Voices from Russia

Saturday, 11 January 2014

11 January 2014. Now, For Something Entirely Different… KAMAZ is at the Dakar Rally Yet Again

00 KAMAZ truck at Dakar Rally. 11.01.14


The KAMAZ Master Team is at the Dakar Rally again. No, the Dakar Rally isn’t held in Africa… it used to be, but isn’t anymore, it’s a LOOONG story. KAMAZ is rebuilding after the retirement of world champion Vladimir Chagin. It’s not in the lead, but it’s only 39 minutes off the leader. The last leg is scheduled for tomorrow, 12 July. This is a far cry from frozen Niagara Falls, wot? Have good thoughts, kids…


For more on KAMAZ and the Dakar Rally, click here and here

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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Hugo Chávez, a Man of His Time

00 Hugo Chavez. Venezuela. 08.03.13


Like almost any other outstanding leader, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías polarised society, and assessments of his political legacy will differ dramatically. His rise to international fame was evidence of major shifts in global politics… before him, the presidents of countries like Venezuela rarely became global stars. The feeling that liberalpolitical and economic models had come to dominate the global stage prompted a search for an alternative model. No wonder Chávez and his ardent advocacy of “21st Century Socialism” resonated with left-wingers all over the world, especially in places where discontent with American domination was growing fast.

* “Liberal” is used in the European sense… that is, policies advocated by Anglosphere “conservatives”… that’s why most Americans “misread” Russian political and social commentary. “Conservative” in Russian terms denotes paternalistic nationalism, not godless right-wing laissez-faire buccaneer crapitalism.

No matter what his opponents say about the political system in Venezuela under Chávez, it was definitely not a one-party dictatorship. Overall, Chávez was quick to see that dictatorships were becoming outdated at the end of the 20th century. People around the world, from Eastern Europe to East Asia, from southern Africa to South America, demanded the right to influence their rulers. However, Bolivarian Socialism is unlikely to survive long after Chávez’s death. Like secular socialism, it’s good for redistributing incomes… oil-rich Venezuela will have enough funds for redistribution in the next couple of decades… but it can’t encourage economic efficiency or private enterprise. Chávez’s large-scale foreign policy initiatives will soon wither away, because Venezuela won’t have enough money to satisfy its global ambitions, no matter how high the oil price.

However, this does not mean that Chávez was king for a day, one who didn’t influence the course of history. It may sound shocking, but Chávez wasn’t unlike Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, even though they were diametric opposites politically and very different human beings. Nevertheless, a closer look at these two military men, both of whom became presidents, reveals one more thing they had in common… their policies, even though discarded by their followers, changed the political stage by adding new elements to it.

Chilean President Augusto Pinochet launched neoliberal reforms that revived a Chilean economy undermined by years of shoddy governance, one that the socialist experiments of Salvador Allende Gossens almost finished off completely. Of course, Pinochet’s repressive methods aren’t acceptable, and his economic excesses soon became evident and had to be dealt with. No one mourned his departure, and he spent the last few years of his life hiding from international justice. However, when he ruled the country, he and his supporters promoted a policy of economic responsibility, which is still working. From 1989, when Pinochet left the post of president, until the end of the 2000s, left-wing forces took power in Chile; that is, the dictator’s former opponents, supporters of the man he deposed, Salvador Allende. Yet, Chile remains an efficient state with a stable economy, and the changes launched by subsequent democratic governments haven’t eroded the healthy foundation laid by Pinochet.

The situation in Venezuela is completely different. Chávez added an important element… justice… to Venezuelan politics. Compared to other Latin American countries with a similar social structure, Venezuelan society was extremely segregated, with a haughty aristocracy looking down on the impoverished masses. These masses elected Chávez because they saw him as one of their own, and in response, he turned his policy around to face the poor. You can’t keep redistributing wealth forever, so Venezuela’s policy will change. Yet, even if right-wingers came to power, they’d be unable to ignore what Chávez taught the people, which is to fight for their rights, and, so, these forces would have to maintain the social aspect of their economic policy and, possibly, even strengthen it. Now, “justice” is one of the biggest words in global politics. People demand it when they’re dissatisfied with their country’s economic system and when they question the political privileges of the “chosen” countries, such as the permanent members of the UN Security Council or the G8 nations.

An extravagant and sometimes even grotesque person, Chávez inspired many people in Latin America and influenced global politics through them. The new leaders who’ve come to power in neighbouring countries follow in Chávez’s footsteps by catering to the poor majority. There may not be a future for the inflammatory anti-Americanism of Hugo Chávez, but leaders from Chile and Argentina to Brazil and Mexico have shown that they won’t toe the American line, as their predecessors did in the past. Hugo Chávez was a man of his time. Now that he’s gone, the world won’t only remember his revolutionary statements, but it’ll also remember the measures he implemented to the benefit of his country.

01 Fyodor Lukyanov RIA-Novosti15 March 2013

Fyodor Lukyanov



Wednesday, 12 September 2012

12 September 2012. 9/11 Has a Whole Different Meaning in Chile


On 11 September 1973, rightwing military officers (egged on and supported by Langley) toppled popularly-elected President Salvador Allende Gossens in a coup. President Allende was killed in the rightist rebellion… and his killers (and their children) still sit in high places. Officially, his death is a “suicide”… but some forensic experts concluded that it wasn’t. My view is simple… the soldiers in the coup weren’t careful, they killed Allende when they were supposed to capture him, and the suicide fable is a convenient lie to be told until all the major parties in the coup are dead. “Money talks and bullshit walks”… that’s why such lies gain currency… and not just in Chile, either…


Monday, 4 June 2012

4 June 2012. From the Russian Web… Street Art Throughout the World…

No place listed… it could be anywhere…


Napoli (Napoli Province. Campania Region) ITALY


Ciudad de México (Federal District of MéxicoMEXICO


on the coast of FRANCE


València (València Province. Valencian Autonomous CommunitySPAIN


Sofia (Sofia City Municipality) BULGARIA


Santoña (Trasmiera comarcaCantabria Autonomous Community) SPAIN


New York (New York County) NY USA


San Carlos de Bariloche (Río Negro Province) ARGENTINA


Santiago de Chile (Santiago ProvinceSantiago Metropolitan Region) CHILE



4 June 2012

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