Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 24, 2020

Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Most of the commentators on yesterday's post were right. It was the Russian President Vladimir Putin who said this:

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

It was a part of a talk he gave at this year's Valdai Discussion Club meeting.

I found the excerpt remarkable because it included this, on might say, anti-capitalistic statement:

.. an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

That 'green' statement will rile those people who argue for free markets and a right to sell bullshit in ever more flavors. In their view the fight against such 'communists' thinking must be renewed.

As the full English transcript of Putin's speech and the two and a half hour Q&A is now available I can also quote another interesting passage where Putin talks about capitalism and the role of the state. His standpoint seems very pragmatic to me:

Question: Mr President, there has been much talk and debate, in the context of the global economic upheavals, about the fact that the liberal market economy has ceased to be a reliable tool for the survival of states, their preservation, and for their people.
Pope Francis said recently that capitalism has run its course. Russia has been living under capitalism for 30 years. Is it time to search for an alternative? Is there an alternative? Could it be the revival of the left-wing idea or something radically new?

Putin: Lenin spoke about the birthmarks of capitalism, and so on. It cannot be said that we have lived these past 30 years in a full-fledged market economy. In fact, we are only gradually building it, and its institutions. [..]

You know, capitalism, the way you have described it, existed in a more or less pure form at the beginning of the previous century. But everything changed after what happened in the global economy and in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, after World War I. We have already discussed this on a number of occasions. I do not remember if I have mentioned this at Valdai Club meetings, but experts who know this subject better than I do and with whom I regularly communicate, they are saying obvious and well-known things.

When everything is fine, and the macro economic indicators are stable, various funds are building up their assets, consumption is on the rise and so on. In such times, you hear more and more that the state only stands in the way, and that a pure market economy would be more effective. But as soon as crises and challenges arise, everyone turns to the state, calling for the reinforcement of its supervisory functions. This goes on and on, like a sinusoidal curve. This is what happened during the preceding crises, including the recent ones, like in 2008.

I remember very well how the key shareholders of Russia’s largest corporations that are also major European and global players came to me proposing that the state buy their assets for one dollar or one ruble. They were afraid of assuming responsibility for their employees, pressured by margin calls, and the like. This time, our businesses have acted differently. No one is seeking to evade responsibility. On the contrary, they are even using their own funds, and are quite generous in doing so. The responses may differ, but overall, businesses have been really committed to social responsibility, for which I am grateful to these people, and I want them to know this.

Therefore, at present, we cannot really find a fully planned economy, can we? Take China. Is it a purely planned economy? No. And there is not a single purely market economy either. Nevertheless, the government’s regulatory functions are certainly important. [..]

We just need to determine for ourselves the reasonable level of the state's involvement in the economy; how quickly that involvement needs to be reduced, if at all, and where exactly. I often hear that Russia’s economy is overregulated. But during crises like this current pandemic, when we are forced to restrict business activity, and cargo traffic shrinks, and not only cargo traffic, but passenger traffic as well, we have to ask ourselves – what do we do with aviation now that passengers avoid flying or fly rarely, what do we do? Well, the state is a necessary fixture, there is no way they could do without state support.

So, again, no model is pure or rigid, neither the market economy nor the command economy today, but we simply have to determine the level of the state's involvement in the economy. What do we use as a baseline for this decision? Expediency. We need to avoid using any templates, and so far, we have successfully avoided that.

Then comes a paragraph that shows where Russia differs from the current 'western' economic policies of negative interest rates and deflation:

Of course, the Central Bank and the Government are among the most important state institutions. Therefore, it was in fact through the joint efforts of the Central Bank and the Government that inflation was reduced to 4 percent, because the Government invests substantial resources through its social programmes and national projects and has an impact on our monetary policy. It went down to 3.9 percent, and the Governor of the Central Bank has told me that we will most likely keep it around the estimated target of around 4 percent. This is the regulating function of the state; there is no way around it. However, stifling development through an excessive presence of the state in the economy or through excessive regulation would be fatal as well. You know, this is a form of art, which the Government has been applying skilfully, at least for now.

Keeping inflation up by a bit will make it easier for Russian consumers and companies to pay back their loans. It is economically healthier than the deflationary policies of western societies.

Russia is well on its way to overtake Germany as the fifth biggest economy. Putin's pragmatic positions towards the role of the state in the economy and his relative generous policies of social programs and large national projects have contributed to that.

The many questions and answers on foreign policy in the Valdai talk show a similar pragmatism on other issues. For those interested in those here is again the link to the transcript.

Posted by b on October 24, 2020 at 18:00 UTC | Permalink


I'm a huge fan of Putin. His comments here make sense. He's a lot smarter, more competent and higher integrity than any of the USA clowns.

Posted by: Typingperson | Oct 24 2020 18:14 utc | 1

And still, despite it is not the 90s anymore, Russias oligarchs are still those who hold the real power, and the huge majority is in constant opposition to Putins economic policies.
After the "pension reform", which introduced the same neoliberal politics that have destroyed e.g. our country Germany's social fabric, was seen as outragous by the huge majority of Russians, and with Putins approval rating are constaly only a fraction now, with much more seeing him neghative as positive, he has tried to turn that around by (as usual) well worded speeches.

Yes, his foregin policy record is mostly positive (with a few grave errors nonetheless), but at least the huge majortiy of Russias see especially his economic policy as wrong and fatal.

Despite some here, and sadly sometimes even you B, who can see Putin only as totally positive, as the Neocons see him negative.

At least the Russians themseleves can differentiate, if we can not.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr | Oct 24 2020 18:16 utc | 2

Another passage from Putin. Beginning of paragraph 14 by my count.

“... I am confident that what makes a state strong, primarily, is the confidence it’s citizens have in it. That is the strength of a state. People are the source of power, we all know that.”

Contrast with USA. Confidence?

Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 24 2020 18:22 utc | 3

The text passage about economy shows that the one about ecology is pure babble without real consequences. Putin is essentially a liberal who has nothing against Keynes either. He is a passenger of the same sinking ship on which all the Westerners travel.

Posted by: pnyx | Oct 24 2020 18:39 utc | 4

"Keeping inflation up by a bit will make it easier for Russian consumers and companies to pay back their loans. It is economically healthier than the deflationary policies of western societies."

A point the late William Greider of The Nation and Rolling Stone made decades ago regards the USA, and I'm sure the point was not original to him.

Posted by: Jay | Oct 24 2020 19:06 utc | 5

Oldhippie mentions one of the most important and directly relevant things that Mr. Putin said here, and he is very much correct.
To pnyx,
Environmental effects of human behavior are very very difficult to forecast because of the very nearly infinite number of variables which interact to produce an entire ecological environ, but restoring balance with nature is quite obviously better than fucking it up even more than we already have.

Posted by: Josh | Oct 24 2020 19:07 utc | 6

The United States is stuck in a hard place as it has an un-payable debt of about $30T at the same time it views that debt with a sacred duty to pay as our debt is someone else's property and the rights of property far outweigh those of humanity. This at the same time the USA's privileged reserve currency petro dollar is quickly losing its primacy. Winter is Coming, and the Zombie Apocalypse is not far behind.

Posted by: gottlieb | Oct 24 2020 19:14 utc | 7

DontBelieveEitherPr @ 2

Russias oligarchs are still those who hold the real power


I’m sure you know who Oleg Deripaska is:

Posted by: Down South | Oct 24 2020 19:23 utc | 8

From b above, quoting Putin, that last part is vital wisdom:

"This is the regulating function of the state; there is no way around it. However, stifling development through an excessive presence of the state in the economy or through excessive regulation would be fatal as well. You know, this is a form of art, which the Government has been applying skillfully, at least for now."

Recall Hjalmar Schacht who led Germany out of hyperinflation in the 1920s. How? He explained how in The Magic Of Money, p 212:

"There is no such thing as a Schacht system. On many occasions I have told those who put their faith in systems that monetary policy is an art. Art and systems contradict each other. "

The Magic Of Money by Schacht, published English translation 1967. Any politics aside, highly recommended for monetary wisdom.

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 24 2020 19:25 utc | 9

I've always rather liked Putin. He does for his country what is necessary, not more. All the western stories about Russian aggression and expansionism don't have much value. He is far from being a liberal, as pnyx | Oct 24 2020 18:39 utc | 4 suggests. Rather a conservative Russian orthodox, and a nationalist.

I don't much like his Alpha male expressions, such as bare-chestedly fighting bears, but that is not a reason to criticise his policies. It's on the policies that he should be judged.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 24 2020 19:26 utc | 10

Neoliberal economic policy is the soft underbelly of Russia. It seems Russia is slowly moving away from it but I will believe only after it changes its regressive taxing regime which was set during Yeltsin years.

Posted by: kemerd | Oct 24 2020 19:28 utc | 11

Talking about getting the right man for the right time in history ! That applies here!!

Posted by: michael lacey | Oct 24 2020 19:38 utc | 12

Putin was (is) an important figure in rescuing Russia from the collapse, and western carpetbagging, of the nineties but in no way has he moved Russia towards communism or prepared the path (structurally) for a future communist state. Despite everything that Putin has achieved, in no way has he created a system that is separate from that of the west. The external impostion of sanctions (by the west) has had much more effect than anything Putin has done (in terms of separting from western dogma).

This talk of "overconsumption" is totally irrelevant to Russia (Russians are still largely poor and "under"-consume) as well as much of the rest of the world. And Russia is a huge producer of the resources (oil, gas, coal), and a huge consumer of these same resources, that we are told are destroying the world. So Putin is not really addressing Ruissians or the majority of the world, and western governments are used to hearing this kind of guff (because they say the same, frequently).

So, Putin is not referring to a Communist (economic) state; he is referring to a mixed economy just like every other western state (yes you could also say "just like every other state in the world" but what I am demonstrating is that, at best, Putin desires to adhere to conventional western economic dogma).

Putin is 68 and the average life expectancy on Russia is 72 (only 65 for males). Putin will be gone soon enough and what he has built is a proud independent nation that is integrated into the world econmy and is well able to defend itself. But he has not changed the fundamental economic relations that were established in Russia after the collapse of the USSR.

