015, but they were done informally. State owned firms were told to convert their currency revenues into Rubles to ease the pressure on the local currency (of course, Sechin was exempt, but what else is new?). The authorities learn from each successive crisis; during 2008-2009, when the CBR was the lender of last resort, the banks took the funding and used it to speculate against the Ruble. Furthermore, MinFin has now publicly stated that, if there is a new wave of sanctions-induced crisis, they will formally introduce temporary and limited capital control measures.

    Your textbook understanding of economics has little relation to the real world. Quite often, the reality is just the opposite, as it is with muh no capital controls. You can point to Venezuela and Ukraine, but what about China and India? These are two countries with extremely strict capital controls that have been showing some of the best growth rates globally over the past decade. Considering their share of global population, these examples are more relevant than those other two basket cases.

    Russian government sometimes fails to strictly adhere to orthodox economic policy. This is not an argument against the orthodox economic policy. Orthodox economic policy is what makes Russian economy less of a basket case. Trying unorthodox solutions is an easy way to fuck things up. Putin seems to grasp that. Grudinin does not. This is what makes Putin a superior leader.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    On the other hand, most economies which managed to become first world initially used some economic policies now deemed heterodox. For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.
    , @JL
    But Russia is more Catholic than the Pope, being the only major economy to have real positive interest rates for the past several years at the expense of growth and investment. Do you consider the US and Euro area to be orthodox, with their ZIRP and perpetual quantitative easing? How can that be called anything other than subsidized interest rates? And I noticed that you ignored the rather glaring examples of China and India, who also eschew many of the facets of orthodox economic policy. It's reasonable to argue that all these experiments will end badly, but, for the time being, their results are certainly better than those of ultra-orthodox Russia.
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  47. @The Big Red Scary
    Can you comment further on your objections to “flirting with clerics”? Is this a general disapproval of any Russian political leader publicly taking an interest in religion? A disapproval of the current hierarchy of the Russian Church? Or something else?

    Can you comment further on your objections to “flirting with clerics”?

    The Orthodox Church (or rather the worst representatives of the Church) has become the equivalent of LGBT activists in America and Europe. Cohesive and aggressive minority, which, thanks to democracy achieves the realization of its antisocial goals (paying to politicians by votes). The organization has long stuffed a dirty paw in the state Treasury, while seeking for themselves legitimized the privileged status. In America, the privileged minority – gays and African Americans, but in Russia the privileged minority – the clergy and Orthodox freaks (“activists”).

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    I'm trying to understand where people are coming from, independent of my own preferences. With that in mind, I still need further clarification in order to understand your point. Do you, as a matter of principle, object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests? Or do you think that among the goals of the Russian Church some are particularly antisocial? Exactly which goals are antisocial?
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  48. @Felix Keverich
    Russian government sometimes fails to strictly adhere to orthodox economic policy. This is not an argument against the orthodox economic policy. Orthodox economic policy is what makes Russian economy less of a basket case. Trying unorthodox solutions is an easy way to fuck things up. Putin seems to grasp that. Grudinin does not. This is what makes Putin a superior leader.

    On the other hand, most economies which managed to become first world initially used some economic policies now deemed heterodox. For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.
     
    Raising tariffs is something that was used during by the Russian government to support the car industry in Russia.
    Apparently, it worked.

    The share of cars of the Russian assembly has grown up to 82%
    http://eng.autostat.ru/news/view/14478/

    According to the analysts of the agency "AUTOSTAT", the share of cars of local assembly in the Russian market for 8 months of 2017 was 82.2%. This is the highest level for the whole history of the Russian car market.

    Compared to 2016, this indicator grew by almost 2.5 percentage points (then it was 79.8%). Five years ago (in 2012), the share of local assembly cars was less than 2/3 of the market (64.1%), and less than half of the market (44.3%) nine years ago (in 2008). According to the director of the agency "AUTOSTAT", Sergei Tselikov, almost all key players have their own production in Russia now, a preferential mode of industrial assembly, or other preferences. At the same time, the ruble rate, which dropped substantially to all key world currencies, made the direct imports of cars less profitable. Now only niche brands or models are imported into the country.
     
    Lesson is that adherence to orthodox economic policy must be questioned and the executing of heterodox economic policy must be no less acceptable than them.
    , @Felix Keverich
    If you are suggesting that tariffs can make a country first world you'll need to explain why this didn't work for Latin America. Latin America in my opinion is a good case study of things to avoid in terms of economic policy and they have it all: tariffs, government investments, government-provided jobs, lots and lots of monetary stimulus...
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  49. @melanf

    Can you comment further on your objections to “flirting with clerics”?
     
    The Orthodox Church (or rather the worst representatives of the Church) has become the equivalent of LGBT activists in America and Europe. Cohesive and aggressive minority, which, thanks to democracy achieves the realization of its antisocial goals (paying to politicians by votes). The organization has long stuffed a dirty paw in the state Treasury, while seeking for themselves legitimized the privileged status. In America, the privileged minority - gays and African Americans, but in Russia the privileged minority - the clergy and Orthodox freaks ("activists").

    I’m trying to understand where people are coming from, independent of my own preferences. With that in mind, I still need further clarification in order to understand your point. Do you, as a matter of principle, object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests? Or do you think that among the goals of the Russian Church some are particularly antisocial? Exactly which goals are antisocial?

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    • Replies: @melanf

    Do you, as a matter of principle, object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests
     
    I object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests, if these interests are grossly contrary to the interests of the majority.

    you think that among the goals of the Russian Church some are particularly antisocial? Exactly which goals are antisocial?
     
    For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the school to the Church . And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century

    http://ros-vos.net/img/izo/vv-niva.jpg

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  50. @The Big Red Scary
    I'm trying to understand where people are coming from, independent of my own preferences. With that in mind, I still need further clarification in order to understand your point. Do you, as a matter of principle, object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests? Or do you think that among the goals of the Russian Church some are particularly antisocial? Exactly which goals are antisocial?

    Do you, as a matter of principle, object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests

    I object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests, if these interests are grossly contrary to the interests of the majority.

    you think that among the goals of the Russian Church some are particularly antisocial? Exactly which goals are antisocial?

    For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the school to the Church . And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Also the cigarette smuggler turned Patriarch Kirill has taken a highly hostile approach to transhumanism, more so than any other major world religion, including even the Islamic world at large.

    This is largely irrelevant now, but could have debilitating effects on Russia down the line if they become more influential in society.

    They were just fine with the lunatic Vsevolod Chaplin when he was defending female genital mutilation (!) as a Muslim tradition (which it isn't) in response to reports of the practice spreading to the North Caucasus, but dismissed him as soon as he started murmuring about Kirill's corruption and and the ROC's lack of support for the Donbass. Object lesson in what you can and what you cannot talk about as part of the ROC.

    The whole upper echelons of the ROC just strike as a very corrupt, very anti-Russian band of obscurantists who need to be completely replaced.
    , @anonymous coward

    ...if these interests are grossly contrary to the interests of the majority.
     
    Really?

    ...the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the school to the Church . And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century
     
    The majority wants all of this, and quickly. If Putin's ratings fall, it's because he's not doing this stuff quickly enough.

    Or do you presume you can tell the majority what it must believe "for its own good"? In that case, please do sod off.
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  51. @reiner Tor
    On the other hand, most economies which managed to become first world initially used some economic policies now deemed heterodox. For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.

    For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.

    Raising tariffs is something that was used during by the Russian government to support the car industry in Russia.
    Apparently, it worked.

    The share of cars of the Russian assembly has grown up to 82%

    http://eng.autostat.ru/news/view/14478/

    According to the analysts of the agency “AUTOSTAT”, the share of cars of local assembly in the Russian market for 8 months of 2017 was 82.2%. This is the highest level for the whole history of the Russian car market.

    Compared to 2016, this indicator grew by almost 2.5 percentage points (then it was 79.8%). Five years ago (in 2012), the share of local assembly cars was less than 2/3 of the market (64.1%), and less than half of the market (44.3%) nine years ago (in 2008). According to the director of the agency “AUTOSTAT”, Sergei Tselikov, almost all key players have their own production in Russia now, a preferential mode of industrial assembly, or other preferences. At the same time, the ruble rate, which dropped substantially to all key world currencies, made the direct imports of cars less profitable. Now only niche brands or models are imported into the country.

    Lesson is that adherence to orthodox economic policy must be questioned and the executing of heterodox economic policy must be no less acceptable than them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    *during the last decade
    , @Felix Keverich

    Lesson is that adherence to orthodox economic policy must be questioned and the executing of heterodox economic policy must be no less acceptable than them.
     
    The way I see it orthodox economic policy offers time-tested solutions to common problems (such as high inflation) that can be implemented right away, because we have a good idea of how they are going to work. Other measures must be vigorously studied and debated, before we try them, because they are unproven and the potential to do harm is great.

    In this particular example I'm sure these measures of state support for car industry were carefully calibrated to avoid conflict with our WTO obligations.

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  52. @Felix Keverich

    The fact remains that the inflation declined more than expected, but at the same time the recovery of the economy is fairly slow.
     
    Numerous factors affect the economic growth. Russia's working-age population recently started to decline - this will be a major drag on GDP till 2030. There is other stuff as well. Russia is plagued by low labor productivity. Soviet era industrial enterprises employ more people than they need, because the government tells them to, because that's their way of maintaining social peace. You can't just fire extra workers, because a lot of these industrial enterprises are located in isolated Soviet era "monotowns", where people have nothing else do. People won't move. Russia's labor mobility is low for the reasons that are economic, administrative and cultural.

    What I'm trying to say here is that there are certain enduring, "structural" reasons why Russian economic growth is slow. None of these issues will go away soon. Complaining about interest rates obscures a much more complicated picture of a disfigured, ailing economy.

    And aging population isn’t a major problem in other Eastern European and near-developed countries? Many of which still have growth rates that are at or above the global average. It’s isn’t a problem in China? AFAIK, China’s working age population is already declining as well, but that hasn’t somehow magically stopped it from growing by almost 7% a year. (Even if China isn’t as old as Russia is atm, China is also less developed – PPP GDP per capita – so Russia can’t and doesn’t need to grow nowhere near as fast, and China is a positive outlier anyway. Russia needs a yearly growth of “only” 3-4%, instead of 6.5%.).

    Russia isn’t fully developed yet, and aging is not somehow going to stop it from converging. Of course it’s not clear what you actually mean by a “major drag”.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Demographics is a major driver behind the economic growth. It's simple math: more people in the country means more workers, more consumers, greater level of demand. Stagnant/declining number of workers means growth can only come from productivity gains. It is always better to have a growing population.

    Russia isn't going to converge with the West magically on its own. This will require major structural reform, i.e. making Russia more like the West. If you're talking about Eastern Europe as an example for us to emulate, that means even stricter adherence to mainstream neoliberal economics, than Russia has shown. Ours labor market is too inflexible for example and there are too many state-owned enterprises - these issues will need to be adressed.
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  53. @reiner Tor
    On the other hand, most economies which managed to become first world initially used some economic policies now deemed heterodox. For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.

    If you are suggesting that tariffs can make a country first world you’ll need to explain why this didn’t work for Latin America. Latin America in my opinion is a good case study of things to avoid in terms of economic policy and they have it all: tariffs, government investments, government-provided jobs, lots and lots of monetary stimulus…

    Read More
    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I’m not suggesting that tariffs alone on their own can magically transform a country to first world status. Nor have I written anything which can be construed as such.

    I did write, however, that there is a pattern of present first world countries having used high tariffs before and until they reached first world status. For example the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, etc.

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  54. @Mitleser

    For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.
     
