Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Power Vertical

The Daily Vertical: Back To The '90s

The Daily Vertical: Back To The '90si
January 18, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
By Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.

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Comment Sorting
by: Ro.cherry from: London
January 18, 2016 12:46
Hi Brian
Despite knowing that you have had the Yeltsin-era on your mind, I feel temptation to ask perversely: Back to which one of Russians’ 90s? To the 1890s of tsars Alexander the 3 and Nicolai the 2? Or. Back to the 1790s of tsar Paul the 1? Or. To 1690s of Peter the 1 but only in Putin’s imaginations?
In Response

by: elmer
January 18, 2016 16:51
Brian, I think that Ro.cherry has actually made a good point.

Czar Putler Khuylo has indeed taken people back to the '90's - the ones where there were only a few wealthy people, and the rest were serfs living miserable lives in miserable conditions.

Come to think of it, it's always been that way in the Rasha and in the Rashan Federation

Except that in the 1990's, the wealthy "lords" began stuffing their stolen money into Londongrad in the hopes of preserving it.
In Response

by: Aleksei
January 18, 2016 17:44
All of these, one after another till the caveman era. Now they are in 1990 with instability, poverty and empty food store, but they moving fast towards 1930 with prisons full of political prisoners, laws allowing forces to shoot the crowd without warning (women and children included) and laws forbidding people to criticise anything, especially government, people already go to jail for "wrong like in facebook". Guess, next stop will be the revolution and if it not succeed they will go further to "close America" and force own people to live in caves, hunt animals and gather roots and berries for food.

by: De winter
January 18, 2016 15:27
Big country big problems

by: Ted R. from: US
January 18, 2016 17:12
Again it' Brian Whitmore, and it's again an attempt to accuse Putin in all kinds of sins. We are in the West ruled by people we elect that care nothing about what the people that elected them care about. And the pity is, we keep electing the same people. There is no one accountable because the elected people exonerate the guilty. It's a never ending cycle.

Nothing in American politics work any longer. The politicians have rigged the system so any threat to their reelection is difficult if not impossible. Many politicians are so entrenched they don't have competition for their job. Anyone that has a serious chance of changing it is murdered. The whistle blowers are fired and/or their reputation called into question. The national news organizations are beholding to the government by virtue of their license if nothing else. But there is a lot else. Most of the time it's making themselves look better by making everyone else look worse. That's the national mantra.
In Response

by: Neil Nelson from: UT, USA
January 18, 2016 19:17
Ted, I am not aware of any murders of politicians since Robert Kennedy, back in 1968. This article from Jan 17, 2013 reports

"Nearly two in five lawmakers in the U.S. House, 39%, have served for less than three years,"
"The U.S. Senate has seen a 43% turnover rate since 2008."

I expect every business in the US requires a license of some kind. I have never seen any connection between what news companies report and a business or any other license. On the Internet anyone can report whatever they feel like without a license.

I expect that whistle-blowers will frequently have their reputations called into question and be fired from their jobs. We have free speech and employers can usually let-go who they please. Whistle-blowers should take advantage of the Shield Laws where reporters can keep their sources confidential.
In Response

by: Mark from: US
January 19, 2016 17:59
Neil, if you are ignorant in regard to the American way of crime, then just look into the statistics. The United States the first country in the number of prisoners - 25% of all prisoners in the world. Thousands and thousands of them are political dissidents. America the first on the number of victims of police brutality, too - in 2015 more than 1,200 people died from police bullets! Most of them are innocent US citizens. If the Russian police would kill one innocent person, the US would raise a big scandal, but when 1,200 innocent people die from police bullets in the US, - no one will talk about human rights violations. This is called "American democracy!"
In Response

by: Neil Nelson from: UT, USA
January 19, 2016 21:04
Mark, I addressed Ted's argument. I am not seeing that you are for or against either of our arguments.

