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Putin’s Opposition to the Regime (2007)

February 25, 2007

By Matt Johnson

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given his endless stream of western critics some more ammunition over the last year. By now, the content of Putin’s reforms of the Russian political system are relatively well known. Primarily, they consist of appointing regional governors, with the consent of their legislatures. This replaces the direct election of governors. Furthermore, Russia has now adopted an Italian-style proportional representation system. Generally speaking, this sort of scheme encourages the development of numerous smaller parties as opposed to the single district, “winner take all” systems, as found in the U.S., which favor two party rule.

It is unfortunate that Putin used the horrific Beslan massacres to push his reforms though, but, regardless, they are justifiable. Terror was not paramount in Putin’s mind as these reforms were being formulated. As the Russian President’s allies have control of the Duma, given their landslide victory in last year’s legislative elections, his reforms met with opposition only from the western press and Russia’s moneyed class.

Beyond that question however, lies Putin’s main goal, which is the creation of a counter-alliance to the “new world order.” By this overused phrase it is meant the movement to break down the national and ethnic barriers around the globe by the promoters of global capitalism in order to create a single market and a single global currency and set of regulations, taxes and security arrangements. Putin’s role, presently, is to but the brakes on this process, not merely by building relations with India and China in order to counter the U.S. and NATO, but also in centralizing and strengthening the power of the state at home as a defensive measure.

The “new world order,” significantly, is a product of an enforced “consensus” of western elites. For global capitalism, profits and “efficiency” will be increased through a fully integrated and singular global market. On the other hand, their kept opposition, the “leftist activists” found protesting the G8 and other organizations, favor it due to their loathing of traditional ethnic and religious culture. Therefore, it is the single goal of the entire western political and economic system. Only a handful of nationalists (continually referred to as “ultra-nationalists” and “hardliners” by the western press) oppose this movement. (Cf. Benjamin Barber’s Jihad v. McWorld for a detailed study of this phenomenon.)

Russia stands in a unique space in world politics. Though all the ethnicities of the globe stand to lose from the continued enforcement of a new world order, only Russia stands as the agent to actually do something about it. Her sheer size, military technology, and, especially her natural resources provide Russia with a unique ability to challenge the domination of western finance capital and her drive to create a single global market enforced by American guns.

The counterpoise to the new world order-its polar opposite-is the existence of innumerable ethnic groups, independent and living under political arrangements that best suit their historical temperament. This means that each ethnic organization is in charge of their own economic development and the proper disposal of their native resources, as well as forming people’s militias for self defense, creating and controlling their own currencies and nourishing local media, entertainment and education.

However, in the process of reaching the goal of collective liberty and sovereignty, the action of the state and its security apparatus does have a significant role. In this case, the state and its organs of repression are a necessary evil reaching towards a set of goals beyond itself. Western imperialism and aggression have made it imperative that, in order to preserve sovereignty, the state apparatus needs to be strengthened. The significance of Putin’s presidency is that his power base derives from the security

services rather than the economic elite. Therefore, he can act independently of them. It is in this independence that he as incurred the wrath of the western press and their moneyed bosses.

This defines the current situation in Russia today. She is at the center of world politics because of her unique role and Putin’s place in it.

The movement to create a single global market is primarily an economic concern. But economics is not an autonomous discipline. In order to maximize global profits, politicized ethnicity as a political variable must be destroyed. This is another way of saying that political nationalism is the primary enemy of the new world order and that product of the elite imagination called the “international community.” Of course, this is not a matter of controversy. As globalism wishes a universal labor and commodity market, nationalist economics demand the protection of native industries, state supervision of investment and import substitution. The military government in Burma, for example, has made small-scale and local investment a priority over centralized and large-scale capital. This, coupled with import substitution, is a measure to prevent the dependent relationship most of the world has towards the industrialized and post-industrialized center. Again, it is the state’s role in providing this sort of protection that leads, for example, Burma’s military junta being routinely called “tyrannical.”

After the currency meltdown in East Asia in 1997, which was engineered by George Soros speculating in Thailand against their currency, the bhat, the United States, under the guise of the IMF, reorganized the crippled economies of South Korea and Japan. In both cases, the state was removed from its supervisory role in investment and protections for labor such as the famous lifetime employment guarantee of Japanese and Korean capitalism were quickly done away with. In both cases, Soros’ strategic speculation led to the colonization of most of East Asia by western, specifically American forces. Only communist China, who did not have a controvertible currency at the time, was unaffected. In other words, the Peking regime refused to permit central bankers control over their currency, and thus they weathered the storm and maintained a state centered growth rate that is still the envy of the world.

In all cases, the state is the main actor in the economy. With all its unwieldiness and expense, the state is the last line of defense against dependency and colonization. This author’s writings on ethnicity and the state continually de-emphasize the state’s role in the formation of political authority, but, unfortunately, the reality of economic dependency forces smaller economies who wish to maintain independence to take radical measures. Often, the use of the state machinery is the only weapon at hand. Unfortunately, the ideal of a global order of independent ethnic entities is forced to take a back seat while the flawed and ungainly state maintains a wall of defense against economic colonization and exploitation. The reality of dependence is that the already industrialized and capitalized economies see the undeveloped economies as alternate markets and sources of cheap labor and natural resources. Therefore, the value of these objects is continually being stripped from the dependent economy and is then used to further enrich the capitalists of the central economies. Therefore, a state exists where it is nearly impossible for the country in question to develop properly. This has been a recurring theme within the Latin American and African economic spaces. In east Asia, however, the state, usually under a military government (such as in Thailand, Taiwan or South Korea), or a strong leader (such as Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore or Matihir Mohammed in Malaysia) was able to protect local industries while creating an export centered economy guided by the state’s strategic interests. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Export-Import Bank years ago had long decided that this model of development was unacceptable, and based their disbursements of aid in proportion to the extent this sort of economics were abandoned. It remains the case, therefore, that the international institutions dealing with political economy are major agents of dependency and the continued rule of the global oligarchy based in the European and American center.

In Russia in the 1990s, a semi-coherent Boris Yeltsin permitted the privatization of the Soviet economy. This is another way of saying that the assets of the former Soviet Union were auctioned off at pennies on the dollar to well connected former party bosses and other functionaries. Ultimately, the beneficiaries were a set of oligarchs with strong ties to Israel and its secret police, the Mossad, as well as to the Soviet state apparat.

