Het wemelt al jaren van de negatieve berichten over Rusland en Putin, zoals U weet.
Een tweede voorbeeld ( na Steven Derix) is een boekrecensie op de Financial Times.
De schrijver krijgt autoriteit aangemeten, want hij schreef biografiën over de Tsaar, Lenin, Stalin en Trotsky.
Maar de verifieerbare feiten in zijn boek zijn vaak te weerleggen.
Dan moet gevreesd worden voor het waarheidsgehalte van zijn uitspraken die niet concreet falsifieerbaar zijn.
Ik denk dat Putin de goede strategie heeft:
1) Als de machthebbers in het sterkste land ter wereld ( USA) er op uit zijn om jouw land wéér kapot te maken, dan is een goed leger de eerste prioriteit. 'Check'
2) Als je een land meer welvaart wil geven dan moet je als eerste investeren in de zaken die het geld binnen brengen, infrastructuur : Havens, spoorlijnen, pijpleidingen, wegen. 'Check.'
3) Als je minder kwetsbaar wil zijn voor 'aanvallen door bankiers van buitenaf' dan moet je zorgen voor lage staatsschuld en hoge goudvoorraad. 'Check.'
4) Als je punt 1 t/m 3 op orde hebt, dan kun je pas de enorme ( financiële) inspanning gaan doen om dat gigantische land in zijn geheel op een hoger niveau te brengen.
Kritiek op Putin die stelt dat er armoede is op het platteland zal een kern van waarheid hebben, maar dat wil niet zeggen dat Putin het fout heeft aangepakt, of dat '' het beter kon'. Zulke kritiek is gratuit: makkelijk en onzinnig.
Dat is wat ik er op dit moment over denk.
Het artikel van RT zal ik ook onder de gele streep kopieren. Plus enkele reacties.
De Financial Times tekst kan ik wel hieronder weergeven, zonder goede lay-out.
Voor de goede lay-out: ga naar RT en klik op de twitter en U kunt het FT artikel scrollen.
'Kremlin Winter' by Robert Service — how strong is Putin in reality?
A nuanced account of the president’s grip on power exposes Russia’s underlying weakness
Barring a few notable exceptions, the consensus among the commentariat over the past few years — at least in the US and Britain — portrays Vladimir Putin as a mastermind who runs rings around “western” leaders. He might be bad, the argument goes, but Russian trains run on time and with the travails facing liberal democracies, the canny operator in the Kremlin triumphs over the west as he is doing in the Middle East, resetting the geopolitical map. Putin, by comparison with so many western leaders, has been a huge success. Really?
It takes the biographer of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and Tsar Nicholas II to offer a broader perspective and place Putin in the great sweep of Russian history, where judgment will surely be less kind to the man who has ruled Russia since the first day of the 21st century (and counting). In his nuanced account of Putin in power, Robert Service illustrates how the strongman in the Kremlin has changed Russia — yet everything has stayed the same. The country remains the “prison house” that Alexander Herzen and Lenin labelled it in the 19th century.
As Service shows in Kremlin Winter, Putin’s Russia is “modern” in name only. Yes, there is a surface gloss of prosperity, with shiny new buildings in some cities. But venture outside Moscow or St Petersburg and there is scarcity reminiscent of the Soviet era. Russians can travel freely as never before and own property — as long as high politics or the Kremlin’s big business chums have no stake in the enterprise. They can read books and use the internet and social media relatively freely, but TV — still the most potent medium in Russia — and the press are essentially state-controlled. For all the great power posturing, Russia’s economy is around the same size as that of the Netherlands. It manufactures little and remains almost wholly dependent on oil and gas.
The cult of Putin has it that he inspires hope and optimism. Yet Russia’s population is in potentially disastrous decline; life expectancy for men is a decade lower than in Britain. Alcoholism is as rife as when Dostoyevsky or Mikhail Gorbachev lamented it. This doesn’t seem like optimism. At vast expense, Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and still in effect occupies parts of eastern Ukraine. It may look as if it has secured the upper hand in the war in Syria, but it could be mired in a Middle East conflict from which it will find it every bit as hard to escape as the western powers have done. None of which is a glittering record.