So, this "remarkable...anti-capitalistic statement" is either meaningless or a signal of compliance to western/world capitalist elites who, perhaps, wish to bring the free-market to an end and entrench their postion as a permanment elite - and that would not be communism, rather it would be feudalism.

With the advent of the industral revolution, capitalism, mass education, democracy and then the proto-communist states it was thought impossible (and undesireable) that social structures could regress. But, has the (within technical capilities) ability to capture data on everyone all of the time (and analyse and interpret that data in real time) and deep understandings of behavoiuralism, human psychology and sophisticated, convincing and all pervasive propaganda resulted in a fundamental change? In short, that it is no longer held that all humans are free, can make their own choices, and are capable of organising society for and by themselves (even as some kind of future objective) - and that this has been replaced by a belief that humanity is best run by a "benevolent" elite.

Posted by: ADKC | Oct 24 2020 20:08 utc | 13

I'm not sure that the concept of neo-liberalism is really applicable to Russia. What happened under Yeltsin was a simple pillage of the state, as anyone would do if they can, as he was too drunk to notice. The same thing is happening today in UK.

Putin has spent his time trying to recover from that situation to more control, as a conservative nationalist, but its not so easy.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 24 2020 20:13 utc | 14

Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 24 2020 18:22 utc | 3

“... I am confident that what makes a state strong, primarily, is the confidence it’s citizens have in it. That is the strength of a state. People are the source of power, we all know that.”

Yes! 'People are the source of power' is the definition of democracy.

In the U.S., since 1980, money has increasingly become the source of political power. This is dictatorship. The U.S. has transformed itself from an imperfect democracy, into an almost perfect 'oligarchic dictatorship' where the corporations oversee the government, rather than the government overseeing the market. This is the very definition of fascism. And under such a system, the U.S.'s market economy has been transformed into an economy of serial monopolies.

Russia is rapidly developing; the U.S. is rapidly failing. No need to wonder why!

Posted by: dh-mtl | Oct 24 2020 20:44 utc | 15

Depending upon who you ask, somewhere between 33% and 70% of Russia's economy is still state controlled. You can never say "we" when talking about directing a capitalist market economy because "The Market" will always be boss. Though Russia suffered a catastrophic capitalist counterrevolution, it is this large share of the economy that is not entirely subservient to market forces that gives Putin the luxury of talking in terms of "we", despite his submissive attitude towards capitalism.

The fact is that capitalism ("The Market") cannot develop Russia. This has been the case for more than a hundred years, which is why they had a revolution in the first place and why the privatizations have been halted and are now (grudgingly) being reversed.

Putin's strength lies not in his ideology because his strength of conviction to that ideology is that of an overcooked noodle. This happens to work out OK though because his ideology is neoliberal capitalism. Clinging to that ideology isn't serving any leader in the world right now, as we can see in Europe and the US. Rather, Putin's strength is in his patriotic pragmatism. He doesn't want to build "Socialism with Russian Characteristics", but pragmatics forces him in that direction.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 24 2020 20:54 utc | 16

Kemerd @ 11:

Russia will be moving to a progressive income tax regime from 2021 onwards. The current personal income tax regime is a flat 13%. From next year, individuals earning 5 million rubles or more annually will be subject to a 15% tax rate. Sounds like little but these sorts of reforms have to take time and have to be done in small increments.

It's my understanding that the bulk of Russia's tax receipts currently come from the energy sector. I'm sure way back in 1998 Putin wrote a PhD dissertation on the use of natural resources as the basis of economic development and growth, and taxation of energy companies would be one method of using land resources to achieve this growth.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 24 2020 20:56 utc | 17

Keeping inflation up by a bit will make it easier for Russian consumers and companies to pay back their loans. It is economically healthier than the deflationary policies of western societies.

That's a great idea, except both government and household debt in Russia are among the lowest in the world (probably the lowest of any industrialized country). Both Putin and the foreigners who fawn over him, including myself not very long ago, are the first to tout this fact. This way inflation in the Russian economy means consumers get to enjoy rising costs of living, and the state and companies rising costs of raw materials, energy etc. while there's virtually no debt on the other side of the equation for inflation to devalue. There's still a lot of corporate sector debt in Russia, but the bulk of it is still, incredibly, denominated in dollars, euros, Swiss franc, and so on. Ruble inflation and falling exchange rates don't make this debt to cheaper to service, but of course the opposite.

It's a great thing that the rate of home ownership (without associated mortgage debt) is so high in Russia, and it's probably the only result of the privatization drive that was actually a good outcome. There's no reason that Russians should now be loaded up with huge debts in order to own a house or an apartment. Access to personal credit for things like a car is difficult and expensive in Russia, which obviously means a lot of people can't afford a car, but on the other further helps to ensure the indebtedness of households is kept low. At the same time, like Putin (and b) does here, many in Russia apparently want to pretend that their economy is like a Western economy, and that accordingly its households are partially relieved financially by inflation when they actually only suffer from increased prices. It's absolutely bizarre.

The reality is that Russia's leadership has an unparalleled committment toward, and talent for, getting the worst of all worlds economically. Thanks to them Russia is probably the only major economy in the world with high inflation but microscopic domestic currency debt (and correspondingly low investment in the domestic economy). This way Russia has gotten to enjoy, historically, very high inflation but much lower growth rates than other developing economies. (The high growth rates in the 2000's came from high raw materials prices, resulting merely in accumulation of foreign exchange reserves which the Russian government itself then said could not be efficiently converted into rubles and invested in the Russian economy. Growth in industrial and agricultural production, or in fixed assets like infrastructure, was accordingly much smaller, if even existent.)

There's also the continuing Wild West capitalism where oligarchs have gotten to keep their stolen assets in potash, gold mining, coal mining etc., even in strategic industrial sectors like steelmaking, power engineering or the automotive industry, while at the same time even Chinese investors are discouraged from investing through opaque regulation and unpredictable Russian state intervention. In other words, stability for the oligarchs who openly tried to destroy the Russian state and turn it into a Hong Kong-style neo-feudal hellhole, and who today just as before continue to asset strip the last residues of Soviet-era manufacturing, but a Great Wall against the Asians who want to come in and develop petrochemicals plants, e-commerce, timber industry or whatever.

Through the entire 2000-2012 era, the Russian government came down like a hawk on ruble-denominated debt, while corporations (both private and state-owned) could take out basically unlimited loans in foreign currency. State-owned companies like Rosneft actually led the foreign currency indebtedness, helping enormously to ensure that Russia's only real advantage and asset in the post-Soviet era, the trade surplus resulting from its oil and gas exports, is sent out of the country as interest payments to American and European banks, rather than (as China has done) paying for the imports of Western machinery and technologies to help develop domestic manufacturing.

Certainly, Russian companies are now much more restricted in the amounts of foreign currency credit they can accept, but access to ruble credit is highly limited as well. The result is of course austerity in the economy, with anemic growth and falling living standards.

Another important "benefit" was that the West had an easy way to put pressure on the ruble. They simply forbade Russian companies from rolling over their debt, forcing them to come up with huge sums of foreign currency in short order. That crashed the rouble, thereby dramatically forcing up prices (and equivalently, inflation) in the, by its own design, almost completely import-dependent Russian economy. The crash in oil prices (again, simply limiting Russia's income in dollar terms, much of which they needed simply to pay back Western creditors anyway) was just icing on the cake.

One could keep going like this forever. If China and South Korea had political and corporate elites with this mentality, and with this level of commitment to neo-liberalism and globalization, but (critically!) only to its worst aspects and outcomes, these countries would have been very lucky to be at the level of development of Thailand today. That's the reality and attacking people who raise these criticisms as enemies of Russia, as many did to me in the last thread about thread on these topics, does nothing to help matters. In fact, with "friends" like you, maybe Russia does not need enemies.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 24 2020 21:10 utc | 18

I’ve been having fun listening and reading the reactions and selected excerpts in the media to the long, very long Putin conference, three hours with the question and answer segment, the most substantial and interesting, but five hours total considering that he appeared two hours late, no doubt preparing until the last minute and over the speech as could be seen in the notes that he held and that somehow the sound technicians did not filter out completely, which was a bit annoying.

Checking out the chaotic notes that I took, there is one little detail that most surely won’t get any attention, his recourse to widely used popular expressions like when he asks himself rhetorically:

what is a strong state? What are its strengths?

The Russian word for strength could be translated as power too, and any an every Russian recalls the great hero of the dark 90’s, the late Serguey Bodrov in the film "The Brother 2", partly filmed in Chicago, Bodrov asks a panicked businessman: Tell me American, where is the power? is the power in money? I think the power is in truth…. a phrase that everybody knows and feels proud of in Russia.

Vlad not only plays complex accords for foreign consumption, he plays for the home team first, just in case….

Posted by: Paco | Oct 24 2020 21:41 utc | 19

Putin, like all politicians, is more about what he says and less about what he does.

Fair enough, i challenge anyone in his position to do better... I actually admire the man, but let's not delude ourselves. Russia stands to benefit from global warming more than any other country in spite of all the damage it will still cause it. On the overall balance, it will average out ahead of everyone else, in relative terms, so don't look to them for answers.

As for "the State"... so what if it's his mates who benefit instead of oligarchs, what is the difference when most of the people in Russia are broke and have no realistic prospects or chances of progressing beyond their predetermined fates? The cynic in me ultimately thinks he just wants the oligarchs to pay their taxes to make his job easier, keep the people happy, so he can get reelected more easily.

Posted by: Et Tu | Oct 24 2020 21:52 utc | 20

@ Eric | Oct 24 2020 21:10 utc | 18.. eric, i was intrigued by your ideas in the previous thread and i am again here... how do you come by this particular vantage point?? do you have a particular background in finances, or is it just a special interest that you have cultivated to come by the position you share in your post here? i am genuinely curious! i don't have enough knowledge to comment and wish someone like michael hudson could comment on this specific topic that you seem to excel at holding a very specific and fairly negative outlook on with regard russia... thanks for your comments either way.. it is above my pay grade to respond with any authority..

i continue to believe the planet is being screwed by big finance.. it seems hard to see thru the maze a way out of this... your suggestion that russia is also caught in this maze would not surprise me... what is the way out, if i might be so bold??