I agree that that the U.S. has an embarrassing large proportion of its population in prisons. See this link

I have not yet seen any evidence for 'thousands and thousands being political dissidents'. Perhaps you have some. Of course on its face, given free-speech and free-association this would be false. If you can find a peaceful political group being persecuted in this way, I will be happy to join.

The link indicates that a very large portion of those in jail result from the War on Drugs, which many have argued needs a better solution.

We also have a problem with easy access to guns. What evidence do you have for '1,200 innocent people die from police bullets in the US' and over what period is that?
In Response

by: elmer
January 19, 2016 04:58
Umm, let's see - Putler Khuylo and his bromance bro, Medvedev, traded places in order for Putler Khuylo to remain in power.

Putler Khuylo and Medvedev work out tenderly in Putler Khuylo's palace, and then sip tea while looking at each other tenderly across the table.

They have been in power, with noone else being elected.

"In the Rasha, the president of the Rasha nominates the president of the Rasha, who then elects the president of the Rasha."

Yet, "Ted", - you know, from the US - tells us, in typical Kremlinoid whataboutism, that the Rasha is goouud - because America eez very, very bad.

In America, the president is allowed to remain as president for only 2 four-year terms.

In the Rasha, Putler Khuylo and Medvedev are allowed to remain in power for far longer than that.

Yet Ted is going to tell us about America.

Ted - you know, from the US.

by: Yoshua
January 18, 2016 22:22
Russia is a different kind of beast today than in the 90's. In 2014 the Russian GDP was $2 trillion, or ten times higher than in 2000. The oil and gas counted for only 16 per cent of the Russian GDP 2014.

Russia has today a modernized domestic market economy that has been able to absorb the shocks from Western sanctions and the fall in oil prices by turning inwards to become a more self sufficient economy.

The global economy is today in turmoil with markets falling around the world. It will be interesting to see how the Russian economy will survive this turmoil, with sanctions imposed on it and falling oil prices. Russia might not survive, but Russia has surprised before.

by: dave
January 19, 2016 04:26
If things seem remeniscient it is because we are dealing with the same ideology of the Russian past: Russian supremacy/martyrdom vs. the evil west. From Lenin to Putin (with only a brief repreve) paranoid schizophrenic conspriacy theories mixed with egoist propoganda and brutality has been the only way political Russia has sought to form its identity. This kind of stupidity has its pitfalls, just like any other example of ideological dementia. In Russia, egoism and paranoia are more valuable than logic. In fact, logic becomes a 'conspiracy' because it threatens virtually everything that the Soviets built. Putin's agenda of returning to past policies and propaganda has opened Russia up the same old problems. Sanctions showed that Russia is still extremely underdeveloped and uneducated, from the elites to the peasantry. Whenever someone intelligent gets near the top in the Russian government he/she gets fired because Putin doesn't want to hear about good ideas. He is there to build an empire, an empire with completely illogical ideals.
There are some 'advantages' that Russians have. They have the ability to completely deny the value of a human being. Brutality is an instrument of the state... against it's citizens and against outsiders. In Syria, we see Russia deliberately bombing civilians and more than 20 hospitals so far. They are intentionally creating refugees, the biggest threat to the EU unity right now, while telling their citizens that more than a million refugees have returned to Syria because peace and liberation are being brought by their air strikes.
The first thing anyone needs to know about Russian imperialist politics is that there are no rules. Blantant lies are the staple of Kremlin policy. There are no boundries. It doesn't matter how illogical or absurd it is. They just repeat it, reinforce it, (often contradicting themselves) and reinvent it until the lie is all people know. If you believe Russian propoganda you would conclude that Putin is either a genuine superhero or the 13th apostle of Jesus sent to establish order and defeat the 'evil west'.
Facade is official military doctrine. Putin will never give up control of eastern Ukraine or of the border. Putin couldn't get all he wanted at once so he is trying to sabotage Ukraine by having his agents recognized by Ukraine's constitution. Cease fires are just oppurtunites for him to pick off Ukrainian soldiers. There isn't the slightest intentin to honour the deal. It is just a way to stop Ukraine from making advances over it's own territory.
Is any of this logical? No. It is purely egoist, oppurtunistic, manipulation and it will take Russia down to the bottom again.
Russian citizens have been programmed to respect authority, regardless of the level of brutality. One Cossack seperatist leader in Ukraine said: "That was a true leader (Stalin), even if he was a little too tough sometimes." Another Stalin supporter whitewashed the oppressions by saying that human rights was a recent development. It's like talking to bricks.
Westerners need to understand that Russia has changed very little from Soviet times. Russian citizens that don't accept the state narrative are in danger more and more all the time.
It is sad that their is so much poverty in Russia. The Russian empire has been such a waste of humanity.
The point I'm trying to make is that Russia is still completely unable to engage the world in a genuinely constructive way. When Gorbachev started to open up to the west the empire collapsed- because it was built on absurdity, egoism, paranoia, etc. Without brute force, such a system cannot maintain itself. And, Putin were to actually reform his country and institute ideas of human rights there would still be a further, though a less destructive, collapse. As we see in history, all empires eventually fail. The study of an empire shows us why it happened. The causes of Russia's crumbling are some of the most obvious.