These were the sleaziest of the former Soviet underworld, Vladimir Gusinzky, Mikhail Friedman, Boris Berizovsky, and Yuri Shelfer, among many others. The only major oligarch without an Israeli tie was Vladimir Potanin. The media was completely in their hands, as Gusinsky’s Media MOST conglomerate was partially in the hands of the CIA-linked Washington Post. No one in America was complaining about “media bias” in a Russian election at that time. The Wall Street Journal, ever the defender of oligarchical rule, would normally refer to these man as “tycoons” or “entrepreneurs.” Conservative think tanks would treat these men as if they were “by the bootstraps” capitalists, and treat any attack on them as an “assault on the free market and democratic reform.” Harvard University also, as if its reputation was not rocked enough by endless cases of abuse and incompetence (cf. www.harvardwatch.org for more information), also sent in its band of economists to “advise” the system in its liquidation schemes. Thus, a set of linkages was created between the CIA, the Mossad, Harvard University, Conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, The Washington Post and the U.S. State Department in defending the system under Yeltsin that it helped create and defend.

In Ukraine, the structure was nearly identical as that in Russia. Again, under president Leonid Kravchuk, the oligarchical elites were former party hacks and functionaries who maintained Israeli citizenship after the communist era was at an end. Israeli businessman Vadym Rabinovych took over all media and ran it with a bias towards “integration” with western-led structures of power, and, as always, an anti-Russian platform. The labor of the Ukrainian workers over centuries was stripped and dismantled to line the pockets of Israeli crime bosses and former Soviet lackeys.

In Belarus, the situation was a bit different. Alexander Lukashenko, elected President in 1994 in the heat of the privatization piracy, refused to permit it to continue in Belarus. Lukashenko quickly put the situation into focus. The pseudo-intellectual dons of Harvard University and the IMF organized and created the structural rationalization for the privatization schemes. Aid money was disbursed in proportion to the progress of this liquidation. Therefore, acting in haste, Lukashenko removed the IMF from their position of power and halted privatization. Much of the economy remained in state hands (for lack of any other trustworthy investor), and internal investment is controlled by the state. In Russia, in the mid-90s, inflation stood at about 2000% and unemployment was nearing 30%. GDP growth stood at the shocking -20% or so. Much like China during the currency crisis, Belarus also weathered this storm and developed a high growth economy with minimal unemployment, crime, alcoholism and other indicators of social decay (particularly when compared with the rest of the former Soviet world). In other words, there was no parasitic oligarchical class ruling in Belarus, and that earned him the undying hatred of posturing western and Jewish pseudo-intellectuals in the industrialized world.

It might be significant to note that neoconservative Heritage Foundation writer Ariel Cohen has made this admission about Belarusian politics:

If Russia’s main priority in Belarus-safe and secure gas transit-is assured, it certainly should be no problem for Moscow to cooperate with the West to ease Lukashenka out. Can Belarus become a test case of Russia’s policy of integration with the West based on shared democratic values? In a way, Belarus becomes a litmus test on Russia’s future relationship with the West.

In other words, the interest in the “democracy” movement in Belarus is about hampering Russia’s oil and gas transit routes to Europe. While Belarus has very little oil, she does have a substantial amount of refining capability, which is a major weapon in itself. Cohen’s harsh rhetoric aimed at Lukashenko certainly has much more behind it than the purely ethereal, but is rather motivated by some of the President’s stern warnings to Belarusian Jews not to imitate their imperialist neighbors in Ukraine and Russia. Lukashenko consistently polls in rather high numbers, and his party did extremely well in the last round of parliamentary elections. All of this under a situation where George Soros’s misnamed “Voice of America” radio program (Soros bought this program from the CIA), as well as CNN, NBC and ABC, through their European affiliates, were beaming in a relentless stream of anti-Lukashenko propaganda at the Belarusian voters. As always, Cohen advocates the direct control of the Belarusian opposition by the U.S. and her agencies, as he lists, “Building up a democratic opposition youth movement and not leaving the field to the pro-Lukashenka BRYU (Belarusian Republican Youth Union).” This use of the passive voice “building up” is merely a code for the CIA’s control over the small and divided “opposition.” The same slogans and placards as used in Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia (all mysteriously printed in English) are appearing in the streets of Minsk. Of course, none of these western funded “youth groups” have any support outside of the universities. Recent American legislation authored by neocon John McCain (R-AZ) has explicitly called for the foreign creation and backing of an “opposition” movement in Belarus. McCain, too, is backed by thousands in campaign contributions from oil concerns and Israeli PACs (all easily verifiable through the Federal Election Commission at www.fec.gov).

In Georgia, the western supported Schevernadze government routinely garnered 90% of the vote in elections, without a peep from the American neocons or the establishment in general. However, as soon as Schevernadze began selling shares of the western -owned Frontier oil company to Russian investors, almost immediately, Georgia’s president-for-life became a “dictator” and needed to be removed. His CIA-appointed successor quickly reversed his predecessor’s decisions in reference to Frontier. It might also be noted that the so called opposition movement in Georgia used to same name as that in Serbia, using the same placards and, in some cases, using the very same faxes and computers as used in Serbia against Milosevic. George Soros actually funded the opposition in both countries due to his substantial investments in the oil routes in the region.

Cohen rarely writes a column without mentioning the necessity of controlling the strategic oil and gas products of the region. His high-sounding rhetoric such as “free elections” and “property rights” have little to do with theoretical abstractions but are closely connected to the western oil companies that donate heavily to the Heritage Foundation. On the question of Georgian “democracy,” Cohen writes:

The Bush Administration also faces numerous challenges in Georgia, the geostrategic key to the Southern Caucasus. Not only is an independent and pro-Western Georgia, which has good relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan, a stabilizing factor in the Southern Caucasus, but it also provides access to the energy resources of the Caspian Sea.

As a major item in his strategy for the Bush administration in dealing with Georgia, predictably, he mentions this: “Expand cooperation with Georgia on security for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and gas pipeline, possibly through a private security contractor, which could also handle training.” It need not even be mentioned that it is precisely this pipeline that is financed by the western powers with the sole purpose of bypassing Russia. It might also be useful to know that in 2002, precisely when this battle of the oil pipelines was heating up, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the creation of the Mellon Oil Conglomerate and Gulf Oil, provided the Heritage Foundation with a $1.4 million grant. Since 1985, Gulf Oil and Mellon Oil have provided the Heritage Foundation with a whopping $17 million in grants. (Cf. Mediatransparency.org for further information on the elite funding of conservative thinktanks).

After the 1990s, things began to change. Both the Yeltsin and Kravchuk regimes in Russia and Ukraine gave way to those who took a more statist and nationalist view of the economy, Kuchma in Ukraine and Putin in Russia. As Putin, slowly but surely, began to challenge western models of development (which served only western capital), Leonid Kuchma leaned more and more towards Russia in an attempt to form a type of counter alliance against western capital.