Posted by: james | Oct 24 2020 22:02 utc | 21

It isn’t capitalism. It’s greed and quest for power. Those vices occur in democratic or communist or socialist countries. There have been capitalists who are decent people. And there have been Socialists who are just crony individuals. It’s just good people against people who are no good. I’m not much a believer in socialistic ideas. I’m not a believer in the government or state as the answer to all problems. Nor am I a hard core capitalist. There must be a balance between what government can or should do and what businesses or capitalism should do.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Oct 24 2020 22:04 utc | 22

@20, Et Tu

I think your post points to a fundamental worrisome feature of Russia. It's very unclear who actually has a stake in the prosperity, power or even existence of the Russian state in 50 or 100 years' time. People can pretend that the Russian Orthodox Church plays this role but there's very little to suggest it really does. India, I think, unfortunately struggles with the same problem, but the destruction of India at the hands of British goes a long way to explain it in my view. In China or Iran, with all the issues of their own that those two countries have, there's however very little ambiguity in this regard.

I'm not even sure I would place the blame on Western-style representative democracy in Russia, as the same basic problem seems to have been there both before the October Revolution and at the very least during the post-Stalin era of the Soviet Union. The question is if Russia, despite everything, as a Christian civilization isn't ultimately a participant in the Western world's anomie and decline.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 24 2020 22:06 utc | 23

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020

Interview on Radio Voice America

Welcome back to Turning Hard Times into Good Times. I’m your host Jay Taylor. I’m really pleased to have with me once again Dmitry Orlov.

Dmitry was born and grew up in Leningrad, but has lived in the United States. He moved here in the mid-seventies. He has since gone back to Russia, where he is living now.

But Dmitry was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer who has contributed to fields as diverse as high-energy Physics and Internet Security, as well as a leading Peak Oil theorist. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects (2008) and The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit (2013).

Welcome, Dmitry, and thank you so much for joining us again.

A: Great to be on your program again, Jay.

Q: It’s really good to hear your voice. I know we had you on [the program] back in 2014. It’s been a long time—way too long, as far as I’m concerned. In that discussion we talked about the five stages of collapse that you observed in the fall of the USSR. Could you review them really quickly, and compare them to what you are seeing, what you have witnessed and observed in the United States as you lived here, and of course in your post now in Russia.

A: Yes. The five stages of collapse as I defined them were financial, commercial, political, social and cultural. I observed that the first three, in Russia. The finance collapsed because the Soviet Union basically ran out of money. Commercial collapse because industry, Soviet industry, fell apart because it was distributed among fifteen Soviet socialist republics, and when the Soviet Union fell apart all of the supply chains broke down.

Political collapse: obviously there wasn’t really a functional government at all for a period of time in the nineties. Lots of American consultants running around and privatizing things in a fashion that created a lot of incredibly corrupt, super-rich oligarchs who then fled with their money, a lot of them.

Surprisingly, social and cultural collapse didn’t really get very far until Russia started regaining its health. Some of the other Soviet socialist republics are in the throes of full-on social and cultural collapse, but Russia avoided this fate.....

Posted by: Alicia | Oct 24 2020 22:21 utc | 24

Yes! Absolutely capitalism is rapidly destroying the planet. Of this there is no question. Nothing can be left alone: 'undeveloped' land must be 'developed', i.e. forests cut down and replaced by subdivisions, parking lots, McDonald's, office buildings, etc. Capitalism is truly insidious: look at how the once mighty Amazon rainforest has been utterly wiped out by greedy cattle farmers looking for a quick buck with the blessing of Bolsonaro. Where there were once massive old growth forests across N. America, there are now only 'tree museums', i.e. national parks which save less than 1% of what there once was before Europeans came and destroyed everything–in the name of profit. Capitalism not only destroys natural resources, it destroys people: slavery has been replaced by wage slavery: and the wage slave's earnings from his 'mcjob' invariably go to his landlord, or other parasites. Your employer is your master in capitalism: he is your god and you serve him. Any excess profit you make all goes to him, not you. If you look at him wrong, or have a bad attitude you are replaced–and NO good reference for you! What a miserable shit system craptialism is.

Posted by: deschutesmaple | Oct 24 2020 22:28 utc | 25

@21, james

I have been strongly influenced by Michael Hudson's writings over several years now. Basically everything in that post is either a point he already made about Russia or a direct application of his overall thinking on Russia's economy. For this reason I was very surprised by the hostility of certain commenters, in particular karlof1, who also could be called followers of Michael Hudson. karlof1 even suggested I should spend a couple of years researching Russian economic development, even though I've quite obviously already done that (which doesn't mean everyone has to agree with my conclusions). I have to wonder if he and Martyanov either never came across Hudson's criticisms of Russian economic policy (one of the actually less harsh examples here - if you search his site you can find others) or consider him also an ignorant anti-Russian commentator but are able to appreciate him in spite of that.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 24 2020 22:29 utc | 26

I wrote about this part of Putin's speech back on the 22nd when he made this appraisal:

"only a viable state can act effectively in a crisis."

I bolded the text then and I've done so again because that's one of the most important points he raised, IMO, particularly in relation to the clearly unviable Outlaw US Empire and EU. I even turned my commentary into a short article at my VK space that will be expanded once I digest all the Q & A.

I recently made an observation about Russia's banking and finance systems in that they're controlled by the public via the state, not by some private entities separate from the state doing all they can to avoid any type of regulation and oversight, which was based on this item I linked here at the time. I later made the observation that the moral/ethical grounding of who/what's in charge of those systems matters greatly when it comes to making an equitable society--and it will matter even more as we get into the having steady-state economies as resource depletion mounts into the crisis it will eventually become. Putin showed that he knows and understands all that, which is well beyond the capacity of the vast majority of those known as politicians--especially those in Neoliberal nations. Putin used the term "balance" 7 times, imbalance once, in his speech. I suggest readers use the CTRL-F function to search the text for that term to see what it's in reference to so they can learn a bit more about the man and his mind and the importance of seeking balance in attaining equitability.

At the tail end of the Q & A, Putin is asked: "what you can advise and offer to Russian youth?" Putin's answer conforms completely with his policy toward the promotion of families and urging young people to strive for their aspirations--unlike many Western politicos, he backs his admonitions with robust policies to make them possible, something I've long admired about him. Here's most of Putin's reply:

"But what can we offer? We believe we will give young people more opportunities for professional growth and create more social lifts for them. We are building up these instruments and creating conditions for people to receive a good education, make a career, start a family and receive enough income for a young family.

"We are drafting an increasing number of measures to support young families. Let me emphasise that even during the pandemic, most of our support measures were designed for families with children. What are these families? They are young people for the most part.

"We will continue doing this in the hope that young people will use their best traits – their daring striving to move ahead without looking back at formalities that probably make older generations more reserved – for positive, creative endeavours. Eventually, the younger generation will take the baton from the older generation and continue this relay race, and make Russia stronger."

The difference in that regard between Putin's vision and his actions when compared to the Outlaw US Empire and other Neoliberal nations is beyond stark--it's as if they inhabit two different solar systems.

The reason Putin's hated by the West is he took an unviable Russia and made it more than viable again. IMO, he's the unequaled Dean of what few Statesmen exist in today's world, which makes him an asset for humanity.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 24 2020 22:44 utc | 27

@Posted by: Eric | Oct 24 2020 21:10 utc | 18

I for one, having not had time to read thoroughly the past threads due exhaustion from overloasd of work, find your post quite interesting.

Even not having the knowledge in economics, it seems to me an elaborated legitimate constructive criticism of the state of affairs at economic level in Russia.

I am also surprised of the unconditional kind of mesianic support for Putin in this and other forums, whatever he does, and as I love the Russian people as much as it could be, I really wonder what those "unconditional" supporters, mainly Trump supporters as well, know that I am not.

And I say this because Putin´s and Trump´s projects seem anathema, if you take into account tha, as i learned today by an article linked by an activist, Trump project is that of the neoreactionaries of "Dark Illustration" of Peter Thiel and the likes...In fact, learned that it was precisely this Thiel, CEO of Palantir, CIA, Pentagon and DoS contractor on big data, who was called to form the Trump´s White House staff...One guesses it was from there where Mnuchin came out...and one guesses it was from there where the coup in Bolivia came out as well, as these people are allied in their project with others their kind in Silicon Valley...

If I would have been able to concur to the Valdai Club session, I would had been asking Putin about this movement and what the role he thinks they will play in the future...

The goal of this movement is ending nation states to end their influence, laws and regulations, and thus try to dinamite, through sowing divide ( and in this they are helped by alleged opponent Soros and his network of franchises mstering regime change, color revolutions, blunt coups d´etat and lately "peaceful transitions of power", being both, Soros and the NRx, connected to the CIA...)countries with which make what they call "The Mosaic" of regions resulting, at the head of which there will be a corporation CEO and their stakeholders in a hierarchical authocratic order. These people think that Democracy simply does not work and thus must be finished, and that there are people ( white, of course ) who have developed a higuer IQ ( at this point I guess some of you have noticed this creed sound very familiar to you, from our neigbors here by the side at SST, where "james" and Pat lately love each other so much...)and must rule over the rest.

To achieve their goals, these people, as geeks from Silicon Valley, are willing to cross the human frontiere to transhumanism so as to enhance their human capabilities to submite the rest...

Wondering why this topic have never been treated at MoA...nor at the Valdai Discussion Club...

The Alt-Right and the Europe of the Regions. According to Wikipedia, Steve Bannon is inspired by the theorist Curtis Yarvin (, who states that countries should be divided into feudal areas in the hands of corporations (Patchwork).

The Moldbug Variations

Yarvin considers Thiel “fully enlightened.” What does that mean, coming from a founder of the “Dark Enlightenment” movement?

Yarvin believes there is no such thing as democracy—and Thiel has said as much, as well. Yarvin’s stunted political imagination prizes strict hierarchies—despotisms, monarchies, and experimental new feudalism via a “patchwork” of corporate fiefdoms managed by absolute dictators who might be appointed by a vote of property-owning “shareholders.” Unlike some advocates of Silicon Valley secessionism, Yarvin has never been shy in acknowledging that this amounts to a revolution and would require the forcible overthrow of the established order. He advised, for instance, that the new dictator of California should throw the old elected governor in Alcatraz, and then briskly proceed to pack the government with Google guys.

