First of all, the second episode of the Russian Tuesday podcast is pretty much in the can and will be ready in a few days. Like the first episode, it will be hosted on Youtube, however I will also upload the first two MP3 files to a podcast hosting site for easy downloading.
Secondly, there’s this article about Putin’s response to sanctions from Reuters. Surprise, surprise! Putin says the sanctions aren’t a problem and that they won’t stop Russia’s development. Apparently nobody told him what development means, because that was pretty much stopped even before the sanctions were passed. Development in the modern world means economic growth. Russia’s growth rate for this year was predicted by the finance ministry to be barely above zero, if not zero. Again that’s before sanctions and all this Crimea/Ukraine bullshit. But of course being a representative of the post-Soviet Russian mentality, Putin just says the exact opposite so as to “win.”
This, however, is not the main reason why I chose to highlight this article, however. The real reason is that in the article, Putin once again talks about economic development as Russia’s goal, and he also talks about Russia being “open” and integrated into the world economy. In other words, he’s talking about globalization as a positive thing. The funny thing is that in general, he is right. In a capitalist world, countries succeed by staking out a place in the global economy and becoming competitive. Russia’s success a few years back, indeed a real accomplishment Putin could have pointed to, was all based on Russia appearing as a good market for investment. Had the government done more to reduce corruption and function according to some set of rules, Russia no doubt would have continued to be the R in BRICS, which ought to be changed to BICS given Russia’s flight of capital and near-zero growth.
Of course all this time when Medvedev and Putin put on big exhibitions and conventions for foreign investors in a bid to attract foreign capital, they were paying pseudo-intellectual dipshits to fill the heads of young and old alike with this bullshit idea that Russia is or must withstand globalization. Well, not all of Russia. The elite to this day lives surrounded by all manner of Western or foreign luxury, when they aren’t vacationing, studying, or just plain living in the West. No, it’s the ordinary people who must learn to make do with Russian goods, or if Russia doesn’t manufacture a particular good, go without entirely. In any case, this is why you hear so many ignorant Russians laughing at the sanctions and saying that they don’t matter. Master has told them that Russia can produce all of these things. Russia is resisting globalization! Oh those poor, poor people. If they only knew what is coming. The Soviet Union had a far stronger foundation to resist capitalism even in its ideologically-degenerated state in the 70’s and 80’s. Russia has nothing like this. It is capitalist to the core.
The important point you must take home from this story, however, is that whenever you hear some Russophile like Tim Kirby or Mark Sleboda droning on about Russia standing up to globalization and consumerism, think about stories like this and remember that these guys are full of shit. Russia says one thing to wealthy investors around the world, and pays people to say the opposite to the masses. Putin insists that privatization will continue, while paid hacks tell us that Russia resists neo-liberalism. Russia’s elite, from businessmen to politicians and clergy, adorn themselves with insanely expensive watches, clothes, and foreign luxury cars while they tell the ordinary people that Russia has different values, spiritual values. Nobody in Russia is actually fooled by this nonsense. They’ve just been led to believe, via various means, that they must pretend to see the Tsar’s lovely new clothes.