Merely a fleshwound!

Recently I was reading an article on Voice of Russia and I noticed these headlines in the sidebar.

-Weaker rouble could entice more companies to set up shop in Russia

-Weakening rouble viewed as prudent decision

-Weak rouble to trigger growth of local industries

Since maybe a couple weeks ago, the ruble started to rebound from its alarming low of over 35 to the US dollar. At present it’s just under 35.  Of course this is never a problem for publications like Voice of Russia! Weak currency? It will attract more companies to Russia! They certainly aren’t concerned about issues like private property rights, visa restrictions, sanctions, or corruption.  No if the ruble is 35 to the dollar it must mean that everything is really cheap!

This is pretty typical of a lot of the state-sanctioned Team Russia journalism. When there’s a problem they cannot deny or deflect attention from with an inaccurate comparison to another country, the only tactic left in the toolbox is pretending that whatever misfortune has befallen Russia is really an advantage, and those arrogant Western countries will be sorry!


Basically, if a nuclear reactor had a meltdown and wiped out an entire Russian city, Voice of Russia would be writing about how unemployment in small towns is down, or how people are becoming more mobile, or perhaps how Russia is taking a proactive stance against a potential threat of over-population.

Then you’ve got headlines in a similar vein like this one:

-Russia can switch to payments with India, China in national currencies crushing dollar amid sanction

Yeah, we’ve been hearing that for months. In fact you can probably find the same threats that are several years old. It’s just like how the Russian government, in response to Visa and Mastercard pulling out of certain Russian banks, claimed that it already has its own electronic payment system which can replace the two credit card giants.  Okay. Where is it? Why weren’t they using it years ago? We keep hearing all these claims about advances which will give Russia more clout in the global economy but we don’t actually see them.



4 thoughts on “Merely a fleshwound!

  1. Estragon

    “claims about advances” – are they still talking about 2020 as a date of significance when all this great stuff will be implemented? Or have they shut up about that? This was a feature of the Medvedev years, if I recall correctly.

    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      2020? Don’t you mean 2015? Or was it 2012? Or 2010? I can’t think of any specific project at the moment, but I do know that someone claimed they already have that whole payment system thing already built and they just need to “flip the switch.” We saw how well the US government handled the new healthcare website when they had something like 2 years to implement it, so forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical. If this system even exists, the people in charge are no doubt sweating bullets about what would happen if they implement it. A lot of people here are paid with debit cards; so imagine the mess that happened with the closing of Master-Bank last year, only times ten or twenty. Of course this is probably all moot because the system most likely doesn’t really exist or it’s nothing close to functional. I’m leaning towards the former because if this alternative system existed, it seems it would have attracted a lot of attention and possibly investment a long time ago.

      Oh, just for old times, your comment makes this mandatory:

  2. Philip Owen

    The UK tried to implement a national payment card, initially targeted at benefit claimants from Pensioners to single mothers. In principle, it’s a good idea. In practice, the UK’s Government’s inability to manage large IT projects meant huge cost overruns and the project was cancelled. It threatened Post Offices which are used to pay out benefits and it was a proto ID card. The Russian government will have to make it a very lean system to work in a few months which means buying in foreign IT and having no other government systems connected to it, so activity will be very low. As a token, they can do it. As a usual system, it will be years away.

    The settlement in Roubles/Yuan/Renimbi faces similar problems. Medvedev was keen about it after the 2008 crash but a whole new correspondent banking system needs to be created, including some competition (so the banks are haggling not acting) and who will accept the risk? Russia wants to sell oil in Roubles. The Chinese want to buy in Yuan. China matters more to Russia than Russia to China so the pressure is on the Russian side.

    When 60% of your food is imported, a weaker Rouble mostly means inflation.

  3. Pingback: Grasping at straws | Russia Without BS

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