Voices from Russia

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Putin Attacks Offshore Havens and Erosion of Traditional Values

00 Putin and old age pensioner. 07.10.12


Editor’s Note:

American Teabaggers praised Putin’s speech… for its moral tone. That’s as good as it goes, but do note that they failed to notice that his foreign policy and economic remarks were in absolute opposition to the shit peddled by the Tea Party… indeed, they’re an adamant declaration of war on the pseudo-intellectual foundations of the TPers. Note well that Wet Willy Romney, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz wouldn’t like VVP’s statist solutions… nor would any of their supporters. Putin wants to chase down those with offshore millions… the GOP praises them. Putin wants to end all military adventuring in foreign parts… the GOP presses for it. Putin supports a robust state-run healthcare and social welfare apparat… the GOP hates it.

The Tea Party sucks up to the rich… VVP stands up to them. I know whom I prefer! Russia jailed Khodorkovsky and the USA lauds Willard Romney… for doing the same thing! One of these things is NOT like the other! You can have VVP’s straight talk or you can have the political porno handed out by the rightwing commentariat (I note overlap between Fox News fans and hardcore porno fans… it’s not minor… shitbirds of a feather DO flock together). Putin ain’t perfect… but he’s far preferable to any of the present lunks in the GOP. You have a choice to make… I made mine. Kaufft nicht bei Limbaugh und O’Reilley. “This substance may be dangerous to your mental health”… ‘nuff said!



President Vladimir Putin blamed the country’s economic problems on unresolved issues at home, rather than external circumstances, the first such admission he’s given since the Russian economy began to slow down. In this year’s annual address to the Federal Assembly on 12 December, Putin proposed a stricter system to repatriate Russian money in offshore havens. He said that reducing the Russian economy’s reliance on offshore havens was one of the central aims of the government’s economic policy, along with such traditional elements as improving productivity and fostering innovation, saying, “We must tax the profits of companies belonging to Russian owners and beneficiaries registered in offshore havens under our own tax code, and they must pay tax revenues to the Russian treasury. We must come up with a system for getting hold of that money”. He added that we must strip companies registered in foreign jurisdictions of their right to receive government support and bid for government contracts.

Putin began his annual speech by criticising… without naming any names… poor implementation of a series of his social policy decrees issued when he began his current term of office on 7 May 2012, noting, “It’s been a year and a half since those decrees came out, but do you know what I see? Either they’re implemented in a way angers the public, or, they’re not being implemented at all”. Andrei Chernyavsky, a senior fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, said that the president’s initiative is sound in theory, but he doesn’t quite see how we can carry it out in practise, observing, “To understand the context of this initiative, we must remember that we’ve entered a period of stagnation. The federal and regional treasuries are struggling, and they need all the help they can get. This is one of the possible mechanisms. We don’t want to raise taxes here in Russia, but we want to increase tax revenues from companies that are part-owned by the state or receive government guarantees”. Putin also called for “a turn towards the Pacific”. His proposals include establishing a network of special economic zones in the Russian Far East and eastern Siberia, with incentives for new businesses that don’t merely exploit Russia’s natural resources.

He stated that Russia also needs tighter controls on immigration, speaking of possible new legislation under which companies and individual entrepreneurs would need to buy special permits to hire foreigners. The regional issuing authority would determine the price of these permits, and the permit would only be valid in the region of issue. Putin’s speech contained strong words about what he called “so-called tolerance, genderless and barren” in the West, and about the erosion of traditional values. In his opinion, now, in many foreign countries there’s a compulsory requirement for the public “to pretend that there is no difference at all between good and evil.” He described the erosion of traditional values as an anti-democratic process pressed on the public against the will of the majority of the people. Boris Makarenko {this snake studied at Princeton in the 90’s… caveat lector: editor}, the head of the Centre for Political Technologies, said that Putin’s remarks about values, which preceded the foreign-policy section of the address, dismayed him, commenting, “These remarks used the kind of language that people in the West stopped using several decades ago”.

Outlining the challenges facing Russia on the international arena, Putin emphasised that the global military-political, economic and information competition is becoming ever more fierce. He said that he believes that Russia must claim leadership to defend international law and uphold respect for national sovereignty. In reference to recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, he stated, “In recent years, we’ve seen several examples of attempts to impose an ostensibly more progressive development model on other countries. In practise, these attempts have led to regressive barbarian outcomes and bloodshed. In Syria, the international community had to make a fateful choice… either we slide towards further erosion of the foundations of the international system, into the principle of ‘might makes right’ and to the proliferation of chaos, or, we make responsible collective decisions”.

