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Okay. Support or oppose President Obama's policies, I think we can all agree statements like this are just stupid:

Obama downplayed Moscow's role in the world, dismissing President Vladimir Putin as a leader causing short-term trouble for political gain that will hurt Russia in the long term.

"I do think it's important to keep perspective. Russia doesn't make anything," Obama said in the interview.

"Immigrants aren't rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking," he said.

Let's have a cursory look at the statistics, shall we?

First of all, a cursory look at industrial production indices [Rosstat] shows that nearly all segments of Russian industry have increased production since 1992 (except for textiles, leather, and wool - hardly bleeding-edge sectors).

Secondly, Russian defence industry [Wiki] employes between 2.5 and 3 million people, and generates over 13 billion dollars' worth of annual exports, making the RF the world's second largest arms exporter.

Russia is also IT (third-largest exporter), aerospace, fishing and forestry, not to mention nuclear technology. Oh, and space technology. I could go on.

This is not to say Russia's economy is on par with developed countries or that it is developing splendidly. But to deny the existence of some quite sophisticated industries within the Russian Federation and to use such a denial to dismiss the country is to ignore reality.

Now, I think I know why President Obama has dismissed Russia in such a way; the reason is the same as for his comment that Russia is a regional power as opposed to a global one. Russia's position from the end of the Yeltsin era onward has been that statehood or Great Power-ness, the restoration of Russia's international status, economic growth and internal stability are inextricably linked (Gonzalo Pozo, Russian Foreign Policy from Putin to Medvedev, in: Dale et al., First the Transition, Then the Crash: Eastern Europe in the 1990s, p. 77-78).

More generally, though, while Russia's overarching foreign policy goal has been consistent over the post-Soviet period - it has craved to be recognised as a co-equal partner in world affairs - the methods have changed. Initially, Russia aimed for integration with the West, which Western countries flatly refused (offering the consolation position of a junior partner), and even enlarged NATO, which Russia considered a major breach of faith.

Why did the West act like that? Because the western countries apparently decided that there was no chance for Russia to be both strong and hostile to the West at the same time. Yet that is exactly what seems to have happened.

I think that this strategy of denying that the Russian Federation is of importance is risky indeed. If it does not work - if Russia is not brought to heel - the West will have to contend with a considerable power and a Security Council member acting against Western interests for the foreseeable future.

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Comment Preferences

  •  little hint (just my opinion) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton

    "Russia doesn't make anything"
    So no sanctions, when there is nothing made, what should be sanctioned
    i see somebody smiling  in Berlin, Paris and da City

  •  The first sentence of your last paragraph says ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    The first sentence of your last paragraph says the opposite of what you mean. NB

  •  sorry but your last link (0+ / 0-)

    is not working (exactly) at leat for me

  •  Just wish Obama would be as forthright with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerald 1969, Words In Action


    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:05:31 AM PDT

  •  Obama obviously exaggerated, but... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, Kathy Scheidel, Dauphin, Yoshimi

    Russia's economy IS only the size of Italy's.

    •  GDP wise (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, Lepanto, Dauphin

      they are both in the top 10 arent they

    •  It is still on the level of a developing country, (3+ / 0-)

      true, in terms of per capita GDP, but my point is that Obama's rhetoric is just as unrealistic as putting Russia on par with Western economies. It also ignores the fact that Russian industry and technological sophistication are very uneven, partly as a legacy of the Soviet Union.

      More generally, though, when it comes to Russia averages can be misleading. Per capita GDP is around $11,000, for example. But the regional development is very uneven, ranging from $23,000 per capita in Moscow and Sankt Petersburg to less than 7,000 in Dagestan and Altai.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:22:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  More than that. He adopted W's diplomacy hdbk. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, gerald 1969, TJ

      Maybe I'm just a sanctimonious effing retard, but Democratic Presidents historically understood blowback.

      Guess Drone "Democrats" see eye-to-eye with Republicans on this, too.

      I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      by Words In Action on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:01:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  here's an idea (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, Words In Action, gerald 1969

      if they add a money-laundering gig like City or Wall St. the economy will triple in size.