Kuchma began to prosecute the oligarchs such as Yulia Tymoshenko, who paid very little in taxes though having amassed millions in her private fortune (it might be added that her website is little more than hundreds of pictures of this (admittedly very attractive) billionaire criminal in various states of undress) who then quickly moved to form an “opposition” movement against Kuchma. From this, an oligarchical group was created that began the present campaign of vilification against Kuchma and Lukashenko. One of its leaders remains the Israeli media baron Vadym Rabinovych. His other Israeli cronies that have bought up the Ukrainian economy under Kravchuk in the mid-90s are Alexander Volkov, Gregory Surkis, Ihor Bakai and Victor Pinchuk. These are also international organized crime lords who, according to some sources such as the Israel-based Jerusalem Post, are behind the massive white slave trade of Ukrainian girls to Israel, where slavery and prostitution are not illegal, providing the victims are not Jewish. Furthermore, the significance of their universal Israeli citizenship is that, if charged for a crime in Ukraine or Russia, they can simply flee to Israel, who does not have an extradition treaty with any other nation, largely due to the rabbinic injunction that Jews are not to be tried by the goyim (i.e cattle).

Again, it must be emphasized that is their control over the economy of Ukraine that is covered over by such phrases as “democratic capitalism” and “free markets.” The power these crime lords have over the disenfranchised Russian and Ukrainian populations have both an economic and ethnic component. The Jewish connection needs to be emphasized, partly due to the fact that the odds of such a constellation of Jews coming together by accident is extremely high, and partly because the ethnic and linguistic ties create bonds of solidarity that well serve to entrench them in power. It is remarkable that not a single academic in the American university system finds the fact that the overwhelming majority of the oligarchs in either Ukraine or Russia are Jewish to be significant, though Jews in both countries number under 1% of the population. The reader might well ponder over the possible reasons for this.

This is not to say that Kuchma was in any respect consistent. His support for the NATO-led organization GUUAM (i.e. Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Modolva) shows a substantial amount of backsliding and indecisiveness. Nevertheless, for his tilting towards Putin and his investigations into the finances of the oligarchic elites, he remains vilified. Notwithstanding the elite campaign of hatred against him, Kuchma remains popular. This might have something to do with the fact that unemployment had plummeted under his rule (to just over 3%), and Ukraine’s economic growth is one of the highest in the world, standing, year-on-year, at 16% (and this includes only the above-board economy. Some estimate that the black market amounts to as much as 30% of the economy.) In 1995, on the other hand, Ukraine saw a substantial decrease in her GDP as well as an inflation rate of 600% yearly.

As of this writing, November 25, 2004, the capitalist/oligarchical/CIA candidate in the Ukrainian elections, Viktor Yushchenko, the former chairman of the Ukrainian central bank, is demanding his supporters begin rioting and sabotaging the institutions of Ukrainian government after losing the recently concluded presidential elections by a narrow margin to the pro-Russian candidate, Viktor Yanukovytch (who is also personally and politically very close to Kuchma). The western lies over this election are as extraordinary as in the rest of Slavic Europe. Again, the “morality play” is between a reactionary Kuchma/Yanukovytch and a “democratic” Yushchenko. The fact that Yanukovytch won is that he is associated with Kuchma, who is at least partially responsible for the economic achievements mentioned above. In American elections, the economy is usually the primary variable in whether an incumbent is reelected or not. Such is simply the case in Ukraine. All the polls prior to the elections seemed to show a narrow Yanukovytch lead, again, more than likely due to the very powerful economy. Western Ukraine has already declared Yushchenko the winner of the elections in spite of the final vote tallies, and Ukraine seems on the verge of splitting apart. This might not be a terrible turn of events, since western Ukraine more than likely should be an independent entity. Yulia Tymoshenko has called for protesters to “seize city halls.” This is largely due to the fact that a Yanukovytch victory will entail another audit of her taxes. As of this writing, the civil unrest, planned months in advance by the Yushchenko camp, will continue to paralyze the country and possibly undue the major economic improvements under the Kuchma regime.

On the other hand, the heavily politicized OSCE and the U.S. State Department (with the dim-witted echo of the obsequious Senator John McCain) had condemned the Ukrainian election months before it even happened (!) The same tactic was used against Belarus by John McCain, when, weeks before the referendum on whether or not Lukashenko should serve a third term, he gravely intoned that the referendum would be marred by irregularities, thus, the result should be, a priori, rejected.

The fact that the Kuchma government also detected vote rigging against Yanukovytch in his opponent’s strongholds in western Ukraine went unreported in the western press. The propaganda machine working for the CIA-linked Yushchenko wrote and spoke to a western audience in English. On the other hand, the Yanukovytch camp spoke either in Russian or Ukrainian, and thus, his press releases went unreported. The continuing mythology about a biased press in Ukraine should furrow some western brows given the behavior of the tightly controlled American media; nevertheless, this absurd allegation is belied by the fact that the main controller of the Ukrainian media is an Israeli, Vadym Rabinovych, who has personally declared for Yushchenko. Additionally, western media sources from NBC to CNN are pouring into Russian and Ukraine, pushing shamelessly for CIA linked candidates such as Yushchenko. The charade continues, and the kept American academics continue to prattle on about the sabotaging of “democracy” in Ukraine. Yushchenko has recently been reported to have said, in reference to the barricades erected in Lv’iv and elsewhere in western Ukraine: “We will not leave here until we win.”Several of the former central banker’s rallies featured rock concerts, strongly suggesting that this had been planned long in advance. The “youth movement,” pore (it is time), appearing out of nowhere with mysteriously unlimited funding, is a subsidiary of the Soros empire.

In Belarus, due to the policies of Lukashenko, the unemployment rate stands at just over 2%, with a powerful economic engine producing a year-on-year growth rate of just over 10% (which is excellent, but still below the remainder of the former Soviet states). It is unfortunate that the Lukashenko government has singularly failed to curb inflation, and this remains a rather large blot on a very accomplished record. It is these accomplishments, not “vote rigging” that are responsible for his positive showing in the polls. It is significant, that in the innumerable Washington Post editorials condemning the Russian or Belarusian political system, these economic figures are never brought to light. The Post has been in the forefront of anti-Putin polemics in America, largely, no doubt due to the fact that oligarch Guzinsky’s media MOST empire was partially owned by the Post itself. When Putin exiled the man and nationalized his assets, the Post began their campaign of vitriol.

