Postcards from the Front Lines of the New Cold War against Russia

Over on the mighty Pajamas Media mega blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld analyzes Barack Obama’s decision to make John Tefft the next ambassador to Russia as part of his new policy of cold war and containment against Russia.   After six years, the “reset” policy of Michael McFaul is a smoking ruin, and rising from the ashes is the phoenix of Ronald Reagan. Not only has Putin revived NATO, he may even have taught Obama how to be a man.

In a second, complimentary piece on PJM, Kim explains how the USA can utilize its potent coal and nuclear energy capabilities to help Ukraine and Europe fight back against the Putin dictatorship.  At last, the USA is moving decisively towards all-out confrontation with the malignant Putin regime.


Edward Snowden, Russian Spy!

Not one but two leading figures in the U.S. Congress intelligence establishment have revealed that confidential information leads them to believe Edward Snowden acted with Russian assistance in stealing U.S. security information. Over on the mighty Pajamas Media blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld has all the details, as well as commentary on Putin’s recent interview by ABC News.

Putin’s Peril in Volgograd

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld shows why Putin can’t win in the Caucasus and therefore his only response to the Volgograd bombings will be to continue working hard to silence his critics with the neo-Soviet politics of repression.  Amazingly, Putin has still not made any effort to address his fellow citizens about the terrifying wave of attacks sweeping Southern Russia as the Sochi Olympics draw near.  This is a dereliction of duty in the highest order, and shows Putin has nothing to offer his country other than a return to the failed Soviet past.

Price Controls for Putin’s Imperiled Russia

With the Russian economy in freefall, rather than offering parachutes to his countrymen the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is doling out anvils. He has the country racing full speed towards neo-Soviet collapse.

Russia posted 3.4% GDP growth in 2012, and earlier of this year the World Bank had projected economic growth for Russia of 2.3% for 2013.

That was then.

Last week, the World Bank concluded that Russian growth this year would be a stunningly anemic 1.3%, only slightly more than one-third what Russia achieved last year and just over than half what the World Bank had predicted for this year.  Russia’s failing stock market is reflecting the wider economic malaise.

What’s more, the World Bank has cut projected growth for Russia in 2014 from 3.1% earlier to just 2.2% at present.  If 2013 is any gauge, one can expect that projection to once again be far too optimistic, as last year’s was.

But even at 2.2%, Russia’s numbers would lag far behind the other members of the BRIC group (consisting of Brazil, Russia, India and China) of emerging economies to which Russia is routinely compared, and just as far behind the baseline levels Russia needs to sustain its giant population. China is posting growth at roughly four times Russia’s rate, and it doesn’t have to manage the world’s largest national territory, covering eleven time zones.  Nor is it artificially buoyed by vast fossil fuel exports.

Disturbingly, the Putin economy is faltering even though the crude oil prices that form its bedrock have remained strong.

A county with such vast size as Russia, and such a puny economic base, simply can’t afford such anemic levels of growth.  1% economic growth in the USA, whose economic base is eight times larger than Russia’s despite having only twice as many workers, results in adding $160 billion to the economy, $500 for each American.  That same level of growth in Russia produces just $20 billion, a mere $150 for each Russian.  And Russia has such rampant corruption that the lion’s share of that $150 will simply be stolen rather than reaching the pockets of citizens in need.

As the Financial Times reports, Putin believes Russia faces a truly dire emergency and is taking risky steps which could make the situation much, much worse.  Next year, he plans to implement startling price controls on gas, electricity and railroads.  Putin is terrified, you see, that Russia could begin to experience the devastating phenomenon of “stagflation” in which prices rise out of control even as incomes are falling.
And he’s not wrong to be afraid.

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Russia’s Neo-Soviet Media Crackdown

“When this reporter met Nina Solodayeva, a former Uralasbest security guard and her husband, Ivan Solodayev, who had stage-four lung cancer, a car with the company’s security detailed pulled up to stop the conversation taking place. Solodayeva lost her job that day.”

That’s an excerpt from an article published by ace Russia reporter Anna Nemtsova in Newsweek detailing the collapse of Russia’s Stalinist monotowns.  After visiting many of them, she concludes:  “It is the same story in every monotown I visited. Only freedom of speech and action can provide the sort of jobs needed to replace the old smokestack industries built in Soviet times. But instead of encouraging openness and innovation, the government stands by as dissent is punished and optimism snuffed out.”

In other words, instead of opening facing the problem and trying to solve it, just as in the time of Stalin the Kremlin is seeking to sweep the problem under the carpet and destroy anyone who reports on it.

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker website, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld has more on the story of Putin’s neo-Soviet crackdown on the media, focusing on the often hilariously dishonest “reporting” by Kremlin-controlled TV concerning the Ukrainian uprising.

The Great Russian Stagnation

The Putin economy will actually post less than half the level of economic growth the IMF predicted for Russia at the beginning of the year, and it will be the lame dog of the BRIC group, bringing up the distant rear.  Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld has all the horrifying details.

Tide of Negative Press Sweeps over Putin and Russia

Putin is always late, like a schoolboy, embarrassing his country.

Putin has failed Russia’s villages, and is now reduced to bribing people to leave them as ghost towns.

Putin can’t even keep the lights on in Sochi, and in desperation has cancelled Christmas for its workers.  Meanwhile, yet another Olympic torch bearer burst into flames. Ouch!

Despite a personal appeal in halting English by Putin, Russia loses its World Expo 2020 bid.

While obsessing in a paranoid manner about threats from abroad, Putin is recklessly ignoring the virulent toxins with the body Russia that look poised to destroy the country.

These are these are stories that the BBC, NBC, the Wall Street Journal, the Telegraph, USA Today, the Moscow Times and the Financial Times are telling about Russia. They speak for themselves, don’t they?