      •  Of course, using that model, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dallasdunlap, gerald 1969

        "the economy" will consist of a few dozen people. Like here.

        But they can still call it a "recovery"!

        I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

        by Words In Action on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:14:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Crimea's laws are being set up (0+ / 0-)

        to create a kind of offshore banking zone for the Russian, er, financial sector.   That unfortunate little experience the Russian government and oligarchs had with Cyprus and the begging they had to do to Merkel to save their stashes has not been forgotten in Moscow.

        Russian GDP is highly dependent on oil/gas, and as is usual in petrostates the financial and political priorities are arranged around it, creating social distortions as well.  That tends to squeeze down other industries and priorities as clearly the case in practically all other petrostates.  Obama is right.  The contrasts to Russia and e.g. the Arab peninsular states are China and Germany, countries which have large populations but small extractable natural resources which have had to focus on creating products and services other countries need- becoming wealthy by adding value and supplying competence. This is a more reliable and sustainable wealth generation scheme than extraction of limited natural resources.  

        •  The oil rent for Russia is about the same as (0+ / 0-)

          Norway and about 1/3 that of Saudi Arabia. It was 14% of GDP in 2012.

          How these oil rents affect a country depends on what is done with the money. Both Norway and Russia have put much of it into sovereign funds.

  •  Russia bashing as usual (10+ / 0-)

    Russia is enormous in size and constitutes many different habitats, more or less developed. In Moscow the average life expectancy is more than 75 years, for the country as a whole it's about 70 years. Moscow's population has been growing by leaps and bounds as immigrants, legal and otherwise, flock to enjoy the surging economy. Moscow's population was stuck at about 10.5 million for more than a decade and is now officially at 11.5 million, but unofficial estimates put it at somewhere between 13 and 17 million. We depend on Russian technology for our rocket engines and transport to the International Space Station. They are the third largest exporters of IT, an indication of the education levels of many Russians.

    We bash China also, on a regular basis. We really don't understand either country and that is really bad. It's much easier to get into global confrontations and even wars with societies that we don't understand and bash on a regular basis. This has to stop and it's up to the media to inform themselves and report accurately and it's up to the Administration to stop lying for tactical advantage.

    Now the Ukraine is a basket case, with 1/3 the GDP per capita of Russia, a shrinking GDP, and an unsustainable debt and an entrenched kleptocracy. I haven't hear Obama bashing the Ukraine as they are our beachfront to militarily challenge Russia.

    •  Yeah, I almost forgot about the Central (3+ / 0-)

      Asian immigrants.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:29:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You could also mention (0+ / 0-)

      the population shrinkage of ethnic Russians, their retreat from colonial outlier regions to the few prospering cities, the rapidly decaying hinterlands (especially in the north) and the lying the Russian government does as policy.  And the limitations government corruption and organized crime put on economic endeavors of most kinds.  A neologism 'mendocracy' has recently come up as a description of the core government form.

      The rocket program is largely a leftover from the USSR's investment in it and has been deliberately propped by the U.S. government for twenty years.  The IT sector is a decent development from longstanding Russian prioritizing of mathematics and physics in education, but it's not exactly Google, Apple, Intel.  There is a running brain drain from Russia these days.

      Ukraine is unlucky in that during the past 20-30 years its two key sectors, agriculture and iron/steel, have been inefficient and faced with a global supply glut, i.e. low prices.  Russia has been lucky due to the huge increase in demand and relatively high prices for oil/gas, the rarer metals, industrial diamonds, wood, and other extractables during the same time frame.  Ukraine has net subsidized Russia during this time- trading cheap food in return for expensive fuel.  Russia in turn gave Ukraine a rebate on gas, mostly.  But kept Ukraine a managerial mess via its meddling and support of kleptocratic government in fealty to itself, which is ultimately what led to the Maidan movement and the present situation.  I would say the claim that the present government is kleptocratic is not true, the "insustainable" debt is small by Western standards.

