Why Putin Is Still so Popular in Russia
Putin, on the issue of Syria has shown more integrity and wise judgement than the U.S. and French governments.
Many Westerners have a negative view of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, because of the unjust portrayal he receives in the Western media. If one were to believe everything they saw in the American media, they would probably think Putin to be a ruthless dictator who was anointed by birth rather than a politician born into a working class family with approval ratings higher than all of his Western counterparts.
The Bilzerian Report
Update: March 26th 2014
Crimea by a popular vote overwhelmingly has declared its separation from the Ukraine and has joined with Russia. There are many precedents of this where a public elects to change allegiances. For example, Kosovo chose to separate from Serbia, The Czechs chose to separate from the Slovaks and Canada accepts the possibility that Quebec through a referendum would be allowed to separate from Canada. The Americans are outraged because for years they have been using the Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia's borders with their construction of a missile shield while wooing Ukrainians with financial enticements to join the European economic community and with it the American inspired NATO and military alliances. Old 'Cold War' warriors are still looking for employment and some meaning in their useless lives.
The Ukraine is deeply divided with the largely Russian speaking people on the eastern border shared with Russia opposed to joining the EU and with many favouring the route taken by Crimeans, while on its western border they favour joining the EU. Orchestrated by the US, the weak European nations have leapt onto the bandwagon and are expressing their outrage at the will of Crimeans to join Russia.
The noise and propaganda in the press is deafening as though we have all become like demented lemmings on a voyage of self destruction. Strong independent leaders like Degaulle, Helmut Schmidt and Willie Brandt have departed the scene and we now have the spectacle of the 'blanc mange' leadership in Brussels of Lady Catherine Ashton and José Barroso orchestrated by America's Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for Eurasian Affairs. As an extreme right wing ideologue under Cheney and Bush she led the charge into Iraq to bring about regime change and most recently upset Merkel by using the words F--- Europe! Clearly this Cold War warrior with her dealings in the Ukraine with unelected right wing corrupt politicians that includes in their midst disreputable anti Semites, Nazis and other known right wing trash is intent on setting up regime change to install an American controlled puppet government. No doubt undermining Putin is on her agenda.
Putin has been a consistent voice for sanity in the midst of this international rush to go off to war and has been using his influence aggressively to oppose unjust and internationally illegal wars. He opposed the war in Iraq and he was right. He opposed the killing of Gaddafi and the collapse of Tunisia and he was right. He opposes the sanctions and threats against Iran and he is right. He opposes the rush to war in Syria with scant evidence and unclear objectives and he is right. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared ‘utter nonsense’ the idea that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its own people and called on the US to present its supposed evidence to the UN Security Council. He is right. He had every right to protect Snowden who had committed no crime and yet faced, like Manning, a lengthy prison sentence if returned to face US justice. Only through Putin has Snowden been able to express his views about NASA and the obstruction to the freedom of information. Listen to the TED series out of Vancouver to learn more about this. Obama has discovered he is dealing with an equal he can't push around and Putin is right and doesn't mind that Obama now refuses to meet with him.
What has he accomplished for the Russian people?
First a bit about his predecessor, Yeltsin: Yeltsin became President in 1991 and turned to the advice of Western economists, and Western institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Harvard experts, and the US Treasury Department, whose recipe became known as the "Washington Consensus" It was a disaster for Russia. The so-called reforms devastated the living standards of much of the population, Russia's GDP fell by 50 percent, vast sectors of the economy were wiped out, inequality and unemployment grew dramatically, while incomes fell. Personal savings were wiped out, and tens of millions were plunged into poverty. Added to this, a classic rape of Russia's assets occurred. Due to the method of privatization, a good deal of the national wealth fell into the hands of a small group of oligarchs. Much of this Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, inflation, gangland murders, economic collapse and enormous political and social problems.This era was commonly referred to as a period of "Gangster Capitalism".
Vladimir Putin: In 1999 Yeltsin resigned and Putin was elected as President. He has cleaned up the economic mess left by Yeltsin but what specifically has he accomplished since then?
- Under Putin’s reign in contrast with Yeltsin era, he turned the Russian economy around and it has grown every single year, with an overall GDP increase (net of inflation) of more than 70%.
- During the same period, investments rose 125%, industry grew by 76%, and poverty decreased 50%.
- He dealt with the oligarchs, imprisoned the most corrupt who hadn't fled to live under British protection, and regained control of vital assets.
- Average monthly salaries in Russia increased from $80 to $640, and the middle class grew from 8 million people to 55 million.
- He introduced a 13% flat tax and the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 24%.
- The national debt stands at 10% of GNP because of a wise use of national income. This compares with figures in excess of 100% in the US, GB, and many European nations.
Putin’s business acumen, just foreign policy decisions, and humanitarian leadership should be congratulated throughout the world. If only American Presidents could respect freedom and other nations’ sovereignty like Vladimir Putin, the planet would be a lot more peaceful.
Sept 13th 2013 update: Putin's latest agreement with the Syrian President to place all chemical weapons storage facilities under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is an example of his enlightened leadership.
Putin despite the demands of the Presidency has time for a personal life that I suspect he enjoys showing to the World. Some of it is clearly staged such as his flight with the birds and displays of his athletic prowess, although the hundreds of photos of him with wildlife and without a gun other than to stun and tag illustrates a man who loves and respects life in the animal kingdom. His advocacy of avoiding wars with other nations may reflect he respect for human life as well. Unlike many world leaders he is no sociopath.
Click on this to read the speech he made to the American people about Syria