Dedicated Russian thread

This follows a time-honoured Russian tradition, best exemplified and known in the so-called “Potemkin villages”. A show is put on for gullible fools.
Economic projects don’t work out to plan, because if the State is built upon lies and officially sanctioned theft, then the populace at every level will also lie and steal at every opportunity.
So my mother is Russian, her side of the family ran away during the revolution and civil war not to get killed so I keep up with news about Russia and I would say the show is put on for gullible fools. Since 1 in 5 people are in not able to afford bread poverty it's a show of strength so that the people don't revolt, and if you look at their news the government they make it look like they have the only functional army. As far as everyone stealing yeah that's very true you can literally get away with murder for between $100-$1000 depending on which part of the country you do it in. I think doing something different with Russia rather than treat them as a de facto enemy is one way to improve things, and when things are better and people have more they will have more to loose and therefore start being less of a threat but that's just my opinion.
 
Kremlin dismisses talk of possible U.S. move to probe Putin's wealth | Reuters
Some sanctions proposed which no doubt will be supported by Sergey, even if sanctions have no impact:
The Kremlin on Thursday dismissed talk of potential U.S. sanctions targeting President Vladimir Putin’s wealth and called draft sanctions legislation an example of anti-Russian sentiment that should not be taken seriously.

A group of U.S. lawmakers have proposed sanctions legislation targeting Russia that, among other things, would require the director of U.S. National Intelligence to report to Congress about Putin’s personal net worth and assets.
 

Sadurian

LE
Book Reviewer
Kremlin dismisses talk of possible U.S. move to probe Putin's wealth | Reuters
Some sanctions proposed which no doubt will be supported by Sergey, even if sanctions have no impact:
They've previously avoided targeting Putin personally. I imagine that Vlad will be able to weather the storm given the amount he's already stolen and stashed away, whilst making great political capital out of it.

What I'd like to see is someone investigating his personal wealth and reveal where it all comes from. It will never happen, of course, but one can dream.
 
Traffickers used Russia's World Cup to enslave us, say Nigerian women | Reuters
Imx, you don’t really hear much about foreign workers in Russia other than those former Soviet client and WarPac states. Interestingly, the Nigerians are running ‘sex slaves’ in Russia. It appears they came in during the World Cup and have been forced to work off fictitious debts. Not judging as we have plenty of our own, just strange to me at least seeing this happen in Russia.

It also makes me wonder what the delineation is between the Nigerians and the local mafia gangs:
Blessing Obuson thought Russia’s soccer World Cup would be an opportunity to find a job and flew into Moscow from Nigeria last June on a fan ID. Instead, she found herself forced to work as a prostitute.

Fan IDs allowed visa-free entry to World Cup supporters with match tickets, but did not confer the right to work. Despite that, Obuson, 19, said she had hoped to work as a shop assistant to provide for her 2-year-old daughter and younger siblings back in Nigeria’s Edo state.
She was sold for $30K:
Obuson told her story to a rare English-speaking client who got anti-slavery activists involved.

Two Nigerians were later arrested and charged with human trafficking after striking a deal to sell Obuson for 2 million rubles (around $30,000) to a police officer posing as a client, according to her lawyer, statements from prosecutors, and evidence presented at court hearings in the case attended by Reuters journalists. The case is still under investigation.
There’s a fair few who Reuter’s have spoken to about this and according to the Russian state 1,863 Nigerians who came in on fan ID’s haven’t left by 01/01/2019 when they expired:
Obuson’s case is not isolated. Reuters met eight Nigerian women aged between 16 and 22 brought into Russia on fan IDs and forced into sex work. All said they had endured violence.

“They don’t give you food for days, they slap you, they beat you, they spit in your face... It’s like a cage,” said one 21-year old woman, who declined to be named.
In September, a Nigerian woman was killed by a man who refused to pay for sex, police said. The Nigerian embassy later identified her as 22-year old Alifat Momoh who had come to Russia from Nigeria with a fan ID
Russian police say 1,863 Nigerians who entered the country with fan IDs had not left by Jan. 1, the date when the IDs expired.
 
It wasn’t a fully formed view of mine, put I often thought that Russia cosying up to China smacked of desperation on the Kremlin’s part. This opinion piece seems to show that but also has the stronger view that at some point China will be calling the shots.