    Raising tariffs is something that was used during by the Russian government to support the car industry in Russia.
    Apparently, it worked.

    The share of cars of the Russian assembly has grown up to 82%
    http://eng.autostat.ru/news/view/14478/

    According to the analysts of the agency "AUTOSTAT", the share of cars of local assembly in the Russian market for 8 months of 2017 was 82.2%. This is the highest level for the whole history of the Russian car market.

    Compared to 2016, this indicator grew by almost 2.5 percentage points (then it was 79.8%). Five years ago (in 2012), the share of local assembly cars was less than 2/3 of the market (64.1%), and less than half of the market (44.3%) nine years ago (in 2008). According to the director of the agency "AUTOSTAT", Sergei Tselikov, almost all key players have their own production in Russia now, a preferential mode of industrial assembly, or other preferences. At the same time, the ruble rate, which dropped substantially to all key world currencies, made the direct imports of cars less profitable. Now only niche brands or models are imported into the country.
     
    Lesson is that adherence to orthodox economic policy must be questioned and the executing of heterodox economic policy must be no less acceptable than them.

    *during the last decade

    Read More
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  55. @Kimppis
    And aging population isn't a major problem in other Eastern European and near-developed countries? Many of which still have growth rates that are at or above the global average. It's isn't a problem in China? AFAIK, China's working age population is already declining as well, but that hasn't somehow magically stopped it from growing by almost 7% a year. (Even if China isn't as old as Russia is atm, China is also less developed - PPP GDP per capita - so Russia can't and doesn't need to grow nowhere near as fast, and China is a positive outlier anyway. Russia needs a yearly growth of "only" 3-4%, instead of 6.5%.).

    Russia isn't fully developed yet, and aging is not somehow going to stop it from converging. Of course it's not clear what you actually mean by a "major drag".

    Demographics is a major driver behind the economic growth. It’s simple math: more people in the country means more workers, more consumers, greater level of demand. Stagnant/declining number of workers means growth can only come from productivity gains. It is always better to have a growing population.

    Russia isn’t going to converge with the West magically on its own. This will require major structural reform, i.e. making Russia more like the West. If you’re talking about Eastern Europe as an example for us to emulate, that means even stricter adherence to mainstream neoliberal economics, than Russia has shown. Ours labor market is too inflexible for example and there are too many state-owned enterprises – these issues will need to be adressed.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    If you’re talking about Eastern Europe as an example for us to emulate, that means even stricter adherence to mainstream neoliberal economics, than Russia has shown.
     
    They are part of the EU and can rely on foreign Western investors, Russia cannot.
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  56. @Mitleser

    For example high tariffs, huge government investments, and similar.
     
    Raising tariffs is something that was used during by the Russian government to support the car industry in Russia.
    Apparently, it worked.

    The share of cars of the Russian assembly has grown up to 82%
    http://eng.autostat.ru/news/view/14478/

    According to the analysts of the agency "AUTOSTAT", the share of cars of local assembly in the Russian market for 8 months of 2017 was 82.2%. This is the highest level for the whole history of the Russian car market.

    Compared to 2016, this indicator grew by almost 2.5 percentage points (then it was 79.8%). Five years ago (in 2012), the share of local assembly cars was less than 2/3 of the market (64.1%), and less than half of the market (44.3%) nine years ago (in 2008). According to the director of the agency "AUTOSTAT", Sergei Tselikov, almost all key players have their own production in Russia now, a preferential mode of industrial assembly, or other preferences. At the same time, the ruble rate, which dropped substantially to all key world currencies, made the direct imports of cars less profitable. Now only niche brands or models are imported into the country.
     
    Lesson is that adherence to orthodox economic policy must be questioned and the executing of heterodox economic policy must be no less acceptable than them.

    Lesson is that adherence to orthodox economic policy must be questioned and the executing of heterodox economic policy must be no less acceptable than them.

    The way I see it orthodox economic policy offers time-tested solutions to common problems (such as high inflation) that can be implemented right away, because we have a good idea of how they are going to work. Other measures must be vigorously studied and debated, before we try them, because they are unproven and the potential to do harm is great.

    In this particular example I’m sure these measures of state support for car industry were carefully calibrated to avoid conflict with our WTO obligations.

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  57. @Felix Keverich
    Demographics is a major driver behind the economic growth. It's simple math: more people in the country means more workers, more consumers, greater level of demand. Stagnant/declining number of workers means growth can only come from productivity gains. It is always better to have a growing population.

    Russia isn't going to converge with the West magically on its own. This will require major structural reform, i.e. making Russia more like the West. If you're talking about Eastern Europe as an example for us to emulate, that means even stricter adherence to mainstream neoliberal economics, than Russia has shown. Ours labor market is too inflexible for example and there are too many state-owned enterprises - these issues will need to be adressed.

    If you’re talking about Eastern Europe as an example for us to emulate, that means even stricter adherence to mainstream neoliberal economics, than Russia has shown.

    They are part of the EU and can rely on foreign Western investors, Russia cannot.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    In that case, we shouldn't talk about "converging" as something that Russia ought to do. I wasn't the one to introduce this word.

    Russia's growth rates are normal, expected given the circumstances the country finds itself in.
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  58. For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the Church school. And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century.

    My knowledge of these issues in Russia is minimal. In particular, I was aware of the push to ban GMOs, but not aware that this had a religious dimension. I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the anti-GMO support in the Russian government was not primarily about pandering to fanatics, but rather about not wanting to sell-out Russian agriculture to Monsanto.

    Most of my acquaintances outside of work are of the “all-natural” rather than religious fanatic variety and they are also against GMOs. My own position is ambivalent. I think there are no a priori reasons to be against GMOs as such. If we could engineer trees to gobble up carbon, for example, that would definitely be a good thing. On the other hand, if you are just going to plant Monsanto rapeseed, which is engineered to be herbicide resistant so that you can dump glyphosate on it to kill the weeds, and if this rapeseed spreads to other farms, which then get sued by Monsanto for not having a license, then I’d ask you to first have done an independent cost-benefit analysis.

    As for schools, you must be referring to something more than having a mandatory course in either religion or humanism. Again, I’m ignorant. Apart from the Russian monkey trial that we have discussed here before, are there other examples of religious fanatics meddling in schools?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Exactly, the GMO ban has probably nothing to do with the church. It's currently banned in the EU as well.

    And to be honest, I'm not sure about it. I've read Nassim Taleb's assessment (I'm not sure if he's correct about the risks, Greg Cochran thinks he's dead wrong), and of course I'm aware of Monsanto being... well, Monsanto. In general I think that as long as we can feed the population (and even export) without resorting to GMO, it's better to do without. But maybe I'm wrong.
    , @melanf

    I was aware of the push to ban GMOs, but not aware that this had a religious dimension. I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the anti-GMO support in the Russian government was not primarily about pandering to fanatics, but rather about not wanting to sell-out Russian agriculture to Monsanto.
     
    Prohibited any GMO, including those created by Russian scientists.
    In the emergence of prohibition played a major role the position of clerics. Here's an example - official statement of the Russian Orthodox Church:
    for believer "is forbidden to eat genetically modified foods, which bring great harm to not only the individual, but also his offspring"

    As for schools, you must be referring to something more than having a mandatory course in either religion or humanism.

     

    It is a compromise resulting from the resistance of society to the claims of the Church. The clerics wanted (and want) a full, compulsory indoctrination in schools.
    , @AP

    Apart from the Russian monkey trial that we have discussed here before, are there other examples of religious fanatics meddling in schools?

     

    For example, in schools they are replacing religious studies or philosophy classes taught be highly educated people, with Orthodox classes taught by much-less educated priests.

    Data show that religion is very healthy for society in various ways, so as national policy this may not be a bad thing, but I can see how traditionally secular people might object to that. I've certainly heard Russians, not even liberal ones, grumbling about these ultra-religious Orthodoxes.
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  59. @Felix Keverich
    If you are suggesting that tariffs can make a country first world you'll need to explain why this didn't work for Latin America. Latin America in my opinion is a good case study of things to avoid in terms of economic policy and they have it all: tariffs, government investments, government-provided jobs, lots and lots of monetary stimulus...

    I’m not suggesting that tariffs alone on their own can magically transform a country to first world status. Nor have I written anything which can be construed as such.

    I did write, however, that there is a pattern of present first world countries having used high tariffs before and until they reached first world status. For example the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, etc.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    For example the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, etc.
     
    There is a lot more countries that tried high tariffs, and only managed to lower their own standard of living. So maybe becoming a first-world country is more complicated than slapping tariffs on foreign-made goods... IMO, we should certainly avoid this step until we can understand this issue better. ;)
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  60. @Mitleser

    If you’re talking about Eastern Europe as an example for us to emulate, that means even stricter adherence to mainstream neoliberal economics, than Russia has shown.
     
    They are part of the EU and can rely on foreign Western investors, Russia cannot.

    In that case, we shouldn’t talk about “converging” as something that Russia ought to do. I wasn’t the one to introduce this word.

    Russia’s growth rates are normal, expected given the circumstances the country finds itself in.

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  61. @The Big Red Scary

    For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the Church school. And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century.
     
    My knowledge of these issues in Russia is minimal. In particular, I was aware of the push to ban GMOs, but not aware that this had a religious dimension. I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the anti-GMO support in the Russian government was not primarily about pandering to fanatics, but rather about not wanting to sell-out Russian agriculture to Monsanto.

    Most of my acquaintances outside of work are of the "all-natural" rather than religious fanatic variety and they are also against GMOs. My own position is ambivalent. I think there are no a priori reasons to be against GMOs as such. If we could engineer trees to gobble up carbon, for example, that would definitely be a good thing. On the other hand, if you are just going to plant Monsanto rapeseed, which is engineered to be herbicide resistant so that you can dump glyphosate on it to kill the weeds, and if this rapeseed spreads to other farms, which then get sued by Monsanto for not having a license, then I'd ask you to first have done an independent cost-benefit analysis.

    As for schools, you must be referring to something more than having a mandatory course in either religion or humanism. Again, I'm ignorant. Apart from the Russian monkey trial that we have discussed here before, are there other examples of religious fanatics meddling in schools?

    Exactly, the GMO ban has probably nothing to do with the church. It’s currently banned in the EU as well.

    And to be honest, I’m not sure about it. I’ve read Nassim Taleb’s assessment (I’m not sure if he’s correct about the risks, Greg Cochran thinks he’s dead wrong), and of course I’m aware of Monsanto being… well, Monsanto. In general I think that as long as we can feed the population (and even export) without resorting to GMO, it’s better to do without. But maybe I’m wrong.

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  62. @reiner Tor
    I’m not suggesting that tariffs alone on their own can magically transform a country to first world status. Nor have I written anything which can be construed as such.

    I did write, however, that there is a pattern of present first world countries having used high tariffs before and until they reached first world status. For example the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, etc.

    For example the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, etc.

    There is a lot more countries that tried high tariffs, and only managed to lower their own standard of living. So maybe becoming a first-world country is more complicated than slapping tariffs on foreign-made goods… IMO, we should certainly avoid this step until we can understand this issue better. ;)

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    While there are many countries which used tariffs and didn't make it to the first world (though even Brazil managed to develop its economy a lot, now producing lots of cars and even jet airliners), there are just very few countries which reached first world status without high tariffs. The fact that basically the most important industrial powerhouses of the past two centuries (UK, France, Germany, USA, Japan, South Korea, China) all, without exception used high tariffs (or even more serious trade barriers) before reaching first world status tells you something right there.