All of this, it should be added, flies in the face of libertarian/conservative economic theory. There are numerous ways in which this is the case. Primarily, the state in all three of these countries is the main organizer and supervisor of investment. Of course, in terms of the global economy, that is nothing new. In both South Korea and Japan, their amazing resurgence after World War II to the status of powerful first world economies was brought about primarily through state supervised investment and trade protectionism. In the case of the post-Soviet economies, the “free market” was another way of liberating the oligarchs from state tutelage.

The use of dogmatic and ideological designs of western economic theorists devastated eastern Europe. Conceptual apparatuses have nothing to do with the actual state of affairs in a specific nation. The free- market was created by the state in the west, on the backs of formerly free farmers and small landholders. On the other hand, as far as eastern Europe is concerned, only the state is in the position to shift from the dependency engendered by large concentrations of oligarchic capital to an economy based around the small farmer and entrepreneur and the needs of the locality. It is only here where true national prosperity can be found, where the small landholder and small businessman can predominate. On the other hand, the stated policies of the IMF center around centralized capital and “open” international markets. For Putin and Lukashenko specifically, the state has been the only weapon in their arsenal to use against the predatory designs of western capital.

From this, one can extrapolate to the necessity of Putin’s state reforms. Concerning the regional governors who will, to some extent, be disenfranchised by these reforms, an anonymous journalist from Russia writes:

During my regional experiences, the then governor of the region was known to be utterly corrupt, in terms of using his position solely for the accumulation of huge personal wealth, was publicly a foul-mouthed drunkard, and was credibly accused of (but never charged with) having ordered the murders and attempted murders of opponents and critics, including regional parliamentary deputies and journalists. Two of his senior deputy governors were arrested by Russian law enforcement agencies for serious financial crimes (theft, embezzlement, smuggling, etc.) involving many millions of dollars. Both of them were released and one of them is now in hiding abroad, on Interpol’s wanted list. More recently, under a different governor, another deputy governor was arrested after being secretly filmed accepting a $250,000 bribe to issue a license to import cars. Reportedly, his initial defense was to claim that he would be getting “only” $50,000 the rest, he said, was intended for his boss (cf. Johnson’s Russia List; www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/8445-1.cfm. No relation to this author).

The significance, of course, is not the Beslan school massacre. But rather it is the ability of such governors to make “separate deals” with outside powers, with the most likely outside power being Exxon/Mobil and their surrogates. The centralization of political power is most likely a method by which the natural resources of Russia are protected.

One of the main reasons that Russia stands center stage in the battle against the “new world order” is that her oil and natural gas reserves are massive, and exploration for more fields has barely begun. The U.S. and Russia have been fighting a quiet battle for control over the oil pipelines that feed both the Mediterranean as well as western Europe, and, increasingly, to China. The main reason for the NATO- brokered GUAAM agreement was to maintain a string of friendly countries on the fringes of the former U.S.S.R. so that the pipelines there will remain in pro-U.S. hands. Therefore, the battle is between American energy concerns and the Russian state over trillions of dollars of natural gas and oil reserves and its transport. It might even be said that the future of the American economy, or rather, the future of American hegemony, depends largely on who ultimately will control these transit routes and oil fields and the trillions of dollars that stand to be made here.

When Mikhail Khordokovsky, head of the giant Russian YUKOS oil concern, was arrested by Putin’s security services in 2003, the global elite went orbital. It is one thing when rather small countries such as Cuba or Belarus seek to do battle with the new world order, it is another matter when a giant such as Russia does so. Contrary to the mythology prattled on by the western press (and especially well funded conservative interests), Mikhail Khordokovsky was in negotiations with Texaco and Exxon/Mobil to hand over control of many of YUKOS’s transport systems, effectively taking them out of Russian hands and giving them to the western elites. From the point of view of Russia’s economic security as well as her economic future, this was unacceptable and bordered on treason. Furthermore, Khordokovsky was planning on buying several political parties and using them for his specific financial interests. In other words, he was attempting to buy the Russian political system. It is this that the likes of Ariel Cohen consider the pinnacle of “democratic capitalism.” The National Center at least is honest about its agenda (though not about its sources of funding). It has said this about the arrest:

Putin’s takeover of YUKOS directly interferes with negotiations the private company was pursuing with the U.S. Mikhail Khodorkovsky had already met with Vice President Cheney, Energy Secretary Abraham and other U. S. officials to discuss oil exports to the U.S. The first shipment arrived in Texas in 2003, offering hope that the U. S. would at last have a major alternative source of oil imports. That was before Mr. Khodorokovsky’s imprisonment.

This comment, coming from sources funded by several American and foreign oil concerns, speaks for itself concerning the real problems behind the arrest, and it certainly has nothing to do with “free markets” and “democracy.” It is further significant that Khordokovsky’s Open Russian Institute, an oligarchic lobbying organization, had on its board such luminaries of the western world such as Lord Rothschild of Great Britain himself, as well as Henry Kissinger. Open Russia was also active in the operations of the Carnegie Institute as well as other western elite policy organizations. Khordokovsky was far from acting alone, and was far from the “honest businessman” the western press laughably tried to paint him. It is precisely these sort of machinations that is forcing Putin’s hand, as well as the growth of the state’s repressive apparatus.

Putin and the International Economy (2007)

February 25, 2007

By Matt Johnson

In a little noticed article in Pravda, Putin’s government, under the Ministry for Economic Development, has begun to draw up conditions, so to speak, to be placed on foreign investors considering investment in Russia. Given that most Russia watchers in America are laughable incompetent as they are overpaid, it was no surprise they took little notice of this announcement. It represents nothing else than another line in the sand against the west on Putin’s part.

Little in terms of public policy makes the hair of the global oligarchy stand on end like governments creating “conditions” on foreign investment. The oligarchy has been clear: global free trade, and the concomitant destruction of ethnic cultures are the sine qua non of international economics. Super elite ruling cliques such as the Trilaterals, who make their claims public, and Bildeberg, who keep them private (but are discoverable) have make this overarching global policy goal first and foremost. Part of that global oligarchy are the New York Times, The Washington Post (and their endless media satellites within Russia), The Carnegie Institute, The Jamestown Foundation and the Ivy League’s in America, all touting the very same line, even using the same jargon: Free trade-no exceptions.

The prattle about Russia’s entering the WTO or Serbia’s entering the EU have utterly nothing to do with the prosperity of the countries involved. Eastern Europe has nothing to gain from entering these institutions. In no manner does Germany consider Bulgaria to be an equal partner to it, but rather sees a playground of quick profits through the radical exploitation of a well educated and hard working Slavic population. Though Germany is a bit more squeamish about new arrivals to the European institutions she dominates, she does see quite a bit of opportunity among the Slavic countries. Investment means control, it means westerners have a foothold in the internal politics of a country. Elites in small countries such as Serbia feel “part of a big guys club” when accepted into such institutions, regardless of the fact that Serbia will be treated as little more than a backwater of the great powers (as she has always been treated).

