Chumps & Dupes Believe In Putin’s “Heroic Narrative”

Update: Putin’s Useful Idiots

It takes a true chump to swallow the heroic narrative of Putin as the saviour of Russia.

If Putin was the heroic cause of Russia’s recovery since 1998, then there must have been a Putin in each of the eleven other republics, because they all recovered at the same time.

If Putin was not the cause, why did Russia’s economy recover after 1998? Scholars rightly attribute the recovery to the taming of inflation, the creation of minimal institutions of a market economy, and to the currency devaluations that accompanied the Russian economic crisis of 1998. These building blocks of growth were in place before Putin took the reins of power. They were also present in the other former Soviet republics, where the recovery began at the same time.

Second, Putin’s renationalization of Russia’s “national champions” raised the state’s share of the economy to one half. On the eve of Putin, the state owned ten percent of the oil sector. Now, it is between 40 and 45 percent. The Russian state controls half of the banking sector and three quarters of transport. If anything, these shares understate state control. The managers of the still-private large companies realize that they can take no steps that Putin opposes. Although not formally owned by the state, they are still controlled by the state.

Russia’s petro state lives or dies on the basis of energy production and prices. As Russia turned to privatized companies, such as Yukos, TNK, and Sibneft, oil production rose almost 50 percent between 1999 and 2004. After Putin’s renationalizations, both oil and gas production have stagnated to the present day. (See chart from International Energy Statistics.) __Much more at A Second Look at Putin’s Heroic Narrative

It is easy to buy into Russian propaganda, and not so easy to look more deeply into the carefully hidden facts.

The Kremlin’s gamble has gone horribly wrong. The eastern regions of Ukraine have failed to rise in mass support for Putin’s front organisations, led by political operatives from Moscow, and patently run by the Russian security apparatus (FSB/GRU) as even Russian newspapers admit. The latest report by the United Nations accuses these units of “eggregious abuses”, carrying out systematic intimidation through torture and execution.

… The International Energy Agency says Russia needs to invest $100bn a year for two decades just to stop its oil and gas output declining.

Russian companies and state bodies owe $610bn in foreign currencies. They must repay $84bn by the end of the year, and $10bn a month thereafter.

… if Mr Putin’s strategy of a Euro-Asia alliance with China succeeds, it will reduce Russia to a vassal state of China, a supplier of commodities with a development model that dooms it to backwardness. “It is a dangerous illusion. We are witnessing the funeral of Russia,” said Aleksandr Kokh, a former top Kremlin official.

Mr Putin is stuck in a Cold War timewarp, deaf to the shifts in world power. He has been obsessed with an imaginary threat from an ageing, pacifist Europe in slow decline, turning manageable differences into needless conflict.

Yet at the same time he is throwing his country at the feet of a rising power that poses a far greater threat in the end, and that will not hesitate to extract the maximum advantage from Russia’s self-inflicted weakness. __ Putin’s Big Gamble

Unless Putin can find a way to drive oil prices up at least 30% — without destroying the global economy — the future of his grand new empire will be precarious.

Putin has responded to international sanctions on Russia by imposing his own set of sanctions on Russian consumers:

Food ban hurts Russians

Putin’s food embargo puts Russians on new diet

Putin is promising to create new Russian enterprises to replace the embargoed food on Russian supermarket shelves. But all Putin has ever done for the Russian economy is to reduce its diversity, and focus almost all government attention on oil & gas profits — to be skimmed by cronies and quickly whisked away into Swiss bank accounts.

Backwash from Russian sanctions begin to hit Europe Germany may even see a recession before long — but for many reasons, including its disastrous Energiewende fiasco.

The Russian economy is growing increasingly unstable. But as long as Putin controls virtually all media inside Russia, he can saturate the minds of drunken and state-dependent Russians with his “heroic narrative,” certain to fire smoldering nationalist sentiments.

One of the main reasons for having more than 80 percent of the population’s support is his being able to control the public narrative, especially for the older population who rely heavily on Russian state-owned television for news.

While much of the Western world is criticizing Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, Russians who watch TV or read state-owned newspapers believe that Russia’s recent agricultural ban will be a positive for its economy, particularly Russian farmers. __ Brink of Chaos

If the crops rot in the fields for lack of infrastructure, they will never hear about it from Russian state media.

An alternative viewpoint from a Russian economist, highlighting the sense of desperation leaking unintentionally from Moscow.

