Top

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.

Bottom