Therefore, Putin’s “restrictions” on investment are a specifically painful jab at western financial interests, nearly all of whom financially support Khordokovsky’s and Soros’ “Open Society” foundations and their various fronts. Further, the global oligarchy is quickly gearing up for the 2008 electoral cycle in Russia, trying desperately to revive the pathetic SPS’ or Yabloko’s chances at actually cracking 3% combined.

Russians who are politically aware know that there were no effective restrictions on foreign takeovers during the besotted years of Yeltsin, and public policy on these matters has been haphazard and mired in backroom deals. Putin said this earlier this year: “It is about time we should precisely identify the economic spheres, in which Russia’s independence and security interests dictate the necessity of primary control on the part of the national and state capital.” This seems little more than political sloganeering, but only for Russia scholars at Stamford. In reality, it is a declaration of war, however worded in the dry language of politicians. Putin is in effect saying to the west that Russia will not be an economic colony of the west, and that also means that she will not be an ideological colony of the same imperial powers.

An analyst for the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis, Dimitri Belousov, stated the following about the government’s concern: “We need to understand for a start, if we play this game in general at all or not, and if we can let foreign investors access Russian markets and where exactly such access can be granted. It goes without saying that there are certain areas, not only in the oil and gas industry of the country, where foreign presence is excluded.”

Of course, the question, both for Russia as well as her potential investors, is not merely security, for that is the “reasonable face” on this view of political economy. The further issue is one that has been faced by the developing world since the post-World War II world saw the explosion of western direct investment abroad, and that is of the quid pro quos that surround the act of profit-making in a foreign country. Russia, being able to control more of the economic shots than say, Paraguay in the 1970s, might consider a few items to debate, and these notions finally link Russia’s future with the ideas of national-communitarianism outlined above:

  1. Profits need to be shared with Russian workers. Direct foreign investment must come with guarantees for worker safety and a rate of pay that is proportional to the profitability of the enterprise.
  2. Russian workers will need a say in management. Worker’s councils should be convened as a matter of government policy to consult with management concerning pay, safety and any grievances that might arise.
  3. Foreign investors will continually be under the surveillance of the state in terms of the treatment of the natural environment.
  4. All foreign investors will be required to support local institutions, including Orthodox churches, theater companies, health clinics, libraries, local artists and social insurance.
  5. Under no circumstances should foreign money be channeled into political parties, candidates or causes.
  6. All food purchased by the investing firm must come from local agriculture if possible.
  7. The labor force in any given enterprise, at all levels, must be at least 80% Russian.
  8. Foreign enterprises will have at least some responsibility to work with local government to improve local infrastructure.

This is merely a beginning, but policies such as this will show foreign investors that Russia will not be treated as a mere source for raw materials and apathetic labor. It will not affect the desire of foreigners to invest in Russia, for the profits to be made are substantial, but it will force westerners, who, frankly, are not used to having a social conscience at all, to finance the rebuilding of Russia while making profits from her. Only these conditions will provide a measure of equality between foreign capital and Russian labor. It is a simple contract: if one wants to profit in Russia, one will then have a responsibility to rebuild her. Ultimately, such improvements will be in the interests of the investors themselves, in that it will improve the living standards of the community and provide outlets for worker-management tension. Putin, as could be expected, has made a few first steps in this direction.

If there was any proof, downright incontrovertible proof, that the cult of billionaires that control the economy of the globe loathe Russia and seek her eternal subservience, the latest news on Russia’s debt service is it.

The Russian economy is doing extremely well, helping to raise Russian living standards as well as buttressing Putin’s already enviable popularity ratings. Due to world oil prices, as well as due to the significant diversification of the Russian economy those prices have made feasible, Russia is breaking all records in debt repayment. In fact, the Russian Ministry of Finance, according to Pravda, has offered the Paris Club a deal where Russia will repay their debt early in return for discounted rates, among other things.

The Paris Club is a group of billionaire bankers who, like all banking cults, want the world to believe that individual national governments have control over international finance and debt. Of course, all global debt is held by a tiny handful of international bankers, a portion of these make up the Paris Club.

No one need sit on the edge of their seat to predict the Paris Club’s answer: no. It is often portrayed among journalists who deal with economics that important banks are primarily interested in the repayment of debt with interest. Very few writers deal with the question, central to the discipline of International Political Economy, of the ratio between debt and international oligarchic control over the host country’s internal politics. The fact that the handful of men who control the economics of the world refused to have Russia’s debt paid back early says many things about the nature of global control: that debt is part of this control; that Russia is an enemy that needs to be controlled though debt; and that Russia’s financial health is detriment to the global oligarchy.

Of course, Russia is sending early payments to the Paris Club, however, there has been no reduction in the rate of repayment, nor in the principle, which is customary banking practice, particularly in a age where global debt is in the trillions.

The Regime made a show of forgiving African debt, but refuses to budge an inch with Russia, who, it might be added, is paying the debts of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, both of which are overtly hostile to Russia.

What is the most humorous is the reason that the Paris Club refuses to lower the rate of interest or accept any discount: it is because the Russian economy is doing too well. In other words, Putin is being penalized for his successes. Let’s use this as an excuse to deal with the Russian economy in general. Russia’s GDP stands at nearly $500 billion (i.e. a purchasing power parity of just over $1 trillion), and is approaching 10% yearly growth in general, and Russia stands at the 12th largest economy in the world, just above Canada. (There is the old joke that Russia “needs to catch up to Portugal.” It is propaganda, as Portugal ranks at 43 on the list)

Russian industrial growth last year increased well over 6 percent (about that of Japan), putting to rest the notion that the economic growth of Russia exists solely in the sphere of resource extraction. Even better, Ukraine under President Kuchma approached an increase of 17% in industrial investment and output. Russia exports $170 billion as of last year, while importing only $92 billion. Of Russia substantial exports, nearly 20% of manufactured exports are in the high technology sector. In terms of industry, well over 30% of the country’s GDP is value added in this sector. In terms of the traditional breakdown of economic performance into agriculture-industry-services, Russia maintains a ratio similar to any other modern economy. In Russia, services account for about 62% of GDP, while industry accounts for about 35%, proving the Russian economic success cannot be laid at the feet of global oil prices. In terms of industrial production, between 2000 and 2004, this indicator increased from 4 trillion roubles (about $400 billion) to about 11.2 trillion roubles. (Consider about 28 roubles to the dollar)

Breaking these down by sectors, of course, oil has done well, approaching 10% increase from 2003- 2004. But, contrary to the myth makers, Russia has also performed extremely well in other forms of industry. For example, in terms of machine building, this has outstripped oil extraction, increasing over 10% during the same time period (2003-2004). Metallurgy has increased over 5%, and chemicals (excluding petrochemicals) has increased to over 9%.