Yarvin’s Dark Enlightenment dogma also is steeped in pseudoscientific racism. Yarvin preaches that intelligence is determined in large part by the laws of “human biodiversity”—which hold, in his telling, that white people are congenitally smarter than black and brown people, and that Chinese people may be the smartest of all. It takes no great stretch of the imagination to see how a blood-and-soil white nationalist like Bannon and a racist bomb thrower like Donald “Good Genes” Trump would find a great deal of reassurance in this toxic philosophy.

Yarvin’s idea of enlightenment also means believing that history as we’ve come to know it is a lie. It means believing that the Soviet Union was the greater evil in the Second World War and that Nazi Germany acted in preemptive self-defense against the nefarious scheming of Stalin and FDR. It also means believing that ever since that war, upstanding American fascists have been unjustly persecuted by the state, and that the United States has been ruled by a conspiracy of wealthy establishment Communists and a “ruling underclass” of violent black mobs who are their eager pawns.

Notice how this last sentence coincide verbatim with Pat Lang´s motto repeated to exhaustion from his blog, and also notice how the recent riots in the US come as self-fulfilled profecy to these individuals...( this is why some of us though the riots organized by the same Trump people...)

Another interesting quote which leaves no doubt where the shots go to...( and never better said...), where they intertwin with the "white trash", by instrumetalizing of the militias and even Trump proper...

To be enlightened, in Yarvin’s world, means forming an uncomfortable alliance with street Nazis—the Stormfront set—and other déclassé white nationalists. The same goes for right-wing terrorists such as Anders Behring Breivik, whom Yarvin denounced, but only in the most limited and depraved terms possible. Yarvin wrote that Breivik should be condemned because his 2011 massacre in Oslo was ineffective as terrorism, which Yarvin considers a legitimate military tactic. Nazi terror was legitimate because it worked, Yarvin wrote. Breivik’s killing spree, which targeted young Norwegian leftists, was illegitimate because it was insufficient to “free Norway from Eurocommunism.” After all, he only killed ninety-two people! “We can note the only thing he didn’t screw up. At least he shot communists, not Muslims. He gored the matador and not the cape,” Yarvin wrote on July 23, 2011, one day after the terror in Oslo, and five years before going to Thiel’s house to hang out and watch their guy, Trump, get closer to power.

As Yarvin evidently sees Thiel as his project, Thiel presumably sees Trump as a useful vehicle to achieve his “enlightened” vision.

This way, one gets to understand why an individual with such self awarded "high IQ and intelligence skills" like Pat Lang, supports a botarate like Trump, whatever he does, and has done during these past four years, as if there was no tomorrow...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 24 2020 23:01 utc | 28

Eric @ 18, James @ 21:

There used to be a regular commenter at Mark Chapman's Kremlin Stooge / The New Kremlin Stooge - I forget his KS name but he was a physicist (and not a very good-tempered one at that, he had regular shouting matches with one other commenter Yalensis there) - but he was of the opinion that interest rates set by the Central Bank of Russia have been too high and have discouraged small business investment in Russia. The head of the CBR may still be Elvira Nabiullina - I haven't checked lately. She and others in the government who help set monetary policies in Russia are suspected of being neoliberal and Atlanticist in their outlook.

As President, Putin is not responsible for setting domestic policies - that's Prime Minister Mishustin's job.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 24 2020 23:04 utc | 29

Putin spoke all that in a very specific environment (in a room full of rabid liberals/pro-capitalists), so we should be care about its content.

There are some incongruousness in his speech we must correct here:

1) It is a myth the State, during the golden age of liberalism (16th-19th Centuries) was "minimal". On the contrary: there was a ton of State intervention in the people's daily life - including the right of the State to separate whole families and use their children in servile labor. The difference here is that the gross of that intervention was directed to the dispossessed, i.e. the working classes. There was also a ton of regulations over slave ownership. The age of classical liberalism is considered one of minimum State because the freedom of the powerful slave owners and industrialists was almost zero; it's the History told from the point of view of the capitalists. That's why Putin clearly said "[capitalism] the way you have described it [...]"

2) The mixed system between what he calls "State intervention" (welfare of the people, command or planned economy) and "free market" is the scientific definition of socialism. Marx wasn't an idealist: he was a materialist. He knew a direct transition to communism was impossible, therefore he imagined a system of transition, where communism and capitalism would exist together. This transition system was called socialism. That's why China, still governed by a Marxist-Leninist Party, considers itself socialist and not capitalist, or even "mixed" for that matter;

Another observation: the Western countries didn't enter deflation/low inflation because of ZIRP/NIRP. They were already suffering from it before those policies. The opposite is the true: precisely because they were having a too low inflation, they resorted to ZIRP/NIRP.

Posted by: vk | Oct 24 2020 23:41 utc | 30

Yep re my comment @ 29: Nabiullina is still CBR head according to her Wikipedia entry. Since becoming CBR head back in 2012 or 2013, she has consistently followed a policy of tackling inflation first to the extent of keeping interest rates higher than they perhaps should be. This probably helps explain some of the issues Eric @ 18 raises about Russians' access to personal credit.

Interestingly Nabiullina's Wikipedia entry shows she worked with Alexei Kudrin in the past. Kudrin has a reputation for preferring neoliberal economic policies. Currently he is Inspector General in the Russian govt's audit office where he can mouth off all he likes about how he'd reform Russian economic policies if he got the chance but not actually do much damage: a case of Putin keeping potential enemies somewhere where they can be watched.

Eric does raise the issue about how Russian oligarchs were allowed to keep their gains and not be forced to pay back taxes they owed way back in the early 2000s, but this was on condition that they not meddle in Russian federal politics and buy influence, and pay all their future taxes and other obligations, like paying their employees, promptly and in accordance with Russian laws. Those who refused ended up in prison (Khodorkovsky) or fled overseas (Berezovsky). Roman Abramovich paid an unusual penalty: he was made Governor of Chukotka in far eastern Siberia near the Bering Sea for a couple of years at least. He paid for all that territory's infrastructure improvements. Of course the people there must love him!

Posted by: Jen | Oct 24 2020 23:47 utc | 31

So why are not all barflies writing and thinking about the role of the state in the economy within the context of current private control of finance in the West?

What is blinding you all to not state the obvious role issue of those that own global private finance not being any "state" of transparency?

We are in a civilization war about the fact that a current state in our world, China, has a public finance core of government which is opposed to the Western cult of global private finance. Wake up.

Reading the entrails of the Russian economy that has been ravaged for decades by the cult of private finance and its followers in Russia does us no service to b's question of what role the state should have in the national and world economy. Because Russia is still having to operate with the shit show called empire they are limited in their response. I was taught 50 years ago that a 2% inflation rate was optimal but because Russia is trying to build its population, it is spending more money supporting that segment of the overall population and saying the inflation rate is worth the investment.

The role of the state in the economy
History has shown positive results from what are called mixed economies. The US is a mixed economy with the state, at various levels, supporting energy, transportation, USPS, water, sewage treatment, police and fire protection, education, SSI, regulations, etc. There are and have been attempts to privatize all those things under the canard that the service can be provided "better" with profit as the motive other than service to others.
There is no magic mixed economy formula for any one state and it will change over time like Russia is choosing to do. But the state has limited control of the economy if the tools of finance are privately held and not integrated into state functionality....and it is my understanding that the Central Bank in Russia for example is not entirely a sovereign entity...what sayest our most recent barfly, Eric?

Please join in a more reasoned contextual discussion of our world. I am tired of reading about "ism"s. More reality please.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 25 2020 0:05 utc | 32

In these statements, Putin actually sounds like a Libertarian. Not a right-wing "pure free market" anarchist libertarian, but a Big-L Libertarian Party "limited state and free market" Libertarian. Very little he said here contradicts Libertarian Party philosophy.

I'm the former - a pure free market anarchist - so I disagree with his stance. But I'd prefer a President who can speak such words - and actually do them - over the clowns we have here. But there's no doubt these statements would resonate with many Libertarian Party members. I have to laugh - Putin sounds more like a classic American than Americans do! Certainly more than a lot of the bar members! VK, for instance, seems to be having the vapors! LOL

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 25 2020 0:07 utc | 33

The lingering question remains: after Putin, who?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 25 2020 0:14 utc | 34

@ 26 eric... thanks... unfortunately it seems michael hudson hasn't really commented on russia in any significant way unless one goes back 5 years or so... i wonder how things have changed since?? here is a link to the articles that top up using russia as the search term -

i enjoyed the paul craig roberts - michael hudson article from 2019 on pcr's website... again, i am not informed enough to make an informed comment on pcr's conclusions from march of 2019... he and however much of the article hudson contributed - might be exactly right, especially in the conclusions of the 3rd to last paragraph in the article.. i don't know... thanks for the ongoing conversation..

@ Jen | Oct 24 2020 23:04 utc | 29 / 31.. thanks jen.. i haven't been to marks website in a long time! i recall moscow exile.. is he still posting their?? regarding central banks and nabiullina the head of russias central bank... i am not sure how many know this but the position of being the head of a central bank in any country is not a position that is decided upon by the country itself, or at least not in any democratic way... and the country is supposed to not get involved in the politics of it either as i understand it... instead these people are suggested in some other way - not elected - and while they do have to work with the political leadership - they can't be gotten rid of easily as i understand it.. i think a lot of this has to do with the way the international institutions work and how if a country wants to be a part of this same international system of money, they need to accept the structure as it is opaquely set up as... thus the central banks are under specific guidelines that they have to follow that comes from somewhere outside the actual country.... i would love someone to correct me on all this, but it is my present understanding of how this particular system works...

as for what happened in russia during the breaking up of the ussr and the transition of russia during the 1990's - one could argue the agenda of the harvard plan for russia was to exploit russia for it's resource rich territory and install people like yeltsin who would happily go along with this madness.. just how much this changed is partly witnessed in the life of bill browder - a person well known to most here... so, clearly russia made changes to try to protect itself from the encouraged kleptocracy that was in full swing in the early 1990s... just how much they have managed to ween themselves off private finance - i have no idea... it sounds like they are in the same boat as the rest of the planet in being beholden to private finance....

of course private verses public finance is a confusing topic that keeps on getting revisited here at moa and for good reason... i don't really know how all this interfaces with everything else.. i appreciate erics particular vantage and am curious to hear of others viewpoint as well.. thanks jen.. i have some other comments to read now on this topic from H.Schmatz @ 28

Posted by: james | Oct 25 2020 0:16 utc | 35

@ psychohistorian | Oct 25 2020 0:05 utc | 32 quote -
"and it is my understanding that the Central Bank in Russia for example is not entirely a sovereign entity..." yeah, that is what i am trying to say too @35..