      And yes, Ukraine is probably at or close to hitting economic bottom at present or in the next year or two.  Given the state of the large industrial sectors, some sort of collapse and reform was inevitable.  That this coincides with a collapse and reform of government- well, it's ugly and sad.  They're linked, of course.   But things can pretty much only improve after that.  Right now a lot of people are leaving the Donbass iron/coal region with its gradually failing industries and consistently poor government, fleeing the fighting being a good social excuse to get out and start over somewhere else.  I suspect Donetsk in particular becomes a post-Katrina New Orleans- a large portion of the people who leave will choose not to return because the grass is greener in Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, Rostov, Moscow.

      Then again, imagine Russia as the oil and gas wells slowly run dry in twenty years.  Yeah, they'll get more in the Arctic and such, but these sorts of industries tend to reduce their workforces over time and the profits run into ever fewer hands.  

      It isn't 1880 or 1920 anymore.  I really don't get all these Industrial Age empire conceptions of the dispute- the U.S. has no desire ever to fight a war with Russia in Ukraine or the Volga or wherever that I know of.   What a lot of us want is an incremental end to Russian empire- non-Russian regions obtained by conquest breaking away from Moscow and fighting as they must to do so.  With Russia finally a country whose boundaries correspond reasonably with an ethnic Russian homeland.  It's not just Ukraine that wants out of Russia's imperial realm, it's Belarus and Tartarstan and the small Caucasus countries and Siberia.  Yes, there is a separatist movement forming in Siberia.  "Leave poor Russia alone" is a nice idea, but Russia isn't as poor as it pretends (territory-wise, at least) and it's certainly not leaving its neighbors alone.  

  •  the Cold War ended 25 years ago (7+ / 0-)

    Some people apparently didn't get the memo.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:48:05 AM PDT

  •  What about Matryoshka dolls? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin, Words In Action

    They make MILLIONS of those things!

    " Armageddon could be knocking at my door. But I ain't gonna answer that's for sure." - Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles, Kristen Hall

    by rustypatina on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:07:51 AM PDT

    •  And those Krasniy Oktyabr' chocolates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      I've eaten were apparently figments of my imagination. But they felt so real! Now THAT is diet chocolate.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:11:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama doesn't do himself any favors (5+ / 0-)

    when he just makes shit up.

    In 2013, exports from Russia amounted to US$526.4 billion, up 74.4% since 2009. Russia’s top 10 exports accounted for 73.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.
    Russian exports
    In 2006, in a bid to compensate for the country's demographic decline, the Russian government started simplifying immigration laws and launched a state program "for providing assistance to voluntary immigration of ethnic Russians from former Soviet republics".[34] In August 2012, as the country saw its first demographic growth since the 1990s, President Putin declared that Russia's population could reach 146 million by 2025, mainly as a result of immigration.[35
    Russia - Life expectancy at birth
    Date    Life expectancy    Life expectancy - Men    Life expectancy - Women
    2012     70.46     64.90     76.30
    2011     69.66     64.00     75.60
    2010     68.86     63.10     74.90
    2009     68.70     62.80     74.70
    2008     67.90     61.80     74.20
    2007     67.50     61.40     73.90
    2006     66.60     60.40     73.20
    2005     65.47     58.87     72.40
    2004     65.42     58.87     72.30
    2003     65.01     58.51     71.83
    2002     65.09     58.50     72.00
    2001     65.49     59.00     72.30
    2000     65.34     59.00     72.00
    Life expectancy

    Easily refuted falsehoods won't fly too far.

  •  How about the Russian beer commercial starring (7+ / 0-)

    David Duchovny? Yes, it's a real commercial . . . for a Russian beer. In English, with Russian subtitles.

    Russia owns $116 Billion worth of US Debt as of May 31.
  •  I caught a little bit of Obama talking (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin, native, gerald 1969

    with young African leaders on C-SPAN yesterday.  The next couple of days Washington DC will have a major traffic mess due to the Summit with African State of Heads and African entrepreneurs.

    I was just very disappointed over the shallowness, lax conversation and outright amazed over the stupidity of questions and answers. There were times I wouldn't have missed anything that came out of the White House and State Department. That changed completely. I try to not catch it, but of course that's self-illusionary.

