Voices from Russia

Saturday, 26 August 2017

26 August 2017. VVP’s Wry Comment on the Anglos

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VVP has no illusions about the Anglos. He finds them violent, dishonest, self-centred, and brutal. Therefore, he believes that Russia must build strong defences to deter American aggression (which they deliver with smarmy self-righteousness and pseudo-piety). Russia is defending its interests… as are China and Iran. If you listen to the Western MSM narrative and believe it, you’re stupid, and I’m not ashamed to put it that way…

BMD

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

From February to October

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In his Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, President Putin placed special emphasis on the anniversaries of the February Revolution and the October Revolution:

This is a good moment for looking back on the causes and nature of these revolutions in Russia. Not just historians and scholars should do this; Russian society in general needs an objective, honest, and deep-reaching analysis of these events.

Indeed, history is a great teacher giving us a variety of cases and making us draw numerous lessons. However, we need to learn from our experience and apply our knowledge to specific circumstances and particular landscape for these lessons to be more than just a tribute to the memory of the events. We must learn from our historical, political, and social errors and contribute to the state’s development. The available data shows clear evidence that the February Revolution and the October Revolution had roots in a complex mix of internal and external factors. We should particularly emphasise that problems leading to a coup or a revolution aren’t exclusively domestic ones. Still, A M Gorchakov, an outstanding diplomat and Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire, who studied the French revolutions that broke out in 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1871, quite rightly noted:

Unless the government has made an error, a revolution won’t break out; the government is to blame for every revolution.

Therefore, let’s consider the contemporary internal political situation in the Russian Empire. 1917 became a turning point in the period of Russian history that started with the 1861 Emancipation Reform abolishing serfdom. Although it was the most important of the “Great Reforms”, however, it laid a foundation for future social upheavals. In fact, the emancipation of the serfs impoverished them. The reform took 20 percent of land away from serfs, and the size of land allotment almost halved, shrinking by 43 to 50 percent (5.24 hectares per person earlier against 2.84 after the reform). Meanwhile, those people had trouble assimilating into urban life, so numerous serfs were on the edge of survival. In retrospect, one can justifiably state that the events of 1917 were the direct continuation of the events of 1905 and completed earlier processes.

Secondly, the integration of largely agrarian Russia into the world capitalist system, which started in the 1850s, adversely affected most of the population. The country experienced two opposite trends. On the one hand, foreign investment allowed introducing new technologies and constructing plants, factories, and roads, with foreigners owning 90 percent of Russian mines, 50 percent of chemical enterprises, 40 percent of metallurgical and machine-building plants, and 30 percent of textile mills. On the other hand, the rising export of resources, including capital, needed to support economic development, stood in the way of the emerging Russian bourgeoisie. To put it differently, foreign capital was both an engine and a brake on domestic savings, and the country gradually gave up its financial and resource independence. As a result, industrialisation was in its initial stages up until World War I. Industry earned 6 billion roubles, whilst agriculture remained the major source of national wealth, earning 24 billion roubles, accounting for 75-80 percent of GDP. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the population worked in agriculture, and the rural population constituted 87 percent of the total.

Thirdly, the state’s growing dependence on foreign loans provoked revolutionary upheavals. Russia accounted for 1.998 billion USD, or 31.2%, of the total external debt accumulated by all countries, and amounted to 6.317 billion USD by early 1914. However, the state remained the largest landowner, factory-owner, wholesale merchant, creditor, and so on. Naturally, capital-owners strongly opposed the situation, which fuelled tension between wealthy capitalists and the state. The big bourgeoisie mainly aimed to reduce the role of the state in the economy and limit it as much as possible; their idea was to transform capital into power. The fourth reason translating into large-scale demonstrations across the country was a logical extension of the above-mentioned causes. On the one hand, the difficult socioeconomic situation aggravated by the war provoked political disgruntlement. On the other hand, wealthy capitalists actively backing workers’ councils and establishing an extensive network of organisations fuelled popular resentment. Since 1916, prices rose four- or fivefold, and Russia saw a four-time increase in cash, with gold, in fact, withdrawn from circulation. Strike movements, unrest in villages, and rebellions on the periphery were exhausting and destabilising the state.