    On the other hand, it's also well known that orthodox policies are often associated with economic disasters, for example the Argentinian currency board before 2001. During the Asian crisis, the only country to quickly introduce capital controls (Malaysia) was also the only developing country to avoid a currency collapse. The other countries to avoid it were already first world by that time (and I think even the South Koreans had a very bad recession at the time), or China, which didn't introduce capital controls because it already had it.

    But when shit hits the fan, countries aren't very orthodox usually. Even the orthodox Argentinians discovered that currency boards could be dissolved and orthodoxy abolished quickly, if needed. Alas, they only found it out way too late, after they became insolvent on their debts.
    , @AP
    I am not an economist, but a common sense approach towards tariffs might be to limit them to things that the country implementing tariffs can actually produce. Brazil is not going to produce video game systems. Russia, on the other hand, does have a viable auto industry.
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  63. Speaking of the EU and GMOs, I remember reading in the U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks around 2010 that U.S. diplomats were under instructions to carry water for Monsanto in the EU and that they should try to make resistance to GMOs politically “painful”.

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  64. @Felix Keverich

    For example the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, etc.
     
    There is a lot more countries that tried high tariffs, and only managed to lower their own standard of living. So maybe becoming a first-world country is more complicated than slapping tariffs on foreign-made goods... IMO, we should certainly avoid this step until we can understand this issue better. ;)

    While there are many countries which used tariffs and didn’t make it to the first world (though even Brazil managed to develop its economy a lot, now producing lots of cars and even jet airliners), there are just very few countries which reached first world status without high tariffs. The fact that basically the most important industrial powerhouses of the past two centuries (UK, France, Germany, USA, Japan, South Korea, China) all, without exception used high tariffs (or even more serious trade barriers) before reaching first world status tells you something right there.

    On the other hand, it’s also well known that orthodox policies are often associated with economic disasters, for example the Argentinian currency board before 2001. During the Asian crisis, the only country to quickly introduce capital controls (Malaysia) was also the only developing country to avoid a currency collapse. The other countries to avoid it were already first world by that time (and I think even the South Koreans had a very bad recession at the time), or China, which didn’t introduce capital controls because it already had it.

    But when shit hits the fan, countries aren’t very orthodox usually. Even the orthodox Argentinians discovered that currency boards could be dissolved and orthodoxy abolished quickly, if needed. Alas, they only found it out way too late, after they became insolvent on their debts.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Policymakers in Latin America are guilty of many things, orthodox economic policy isn't one of them.

    Do you know that it costs 1800 USD to buy Playstation 4 in Brazil? Its retail price was $400 in the US upon release in 2013. Brazilian gamers pay 4,5 times more, because of retarted tariffs on electronics imports in Brazil.

    Brazil is never going to create a gaming console that can compete against PS4. Brazilian consumers are simply being punished by their own government for the misfortune of being born in Brazil.

    This should not be happening in Russia.
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  65. @The Big Red Scary

    For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the Church school. And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century.
     
    My knowledge of these issues in Russia is minimal. In particular, I was aware of the push to ban GMOs, but not aware that this had a religious dimension. I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the anti-GMO support in the Russian government was not primarily about pandering to fanatics, but rather about not wanting to sell-out Russian agriculture to Monsanto.

    Most of my acquaintances outside of work are of the "all-natural" rather than religious fanatic variety and they are also against GMOs. My own position is ambivalent. I think there are no a priori reasons to be against GMOs as such. If we could engineer trees to gobble up carbon, for example, that would definitely be a good thing. On the other hand, if you are just going to plant Monsanto rapeseed, which is engineered to be herbicide resistant so that you can dump glyphosate on it to kill the weeds, and if this rapeseed spreads to other farms, which then get sued by Monsanto for not having a license, then I'd ask you to first have done an independent cost-benefit analysis.

    As for schools, you must be referring to something more than having a mandatory course in either religion or humanism. Again, I'm ignorant. Apart from the Russian monkey trial that we have discussed here before, are there other examples of religious fanatics meddling in schools?

    I was aware of the push to ban GMOs, but not aware that this had a religious dimension. I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the anti-GMO support in the Russian government was not primarily about pandering to fanatics, but rather about not wanting to sell-out Russian agriculture to Monsanto.

    Prohibited any GMO, including those created by Russian scientists.
    In the emergence of prohibition played a major role the position of clerics. Here’s an example – official statement of the Russian Orthodox Church:
    for believer “is forbidden to eat genetically modified foods, which bring great harm to not only the individual, but also his offspring

    As for schools, you must be referring to something more than having a mandatory course in either religion or humanism.

    It is a compromise resulting from the resistance of society to the claims of the Church. The clerics wanted (and want) a full, compulsory indoctrination in schools.

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  66. @neutral
    You don't think there is a slight difference between being ruled by either Stalin or Trotsky, or Catherine the Great?

    It also does not matter where in the world you are, jews are always jews first and never American/German/Ethiopian/Russia/Ukrainian/etc first.

    It also does not matter where in the world you are, jews are always jews first and never American/German/Ethiopian/Russia/Ukrainian/etc first.

    About 4/5 ths of American Jews cast ballots for Rashid Khalidi’s buddy, Barack Obama, who the most antagonistic to Israel of any American president in the last 70 years. Intermarriage rates among American Jews approach 50%. The most intently Jewish part of that population are Orthodox communities around New York and in the Hudson Valley, whose political interests are thoroughly local.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    About 4/5 ths of American Jews cast ballots for Rashid Khalidi’s buddy, Barack Obama, who the most antagonistic to Israel of any American president in the last 70 years.
     
    That's because US Jews hate America so much and want to hurt it, it's even more important to them than protecting Israel. Diapora Jews in general hate the countries that are hosting them, hate the goyim.
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  67. @Brabantian
    A question at times in my mind, is that of vote-count fraud in all countries, including Russia.

    This has become a more complex issue with the somewhat-surprise Trump victory, where I think the usual USA vote fraud - with several million illegal votes for Hillary in 2016 - was overwhelmed by the media-hidden groundswell of both support for Trump, & hate for corrupt Clinton. One downside of the Trump victory, is that it may have gotten people throughout the world to trust more in 'elections'.

    There is an oft-quoted Joseph Stalin statement about vote count fraud, and the most authentic version I could find seems to be this one, from the 1992 'Memoirs of Stalin's Former Secretary', by Boris Bazhanov:

    "You know, comrades," said Stalin, "that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this - who will count the votes, and how!"
     
    Also Emma Goldman's famous line

    If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.
     
    In the USA, vote count fraud seems to be both egregious & frequent. Prominent US military officers, including Major General Bert Stubblebine, argued the wholesale fraud of the USA 9-11 New York towers demolition, and in Florida there was a very popular military Colonel running for Congress who promised to 'expose 9-11' upon election. Despite enthusiastic crowds hearing him and seemingly certain victory, the official 'count' of his votes was suspiciously minimal.

    The worst corruption in the USA is their mafia of corrupt lawyers and bribed judges, and last decade there was a worthy US grass-roots movement, 'Jail 4 Judges', trying to restore a form of the 'citizens grand jury' which could bring judicial corruption charges ... it was supported by millions of USA legal system victims and their families. Their referendum got on the ballot in the USA state of South Dakota ... but then the vote count claimed the anti-corruption initiative, got even fewer votes than the number of people who signed the referendum petition!

    One funny vote fraud example, is that against New York USA governor candidate Jimmy McMillan, of 'The Rent Is Too Damn High!' party, who amongst a field of 8 or so candidates, totally stole the show & won citizen's hearts in an 18 October 2010 debate. The original video of him, now deleted, had over 5 million views ... he was the candidate everyone talked about, in New York State and elsewhere ... yet the claim is, he only got a few tens of thousands of votes, whilst Hillary's friend won millions of votes, absolutely absurd ... Here's a 1min16s sample from the debate, the unique Jimmy McMillan
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_fMDcBr9w8

    was a very popular military Colonel running for Congress who promised to ‘expose 9-11′ upon election. Despite enthusiastic crowds hearing him and seemingly certain victory, the official ‘count’ of his votes was suspiciously minimal.

    That would be Col. Robert Bowman, once a quite accomplished engineer an Air Force Colonel. He hadn’t had a workaday job since 1982 (he was born in 1934, died in 2013). He was also the ‘bishop’ of a self-founded religious sect. He lived on the Florida Space Coast, which is a preferred retirement destination for career military. Some men just lose it as they age, though this usually happens somewhat later in life than it happened to him.

    There was nothing ‘suspiciously minimal’ about Col. Bowman’s vote count. The Republican candidate usually collared about 60% of the ballots in that constituency at that time and Bowman’s performance was above the median. Brevard County, which was the heart of the district during that decennium, has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate all of twice in the last 60-odd years. Col. Bowman’s opponent was a physician with a couple of advantages: he was the incumbent member of Congress and he wasn’t a kook.

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  68. @reiner Tor
    While there are many countries which used tariffs and didn't make it to the first world (though even Brazil managed to develop its economy a lot, now producing lots of cars and even jet airliners), there are just very few countries which reached first world status without high tariffs. The fact that basically the most important industrial powerhouses of the past two centuries (UK, France, Germany, USA, Japan, South Korea, China) all, without exception used high tariffs (or even more serious trade barriers) before reaching first world status tells you something right there.

    On the other hand, it's also well known that orthodox policies are often associated with economic disasters, for example the Argentinian currency board before 2001. During the Asian crisis, the only country to quickly introduce capital controls (Malaysia) was also the only developing country to avoid a currency collapse. The other countries to avoid it were already first world by that time (and I think even the South Koreans had a very bad recession at the time), or China, which didn't introduce capital controls because it already had it.

    But when shit hits the fan, countries aren't very orthodox usually. Even the orthodox Argentinians discovered that currency boards could be dissolved and orthodoxy abolished quickly, if needed. Alas, they only found it out way too late, after they became insolvent on their debts.

    Policymakers in Latin America are guilty of many things, orthodox economic policy isn’t one of them.

    Do you know that it costs 1800 USD to buy Playstation 4 in Brazil? Its retail price was $400 in the US upon release in 2013. Brazilian gamers pay 4,5 times more, because of retarted tariffs on electronics imports in Brazil.

    Brazil is never going to create a gaming console that can compete against PS4. Brazilian consumers are simply being punished by their own government for the misfortune of being born in Brazil.

    This should not be happening in Russia.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Another example, in Argentina:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/argentina-wants-cheap-flightsbut-not-too-cheap-1514030401

    Prices for plane tickets need to be kept high so that bus driver unions are kept happy.
    , @Mitleser

    Policymakers in Latin America are guilty of many things, orthodox economic policy isn’t one of them.
     
    Sure they are, otherwise the IMF would not be involved in Latin America.

    This should not be happening in Russia.
     
    You only want Airbus and Boeing in Russia's sky?
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    There's a school of thought advanced by Friedrich List in The National System of Political Economy (and more recently by Ha Joon Chang) of developmental protectionism.

    From what I recall of their texts, then it comes time to adopt protectionist policies, they should adhere to the following conditions:
    (1) Agricultural countries with no significant industry at all (e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa today) should avoid protectionism entirely.
    (2) Only be used to foster industries that the country is capable of supporting;
    (3) That internally the state should leave these sectors alone, allowing winners to emerge through competition as opposed to state favoritism;
    (4) The state should instead focus on funding R&D, technology imports, industrial espionage;
    (5) That these tariffs should not be overly high, so that domestic producers still have to more or less adhere to global quality/cost standards;
    (6) That these tariffs are temporary, and should be reduced and abolished once the infant industries have grown up, so to speak.

    In other words, what the actual economists who advocated protectionism argue is that it should be carried out in a rather limited, strategic way, within the context of the global economy.

