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Old July 14th, 2017, 11:32 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by David Vagamundo View Post
Very good summary. Russia does not have "capitalism"--it has "crony capitalism", and the crony capitalists who stole Russia's oil and gas industry are still protected in Russia, as long as they don't cross Putin.

The mistake the West made when the USSR collapsed was to not launch an education campaign to expose the problems and evils of communism, a la the campaign to expose the evils of Nazism after WWII. Without that, we still have a lot of fairly well educated people who believe in communism, and some on this board who believe that the USSR was wonderful.
You can't do that in Russia because unlike Germany, it was never occupied by the West. Propaganda works best over the people that you have full control, and that means occupation.
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Old July 15th, 2017, 02:58 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by EmperoroftheBavarians43 View Post
Russia kind of had good historical reason to want a buffer. Between 1700 and 1945 they'd been invaded from their western border's 4 different times. Also we've put most of their old sphere of influence under nuclear shield, I don't think you've got anything to worry about.
Russia has also invaded quite a few other countries in that time. Are you saying that only Russia is entitled to have a 'buffer'? Why would not for example Estonia be allowed to have a buffer from Russian aggression - which it has faced?
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Old December 19th, 2017, 11:00 AM   #43

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1990s Russia was criminal hellhole.

'A great gangland war was on in Russia, and I again heard gunfire in the night around my apartment. Bankers, businessmen, and innocent bystanders were being murdered in shootouts, contract hits, and car and apartment bombings - sometimes at the rate of several a day in Moscow alone. Competing territorial criminal gangs, many of which operate under the protection of police and state officials, were establishing their turf, taking over businesses across Russia, eliminating those who resisted. Government security services, so powerful under the Soviets, now found themselves outgunned; they were also vulnerable to corruption, because most officers and soldiers earned less than $ 150 a month.
There was nothing subtle, hidden, or surreptitious about the mafiya. Mafiozy often drove armored Mercedes and BMWs equipped with sirens and flashing lights and used them to force other cars to the side of the road; to avoid traffic jams they turned onto the sidewalk, honked, and shot ahead, sending pedestrians diving out of the way. They gathered at nightclubs were the cover charges alone could exceed $ 400; they ordered cognac at $ 200 a shot and hookers at $ 1000 a session; they dressed in Versace and Hugo Boss suits; they maintained diamond-clad concubines of mesmerizing, icy beauty. Outside Moscow they built grand dachas for themselves, their wives, and their mistresses; they vacationed on the Riviera and in the Swiss Alps. In a land where honesty was a fault and the good were always the losers, always the poor, mafiozy became role models for many of the young, who in at least one survey named "contract killer" and "hard-currency prostitute" as the professions to which they most aspired. Money ( and guns ) made kings - understandably, in view of both Russia's poverty and the revulsion the young felt for the Soviet dogma of self-abnegation for the sake of a bright future, which never came. A free and fair market was an abstract concept, driving a $ 200,000 Mercedes 600 that could survive a bomb explosion under its chassis was fun.
Enter the mafiya. It has been estimated that 80 percent of Russian businesses pay dan' ( "tribute," or protection money ) to a krysha ( "roof", or racket ), but the real number is probably higher; one may assume that any business operating openly has a krysha. ( Entrepreouers providing clandestine services are less likely to run into trouble). Mafiozy approach businesses directly, visiting in groups of three or four; one of them speaks in a friendly manner, warning directors that they must pay dan' - 15 to 20 percent of their company's gross earnings - or suffer violence at the hands of unnamed gangs. If the mafiozy operate under the guise of a security agency, they may insist that the director sign a contract - a ruse that has deceived some businesses into relinquishing control of their bank accounts. Once a business has acquired a krysha, it must resist the advances of rival gangs or risk falling prey to razborki - a settling of scores over territory. If businesses refuse to pay, which is rare now, the thugs mount an escalating campaign of pressure, starting with verbal threats, moving on to beating and kidnapping, and ending with well-placed bullets or the torture of loved ones or a bomb placed by the door of the businessman's apartment.
If businessmen attempt to conceal revenues from the krysha victimizing them, they may be exposed by moles the mafiya has placed within their companies. Often, in return for payment accountants or secretaries provide the mob with information about their employers' violations of tax laws. In any case, a businessman may simply be unable to cope with the mobsters' demands, which can increase at any time: in addition to regular dan', thugs may demand "gifts" in the form of SUVs, rented women, or bags of cash. However, the mafiya can play a useful role in business development: if competitors with lover prices or better goods appear on the scene, fires, theft, murder, and other bedlam can be arranged.
In most countries organized crime affects principially illegal trade ( narcotics, prostitution, gambling ), but in Russia the mob can take over any business...'
Jeffrey Tayler.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 11:55 AM   #44

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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Vagamundo View Post
Very good summary. Russia does not have "capitalism"--it has "crony capitalism", and the crony capitalists who stole Russia's oil and gas industry are still protected in Russia, as long as they don't cross Putin.

The mistake the West made when the USSR collapsed was to not launch an education campaign to expose the problems and evils of communism, a la the campaign to expose the evils of Nazism after WWII. Without that, we still have a lot of fairly well educated people who believe in communism, and some on this board who believe that the USSR was wonderful.
From the admittedly handful of people I know who lived through Soviet-era communism, all of them prefer Western capitalism & don't want to go back. I think exposure to Western capitalism was education enough.

I guess some of those people who believe in communism today lack first-hand experience of it & are simply looking for an alternative to neoliberal capitalism.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 11:37 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Rodger View Post

Why would the West have wished to save its mortal enemy from collapse
Pretty simple. What the West wants, and the United States in particular as the most powerful nation in the Western world, is like minded nations with which to trade.

So, in 1991ish (forget the exact year), Yeltsin was backed by an American lobby which aimed to smash all of the prevailing institutions and magic a Western liberal society out of thin air. It is why shares in Russian state institutions were sold for a fraction of their worth while people struggled to buy a loaf of bread. The idea is that in the event you get rid of the old institutions and throw some money in the air, everyone will soon be drinking coffee in Starbucks.

The idea was to start again, just as it was in Iraq. Both ultimately failed because liberal democracy is an organic, internal process; and the inevitable conclusion is that nationalist groups will fill the power vacuum.

I suppose it was an American version of Robespierre's: "we must force the people to be free", without the guns - and it never works.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 11:45 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Larrey View Post

The limited objective of "keep Russia down for a while" is precisely that limited.
The United States had no intention of 'keeping Russia down'.

They wanted the Russians to have a similar system to them, which would be to the advantage of the United States with a much longer history of Capitalism (with all the skills and nous therein).

The Russians would only ever be a feeder state for the United States, buying and selling their produce but never challenging them due to a lack of know-how and experience in liberal democracy.

The aim was to make Russia another West Germany.
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