Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 17, 2020

More Pressure On Russia Will Have No Effect

Over the last years the U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure on Russia. They seem to believe that they can compel Russia to follow their diktat. They can't. But the illusion that Russia will finally snap, if only a few more sanctions ar applied or a few more houses in Russia's neighborhood are set on fire, never goes away.

As Gilbert Doctorow describes the situation:

The fires burning at Russia’s borders in the Caucasus are an add-on to the disorder and conflict on its Western border in neighboring Belarus, where fuel is poured on daily by pyromaniacs at the head of the European Union acting surely in concert with Washington.

Yesterday we learned of the decision of the European Council to impose sanctions on President Lukashenko, a nearly unprecedented action when directed against the head of state of a sovereign nation.
It is easy enough to see that the real intent of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Kremlin, which is Lukashenko’s guarantor in power, to compound the several other measures being implemented simultaneously in the hope that Putin and his entourage will finally crack and submit to American global hegemony as Europe did long ago.
The anti-Russia full tilt ahead policy outlined above is going on against a background of the U.S. presidential electoral campaigns. The Democrats continue to try to depict Donald Trump as “Putin’s puppy,” as if the President has been kindly to his fellow autocrat while in office. Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump’s presidency has been one of never ending ratcheting up of military, informational, economic and other pressures in the hope that Vladimir Putin or his entourage would crack. Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers, the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child’s play.

The U.S. arms industry lobby, in form of the Atlantic Council, confirms the 'western' strategy Doctorow describes. It calls for 'ramping up on Russia' with even more sanctions:

Key to raising the costs to Russia is a more proactive transatlantic strategy for sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin’s power base, together with other steps to reduce Russian energy leverage and export revenue. A new NATO Russia policy should be pursued in tandem with the European Union (EU), which sets European sanctions policy and faces the same threats from Russian cyberattacks and disinformation. At a minimum, EU sanctions resulting from hostilities in Ukraine should be extended, like the Crimea sanctions, for one year rather than every six months. Better yet, allies and EU members should tighten sanctions further and extend them on an indefinite basis until Russia ends its aggression and takes concrete steps toward de-escalation.

It also wants Europe to pay for weapons in the Ukraine and Georgia:

A more dynamic NATO strategy for Russia should go hand in hand with a more proactive policy toward Ukraine and Georgia in the framework of an enhanced Black Sea strategy. The goal should be to boost both partners’ deterrence capacity and reduce Moscow’s ability to undermine their sovereignty even as NATO membership remains on the back burner for the time being.

As part of this expanded effort, European allies should do more to bolster Ukraine and Georgia’s ground, air, and naval capabilities, complementing the United States’ and Canada’s efforts that began in 2014.

The purpose of the whole campaign against Russia, explains the Atlantic Council author, is to subordinate it to U.S. demands:

Relations between the West and Moscow had begun to deteriorate even before Russia’s watershed invasion of Ukraine, driven principally by Moscow’s fear of the encroachment of Western values and their potential to undermine the Putin regime. With the possibility of a further sixteen years of Putin’s rule, most experts believe relations are likely to remain confrontational for years to come. They argue that the best the United States and its allies can do is manage this competition and discourage aggressive actions from Moscow. However, by pushing back against Russia more forcefully in the near and medium term, allies are more likely to eventually convince Moscow to return to compliance with the rules of the liberal international order and to mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The 'rules of the liberal international order' are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy.

But as Doctorow said above, Putin and his advisors stay calm and ignore such trash despite all the hostility expressed against them.

One of Putin's close advisors is of course Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations he recently touched on many of the issues Doctorow also mentions. With regards to U.S. strategy towards Russia Lavrov diagnoses:

Sergey Lavrov: [...] You mentioned in one of your previous questions that no matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.

Question: Their national security strategy states that they will do so.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.

Question: You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the other way round. I can use the language I’m not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance, and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I’m convinced that we must abide by international law.

Russia does not accept the fidgety 'rules of the liberal international order'.  Russia sticks to the law which is, in my view, a much stronger position. Yes, international law often gets broken. But as Lavrov said elsewhere, one does not abandon traffic rules only because of road accidents.

Russia stays calm, no matter what outrageous nonsense the U.S. and EU come up with. It can do that because it knows that it not only has moral superiority by sticking to the law but it also has the capability to win a fight. At one point the interviewer even jokes about that:

Question: As we say, if you don't listen to Lavrov, you will listen to [Defense Minister] Shoigu.

Sergey Lavrov: I did see a T-shirt with that on it. Yes, it's about that.

Yes, it's about that. Russia is militarily secure and the 'west' knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests.

As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

Posted by b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink

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@ Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 2:24 utc | 90... thanks for bringing a bit of sanity into the conversation! i haven't visited your site for a while, but as always, you are firing on all cylinders here at moa with regard the topic of russia in particular...

@ Jackrabbit | Oct 18 2020 4:41 utc | 99.. those are relevant comments too jr... bears watching - no pun intended..

Posted by: james | Oct 18 2020 5:17 utc | 101

Remember, it's a Long Game. Recall China's goals for 2030. Recall how Putin is banking on Russia's human capital and its youth and giving is outstanding support of a sort only dreampt of by those of us within the Outlaw US Empire. Which nation protected its people and which left them out to dry? Values Count.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2020 5:17 utc | 102

@50 Passer
Nice that India ans Russia have good relations.

But strangely, India seems to have rather bad relations with Pakistan. I wonder why. Since the foundation of Pakistan there hadn't been any territorial dispute and not a single war between Pakistan and a European country. Guess it is some kind of irrational hatred (Pakistanophobia).

Posted by: m | Oct 18 2020 5:44 utc | 103

A lot to be done in the future yet, of course, but as the whole comedy with high-power turbines and Siemens demonstrated, Russia can do it on her own, plus General Electric is always there, sanctions or no sanctions.

Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 2:24 utc | 90

This very aptly illustrates the - I think ultimately cultural - reasons for why Russia's move toward technological sovereignty isn't viable, and certainly at the very least isn't working so far. If even you can fool yourself into thinking, or even spell out the words without flinching, "General Electric (!) is always going to be there", how much hope is there for the rest of Russia? General Electric is obviously not always going to be there, any more than Applied Materials, ASML, TSMC, Samsung, Qualcomm etc. were always going to be there for Huawei, no matter how critical the Chinese market is for their future and no matter how much they (earnestly or not) protested against US sanctions that harm their direct business interests.

The facts are that even in 2020 Russia does not have anything close to gas turbines that can replace Siemens, which is ultimately inexcusable for a country that ultimately did retain its ability to produce large turbofan engines (witness the PD-14 and the coming PD-35, which obviously you know all about) and also has the largest natural gas reserves in the world and thus enormous incentive to produce gas turbines for power generation (and for moving natural gas through pipelines for that matter). Russia simply changed their favored Western supplier from Siemens, not even to Japanese companies like Mitsubishi Power (which would have been problematic enough), but to the primary American (!!) manufacturer. If Russia hasn't learned more from the last 6 years, it's in deep trouble.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 18 2020 7:31 utc | 104

@ Eric

Can't they buy that turbo thingie from China?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 18 2020 7:56 utc | 105

@ Eric

Can't they buy that turbo thingie from China?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 18 2020 7:56 utc | 105

China's turbofan and gas turbine development is at a much more primitive level than Russia's. So the answer to that is simply no. This is by the way the reason China wants to buy Motor Sich from (the) Ukraine.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 18 2020 8:13 utc | 106

@ Eric

So China can make phones, e-cars, AI, robots, quantum computer, 5G, 6G, but it cannot make a turbofan?

What gives?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 18 2020 8:27 utc | 107


Yes, that is exactly right.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 18 2020 8:35 utc | 108

@97 "Perhaps a better metric is for any nation to ask: Of all these countries, which one do we NOT want to punch us in the face?"

Not sure that's how geopolitics works.

Perhaps a better metric is this: Of all these countries, which can I punch in the face and get away with it?

If I were the USA the metric would go like this:
1) Italy? Sure. Punch away, they are natural punching bags.
2) Spain? Well, yeah, they can't punch me back. But they did invent Guerilla warfare, so no fun there.
3) Russia? Rule 1, on Page 1 of the book of warfare says Not To Even Think About It.
4) China? See Rule 2. You'll find it right under Rule 1.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 18 2020 9:37 utc | 109

Yeah, Right @ 110

In US elites heads: "But Russia's GDP is comparable to Italy or Spain, there should be no difference, punch away!"

