- Oct 2010
Capitalism has been warmly embraced by Putin and his oligarchs.Well, no reason to read any further into your posts, even if you did try to back up statements you pull out of your ass! And you don't seem to understand what the term "egalitarian" means either!
Books I value that have been written about life in the former Soviet and satellite East Bloc states, like "Red Hangover" by Kristen Ghodsee (which I've mentioned a number of times in the past) add weight behind a theory of a number of historians and political scientists, that it was the Soviet Bloc's modest egalitarianism that brought down communism and all talk of socialism, NOT because of what we were told: popular disenchantment of common workers seeing TV images of Germans and other westerners wearing fancy clothes and driving fancy cars- NO, it was the elite, professional communist managers who were jealous of their western counterparts when they started meeting and learning about them and how they lived, during Gorbachev's "Glasnost" period. They discovered that their relatively paltry perks given to the Soviet management class (clunky Russian, Czech or Yugoslavian-made cars, comparatively small single-detached homes and summer cottages along Black Sea resorts) were a fraction of what the western millionaire executives had back then.....let alone now! And they wanted to live like the millionaires and billionaires in London and New York.
The Soviet leadership class decided quietly among themselves during that time of Glasnost that "Perestroika" or restructuring...mostly re-localizing and privatizing state socialist enterprises wasn't going to be good enough! And they were set on crashing the system and privatizing everything in a grand neoliberal experiment, that caused the untimely deaths of milliions of mostly older(but some younger...especially women with young children who were forced into prostitution to earn money for rent) Russians, East Germans and other Soviets who lost pensions and all other income support, including loss of low cost apartments with privatized real estate. In the early 2000's, more than half of Russia's population had collapsed below international guidelines determining poverty, and were suffering malnutrition and dying at younger and younger ages, while a few....mostly former Soviet Communist Party officials became the new class of billionaires in a transition that was welcomed by the West.*
As Stephen Cohen, the Soviet and Russian scholar at Columbia University who used to be consulted frequently by US leaders describes modern Russia has described the situtation, it shouldn't be a shock to any Americans or outsiders that Vladimir Putin became quickly regarded as a hero in Russia, because of the disaster he had to take control of, as well as purging the western -oriented plutocrats and demanding Russian business leaders be loyal to their nation.
For some stupid reason, we were told during the Cold War era that the conflict with the Soviets and China was because of communism, and once communism was replaced with capitalism, everything would be fine....."The End of History!" Naturally, capitalists see communism and even watered down versions of socialism to be threats to their grand plans. But, the real threat of global nuclear war takes off when the former communist countries become capitalist, but as in the cases of Russia and China, the capitalist classes over there see themselves as deserving a better share of global business and revenues, and refuse to be relegated to the sidelines by American and Euro plutocrats.
*This is the backstory behind a few scandals and fake stories....like American expat criminal businessman- Bill Browder (who renounced his US citizenship to escape justice) and became one of a few foreigners who thought they were going to go to Russia and profit from the mess left by Russia's transition to capitalism. Like so many others, the game is buy up cheap assets and become filthy rich. Browder concocted a fake story that his accountant- Sergei Magnitsky - was beaten to death by Russian prison guards, as a cover for his attempt to defraud the Russian Treasury by creating fake shell corporations. All a game to create an international "Magnitsky Act" and portray Russian capitalism as somehow more fraudulent than what runs out of Wall Street and other financial hubs in the world.
A few people I have talked to and one I know personally, who lived through this wonderful period of transition to capitalism, consider it a hellish experience they were lucky to escape from......and see the same dark future over here as the capitalist class grinds us working people down for more and more profits! Capitalism promotes inequality, jealousy, consumer-materialism and antisocial thinking and behavior, as the capitalist society becomes more and more unequal and poverty increases.
After a dip in the poverty rate in the early 2000s, poverty is on the rise in Russia.
Putin and his oligarchs performed no miracles in the early to mid-2000s. This happened to the price of oil:
Gloss it all you want, the last 100 years of Russian history document Russians screwing Russians, massive corruption, and strong belief in the principle: Screw the other guy before the other guy screws you.