Posted by: james | Oct 25 2020 0:18 utc | 36

@ H.Schmatz | Oct 24 2020 23:01 utc | 28... that is pretty funny some of the things you say! thanks for the laugh... as for using terms from another language - "a botarate like Trump" - i had to get the translator out for that.. thanks for that laugh too... thanks for your post for the interesting parts as well.. cheers..

Posted by: james | Oct 25 2020 0:25 utc | 37

Putin is concerned about unrestrained consumption? That's funny coming from a man with multiple palaces, and I wonder what Lenin would think of that, the palaces of course?

Here's why I think it's so appropriate to have 2 articles in a row praising Putin's thoughts on Environmental Protection and the State of the Economy and whatever else.

Vladimir Putin is actually on the ballot! 😉

Posted by: Circe | Oct 25 2020 0:32 utc | 38

@ circe - i thought it was putin running against biden.... did i get that right from the right sources?? you know dem sources, lol....

Posted by: james | Oct 25 2020 0:35 utc | 39

Thank you b for continuing this conversation. The speech and Q&A were most interesting. They were consistent with what Putin has said before, but done so this time with more confidence as even the oppression of the covid situation was dealt with in honorable fashion - if one can honor a virus, that is. It is always, with Putin, that the people come first, and he made that statement at the beginning. Countries, all countries, have that obligation in their governance that it be for the people's welfare. So, to him, whatever system a country has is only important in that respect and each country, drawing on its own history and its assets, decides for itself what that style of governance will be. This is different from any outside system being touted as the ideal. There isn't an ideal. It all depends on how the people wish to be governed, based on what they feel is important to them. That is democracy in its loosest terms. He said several times that any philosophy of government imposed by outsiders will never work.

At the same time, his support for the UN system on a world wide basis is as unconditional as his first premise.

One size doesn't fit all---what a relief!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 25 2020 1:10 utc | 40

I meant to add that casting my mind back to the last debate, the one thing being said about the people was Biden intensely eyeing us and telling us about the empty chair at the kitchen table - nice!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 25 2020 1:17 utc | 41

.. an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We need to land somewhere between North Korea and the US on consumption. John Judge used to talk about how 30 houses on a street need 30 lawnmowers. Why not buy one lawnmower, share it and maintain it? I ditched my lawns long ago as that is also over consumption but I use it as an example of what type of society we have built.

“... I am confident that what makes a state strong, primarily, is the confidence it’s citizens have in it. That is the strength of a state. People are the source of power, we all know that.”

It is not just confidence it is having an educated competent citizenry. Our top education institutions, especially the ivy league, are cranking out students trained to protect the status quo hence things will not changed easily.

Moon is going to end up on the Russian disinformation agitators list.

Posted by: circumspect | Oct 25 2020 1:20 utc | 42

b should have a special bulletin for the news Hunter Biden revelation.

Somehow, some ways, Steven Bannon's chinese associates come through with compromising images and videos to say the least.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 25 2020 1:28 utc | 43

@ Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 25 2020 0:05 utc | 32

This "mixed economies won the Cold War" is an old story already. Eric Hobsbawn left a letter claiming just before he died, in 2012.

The problem with the Scandinavian economies is this: who's gonna do the dirty jobs? You cannot simply make a nation of designers and white collar workers. The social-democracies of the post-war solved this problem with the Third World countries, but now those countries are not accepting this role anymore.

Besides, there's the objective fact even the Scandinavian economies are declining, with inequality skyrocketing since the end of the 1990s. They, too, are susceptible to the laws of capitalism.

Posted by: vk | Oct 25 2020 1:35 utc | 44

"Strengthening our country and looking at what is happening in the world, in other countries, I want to say to those who are still waiting for the gradual demise of Russia: in this case, we are only worried about one thing — how not to catch a cold at your funeral", Putin said on Thursday at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Love it! Just so Putin...

Posted by: V | Oct 25 2020 1:49 utc | 45

@ vk

That's an interesting question.

How are the underclass workers (construction, janitors, street sweepers) wage and social benefits in the Nordic countries in comparison with China, S. Korea and Japan?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 25 2020 1:52 utc | 46

@eric 18 et al

Those are important points. It seems to be a common pattern in neoliberal economics. The answer to "why" that I pieced together is this: It is all about the oligarchs in combination with their immediate overseas business partners. Typically they own a considerable portion of the foreign-jurisdiction bonds lent to their own nations. It is a straightforward money laundering arrangement.

The Russian government cannot simply remove the domestic oligarchs**, no more than a US or EU government could do the same against equivalent local business powers. Rather, they come to a livable equilibrium. Preventing investment from China, EU etc, is, in addition to defending national sovereignty, also a case of the government defending the domestic oligarchs from foreign rivals -- rivals who would have greater financial resources with the backing of their own larger home regions.

However, the big difference in the case of Russia, compared to most countries victimized by the neoliberal pattern, is that the government is powerful enough to quite reliably protect the local oligarchs from their foreign rivals, including pretty much anything that the foreign rival's home governments can possibly throw at them (i.e. the various regime change toolbox). This protection is a massively valuable service. For this reason, the Russian government can, if it is halfway decent and perhaps above-average in managing the difficult internal politics, negotiate a better (i.e. more long-term sustainable) arrangement with the local oligarchs, in terms of how the citizens are affected.

[** but with all the sanctions etc, this balance of power actually shifts]

Posted by: ptb | Oct 25 2020 2:03 utc | 47

Remember "Wall street on parade"?
Informed critical of the financial machinations going on in lower Manhattan, so far so good.
Now in the presidential race they don't want Trump because he doesn't believe in "climate Change" and is an obnoxious New Yorker. This puts the Biden family behind the wheel, to Xi Jinping and other foreign bribers delight.

The Martens should follow the James Corbett reports more closely on the human warming scam, or simply look at PR China's actual coal power expansion.

Posted by: Antonym | Oct 25 2020 3:12 utc | 48

James @ 35

You mention Bill Browder. He is the grandson of Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1930-1945. It is now freely admitted that Earl was always in the employ of the FBI. Bill simply continues the family business, which is Get Russia. The odds that Bill is an independent actor and is not working for .gov are same as odds that Easter Bunny is real.

Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 25 2020 3:49 utc | 49

You'll find some surprising people praising Obama's rhetorical skills. If you stroll around the Kennedy Center, you can find some perhaps unexpected quotes by JFK that no one would dare utter today. not because of the character of the quotes so much but by how satisfied people have become with the prison food of Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip and bologna served everywhere in the US. As others have noted, people got fired up by Sen. Afterburn Sanders "masks for all". poor people expect nothing, la la.

Putin might be Pericles for all speech matters. he sticks his finger to the wind, feels the wildfire heat, and says things. you can chew on his words like a cow does for a long time, lots of hempen roughage there. but that's true from many other politicians in the world. Unlike in the US, when they open their mouths, generating Pavlovian responses from repeating words like "Putin" or "socialism" or "mullah" is not so obviously the goal of their public oratory. there is much greater tangential contact with reality. Here in the Promised Land, "America Can Do Anything" is Biden's response to MAGA. Hurricanes don't mean shit to us.

As far as a political actor goes by the measures of the currency of this world, Putin might be one of the greats. who knows? we only know about him as the voice of the state b/c he, like all, takes credit for others' work, incl this speech. but what is the relationship b/n what comes out of his mouth and what he does?

One reason to give him credit is the unhinged assholes he is dealing with. And the mess he inherited. and etc. but he's also been constrained by his environment. the "virtue" on display with Putin is part of the capitalist competition. Russian drilling in the Arctic is not interrupted b/c it cannot be interrupted. why? hard not to continue with the same old same old when a gun is pointed at one's head.

Whatever my doubts about Putin et al, they cannot do certain things until Americans get off their ass and disrupt the greatest polluter, threat, etc., etc., in the non-pentagonal world. i'll take the Kremlin (just for the architecture) any day over that square with an extra line in Arlington, VA. but that's not a great choice.

Posted by: jason | Oct 25 2020 4:00 utc | 50

@ ptb | Oct 25 2020 2:03 utc | 47... that is interesting supposition on your part.. thanks for sharing..

@ old hippie... yes, i was aware of that - thanks.. if you haven't seen it yet - the movie the russian guy made on browder is quite good - worth the watch, but i think you have to pay for it now.. there was a time where you could watch it for free... yes indeed, the son worked or works for the same folks as the father is a link to the movie..

here is an interesting link that i found just looking for a link to the movie... if you haven't watched the movie, this is a good start and covers it from a particular angle..

earl browder was an interesting dude who led an interesting life..

Posted by: james | Oct 25 2020 4:42 utc | 51

James @ 35:

Yes Moscow Exile still posts at The New Kremlin Stooge.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 25 2020 5:50 utc | 52

Am Driving From Hampton Roads to Vancouver, Washington.

Now in St. Marys, OH, near Indiana border, 50 Miles from Ft. Wayne.

A few Biden signs here and there.

Trump signs and activity everywhere.

Saw a motorcade miles long of Trump supporters.


Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | Oct 25 2020 5:53 utc | 53

You do realize that the Russians have three (3) vaccines, and the chinese one (1) in late stage 3 trials, with Sputnik V due to complete theirs next month and to go into serial production shortly.

Putin's strategy is to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.

Mishustin is busy holding trade fairs promoting the Russian arctic.