Now, please take note that I am not necessarily making the claim that Russia should be a primarily industrial economy, or that this is the optimal economic aspect of national life. This is just to show that, as always, the received wisdom about Russian economics is wrong. That Russia is resource dependent is simply incorrect, and that, as the statistics prove, Russia has diversified her economy substantially.

The most significant point, however, is that if Russia is to fulfill her historic role, that is, to defend Orthodoxy against the coming antiChrist, a modern economy she must have, regardless of the negative affects of industry and the “service sector.” A modern military based on that economy she must have as well. As Russia becomes a net creditor nation, her historic role will become even more clear, as it is possible that Russia can challenge the oligarchy on their own terms, buying up the debt of Americans and Europeans. Given the amount of debt China already owns, the new China-Russia axis will have more than a loathing of the west in common, but we might find ourselves in the hilarious position of making American spending habits dependent on the new alliance’s whims. It may be far fetched, but the continued diversification of Russia’s economy, coupled with China’s economic and diplomatic surge, it may be the worst nightmare the neo-cons in Fairfax county have ever imagined.

To be a bit optimistic, one might look out at recent events and make a broad statement that the Regime is currently dealing with what is often called a “legitimacy crisis.” It seems that every event is linked to every other into a rather complex chain of reality that takes a systemic style of analysis to figure out.

Many years ago, Rockefeller foundation hack Herbert Marcuse made a significant point: that the western adoption of nominalism as an epistemological axiom made it more and more difficult to envision things systematically. Recent events, however, might be reversing this trend.

The destruction of New Orleans does not exist outside of politics: it has been commented on more than once now that the national guardsmen who normally would have been guarding the city against the all- black looters are in Israel’s war in the Mideast. Furthermore, it also has been commented on that heavy equipment, including helicopters, and money that normally would have been spent on the fortification of the city is now presently also serving in Iraq.

That’s one angle. Another is that the hits on America oil refining and piping have simultaneously are being taken very seriously, with some industry execs saying that jet fuel will reach critically low levels in as little as two days. Of course, due to the oil-industry driven energy policy the American have been following for decades, there is no slack whatsoever in the petroleum market. In other words, supplies are so tight, that any disruption in either supply of crude of its refining and transport can set the market into a tailspin. The French currently receive roughly 85% of their electricity from nuclear power, without the slightest accident or problem.

Now for another: the spike in oil prices, well over $3 per gallon at the time of this writing, comes at a time just days after Alan Greenspan admitted that the housing boom was over, and that the bubble will soon burst. Greenspan also intoned about a month ago that the American economy could not handle its current level of debt. And, lest I forget, bankruptcies are at their highest level since the Great Depression, and are considered out of control by most analysts who have bothered to study the numbers.

Now, here’s the clincher. No, it’s not the loss of the war in Iraq, now admitted by some (anonymous) military brass, but the nightmare of all nightmares: the possible, I dare say imminent, dumping of the dollar on currency markets.

Some years ago, statements such as that would have been dismissed. Even at the beginning of this year, such a view was considered “out of the mainstream.” However, none other than George Soros and Warren Buffet have made clear statements that this is a real danger.

Here’s how it works: Americans, in the main, are animalistic, consumerist pigs without a shred of decency or humanity. Presently, as they mouth off about corrupt politicians and the American debt, they themselves, on average, owe about $50,000 each to the American ruling classes. As a result, they spend money they don’t have, and are willing to give their own jobs away to save 15 cents on a pair of jeans that they don’t need. The result of the irrational level of American spending, the U.S. is running monstrous trade deficits. The oil price hike is due to the massive diversion of oil to lube the failed war in the Mideast and Central Asia, and the increasing number of large SUVs, Mustang Gts and other large and powerful cars Americans have been told they need. All of this has been done with little investment in alternative energies or even domestic refining capability. (And by the way, which former Soviet republic has the most potent oil refining industry: Belarus. Take that McCain).

Now, conservatives, who exist solely to whore for the capitalist bosses, for years were telling Americans that this deficit did not matter, and that the American market was too valuable for any real nasty aftereffects to occur.

Any deficit or debt of this type needs to be financed, and, in this case, the dollars needed have been sucked away to China, India and Russia, among other places (for heaven’s sake, the war in Iraq is being financed with Chinese liquidity). But as the dollar continues to suffer, as inflation haunts the U.S. over rising oil prices, many of these countries find they are holding currency they really don’t want, at least not in the quantities they currently hold. Now, it has been said that the Chinese, given they have an interest in the American market (as it is the engine of their economic boom), are likely to sit on the dollars they hold. On the other hand, China’s banking system is state run and controlled, and therefore, political, as much as market, concerns dictate economic policy at macro level. China needing America? Sure, but Wally and Wilma Wal-Mart need China more, as their whole consumption pattern is based upon this trade relation.

Some analysts have made the claim however, that India and Russia are not dependent upon the American market, and thus are more likely to get rid of dollars as it suits them. However, this is an argument for closer state control of the banking sector. Nationalists have always argued for the de- privatization of finance (and thus of usury), not for the least of reasons that it is as much a political area as an economic one. In other words, if the U.S. gets too McCainey in relation to Russia, Russia’s weapon of choice to respond is not the MiG, but rather the dollar. If one economy, particularly one as important as Russia’s (currently the 12th largest in the world, just after Canada), was to dump a few dollars, or even speculate about it out loud, a major waterfall of dollars would result, sending the American economy in to a well-deserved oblivion. The principle is clear: it is OK to be the first to unload dollars, but utter ruin for the last one, for by that time, the dollar would be worthless. As a result, even the speculation of dollar-dumping will cause a major dumping of dollars worldwide.

What is my point here? The point is simple: we are standing on a threshold where the Regime’s very legitimacy can be called into question now merely by the likes of me, but even from the likes of Carol and Carl Costco. I don’t care how TV-soaked Steve and Sally Stripmall are, or how numb their thought processes, a lost war in Iraq, extremely high gas pump prices, inflation , bankruptcy, looting in New Orleans, the collapse of the dollar, and the public exposure of the lies of the system in getting into Iraq, the Regime may be in a position where it may not be able to deliver the goods. Up until now, the Regime functioned because it could provide a modicum of comfort to most of its citizens (though for a very large price). But that era may be ending. That era was based on the very shaky hegemonic role of the United States after World war II. There can be no doubt that at least one other pole is forming- Russia and China, with India remaining as a wildcard, both politically and economically. The Regime is overstretched militarily and economically (via debt) and the economy can not take very much more.