    This explains why Latin America failed. Their protectionism was about satiating labor unions and protecting state-connected oligarchs from competition, not about creating high added-value industries as part of a carefully crafted developmental strategy.

    Realistically speaking, any Russian move towards greater protectionism will follow the Latin American, not the East Asian (or before that, German/American), variant. Especially if under the direction of some Maduro-like figure such as Grudinin. Russia is already a relatively protectionist country and what it has now is, in many cases, probably quite sufficient - the automobile industry can indeed be considered a success story in this respect.
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  69. @Felix Keverich
    No offence, but are you Jewish by any chance? You seem very familiar with Israeli laws.

    1. No.

    2. A precis of the revisions to the Law of Return is available with a Google search. The idea was to allow Soviet / Russian Jews to bring their close relatives with them. It would be helpful to American Jews wishing to settle in Israel, but very few American Jews do so. (Fewer than 60,000 in Israel were born in the United States).

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  70. @Art Deco
    It also does not matter where in the world you are, jews are always jews first and never American/German/Ethiopian/Russia/Ukrainian/etc first.

    About 4/5 ths of American Jews cast ballots for Rashid Khalidi's buddy, Barack Obama, who the most antagonistic to Israel of any American president in the last 70 years. Intermarriage rates among American Jews approach 50%. The most intently Jewish part of that population are Orthodox communities around New York and in the Hudson Valley, whose political interests are thoroughly local.

    About 4/5 ths of American Jews cast ballots for Rashid Khalidi’s buddy, Barack Obama, who the most antagonistic to Israel of any American president in the last 70 years.

    That’s because US Jews hate America so much and want to hurt it, it’s even more important to them than protecting Israel. Diapora Jews in general hate the countries that are hosting them, hate the goyim.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    That’s because US Jews hate America so much and want to hurt it, it’s even more important to them than protecting Israel. Diapora Jews in general hate the countries that are hosting them, hate the goyim.

    That's utter rubbish.

    There are a great many subcultural aversions in this country. Jews tend to despise evangelicals and to be drawn to word-merchant occupations. An earlier generation of Jews tended to be repelled by bluebloods. These sorts of aversions and affinities have drawn them to the Democratic Party.
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  71. @The Big Red Scary

    For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the Church school. And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century.
     
    My knowledge of these issues in Russia is minimal. In particular, I was aware of the push to ban GMOs, but not aware that this had a religious dimension. I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the anti-GMO support in the Russian government was not primarily about pandering to fanatics, but rather about not wanting to sell-out Russian agriculture to Monsanto.

    Most of my acquaintances outside of work are of the "all-natural" rather than religious fanatic variety and they are also against GMOs. My own position is ambivalent. I think there are no a priori reasons to be against GMOs as such. If we could engineer trees to gobble up carbon, for example, that would definitely be a good thing. On the other hand, if you are just going to plant Monsanto rapeseed, which is engineered to be herbicide resistant so that you can dump glyphosate on it to kill the weeds, and if this rapeseed spreads to other farms, which then get sued by Monsanto for not having a license, then I'd ask you to first have done an independent cost-benefit analysis.

    As for schools, you must be referring to something more than having a mandatory course in either religion or humanism. Again, I'm ignorant. Apart from the Russian monkey trial that we have discussed here before, are there other examples of religious fanatics meddling in schools?

    Apart from the Russian monkey trial that we have discussed here before, are there other examples of religious fanatics meddling in schools?

    For example, in schools they are replacing religious studies or philosophy classes taught be highly educated people, with Orthodox classes taught by much-less educated priests.

    Data show that religion is very healthy for society in various ways, so as national policy this may not be a bad thing, but I can see how traditionally secular people might object to that. I’ve certainly heard Russians, not even liberal ones, grumbling about these ultra-religious Orthodoxes.

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    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    As I said, I’m ignorant, but I find it hard to believe that religious classes could be mostly taught by priests, given how few priests there are. Where I live, I would estimate the density of priests at 1 per 50 km^2.

    Anyhow, I fear this will backfire in a big way, and even if it doesn’t, it is very unlikely to increase long-term religious literacy any more than six years of science in Russian schools has a long-term effect on scientific literacy.

    About gross misbehaviour of the hierarchy of the ROC, I wouldn’t be surprised. Personally, I have only second-hand information about luxurious lifestyles. However, my personal observations about parish priests are fairly positive. Although I have a number of devout friends, I have yet to meet the kind of religious fanatics about which people are so concerned, although a small number of them can cause an enormous amount of trouble, no doubt.
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  72. @Felix Keverich
    Policymakers in Latin America are guilty of many things, orthodox economic policy isn't one of them.

    Do you know that it costs 1800 USD to buy Playstation 4 in Brazil? Its retail price was $400 in the US upon release in 2013. Brazilian gamers pay 4,5 times more, because of retarted tariffs on electronics imports in Brazil.

    Brazil is never going to create a gaming console that can compete against PS4. Brazilian consumers are simply being punished by their own government for the misfortune of being born in Brazil.

    This should not be happening in Russia.

    Another example, in Argentina:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/argentina-wants-cheap-flightsbut-not-too-cheap-1514030401

    Prices for plane tickets need to be kept high so that bus driver unions are kept happy.

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  73. @Felix Keverich

    For example the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, etc.
     
    There is a lot more countries that tried high tariffs, and only managed to lower their own standard of living. So maybe becoming a first-world country is more complicated than slapping tariffs on foreign-made goods... IMO, we should certainly avoid this step until we can understand this issue better. ;)

    I am not an economist, but a common sense approach towards tariffs might be to limit them to things that the country implementing tariffs can actually produce. Brazil is not going to produce video game systems. Russia, on the other hand, does have a viable auto industry.

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  74. @Felix Keverich
    Policymakers in Latin America are guilty of many things, orthodox economic policy isn't one of them.

    Do you know that it costs 1800 USD to buy Playstation 4 in Brazil? Its retail price was $400 in the US upon release in 2013. Brazilian gamers pay 4,5 times more, because of retarted tariffs on electronics imports in Brazil.

    Brazil is never going to create a gaming console that can compete against PS4. Brazilian consumers are simply being punished by their own government for the misfortune of being born in Brazil.

    This should not be happening in Russia.

    Policymakers in Latin America are guilty of many things, orthodox economic policy isn’t one of them.

    Sure they are, otherwise the IMF would not be involved in Latin America.

    This should not be happening in Russia.

    You only want Airbus and Boeing in Russia’s sky?

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  75. @neutral
    That makes him a jew by the Israeli auto citizenship laws. So you have a jew and Georgian battling it out to who should rule Ukraine (hmm, I am trying to recall where such a power struggle happened in history). I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.

    So you have a jew and Georgian battling it out to who should rule Ukraine (hmm, I am trying to recall where such a power struggle happened in history). I bet those Ukrainian nationalists must be mighty impressed with themselves by putting foreigners into power to rule their land.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!..I know…it’s hugely embarrassing , a farce for this inept pseudo-nation,Ukraine. A jew ( who made most of his money from Russia and with Russian investment), versus the Georgian, ex-georgian..married to a dutchwoman…with both the jew and Georgian controlled by Americans…and when they do some delegating…canadians, lithuanians, poles and so on
    …and this Georgian when he’s anxious, like in a Ukrainian court, does all his communicating in Russian…even though he speaks perfect Ukrainian…( and by the way most of these few actual ukrops who are in power speak Russian in ther private lives)

    What a joke

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  76. @melanf

    Do you, as a matter of principle, object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests
     
    I object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests, if these interests are grossly contrary to the interests of the majority.

    you think that among the goals of the Russian Church some are particularly antisocial? Exactly which goals are antisocial?
     
    For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the school to the Church . And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century

    http://ros-vos.net/img/izo/vv-niva.jpg

    Also the cigarette smuggler turned Patriarch Kirill has taken a highly hostile approach to transhumanism, more so than any other major world religion, including even the Islamic world at large.

    This is largely irrelevant now, but could have debilitating effects on Russia down the line if they become more influential in society.

    They were just fine with the lunatic Vsevolod Chaplin when he was defending female genital mutilation (!) as a Muslim tradition (which it isn’t) in response to reports of the practice spreading to the North Caucasus, but dismissed him as soon as he started murmuring about Kirill’s corruption and and the ROC’s lack of support for the Donbass. Object lesson in what you can and what you cannot talk about as part of the ROC.

    The whole upper echelons of the ROC just strike as a very corrupt, very anti-Russian band of obscurantists who need to be completely replaced.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    ROC’s lack of support for the Donbass
     
    I don't know what it should do to "support" it. According to his Wikipedia page:

    Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.[2][3]

    In light of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church has Ukrainian adherents in Ukraine, not all of whom agree wholeheartedly with the expansion of Russia's borders at the expense of Ukraine, I think this is as much as he could do. He's a religious leader, not a politician or whatnot.
    , @AP
    A friend of mine, former FSB officer, did some professional work with the Church. I won't repeat the stories I heard about church hierarchs' and monks' personal debauched behavior but they are rather shocking. OTOH one can come across many fine examples of regular priests.
    , @Art Deco
    Also the cigarette smuggler turned Patriarch Kirill has taken a highly hostile approach to transhumanism, more so than any other major world religion, including even the Islamic world at large.

    I don't know why you'd expect a bishop to take some other position.
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  77. @Anatoly Karlin
    Also the cigarette smuggler turned Patriarch Kirill has taken a highly hostile approach to transhumanism, more so than any other major world religion, including even the Islamic world at large.

    This is largely irrelevant now, but could have debilitating effects on Russia down the line if they become more influential in society.

    They were just fine with the lunatic Vsevolod Chaplin when he was defending female genital mutilation (!) as a Muslim tradition (which it isn't) in response to reports of the practice spreading to the North Caucasus, but dismissed him as soon as he started murmuring about Kirill's corruption and and the ROC's lack of support for the Donbass. Object lesson in what you can and what you cannot talk about as part of the ROC.

    The whole upper echelons of the ROC just strike as a very corrupt, very anti-Russian band of obscurantists who need to be completely replaced.

    ROC’s lack of support for the Donbass

    I don’t know what it should do to “support” it. According to his Wikipedia page:

    Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.[2][3]

    In light of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church has Ukrainian adherents in Ukraine, not all of whom agree wholeheartedly with the expansion of Russia’s borders at the expense of Ukraine, I think this is as much as he could do. He’s a religious leader, not a politician or whatnot.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Because Ukrainians are more religious than Russians, there are a disproportionately high number of parishes and believers that are under the Moscow Patriarch in Ukraine. Moscow has been losing a lot of them since 2013 but doesn't want a total loss, thus it is being cautious about supporting a movement that results in dead pro-Kiev believers.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Well, Filaret doesn't have any such complexes.

    Good for the Ukraine, their national Orthodox church has a nationalist in charge.
    , @melanf

    According to his Wikipedia page:
    Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine
     
    It's just a lie
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  78. @reiner Tor

    ROC’s lack of support for the Donbass
     
    I don't know what it should do to "support" it. According to his Wikipedia page:

    Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.[2][3]

    In light of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church has Ukrainian adherents in Ukraine, not all of whom agree wholeheartedly with the expansion of Russia's borders at the expense of Ukraine, I think this is as much as he could do. He's a religious leader, not a politician or whatnot.

    Because Ukrainians are more religious than Russians, there are a disproportionately high number of parishes and believers that are under the Moscow Patriarch in Ukraine. Moscow has been losing a lot of them since 2013 but doesn’t want a total loss, thus it is being cautious about supporting a movement that results in dead pro-Kiev believers.