Any analyst (and there are plenty of them) that brings GDP when comparing two dissimilar countries like that should be hang from nearest lamppost as an example of limitless stupidity.

Posted by: Abe | Oct 18 2020 10:02 utc | 110

"As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?"

The endpoint is to weaken Russia and sabotaging its economy. Less income through oil and gas exports means less money for weapons, which affects Russia's operations beyond its borders, less money for hospitals, education, welfare etc. increasing domestic instability etc.
Diplomatically Russia is also weakened by having its reputation tarnished, regardless of whether it deserves it or not.

In order to get to the King, the pieces standing in front of it must be either taken out or moved out of the way. Sanctions, informational and economic warfare are the only available pieces on the chess board, short of direct military confrontation.

Posted by: Et Tu | Oct 18 2020 10:48 utc | 111

Not sure who this Andrei Martyanov is, but underlying all the comments is the proposition that Putin-managed capitalism works great, will work great forever, will not have a crisis ever and will make Russia totally independent in all ways. Stated so forthrightly, no doubt it sounds too stupid to admit to. Nonetheless this is the claim. I say capitalist restoration did not improve the Russian economy in the way implied by Martyanov. Putin is still a Yeltsinite, even if he is sober enough to pass for competent.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 18 2020 10:52 utc | 112

To be fair, Russia was never given a time to grow. It was sanctioned, sanctioned and sanctioned.

China did have a sweet time from the 80s to 10s where they serve as the world factory.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 18 2020 11:44 utc | 113

@vk | Oct 17 2020 17:32 utc | 12

I take the opposite view:
Looking from today, Russia is lucky that the USSR collapsed in 1991.
It shed its debt, its currency passed through hyperinflation, and their economy collapsed and rebuilt.
The US and most Western countries still have that coming for them, and soon.

Plus beyond that the strict Communist/Marxist atheism over 70+ years lead to a rebirth of Christian values in Russia, their biggest advantage in this cultural war. And they practice science, not scientism.

Note: Russia and China are more capitalist than the US, for quite some time now. (12+ years)

Posted by: michael | Oct 18 2020 11:47 utc | 114

@110 Abe as far as I understand it, the economic argument goes like this: take the number of rubles generated/spent/whatever in Russian economic activity, then use the current conversion rate to convert that into an "equivalent" amount of US dollars.

Then see what you can buy with that many US dollars.

If you went shopping in the USA, the answer would be that this many US dollars doesn't buy you much, ergo, Russian economic activity is pathetically low.

An example: the Russian government might budget xxx (fill in the figure) rubles to buy new T-90 tanks. In Washington they would convert that into US dollars, and then declare that this is chicken-feed. Hardly enough to buy less than 10 Abrams tanks.

Only the Russians aren't buying Abrams tanks from the USA, and are not spending dollars.
They are buying T-90 tanks, and for the amount of rubles spent they'll get 50 tanks.

Every metric the US analyst are using tells them that the USA is vastly, vastly outspending the Russians on military equipment, to the point where it is obvious that the Russian military must be destitute and decrepit.

But if they every took the time to look they'll see 50 brand-spanking new T-90 main battle tanks.
Weapons that their assumptions say that the Russians can't afford, and would wonder "Huh? Where'd they come from?"

If they ever looked, which is doubtful.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 18 2020 12:01 utc | 115

@ Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 4:11 utc | 96

I agree that comparing Russia's economy with the likes of Italy and Spain is ridiculous, but it's not that simple. Capitalism is not what is appears to be.

If a (capitalist) nation wants to get something from another (capitalist) nation, it needs to export something. There's no free lunch in international trade: if you want to import, you have to export or issue sovereign debt bonds (treasury bonds).

In this scenario, either Russia produces everything it needs in its own territory or it will have to export in order to import the technology it needs to do whatever it needs to do. Remember: the Russian Federation is a capitalist nation-state, it has to follow the laws of motion of capitalism, which take precedence over whatever Putin wants. To ignore that economic laws exist is to deny any kind of theory of collapse; nation-states would then be eternal, natural entities with no entropy.

Even if Russia produces everything it needs in its own territory, it is still capitalist. It would need, in order to "substitute imports", to super-exploit its own labor force (working class) in order to extract surpluses for its industrialization efforts. That's what the USSR did during Stalin.

If Russia is doing the imports substitution in the classical way (the way Latin America did during the liberal dictatorships of the 1950s-1980s), then it is trying to sell commodities to industrialized countries in order to import technology and machinery necessary to industrialize its own territory. That is probably the case here.

Assuming this more probable case, then I'm sorry to tell you it won't work. It may work in the short or even medium term, but it will ultimately fail in the long term. The thing is that, in a system of capitalist exchange between an agrarian and an industrial nation-state, the industrial nation-state will always have the advantage (i.e. have a trade surplus). That's because of Marx's labor theory of value: industrialized commodities ("manufactured goods") have more intrinsic value than agrarian/raw material commodities - just think about how many kilos of bananas Brazil would have to export to the USA in order to import one single unit of an iPhone 12, to use an contemporary example. As a social result, industrialized countries have a higher organic composition of capital (OCC) than agrarian countries, as they need more value to just keep themselves afloat (as a metaphor: it's more expensive to keep a big mansion than a little flat in a stationary state). Value (wealth) then tends to flow from lower OCC to the higher OCC, this is the material base that divides the First and Third World countries until today.

To make things even worse, raw materials/agricultural products have an inelastic demand, which means their prices fall when production rises, and their prices rise when production falls, relative to overall demand. You will pay whatever the water company will charge you for the cubic meter of water - but you won't consume more or less water because of its price, hence the term "inelastic": demand tends to be more or less constant on a macroeconomic level. The same problem suffers the commodity exporter nations: there will come a stage where their exports' overall value will collapse vis-a-vis the machinery and technology they need to import.

As a result, the commodity exporter nations will have to get more debt overseas, by issuing more T-bonds, just to keep the trade balance afloat. What was the quest for progress becomes a vicious battle for mere survival. A debt crisis is brewed.

And that's exactly what happened to the Latin American countries in the 1980s-1990s: their debt exploded and they were put to their knees by the USA (the country that issues the universal fiat currency). The USA then charged their debt, which triggered a wave of privatizations of everything those countries had built over decades. This is what will happen to Russia if it falls for the lure of imports substitution.

That's why I urge the Russians to review their concepts and try to get back to the Soviet times. It doesn't need to be exactly how it was before: you can make the due reforms and adopt a more or less Chinese model of socialism. That's the only way out, if the Russian people doesn't want to be enslaved by the liberals (capitalists).

Posted by: vk | Oct 18 2020 14:56 utc | 116

looks like the fbi is still in bed with the cia on russiagate, they are now pivoting to investigating the laptop as a russian intelligence operation.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 15:11 utc | 117

@vk from what i'm reading (stephen cohen: soviet fates and lost alternatives) the chinese adopted something like bukharin's nep policies, which stalin did his best to wipe out in the ussr. i've got some problems with cohen's last book, "war with russia?" but he has a lot of good information on the history of the ussr.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 15:14 utc | 118

russia is not "lucky" that it went through a massive collapse following idiotic u.s. austerity policies in the 90's. it is still recovering from that.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 15:17 utc | 119

@ Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 15:14 utc | 118

On the surface, yes: the comparison between Reform and Opening Up and NEP are irresistible. But it is not precise: the only merit it has is in the fact that it is fairer than simply classifying Deng Xiaoping's reforms as neoliberalism (Trotskysts, Austrian School) or capitalism (liberals).

The key here is the difference of the nature of the Chinese peasant class and the Russian peasant class. The Chinese peasant class, besides suffering a lot (millions of dead by famine) in the hands of a liberal government for decades (Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Government) (while the Russian equivalent - the "February Revolution" - only lasted a few months, engulfed by their insistence on continuing with the meat-grinder of WWI), had a different historical subtract.

