Streetwise Professor

April 16, 2011

News Flash: Politics in Russia Has *NOTHING* to Do With Money

Filed under: Economics,Energy,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 11:47 am

This is one of the most inadvertently hilarious things I’ve read in a while.  Vladimir Belaef of the Global Society Institute of San Francisco (which is a sufficient statistic to infer what you need to know about him), and one of Russia Profile’s “experts”*, wrote:

To presume that the TNK-BP and BP-Rosneft issue is somehow connected with supposed internal intrigues in the Kremlin is rather a stretch of the imagination. William of Occam would suggest looking at the simpler explanation: money. Billions of dollars are involved, certainly worth a purely commercial dust up on the part of ARR, who could expect substantial pecuniary benefit should it prevail in some form. Politics should be left out of this, particularly Russian electoral gambits.

What a card!  Uhm, like “billions of dollars” and “politics” are disjoint sets?  If it’s one, it can’t be the other?  In Russia, of all places?  Stop it Vladimir!  You’re killing me!

Look, internal intrigues in the Kremlin are all about money.  Especially when it comes to energy-related money.  The Vladimir who matters–V. V. Putin–resembles less a real prime minister, and more an especially sleazy US Secretary of Commerce spending a good chunk of his time shilling for domestic companies.  But that’s only when he’s not getting involved in giving Russian companies detailed orders on what to produce and how to produce it, or arbitrating disputes between oligarchs.  I defy you to name a head of government or head of state in any major country who is involved more directly with business decisions down to the level of minutia, and who spends more time doling out carrots to some favored businessmen while giving others a whack with the knout.

Anybody who draws a line between “billions of dollars” and “politics” in any nation is a fool, because politics is all about money.  (As Mark Hanna, a Republican power broker said around 1900, “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”)  To say that about contemporary Russia takes a special kind of fool.  But if you’ve read Belaef for any amount of time, you wouldn’t be surprised.

* An erstwhile RP expert once told me that its “Expert Panel” was “three Kremlin stooges and [him or her].”

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5 Comments »

  1. RP is an underwhelming site. I read a few things there and moved elsewhere for helpful information and opinion. I’m not sure who they’re shilling for. But, it ain’t me.

    Comment by David Hoopes — April 18, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  2. Here’s something that is at least equally hilarious: 35% of Russians believe that Skolkovo will rival Silicon Valley within a few years, but only 32% clearly understand what Skokovo is. 3% of Russians have no idea what Skolkovo is but they’re sure it will rival Silicon Valley.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/road-to-skolkovo-bumpy-but-not-many-know/435280.html

    By the way, Silicon Valley isn’t a government experiment. With no draft the USA has the world’s most powerful military, which Russia tries to rival by using a draft. With no socialism, the USA leads the world in computer technology, so naturally Russia tries to rival the USA with communism.

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 18, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  3. A Pulitzer for the Russophobes!!

    http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/special-extra-a-pulitzer-for-russophobia/

    Our truth is marching on!

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 19, 2011 @ 5:53 am

  4. Horrifying chronicle of absolute corruption and failure in the Russian Army:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703678404575636412726670020.html

    Nice job, Mr. Putin!

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 20, 2011 @ 3:33 am

  5. Russian Internet less free this year than last in every category, less free than Rwanda, much less free than Venezuela. Russia ranked 22nd among 37 countries examined.

    http://freedomhouse.org/images/File/FotN/Russia2011.pdf

    Georgia more free in every category this year than last, much more free than Russia.

    http://freedomhouse.org/images/File/FotN/Georgia2011.pdf

    What is Mr. Putin afraid they will say on the RuNet if they can say what they want? Why is he such a girly man compared to the lion Saakashvili?

    Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter, because two-thirds of Russians have no Internet access at all.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 20, 2011 @ 4:39 am

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