The Slavic Miracle: Putin, Bush and Lukashenko by the Numbers (2007)

February 25, 2007

By Matt Johnson

As the sick and corrupt American media beat the drums for a new cold war over the Livitenko scandal, it might be worth approaching this from the only relevant region: that of money and power. It does not take a Russia specialist to figure out that Russia is under attack from both corrupt American parties, from both liberals and conservatives, from all media without exception over a murder where even Scotland yard, once their investigation was complete, claimed had “no evidence” behind it.

I have to laugh when I’m called a “conspiracy theorist:” it’s an absurd, Orwellian slogan to stop the process of investigation. These same people have no difficulty picturing a conspiracy by the FSB to poison this former employee of Berezovskii, or dream up a conspiracy of 19 Arabs slaughtering Americans in New York. But whenever their sacred cows are gored, suddenly, “conspiracy” becomes a term of abuse.

The reality is that Russia has regained her super power status, and she has set her face against American expansionism abroad. Her economy is powerful, and a Russian led alliance of herself and China are preparing to confront the regime both economically and militarily. Russia is now the world’s largest supplier of military hardware to the world, as well as the world’s largest supplier of energy. She is strategically positioned near some of the world’s future hotspots, including Central Asia, where trillions of dollars are waiting to be made through various pipeline projects traversing this nearly unknown region. The U.S. economy is utterly dependent upon U.S. control over these resources, and therefore, any hint of nationalism from the Russian side, no matter how harmless, will be dealt with through harsh condemnation and threats of war. This has been the main thrust of this web-journal since its inception 18 months ago: to defend Russia and the Slavic world from these attacks.

Therefore, Russia will be the target of even more shrill and sub-rational attacks in the future: and yes, it is a conspiracy, it is a conspiracy of the world’s wealthy to destroy Russia’s emerging world order, as a counterweight to the Atlantian World Order based in Washington and New York. Normally, such people, those represented at Bildeberg and Trilateral meetings do not provide the world with press releases, and, as a matter of course, their activities are known only through their results.

The Regime has normally two arguments it uses against Putin, both mutually contradictory. The first is that Russia has been mismanaged under Putin and his “fascism” and therefore, prosperity can only return when he is overthrown. The other argument is that Russia is too powerful, and she will harm the world’s emergence into global democracy and “civil society,” two buzz words never defined. Sometimes, these two arguments are uttered by the same person, and sometimes, in the same article. Yesterday, CNN featured the well paid, fraudulent media darling and lickspittle, Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation, angry at Lukoil’s success in America, and Russian interests in the far east. The Regime is in hyper-mode, and the most irrational attacks against Russia are oozing out of every media corner, regardless of ideology. Cohen speaks of Russia’s success as a threat to “democracy.” This view is echoed at Fox News, CNN and the Brookings Institute. Ideology does not matter. But, for the record, let’s see who pays Mr. Cohen’s extremely high salary:

  • In 2005, Heritage received an $800,000 grant from the Scaife Foundation, controlled by Mellon Oil.

  • Another $700,000 from the DeVos Foundation, a Protestant Christian group that also funds the anti- Russian American Enterprise Institute (itself a front for oil interests).

Remember, Heritage is funded (and largely controlled) by the Bradley Foundation, who itself is largely the creator of the neo-con movement in America. Most “right-wing,” neo-con, Fox news style pablum is controlled, funded and founded by Bradley. Bradley itself is extremely close to the Olin Foundation (itself a major funder of Heritage and neoconism in general, presently inactive), a major chemical and weapons concern, whose corporate parent is in direct competition with Russia. (For more information, see, as always, the ever helpful mediatransparency.org people, who track neocon money.) Much of this neocon money has gone into Russia baiting worldwide. It might also be worth mentioning that Olin has also, in the recent past, attempted to take over academia, giving Chicago, Harvard, Princeton and Georgetown a combined $72 million, which might explain the sudden appearance of neocon “respectability” on these campuses.

Now, it is very important, when tracing the real sources for silly neo-con anti-Russianism, to connect it with its corporate centers. All American politics is privatized, that is, funded by corporate interests, who are, to a man, hostile to Russia, Putin and Orthodoxy (unless its crazy Ukrainians). The Scaife Foundation is a center for oil interests in America. It seems, in terms of corporate control over politics, that big oil and big chemical have funded the neocons, while the usual suspects, Levi-Strauss, American Express, Coca-Cola, Xerox, Starbucks, AT&T and a host of others have taken over the Left, using it for their own purposes (cf. The Capitol Research Center for more information on corporate giving to Leftist causes). In other words, the establishment Left is largely AT&T and a AOL, while the establishment right is big oil. Let’s see who else big oil has given to recently: The extremely anti- Russian Institute for Policy Analysis received almost $10 million this year from Mellon. Equally, the Center for Strategic and International Studies received almost the same. Heritage received, over the last few years, about $20 million. Tufts University received about $9 million. As an aside, Tufts has, in its campus newspaper, published anti-Putin screeds recently. Clearly there is a connection. I have been forced to respond to this on their university-controlled forum, with some very telling responses. I wondered why a poorly run student newspaper would care about Kuchma, Belarus or Putin in the first place, but now, you know. Big Oil has given millions to the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which, incidentally, funded much of the work of the Zionist, Beltway, neo-con “Orthodox priest,” Al Webster of Virginia (who also works for Homeland Security, or so he tells me), who I confronted harshly after liturgy at a Greek church near me here in Pennsylvania, to the horror of the congregation, I’m happy to say. Big Oil has also given about $1.3 million each to two major anti-Russian outfits: the Jamestown Foundation and Freedom House, Inc. And check this out: apparently, big oil is behind something called the “Foundation for Defense of Democracies,” (with a grant of $400,000 this year) which, in its Russia section, has this to say: “It’s time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin’s Russia as an enemy of the United States.” All organizations have made hatred of Putin, and the fear of U.S. losing influence over the world’s oil, the centerpiece of their bogus research. Without following the money, the sub-rational hatred of Putin and co. makes little sense.

The reality of it all is power, and power is a function of access to energy and sources of raw materials. What is the nature of the Russian economy? It has come under the typical vicious attack from the establishment conspiracy theorists, but the fact remains that Putin’s legacy will be dictated, by Russians, through the extent to which the system was able to deliver the goods. Cracks are already visible in the armor of the American economy, and it is this market which ensures the United States a global place. The American economy is the lynch pin to the New World Order, and its massive debt and irrational spending habits will be its undoing. The dollar continues to lose value, and China, fully aware of how the game is played, are buying up truckloads of American paper, providing a weapon far more formidable than its nukes.

