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View Diary: Ukraine: The Elephant (or Should We Say Bear?) in The Room (232 comments)

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  •  i didn't say he's crazy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    voicemail

    and wealth disparity had expanded under him. and there is no question that russian officials are at the very least tolerating the violence.

    and yes, calling someone bad is a moral judgment. so what? and yes, there have been terrible u.s. presidents. so what?

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:14:41 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Actually conditions for the Russian people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, TheMomCat

      improved considerably under Putin.

      Putin's first presidency

      Under the presidency of Vladimir Putin Russia's economy saw the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) double, climbing from 22nd to 11th largest in the world. The economy made real gains of an average 7% per year ( 1999: 6.5%, 2000: 10%, 2001: 5.7%, 2002: 4.9%, 2003: 7.3%, 2004: 7.2%, 2005: 6.4%, 2006: 8.2%, 2007: 8.5%, 2008: 5.2% ), making it the 6th largest economy in the world in GDP(PPP). In 2007, Russia's GDP exceeded that of 1990, meaning it has overcome the devastating consequences of the recession in the 1990s.[37]

      During Putin's eight years in office, the industry grew by 75%, investments increased by 125%,[37] and agricultural production and construction increased as well. Real incomes more than doubled and the average salary increased eightfold from $80 to $640.[38][39][40] The volume of consumer credit between 2000–2006 increased 45 times,[41][42] and during that same time period, the middle class grew from 8 million to 55 million, an increase of 7 times. The number of people living below the poverty line also decreased from 30% in 2000 to 14% in 2008.

      Compare that to the US during this same period.
      •  and they started much worse (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hey338Too, 6412093

        so the bar wasn't exactly high. and meanwhile, wealth disparity continued to explode.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 09:08:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And in 2009 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          btfsilence

          Assad of Syria was the most popular Arab Leader in a CNN poll.

        •  Because they started so low, it makes Putin's (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheMomCat, 6412093, Ray Pensador

          accomplishments even more remarkable.

          wealth disparity continued to explode
          The roots of this go back to the US support of Yeltsin and George Soros' "Shock Therapy". BVTW, wealth disparity within the US is also escalating. This is a global phenomena. All the gains made by the American middle class have seen considerable erosion in the last decade, while 2nd and third world countries have gained somewhat.
          Oligarchism

          A tiny clique who used their connections built up during the last days of the Soviet years to appropriate Russia's vast resources during the rampant privatizations of the Yeltsin years, the oligarchs emerged as the most hated men in the nation. The Western world generally advocated a quick dismantling of the Soviet planned economy to make way for "free-market reforms," but later expressed disappointment over the newfound power and corruption of the "oligarchs."

          Putin re-nationalized the oil companies and put the money into the Russian sovereign wealth fund some of which ensures a pension for every Russian citizen. You may want to compare this to the US Social Security pensions. Putin continues to nationalize oil companies which puts him in the oil multinational dominated West's black books.
          From Yeltsinism to Putinism

          Putin has confronted several very influential oligarchs (Vladimir Gusinsky, Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in particular) who attained large stakes of state assets, allegedly through illegal schemes, during the privatization process. Gusinsky and Berezovsky have been forced to leave Russia and give up parts of their assets. Khodorkovsky was jailed in Russia and has lost his YUKOS company, formerly the largest oil producer in Russia. Putin's stand against oligarchs is generally popular with the Russian people, even though the jailing of Khodorkovsky is mainly seen as part of a takeover operation by government officials, according to another Levada-Center poll.[citation needed]

          These confrontations have also lead to Putin establishing control over Russian media outlets previously owned by the oligarchs. In 2001 and 2002, TV channels NTV (previously owned by Gusinsky), TV6 and TVS (owned by Berezovsky) were all taken over by media groups loyal to Putin. Similar takeovers have also occurred with print media.[33]

          Putin's popularity, which stems from his reputation as a strong leader, stands in contrast to the unpopularity of his predecessor, but it hinges on a continuation of economic recovery. Putin came into office at an ideal time: after the devaluation of the ruble in 1998, which boosted demand for domestic goods, and while world oil prices were rising. Indeed, during the seven years of his presidency, real GDP grew on average 6.7% a year, average income increased 11% annually in real terms, and a consistently positive balance of the federal budget enabled the government to cut 70% of the external debt (according to the Institute for Complex Strategic Studies). Thus, many credit him with the recovery, but his ability to withstand a sudden economic downturn has been untested. Putin won the Russian presidential election in 2004 without any significant competition.

