5/1/2013 – I must have been prescient when I wrote the below. Apparently, Gerard Depardieu received Russian citizenship. Open the following update from the Guradian:
And something else – got this great quote from a friend in an email today: “I’ve been married to a communist and a fascist and neither would take out the garbage.”
~ Zsa Zsa Gabor
I have to confess an unpopular penchant for Putin – am probably one of his very few admirers. I think the man is a political genius – as a leader who wisely leaps over the mines in our modern life mine field. Do I see a stone flying my way?
Moreover, I think he’s a ‘no-nonsense, in your face’ kind of Boss, yes, brace yourself – with a strong personal integrity. So before you call the guys with the straight jacket to take me in, lets look at few bare facts, shall we?
Some of the old, used, cliches, usually prove horrendously right. Like: ideology is the last refuge of the scoundrel (see all the western-style democracy zealots). And the realities in the progressive over-enlightened West seem to support this idiom lock, stock and barrel.
The impeccable Western Democracy has prompted the French PM, Francois Hollande to try over-tax the rich (=getting above 1M euro income), up to almost 75% tax. He’s re-submitting his proposal to fit the law (because, apparently, the definition was unlawful in the first attempt) . Did I just hear government coercion or private assets expropriation, anybody? So what has he achieved so far? Except for the big money fleeing the country, “across the road”, with Bernard Arnault, Gerard Depardieu and the likes, to be picked up by Brits (suffering massive wealth drain themselves), Belgians and Swiss. Have the masses benefited from it yet? Boost to the industry, more jobs, bigger pay – not really. People are still angry and protesting.
Italy has “amended” bank withdrawal laws and may see the old lecher’s triumphant comeback soon, because there is no foreseeable alternative. How will it affect the economy? Nobody can tell.
Spain and the rest better start polishing their German. Irish are re-occupying Australia and New Zealand. US – who the hell knows what’s going on there?
So all of the world is pretty much in a socio-economic turmoil (nothing said yet about Arab revolutions, which are still in motion). And what about Russia?
1. First of all, Putin has his hand on the energy tap of Europe. So they better behave.
2. Modus Vivendi with his uber-rich – and here is the main beauty of his way: he won’t over-tax them – he doesn’t have to. Both know how those billions were made: taking over the national treasures and complying with Chief’s (who allowed this quick enrichment) wishes. You can’t even call the first looting, because these guys got the derelict state companies and turned them around into profitable businesses. But what a businessman (Western or Eastern) wouldn’t seize such an opportunity to control a golden-egg hen? These once-in-a-life-time occasions usually drift into the hands of Administration’s cronies.
So Putin’s friends got it all: money, freedom to live as (and where) they like, conditioned by a couple of rather simple unwritten rules, one of them being: when your benefactor places a call – you do what he says without questioning . Thus Abramovitch bought into silver mines in Yakutia couple of years ago, after being publicly solicited to do by the Boss, stepped in to resolve the Norilsk Nikel oligarch fight last month; Viktor Vekselberg was asked to finance the Skulkovo project, and so on.
Why is it good? Well, because it does create jobs and riches seem to trickle in the top-down direction. Go compare Moscovits to Milanese and see who’s happier.
Mass protests, definitely – lets find the difference:
Europe’s on fire because its economy (based on personal greed and institutional corruption) collapsed and its political foundation – democracy – has no effect or remedy for the inherent financial illnesses of extreme individual gain gluttony and myopia. So the only thing the impoverished masses can do, is openly vent their frustration by occupying streets and smashing designer shops. Their anti-corruption cries don’t seem to impress the ruling democratic – and utterly corrupt! – classes. US desperately tries not to fall off the self-erected fiscal cliff.
Russians took to the streets for different reasons: they are vying the Western style democracy and transparency . And Putin’s persistently NOT giving them that.
In the business world, we are measured by results – the outcome of our managerial strategy – and if we draw the balance it reveals an interesting picture:
The democratic, once rich, West in a Mission Impossible style of light-speed self-destruction. US is in tatters as well, and Gates et al’s promises to benefit next generations via generous philanthropic endowments, leave most of the potential recipients of their grace unfazed, because they need the assistance NOW (actually – yesterday) – not in 30 years.
And on the other side, a quasi-totalitarian, politically horribly in-correct, Russia has embarked on the path of closing the tech gap and has been massively investing in that for the last 20 years. Putin accelerated the process. That, in addition to modernising its traditional industries. Not by begging (Hollande style) its rich to kindly agree to pay a bit more into government coffers, but by simply compelling them to foot the bill of Russia’s progress. Not entirely altruistically of course – they are profiting from it as well. But so do the “rank and file”, who see more jobs created and enjoy the rising living standards. Looks like a win-win situation, wouldn’t you agree?
The smug, self-righteous, patronising, cheating West, hypocritically preaching its LAW to the whole world, is “triumphantly” marching, sceptre and orb in hand, stark NAKED, after robbing His own people of their future. And Russia’s “bully” is increasingly appearing as the Road Runner (meep, meep)
easily overtaking the rival, on his way to climb back onto Imperial pedestal.
Icarus style hubris cum Tartuffe’s morals? I’ll take Putin, any time, thank you.
Besides, he likes cats, so he’s definitely my soul-mate 🙂