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    • Replies: @Gerard2

    Because Ukrainians are more religious than Russians
     
    ..again...a braindead lie by some moron tramp with severe mental problems , desperate to be an attention-whore.

    disproportionately high number of parishes and believers that are under the Moscow Patriarch in Ukraine
     
    errrr, that's because it's a more rural population, less intensely populated cities than Russia you dumb POS....that's why it has more parishes...but not more believers.

    Orthodox related charity-activity is far larger in Russia, proportionately, than in Ukraine you cretin

    Moscow has been losing a lot of them since 2013 but doesn’t want a total loss</blockquote

    ...you mean fascist scumbag thugs, with state backing, have been seizing churches and assaulting Orthodox priests, Nazi-style. "Losing" is not the right term, but "stealing" certainly is

    thus it is being cautious about supporting a movement that results in dead pro-Kiev believers
     
    More cretinous bollocks. They have been unequivocal in condemning the Ukrainian government, and any intervention by the ROC means even more trouble from the Ukrainian authorities for the Moscow Patriarchate over there, plus when a war is not being fought along religious lines......then they should not be steering much away from emphasizing the brotherly peoples message. In Syria, they have been emphasising the righteousness of the military intervention over there, against ISIS, and terrorist groups that have been killing Christians

    Now compare this to what the Pope has done in direct support of the fucktards from Western Ukrainian who are Catholic......nothing, you idiot. That might be because the Pope has a conscience to not support these idiots, and isn't stupid
     
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  79. @AP
    His father is a Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity, and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian. Poroshenko is a practicing Orthodox Christian, if one overlooks his greed (more so than Putin - Poroshenko has been married for decades and has 4 kids, and has spent a lot of money on churches).

    So, as the man said, Poroshenko is a Jew in a provable and meaningful sense.

    Presumably you are aware that Jewishness is a biological race and not merely a religion. This is science, not politics or emotions.

    Hence, for example, the drastic proven correlation between Ashkenazi Jewish genes and Tay-Sachs Disease (1in 3,600 compared to almost nobody for almost all other groups in the world). A heritable disease can’t be inherited or caused by someone’s thoughts, feelings, or philosophy. It is inherited due to distinctive genes.

    Whoever converted or claimed to converted in Poroshenko’s family, he is Jewish.

    Don’t Ukrainians generally deserve to be (and want to be) led, or ruled, by their own people, rather than by foreigners? This isn’t a particular anti-Jewish comment. The same criticism applies to the Georgian who was, bizarrely, appointed governor of some Ukrainian oblast in recent years, and he is not said to be Jewish.

    Don’t Jews and Georgians constitute minuscule percentages of Ukraine’s population? Of people who self-identify as Ukrainians and have Ukrainian as one of their native languages, aren’t almost none Jews or Georgians? This is not a fair situation.

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  80. @Felix Keverich
    Policymakers in Latin America are guilty of many things, orthodox economic policy isn't one of them.

    Do you know that it costs 1800 USD to buy Playstation 4 in Brazil? Its retail price was $400 in the US upon release in 2013. Brazilian gamers pay 4,5 times more, because of retarted tariffs on electronics imports in Brazil.

    Brazil is never going to create a gaming console that can compete against PS4. Brazilian consumers are simply being punished by their own government for the misfortune of being born in Brazil.

    This should not be happening in Russia.

    There’s a school of thought advanced by Friedrich List in The National System of Political Economy (and more recently by Ha Joon Chang) of developmental protectionism.

    From what I recall of their texts, then it comes time to adopt protectionist policies, they should adhere to the following conditions:
    (1) Agricultural countries with no significant industry at all (e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa today) should avoid protectionism entirely.
    (2) Only be used to foster industries that the country is capable of supporting;
    (3) That internally the state should leave these sectors alone, allowing winners to emerge through competition as opposed to state favoritism;
    (4) The state should instead focus on funding R&D, technology imports, industrial espionage;
    (5) That these tariffs should not be overly high, so that domestic producers still have to more or less adhere to global quality/cost standards;
    (6) That these tariffs are temporary, and should be reduced and abolished once the infant industries have grown up, so to speak.

    In other words, what the actual economists who advocated protectionism argue is that it should be carried out in a rather limited, strategic way, within the context of the global economy.

    This explains why Latin America failed. Their protectionism was about satiating labor unions and protecting state-connected oligarchs from competition, not about creating high added-value industries as part of a carefully crafted developmental strategy.

    Realistically speaking, any Russian move towards greater protectionism will follow the Latin American, not the East Asian (or before that, German/American), variant. Especially if under the direction of some Maduro-like figure such as Grudinin. Russia is already a relatively protectionist country and what it has now is, in many cases, probably quite sufficient – the automobile industry can indeed be considered a success story in this respect.

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    • Agree: AP
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  81. @Anatoly Karlin
    Also the cigarette smuggler turned Patriarch Kirill has taken a highly hostile approach to transhumanism, more so than any other major world religion, including even the Islamic world at large.

    This is largely irrelevant now, but could have debilitating effects on Russia down the line if they become more influential in society.

    They were just fine with the lunatic Vsevolod Chaplin when he was defending female genital mutilation (!) as a Muslim tradition (which it isn't) in response to reports of the practice spreading to the North Caucasus, but dismissed him as soon as he started murmuring about Kirill's corruption and and the ROC's lack of support for the Donbass. Object lesson in what you can and what you cannot talk about as part of the ROC.

    The whole upper echelons of the ROC just strike as a very corrupt, very anti-Russian band of obscurantists who need to be completely replaced.

    A friend of mine, former FSB officer, did some professional work with the Church. I won’t repeat the stories I heard about church hierarchs’ and monks’ personal debauched behavior but they are rather shocking. OTOH one can come across many fine examples of regular priests.

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  82. @reiner Tor

    ROC’s lack of support for the Donbass
     
    I don't know what it should do to "support" it. According to his Wikipedia page:

    Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.[2][3]

    In light of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church has Ukrainian adherents in Ukraine, not all of whom agree wholeheartedly with the expansion of Russia's borders at the expense of Ukraine, I think this is as much as he could do. He's a religious leader, not a politician or whatnot.

    Well, Filaret doesn’t have any such complexes.

    Good for the Ukraine, their national Orthodox church has a nationalist in charge.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    What did Filaret do? As I linked in the other comment, Kirill already supports the annexation of Crimea, as well as the formation of the separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine. What else should he do?
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  83. @neutral
    You don't think there is a slight difference between being ruled by either Stalin or Trotsky, or Catherine the Great?

    It also does not matter where in the world you are, jews are always jews first and never American/German/Ethiopian/Russia/Ukrainian/etc first.

    You are right, unfortunately, as to many Jews, by their own account,

    A Jewish friend of mine started dating someone a few years ago. Explaining her background, he said, “She’s a Russian Jew.” I remarked even to him, not a ‘Jewish Russian’, eh?” We are close enough that he did not take offense, and he knew what I meant right away. He said, “she hates Russians.” This from a woman who grew up in Russia – because Russia allowed her family into their lands back when – and whose native language is Russian. I’ve hung out with them many times, and she’s actually quite engaging and friendly to me, and never has she reported being mistreated by Russians because she is a Jew.

    Admittedly, I’m not sure whether to criticize her for her lack of loyalty to Russia and its people, or propose that white European-descended people adopt a similar approach, intense group solidarity and identity no matter where we live.

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  84. @AP

    Apart from the Russian monkey trial that we have discussed here before, are there other examples of religious fanatics meddling in schools?

     

    For example, in schools they are replacing religious studies or philosophy classes taught be highly educated people, with Orthodox classes taught by much-less educated priests.

    Data show that religion is very healthy for society in various ways, so as national policy this may not be a bad thing, but I can see how traditionally secular people might object to that. I've certainly heard Russians, not even liberal ones, grumbling about these ultra-religious Orthodoxes.

    As I said, I’m ignorant, but I find it hard to believe that religious classes could be mostly taught by priests, given how few priests there are. Where I live, I would estimate the density of priests at 1 per 50 km^2.

    Anyhow, I fear this will backfire in a big way, and even if it doesn’t, it is very unlikely to increase long-term religious literacy any more than six years of science in Russian schools has a long-term effect on scientific literacy.

    About gross misbehaviour of the hierarchy of the ROC, I wouldn’t be surprised. Personally, I have only second-hand information about luxurious lifestyles. However, my personal observations about parish priests are fairly positive. Although I have a number of devout friends, I have yet to meet the kind of religious fanatics about which people are so concerned, although a small number of them can cause an enormous amount of trouble, no doubt.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Interesting, and an area I’d like to learn more about. Is there a shortage of clergy in eastern Orthodox churches in Russia / Belarus / Ukraine? (I know, I’m lumping the Moscow and Kiev and other smaller patriarchates together.)

    When I hear about and observe the chronic shortage of Americans who are willing to enter the RC priesthood, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is “let them have a full manly life as God intended, with the love of a wife and children. It would remove a deterrent to normal men becoming priests, and it might avoid attracting in some cases the wrong kind of men.”

    But Eastern Orthodox priests ARE allowed to marry and have a family, right? If so, that deterrent is absent.

    Secondly, clergy ostensibly shouldn’t pick their profession to become wealthy, but as a noble calling. But would a more generous salary (still not an upper income) and/or retirement provision help recruitment?
    , @Talha
    Hey TBRS,

    religious classes could be mostly taught by priests
     
    I can't possibly imagine the benefit of religious classes taught by secular-minded academics - that literally spells death of a religion.

    Philosophy? Sure, but religion is an altogether different matter.

    Maybe you don't want priests teaching about quantum mechanics (unless qualified), but how does one convey religion in a way that is only book-learning and not felt through the heart by those who have actually imbibed its spiritual benefits?

    Personally, I have only second-hand information about luxurious lifestyles.
     
    This is the second death of religion - when its priests or teachers use it as a means of worldly benefit. This will kill religion in the minds and hearts of the common man.

    However, my personal observations about parish priests are fairly positive.
     
    This is a good sign - the ones that face the people and interact with them should be humble and lead by example.

    Peace.
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  85. @Anatoly Karlin
    Well, Filaret doesn't have any such complexes.

    Good for the Ukraine, their national Orthodox church has a nationalist in charge.

    What did Filaret do? As I linked in the other comment, Kirill already supports the annexation of Crimea, as well as the formation of the separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine. What else should he do?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    He is stridently, volubly anti-Russian (well beyond the call of duty for someone in his position) and there's been many news reports of UOC-KP seizing ROC property in the Ukraine.
    , @melanf

    Kirill already supports the annexation of Crimea, as well as the formation of the separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine.
     
    When Cyril supported this?
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  86. Realistically speaking, any Russian move towards greater protectionism will follow the Latin American, not the East Asian (or before that, German/American), variant.

    Why is that? Hasn’t the state pushed back the power and influence of oligarchs and unions?

    Especially if under the direction of some Maduro-like figure such as Grudinin.

    He is not a Maduro-like figure, though.
    What someone like him could do is push back the “system liberals” who have dominated their sector for a long time.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Why is that?
     
    Due to either HBD or 70 years of communism (or both), Russia has way lower social capital/trust than the successful countries. So policies need to be foolproof. Small government might work better in such an environment, because although small government often delivers inferior results, small government might deliver more consistently: even if you screw up a small government, it's small, so the screwup will also be small. Whereas the bigger the government, the bigger the screwup (if it's screwed up).
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  87. @Mitleser

    Realistically speaking, any Russian move towards greater protectionism will follow the Latin American, not the East Asian (or before that, German/American), variant.
     
    Why is that? Hasn't the state pushed back the power and influence of oligarchs and unions?

