Putin put in power again – Russia’s in trouble, again

Monday 19th March 2018

No surprise about the result of the Russian “election”. And Vladimir Putin is adept at the away game – when it’s a bit tough at home, make some mischief on the international stage that he craves so much.

For which, whatever the truth of it is, the Salisbury events have played very nicely into his political bouquet. He can now assume the role of the gallant Vlad against the rest of the world –  a positioning that chimes very nicely with the Russian people, whose memory and tradition of fighting against all odds still runs through the generations.

It takes an extraordinary mindset to push aside the years of the horrors and lunacy of collectivism , widespread murder and imprisonment – but that’s another story.

What Putin will not care about is the economic collapse of Russia. He won’t care about it because he will fog reality with widespread nationalisation. State owned industries will rise again, and for the brothers and sisters who run them, life will be grand.

Less so for the masses who don’t. After Putin invaded Ukraine, sanctions beggared the country, and the collapse in the oil price stole commodity riches from a country which with all its vast geographical stretch has half the GDP of the UK.

Putin didn’t need to make painful economic decisions to put before the electorate, because he didn’t have to. He wasn’t going to lose. But he did promise to double the GDP per capita ( how easily that meaningless phrase slips off the tongue ) by the middle of the next decade. That’s 2025…hmm.

How ? No detail of course. You’d probably guess at increasing the pension age, with a bit of increased VAT thrown in – but there was no pre-election programme. Instead Putin gave the voters a show of new nuclear weapons.

There’s no real wish to privatise much – oil producer Bashneft was one, but instead it was sold to the state owned Rosneft . It’s a process which is meaning that Russia’s economy is beginning to concentrate around a diminishing group of state controlled companies. Every part of history shows that this is not the way to stimulate economic growth.

And of the people of Russia begin to hurt, who’s going to listen , if indeed they dare speak. Plus ca change.


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