With his nation's economy on
the ropes once again due to his gross mismanagement, Vladimir Putin is falling
back on a tried-and-true Russian response to bad news: The Big Lie. And he's
bringing as many Americans on board as possible to help him carry out his plan,
writes American Thinker, and continues:
In a stunning snub, at the World Economic Forum in
Davos financier George Soros gave Russia the red light. He declared:
"Investing in Russia, I think, is a big
mistake". The Putin regime, he said, "doesn't respect the rule of law".
As a result, Russia is suffering capital flight and brain drain, and is growing
weaker. "So I think Putin has to cling to power because it the only place
he can feel safe; for his personal safety," he said. "Inevitably,
things are moving, and I think Russia will open up, but not necessarily in my
Soros has been, of course, a massive booster of the
Obama administration, which in turn has recklessly pursued a policy it calls
"reset" towards Russia but which can only properly be called
appeasement. So for Soros to trash Obama's best buddy, you know things have to
be pretty bleak indeed in the Land of the Midnight Gun.
The Russians themselves are right behind Soros.
Listen to Alexei Golubovich, the managing director of Arbat Capital, which has
$ 500 million under management: "Our main call for the next six months is
global equities outside of Russia".
Golubovich believes that "the low price to
estimated earnings ratio of Russia's Micex Index is skewed by the weighting of
big stocks with low valuations" and therefore is illusory. He's urging his
clients to get out of Russian equities while they still can, and he has an
equally bleak view of the Russian bond market.
The reason for this dark view is pretty simple: Russia's
economy is still neo-Soviet in character, not a market governed by the rule of
Russia currently ranks in 139th place out of 185
countries and is classified as "mostly unfree" on the Index of
Economic Freedom put out by the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the only folks
who have any real freedom in Russia are the criminals. According to
Transparency International, Russia ranks in 133rd place out of 174 countries
for economic corruption.
Putin's response to this tidal wave of bad economic
news is predictable: He just lies about it. In fact, he's just handed over half
a million dollars to Wall Street gurus Goldman Sachs to have them do it for
Russia Today, one of the Kremlin's numerous
versions of Voice of America, proudly reports: "The Ministry for Economic
Development and Russian Direct Investment Fund agreed to pay up to $ 500,000
over three years to Goldman Sachs to have the country's success stories
delivered to foreign investors, according to Vedomosti daily".
Another version of Voice of America is Voice of
Russia. VOR hosts a blog by NYY Professor Stephen F. Cohen, who tirelessly
beats the drum for Putin just as if he were on the Kremlin's payroll.
To say the least, it's rather disturbing that
Americans like Cohen and the Goldman staff are so willing to assist Putin in
misrepresenting his nation to the world and consolidating his malignant
neo-Soviet grip on the nation's throat.
Putin's approach is just as dishonest when it comes
to the nation's economic data, just as in Soviet times. For instance, he sets
the standard for poverty artificially and absurdly low, so that far fewer
people appear to be "poor" than actually are.
While the USA you are poor if you earn less than
about $ 1,000 per month, in Russia you have to take home less than $ 200 per month
to qualify. And even by that miserly standard, there are 400,000 more Russians
living in "poverty" today than there were in 2007.
If half of Putin's strategy is to lie about the
Russian economy, the other half is to silence those who would tell a different
story. Russia is also spurning cooperation with foreign governments related to
the rule of law, particularly the USA.
It is imposing draconian restrictions on the media,
making it one of the most anti-journalist nations on the planet (it ranks in
148th place out of 179 nations for press freedom according to Reporters without
Borders), and Putin is doing all he can to recreate the Soviet environment in
which Russians are simply cut off from information about their own government
so that it can act with impunity. And Putin has a straightforward response to
those who seek reform through political measures: they are simply shot and
Few will forget how badly Putinomics fared in the
global economic downturn of 2008, certainly not anyone who invested in Russia
just before then. With no fundamentals in place, Russia was among the
worst-performing economies on the planet under stress. Nearly three quarters of
the value of the Russian equity market was wiped out within weeks, the currency
plummeted and only through a massive infusion of reserves was total disaster
Because of his hatred for the United States, Putin
would prefer to continue giving aid and comfort to our enemies rather than to
reform and make Russia a legitimate partner in the global market economy. He
continues to seek out economic ties with rogue nations like Venezuela, Syria,
and Iran, while spurning Europe and the US at every opportunity.
He's able to get away with this policy because
Obama won't call him on it. To the contrary, as incoming Secretary of State
John Kerry has stressed, Obama just wants to hand Russia unilateral concessions
in the hope that Russia will offer less military support to its rogue allies.
Indeed, Obama's failure to tell Americans the truth
about Russia has probably misled many into investing their money in the Putin
dictatorship. As dark economic clouds continue to gather over Putin, those
Americans are going to learn the cost of having Obama as their leader.
Department of Monitoring