Chinese late feudalism was much more developed, much more manufactured-centered than Russian late feudalism. As a result, the Chinese peasant was much more proletarian-minded than the feudal Russian peasant. Also, the Chinese didn't have the kulak problem (peasant petite-bourgeoisie) - instead, they had regional warlords who self-destructed during the chaotic republican period (1911-1949). When the warlords were gone, what was left was a much more proletarian-minded, egalitarian-minded, small peasantry. This peasantry didn't bother to migrate to the cities to work in the industry or to start their own factories in the countryside itself. That's why Deng Xiaoping's Reform and Opening Up was successful - not because of his genius, but because he was backed up by a capable people.

The Chinese peasantry, for example, didn't hoard or directed their grain surplus to exports in order to starve the proletariat to death in the cities - they sold it to the Chinese market. The Chinese peasantry also trusted their central government (CCP) and saw itself as part of the project - in complete opposition to the feudal-minded Russian kulak, who saw his piece of land as essentially an independent and self-sufficient cell/ecosystem.

That's why the Reform and Opening Up was successful (it survives until the present times) and the NEP soon failed - following the good harvest of 1924, came the awful harvest of 1926, which triggered a shit show where the peasantry hoarded the grain and almost starved the USSR to extinction, and which led to Stalin's ascension and the dekulakization process (forced collectivization).

Posted by: vk | Oct 18 2020 15:42 utc | 120

@vk thanks for your detailed and thorough response, i will keep it in mind as i read.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 15:59 utc | 121

i should add that i know little about the actual history of communism, but capitalism is revealing itself as a monstrous failure, and not all the propaganda in the world is succeeding at covering that up.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 16:11 utc | 122

Yeah, Right @ 115

I know how economic reasoning comes to that conclusion, but IRL comparing such different countries only by GDP metric is insane and beyond stupid.

Eg. Russia has GDP similar to California!

Yes, in US centric GDP metrics that favors and cheats US itself (surprise!).

But. One of those countries sent man in space, produces everything, has vast resources and is self sufficient nuclear superpower.
Other one cant even feed and provider water to its population without outside help.

GDP means nothing when sh*t hits the fan. What will "richer" country do if it goes to war with "poorer"? Throw money at them while they launch nukes at it?

Posted by: Abe | Oct 18 2020 16:32 utc | 123

@ Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 16:11 utc | 122

There certainly are similarities between the NEP and the Reform and Opening Up. It's very possible Deng Xiaoping took Lenin as inspiration.

Forgot to mention the Scissors Crisis, which erupted in 1923, and triggered the NEP. That crisis is one more evidence that shows manufactured products are inherently more valuable than raw materials/agrarian products.

Posted by: vk | Oct 18 2020 17:43 utc | 124


The facts are that even in 2020 Russia does not have anything close to gas turbines that can replace Siemens

Before posting anything--learn your facts. You, obviously, have issues with accessing them.

Again, for products of Western "education" basic logic and ability for a basic extrapolation seem beyond the grasp: there are no issues for Russia to produce anything, other than time and some money. Country which produces best hi-tech weapons in the world, dominates world's nuclear energy market (this is not your iPhone "hi tech") and has a full enclosed cycle for aerospace industry, among many other things, will have little trouble in substituting pretty much anything. I remember a bunch of morons, who pass for "analysts", from either WSJ or WaPo declaring 6 years ago that sanctions will deny Russia access to Western extraction technologies. Sure, for a country whose space program alone will crush whole economies of UK or Germany should they ever try to recreate it, will have "problems" producing compressor or drill equipment with the level of Russia's metallurgy and material science. Generally speaking, West's present pathetic state is a direct result of utter incompetence across the board in a number of key fields of human activity and your post, most likely based on some BS by Western media, is a good demonstration of this state of the affairs.

Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 19:57 utc | 125


Per immigration policy, you can easily find a a truck load of resources, especially on the web-sites of Russian diplomatic missions (Embassies, Consulates etc.), easily available. Per cats--Russian love for cats is boundless and intense. You may say that Russia is a cat-obsessed country;)

Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 20:00 utc | 126

vk@120 posits a mystical cultural difference in Russian and Chinese peasants, which unfortunately has pretty much the same content as the hypothesis of a racial difference. That the morally superior race is supposed to be Chinese doesn't really help. As often, some strange assertions of facts that aren't so accompany such bizarre thinking. The rich peasants in China (what would be kulaks in Russian history,) were notorious for moneylending. As ever, the inevitable arrears ended in the moneylender's family taking the land. Collectivization came early in China, well along the way by 1956. And a key aspect of it was the struggle against the Chinese equivalent of the kulak class. As for the insistence that private farming is superior, the growth of inequality in land drove millions, a hundred million or more, into the cities. Without residence permits this floating proletariat was effectively superexploited by the new capitalist elements, as Deng meant them to do. Nor did the warlords discredit themselves, not as a group. If anything the young warlord who forced Chiang to reject active war against the Communists, in order to fight the Japanese invaders, was the one who kept the GMD (KMT in Wade-Giles,) from discrediting itself. [Xian incident] And what warlords had to do with the Chinese rich peasantry *after* the Revolution is a complete mystery.

Socially, the deliberate uneven development promoted by Deng and his successors, is eroding the social fabric of the larger countryside. This, in addition to the neocolonial concessions, the growing links to the Chinese bourgeoisie of the diaspora suggest that as Dengists may go even back/forward to a new form of warlordism. The thing about comparing Bukharism/NEP to Dengism/the "Opening" is that Bukharin's program failed spectacularly. But modern China is not next door to Nazi Germany. Even more to the point, Stalin's victory over Hitler has provided a kind of moral shield for China, even under Deng, inspiring fear of losing a general war. If Bukharin had beaten Stalin, we can be as sure as any hypothetical can be, the USSR would have been defeated, not victorious. In modern China, the Bukharin won. There is an excellent chance the national government of today's China will be defeated.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 18 2020 20:05 utc | 127

@125 Andrei Martyanov

That article describes a 110 MW turbine that has now finally been put into production (while Siemens, General Electric etc. produce utility-class gas turbines up to about 600 MW, with far higher efficiency and most likely reliability). The article further describes 40 GW of thermal electrical production to be "modernized" until 2031 (11 years from now), and apparently a microscopic 2 GW of new capacity from "domestic and localized" 65 MW turbines to be commissioned 2026-2028. (I don't understand Russian so I had to rely on Yandex's machine translation.) That's admittedly some kind of progress, but is simply not going to cut it. Nowhere close.

Imagine if China set the ambition to build its own semiconductors and its own turbofans for its stealth fighters sometime around 2040. Imagine if China was still producing a third of the amount of electricity of the United States instead of about double, etc., and considered this to be adequate. It would be akin to abandoning its ambitions for technological and industrial independence from the West, and that is exactly what Russia is doing in the realm of gas turbines. There is apparently no capability and no seriousness going into translating Russia's world-class research and science into actual large-scale, modern industrial production, and everything points to this continuing, while you can blather on all you want about people with "Western education" simply not getting anything.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 18 2020 20:53 utc | 128


That's admittedly some kind of progress, but is simply not going to cut it. Nowhere close.

That's admittedly you switching on "I am dense" mode and trying to up the ante with 600 MW, which are a unique product, while you somehow miss the point that 110 MWt MGT-110 of fully Russian production has completed a full cycle of industrial tests and operations (an equivalent of military IOC--Initial Operational Capability) and is in a serial production. But instead of studying the issue (even if through Yandex translate) with Siemens which when learning about MGT-110 offered Russia 100% localization with technology transfer, Russians declined, you go into generalizations without having even minimal set of facts and situational awareness. In fact 110 MWt turbines are most in demand product for a variety of applications. Get acquainted with this.

I am not going to waste my time explaining to you (you will play dense again) what IOC means and how it relates to serial production, I am sure you will find a bunch of unrealted "argumentation".

Imagine if China

I don't need to imagine anything, as well as draw irrelevant parallels with China.

There is apparently no capability and no seriousness going into translating Russia's world-class research and science into actual large-scale, modern industrial production, and everything points to this continuing, while you can blather on all you want about people with "Western education" simply not getting anything.

This is exactly what I am talking about. Hollow declarations by people who can not even develop basic factual base.

Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 21:16 utc | 129

@125 Andrei Martyanov

It's great to see you here with your excellent facts and perspectives on Russia. I'm sorry you have to deal with people whose minds are too small to grasp the immense scale of Russia - scale in physical size, civilizational depth and importance to the balance of power in the world.