Business residency for $$RUB$$$.

Ski resorts on the Kola peninsula...

While his enemies implode under the second COVID-19 wave....


Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | Oct 25 2020 5:59 utc | 54


Thank you Alicia for putting up that interview.I like very much the articles Orlov writes,and many of them I find translated in French.He has humour,unlike more well known geopolitics analysts.Try this one:

Posted by: willie | Oct 25 2020 7:08 utc | 55

That Valdai speech / Q&A was a master class in governance.

While Putin thinks and talks like a sane man, Western leaders reveal daily that they are now not sanity-capable, not logic-capable, not sanity-capable, not shame-capable.

Putin shows a commanding grasp of his nation's people, economy, culture, history, environment, geo-strategic needs, impressively rattling off numbers, statistics, reason, rationale, logic and pragmatic good sense. In all that, he reminds me of that other great world-class leader, Lee Kuan Yew, whom Kissinger once called the Wise Man of Asia.

Russia is fortunate to be governed by a world-class leader and his team today, but good luck to the Great Toilet Bowl Stirrers in the West.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Oct 25 2020 7:14 utc | 56

Putin: "But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow..... After all, it is within our power to stop being egoistical, greedy, mindless and wasteful consumers.... We just need to open our eyes, look around us and see that the land, air and water are our common inheritance from above, and we must learn to cherish them, just as we must cherish every human life, which is precious. This is the only way forward in this complicated and beautiful world. I do not want to see the mistakes of the past repeated."

Was Putin talking about Russians? or about Americans?

Who are those exceptional 4% of the global population who demands to consume 40% of global resources?

Posted by: kiwiklown | Oct 25 2020 7:21 utc | 57

Putin: "So, we want the voice of our citizens to be decisive and to see constructive proposals and requests from different social forces get implemented.... what you call your political system is immaterial...."

It doesn't matter if it is a 'democratic' or 'socialist', but governments that primarily serve the people's needs (not the elite's greed) will listen to, and DO, the people's will. Out of that, the people give their CONSENT to be governed.

Today, ALL governments use a mix of democratic and socialist tools, eg. China, Russia, UK, USA. But, unlike the West, who boast that their system is more perfect, China and Russia serve their people primarily.

As Deng said, it does not matter if the cat is black or white.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Oct 25 2020 8:59 utc | 58

How much of America’s policy’s are run out of pure jealousy of Russia and China ?
Rather than being a supper power, they have regressed into imature petulant juvenile tantrums.
Self-distruction and self-harm.

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 25 2020 9:51 utc | 59

@Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 25 2020 3:49 utc | 49

In that vein, attention to the "new" leader of the "new" Communist Party USA...a Trotskyist guy who fought in Syria along the Us Army and the kurds....

You are being taken for a ride continuously, in the verge of clear tendence towards socialism by the young, seen in the recent explosion of BLM Movement, and previously studied by the usual think tanks...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 10:25 utc | 60

@Posted by: Smith | Oct 25 2020 1:28 utc | 43

In fact, if it is Bannon´s CHinese associate, Guo, can not be the Chinese Communist Party, as so shameless Pat Lang affirms, doubling down in projecting, and lying as usual, saying that these nauseating dirty tricks on taking out dirty sexual compromat has always been the custom of the CCP and Russian KGB, when this is old US procedure....

One of last Pepe Escobar´s articles, links to an articel in Global Research on Barr, which at its time links to a file which debunks this old curmudgeon in his lies to get Trump elected proving the dirt is long date Made in USA.
He clearly asumes the remaining commentariat there will be lazy, and fooled enough, to take his word as God´s...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 10:58 utc | 61

That's quite a lopsided interpretation by you, b.
- Where is Putin anti-capitalist exactly? Demanding responsibility, and regulations to ensure that, is not anti-capitalist at all.
- How are negative interest rates coupled with inflation, inversely or anyhow, as you imply? The US has negative interest rates but (real) inflation above 9% annually (already before COVID, and likely much higher now.)
- Since when has inflation made it easier for debtors to pay back their loans? That would only be the case if wages rise with inflation, which is not a given.

Posted by: michael | Oct 25 2020 11:12 utc | 62

I have not yet read the whole transcript of Putin´s long intervention in the Valdai Discussion Club, and thus, I do not know how deep he went about last frenzy on "regime change" intends in the post-Soviet space, but in case he did not put it clear enough, background of the recent explosions of regime change intends in countries surrounding Russia ( Spoiler: it was all there in a 2019 Reand Corporation file...)

US plans to remove Russia from post-Soviet space

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 11:33 utc | 63

Putin is a "statesman". A few squalid pretenders in the political class here may aspire to that title, but It is not a badge you pin on yourself, it is awarded by general acclaim. Putin has stepped into the vacuum of world leadership left by the US Idiocracy when Trump took over with the help of his free market, anti-government cohort, the Koch's, Robert Mercer, Paul Singer, and etc. Putin is the champion of arms control, multilateralism & cooperation, and following this address certainly, environmentalism. All attempts to demonize Putin on the part of the neoliberal US oligarchy collapse when the diminutive Russian Mongol begins to speak. I join in the applause. It is so refreshing to listen to a leader talking sense for a change! I don't care if he is a benevolent authoritarian anti-democrat, I am so grateful for his intelligent leadership that I salute! And I thank b for bringing this Valdai event to our attention. The poverty and ideological blindness of our media conglomerates is just outrageous!

Posted by: jadan | Oct 25 2020 11:40 utc | 64

Trump medles again in foreign countries affairs, this time menacing with violently blow up the Great Renaissance Dam, when the countries implied are trying to solve the issue by diplomatic means....

Trump Says Egypt "Will Blow Up" the Great Renaissance Dam and Ethiopia Responds to His "Belligerent Threats"

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 12:02 utc | 65

You get the same kind of leftist verbiage from Xi Jinping, who extols Mao while turning China into an ecological nightmare. Words are cheap.

"Criminal proceedings have been initiated against me in Russia – I'm facing a possible two-year prison sentence," Alexandra Korolyova told DW. Korolyova, from Kaliningrad, is the co-founder and director of the environmental organization Ecodefense, the oldest of its kind in Russia. In late May, five cases were opened against her in Russia in the space of just 10 minutes. She was accused of "malicious failure to comply with a court order" and decided, as a result, to request political asylum in Germany.

Ecodefense was founded 30 years ago. The small group has already succeeded in preventing the construction of a new nuclear power station near Kaliningrad among other things. Recently it joined forces with other environmental organizations and managed to stop the opening of a new mine in the Siberian coal region of Kuzbass.

Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Oct 25 2020 12:07 utc | 66

"Overconsumption", in and of itself, isn't the problem. The problem is the distortion of value that capitalist empire introduces. If the effort required to acquire some thing accurately reflected the effort to produce that thing then consumption would be naturally self-limiting. After all, who could every day consume products containing two days worth of effort if they had to work two days for every day worth of their consuming? "Overconsumption" can only occur because the empire expropriates massive amounts of produced value from its vassals and uses that robbed value to buy off its domestic population. Likewise, capitalism over-rewards certain portions of the domestic population (typically no-skill "professionals" such as journalists and middle managers) who act as "insulation" for the elites from the working class.

Note that you don't see "overconsumption" among factory workers in Bangladesh or Malaysia. Child slave laborers working on African cocoa plantations for your Hershey bars could never be accused of "overconsumption". It would even be unjust to accuse Chinese workers, as much as their standards of living have exploded over the last couple decades, of indulging in "overconsumption".

When China is successful in replacing the US$ with a scientifically managed "currency basket" for international trade and currency reserve then the problem of "overconsumption" will correct itself and the Global North will go on a diet. I am not sure that will be possible though without some "kinetic" events between now and then.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 25 2020 12:26 utc | 67

@Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Oct 25 2020 12:07 utc | 66

Have you heard this Korolyova protest the main source for climate change/damage, the US Army in movement and action around the world, plus US fracking business?

Let me asnwer, NO!, thus, follow the money and you will discover these well payed fake "ecoactivists" are there only to undermine Russia´s economic development, which is a major US, and its allies, goal...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 12:54 utc | 68

Did some googling and I find it fascinating how much support the US State Department and associated fake NGOs talk up this "Ecodefense" organization in Russia while ignoring, dismissing, or criticizing activist environmental organizations that impact the empire's profits.

Meanwhile record numbers of environmental activists have been murdered across Latin America and the Philippines. Funny how the US State Department only complains about the CIA's drug dealers getting snuffed in the Philippines!

This difference in response to persecution of activists in different places leads me to strongly suspect that, like the drug dealers in the Philippines that the empire cries over, certain environmental "NGOs" in Russia are tools of the empire.

Governments should closely watch all "NGOs" operating in their countries and immediately arrest anyone from those organizations who are awarded a financial "literary prize" or other laundered payment by obscure groups that are linked through any number of intermediaries to the US State Department's fake "NGOs". These groups that hand out the payment from the empire are usually hazy publishing companies that have never published anything, or at most create a quarterly newsletter with a distribution list of around five people. Somehow these dubious "publishers" hand out quarter million dollar "literary prizes" to pro-empire individuals whose writing sucks. A quarter $million every couple years is more than enough to grow local fake "NGOs" to be used in future "regime change operations".

Furthermore, if the US State Department talks up an organization then that organization is almost certainly an evil tool of empire.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 25 2020 13:14 utc | 69

On the role of the state on the economy...and on everything else...things not discussed at Valdai, nor at MoA for that matter, and which contribute to promote the disintegration of states so wished by the neorreactionaires due the lose of confidence of citizens in the state-

Making the broth to fascism, on the verge of coming "curfews" to be stablished in Spain ,and other European countries...One wonders why the hell Thiel & associated, those owners of hedge funds and managers of our personal data on behalf of already fascist givernment like that in the US, need to follow trying to implant their so wished feudal state where the masses are submitted into slavery, when all that is this already here...and without complaints from our part...

From home to work and from work to home: the coronavirus makes the capitalist dream of a controlled and militarized population come true

(...)A recent article by Carlota García Encina, an analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute, described the coronavirus pandemic as "an opportunity for NATO." Specifically, it stated that “the universality of the coronavirus means that NATO must defend the 30 as if they were one, going from“ one for all and all for one ”to“ all for all ”.