Putin’s “success” is how he retains and exercises power — Russia’s eternal question, as Lenin framed it: “Who, whom?” (Who has power, and for whom?) This is where Service, Britain’s foremost historian of modern Russia, is at his most acute. He describes with telling detail how Putin turned a one-party state into a one-clique state. The president’s former KGB cronies, the siloviki, run the bureaucracy and the oligarchs who stole the Russian state in the most epic example of grand larceny in history support him. Service fills in plenty of new material about how the kleptocrats around Putin have made his family vastly rich.
Putin is adept at using intellectuals at home to furnish him with a “Russia First” ideology that strikes powerful chords among his people. And like Lenin and Stalin, who deployed “useful idiots” and Communist fellow travellers as their apologists in the west, Putin has plenty of willing accomplices now — on the far-right and left and, more importantly, among the bankers and money launderers in London and Wall Street.
As Service explains, the most pernicious argument among Putin admirers has been that a country as big and diverse as Russia needs a traditional authoritarian boss — a vozhd. This plays entirely into Putin’s own narrative and is commonly accepted as a given. Yet there is no “Putinism”, which is why talk of a second cold war is unconvincing. Russian nationalism does not offer an alternative vision of history and of the world as Communism once did.
"For all the great power posturing, Russia’s economy is about the size of the Netherlands’ — plus its population is in decline and male life expectancy is a decade lower than in Britain"
How strong and popular is the president? Russians give him much credit — as Service does — for stemming the post-Communist chaos of the 1990s. But the increasing size and scope of demonstrations in Moscow, the arrests and murders of Kremlin opponents, the precautionary ballot rigging at elections, the slide back into autocracy, all suggest a weakening leader. Putin apologists talk up opinion polls with great numbers for the president. But if opinion polls are to be believed, even in the west, there would be no Brexit and Hillary Clinton would be US president. Who in Nizhny Novgorod would tell a pollster they disapprove of Vladimir Putin?
Service has written widely about revolutions. He knows that when regime change occurs in Russia, it happens with extraordinary speed and at an unpredictable time. It may seem highly unlikely today, but in the revolutionary age we are in now, stability is a fragile thing. It would be foolish to discount a world without Putin — and soon.
Kremlin Winter: Russia and the Second Coming of Vladimir Putin, by Robert Service, Picador, RRP£25, 432 pages
Hier het RT artikel dat een antwoord is op "Kremlin Winter".
Het origineel, inclusief de foto's:
A winter of Kremlin’s content: Construction boom shows doomsayer ‘experts’ wrong on Russia.
The cottage industry of ‘experts’ predicting the inevitable demise of Russia for years is ignoring the hard evidence of progress such as the infrastructure projects that the West is unable or unwilling to undertake itself.
The late US Senator John McCain once famously snarled that Russia is “a gas station masquerading as a country.” British scholar Robert Service – a biographer of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky – seems to echo that sentiment in his latest work, ‘Kremlin Winter’, published last month and receiving fawning (onderdanige, vleiende) reviews in mainstream Western outlets such as the Financial Times.
Judging by the reviews, Service’s book is little more than a journey through well-worn cliches about Russia popular among the experts in ‘Thinktankistan’, the league of doomsayers who have been predicting ‘Russia without Putin’ for as long as he’s been in power. He describes the Russian economy as being roughly the same size as that of the Netherlands, dependent on oil and gas exports, and not manufacturing much.
One could counter that the Russian economy is actually twice that size, or offer reams of data on its ongoing diversification.
Problematic trends such as alcoholism, violent crime, and demographic collapse have largely been halted or reversed since the 1990s, when they emerged as a side effect of predatory privatization – pushed and praised by the very think tanks lamenting Putin for 20 years now.
In the view of Western experts, President Vladimir Putin is the one keeping Russia down while funneling money into the military. Except that he’s not, slashing the military budget in 2018 to focus more on infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Russian military has not been any less effective – the success of its Syrian expedition is one obvious example, especially contrasted to the expensive but ineffective US interventions.
Winter is commonly associated with gloom in the West (e.g. Shakespeare’s “winter of our discontent”), but the season simply does not have the same gloomy connotation in Russia. Instead, General Frost is remembered fondly as the ally against Napoleon and Hitler.