Russia alone stopped the creeping gray hegemony from the west that had looked like it would just ooze over the whole world and suffocate it in bullshit and tribute payments. And then China joined in the fun. The world has a future now, when a decade ago this didn't seem possible, at least from my view in the US. Geopolitically, Russia gave us this future, and China has come to show us how much fun it's going to be.

Many thanks to you and your people.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 18 2020 21:16 utc | 130

@ Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 18 2020 20:05 utc | 127

There's no mysticism here because we know how the kulaks emerged in Russia: they were the result of the catastrophic capitalist reforms of the 1860s, which completely warped the old feudal relations of the Russian Empire.

The reforms of the 1860s were catastrophic for two reasons:

1) it freed the peasants slowly. The State serfs - the last who gained their freedom - were left with no land. A complex partition system of the land, based on each administrative region, created a distorted division of land, where very few peasants got huge chunks of land (the future kulaks) and most received almost nothing (as Lenin demonstrated, see his first book of his Complete Works, below the rate of subsistence);

2) it tried to preserve the old feudal privileges and powers of the absolutist monarchy.

As a result, the Russian Empire had a bizarre economic system, a mixed economy with the worst of the two words: the inequality and absolute misery of capitalism and the backwardness and lack of social mobility of feudalism.

But yes, you're right when you state Mao's era was not an economic failure. His early era really saw an attempt by the CCP to make an alliance with the "national bourgeoisie", and this alliance was indeed a failure. This certainly led to a more radical approach by the CCP, still in the Mao era (collectivization). Life quality in China greatly increased after 1949, until the recession of the Great Leap Forward (which was not a famine, but threw back some socioeconomic indicators temporarily back to the WWII era). When the Great Leap Forward was abandoned, China continued to improve afterwards.

All of this doesn't change the fact that China's "NEP" was a success, while the original NEP wasn't. Of course, there are many factors that explain this, but it is wrong to call late Qing China as even similar to the late Romanov Russia.

I'm not saying Stalin's reform were a failure. Without them, they wouldn't be able to quickly import the Fordist (Taylorist) method they needed to industrialize. The USSR became a superpower in just 19 years - a world record. The first Five-Year Plan was a huge morale boost and success for the Soviet people - specially because it happened at the same time as the capitalist meltdown of 1929.


@ Posted by: Eric | Oct 18 2020 20:53 utc | 128

The thing with semiconductors (and other very advanced technologies) is that it is an industry that only makes sense for a given nation to dominate if they're going to mass produce it. That usually means said production must be export oriented, which means competing against already well-established competitors.

China doesn't want to drain the State's coffers to fund an industry that won't at least pay for itself. It has to change the wheels with the car moving. That's why it is still negotiating the Huawei contracts in the West first, why it still is trying to keep the Taiwanese product flowing first, only to then gradually start the heavy investment needed to dominate the semiconductor technology and production process.

They learned with the Soviets in this sense. When computers became a thing in the West, the USSR immediately poured resources to build them. They were able to dominate the main frame technology, and they were successfully implemented in their economy. Then came the personal computers, and, this time, the Soviets weren't able to make it integrate in their economy. The problem wasn't that the Soviets didn't know how to build a personal computer (they did), but that every new technology is born for a reason, and only makes sense in a given social context. You can't just blindly copy your enemy's technology and hope for the best.

Posted by: vk | Oct 18 2020 21:31 utc | 131


The world has a future now, when a decade ago this didn't seem possible, at least from my view in the US. Geopolitically, Russia gave us this future, and China has come to show us how much fun it's going to be. Many thanks to you and your people.

Thank you for your kind words. As my personal experience (my third book is coming out soon)shows--explaining economic reality to people who have been "educated" (that is confused, ripped off for huge tuition and given worthless piece of paper with MBA or some "economics" Bachelor of "Science" on it) in Western pseudo-economic "theory" that this "global" "rules-based order" is over, is pretty much an exercise in futility. And if a catastrophe of Boeing is any indication (I will omit here NATO's military-industrial complex)--dividends, stocks and "capitalization" is a figment of imagination of people who never left their office and infantile state of development and swallowed BS economic narrative hook, line and sinker without even trying to look out of the window. They still buy this BS of US having "largest GDP in the world" (in reality it is much smaller than that of China), the de-industrialization of the United States is catastrophic (they never bothered to look at 2018 Inter-agency Report to POTUS specifically about that)and its industrial base is shrinking with a lighting speed, same goes to Germany which for now retains some residual industrial capability and competences but:

This is before COVID-19, after it Germany's economy shrank worst among Western nations, worse even than the US. It is a long story, but as Michael Hudson stated not for once in his books and interviews, what is "taught" as economics in the West is basically a pseudo-science. Well, it is. Or, as same Hudson stated earlier this year:"The gunboats don’t appear in your economics textbooks. I bet your price theory didn’t have gun boats in them, or the crime sector. And probably they didn’t have debt in it either." And then they wonder in Germany (or EU)how come that EU structures are filled with pedophiles, "Green" fanatics and multiculturalists. Well, because Germany (and EU) are occupied territories who made their choice. And this is just the start. What many do not understand here is that overwhelming majority of Russians do not want to deal with Europe and calls for new Iron Curtain are louder and louder and the process has started. Of course, there is a lot of both contempt and schadenfreude on Russian part. As Napoleon stated, the nation which doesn't want to feed own army, will feed someone else's. Very true. Modern West worked hard for it, let it "enjoy" now.

Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 23:03 utc | 132

Andrei Martyanov @132 & elsewhere--

It's good to see you commenting here as barflies seem more inclined to listen to you than me. Did you watch Russian documentary on The Wall, which I learned about from Lavrov's meeting with those doing business within Russia on 5 Oct? I asked The Saker if his translation team would take on the task of providing English subtitles or a voice over but never got a reply one way or the other. IMO, for Russia to avoid the West's fate it must change its banking and financial system from the private to the public realm as Hudson advocates most recently in this podcast. As for Mr. Lavrov, he surprised the radio station interviewers by citing Semyon Slepakov's song "America Doesn't Like Us," of which barfly Paco thankfully provided a translation of the lyrics.С наилучшими пожеланиями крепкого здоровья и долгих лет жизни!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2020 23:52 utc | 133

So I don't get it, who won that engagement, Andrei or Eric?

Can Russia produce that turbo thingie or not?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 19 2020 0:01 utc | 134

@132 Andrei Martyanov

I think you an Grieved misunderstand somewhat where I am coming from here. Michael Hudson would be (and has been) the first to describe how Russia's elites (and to a large extent it seems also the people) bought into a bogus neoliberal ideology teaching that somehow Russia needs to earn the money it needs to build its own economy in the form of foreign currency through export revenues. Apparently these economists and politicians in Russia never bothered to look how Western economies actually operate (as opposed to what they preach to countries they want to destroy), or for that matter how China has developed its economy (in all of these countries, the necessary credit is created on a keyboard.) The export revenues that Russia earns in the form of dollars and euros are sold to the central bank for the roubles that Russia's government needs to function. Bizarrely, this creates just as much inflation as it would if the central bank had just created the roubles without "backing" foreign currency. In fact, there is more inflation created, because in times of high oil prices, corresponding amounts of roubles are suddenly thrown into a domestic market that is underdeveloped, for example in its infrastructure and its food processing. There are reasons why China can expand its money supply by much greater proportions each year and still suffer far less inflation than Russia.

Unlike China, Russia had already attained much of the technological expertise for the equipment that it later decided it was unable to produce inside the country. A good example of this are the turboexpanders whose design was perfected (though the basic idea was a bit older) by Pyotr Kapisa in the 1930's in the USSR. This same technology went into the turbopumps of the rocket engines in the Energia boosters. These engines are still to this day, 30 years after the Soviet collapse, imported by the United States. As these rocket engines including the turbopumps are still produced in Russia, the know-how to manufacture was obviously not lost.

I read just the other day that as part of its import substitution program, Russia is considering to produce the turboexpanders for processing natural gas (separating methane from ethane) inside the country. Russia, with the world's largest natural gas reserves and production, and as I described already possessing the expertise to produce the turboexpanders needed for cryogenic separation, chose to hand over possibly billions of dollars to the West to import this machinery over the years, only to be helpless when the West introduced technological sanctions against its oil and gas sector. Very likely, in a couple of years we will receive the announcement that the drive to produce them domestically has been abandoned, after it was realized that their production will require new factories and new machinery, which do not fall out of the sky in Russia as they apparently do in the West and in China. Putin will announce that great business awaits whichever Western investor ready to provide the funds. (Spoiler: They won't! The West is not very interested in investing into building up Russia's industrial capabilities, preferring instead to loot its natural resources and to suck out its skilled worked and scientists.)