Weak government enjoying little popular support constituted a fifth, and perhaps most important, cause of the February Revolution, with the enrichment of the few accompanied by the impoverishment of the many. Specifically, Carl Fabergé received an unprecedentedly high number of orders in the crisis year of 1916. Thus, the paralysis of the state, mostly of the national security agencies, gripped the country. Already at war, Russia had a systemic crisis, resulting in the élite’s inability to perform its basic functions, infrastructure disruptions, and ultimately overt sabotage. As such, the revolution didn’t break out until the Tsar’s abdication, specifically until Nikolai II left his people and army to their own devices. Until then, one could see events as a plot or a rebellion, quite reversible phenomena. However, the Emperor’s abdication unleashed irreversible, and at the same time, most radical, processes, with the February Revolution followed by the October Revolution.

Finally, one should again point up that the internal factors of the February Revolution emerged full blown in the context of the world political game. The February Revolution came to be of crucial importance in the struggle for European and global primacy waged by Great Britain and its allies. Specifically, the fight aimed at erasing Russia from the geopolitical map and reducing it to a resource source, which was impossible to accomplish without the deposition of Nikolai II. At the Tsar’s abdication, Lloyd George actually said in Parliament:

[Through this], Britain achieved one of its major war aims.

Finally, yet importantly, the February events have a special meaning amid more frequent coups, more broadly known as “colour revolutions”. Current seizures of power fit into the structural pattern of the 1917 February Revolution, as they tend to capitalise on popular discontent to cause political destabilisation and breed opposition groups. Globalisation-shaped technological innovations also affect this. Whilst anti-monarchy propaganda circulated via newspapers and leaflets, today’s new mass media network takes the place of the press, revolutionary clubs, and strike committees. At the same time, the “Februarists” and contemporary “revolutionaries” share similar tasks and objectives, namely the overthrow of the state. Moreover, the February events and putsches have another important aspect in common, particularly their essential requirement to neutralise, even liquidate, the political leader. His or her deposition (or assassination) presages chaos, civil wars, and economic and political devastation, rather than the triumph of freedom and law.

8 April 2017

Yelena Ponomareva

Professor MGIMO

Rethinking Russia

http://rethinkingrussia.ru/en/2017/04/from-february-to-october/

Monday, 10 July 2017

10 July 2017. A Point to Ponder from Vladimir Putin

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Russia and the USA don’t have any significant ideological differences, but we do have fundamental cultural differences. Individualism lies at the core of the American identity, whilst Russia has been a country of collectivism. One student of Pushkin’s legacy formulated this difference very aptly. Take Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind, for instance. She said, “I’ll never be hungry again”. This is the most important thing for her. Russians have different, far loftier ambitions… more of the spiritual kind. It’s more about your relationship with God. We have different visions of life. That’s why it’s very difficult to understand each other, but it’s still possible.

Vladimir Putin

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Why Putin Won’t Reveal the Names and Ages of His Grandchildren

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Editor:

Compare Putin’s sanity to the sick publicity-seeking of such amoral filth such as Donald Trump and the Clintons (and their dysfunctional families). I needn’t add anything more.

BMD

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As a popular and influential world leader, V V Putin faces a serious dilemma… how can his family expect to lead a normal dignified existence when there are so many crazy people with selfie sticks who’d love to chase them down in the streets of Moscow? Of course, this is more or less standard practise in the “civilised” Anglo-Saxon world, where they fawn over royal babies from birth, who then later in life develop cocaine habits; and in America, they even make goofy movies starring Sinbad about the First Kid. Imagine the psychological trauma. Putin doesn’t want his grandchildren growing up to be Chelsea Clinton. Therefore, on Thursday, during his nationally broadcasted Q&A session, he made it clear why he doesn’t parade his family around the Kremlin for the tabloid press (in fact, he doesn’t even feel the need to divulge the names of his grandchildren, or even how old they are):

You know, my children, my daughters, live a normal life here in Moscow, contrary to all rumours. I also have grandchildren. They live a normal life, too. I don’t want them to grow up as “blue bloods”; I want them to develop into normal human beings. For that, they need ordinary human interaction as part of a children’s community. Once I expose their ages and names, they’d harass them immediately. That would damage a child’s development. Therefore, I’d like to ask you to treat my position with understanding.

We can already imagine the Daily Beast headline:

“Putin threatens to kill journalists who stalk his infant grandchildren”.

16 June 2017

Russian Insider

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/why-putin-will-not-reveal-names-and-ages-his-grandchildren/ri20126

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