by: James from: USA
January 19, 2016 18:02
My fellow Americans, if you missed it, last week a proposal to audit the Federal Reserve failed to pass in the US Senate. The bill, proposed by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, was opposed by majority of senators, the White House, and the business lobby.
"It is absurd we do not know where hundreds of billions worth of our money is going,” Rand Paul said ahead of the vote.
The bill would have required a Government Accountability Office audit of the Federal Reserve – a private entity (!!!) entrusted with managing the US monetary policy – and potentially expose the secret interest rate deliberations of the Federal Open Market Committee, according to Bloomberg.
The White House has called Paul’s proposal “dangerous,” without further explanation. So, how can you explain the resistance of majority of senators, if it is not a collective conspiracy in order to conceal the enormous financial crimes of the Federal Reserve? It is now must be clear for all Americans in what kind of criminal country we live.
In Response

by: Neil Nelson from: UT, USA
January 19, 2016 23:26
From we have

"Thus, the Federal Reserve System has both private and public components to serve the interests of the public and private banks."

From we have

"The Federal Reserve states that "the financial statements of the Federal Reserve Banks and the Board of Governors are audited annually by an independent outside auditor."[7] The bill's sponsor, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), countered by stating that the present audit process exempts the Fed's "most crucial activities"."

Rand Paul says a great deal, but where is the evidence for what he says?

Where is the evidence for the "enormous financial crimes of the Federal Reserve"?

Let's see, inflation is non-existent and interest rates very low. Three cheers for the Federal Reserve.

by: Nick J. from: USA
January 19, 2016 18:10
Here in the US the new regulations are completely bizarre and ridiculous. Obama said he would deal with the homeless issue... not what we expected. Other bizarre and incomprehensible laws have seen a man jailed for collecting rainwater!! And stories that restrictions on growing own food?? Isn't it totalitarianism?

What with the statistics of police murders exceeding the number of deaths by any other means. That more military die of suicide than in battle. Congratulations US you have the largest incarceration rate per capita in the world. Largest number of deaths by police. Largest growing gap between rich and poor.

Corporate US is a Plutocracy. Government are out of control. Feeding citizens poisons thru compulsory vaccines and laced food. USA is a sick sick country with the prospect of 2 evil muppets ready to take over. Wow. The apathy and mass ignorance is also government induced. As well as the psychosis, civil intolerance and racial tension all stired by the media. The government want you to kill each other but now are concerned radicals who are waking up may turn the guns on the government. Who could blame them. This party is over.
In Response

by: Neil Nelson from: UT, USA
January 19, 2016 23:34
Nick, I think you can give evidence on some of this. But otherwise, who cares if you are not going to back up these charges with credible links.

For example, we grow our own food quite freely here in Utah and there has never been any hint against it. We've got all kinds of fruits and vegetables, beef, pork, lamb, chickens, milk, and eggs, right outside my door.

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The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or