While Russia sits and waits for higher oil prices or foreign dollar credit on the one hand, and with unemployed skilled labor and rotting industrial infrastructure on the other hand, China spends the equivalent of trillions of dollars (in yuan, obviously) into fixed capital (not least infrastructure) each year. The funds for this are all created by keystrokes by the PBOC and provide employment for the domestic workforce. You don't have to ponder long on which model has been hugely successful, and which has been an unmitigated disaster.

I can't find the exact figures right now, but Russia produces something like 300,000 STEM graduates every year, more than the United States. (I may very well have read this originally on your blog, by the way.) Many of them will still be forced to emigrate to find gainful employment, even 20 years after the 1990's ended and Putin became President. These graduates remain even in post-Soviet times of a very high quality, and undergraduate students in Russia are trained at a higher level in mathematics and physics than in particular Americans are even as post-graduates. By refusing to invest in its own scientific infrastructure and industry the way China has done and does, Russia gives away all the education and training that were provided to these students, especially to the same Western countries that are seeking to destroy Russia. This is completely unforgivable.

I should add that I myself study physics in Germany. I have great appreciation for the Russian methods of teaching mathematics and physics, as many do here. I have learned, preferentially, mathematical analysis from Zorich, mechanics, electrodynamics etc. from Landau-Lifschitz, much about Fourier series from Tolstov, and so on, and have very often been awestruck and inspired in a mystical fashion by these works. I am not somehow unaware of the unparalleled quality (in particular after the destruction of Germany in WWII) of the USSR's and Russia's math/physics education or unfamiliar with the achievements of the USSR in science and engineering. It's precisely because I am familar with them that it frustrates me immensely how Russia's potential is needlessly wasted.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 19 2020 0:18 utc | 135

What many do not understand here is that overwhelming majority of Russians do not want to deal with Europe and calls for new Iron Curtain are louder and louder and the process has started. Of course, there is a lot of both contempt and schadenfreude on Russian part.
Andrei (132), do you have a link to an opinion poll that supports this? Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Digby | Oct 19 2020 0:28 utc | 136

@ Digby | Oct 19 2020 0:28 utc | 136.. if you haven't already listened to the lavrov interview that b linked to in his main post - it is a question and answer thing - you would benefit from doing so and it would help answer you question some too.. see b's post at this spot -"In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations" and hit that link

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2020 1:01 utc | 137

@ james (137)
Well, I looked into the interview. While it is informative in its own right (at some point it briefly touches on Russo-Japanese relations), and some of the interviewers do show some concerns, I'm still not sure how it helps answer my question (maybe I missed something?). My initial impression was that Mr. Martyanov was referring to Russian civilians - not just radio interviewers.
Thanks anyway for the heads up.

Posted by: Digby | Oct 19 2020 2:17 utc | 138

@ 138 digby... my impression was the radio interviewers questions were a reflection of the general sentiment of the public.. i could be wrong, but it seems to me they have completely given up on the west based on what they ask and say in their questions to lavrov...

on another note, you might enjoy engaging andrei more directly on his website which i will share here...


Posted by: james | Oct 19 2020 3:37 utc | 139

Grieved #130
responding to @125 Andrei Martyanov

It's great to see you here with your excellent facts and perspectives on Russia. I'm sorry you have to deal with people whose minds are too small to grasp the immense scale of Russia - scale in physical size, civilizational depth and importance to the balance of power in the world.

Russia alone stopped the creeping gray hegemony from the west that had looked like it would just ooze over the whole world and suffocate it in bullshit and tribute payments. And then China joined in the fun. The world has a future now, when a decade ago this didn't seem possible, at least from my view in the US. Geopolitically, Russia gave us this future, and China has come to show us how much fun it's going to be.

Many thanks to you and your people.

Agreed entirely. Welcome Andrei and may you stay for a time and inform us all. Your insight is excellent.
I do like your site too and you will see me there from time to time.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2020 6:45 utc | 140

Smith #134

So I don't get it, who won that engagement, Andrei or Eric?

Can Russia produce that turbo thingie or not?

From what I read Russia produces lots of turbines at home employing Russian workers and Russian capital.

Germany seems capable of producing bigger turbines and also sanctioning Russia and giving that country a difficult time.

Russia has no need to buy any turbines from Germany especially under duress.

More smaller turbines work well, perhaps not as well as BIG turbines but local jobs, local expertise, local wealth building suits Russia enough not to break into tears for not having BIG German turbines.

Russian technology is developing well. Remain calm.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2020 7:20 utc | 141

@ uncle tungsten

Still find it pretty weird that neither Russia or China can produce big turbines essentially.

Oh well, they will catch up one of these days.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 19 2020 9:05 utc | 142

"So I don't get it, who won that engagement, Andrei or Eric?"

Posted by: Smith | Oct 19 2020 9:05 utc | 143

"Arguing on the Internet is like competing in the special olympics, even if you win, you are still retarded." -- The Reverend Steve I Believe

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 19 2020 10:11 utc | 143


Posted by: Dan Wlash | Oct 19 2020 14:09 utc | 144

@Andrei Martyanov

Andrei, less commenting more blogging! Some of us have your website under favorites. Cheers!

Posted by: Abe | Oct 19 2020 14:20 utc | 145

@ Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 23:03 utc | 132

Your new book sounds intriguing, about when will it be published, by whom, where might it be acquired? All too often recent "blockbuster economic books" are well baited hooks to sell some half-shod, broken down economic nag the author has resurrected to show how bright they are: e.g. Piketty's "Capital, in the Twenty-First Century" where his chapter 15 (IIRC) could be razored from the tome without loss; or Hudson's solution to debt through "jubilee" places his work a distant second to Graeber's "Debt, the First 5,000 Years" that carries no prescription but illuminates the function of debt well, and debt's consequences.

Your first paragraph is the best teaser for a work I have seen in a long time. The economic system will not likely see balance until Karl Marx is seen as a mild mannered centrist, implying a left that does not yet exist and will not until economics develops a professional language equivalent to medicine; the garbage spoken presently needs a decent burial and two generations to clear the economic mind of the rot. Many tons of MBA Econ 101 material will have to be burnt and sheepskins made palimpsest, the fraud immense, pervasive, incompetent and dysfunctional.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 19 2020 14:50 utc | 146

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 19 2020 14:50 utc | 146

Your first paragraph is the best teaser for a work I have seen in a long time. The economic system will not likely see balance until Karl Marx is seen as a mild mannered centrist, implying a left that does not yet exist and will not until economics develops a professional language equivalent to medicine; the garbage spoken presently needs a decent burial and two generations to clear the economic mind of the rot. Many tons of MBA Econ 101 material will have to be burnt and sheepskins made palimpsest, the fraud immense, pervasive, incompetent and dysfunctional.

A pleasure to read your writing Sir.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 19 2020 15:04 utc | 147

Thanks to all posting 'above my pay grade' here, and I'd like to hear why Russia or China can't compete with the west on the technology to convert their resources to producing gas instead of oil, better than the west has been doing with fracking. You can ignore me if that's a silly question, but I live in New Mexico where much damage has been done to the environment in that respect -- we have a mega methane cloud over the northern part of the state,forinstance.

On the economics-savvy front, I am remembering that Putin replaced his second in command with an economist, so I hope he's in good shape there. Part of the Russians exasperation with the west, though - is it because they truly were hoping for the US to complete a triad with China and Russia, the US actually being the natural gas component? (Again, ignore if that is a foolish question.) Seems to me greedy US wasn't going to be a team player in that respect, so once again the other two will have to develop the infrastructure for all of that, and hopefully develop it they will, with no accompanying methane cloud. I can't believe, given what both have already accomplished, that they couldn't do this. It will just take a bit more time apparently.

Since many of us can't access the film "The Wall"karlof1 has helpfully re-linked above, could someone perhaps give more of a synopsis? I will take a look where I can for a subtitled version in the meanwhile. Thanks, especially to others who have asked questions on this thread. I can't follow some of the arguments, especially those which give the west the advantage as far as industrialization goes - I thought that ship sailed off to China some time ago, and from what I see on other forums, intellectual infrastructure is departing this country as I type.

