Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Argument for a "Declinist" View on Russia's Putinization

from - the WSJ Monday, Dec 05
article by Alan Cullison (comments by JacksGreatBlog):

Russia no longer so "united" not like the "good old days," when "united" Russia sent millions to Siberia. Here, it is Putin's "United" Russia Party that is loss leader. I reckon the newspaper writers are somehow obliged to deploy language such as the word "garnered," as in "the party garnered" votes, Cullison says. They had a poor showing, or garnering: 50% of the vote. That, for the ruling party, was a poor showing. But I'll say this for the author: he does mention "fraud" before he says "garnered."
     Yes, Vladimir, and, yes, Virginia, there was fraud. Shocking, I know. This is Russia remember. That explains it I guess but I wonder which side they are saying committed infractions? Knowing Russia as I do and yes, Virginia, I've heard some stories -- I think maybe that both sides do it. In that awful, barbarian country.
     Maybe some individuals lack scruples. Maybe some individuals in Russia lack scruples, and maybe Russians do not have these "scruple" thingies Americans have ---- about about snatching and stealing other people's numbers -- by "numbers" I mean, of course, votes. Is voting just numbers? I think it is supposed to be something a little more than numbers: those are persons' opinions, or strong convictions, about who should be the officials in charge of government policy. Still, it does seem intuitively like voting is a little like money, in some ways. Maybe it is like money things: "selling short," you know; or maybe a little like your virtuous bank that loans money it doesn't have by running to the Fed discount window or however you say it. Something like that, right?
     By the way, that is a great move, guys. Loaning money you don't have really does our society proud. This would appear to be the kind of thinking they are engaging, which is to say, if they could think: "let us create a short-term result and we shall sort out the long-term results later when the economy crashes..."

But, we are here to talk about politics. Aren't we? I know that my area is economics, but I did have a few other comments on the article I saw in the Wall St. Journal.

Putin (not unlike Dick Cheney) is secretive. Recently, he has tried to do a few photo-ops, and made some public appearances. But the Russians who maybe are just smart as anybody else -- did not seem to go for this. Not this time. Now Putin has, apparently, recused himself --- or whatever the word should be.
     As we know, he was the head of the Russian secret service, the KGB. Maybe if you give people the right to vote, they have a strong tendency to always vote against against anything secretive. Maybe, as voters, they will tend to be against the secretive way of life -- maybe that's in the nature of things (voting). A "United Russia Party" official might opine that the anti-Putin vote means that now the Russians are less united; but then again, who exactly is it that wants to "unite" over the topic of secrecy? What good is voting, if  not as a right, or an opportunity? Would persons tend to vote for a society the leadership of which tends to prefer secretiveness? Voting means one has a choice. What kinds of choices do voters get in a society that operates in secrecy? Maybe these Russian voters turning against the Putin party know exactly what they are doing.
     I wonder: would an American voter, someone voting in the U.S.A., chose as their president a secretive person who used to be the head of the C.I.A? Some of us might but, maybe, the Ruskies have figured out that they should cherish choice and openess.

AND - more breaking news from Russia ...

MOSCOW — New evidence released Monday added weight to suspicions that Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was beaten to death by prison guards in 2009 and did not die from health problems as previously claimed by the authorities.

A report by Hermitage Capital, once Russia’s largest foreign investment fund, found that the 37-year-old lawyer was left to die on a cell floor after suffering a brain trauma in the beating apparently ordered by prison officials.

(source: http://www.sptimes.ru/  ..."the leading English-language newspaper in St. Petersburg")

AND at one and the same time ---

MOSCOW — Foreign direct investment in Russia reached $36 billion in the first 10 months of the year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday (same edition, on-line St P Times)

This is, I would suppose, Russian "capitalism" doing well. And this a special warning, one that we should heed, that not all "capitalisms" are the same. (quite an understatement)

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