From Russia, With No Love Whatsoever
The poisoning of Sergei Skripal could well be the event that broke the camel’s back in terms of Western disgust with Russia’s dirty campaigns.
- The poisoning of Sergei Skripal could well be the event that broke the camel’s back in terms of Western disgust with Russia’s dirty campaigns.
- The Putin/Medvedev effort to modernize the Russian economy and move it off its over-dependence on oil and gas reveals itself as just another attempt to throw sand into Western eyes.
- Russia’s young generation is painfully aware of the games being played, in which they are but pawns on the chessboard of the oligarchs’ self-enrichment schemes.
In mid-March, people all over central Europe found themselves in the grips of unseasonably frosty temperatures streaming in from Russia’s landmass. That cold front was a helpful reminder of the “NBF” doctrine that Russia’s leadership stands for – bringing “nothing but frostiness.”
According to the old adage, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” Russia may be running out of luck.
The incident in Salisbury when Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer and double agent, and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent called Novichok, could well turn into the event that broke the camel’s back.
As always, and to this very day, Russian officials and Kremlin-powered propaganda clowns displayed nothing but arrogance and extreme cynicism. As they did, in case anyone has forgotten, previously on the MH 17 incident, Olympic doping, cyber warfare and so many other occasions.
The front man to fend off many of the accusations is Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. People who know well from many close professional encounters say that he is given to lying without any restraint and at any moment. And indeed, Lavrov is of such intense personal charm that one can literally still see the SS-20s glimmer in the back of his eye balls.
The Soviet era revisited
In a sad replay of the agitprop and disinformation campaigns of the darkest days of the Soviet era, Lavrov and everybody in the private and public-sector arms of the Kremlin machinery claim that everything is just another devious Western maneuver to discredit Mother Russia.
This state of affairs only shows that Russia is still stuck deep in the Soviet morass.
Thankfully, the people living in the Western world can occupy their minds with other matters than cynicism-shrouded campaigns that Russian political operatives excel in. Frankly put, what else do they have to show for?
Russia’s young generation is painfully aware of the games being played, in which they are but pawns on the chessboard of the oligarchs’ self-enrichment schemes. While they are often well educated, the Putin machinery still treats them as modern serfs, killing all their creative impulses as much as they can.
With the benefit of hindsight, the earlier Putin/Medvedev effort to modernize the Russian economy and move it off its over-dependence on oil and gas reveals itself as just another attempt to throw sand into Western eyes.
Nothing of the kind has materialized. Worse, it was probably never intended to. Putin and the oligarchs were just using that rhetoric to deflect from their rapacious schemes to extract whatever they can out of Russia’s resource base and move it into their personal bank accounts.
Russian living standards
Woe be the person who measures Putin by his own words. Nearly 20 years ago, Vladimir Putin expressed the hope that, with steady economic growth, Russian living standards might match those of Portugal within 15 years.
It was also a bold confession of how low Russian living standards actually were. After all, Portugal is Western Europe’s poorest country.
Of course, Putin’s goal was not achieved. According to World Bank figures at the end of 2017, Russia’s per capita incomes were $6,500, compared to $21,000 in Portugal.