While the calendar winter is coming, it’s a metaphorical springtime for Russia in terms of construction. While public transportation and infrastructure in the UK and the US have fallen into disrepair under the austerity policies of the past decade, Moscow has embarked on an ambitious plan to expand underground and light rail. Over the past decade, the Russian capital has built over 120 kilometers of metro rails and 64 stations (as of mid-2018), in the most ambitious expansion program in the Moscow Metro’s 80-year history. It might even be the most ambitious in the world, far as anyone can tell.
The Moscow Metro is just the beginning, too. Once the last stretch of the federal highway M11 is completed by the end of 2019, any Muscovite will be able to drive the 684 kilometers to St. Petersburg to marvel at the Lakhta Center. That 462-meter, 87-story skyscraper will be the tallest building in both Russia and Europe once it is completed in 2020.
Good news isn’t limited to Moscow or St. Petersburg, either. Crimea was connected to the Russian mainland by a 19-kilometer highway bridge in 2018, which is now open to both cars and trucks. With the completion of the parallel railway bridge, passenger train service is scheduled to start in early December, with freight trains following suit in the spring. This will be a major step in further integrating with the rest of Russia the peninsula that seceded from Ukraine in 2014.
The US and its European allies cited the accession of Crimea as a pretext to impose trade sanctions on Russia, hoping they would “isolate” Moscow and break its economy. Those hopes have been repeatedly dashed, however, as the sanctions spurred the growth of domestic industry and agriculture.
It also spurred Russia to sign a major gas deal with Beijing in 2014, and launch the construction of the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline in the Far East. The 2,000-kilometer pipeline will connect the gas fields of Yakutia with the Primorye region and China when it opens in early December, weeks ahead of schedule.
Two other gas pipelines – ‘TurkStream’ under the Black Sea and ‘Nord Stream 2’ under the Baltic Sea – are also on track for completion by the end of 2019. Once operational, they will provide Moscow with reliable avenues of supplying Europe with natural gas, free of potential obstruction by hostile governments – as was the case with Ukraine in 2009, for example.
Kremlinologists sitting in their ivory towers in the West dismiss all this observable evidence of progress and strength as mere “surface gloss of prosperity,” insisting instead on finding some “underlying weakness” at the heart of Russia. Yet the past two decades have proven them wrong, time and again.
One is almost tempted to conclude that residents of Thinktankistan are projecting all the economic and political troubles of their own countries onto Russia, much like the proverbial scapegoat. The proof that they’re wrong is in the pudding – or the roads, as the case may be.
Nebojsa Malic, senior writer at RT
Good for Russia building infrastructure something the west doesn't seem to be able to do. They've just opened up a 2 billion $ light rail system in Canada's capital city Ottawa and just about every day in the news there is a failure in the system. Canada's two largest cities haven't expanded their subway systems in decades.
Western nations are interested in supporting their automotive industry, not public transportation.
Just look at the Russian stock exchange indices MICEX and RTS, both have grown by nearly 80% since the beginning of the Western sanctions. Like always, pressure from evil forces outside has made Russia stronger than before.
The Netherlands? Indeed, even in nominal GDP, the Russian economy is two times bigger and more importantly, 4x in purchasing power parity! Oil & gas are 10% of the economy (yes, 10%) and less than 20% of the CONSOLIDATED budget. Exports ≠ the whole economy. People should also look at Australia's exports, for example.
( Als deze reageerder 'Mynthon' gelijk heeft dan lieft de Financial Times dus zeker met 100%, en
als je over koopkracht spreekt met 400 %.
Dat olie en gas slechts 10% van de economie uit maakt, lijkt me sterk, maar ik herinner me wel dat de export van olie en gas erg toeneemt, in absolute zin, maar dat het een steeds kleiner percentage van de economie vormt. De diversificering is dus zeker gaande. J.V.)
The population of Russia is more than 8 times that of the Netherlands and the GDP of Russia is twice that of the Netherlands. It only takes 4 Russians to produce as much as 1 person in the Netherlands. Reactie: My experience....cost of living in the Netherlands easily 10x as much as in Russia (except Moscow)