Hidden Animus in the Russia-China Friendship - Jamestown
It's something that I picked up on when explaining what I call "the Muscovite mindset". The Russian psyche in general remains quite racist and there is a tendency to view Asians as inferior (despite the fact of centuries of Mongol overlordship actually laying the foundations of the "Muscovite mentality"). Therefore the Muscovite horse appears to have blinkers on which distort its view leading it to view the West as its main competitor and threat.

Russia had a chance to avoid Chinese influence and become a fully fledged member of the West. Moscow fluffed it and now it is on a steady course to become Pekings's bitch. Will history go full circle and will Muscovy revert to being a tax-collector for a powerful Asiatic overlord as it was under the Mongols?
 

Sadurian

LE
Book Reviewer
Russia are threatening 'to do something' in response to further EU sanctions imposed because the ongoing Sea of Azoz problems.

Russia says it will respond to new EU sanctions | Reuters

“The Russian side will not leave this unfriendly action by the European Union unanswered,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Yes, they'll do something, just you wait and see. You dare punish Russia for illegally blocking access to another nation's area of sea and they'll... well they'll.... Just you wait, they'll do something and you'll be sorry. Maybe they have some more Novichock, or a bit of spare polonium. That'll learn the EU and show them how Russia is innocent.
 
The new level of absurdity has been reached by corrupted Putin's regime.
Краснодарского депутата обвинили в осуществлении деятельности нежелательной организации. Он репостнул картинку «МБХ медиа»
A deputy of local council in Southern Russia Alexandr Korovayny re-posted quite inoocent and factually correct table but police opened a case against him for use of information supplied by 'unwanted organization'.
1552763782069.png

Here you may see US$ exchange rate and prices for some goods now and 10 years ago.
Not so long ago the Office of General Prosecutor Decalred UK registered 'Open Russia Civic Movement' as 'unwanted organization'. And memberes of informal Russian movement 'Open Russia' are being prosecuted for 'cooperation' with 'unwanted organization' according to recently adopted article in the criminal code.
18 January the criminal case was opened against mrs.Shevchenko and she was put under home arrest.
«Я ехала к умирающей дочке, а следователь звонил и спрашивал, не свернула ли я в сторону Украины»
Mrs.Shevchenko - mother of three (alas now only of two as her daughter died recently) is apparent victim of Putin's regime.
The investigator insisted that the crime suspected of Anastasia Shevchenko threatens the foundations of the constitutional order and undermines the country's defense capability, therefore the chosen restrictions are reasonable.
- What is the severity of my crime? - Nastya addressed the investigator after his next statement. - Where and when did I violate your constitutional order and undermine the country's defense capability? When told people about their rights? I am a teacher, I worked with children. Because of arrest, I can't earn a living...
Now mrs.Shevchenko is unable to work, unable to walk with her children.
Oligarchs who owned Russia installed head of ruling criminal gang Putin as a president and use law enforcement (more right law violating) structures to oppress ordinary Russian, to silence any voice of protest.
 
Russia are threatening 'to do something' in response to further EU sanctions imposed because the ongoing Sea of Azoz problems.