The exodus of Western capital from Russia following the annexation of Crimea has already made it harder for Russian companies to borrow. Higher interest rates would exacerbate the credit drought and force businesses to fall back on a government that could quickly run down its reserves. Hopes that Russia can dig its way out of economic stagnation would be dashed. __ Moscow Times

This conflict is, at its heart, an economic battle of wills between a neo-imperialist Kremlin, and a western world which would like for Russia to eventually become a civilised nation that refrains from invading and ethnically/culturally cleansing its neighbors.

As long as dupes, chumps, retirees, and drunks continue to believe in Putin’s heroic narrative and neo-imperialist appeal, Russia’s prospects are dreary.

Note: It is often argued that Putin is a better president than is US President Obama. And indeed it is difficult to argue which is the more destructive to his own and other countries. Each cultivates a “cult of personality” which takes in dupes and invites cronies. Fortunately, it is not necessary to dwell on which is the worse of the two evils. The important decision making rests on altogether different criteria.

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8 Responses to Chumps & Dupes Believe In Putin’s “Heroic Narrative”

  1. soren says:

    “If Putin was the heroic cause of Russia’s recovery since 1998, then there must have been a Putin in each of the eleven other republics, because they all recovered at the same time.”

    Complete f’n Bullshit… Russia has a bunch better economy than Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine… Poland borders Germany and has been heavily subsidized… the Baltic states are heavily invested in by the nordic states.

    • alfin2101 says:

      When an entire region such as Eastern Europe has been run into the ground for decades by people such as the sadistic ideologues who populated the Soviet regime, foreign investment is crucial for recovery, probably over a long period of time.

      Russia herself is critically in need of foreign investment, but business risk inside Russia is growing higher and higher. Putin is only making things worse with his blustering bad habit of invading and partially dismantling neighboring states. Exxon and several other western oil companies were willing to jump in and invest hundreds of billions in upgrading the decrepit Russian oil & gas infrastructure, but that is mostly up in the air now.

      Putin tried to build his empire on income from stolen natural resource assets. In the end, he and his cronies are bleeding Russia dry, leaving a dessicated corpse to be picked over in the future by China and former Soviet client states.

  2. Dave says:

    So basically you’re saying Putin, and Eastern Europe in general, should just fold up and let the Atlanticist/Globalist parasites in New York/London/Brussels move in and take over, you know, for the benefit of the Russian people ? You must be kidding. You have to be kidding.
    Under Yeltsin, the West started draining the financial and natural resources almost as soon as the Iron Curtain fell, and it wasn’t going to benefit the Russian people in any way, shape or form. Talking about Putin invading and dismantling states ? Like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria?
    Good God man, get a grip on yourself.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Right. As in, “Good God, Jim! Get a grip on yourself!” per Dr. McCoy, aka “bones.”

      Try not to pose false dichotomies. Exposing one evil does not amount to advocating other evils. And try not to tell someone else at first glance “what he is saying,” because you are quite likely to be misinterpreting on impulse.

      You are wrong to say that Putin invaded Afghanistan, although the Soviet wrecking crew did a job on the place a few decades ago. What the Soviets didn’t wreck, the Taliban obliterated. The current Russian presence in Afghanistan is mainly limited to intelligence assets, the occasional special forces operator, and arms dealers. (and drug dealers)

      Likewise, Putin did not invade Syria, rather radical Sunnis trying to overthrow the dictator Assad are responsible. Russians have played a pivotal role in the ongoing conflict, of course, and in that sense you are correct.

      Iraq is a special case, for although Putin’s agents may have helped supply weapons to all sides of the conflict, Russian forces are not in the country in large numbers.

      Libya is truly a stretch, although such anarchies do tend to attract opportunistic arms dealers from all factions.

      Just kidding, of course. But you should watch that blood pressure. 😉

      “Everything you think you know just ain’t so.” That is the watchword of science and sceptics everywhere, guaranteed to make them check and recheck their assumptions on a regular basis. The trick is knowing how deeply into the data you have to dig before you can stop, and move on.

  3. bob sykes says:

    I don’t believe Russia is quite the basket case you make out, and it is clearly in better shape in all categories today than it was 10 to 20 years ago. The nadir was under Yeltsin.

    Russia does have problems, but you are missing the big picture. It is the White race as a whole that is in deep trouble. In every country, the White population is stagnant or declining both as a percentage of the population and in actual numbers. Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, etc, etc. are all losing White people. The White population of the US will be a minority (greatly celebrated by Progressives) in a generation. American White school kids are already a minority.