          Some researchers assert that most Russians today have come to regret the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

          •  meh (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, Lawrence
            The fall of Communism saw Russia's most prized assets sold off to a small circle of businessmen later known as oligarchs. President Vladimir Putin allowed them to keep their wealth in exchange for their political loyalty.

            Metals and banking tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Fridman, who made their fortunes in the 90s, are still high on the list of Russia's richest men. But the past decade saw a rise of new billionaires who draw their wealth from state contracts and some of whom are known to be the presidents' friends, like Gennady Timchenko.

            Credit Suisse said that there were hopes with the demise of the Soviet Union that Russia would turn into a high skilled economy with fair wealth distribution but "this is almost a parody of what happened in practice."

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            all while deatroying democracy, the free press, and any potential improvements in human rights.

            but thanks for trying to sugar coat one ofnthe world's great thugs.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:15:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your demonizing goes too far - rewriting history (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              protectspice, Ray Pensador, whizdom
              The fall of Communism saw Russia's most prized assets sold off to a small circle of businessmen later known as oligarchs.
              That was done by the US government's sweetheart, Yeltsin, working hand in hand with George Soros.
              President Vladimir Putin allowed them to keep their wealth in exchange for their political loyalty.
              Not for long. Many are now gone The deal was for them to stay out of politics. Most have been purged and are now sitting in London or other western nations.

              The biggest purge was from the oil industry which was nationalized. Gazprom is now the second largest oil company in the world, behind Exxon. Gazprom's profits go into the Russian Sovereign funds - a large part of which is pensions. Where do Exxon's profits go?

              Every leader in the world has to bed with corporate leaders - even Obama does it.

              •  yeah (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lawrence, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                it's demonizing to call him for destroying democracy, institutionalizing bigotry, and destroying the free press.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 11:42:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Do you think the US has a true democracy or free (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  protectspice, Ray Pensador

                  press?

                  The US ranks 32nd in the world. It is outranked by Canada and Europe. During OWS, it fell from 20th to 42nd place with all the arrests of free speech activists.

                  institutionalizing bigotry
                  You need to look in the mirror. The US has States where bigotry is still institutionalized. Russia is now where the US was only a decade or two ago. Compared to Canada and Europe, the US is still in the dark ages.
                  List of U.S. state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions by type

                  Thirty-one U.S. state constitutional amendments banning legal recognition of same-sex unions have been adopted. Of these, nine make only same-sex marriage unconstitutional; seventeen make both same-sex marriage and civil unions unconstitutional; two make same-sex marriage, civil unions, and other contracts unconstitutional; two have been found unconstitutional; and one is unique.

                  •  we were talking about russia (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Lawrence, Hey338Too

                    which you curiously neglected to rank. but it's a cozy 148th on press freedom. and flail as you might, no state in the u.s. has anything remotely akin to russia's homophobic laws. do keep trying.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:17:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's all relative when you are using the good/evil (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador

                      dichotomy.

                      it's a cozy 148th on press freedom
                      It dropped for the very same reasons as the US's did.

                      The American press has continued to replace political programming with entertainment content so it's "freedom of the press" is becoming moot. Russia will become the same as capitalistic corporatization increasingly takes over.

                      russia's homophobic laws
                      The devil's in the details. Here's one. It's legal for gays to donate blood in Russia. It's illegal in the US.
                      List of countries with their stand on MSM blood donors

                      In the US, the current guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to indefinitely defer any male donor who has had sex with another man, in the period from 1977 to the present day.