I'll just end with saying to me it is not about ideology as China and Russia are very different. It is about concern for one's own population, which both have demonstrated they have, and it is clear the US doesn't. So, the economy and how to balance it with the people's needs was the priority motivationally speaking, and that's our loss in the west and their gain. I am a klutz about many things, but that I understand.

End of rant.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 19 2020 16:38 utc | 148

Today had to provide some satisfaction to Lavrov and company with the visit of Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejcinovic Buric to Moscow for long neglected, extended talks. Lavrov's welcoming comments:

"We really hope, and we have pointed this out in our contacts with our European colleagues, that all the Council of Europe mechanisms and institutions will apply its conventions honestly and without attempting to provide any lop-sided interpretations.

"Of course, we do indeed hope that the crisis in the Council of Europe, which was settled last year, will serve as a lesson to those who attempted to undermine the purpose of the Council of Europe sealed in its Statute. I am referring to ensuring a common legal and humanitarian space on the continent, without any dividing lines and based on respect for the sovereign equality of states.

"It is encouraging that today we have an opportunity to discuss the entire range of objectives the Council of Europe has set itself at the current stage and to review our collaboration with it in the most diverse spheres."

It must be recalled that this isn't a surprise visit and that the remarks Lavrov made over the last several weeks about the EU's conduct certainly didn't go unnoticed and served as another welcoming statement. A presser was held after their talks but the transcript hasn't been posted to the MFR site yet so we only have this brief snippet:

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Monday's visit to Moscow by Council of Europe head Marija Pejcinovic Buric symbolically draws a line under the crisis which engulfed the transcontinental organisation in 2014.

"At that time, Russia was stripped of its rights to vote in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), take part in monitoring missions, or have members in the PACE leadership bodies. The schism followed the events in Ukraine and Crimea that year, and Moscow wasn't fully reinstated until June 2019.

"Lavrov said that the resolution of the problems caused by the restriction of the Russian delegation’s rights has shown that ultimatums and pressure are unacceptable and futile in Europe. He was speaking during a joint press conference with Buric, the Council of Europe’s secretary general.

"The diplomat said the 2014-19 impasse was down to illegal actions by some members of PACE that contradicted the organization’s statute."

TASS provides a better review and quotes Lavrov:

"Now the situation has changed qualitatively, primarily as a result of the session of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers held in Helsinki last May. The rights of Russian parliamentarians have been fully restored since then. The main lesson of that situation is that using the language of threats, ultimatums and pressure in the Council of Europe is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to try to violate the key principles, on which the Council of Europe is based and which are enshrined in its Statute." [My Emphasis]

I shouldn't have to make note that Lavrov's stressed words are no different from those stating the need to adhere to International Law and the UN Charter constantly reiterated by Lavrov and Putin. Another point Lavrov made was the reminder that Russia is Europe's largest nation, and that as such it cannot be ignored or treated as it has since The Wall fell.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2020 16:48 utc | 149


While Russia sits and waits for higher oil prices or foreign dollar credit on the one hand, and with unemployed skilled labor and rotting industrial infrastructure on the other hand,

The only thing which is worse than ignorance, is a militant ignorance. You are an exhibit A of writing on topic of which you have zero (in fact it has a negative value)knowledge. Sheer delirium. Nothing personal.

Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 19 2020 17:57 utc | 150

@150, Andrei Martyanov

My last post was nothing but constructive (while my previous ones were a bit pointed, I will admit) and all you have to respond with are insults. Too bad you're not interested in an exchange with anyone who does not simply parrot your own opinions and biases (yeah, you have them, and like someone else described earlier, your line of "Putin-style neoliberal capitalism is perfect, delivering and will continue to work forever" is a position that can't be taken seriously anymore).

Other posters here, like Grieved, for whom I've had a lot of respect previously, but now attacks me for "[having a mind] too small to grasp the immense scale of Russia - scale in physical size, civilizational depth and importance to the balance of power in the world" because I criticized Putin's oligarchic Austrian-style economic policy and African colony-style approach to industrial policy can fuck off as well. Posting here was a mistake that I will not repeat. Bye.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 19 2020 18:07 utc | 151

juliania @148--

Back when The Oil Drum blog was active and prior to the Banking Fraud Recession of 2008-9, much discussion took place around the topic know as filling the gap/wedge between anticipated supply--the lack thereof--and demand--more than could be satisfied, with advocates for filling and neglecting to even try, with rationing via price and demand destruction figuring highly. I hoped to link to one of those discussions; but without a search engine for its archives, I stopped the effort. Fracking was one of those methods aimed at filling the gap, which it did at a massive environmental cost, such that both Russia and China won't even try because of the externalities. China is very bullish on curbing its carbon emissions as this article notes and are part of its UN-2030 Development Plans as I've previously noted. The smog at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was very embarrassing and shamed Chinese greatly. China is also the global leader in electric car manufacture and high sped rail. China can thus afford to drastically reduce its imports of coal from Australia. Then there's Russia with new gas pipelines on the march.

It must be remembered that relations between Russia and China are of a symbiotic quality--they are two organisms directly supporting each other's life. Yes, that arrangement unnerves a segment of the Russian populace because of the usual prejudices, but they're slowly eroding as it becomes ever clearer that they form a moral bloc against the Immoral bloc led by the Outlaw US Empire. For Russia's plans, I direct you to Putin's speech and Q&A session at the plenary session of 5th International Arctic Forum at St. Petersburg in 2019 and to this recent Arctic Institute paper detailing the projected outcome of what Putin outlined. It must be noted that the paper only looks at Russia's West Siberian projects and ignores those massive projects further East. For details there, here's GAZPROM's depiction of development there. But we mustn't ignore Rosneft; its homepage has a map depicting its numerous operations. Then there's the Power of Siberia 2 project that's now underway. Do take note that zero projects have begun on the Far Eastern Arctic shoreline where vast deposits are likely to exist. Russians are savvy enough to await the building up of proper infrastructure before embarking on projects in that region.

As for fracking, I've shown while it helped to fill the gap in supply, it's also a Ponzi Scheme. This Keiser Report from last year shows the filling the gap aspect with the first chart they display which illustrates what I mean. They also expose the lack of any money being made in that endeavor. There's a larger discussion about social costs and why fracking was pushed so hard, but that will have to happen at some other time.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2020 19:01 utc | 152

Eric @151--

I suggest you spend a few years doing genuine research into Russia and how it manages itself for you're oly proving the accusations of your detractors. You can start with all the links I provided @150.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2020 19:06 utc | 153

That would be the links @152.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2020 19:07 utc | 154

@ Bemildred | Oct 19 2020 15:04 utc | 147

Thank you for your kind words.

A bit curious about that "Sir" though, am not that high in the ranks, don't even have letters after my name - yet. Not even an octogenarian - yet, either. Always a possibility however remote. Thanks again.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 19 2020 19:31 utc | 155

Smith #142

Still find it pretty weird that neither Russia or China can produce big turbines essentially.

Oh well, they will catch up one of these days.

In many respects the west has catching up to do as well and they seem to be progressing in fits and starts.
On turbines though it is all about how the science of metallurgy is translated into materials process. The Japanese metallurgy in sword making was centuries ahead of western process and was based on some ingenius forging combined with layering and molecular bonding. No one had ever come close since the beginning of the iron age. Today I have a kitchen knife made from exactly that process but mass produced. That's how one nations genius can lead the way.

Porcelain was pure Chinese practice then forgotten due to strife and discovered again in UK, then Russia etc - read 'The White Road' by Edmund de Waal. The grandest collection of porcelain was housed in museums throughout the city of Dresden. Extraordinary items of humanities heritage were stored there. The west bombed the entire heritage to dust after WW2 had ended. Now one goes to St Petersburg to find such magnificence.

Gunpowder was another clever science. You might also read Robert Temple

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2020 19:46 utc | 156

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 19 2020 19:31 utc | 155

A mark of respect, nothing more or less. I used to do a good deal of writing, so I notice fluent English and I enjoyed that paragraph. I've been called Sir a lot, and generally found it disconcerting, but I got used to it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 19 2020 19:53 utc | 157

Eric @ 151

Your posts were constructive and Andrei's response was way out of line. Sorry to see that and some people obviously cannot engage in a debate without insults. I would hope that does not deter you from posting in the future.

