Putin’s Electronic Crackdown, Part II

Is there a bigger hypocrite on planet Earth than Edward Snowden? Or a more logical place for him to live than Russia, a nation of hypocrites?

No sooner had Snowden arrived in Moscow than Vladimir Putin had embarked on a massive surveillance campaign aimed at Olympic athletes and visitors.  Yet Snowden does not have a word to say about this campaign.  Has this man no shame at all? He’s silent, of course, because he cares nothing about the values of freedom, he cares about attacking the United States. When a country that hates the United States uses surveillance, that’s just fine with Snowden.  The notion that Snowden is some kind of freedom fighter is absolute hogwash.

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker website, LR founder and publisher Kim Zigfeld offers a second installment in her overview of Russia’s neo-Soviet crackdown on freedom of expression. Last week, her AT piece focused on Putin’s effort to take over the Internet through establishing of propaganda websites; this week she takes a look at Putin’s efforts to subvert Internet searching and electronically monitor all Russian citizens, using the Olympic games as a test case.

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Putin and his Paradise of Corruption

A staggering 35 percent of household wealth in Russia is owned by just 110 people, the highest level of inequality in the world barring a few small Caribbean islands, a report by a major investment bank says.  By contrast, billionaires worldwide account for just 1-2 percent of total wealth, Credit Suisse said in its report published Wednesday. Russia has one billionaire for every $11 billion in wealth while in the rest of the world there is one for every $170 billion.

The above report, from the Associated Press, lays bare the myth that Vladimir Putin is serving the interests of the people of Russia.  Instead, the report makes clear, Putin is serving the  interests of a tiny group of oligarchs, despite being brought to power to cleanse Russia of oligarchs.  When Putin attacked men like Berezovsky and Gusinsky, he was not doing so like Robin Hood to return looted billions to the Russian people. Rather, he was simply transferring assets to oligarchs who were more friendly to him and his desire to restore a neo-Soviet state in Russia. Putin’s Russia is not a nation, it is a Ponzi scheme.

And where has this paradise of corruption led Russia as a nation? It stands on the precipice of a double-dip recession, mired in neo-Soviet stagnation.  It does not innovate, and its level of production is a pathetic, laughable 40% of the average achieved by the Fortune 500 corporations.  Instead of weaning itself off dependence on oil, under Putin’s leadership Russia’s addict-like dependence has only become stronger.

Kicking some Rooskie Hiney

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As shown by the chart above, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the United States of America is about to overtake Russia as the world’s #1 producer of oil and gas.  Simultaneously, Russian “Prime Minister” Dima Medvedev penned a long tract in Vedemosti in which he admitted that Russia is descending into neo-Soviet economic stagnation.  And the WSJ reported that Putin’s response to this nightmare is stunningly inappropriate, the exact opposite of what he should be doing:  Instead of pursuing policies to encourage foreign investment, Putin is adopting measures to explicitly choke it off. And he’s embarking on massive new programs to vastly increase military spending while cutting the delivery of basic services to Russian citizens.

Russia is being decimated by the USA in its own bastion of strength, fossil fuels. Nothing could more powerfully express the total blindness and failure of Vladimir Putin as an economics manager.  Russia has seen its economic growth rate spiral relentlessly downward, and now it stands on the precipice of a double-dip recession. Even Putin’s own PM admits that Putin’s policies are failing. And Putin’s response is neo-Soviet crackdown rather than innovation.

Russia is doomed.