Russian economic growth is highly respectable under Putin. Over the last two years, the economy has grown almost by 14%, with a slight slowdown this year, 2006. Now, the problem with GDP is that it is a broad indicator, not providing the details necessary for a true evaluation for a country’s economy.

Wages, of course, are the primary indicator, when corresponding to a cost of living: in Russia, wages have gone up by 10% in 2005, and another 7% in 2006. This means that Russia is becoming a powerful market, and is one not hampered by non-repayable debt. In fact, as far as the state goes, her budget surplus is substantial. This is far more a threat to U.S. hegemony than Russia’s military, or her lack of “civil society.” Keep in mind too, that, according to the World Bank, this spectacular rise in wages actually reflects disposable income rather than raw wages, a far more accurate index of “well being.”

Making matters worse for the U.S., utterly dependent on being a market for cheap foreign goods, the Russian ruble appreciated by nearly 4% over the U.S. dollar, which itself is not really important since the falling dollar has been the rather muted central issue in international political economy in 2006. The ruble has appreciated against the Euro by nearly 18%. The actual payoff, however, is that countries such as China and the major oil producing states have decided to deal in Euros rather than dollars in their foreign exchange, slowly cutting the Federal Reserve out of its global role, which is another way of saying that this institution, a privately owned oligarchy of bankers, is being cut out by the Yuan, Euro and Ruble.

In terms of merchandise exports, Russia has a strong balance of trade, approaching nearly 100 billion rubles, and this is a strong predictor of currency strength; it amounts to nearly 8% of GNP. This is also one good reason why Russia should never become a part of Europe-wide economic institutions, given that Russia’s economic strength guarantees her a great deal of international autonomy, and a position, given the abundance of raw materials, to remain aloof from Europe while still being able to enjoy her intercourse, borne from necessity, if from nothing else.

Contrary to media myth, while it remains true that raw materials (including energy) remain an important part of Russia’s economy, the increase in manufacturing has strongly outpaced that of raw material extraction, by nearly 3%. Raw materials have increased about 1% over last year, while manufacturing increased by 5%. Therefore, increasingly, she is not nearly as oil dependent as the Wall Street Journal claims. All the while, her unemployment has gone down by about a percentage point over last year, to about 7.5% of the economically active population.

What about the other center of evil, Belarus? The news looks even better. Let’s get to the numbers, for it’s in the numbers that explain the screeching hatred the Regime has for Lukashenko, likely the most successful and popular politician (domestically) in the world.

In Belarus, according to the World Bank, the GNP has grown by about 10%. According to the extremely anti-Lukashenko CIA, their unemployment is the 6th lowest in the world, at about 1.2% as of today. Capital investments in Belarus have increased a shocking 35% this year. The IMF, another anti-Lukashenko elite outfit, has said that Belarus is a model for budget discipline, inflation control and a balanced approach to domestic investment. According to the UN, or more specifically, the UN’s Industrial Development Organization, that, among the former CIS countries, Belarus has the highest index of annual industrial production growth, followed by Armenia and Kazakhstan. . .holds second highest after Russia index of annual industrial production growth per capita. . . has second highest after Ukraine (42 percent) index of share of industrial production in GDP (33.1 percent in the prices of 1995).” Apparently, Belarussians are not “languishing in tyranny” as George W. Bush has said.

According to the 2006 Global hunger Index, Belarus has the “lowest hunger index” among all “transition” economies. According to the UNAIDS, the UN organization dealing with the disease, “Belarus may become one of the first Eastern European country which will stop the spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Inflation stands at about 8%. Belarus, according to the World Bank, has the lowest poverty rate among “transition” economies. Infant mortality, one of the harshest and most telling of indicators in the global economy, is at about 6.5 per 1,000 according to the World Health Organization, which is slightly higher than the U.S. (And this includes continuing problems in neo- natal care in relation to radiation from Chernobyl).

In terms of “real wages” that is, wage rate adjusted for inflation and other distorters, the Lukashenko record has been astonishing. According tot he World Bank, the increases in real wages since 1997 have been the following, from 1997 on, inclusive: 14%, 18%, 7%, 12%, 29%, 7%, 3%, 10%, 16%, ending at 2005, adding up to over a 100% increase from 1997-2004. I wish I lived in a “tyranny” like that.

It might also be worth mentioning that, in trying to interpret the subrational hatred of Lukashenko in the western media and elite circles, that Belarus has a sort of specialty in the oil industry, where it now has the autarkic ability to maintain all aspects of the oil processing/refining industry. In other words, though having no oil itself, Belarus can now perform maintenance on all petroleum refining plants in Russia and elsewhere (especially Venezuela). Furthermore, according to official military sources, Belarus can also perform all possible maintenance on Russian military hardware, of whatever type. This makes Belarus indispensable not only to Russia, but to all militaries throughout the world using Russian equipment, including China. Talk about far-seeing industrial policy. Lukashenko may have been a bad collective farm manager (or so I hear), but he is a first rate economic strategist.

Just for laughs: lets look at the head of the snake: the U.S. 45 million Americans are without health insurance. 0 Belarussians are without health insurance. The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit. Belarus and Russia have a trade surplus. 16% of Americans (i.e. 37 million Americans) live under the poverty line, far higher than in Belarus. For children, the American poverty rate is over 17%. (all stats from the Census Bureau) All American debt, i.e. private and public, is over $44 trillion, far more than the entire worth of the economy (about $7 trillion) and unrepayable. China holds much of this paper. 68% of this debt was created since 1990. Private debt (this is the sector where capitalists say the “rational influence of the market prevails”) has reached $33.7 trillion, about 5 times the size of the above ground economy. This includes credit cards, corporate debt, etc. Next time you see someone in an SUV on her cell, remember this. The top 20% of households in America control almost 87% of the wealth. The bottom 60% (that means me and you) control a whopping 3.7% of the wealth, nearly 100% of which we create (according to the Survey of Consumer Finance, as the Census Bureau does not keep statistics on distribution). Keep in mind also that, according to studies too numerous top mention, the minimum wage, using 1966 as a base, and factoring in all increases in production from labor, should be almost $60 an hour. In other words, the minimum wage in 1966 was about $1.60. Factoring in increases in production, and using the adjusted 1966 figure as a base, the American minimum wage should be nearly 9 times what it is now. Where did that surplus go? Well, it is reflected in the distribution of wealth, the distribution of caffeine-free lattes, and in the combined wealth of Putin’s enemies. Relatively speaking, American wages, adjusted for all distorting variables, have been declining since 1972.

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