Russia says it will respond to new EU sanctions | Reuters

“The Russian side will not leave this unfriendly action by the European Union unanswered,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Yes, they'll do something, just you wait and see. You dare punish Russia for illegally blocking access to another nation's area of sea and they'll... well they'll.... Just you wait, they'll do something and you'll be sorry. Maybe they have some more Novichock, or a bit of spare polonium. That'll learn the EU and show them how Russia is innocent.
The sanctions are ineffective suggests the author of this article
Russia Is Winning the Sanctions Game
These sanctions were supposed to punish Moscow's elite, but instead they've spurred economic development and patriotism.
The author - Judy Twigg is a professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University asks
Can we hurt Russian elites in a way that Putin will notice? Have we done enough?
In at least one sector, though, the sanctions are a textbook case of unintended consequences: they’ve put Russian farmers in the best shape they’ve ever been.
As the United States hemorrhages global agro-market share courtesy of Trump-era tariffs and trade wars, Russia is actively and aggressively filling the gap.
In the words of Andrey Guriev , the chief executive of PhosAgro, a Russian phosphate fertilizer producer: “In one day, the Russian agricultural sector became profitable as hell.” And the growth continues. Russia now produces almost twice as much grain as it consumes, and it’s nearly self-sufficient in sugar and meat products. Domestic production has completely displaced imports of pork and chicken.
By 2016, Russia had become the world’s largest exporter of grains, which had overtaken arms sales to become Russia’s second-largest export commodity (after oil/gas) to the tune of almost $21 billion.
China is rapidly creating a market for Russian soybeans and sunflower seeds, replacing U.S. products hit by Trump-era tariffs. And it doesn’t stop there. Russia has about 50 million still-unused acres of potentially productive land...
Russian consumers adjusted quickly to the new lineup of products on the shelves. Over time, shoppers have perceived that the quality of domestic alternatives to imported food is getting better.
Russian consumers have adopted “food nationalism” in response to the sanctions environment; 94 percent of urban consumers in 2015, and 90 percent in 2016, reported that they preferred to buy Russian-made food products even when equally priced imports of comparable quality were available. “Grown in Russia” is a powerful sentiment.
Moving forward, the Trump administration needs to think this through: unintended consequences are more likely when a clever adversary is actively looking for ways to create and exploit them.
Regardless of whether Trump sees Russia as an adversary or wants to maintain sanctions at all, it’s hard to imagine the bolstering of a Russian competitor to U.S. farmers as a desired outcome of the sanctions regime. In this specific case, Russia remains a few steps ahead in the game.
 
The sanctions are ineffective suggests the author of this article
Russia Is Winning the Sanctions Game

The author - Judy Twigg is a professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University asks
Does she say they’re ‘ineffective’? Or does she say there are unintended consequences such as increasing Russian agriculture and patriotism?

If they’re ‘ineffective’, surely nobody would be whining about them, definitely not talking about retaliation and there definitely wouldn’t be one of Putin’s ‘crooks and thieves’ suing the US treasury:
Russian metals tycoon Deripaska sues U.S. over sanctions | Reuters
 

Sadurian

LE
Book Reviewer
The sanctions are ineffective suggests the author of this article
Russia Is Winning the Sanctions Game

The author - Judy Twigg is a professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University asks
Being a lone voice in a room does not make her correct, and in any case she is not saying that the sanctions are ineffective. All the other sources point to Russia having to make serious adjustments as a result of sanctions, and this report says the same.

You might need reminding that the global sanctions are not on general goods but are targeted at individuals and key areas such as energy and arms. What the average Ivan in the street is suffering from are import countersanctions imposed by Putin.

Russia is trumpeting that it is becoming self-sufficient in food. Good for Russia but, with typical Russian management, I suspect that this will lead to future problems as oligarchs raise prices and lower quality knowing that they have virtual monopolies and that cheaper foreign imports are not allowed. In any case this is not going to worry the rest of the world so will not be any great threat in the face of more EU sanctions imposed on Russia. The Rouble is hardly a currency much valued by other countries, so Russia blocking foreign imports is not going to create a global panic.
 
Being a lone voice in a room does not make her correct, and in any case she is not saying that the sanctions are ineffective. All the other sources point to Russia having to make serious adjustments as a result of sanctions, and this report says the same.

You might need reminding that the global sanctions are not on general goods but are targeted at individuals and key areas such as energy and arms. What the average Ivan in the street is suffering from are import countersanctions imposed by Putin.

Russia is trumpeting that it is becoming self-sufficient in food. Good for Russia but, with typical Russian management, I suspect that this will lead to future problems as oligarchs raise prices and lower quality knowing that they have virtual monopolies and that cheaper foreign imports are not allowed. In any case this is not going to worry the rest of the world so will not be any great threat in the face of more EU sanctions imposed on Russia. The Rouble is hardly a currency much valued by other countries, so Russia blocking foreign imports is not going to create a global panic.
To add to that.

Siemens sold seven gas turbines to Russia in 2015 and 2016, but four of them were later installed in Russia-annexed Crimea, which is subject to sanctions from the European Union.

And in line with that an interesting artical of on the Russians homegrown ability to replace existing one and install new ones. The summary of it is will you need that capacity and at what cost.