    Especially if under the direction of some Maduro-like figure such as Grudinin.
     
    He is not a Maduro-like figure, though.
    What someone like him could do is push back the "system liberals" who have dominated their sector for a long time.

    Why is that?

    Due to either HBD or 70 years of communism (or both), Russia has way lower social capital/trust than the successful countries. So policies need to be foolproof. Small government might work better in such an environment, because although small government often delivers inferior results, small government might deliver more consistently: even if you screw up a small government, it’s small, so the screwup will also be small. Whereas the bigger the government, the bigger the screwup (if it’s screwed up).

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  88. @The Big Red Scary
    As I said, I’m ignorant, but I find it hard to believe that religious classes could be mostly taught by priests, given how few priests there are. Where I live, I would estimate the density of priests at 1 per 50 km^2.

    Anyhow, I fear this will backfire in a big way, and even if it doesn’t, it is very unlikely to increase long-term religious literacy any more than six years of science in Russian schools has a long-term effect on scientific literacy.

    About gross misbehaviour of the hierarchy of the ROC, I wouldn’t be surprised. Personally, I have only second-hand information about luxurious lifestyles. However, my personal observations about parish priests are fairly positive. Although I have a number of devout friends, I have yet to meet the kind of religious fanatics about which people are so concerned, although a small number of them can cause an enormous amount of trouble, no doubt.

    Interesting, and an area I’d like to learn more about. Is there a shortage of clergy in eastern Orthodox churches in Russia / Belarus / Ukraine? (I know, I’m lumping the Moscow and Kiev and other smaller patriarchates together.)

    When I hear about and observe the chronic shortage of Americans who are willing to enter the RC priesthood, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is “let them have a full manly life as God intended, with the love of a wife and children. It would remove a deterrent to normal men becoming priests, and it might avoid attracting in some cases the wrong kind of men.”

    But Eastern Orthodox priests ARE allowed to marry and have a family, right? If so, that deterrent is absent.

    Secondly, clergy ostensibly shouldn’t pick their profession to become wealthy, but as a noble calling. But would a more generous salary (still not an upper income) and/or retirement provision help recruitment?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    But would a more generous salary (still not an upper income) and/or retirement provision help recruitment?
     
    More prestige would help recruitment. I know that in Hungary Protestants have almost as much problem finding pastors as Roman Catholics finding priests.
    , @The Big Red Scary
    I don’t know how priests are payed in Russia. Probably it varies from parish to parish, but the mean salary is, I would guess, quite modest. I would also guess that there is no “retirement” plan, but I would be glad to be told otherwise. Really, it would be an old-age insurance plan, since priests rarely really retire.

    However, I would guess that even if there were a comfortable mean salary and generous old-age insurance, it would still be hard to find enough priests, simply because it is such a demanding job, for both batushka (the priest) and matushka (his wife). Priests that I have known are busy from early to late, seven days a week, without a break, for years on end. A large part of the job is visiting needy people and discussing with them their personal problems (something that I would find absolutely exhausting). In the west, an Orthodox priest in a well-to-do parish might get a week or two of vacation once a year. In Russia, I don’t know. Anyhow, I have a great deal of respect for the dedication of even mediocre parish priests. And the best ones have always seemed to me superhuman.

    From what I’ve read, there are more and more churches and more and more priests in Russia, but it will be a long time before supply meets even the modest demand.
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  89. @RadicalCenter
    Interesting, and an area I’d like to learn more about. Is there a shortage of clergy in eastern Orthodox churches in Russia / Belarus / Ukraine? (I know, I’m lumping the Moscow and Kiev and other smaller patriarchates together.)

    When I hear about and observe the chronic shortage of Americans who are willing to enter the RC priesthood, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is “let them have a full manly life as God intended, with the love of a wife and children. It would remove a deterrent to normal men becoming priests, and it might avoid attracting in some cases the wrong kind of men.”

    But Eastern Orthodox priests ARE allowed to marry and have a family, right? If so, that deterrent is absent.

    Secondly, clergy ostensibly shouldn’t pick their profession to become wealthy, but as a noble calling. But would a more generous salary (still not an upper income) and/or retirement provision help recruitment?

    But would a more generous salary (still not an upper income) and/or retirement provision help recruitment?

    More prestige would help recruitment. I know that in Hungary Protestants have almost as much problem finding pastors as Roman Catholics finding priests.

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  90. @reiner Tor
    What did Filaret do? As I linked in the other comment, Kirill already supports the annexation of Crimea, as well as the formation of the separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine. What else should he do?

    He is stridently, volubly anti-Russian (well beyond the call of duty for someone in his position) and there’s been many news reports of UOC-KP seizing ROC property in the Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Again, Patriarch Kirill agrees with you regarding the triune nation, and he still has many adherents in Ukraine. He excommunicated Filaret when the latter broke his church away from Moscow (interestingly other orthodox communities around the world don't recognize this new patriarchate). But since Filaret's is a breakaway church, disputes over property are inevitable. I mean, theoretically the whole of UOC-KP's property should belong to the Moscow Patriarchate, but that's not very realistic when the majority of the flock within Ukraine followed Filaret. Within Ukraine you have a schism within a church during the fall of communism (i.e. in legally fluid time, when the legality of the whole previous arrangement can be challenged due to the previous regime's oppression and whatnot), which state authorities will obviously usually resolve in favor of the church followed by the majority of adherents, especially if the one with a minority following is under the control of another country, especially if that other state is having territorial disputes with your own. (That dispute could potentially include the whole of your country...)

    The situation is asymmetrical, so their behavior will also be asymmetrical. Kirill wants to get back authority over the Ukrainian church, for which he needs the approval of the Ukrainian church and its adherents, and so cannot alienate the Ukrainians too much, whereas Filaret has no concern about what Russian bishops or the faithful think of him. Probably Kirill should let Ukraine go, but he's probably thinking that he shouldn't give up so fast, after barely a generation. The Russian Church will wait another couple generations before completely giving up on Ukraine. I think the Ukrainian branch of the Moscow Patriarchate could but lose more followers until eventually becoming a church of an ethnically Russian minority. (If it is not already.) After having googled the topic for almost five minutes, I also see exactly zero chance of the Ukrainians going back. But I understand why Kirill is unwilling to accept it. It's a good conservative rule of thumb for churches, they don't accept such changes quickly. (The Pope is still hoping for the Eastern Orthodox to accept his authority eventually...)

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  91. @Felix Keverich

    About 4/5 ths of American Jews cast ballots for Rashid Khalidi’s buddy, Barack Obama, who the most antagonistic to Israel of any American president in the last 70 years.
     
    That's because US Jews hate America so much and want to hurt it, it's even more important to them than protecting Israel. Diapora Jews in general hate the countries that are hosting them, hate the goyim.

    That’s because US Jews hate America so much and want to hurt it, it’s even more important to them than protecting Israel. Diapora Jews in general hate the countries that are hosting them, hate the goyim.

    That’s utter rubbish.

    There are a great many subcultural aversions in this country. Jews tend to despise evangelicals and to be drawn to word-merchant occupations. An earlier generation of Jews tended to be repelled by bluebloods. These sorts of aversions and affinities have drawn them to the Democratic Party.

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    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Jews tend to despise evangelicals and to be drawn to word-merchant occupations. An earlier generation of Jews tended to be repelled by bluebloods.
     
    Always finding something hateful about those damn white gentiles...
    , @Felix Keverich
    The reason they are drawn to Democrat party is because want you, you personally, to suffer. They know Obama has been very bad for you, that's why they voted for him, and donated to him hundreds of millions.

    These are the kind of people, who get triggered, when you say 'Merry Christmas'. They detest Americans as a people.
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  92. @Anatoly Karlin
    He is stridently, volubly anti-Russian (well beyond the call of duty for someone in his position) and there's been many news reports of UOC-KP seizing ROC property in the Ukraine.

    Again, Patriarch Kirill agrees with you regarding the triune nation, and he still has many adherents in Ukraine. He excommunicated Filaret when the latter broke his church away from Moscow (interestingly other orthodox communities around the world don’t recognize this new patriarchate). But since Filaret’s is a breakaway church, disputes over property are inevitable. I mean, theoretically the whole of UOC-KP’s property should belong to the Moscow Patriarchate, but that’s not very realistic when the majority of the flock within Ukraine followed Filaret. Within Ukraine you have a schism within a church during the fall of communism (i.e. in legally fluid time, when the legality of the whole previous arrangement can be challenged due to the previous regime’s oppression and whatnot), which state authorities will obviously usually resolve in favor of the church followed by the majority of adherents, especially if the one with a minority following is under the control of another country, especially if that other state is having territorial disputes with your own. (That dispute could potentially include the whole of your country…)

    The situation is asymmetrical, so their behavior will also be asymmetrical. Kirill wants to get back authority over the Ukrainian church, for which he needs the approval of the Ukrainian church and its adherents, and so cannot alienate the Ukrainians too much, whereas Filaret has no concern about what Russian bishops or the faithful think of him. Probably Kirill should let Ukraine go, but he’s probably thinking that he shouldn’t give up so fast, after barely a generation. The Russian Church will wait another couple generations before completely giving up on Ukraine. I think the Ukrainian branch of the Moscow Patriarchate could but lose more followers until eventually becoming a church of an ethnically Russian minority. (If it is not already.) After having googled the topic for almost five minutes, I also see exactly zero chance of the Ukrainians going back. But I understand why Kirill is unwilling to accept it. It’s a good conservative rule of thumb for churches, they don’t accept such changes quickly. (The Pope is still hoping for the Eastern Orthodox to accept his authority eventually…)

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  93. @Art Deco
    That’s because US Jews hate America so much and want to hurt it, it’s even more important to them than protecting Israel. Diapora Jews in general hate the countries that are hosting them, hate the goyim.

    That's utter rubbish.

    There are a great many subcultural aversions in this country. Jews tend to despise evangelicals and to be drawn to word-merchant occupations. An earlier generation of Jews tended to be repelled by bluebloods. These sorts of aversions and affinities have drawn them to the Democratic Party.

    Jews tend to despise evangelicals and to be drawn to word-merchant occupations. An earlier generation of Jews tended to be repelled by bluebloods.

    Always finding something hateful about those damn white gentiles…

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  94. @Art Deco
    That’s because US Jews hate America so much and want to hurt it, it’s even more important to them than protecting Israel. Diapora Jews in general hate the countries that are hosting them, hate the goyim.

    That's utter rubbish.

    There are a great many subcultural aversions in this country. Jews tend to despise evangelicals and to be drawn to word-merchant occupations. An earlier generation of Jews tended to be repelled by bluebloods. These sorts of aversions and affinities have drawn them to the Democratic Party.

    The reason they are drawn to Democrat party is because want you, you personally, to suffer. They know Obama has been very bad for you, that’s why they voted for him, and donated to him hundreds of millions.

    These are the kind of people, who get triggered, when you say ‘Merry Christmas’. They detest Americans as a people.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The reason they are drawn to Democrat party is because want you, you personally, to suffer. They know Obama has been very bad for you, that’s why they voted for him, and donated to him hundreds of millions.

    Felix, you're talking out of your ass.
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  95. @reiner Tor

    ROC’s lack of support for the Donbass
     
    I don't know what it should do to "support" it. According to his Wikipedia page:

    Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.[2][3]

    In light of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church has Ukrainian adherents in Ukraine, not all of whom agree wholeheartedly with the expansion of Russia's borders at the expense of Ukraine, I think this is as much as he could do. He's a religious leader, not a politician or whatnot.