                      •  oh gosh (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Lawrence

                        not being able to donate blood is like not being able to publicly discuss, much less publicly act on, same sex emotions. and yeah, the u.s. dropped to an egregious 102 points higher than russia.

                        keep flailing.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:06:34 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Look deeper (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ray Pensador
                          8 U.S. States Have Anti-Gay Laws Strikingly Similar to Those in Russia

                          Visitors to Sochi will be subject to the laws that forbid public demonstrations in favor of gay rights, disseminating materials in favor of gay rights, or so much as speaking in favor of gay rights. Since the laws' passage, violence against LGBT individuals in Russia has skyrocketed.

                          While the situation in Russia is dire, it's hardly the only place to have instituted a law banning "gay propaganda." In fact, as a map from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network illustrates, eight U.S. states — Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah — have laws banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools.
                          ...
                          The map makes it clear that when it comes to changing regressive laws designed to silence LGBT individuals and render them invisible, there's plenty of work to be done at home.

                          As a Washington Post article details, the U.S. anti-propaganda laws range from stifling speech to actively promoting fear and misinformation in schools. Arizona and Utah, for instance, ban teachers from casting homosexuality in a positive light, while states like Alabama and Texas take things a step further, requiring educators to describe homosexuality as abhorrent to the general public and as a criminal behavior. (It's not — or, at least, it hasn’t been for a decade now. The United States belatedly legalized sodomy in 2003, a full decade after Russia did so.

                          Let's be clear: the situation for LGBT individuals and allies in these eight states is nowhere near as perilous as that on the ground in Russia. For one thing, while the eight states' so-called "no promo homo" laws are preposterous, they're limited to restricting speech and instituting a chilling effect in schools. Even so, that doesn't excuse Americans from taking action against our own restrictive and intolerant policies, and setting an example for Russia and the world. Perhaps the Sochi Olympics can serve as a call to action not only against Russia's bigotry, but toward ensuring tolerance and freedom of speech both at home and around the world.

                          •  oh gosh (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lawrence

                            we have eight redneck states. which restrict speech in schools, not, you know, everywhere.

                            Let's be clear: the situation for LGBT individuals and allies in these eight states is nowhere near as perilous as that on the ground in Russia. For one thing, while the eight states' so-called "no promo homo" laws are preposterous, they're limited to restricting speech and instituting a chilling effect in schools.
                            meanwhile, russia has an entire repressive country. keep flailing.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:35:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not flailing. Just holding up a mirror. (0+ / 0-)

                            Russia's religious right is where the US was a decade and a half ago under Bush.

                            The anti-gay religious right still has it's tentacles deep in America's politics. The American initiated World Congress of Families exports it's shit all around the world.

                          •  let me make this simple for you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Denise Oliver Velez
                            Let's be clear: the situation for LGBT individuals and allies in these eight states is nowhere near as perilous as that on the ground in Russia. For one thing, while the eight states' so-called "no promo homo" laws are preposterous, they're limited to restricting speech and instituting a chilling effect in schools.
                            mmkay?

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:55:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And for you (0+ / 0-)
                            Even so, that doesn't excuse Americans from taking action against our own restrictive and intolerant policies, and setting an example for Russia and the world.
                          •  obviously (0+ / 0-)

                            but we were talking about russia, and absurdly false equivalencies.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:28:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The good vs evil dichotomy always comes up in (0+ / 0-)

                            DKos when Russia or Putin is brought up.

                            false equivalencies
                            Nope
                          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                            we're just like putin.

                            whooooosh.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:22:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No. But many western leaders are not unlike Putin (0+ / 0-)

                            Demonizing a leader does not reveal anything of value. Look at the number of people here that say Putin is crazy (which started this thread) or stupid or evil.

                            Listen to what the Tea baggers say about Obama.

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