Posted by: Schmoe | Oct 19 2020 20:52 utc | 158

Some will be interested in looking at GAZPROM's "2020 Investor Day Presentation", which has this item as a footnote related to "Clean Energy: Future Vision" point on page 4. Because of constraints placed on forward looking speculations in financial presentations, the lucrative potential for further involvement with Chinese development isn't mentioned in detail, but ought to be remembered as lurking in the background. Recall the massive increase in ice-breaking capable LNG transports from Chinese and Korean shipyards; don't think those are just for use from the Yamal fields. Then there's the extensive and rapid build up of infrastructure in Russia's Arctic archipelagos that this site explores and more.

Perhaps the most attractive point about Russia is despite its well established, longstanding culture, it's a very dynamic place wherein a large percentage of its area is undergoing development for the first time, thus opening the way for Russian pioneers and homesteaders, with outstanding state support for families as the basis for the Human Capital required for such an initiative. The current differences between the USA and Russia in their economic and political directions for their citizenries is greater than anytime during the Cold War with Russia offering far more opportunity and a positive social contract. If the truth were otherwise, I'd be writing something vastly different.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2020 21:07 utc | 159

@Eric #151

I don’t think your posting here was a mistake. You have to understand that a lot of Western supremacists/know-nothings come to MoA to parrot MSM propaganda about Russia, so the local commentariat has developed a kind of Pavlovian defensiveness when it comes to criticism of Russia/Putin. It is rare that valid criticism of Russia, such as yours, is posted here, so it takes some time and effort to get the point across. Also, using overdramatic phrases such as “oligarchic economic policy” and “African colony-style industrial policy” does not exactly help to advance your argument.

I agree with you that Russia is doing perhaps 10% of what it is capable of doing in industrial development. Import substitution is way too slow, is not being done in a systematic enough manner (in my opinion, there’s not enough focus on machine tool building), and sometimes is not a true substitution, as only the final assembly is localized; and yet, it still goes on, as evidenced by projects such as MC-21 / PD-14—a welcome change from the let’s-buy-everything-from-the-West approach of the 90s.

On the other hand, I think you’re way too hard on Putin. I think he’s honestly trying to right the ship, but it’s not that easy, as many Russian executives/billionaires prefer chasing the low-hanging economic fruits and refuse to think big and long-term. Frankly, it often feels like they don’t really believe in Russia. When they do, the results are good (e.g., Konstantin Babkin and his company Rostselmash).

I hope you reconsider your decision to leave MoA, but if you do not, please tell me where I can follow your comments.

Posted by: S | Oct 19 2020 21:12 utc | 160

Of course, true industrial development—where by “true industry” I mean not Russian factories designed by European companies and built using European and Chinese equipment under the supervision of European specialists, as is often the case in Russia, but Russian-designed and -⁠built industrial components, equipment, machines and machine tools—is only a part of the broader economic development. Karlof1 may be entirely right that so many opportunities in Russia are still untapped that currently it may actually make more sense to focus less on true industrial development and more on building out infrastructure and agriculture/resources extraction, annoying as it may be to STEM people like Eric and myself.

Posted by: S | Oct 19 2020 22:09 utc | 161

Hello S @161--

Somehow I missed the point where the user named Eric was promoting STEM, but after doing a search for STEM discovered where he mentioned Russian graduates in that multidiscipline lacking employment within Russia which I find astonishing given Putin's constant admonitions to students, parents, all who will listen about the importance of STEM for the future of both Russia and Russians. I use Yandex as my search engine and it comes up with many articles in Russian about STEM, this one being representative. Many of these seem to be headhunter types for recruitment of foreign students to US universities since the USA produces such a low number of students capable of the classwork and thus filling jobs. I should mention Crooke's most recent article since it focuses on the tech competition between China and the Outlaw US Empire. As I understand Putin, he wants Russia to pursue both "industrial development and ... building out infrastructure [for] agriculture/resources extraction" since one complements the other.

The next decade I see as decisive in resolving the competition between the two geopolitical blocs with geoeconomic ability leading the way. IMO, Russia and China and their bloc are currently in the lead, while Trump and his Republicans have ruined the Outlaw US Empire's chances of catching up. As usual, time will tell, but by 2024 the answer ought to be clear.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2020 22:52 utc | 162

Commenting on Andrei and Eric, I surmise that the Russian expertise in Nuclear power plants reduces the incentive to manufacture big gas turbines which, single stage, are the most inefficient way of generating electricity.

It matters little that gas is plentiful, and cheap, in the Russian Federation. The fact is it has to be ducted to the gas
turbine, which increases capital cost, whereas a nuclear power plant can transmit generated power on DC lines at 1,000,000 volts with a single cable for very long distances a lot cheaper.

While deriding the Russian Federation's machining expertise or machinery production, be it known that titanium parts for most western aircraft are manufactured in Russia. And Titanium is not an easy machining material.

If Russia cannot produce machine tools, how could it manufacture so many war materials during the Second World War? What about railroads, trains, subways, trucks, tanks, automobiles,etc?

Contrary to what the West wants people to believe, Russia is not a glorified gas station.

It is much more than that

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 19 2020 23:59 utc | 163

Following up @149--

Here's the presser transcript, and it seems the meeting went well. Lavrov's initial statement to the press:

"This visit by Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, draws a symbolic line under the system-wide crisis affecting the Council of Europe in 2014-2019 due to the illegal actions of a number of its Parliamentary Assembly members that run contrary to the organisation’s charter.

"In the spring of last year, I met in Moscow with Secretary General Pejčinović Burić’s predecessor, Thorbjørn Jagland. The crisis was fully underway at the time. Now the situation has changed qualitatively, primarily as a result of the 129th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held in Helsinki last May.

"Russian parliamentarians’ rights have been fully restored since then. The main lesson to be learned from that situation is that speaking a language of threats is unacceptable at the Council of Europe, as are ultimatums, pressure, or attempts to violate the key principles enshrined in the Council of Europe Charter, which the organisation is guided by....

"What is most important for us is for the Council of Europe to remain one of the pillars of world order based on international law, and not on the 'rules' established by individual countries or their non-universal organisations and alliances. The Council of Europe must justify its mission as a pan-European organization providing mechanisms and conventions that consolidate the legal and humanitarian landscape on our common continent. It is important that the various agencies of the Council of Europe are not used to promote a narrow group interests."

Lavrov then provides a short list of pressing issues from Russia's perspective. The only question noted was about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Clearly more must be done to get the EU/NATO beast to behave, but at least in this one organization it appears that headway can finally be made. I do, however, think Russia will remain aloof as promised until the beast becomes polite.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 20 2020 1:02 utc | 164

@164 karlof1

Damn, that is very concrete language from a diplomat. It speaks of a ratchet that has engaged the last cog, and will not slip back. I defy anyone to walk that back - they would lose position in the very trying of it.

We deal in words, don't we? b invests effort to contradict the NYT and WaPo. Hassan Nasrallah spends effort to parse out loud the words and logic of the enemy and his position therefrom. And you spend effort to follow the diplomacy of Russia as it grapples with adversity, in an information war that is actually firing blanks - which Lavrov has now started to catch in his hand.

And I come to see that all of this effort to bring the words to account is the act of water wearing down stone. When the the stone is diminished, and gone, the water will remain.

And we live on water.


I used to say that in the information war, the resistance was not replying in kind but rather acting to change paradigms. But this has now progressed beyond paradigms. This is changing policy. While there are still those few voices that say the information war is being lost, we see that the power of words is now acting to change policy.

Forgive the paraphrase if I say that words come out of the barrel of a gun. It is marvelous what happens when you have the biggest gun.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 20 2020 1:24 utc | 165

Karlof1 re WW

re the timing...can only add this datum:

Relevant medical consultation was at the 3rd-stage of the condition, namely, causing effect in the brain. The conclusion was... use of 606 at that time and locus would be fatal. I.e., too late.

There is only generality/speculation how long the condition was known relative to, say, the 1912 election. Before? After? Have no further data and likely none available.

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 20 2020 1:47 utc | 166

What is behind this latest episode of Anglo American hysterics?

Simply put, the Anglo Americans are clinical psychopaths, possessed by a quasi-religious belief that they have a Manifest Destiny to take over and rule the world.