From Syria, he moved on to Iran, stressing that it has an inalienable right to develop nuclear energy. However, he added that all the Middle Eastern states must have guaranteed security, saying, “Incidentally, then, some used the Iranian nuclear programme as the main argument in favour of deploying a missile defence system. Now, the Iranian nuclear problem is receding, but the missile defence system remains. In fact, that system is being strengthened even further”. He added that the development of new weapons systems worried Moscow, “Foreign countries’ efforts to increase the capability of strategic high-precision weapons, combined with the growing ability of missile defence systems, could bring to naught all previously-reached agreements on strategic nuclear arms reductions”.

 13 December 2013

Yuliya Ponomareva

Russia Behind the Headlines



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Saturday, 12 January 2013

12 January 2013. RBTH Infographic. Would You Like To Live In Another Country Permanently?

00 RBTH Infographic. Would You Like to Live in Another Country Permanently. 2012


According to state-run pollster VTsIOM, the desire to emigrate from Russia is at a record low despite a turbulent election season marked with a rise in protests. However, the young and the supporters of political hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov, a presidential candidate who participated in the recent demonstrations, are the most likely to voice a desire to leave the country.

29 March 2012

Russia Behind the Headlines



Friday, 25 May 2012

The US No Longer Attracts Talented People


On 22 May, two influential American organisations, The Partnership for a New American Economy and The Partnership for New York City, released a report titled Not Coming to America: Why the US is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent. According to the report, “America’s position as the global magnet for the world’s most talented and hardest-working is in jeopardy”. It goes to say, “For the past two centuries, immigrants coming to America in search of a better life for themselves and their families have fuelled the growth and expansion of the US economy. The United States was built by immigrants, and continues to be built by immigrants. Today, more than 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or a child of an immigrant”.

The three main challenges facing the US now are:

  • A shortage of workers in innovation industries. American students show little interest in such fields as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). As a result, by 2018, the US faces a projected shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers.
  • A shortage of young workers. Whilst the US population’s ageing, the country can no longer produce the expected GDP growth “without dramatic increases in productivity or welcoming more working age immigrants”.
  • A stalled economy. The US has faced years of stunted economic growth. Whilst new businesses are the biggest drivers of job creation, the most recent US Census data show that the number of business startups has hit a record low.

Against such a background, the most worrying tendency is not just the drop in immigrant flow, but even more so, a growing “trend in which ambitious Amer­ican children of immigrants are returning to the nations their parents left… places like China, India, and Brazil… because they see greater opportuni­ties abroad”.

China in this respect is the brightest example. For many years, Americans have grown up to a belief that their country is the most attractive place in the world for the fulfilment of all golden dreams of young and ambitious people. Chinese immigrants have contributed quite a lot to the sustainability of this belief, coming in tens of thousands and exploiting the opportunities. Now, the report stated, “ambitious en­trepreneurs look to plac­es like China, India, Brazil, and Singapore and see enormous markets and opportunities; receptive business climates; and governments that are ea­ger to recruit them”. As a result, China and India now have rising numbers of return migrants… with China offering especially bold and generous incentives to recruit scientists and senior managers. China, the authors’ state, “is proving the most aggressive and am­bitious in this regard. In fact, a large portion of China’s talent strategy in­volves recruiting professionals who are already contributing to the US econ­omy”, and “China’s gain appears to be Amer­ica’s loss”.

The report formulated a number of recommendations for the US government aimed mostly at increasing visa-free travel and the number of working permits for STEM graduates. However, what the authors fail to see is the fact that the above-mentioned tendency isn’t the REASON of the drop in the number of inflowing immigrants and of the growing number of immigrants’ children returning to their home countries. It’s only the CONSEQUENCE of a much broader phenomenon. That’s the obvious reality of the 21st century… the centre of all growth… both political and economic… is shifting from its traditional hub in the “global West” to new emerging economies, with China and India being the foremost, but not the only examples.

Therefore, a simple liberalisation of visa policies or the creation of new special programmes aimed at attracting talented people will hardly help. What’s needed is a total rethinking of the basic principles the US (and consequently, global) economy is presently based on, with one country being in a position to dictate the laws and rules of global economic and financial behaviour, whilst relying on a massive emission of “empty” dollars for its own welfare. Unless the US authorities realise this emerging reality, no new visa rules will help attract more talented people. Nevertheless, the realisation would mean an end to America’s monopoly… a reality no one in the US seems to be ready to wake up to.

24 May 2012

Boris Volkhonsky

Voice of Russia World Service


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