In 2003, and anticipating events like the cheating poker player who anticipates his results, NATO released - it was not secret - the Urban Operations in the Year 2020 report, a socio-economic analysis of the situation in Europe where it anticipated a crisis unprecedented in the history of capitalism, where urban poverty "could grow significantly in the future, leading to possible uprisings, civil unrest and threats to security that will require the intervention of local authorities".

The analysis was only a preview of the crisis that the capitalist system was forging. The United Nations evaluated in 2019, and counting on the data as of December 31, 2018 (that is, less than a year and a half after the "coronavirus crisis"), that 26.1% of the population in Spain, and 29.5% of those under 18 years of age were in a situation of poverty. That more than 55% had difficulties to make ends meet, and that 5.4% had severe deficiencies (access to electricity, drinking water, heating, etc.). Official unemployment was 13.78%, more than double the EU average, and youth unemployment was 30.51% among those under 25 years of age. We insist, before the State of Alarm decreed on March 14, 2020.(...)

(...)Any investigation of an event ("coronavirus crisis") has to start from the circumstances that surround it to obtain accurate conclusions, and not the other way around. The origin of this crisis that is impoverishing millions of people cannot be limited to March 14, 2020, because as we have seen, the problem came from long before.

If we add to this that many of the decisions that are transforming society towards a privatist model (locked up at home) and individualistic (normalizing the suppression of rights) were made based on the criteria of a "committee of experts" that has not existed, we can never set off an alarm that this is not just a "fucking virus."

But the second question that we need to verify is the deterrent effect of the exercise of those rights which imply these decisions, because even the left is accepting the official account of the events with astonishing passivity.(...)

(...)Paul Von Hindenburg, who came to power thanks to his family fortune, and with credentials manufactured by that fortune, ended the German Weimar Constitution of 1919 by signing the Reichstag Fire Decree and ushering in something that at the time of being approved no one called fascism. In the current context, the succession of regulations of this «new exceptionality» grants an extraordinary delegation of functions to the police or civil guard officers.

With this empowered power, there is no place to turn back. The curfew that will be established in the next few hours may one day be eliminated from the BOE, but the meaning of this measure is that mass psychology incorporates a disciplined attitude towards the reality that surrounds us into its behavior.

And what surrounds us is what we already know. Faced with the question of whether or not we should comply with the restrictions imposed by the State (confinement, isolation, no meetings, no leisure), we must ask ourselves (as we should have done before March 14) if we are willing to accept or not that poverty and repression are part of our lives.

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 13:26 utc | 70

The stock market crash of 1987, the savings and loan debacle, the tech bubble, the Asian tigers meltdown, the world "recession" of 2008 and today's global slump (which preceded the pandemic, a point neglected by the apologists for capitalism,) show that capitalism doesn't work as advertised, even on its own limited terrain. All claims about how "I" (whether it's Putin, Trump, Boris Johnson, Macron, a miscellaneous German, whoever) am smart enough to solve the minor details of finance responsible have been proven by history to be lies. Whether born of sincerely felt megalomania or calculated perfidy doesn't matter, instability and inequality (which is a bad thing, not a good one, no matter what secret feelings may be harbored,) *are* the normal operations of market economies.

When you add to that the way the global capitalist system is creating a global environmental crisis, the shamelessness of the capitalist apologists is staggering. Putin is a fool.

The fraud Proyect seems to think Xi is actively commanding the Chinese economy in such a fashion as to be personally responsible for, well, everything, conveniently omits that Xi is to be condemned precisely for *not* taking charge the way needed, for advancing the power of the Chinese bourgeoisie even at the expense of the future of China. But then, Proyect is anticommunist/pro imperialist, a champion of barbarism using pious phrases.

Lastly, the notion that "overconsumption" is the problem, is basically an attack on the masses of the people. The problem is the accumulation of capital, of money, which is not consumed, but "invested" for yet more money. There's a fake left website called Crooked Timer where the oh-so-refined-sensibilities of a clot of academics is offended by the rabble eating meat...but they're not offended by billionaires having more money than they can spend! This is the same thing. The pursuit of money, profit, is not overconsumption, but that, not overconsumption, distorts the economy. Starting with vague notions like overconsumption reflects a deep ideological disorientation...or a commitment to capitalism, imperialism and ultimately barbarism.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 25 2020 13:36 utc | 71

Things not discussed at Valdai...on the "eco-scam", how the Spanish IBEX35 giants, private great corporations on energy, transports and clothing, claim thousands of millions from European Funds ( which come from tax payers money, not from the private bank accounts of European officials, do not forget...) on the alibi of "energetic transition" and "sustainability"....This is the new scam after that of rescuing big banks in 2008, for the bailing out and profit of those of always while the population impoverishes at galloping pace and without any prospect of recovery, austerity seems to be our only prospect...

This is why Putin is not always right, nor is he God´s envoy personified, since he tells half the Valdai...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 13:42 utc | 72

On the "pipelines war", also discussed at Valdai, of which it is part the alleged "Navalny poisoning" also briefly discussed without naming that unimportant, at Russian and world level, person, how to explain that Germany must cut off Nord Stream 2 peipeline development on the grounds of not linking its energetic sovereignity to Russia, and then Europe must link its energetic sovereignty to Israel, when the EU has been an historical defender of Palestinian people´s rights and with this link Europe will be submitted to blackmail on the part of Israel anytime it dares criticize Israel´s apartheid measures agsint Palestinians?

After diplomatically recognizing Israel, the UAE signed a contract through the MRLB with the Israeli company EAPC (which manages the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline) to transport crude oil to Europe without having to cross the Suez Canal

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 14:04 utc | 73

circumspect @42 - Agree that a lawnmower per household idiotic but would like to point to the world's best lawnmowers, indeed best lawn maintenance crews: SHEEP. They have teeth on both upper and lower jaws (unlike cattle) and nibble plant life, grasses close to the ground; they tiller the grass plants being small footed and nibblers; they fertilize the soils as they feed... (Of course, lawns are formed of non-native grasses in this country, USA, so one might seriously question their existence.)

Posted by: Anne | Oct 25 2020 14:09 utc | 74

On the role of the state as accomplisher of people´s will and the losing of individual and collective rights on the grounds of combating the pandemic, or the coming "Medical Dictatorship" and "Electronic Concentration Camp Without Tears":

They propose to use psychoanalysis against those who do not comply with medical advice (or do not believe in the climate apocalypse)

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 14:13 utc | 75

On security treaties, also discussed at Valdai, and what the shit on Hunter´s laptop really covers and keep from public discussion at the televised debates, and how the military blogs neighboring ths one contribute to veil this so necessary public discussion by spreading shit and next putting on the fan as multiplying effect:

While food banks queues spread kilometers the US...and everywhere...except, may be, Russia and China? Just those allegedly objectives of the missles...oh, wait...

The cost of the new generation of US ballistic missiles to replace the Minuteman 3 rises to $ 95.8 billion

Why the "Chinese Virus" discourse/narrative of both candidates contribute to justify expenses on certain things and not on others, like public health care...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 14:26 utc | 76

Interesting, previously mentioned, for its repercusions...

Report «Urban Operations in the Year 2020» (2003), NATO analysis of the necessary requirements to be able to take control of urban areas:

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 14:39 utc | 77

64# jadan

Very true jadan,your view on Putin,and every time I read an excerpt or a speech by him I notice he is far above our western "leaders" with their meaningless chatter and hollow phrases.That's why you will never read the slightest alinea by Putin in der Spiegel,le Monde ,or le Figaro.The vile venal journo's can't afford to print it and keep up their unmerited credibility at the same time.Same for Lavrov,Assad,Xi and Khadafi.

Posted by: willie | Oct 25 2020 15:14 utc | 78

Number 2 poster is a troll!!

Posted by: Den lille Abe | Oct 25 2020 15:43 utc | 79

American grocery stores - 80 pct of the items are not necessary and are likely harmful to some degree. Junk food outlets, it's been known for decades that this stuff leads to obesity, diabetes, and who knows what else. The authorities could mandate changes to low fat, sugar and salt contents that would apply to all of them with no real harm to their business, but it doesn't get done because the right people get paid off.

Posted by: xeno | Oct 25 2020 16:11 utc | 80

Putin stands out like a shining light amongst what are called world leaders.

Some are just bosses of crime syndicates, follow my eyes (USA). Others are just hopeless idiot figure-heads, like Trudeau. (I am biased, particularly dislike him. Macron is in the same bin.)

Putin's statements about the ‘economy’ are calculatedly ‘judicious’ and unassailable. Note, he only says one has to question the role of the State in the ‘economy’ in the sense of control of it, with the State as a mega-regulator + law-maker wielding authority from the top - not as negotiator, as far as I have understood Putin.

That ‘State control’ should be different in different conditions — regions, epochs, etc., is a truism. Putin projects the feel of ‘reasonable control’ and ‘piloting’ (encouraging xyz.. or the opposite..) which rejects both despotic, authoritarian stances, often ‘arbitrary’ (or experienced as such), as well as, on the other side, anarchy and unbridled profiteering -> racketeering, monopolies, cartels, fraud, violence, coercion, etc. Some call that capitalism, others gangsterism.

Russia, land + ressource rich, with a ‘low’ population density, with well-educated ppl (as compared to many others), its ‘economy’ at least not plunging or even stagnant (GDP per capita or some such), is well positioned to put forward such ‘reasonable’ thoughts.

Humanity’s dilemma or rather looming disaster sink-hole - see: ressource extraction, trashing the environment, irreversible tipping points, ‘peak oil’ (gone out of fashion with fracking in the US), and other over-consumption (sand for ex.), destruction (soils.. rivers.. ocean.. global warming..), over-population, global warming.. will not be reversed or in any way solved, by reasoned Putin-type discourse. (see pnyzx at 4, vk 30, psychohistorian 32 and others..)

