Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oligarchies, American and Russian

russblogger has some video from the 24th in Moscow on Sakhorov Prospecket. The driving force behind these events in Russia have more to do with income inequality rather than so called freedom. Reading the NYT and the WashPO are probably the worst way of following reality in Russia. Americans are only now coming to grips with the fact the country is basically an oligarchic kleptocracy. Both countries show that the real issue in elections is not vote fraud but vote tampering and suppression. Vladimir Putin is not Josef Stalin and U.S. media has great difficulty coming to deal with this. The concerns of the Russian people are quite similar to Americans as they both adjust to former super-power status and acknowledgement of oligarchic kleptocracies that run the world. Luke Harding gives one of the more succinct explanations of power in Russia:
"Putin’s system, Harding writes, has created ‘the most unequal society in Russia’s history’. To keep the have-nots at arm’s length, the wealthiest Russians live in exclusive, walled-off residential compounds like those along the Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Road outside Moscow. But since the highest fliers among Russia’s nouveaux riches lead an essentially borderless existence, their most prized gated communities are located in the West. Those who own real estate abroad include numerous public officials and civil servants: ‘Russian bureaucrats have their houses and families in London, and their children are going to Cambridge and Oxford.’ The reason this ‘very strange political class’ craves an extraterritorial foothold is illuminating: ‘They keep their money outside Russia because none of them believes in Russia and none of them believes in official stability. All of them know that this stability could be finished any day.’ They don’t believe in official stability because, as the ones responsible for guaranteeing it, they are aware of their own limitations. For all their talk about ‘the restoration of Russia’s superpower status’, Russia’s senior political officials have an astonishingly ‘primitive mission’, which is to ‘take this money outside Russia, buy houses outside Russia and give their children a future abroad’. Russia’s affluent classes are irresistibly drawn to relocate their assets to countries where there appears to be a future. Their lack of confidence doesn’t reflect a fear that the government they work for is too strong and may one day initiate mass confiscations. Their worry, on the contrary, is that their government isn’t stable enough to protect their investments."
This doesn't sound a lot different from American Corporations off shoring assets to prevent them from actually assisting the country in which their workers actually live in and products are sold.

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