About two weeks ago I had the pleasure of being on This is Hell!, one of my favorite leftwing podcasts to talk about Russia, Navalny, protest, and Putin.
Chuck and his crew were kind enough to let me re-purpose the interview as part of the SRB Podcast.
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By Sean — 10 years ago
What a way to start a campaign. Dmitri Medvedev officially becomes a candidate for President of Russia and the stock market tanks. Probably not the soundtrack he would have chosen for his coming out party. The Russian press is screaming in terror. I’m sure someone will eventually blame it on the Americans.
The Russian stock market lost 7 percent of its value on Monday in what the The Moscow Times says is being called “The Massacre.” And a massacre it is. Recession is back. Locked and loaded. India “sank” to 11 rounds of percentage bullets. Today alone, Japan was “down” with 5. Australia had its “biggest fall” with 7 in the gut. Europe had its “worst day” with 3 logged in its arm. All you heard in the markets was “Bang! Bang! Bang!” The FT says that Recession will hit the US in the morning. The US is going down.
Yes, Recession is back. In the last two weeks sightings of Recession were reported everyday. He’s so badass that some papers won’t even mention his name. They call him the “R-word.” If you’re trembling in your boots, I suggest reading the Washington Post‘s fable “5 Myths About That Depressing R-Word” to bring some comfort to your sleepless nights. Apparently the R-word is good for you! “Americans get healthier as the economy gets worse,” writes Kevin Hasset. And unemployment is good for you too.
Unemployment tends to increase during recessions, but economist Christopher J. Ruhm of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has found that a temporary one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 0.5 to 0.6 percent reduction in the mortality rate, or about 14,000 fewer deaths per year.
So you can keep eating all that fast food from McDonalds, chomping on those big Family size bags of Dorritos from Walmart, and drinking the flat of 48 cans of Coke from Cosco. Keep filling up your yuppie tank. Keep feeding that credit card. Consume, consume, consume. Recession is not here yet. And when he does some dudes from the Business Cycle Dating Committee promises to let us all know. When Recession does come, they promise to get out all their “indicators” to start testing whether Economy’s personal income pressure is low or high, its unemployment is stable, and if its industrial production, sales volume, and manufacturing volume are at the right levels. All “to determine the health” of Economy. Man, sounds like Economy gets better healthcare than most people in the world. Hey, Recession might be healthy for Americans, but Economy is dying over here!
Well, those guys at the Business Cycle Dating Committee better bring some thick bandages with all their indicators because Recession is pumping Stock Market full of lead.
Russia is catching some good chunks of it. Some of Russia’s biggest companies were hit. The backbone of its economy. Here is the tally from Kommersant:
Surgutneftegaz stock, down 10.5 percent on the RTS and 9 percent on MICEX. On MICEX, Norilsk Nickel was down 7.7 percent, RAO UES of Russia 8.4 percent, LUKOIL 7 percent and Sberbank 7.5 percent. On RTS, RAO lost 8.8 percent, Norilsk Nickel 8.3 percent and LUKOIL 7.8 percent.
Vedomosti added Gazprom Oil, Tatneft (both 9 percent), and Gazprom (7 percent) to its list of Russian casualties.
There’s a word for this. Bloodbath.
When you’re in the capitalist gang, no one player gets shot. Recession uses some pretty high powered weaponry. His bullets spray. Sadly for investors Russia is no longer “a safe haven amid the global rout.” That’s the price you pay, Konstantin Sonin reminds Russia, for “keeping faith in the United States’ economy and democracy.” Dastardly Americans!
The convergence of Medvedev’s campaign and Russia’s stock slide didn’t escape Vedomosti. “Is the Bear full?” it asked. I wonder if Dima is thinking to himself, “Do I really want to take another bite? This Russian Presidency stuff is starting to taste kinda shitty.”Post Views: 40
By Sean — 2 years ago
Andrei Tsygankov is a Professor in the departments of Political Science and International Relations at San Francisco State University where he teaches Russian/post-Soviet, comparative and international politics. His most recent book is Russia’s Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity.