    According to his Wikipedia page:
    Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine

    It’s just a lie

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  96. @reiner Tor
    What did Filaret do? As I linked in the other comment, Kirill already supports the annexation of Crimea, as well as the formation of the separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine. What else should he do?

    Kirill already supports the annexation of Crimea, as well as the formation of the separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine.

    When Cyril supported this?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I trusted Wikipedia on the subject. Apparently it's untrue.
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  97. @Felix Keverich
    The reason they are drawn to Democrat party is because want you, you personally, to suffer. They know Obama has been very bad for you, that's why they voted for him, and donated to him hundreds of millions.

    These are the kind of people, who get triggered, when you say 'Merry Christmas'. They detest Americans as a people.

    The reason they are drawn to Democrat party is because want you, you personally, to suffer. They know Obama has been very bad for you, that’s why they voted for him, and donated to him hundreds of millions.

    Felix, you’re talking out of your ass.

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  98. @Anatoly Karlin
    Also the cigarette smuggler turned Patriarch Kirill has taken a highly hostile approach to transhumanism, more so than any other major world religion, including even the Islamic world at large.

    This is largely irrelevant now, but could have debilitating effects on Russia down the line if they become more influential in society.

    They were just fine with the lunatic Vsevolod Chaplin when he was defending female genital mutilation (!) as a Muslim tradition (which it isn't) in response to reports of the practice spreading to the North Caucasus, but dismissed him as soon as he started murmuring about Kirill's corruption and and the ROC's lack of support for the Donbass. Object lesson in what you can and what you cannot talk about as part of the ROC.

    The whole upper echelons of the ROC just strike as a very corrupt, very anti-Russian band of obscurantists who need to be completely replaced.

    Also the cigarette smuggler turned Patriarch Kirill has taken a highly hostile approach to transhumanism, more so than any other major world religion, including even the Islamic world at large.

    I don’t know why you’d expect a bishop to take some other position.

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  99. @The Big Red Scary
    As I said, I’m ignorant, but I find it hard to believe that religious classes could be mostly taught by priests, given how few priests there are. Where I live, I would estimate the density of priests at 1 per 50 km^2.

    Anyhow, I fear this will backfire in a big way, and even if it doesn’t, it is very unlikely to increase long-term religious literacy any more than six years of science in Russian schools has a long-term effect on scientific literacy.

    About gross misbehaviour of the hierarchy of the ROC, I wouldn’t be surprised. Personally, I have only second-hand information about luxurious lifestyles. However, my personal observations about parish priests are fairly positive. Although I have a number of devout friends, I have yet to meet the kind of religious fanatics about which people are so concerned, although a small number of them can cause an enormous amount of trouble, no doubt.

    Hey TBRS,

    religious classes could be mostly taught by priests

    I can’t possibly imagine the benefit of religious classes taught by secular-minded academics – that literally spells death of a religion.

    Philosophy? Sure, but religion is an altogether different matter.

    Maybe you don’t want priests teaching about quantum mechanics (unless qualified), but how does one convey religion in a way that is only book-learning and not felt through the heart by those who have actually imbibed its spiritual benefits?

    Personally, I have only second-hand information about luxurious lifestyles.

    This is the second death of religion – when its priests or teachers use it as a means of worldly benefit. This will kill religion in the minds and hearts of the common man.

    However, my personal observations about parish priests are fairly positive.

    This is a good sign – the ones that face the people and interact with them should be humble and lead by example.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Hi Talha.

    I can’t possibly imagine the benefit of religious classes taught by secular-minded academics – that literally spells death of a religion.
     
    I”m not suggesting that religious classes be taught by secular-minded academics. But quite simply, I doubt there are enough priests to teach every religion class. Also, I am skeptical that having religion class in school will do any good. In general, I am skeptical of the value of compulsory schooling, but I am especially skeptical of compulsory religious education, which seems to me a very efficient way to give people a distaste for religion. Think for example of the stories older American people tell of their childhood in Catholic schools run by nuns. Maybe, just maybe, if you beat people over the head long enough, they’ll learn how to add fractions. But no amount of beating them over the head is going to make them pious.

    Far better, I think, is that every parish organise free classes aimed at different age groups. Most parishes have something, but there needs to be a lot more of it.
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  100. @melanf

    Kirill already supports the annexation of Crimea, as well as the formation of the separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine.
     
    When Cyril supported this?

    I trusted Wikipedia on the subject. Apparently it’s untrue.

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  101. @AP
    Because Ukrainians are more religious than Russians, there are a disproportionately high number of parishes and believers that are under the Moscow Patriarch in Ukraine. Moscow has been losing a lot of them since 2013 but doesn't want a total loss, thus it is being cautious about supporting a movement that results in dead pro-Kiev believers.

    [MORE]

    Because Ukrainians are more religious than Russians

    ..again…a braindead lie by some moron tramp with severe mental problems , desperate to be an attention-whore.

    disproportionately high number of parishes and believers that are under the Moscow Patriarch in Ukraine

    errrr, that’s because it’s a more rural population, less intensely populated cities than Russia you dumb POS….that’s why it has more parishes…but not more believers.

    Orthodox related charity-activity is far larger in Russia, proportionately, than in Ukraine you cretin

    Moscow has been losing a lot of them since 2013 but doesn’t want a total loss</blockquote

    …you mean fascist scumbag thugs, with state backing, have been seizing churches and assaulting Orthodox priests, Nazi-style. "Losing" is not the right term, but "stealing" certainly is

    thus it is being cautious about supporting a movement that results in dead pro-Kiev believers

    More cretinous bollocks. They have been unequivocal in condemning the Ukrainian government, and any intervention by the ROC means even more trouble from the Ukrainian authorities for the Moscow Patriarchate over there, plus when a war is not being fought along religious lines……then they should not be steering much away from emphasizing the brotherly peoples message. In Syria, they have been emphasising the righteousness of the military intervention over there, against ISIS, and terrorist groups that have been killing Christians

    Now compare this to what the Pope has done in direct support of the fucktards from Western Ukrainian who are Catholic……nothing, you idiot. That might be because the Pope has a conscience to not support these idiots, and isn’t stupid

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  102. @RadicalCenter
    Interesting, and an area I’d like to learn more about. Is there a shortage of clergy in eastern Orthodox churches in Russia / Belarus / Ukraine? (I know, I’m lumping the Moscow and Kiev and other smaller patriarchates together.)

    When I hear about and observe the chronic shortage of Americans who are willing to enter the RC priesthood, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is “let them have a full manly life as God intended, with the love of a wife and children. It would remove a deterrent to normal men becoming priests, and it might avoid attracting in some cases the wrong kind of men.”

    But Eastern Orthodox priests ARE allowed to marry and have a family, right? If so, that deterrent is absent.

    Secondly, clergy ostensibly shouldn’t pick their profession to become wealthy, but as a noble calling. But would a more generous salary (still not an upper income) and/or retirement provision help recruitment?

    I don’t know how priests are payed in Russia. Probably it varies from parish to parish, but the mean salary is, I would guess, quite modest. I would also guess that there is no “retirement” plan, but I would be glad to be told otherwise. Really, it would be an old-age insurance plan, since priests rarely really retire.

    However, I would guess that even if there were a comfortable mean salary and generous old-age insurance, it would still be hard to find enough priests, simply because it is such a demanding job, for both batushka (the priest) and matushka (his wife). Priests that I have known are busy from early to late, seven days a week, without a break, for years on end. A large part of the job is visiting needy people and discussing with them their personal problems (something that I would find absolutely exhausting). In the west, an Orthodox priest in a well-to-do parish might get a week or two of vacation once a year. In Russia, I don’t know. Anyhow, I have a great deal of respect for the dedication of even mediocre parish priests. And the best ones have always seemed to me superhuman.

    From what I’ve read, there are more and more churches and more and more priests in Russia, but it will be a long time before supply meets even the modest demand.

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  103. @Talha
    Hey TBRS,

    religious classes could be mostly taught by priests
     
    I can't possibly imagine the benefit of religious classes taught by secular-minded academics - that literally spells death of a religion.

    Philosophy? Sure, but religion is an altogether different matter.

    Maybe you don't want priests teaching about quantum mechanics (unless qualified), but how does one convey religion in a way that is only book-learning and not felt through the heart by those who have actually imbibed its spiritual benefits?

    Personally, I have only second-hand information about luxurious lifestyles.
     
    This is the second death of religion - when its priests or teachers use it as a means of worldly benefit. This will kill religion in the minds and hearts of the common man.

    However, my personal observations about parish priests are fairly positive.
     
    This is a good sign - the ones that face the people and interact with them should be humble and lead by example.

    Peace.

    Hi Talha.

    I can’t possibly imagine the benefit of religious classes taught by secular-minded academics – that literally spells death of a religion.

    I”m not suggesting that religious classes be taught by secular-minded academics. But quite simply, I doubt there are enough priests to teach every religion class. Also, I am skeptical that having religion class in school will do any good. In general, I am skeptical of the value of compulsory schooling, but I am especially skeptical of compulsory religious education, which seems to me a very efficient way to give people a distaste for religion. Think for example of the stories older American people tell of their childhood in Catholic schools run by nuns. Maybe, just maybe, if you beat people over the head long enough, they’ll learn how to add fractions. But no amount of beating them over the head is going to make them pious.

    Far better, I think, is that every parish organise free classes aimed at different age groups. Most parishes have something, but there needs to be a lot more of it.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey TBRS,

    Also, I am skeptical that having religion class in school will do any good.
     
    I'm on board here - I'm also cautious about official government-mandated religious schooling. I guess I was confused about the premise, I must have missed something in the exchange mentioning this was regarding official state curriculum.

    But no amount of beating them over the head is going to make them pious.
     
    One of my teachers told us; you can beat the Qur'an into a child, but you'll beat the Islam right out of him. Piety is something that comes from the heart - it is sincerity in worship, a person must want that from the deepest root of their soul.

    Far better, I think, is that every parish organise free classes aimed at different age groups. Most parishes have something, but there needs to be a lot more of it.
     
    100% agree - yes, this should be done on a private basis and be open to as many people as possible. Usually this can be done by raising money via donations (if the local populace is on board), or through contributions of wealthy patrons, etc.

    Peace.
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  104. @melanf

    Do you, as a matter of principle, object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests
     
    I object to any cohesive minority pushing its own interests, if these interests are grossly contrary to the interests of the majority.

    you think that among the goals of the Russian Church some are particularly antisocial? Exactly which goals are antisocial?
     
    For example, the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the school to the Church . And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century

    http://ros-vos.net/img/izo/vv-niva.jpg

    …if these interests are grossly contrary to the interests of the majority.

    Really?

    …the banning of GMOs, or persistent desire to subordinate the school to the Church . And globally, the Church wants to be a state authority as it was in the 17th century

    The majority wants all of this, and quickly. If Putin’s ratings fall, it’s because he’s not doing this stuff quickly enough.

    Or do you presume you can tell the majority what it must believe “for its own good”? In that case, please do sod off.

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  105. @Felix Keverich
    Russian government sometimes fails to strictly adhere to orthodox economic policy. This is not an argument against the orthodox economic policy. Orthodox economic policy is what makes Russian economy less of a basket case. Trying unorthodox solutions is an easy way to fuck things up. Putin seems to grasp that. Grudinin does not. This is what makes Putin a superior leader.

    But Russia is more Catholic than the Pope, being the only major economy to have real positive interest rates for the past several years at the expense of growth and investment. Do you consider the US and Euro area to be orthodox, with their ZIRP and perpetual quantitative easing? How can that be called anything other than subsidized interest rates? And I noticed that you ignored the rather glaring examples of China and India, who also eschew many of the facets of orthodox economic policy. It’s reasonable to argue that all these experiments will end badly, but, for the time being, their results are certainly better than those of ultra-orthodox Russia.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Do you consider the US and Euro area to be orthodox, with their ZIRP and perpetual quantitative easing?