For sure, Putin’s job is not to solve the world’s problems but to protect and nurture Russia and its people and he does that very well.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 25 2020 16:22 utc | 81

@Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 13:26 utc | 70

Reported by a center-conservative newspaper, curiously, in yesterady´s hearing with Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, Pope Francis made a similar analysis to this one from the left, on the similarities of this moment with Weimar, and the need to low the level of political twitching, which only benefits those who seek the destruction of nation states. He referred also to what country, nation and homeland would mean ( and in this, one would say he is on the same line as Putin...)

What the Holy See could know that we do not...?

Francis talks about Weimar

Yesterday's hearing in Rome was not a gracious formality to discuss climate change, the pandemic and other scourges that plague humanity. The Pope wanted to convey some very precise words about the risks involved in an excess of political and ideological polarization. A message directed, unequivocally, to the left, to the right and to the independentists. The Pope made mention of the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the prelude to Nazism, and to finish off the subtlety he did so by citing a former member of the Italian Communist Party, the historian and journalist Siegmund Ginzsberg. The son of a Jewish family, born in Turkey (Istanbul, 1948), Ginzsberg attended the PCI school of cadres and ended up being a correspondent for the communist daily L’Unità in Beijing, Tehran, Tokyo, Paris and Washington. Last year he published Syndrome 1933, an essay in which he warns of the risk that in some European countries, including Italy, the conditions are being created for an authoritarian regression. The gradual collapse of Weimar gave way first to Hindenburg's rule and then to the electoral victory of the National Socialists. It is not the first time that Francis has referred to the risk of a dramatic reversal in Western democracies. It is highly recommended to watch the video of the audience, provided yesterday by the Vatican information services.

In the Argentine way, Francisco distinguished between country, nation and homeland. "It is the mission of politicians to lift and improve the country, consolidate the nation and make the homeland progress", he told the Spanish delegation. "Build the homeland with everyone", he emphasized.

Beware of excess voltage in Spain. Very summarized, this is the message of Francis, most certainly well informed of the latest political events by the apostolic nuncio in Madrid, the Philippine prelate Bernardito Azua, and by the president of the Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Juan José Omella, archbishop of Barcelona.

There were touches for everyone. Veiled warning to the ideological movement of the left. "We are not allowed the clean slate". ( You could read there a touch to the republican processism that Podemos has launched this summer ). Touching Conservative Castling: "Beware of Traditionalist Fantasy". And he referred to “localisms”, an expression that the pro-independence politicians will certainly not like. There was for everyone.(...)

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 16:44 utc | 82

Eric @18

"while at the same time even Chinese investors are discouraged from investing through opaque regulation and unpredictable Russian state intervention."

I wonder if they are becoming more open to western investors. Nordstream 2's financing is ~50% European, and this from

". . . .No wonder, then, that a number of banks have pledged a total of $9.5 billion in funding for Novatek’s second LNG project, the Arctic LNG 2. According to a Reuters report, the China Development Bank and German Euler Hermes are among the lenders that have made pledges, and French Pbifrance is yet to decide on the funding. The China Development Bank is, unsurprisingly, the most generous backer of the $21-billion Arctic LNG 2 project, with $5 billion.

Arctic LNG 2 will have a liquefaction capacity of $19.8 [sic] million tons of LNG annually divided among three liquefaction trains."

PS - Good to see you posting after you were virtually assaulted last week.

Posted by: Schmoe | Oct 25 2020 18:38 utc | 83

Den lille Abe,
I nowadays start to read comments from the "bottom up" - in order not to fall into the traps of some trolls, some of those I know by name, and this prevents me to read their comments. In other words, if you continue reading from top down, you don't know who's comment you read...

Posted by: bystander04 | Oct 25 2020 19:01 utc | 84

Can someone check this article?

“Yes, in Ukraine he (Hunter Biden) had or maybe still has a business, I don’t know. It doesn’t concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians,” said Putin.

“But well yes he had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don’t see anything criminal about this, at least we don’t know anything about this (being criminal).”

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Oct 25 2020 19:52 utc | 85

Well, Putin throws a cable to Trump in the final sprint to election day...

Putin says US presence in Afghanistan good for security

He, expressely greats the "incumbent president" for his collaboration...

Unless it is a valedictory thankfulness...who knows with these people....

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 25 2020 20:39 utc | 86

Not really off topic as a nuclear arms race would wildly change all the economic equations

One of the issues concerning START was that both the US and Russia were to remove nuclear weapons and then decommission them. This involved disposal of the warheads and their nuclear material

The Russians built reprocessing plants, turned it into fuel and sold it to the US. Their warhead fuel is gone. WHAT IS NOT KNOWN is that the US reprocessing plant was never finished. THE US STILL HAS ALL ITS OLD WARHEADS, IN STORAGE.

Putin agreeing to cap ALL WARHEADS gives the US a possible 5 (10?) to 1 advantage to the US. That is why Shoigu opposed it. But if it came to an arms race the US could field 1000's in the same time Russia fields 100.

The one redeeming point is that stored US weapons would need reconditioning, and that takes time, this is why the one year time frame.

Without some form of agreement, (and source of plutonium warhead feul) Russia loses a nuclear arms race.

which may be why China canceled their moratorium on reactor construction ( waiting for the new joint Russian Chinese reactor to be finished- it does not generate plutonium for warhead fuel) at the time the US backed away from START talks, and instead the Chinese started bringing Hualong One reactors on line that do generate plutonium warhead fuel.

Posted by: Les7 | Oct 25 2020 23:49 utc | 87

Interesting transcript. Simple, no-frills English.
Judging from the English subtitles in Oliver Stone's 4-part series The Putin Interviews, Putin is no stranger to refreshingly frank, clear and unambiguous communication, No wonder Russians love him.

Huge contrast with the mendacity of pseudo-Christian ratbags masquerading as Western Leaders on the world stage. Evidence of the Scum Mo Government's laughably opaque and unaccountable corruption is seeping out of every crack in the facade of what passes for 'democracy' in Oz.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 26 2020 0:02 utc | 88

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 25 2020 12:26 utc | 67 -- "Overconsumption" can only occur because the empire expropriates massive amounts of produced value from its vassals...."

Sure, eat yourself out of house and home: your body, your right; your resources, your problem.

But demanding to eat your neighbours' lunches? destroying other nations just so you can eat their lunches? Now, that is wrong, unfair, undemocratic, evil.

How is it right for 4% of global population to demand 40% of global resources?

How does that 900% distortion by the Exceptionally Fat Nation against the world's natural order not be an unconscionable usurpation?

And the cheek of it all is that they "pay" for all that over-consumption with paper IOUs, and oftentimes, with bullets to their victims heads.

Can't wait for that Outlaw Nation to cease and desist, if not to decease. One thing for sure will be that I wdn't be around to catch a cold at that Exceptional Funeral.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Oct 26 2020 2:59 utc | 89

@ kiwiklown | Oct 26 2020 2:59 utc | 89 who is critical of US consumption of global resources.

I live in the US and agree with your assessment but think that the biggest share of that overconsumption is in the MIC world. Think about the resources consumed to project empire around the world. Beside the financial sector, the MIC world is the only economy left in the US.....wonder how much of MIC is dependent on China for key components and realistic divorce time frame?

The shit show with US as the current face of the global private financial elite continues. The MSM and social media control the hearts and minds of most Americans, I am sorry to say. It is sad to hear and read about the lesser of evils discussions which reflects binary thinking about potential alternatives to our social crisis.

As I commented earlier about the role of government in the economy, much of the current US population is brainwashed to not see the "socialistic" things all around them and understand that some things are better for social good to have done by government. Ending the jackboot of Western global private finance and having finance as a public utility continues to be my overarching solution to the motivational misdirection of Western society......

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 26 2020 4:53 utc | 90

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 26 2020 4:53 utc | 90 -- "I live in the US and agree with your assessment but think that the biggest share of that overconsumption is in the MIC world. Think about the resources consumed to project empire around the world...."

Thanks for pointing out that the MIC is a huuuuuge over-consumer of global resources, eg. 5th generation planes that don't fly so good; aircraft carriers that can't leave port; navy ships that collide with other people's ships; missile defences that can't stop Iranian missiles; commandos that get arrested on Venezuelan shorelines; etc. But have you seen those US 'leaders' going around so smugly lecturing others to become 'normal nations'? What, to be like them? to have mouth and arse interchangeable? like pomparse?

"Ending the jackboot of Western global private finance and having finance as a public utility continues to be my overarching solution to the motivational misdirection of Western society......"

I can go with that too, but first, a portion of global minds (not just Western minds) need to wake up. They say that crowds go insane altogether of a sudden, but people recover sense one by one. And when they do, they will need good history from honest truth-speakers. Look, even here on this site, where such intelligent and well-read commenters reside, there is huuuuuuuge ignorance about how the world truly works. We get riled, lost, arguing about trivia, just as the enemy wants us to do, not seeing the forest for the trees. Some lesser minds here stay in the schoolyard stage of development, shouting others down, quibbling over minutae. And so, I huuuuugely applaud your lonely voice talking into the wind of ignorance. Me? I write for the youth of the future, those whose minds are not yet made up; those who are not so smugly self-assured; those who are prepared to do their own research -- those who will change the world for better after us.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Oct 26 2020 7:40 utc | 91

@H.Schmatz | Oct 24 2020 23:01 utc | 28
What happened 22. July 2011 is not what it seems. I know the places personally.

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 26 2020 12:19 utc | 92

Robert Maxwells business student and protege, Bill Browder,which with little doubt makes him MOSSAD or Shin Bet.
The missing monies from Bobs ransacking of his corporate was never found.
Epsteins money, and Browders seed capital came from there IMO,plus Ghislaines of course.
Pretty incestuous,but a common theme,

Posted by: winston2 | Oct 26 2020 16:05 utc | 93

kiwiklown @89

Yeah, empire certainly sucks, but this bleeding of the vassals to feed the local serfs is why it is so difficult to get Americans to do more than offer a superficial opposition to global slaughter. They will virtue signal about their desire for peace while munching on a slave labor chocolate bar, but that's as far as they will go because a world where the crap they buy at Walmart is an order of magnitude more expensive is not one they even want to contemplate, much less voluntarily pursue.

Posted by: William R Henry | Oct 26 2020 18:14 utc | 94

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