As a result, Russian firms have been tasked with engineering and building new high-output turbines to replace aging foreign turbines. In April, it became known that a prototype Russian turbine failed tests conducted in December 2017.
 
Being a lone voice in a room does not make her correct, and in any case she is not saying that the sanctions are ineffective. All the other sources point to Russia having to make serious adjustments as a result of sanctions, and this report says the same.

You might need reminding that the global sanctions are not on general goods but are targeted at individuals and key areas such as energy and arms. What the average Ivan in the street is suffering from are import countersanctions imposed by Putin.

Russia is trumpeting that it is becoming self-sufficient in food. Good for Russia but, with typical Russian management, I suspect that this will lead to future problems as oligarchs raise prices and lower quality knowing that they have virtual monopolies and that cheaper foreign imports are not allowed. In any case this is not going to worry the rest of the world so will not be any great threat in the face of more EU sanctions imposed on Russia. The Rouble is hardly a currency much valued by other countries, so Russia blocking foreign imports is not going to create a global panic.
The re-development and modernisation of agriculture has been a long term project for Russia and is not the result of any sanctions. The results of that long term project just happen to coincide with counter-sanctions directed at certain western countries. It is not hard to find references dating back to around 2000 or so to major efforts to dismantle the Soviet agricultural system and reform it into a post-Soviet system.

There has been a long term plan for economic development and diversification in Russia to reduce what they see as an over-dependence on the petroleum industry and the boom-bust cycles inherent in a commodity focused economy as well as the regional economic disparities inherent in it. This covers a wide range of economic areas including technology, health, aerospace, automotive, agriculture, and others. You will find similar policies in many countries with large petroleum industries.

The agricultural project appears to be meeting its goals in terms of producing products of increasing quality and marketability for the domestic market, as well as increasing the export of global commodities such as grain. It should also be remembered out that the pre-Soviet Russian Empire was a major exporter of grain.

Here's an official US government report on Russian agriculture. https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent GA...eport_Moscow_Russian Federation_7-19-2018.pdf
I will quote a relevant paragraph from it here. The thing to note is the series of priority agricultural development programs they list which date back to 2005.
Russian agriculture has been one of the fastest growing segments of the Russian economy in recent years, with gross output up 2.4 percent in 2017 to 5.1 trillion rubles. Russia launched its agricultural support policies on a meaningful scale in 2005, as one of the National Priority Projects, which then converted into multi-year programs for agricultural development. From 2014, these were supplemented by protectionist counter sanctions, and additional sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) restrictions. Due to these factors, among others, Russia has transformed its agriculture sector from a modest level of production in the 2000s to a significant contributor to the economy and growing global player. In particular, Russia is the world’s largest producer of barley; the fourth-largest producer and number one exporter of wheat; the second-largest producer of sunflower seeds; the third-largest producer of potatoes and milk, and the fifth-largest producer of eggs and chicken meat.

Agriculture’s share in Russia’s overall GDP was 4.0 percent in 2017 and if one adds food manufacturing, the total value-added is about 6.0percent of GDP. Please see Table 1,below, for a time series showing Russia’s key agricultural development indicators between 1991 and 2017, as new domestic support policies, such as the National Priority Project (2005), Program for Development of Agriculture in 2008-2012 (2007) and Program for Development of Agriculture in 2013-2020 (2012), were launched.
Russia still imports a good deal of processed food and fresh vegetables and fruit. The latter two are probably unavoidable due to climate and modern dietary preferences, the food processing industry is another one which has seen much development.

The report also mentions the role played by protectionist measures. While perhaps not as extensive as the the degree of protectionism used by the EU or US, they have had a significant role, particularly in specific sectors such as dairy and poultry.

If you read news reports from areas of the US which have large export oriented agricultural industries you will occasionally see much moaning about competition in export markets from Russian grain exports, particularly in markets where the US faces counter-tariffs in reaction to Trump's protectionist measures. (Like Russia Brazil is also taking advantage of this, particularly in the soybean market.) Russia have become a major export factor in global food markets, whereas previously in the post-Soviet era they were mainly known as a major importer.
 
As a note to add to my previous post, the report states that agricultural development is currently operating under the 2013 to 2020 plan, which came out in 2012. This dates from prior to the take over of Crimea and the subsequent decline of relations with the west.
 

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