    We haven't had 'perpetual quantitative easing'. There were three discrete episodes of it, the last being five years ago. The effective Fed Funds rate is low but positive at 1.15% as we speak.
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  106. @JL
    But Russia is more Catholic than the Pope, being the only major economy to have real positive interest rates for the past several years at the expense of growth and investment. Do you consider the US and Euro area to be orthodox, with their ZIRP and perpetual quantitative easing? How can that be called anything other than subsidized interest rates? And I noticed that you ignored the rather glaring examples of China and India, who also eschew many of the facets of orthodox economic policy. It's reasonable to argue that all these experiments will end badly, but, for the time being, their results are certainly better than those of ultra-orthodox Russia.

    Do you consider the US and Euro area to be orthodox, with their ZIRP and perpetual quantitative easing?

    We haven’t had ‘perpetual quantitative easing’. There were three discrete episodes of it, the last being five years ago. The effective Fed Funds rate is low but positive at 1.15% as we speak.

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    • Replies: @JL
    I thought the hyperbole in that comment was obvious, but I guess not. In any event, looking at the size of the Fed's balance sheet, the word "discrete" doesn't exactly pop into my head. When they start to reduce it, in earnest, then we can talk about the end of QE. And just to clarify, in case you missed it the first time, I am not being critical of the Fed's policies. So far, they've worked surprisingly well, at least until the next crisis.
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  107. @Art Deco
    Do you consider the US and Euro area to be orthodox, with their ZIRP and perpetual quantitative easing?

    We haven't had 'perpetual quantitative easing'. There were three discrete episodes of it, the last being five years ago. The effective Fed Funds rate is low but positive at 1.15% as we speak.

    I thought the hyperbole in that comment was obvious, but I guess not. In any event, looking at the size of the Fed’s balance sheet, the word “discrete” doesn’t exactly pop into my head. When they start to reduce it, in earnest, then we can talk about the end of QE. And just to clarify, in case you missed it the first time, I am not being critical of the Fed’s policies. So far, they’ve worked surprisingly well, at least until the next crisis.

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  108. @The Big Red Scary
    Hi Talha.

    I can’t possibly imagine the benefit of religious classes taught by secular-minded academics – that literally spells death of a religion.
     
    I”m not suggesting that religious classes be taught by secular-minded academics. But quite simply, I doubt there are enough priests to teach every religion class. Also, I am skeptical that having religion class in school will do any good. In general, I am skeptical of the value of compulsory schooling, but I am especially skeptical of compulsory religious education, which seems to me a very efficient way to give people a distaste for religion. Think for example of the stories older American people tell of their childhood in Catholic schools run by nuns. Maybe, just maybe, if you beat people over the head long enough, they’ll learn how to add fractions. But no amount of beating them over the head is going to make them pious.

    Far better, I think, is that every parish organise free classes aimed at different age groups. Most parishes have something, but there needs to be a lot more of it.

    Hey TBRS,

    Also, I am skeptical that having religion class in school will do any good.

    I’m on board here – I’m also cautious about official government-mandated religious schooling. I guess I was confused about the premise, I must have missed something in the exchange mentioning this was regarding official state curriculum.

    But no amount of beating them over the head is going to make them pious.

    One of my teachers told us; you can beat the Qur’an into a child, but you’ll beat the Islam right out of him. Piety is something that comes from the heart – it is sincerity in worship, a person must want that from the deepest root of their soul.

    Far better, I think, is that every parish organise free classes aimed at different age groups. Most parishes have something, but there needs to be a lot more of it.

    100% agree – yes, this should be done on a private basis and be open to as many people as possible. Usually this can be done by raising money via donations (if the local populace is on board), or through contributions of wealthy patrons, etc.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I’m on board here – I’m also cautious about official government-mandated religious schooling. I guess I was confused about the premise, I must have missed something in the exchange mentioning this was regarding official state curriculum.

    Schooling is a fee-for-service activity which appears spontaneously on the open market. What's the utility of having it delivered via public agency?
    , @kn83
    If you and other Muslims truly believe this then why do your ilk kill and threaten apostates?

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/apostasy.aspx
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  109. Leave them alone. Don’t give them money or matches. And don’t encourage them to gamble or drink. Uzbeks are the weak link in the great chain of socialism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hCCCRAcTAA&list=RD8hCCCRAcTAA#t=25

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  110. @Talha
    Hey TBRS,

    Also, I am skeptical that having religion class in school will do any good.
     
    I'm on board here - I'm also cautious about official government-mandated religious schooling. I guess I was confused about the premise, I must have missed something in the exchange mentioning this was regarding official state curriculum.

    But no amount of beating them over the head is going to make them pious.
     
    One of my teachers told us; you can beat the Qur'an into a child, but you'll beat the Islam right out of him. Piety is something that comes from the heart - it is sincerity in worship, a person must want that from the deepest root of their soul.

    Far better, I think, is that every parish organise free classes aimed at different age groups. Most parishes have something, but there needs to be a lot more of it.
     
    100% agree - yes, this should be done on a private basis and be open to as many people as possible. Usually this can be done by raising money via donations (if the local populace is on board), or through contributions of wealthy patrons, etc.

    Peace.

    I’m on board here – I’m also cautious about official government-mandated religious schooling. I guess I was confused about the premise, I must have missed something in the exchange mentioning this was regarding official state curriculum.

    Schooling is a fee-for-service activity which appears spontaneously on the open market. What’s the utility of having it delivered via public agency?

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    • Replies: @Talha
    I'm on board with privatized schooling as well.

    Peace.
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  111. @Art Deco
    I’m on board here – I’m also cautious about official government-mandated religious schooling. I guess I was confused about the premise, I must have missed something in the exchange mentioning this was regarding official state curriculum.

    Schooling is a fee-for-service activity which appears spontaneously on the open market. What's the utility of having it delivered via public agency?

    I’m on board with privatized schooling as well.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @kn83
    eliminate
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  112. @Talha
    I'm on board with privatized schooling as well.

    Peace.

    eliminate

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  113. @Talha
    Hey TBRS,

    Also, I am skeptical that having religion class in school will do any good.
     
    I'm on board here - I'm also cautious about official government-mandated religious schooling. I guess I was confused about the premise, I must have missed something in the exchange mentioning this was regarding official state curriculum.

    But no amount of beating them over the head is going to make them pious.
     
    One of my teachers told us; you can beat the Qur'an into a child, but you'll beat the Islam right out of him. Piety is something that comes from the heart - it is sincerity in worship, a person must want that from the deepest root of their soul.

    Far better, I think, is that every parish organise free classes aimed at different age groups. Most parishes have something, but there needs to be a lot more of it.
     
    100% agree - yes, this should be done on a private basis and be open to as many people as possible. Usually this can be done by raising money via donations (if the local populace is on board), or through contributions of wealthy patrons, etc.

    Peace.

    If you and other Muslims truly believe this then why do your ilk kill and threaten apostates?

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/apostasy.aspx

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey kn83,

    A Muslim society/polity organizes itself in a way that belief is encouraged and disbelief discouraged and that individuals find it easier to worship and obey their Creator (which is the whole purpose of existence in the Islamic understanding) rather than the opposite. The various penalties for apostasy; death or imprisonment or annulment of marriage or loss of inheritance, etc. are all part of discouraging disbelief.

    Given this, why would we actively try to create environments that unnecessarily encourage our own children toward apostasy?

    I don't understand the logical premise behind your question.
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  114. @kn83
    If you and other Muslims truly believe this then why do your ilk kill and threaten apostates?

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/apostasy.aspx

    Hey kn83,

    A Muslim society/polity organizes itself in a way that belief is encouraged and disbelief discouraged and that individuals find it easier to worship and obey their Creator (which is the whole purpose of existence in the Islamic understanding) rather than the opposite. The various penalties for apostasy; death or imprisonment or annulment of marriage or loss of inheritance, etc. are all part of discouraging disbelief.

    Given this, why would we actively try to create environments that unnecessarily encourage our own children toward apostasy?

    I don’t understand the logical premise behind your question.

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  115. re: the Uzbek quote: Grudinin already proved he was misquoted in court. The actual audio recording clearly shows he was relating something that was said to him by a real estate developer, not his own views, and the “Why don’t you like Uzbeks?” question was never posed. Clearly that “interview” was just a ruse to get him off the ballot after he fell out with United Russia in 2011 – when has a Kremlin-friendly politician ever been barred from running over a nationalist remark?

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  116. Comparing Pavel Grudinin to Maduro or Chavez is just silly anti-commie boilerplate. I expect it of Mr. Karlin since he’s pretty broadly Right across the board, but it shouldn’t go unchallenged.

    1) Most communist countries, particularly in Europe and northern Eurasia, didn’t become Boreal Venezuelas. Communism, post-1956, has a history of working reasonably decently in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations (unlike in Venezuela). Even if you consider it a failure in the long term, its failure mode was very different than Venezuela’s failure mode, and unlike Venezuela didn’t involve actual economic contraction (just failure to catch up to the west).

    2) It’s pretty doubtful, to me anyway, that the USSR and Warsaw Pact under late communism can be really termed ‘failure’, especially when you compare to their own disappointing histories post-1990 as well as to the era of deindustrialization and working class wage stagnation in the west. The GDR had slightly higher economic growth rates than west Germany during every decade between 1950 and 1989, and even the disappointing 0.6% median income growth in the Soviet Union just prior to Gorbachev, still looks not that terrible compared to the 0.55% median income growth in the US since 1975 (and even worse, most of those working class Americans are these days working in unfulfilling post-industrial service jobs).

    3) Grudinin, unlike Maduro or for that matter the early communists, has an actual track record of managing a cooperative farm and running it along communist-inspired lines. His background as a managing director should count for a lot here.

    4) Belarus seems like a more reasonable contempoerary comparison than Venezuela, and for the most part Belarus has done fine.

    Personally I’m excited about Grudinin taking over. No illusions that he’ll win (both because of Putin’s popularity, state control of the media, and the communists’ unfortunate basis among elderly people who remember and miss the USSR). But it’s important to keep a vocal and somewhat charismatic Communist voice in the public square, until such time as Putin is gone. He isn’t immortal, after all.

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  117. In general I think that as long as we can feed the population (and even export) without resorting to GMO, it’s better to do without. But maybe I’m wrong.

    Why?

    I’m a research biologist and work professionally with genetically modified lines, among other things. I can tell you the following:

    1) GM is a method, not a product. You can use genetic engineering to introduce a whole variety of traits that you might want (really into any number of organisms- corn, spruce trees, salmon, maybe even someday human). They aren’t limited to productivity enhancing traits either. A lot of gold standard research in physiology these days is done through introducing new genes or increasing/decreasing the expression of existing ones through genetic modification.

    2) I certainly understand the suspicion towards large, rich capitalist enterprises and I mostly share it. Monsanto isn’t synonymous with “GM” though, and Monsanto doesn’t even own the patent on first generation Roundup Ready crops anymore (it expired in, I believe, 2015). Anyway if you distrust Monsanto the solution to that is to make research into GM easier so more public enterprises, academic institutions, and smaller private businesses can create their own GM traits.

    3) A lot of the distrust of GM, particularly among religious people, seems to revolve around a preference for the old and traditional and a quasi-sacramental reverence for ‘the natural’. I don’t think all of this is either intellectually or morally supportable.

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    • Agree: melanf
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