    The economies of all the advanced countries are stagnant or in decline. In both Europe and the US, median incomes have been falling for 30 years, and household wealth held by the lowest 75% has also been declining. Young middle class people in both the US and EU are finding it very difficult to get any kind of work, with unemployment rates at Great Depression levels, and the Americans are burdened with unprecedented debt. Young White people cannot afford to marry or buy houses. The marriage delay means further population declines are baked in.

    Lower class whites have adopted all the behavioral disfunction’s and non-function of the black underclass, which underclass is the principal threat to American security.

    However, the Ruling Class of every advanced country (not just Russia) is increasing its share of the national income and wealth and expanding its power over the rest of the population.

    Europe is being invaded by savages from North Africa and the Middle East, and America is being colonized by peasants from Mexico and Central America. In both cases, the invaders are hostile to the local culture, are very low IQ, unskilled, violence prone, and largely illiterate. Many of the so-called Hispanic invaders are Indios who don’t speak Spanish and are not assimilated to Hispanic culture.

    These so-called migrations are the largest population movements since the Germanic invasions of the Western Roman Empire 1500 years ago. The chief difference being that the Germans were a high-quality, high-IQ stock that admired Roman civilization and wanted to become part of it. In fact, they by and large merely replaced the existing Roman ruling class and keep all the institutions going. The West Empire did not descend into a Dark Age until the Muslims captured North Africa and Spain and closed the Mediterranean.

    The black and brown people who will take control of America and Europe will not be able to maintain the economies or cultures built by White people. Western Europe’s future is North Africa and the Middle East; America’s future is Mexico and Brazil.

    The situations in the US/EU are very similar to Peter Turchin’s and Sergey Nefedov’s “Secular Cycles” theory: stagnating economies, declining lower/middle class incomes, expanding elites–all leading to economic and social collapse. That theory was developed for agricultural civilizations and appears to describe their evolution. But it appears to describe the situation in the modern industrial societies as well. We’ll see.

    Thirty years from now, Russia might actually be better off than the US/EU.

    • alfin2101 says:

      On the other hand, thirty years from now, Russia as we know it may not even exist. As Russia’s plight grows more desperate, the threat of expanding war grows greater. The future of Russia hinges on global oil prices, and on how soon China decides to make its move.

      The only reason to even mention Russia in this blog, is the dangerous and casual re-igniting of the threat of nuclear war by the bombastic neo-imperialist regime of Putin.

      Nuclear weapons require maintenance, and maintenance has never been Russia’s strong point. This is also true of any third world nation with low average levels of intelligence. But Russia’s problem is not necessarily low levels of intelligence, but rather low levels of motivation. And as we know, motivation can be more important to success than raw intelligence alone.

      As far as the world’s ongoing dysgenic decline due to differential birth rates among populations, that is a topic that this blog has not neglected. As I have said many times before, focusing the spotlight on one problem is not the same as denying all the other problems which exist. Beware the red herring fallacy.

      BTW, Russia was bound to experience severe economic hits in the 90s regardless of leadership, due to the economic state of the USSR at the time of collapse. In such a transition from a pretend economy to a global market economy, there is no escaping severe economic consequences — while the elements of a real economy are being assembled. I recommend that you read the Forbes article linked at the top of the above posting. The excerpts included in the posting are a mere hint at the author’s argument.

      • bob sykes says:

        I think the aggressor in the Ukraine is clearly the US/EU/NATO. They began the crisis by staging a coup d’etat to remove Yanukovsky. Putin’s actions have been reactive, and aside from the annexation of Crimea (which rights a Communist wrong and is locally supported) he has actually been tentative. His bottom line is to prevent a NATO army in Ukraine, but he will happily take more of eastern Ukraine if he can get it at low cost.

        The actual monsters today are US/EU/NATO. They have been on a rampage since the fall of the Soviet Union and have spread violence and terror everywhere in their quest for total dominance: Granada, Panama, Serbia, Kosovo, Iraq (twice) Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine.

        Our Ruling Class’s immigration and economic policies also spell disaster for the West. While it is possible, or even likely, that today’s Russia will disappear (some polity or polities will remain), it is also very possible the US will fragment and be sunk in a three-way race war.

      • jabowery says:

        If a nuclear war destroys the centers of power, it will remove the primary power behind race replacement of European peoples world-wide: Their own so-called “leaders”. I think this is the real motive behind people looking on Putin as their “savior”. Therefore, if one wants to take out Putin, one has to first take out those who have turned civilization into a genocidal machine against European peoples.

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