Any nation--major or minor--that opposes or stands in the way of America's ambitions for Full Spectrum Dominance (as the Pentagon terms it) will be subject to the USA's Two Minutes of Hate campaigns at a geopolitical level.

America's Hate List thus includes not only Russia but also China, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Bolivia, Cuba, etc.

Indeed, after the First Cold War ended in the 1990s, there was a leaked Department of Defense document that explicitly called for the USA's grand strategy to be premised on preventing the development of any nation as a "rival superpower" to the American Hegemon.

This was the Wolfowitz Doctrine.


The Anglo Americans simply cannot countenance of a multipolar world in which they are no longer the Overlord ... sorry ... Leader of the Free World and its Goebbelsian Rules-Based Imperial Order.

This is why America is increasingly hysterical in its propaganda, regime change ops, sanctions, and Global Hybrid War.

It is impotent rage combined with America's in-bred sense of Moral Exceptionalism on steroids.

If Americans cannot possess the world, they will destroy it.

That is the end point of America's aggressive behavior--whether the Americans and their stooges admit it or not.

It will not end well for them.

Posted by: ak74 | Oct 20 2020 4:07 utc | 167

Thank you very deeply, karlof1 @ 152! I do remember frequent links to the Oil Drum blog that was an excellent place to learn -- I was there a lot during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, very respectful of the explanations that were given there. As to your other links, again thank you; it's late here, and I have just read through the latest political tug of war thread, so I will fall into the arms of Morpheus, as my father used to say, and return hopefully refreshed in the morning to be further educated on these matters. It's gracious of you to go to such trouble, and I just hope others who may benefit will also take the time to investigate the links. As it says in Scripture, some sow; others reap.(And I'll add to that that some are merely gleaners, who come along afterwards to take what the reapers have left in the field, as did Ruth in the Old Testament; I fall into that category.)

Posted by: juliania | Oct 20 2020 4:21 utc | 168

@ Bemildred | Oct 19 2020 19:53 utc | 157

I seem to have forgotten that world of civility still existed, I am honoured Sir.

Several years ago the English dictionary had recorded its millionth word, mostly purloined from almost everybody, and it would be a misdemeanour not to properly use the booty collected. I had never considered myself a word-worker of any great skill. Again thank you for your comment.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 20 2020 8:49 utc | 169

@142 Smith "Still find it pretty weird that neither Russia or China can produce big turbines essentially"

There is actually quite a bit of difference between "don't" and "can't".

Both Andrei and Eric accept that Russia builds turbines in the power range of 110 MW.
Eric then counters that Germany produces 600 MW turbines, and Russia doesn't.

I'm no engineer, but I assume that there are myriad applications where you need 110 MW turbines, but very few that need 600 MW.

The market for 600 MW turbines might be so small that no-one finds it economical to build them purely for their domestic market (unlike 110 MW turbines). Siemens and GE can afford to build them because they have an export market that the Russians have no prospect of muscling in on.

So the question: Is it that Russia can't build 600 MW turbines even if they wanted to? Or is it that they have decided it doesn't make sense to do so?

Say, deciding that using 5 of their existing 110 MW turbines makes more sense than building one 600 MW turbine?

Not in the sense that five of the little guys is cheaper to *buy* than one Big Bruiser (it probably isn't).
But, rather, that it isn't worthwhile tooling up for 600 MW turbines when you can make do with an alternative.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 20 2020 10:31 utc | 170

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 20 2020 8:49 utc | 169

I seem to have forgotten that world of civility still existed, I am honoured Sir.

Well, you don't want to overdo it. But WE make it happen, or not. I think a little decorum is essential to effective communication, and besides I like it. All this yelling just leads to nervous exhaustion and depression.

I had never considered myself a word-worker of any great skill.

I make no claims either, just a worker bee who reads a lot. We can't all run around talking like Gibbon anyway. But we can enjoy what nuggets we find.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 20 2020 12:18 utc | 171

Here we get a unique insight into the operation of a Russia-specific banking operation that appears to be quasi-public in its nature and funding, and has produced outstanding results for Russians, not Financial Predators. An excerpt to give readers an idea of this report:

"Today Rosselkhozbank operates in 82 Russian regions. The regional network, the third in size, comprises 1,357 branch offices. The bank has 7 million clients, both individuals and legal entities. An interesting fact: the government invests 459 billion rubles in a bank, and the bank, in turn, provides support for the national agriculture at 9.4 trillion rubles. The bank currently employs 32,000 people.

"Currently, Rosselkhozbank is one of the five biggest Russian banks and a backbone bank of the national economy. It ranks fifth in capital (511 billion rubles) and in the amount of attracted funds and private lending. It comes fourth in terms of mortgage and corporate lending.

"Most importantly, Rosselkhozbank is the absolute leader when it comes to financing the agro-industrial complex. In 2019, we funded projects worth a total of 1.3 trillion rubles."

As ought to become clear when finished, Russia's banking system is certainly a hybrid unique to Russia. I know of no such similar bank within the Outlaw US Empire. It is the type of public funding utility Hudson often talks about, which in this case is tailored to a specific area of the Russian economy, but is also more than that as it also serves the needs of rural, farming regions that were being grossly underserved prior to 2000 when the bank was formed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 20 2020 16:31 utc | 172

Thanks again karlof1@ 172! I will add to what you have excerpted from the above meeting:

Vladimir Putin: And what do they grow in Chechnya?

Boris Listov: As for the Chechen Republic, they have built a cutting-edge greenhouse complex, YugAgroHolding, which turns out 12,500 tonnes of produce a year. They supply it not only to the republic but also to neighbouring regions. It is a very good modern complex.

Vladimir Putin: Who organised the project and who invested in its implementation?

Boris Listov: They invested the money themselves.

Vladimir Putin: Do you mean that the investors are local?

Boris Listov: Yes, local investors.

Vladimir Putin: This is great. Good for them.


Ah, who would say that in our government to a bank doing such things here?

I have just read the Arctic Forum link you provided at 152. So much there to consider, and I particularly loved Putin's statement in the Q&A: "Russia's future does not depend on sanctions." He further stated that sanctions must be in the sole possession of the United Nations Security Council, which has not authorized current sanctions, hence they are illegal.

Another point was that in 2021 Russia will preside over the Arctic Forum, while it presently does so at the UN Security Council. We are in good hands, and so, importantly, is Russia. All that combined with the meeting with the European Council leader makes for a very full agenda.

Good thing my garden rat seems to have departed. He didn't appreciate my early morning hosings!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 20 2020 17:06 utc | 173


After reading your comments I came to the conclusion that the MOA bar has been exposed to your frustration regarding your belief that Russia has failed to take advantage of all its human and other physical resources. I believe you have chosen to use some unfortunate language, e.g. "rotting industrial infrastructure," to express that frustration. BTW: I agree with you that Russia has yet to realize anywhere near its full potential.

FWIW I sympathize with your frustration. I believe AM is taking you to task in his own inimitable fashion because you are drawing arguably unwarranted macro conclusions from a too-limited fact base and extrapolating from that too-narrow base.

If you have an interest in Russia's journey from the 1990s to date regarding its turn from a western/european orientation you might take a look at Diesen's "Russia's Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia (Rethinking Asia and International Relations)."

Posted by: pogohere | Oct 20 2020 23:22 utc | 174

Your metric is totally distorted.
The USD is wildly overvalued because of GRC,its true value is basically 0 , but being kind is maybe 10% of the current/its GDP is financial engineering and weapons spending accounting for 60% of it.
The loss of GRC will be cataclysmic and certain within 18months if the current trajectory is maintained.
Its now or never for the neocons,comparing thing relative to the phoney USD and US economy is never going to make sense.

Posted by: winston2 | Oct 21 2020 0:59 utc | 175

Abe @145: "Andrei, less commenting more blogging! Some of us have your website under favorites. Cheers!"

And yet I, and perhaps others, have now bookmarked Martyanov's blog due to the insight displayed in the discussion in this thread (thank you james for the link!).

Concerning the silly question of "When will China or Russia build turbines with this or that characteristic?" the answer is simple: When they need to. There is no point scratching itches until you have an itch that is itchy enough to bother scratching.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 21 2020 11:18 utc | 176

I'd like to offer Russophrenia to those who think they know Russia through the media.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Oct 21 2020 12:52 utc | 177

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