The Heptones, “Message from a Black Man,” Studio One Soul, 2001.Post Views: 292
By Sean — 9 years ago
The barrage of mass protest fired in Russia’s far east ten days ago echoed with a whimper as opponents of the import car tax hike staged actions across Russia. Today’s protests lacked the manpower of the previous ones, and in Vladivostok, the epicenter of the movement, OMON easily dispersed a crowd of around a 500 people. Police detained about 30 100 people among them included protesters, onlookers, journalists, and broadcast footage by REN-TV’s Valentina Troshina. Here’s a BBC video of the zachistka.
The columns of cars which were so successful in paralyzing Vladivostok ten days go also had limited success. One column of around 40 cars were able to make it to the center of town where the honked their horns. Another column of about 30 cars jammed Magnitagorsk street, while a third of about 30 cars waved flags as they circled the town center. No mass traffic disruption seemed to materialize.
In addition to Vladivostok, sparsely attended protests occurred throughout the country. Actions in South Sakhalin, Barnaul, Blagoveshchensk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, and Khabarovsk were without incident. Police reported that about 25 people (another source says 150) gathered in legal protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg, a number that was completely overshadowed by the 1,500 police and 600 GUVD officers mobilized to contain the actions. About 300 people gathered on Lenin Square in Novosibirsk without incident.
The Vladivostok protests were called hastily, poorly organized and mired in confusion. According to RIA Novosti, the call for today’s protests came from car enthusiast websites. Auto organizations said that they never called for a protest and weren’t going to participate in it. In fact, Dmitrii Penyaz, the leader of the Society for the Defense of Drivers and provincial Duma rep, urged his supporters to not participate in Sunday’s illegal action claiming that they were the work of opportunists. “Now we clearly see the jobbery of our problem among you–unknown provocateurs encourage mass disorder for the purpose of not solving our painful problems, but for the destabilization of the situation in the region.”
It does appear that opposition parties of all stripes are jumping on the tax protest bandwagon. For example, in Kaliningrad, the local branches of the KPRF, Patriots of Russia, the Left Front, and the National Bolsheviks used the car protests to agitate against corruption, high fuel costs, and public services. Most of the protesters, however, carried signs and slogans about the car tax. On Friday, the newly constituted “opposition” force, Solidarity, gave their support to the car tax protesters. In a statement published in Ezhednevnyi zhurnal, they said the tax hike was Putin’s effort to “protect oligarchs close to him, the owners of automakers S. Chemezov (AvtoVaz) and O. Deripaska (AvtoGaz). Such actions have no use except to raise the price of cars and preserve the remaining Russian auto industry. In fact, in choosing between the 20 million motorists and the oligarchs, Putin chose the latter.” The statement went on to call for officials to drive domestic made cars.
To Solidarity’s and other Russian liberals’ chagrin, the domestic upheaval they’ve all been wishing and waiting for didn’t happen. And if recent polls are any indication, they won’t happen anytime soon. Plus if the nightmare scenarios being peddled in relation to the proposed changes to the treason law have any validity, the Kremlin won’t let it happen anyway.
One possible reason for Sunday’s low turnout is that Putin made a preemptive strike. Putin’s move: economic nationalism to feed protestors’ economism. First, he called on the social sector, police and rescue services to buy domestic cars, saying the government would allocate $450 million to fund. He encouraged state owned companies and large private companies to do the same. In addition, Russia’s state investment bank is considering giving Russia’s “Big Three” a total of $616 million in loans to help prop up the industry. Lastly, Putin suggested that next year the government would begin to subsidize loans for individuals to buy domestic cars under $12,500 or less. Whether this will change Russians’ preference for foreign cars is unknown, and probably unlikely.
This is all nice, but wholly ineffective in the long term. Especially since Russia is now intimately tied to global capitalism. The current economic crisis has shown that while capital remains uneven, it shockwaves bat all nation’s shores. Remember VVP, as Marx famously wrote, capital batters all “Chinese walls.” You might as well recognize that Russia’s walls are in the dead center of capital’s cannonade.Post Views: 52