    May be I am getting too old for Obama's way of talking.  Stupid mockery and trashing of Russia I learned since the Winter Olympics and Ukraine crisis is dyed in the wool all over in the US. Wouldn't have imagined it's so bad. Now I know better.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:51:39 AM PDT

  •  Well, he's right. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, Gary Norton

    Russia has no presence in the world economy apart from raw materials and defense.  Maybe it's bad form to say it, but it's certainly true.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:55:21 AM PDT

  •  Russia (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yoshimi, Gary Norton, Chas 981

    I think the President's point was that Russia has a very small footprint on the global economy, especially given its size.  They certainly have resources like oil and gas, and they're still world class weapons manufacturers, but that's about it.  Russia doesn't have any recognizable global brands and there are no goods or services that Russia is well known for.  Space launches perhaps, but as far as the global consumer is concerned, Russia doesn't really exist.  For a country the size of Russia with such a well-educated population, that's fairly surprising.

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:06:03 AM PDT

  •  Many aspects of Russian engineering . . . (4+ / 0-)

    . . . and metallurgy surpass the increasingly backwardness of what America is capable of.  Sad that their manufacturing is not as capable.

    It took Russian engineering to design and execute a closed-cycle rocket engine.

  •  I think it's called "playing with Oskar" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin, gerald 1969

    I grew up in a neighborhood with some interesting Russian and other Eastern Bloc refugees. A couple of gangs of boys, would regularly taunt each other with "insults" that were false or exaggerated. One of the local aunties said "Don't warry, they playink with Ozkar" (that's how she sounded) and said it meant they were "fighting with mittens on claws." I'm not sure who "Ozcar" represented though.

    When I saw the picture of Putin and the big cat and Obama with the puppy, that's what it reminded me of. Then Obama says "Russia doesn't make anything." Sounds like playing with Oskar, because I'm sure he knows Russia is actually does have a good manufacturing sector aside from their oil and gas. I'm not sure it's game for adults, but then Putin wrestles with bears and discovers priceless underwater artifacts on a seemingly regular basis.

    “Judge: Are you trying to show contempt for this court? Mae West: I was doin' my best to hide it.” ― Mae West

    by Rogneid on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:14:40 AM PDT

  •  Smack talk. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac

    It might not sound diplomatic but it is one of the tools our diplomats use.

  •  Missing six words (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, Dauphin, pico, cybrestrike, killjoy

    the sentence ".... produce anything" perhaps should be "manufacture" rather than "produce" and have "Consumers outside Russia want to buy" added.

    The one exception perhaps is software which is important but hardly a big earner for Russia. You can illustrate this by comparing the top exports from Russia and the UK.

    Russia's top ten by value were:

        Mineral fuels including oil: $304,559,452,000 (57.9% of total exports)
        Iron and steel: $20,050,729,000 (3.8%)
        Pearls, gems, precious metals and coins: $14,367,047,000 (2.7%)
        Fertilizers: $9,119,157,000 (1.7%)
        Machinery: $8,815,393,000 (1.7%)
        Wood: $7,324,251,000 (1.4%)
        Aluminum: $7,181,742,000 (1.4%)
        Inorganic chemicals: $5,009,209,000 (1%)
        Copper: $4,962,945,000 (0.9%)
        Electronic equipment: $4,914,638,000 (0.9%)

    The dependence on raw materials exports is remarkable. Its second largest by value, iron and steel is $20bn. Taking the figures from the UK page, medium and larger size automobiles of both engine types add up to exports of $33bn.
    In 2011, the UK creative industry exports (that's film, TV and music etc) were worth £15.5bn or US$26 bn - more total iron and steel exports from Russia.

    The value of UK exports of goods in 2013 was £300.5 billion or US$ 510 billion. "Invisibles" like tourism and financial services including insurance and banking make up the rest of UK exports which totaled over $800bn last year.

    Obama's statement is not absolutely true but does not underestimate Russia's place on the world export scene. Russia's economy needs diversification to increase its manufacturing sector and investment to make goods consumers want to buy. A recent survey I saw showed a vast majority of Russians prefer to buy imported vodka rather than Russian made! When your manufacturers even loose the confidence of your drunks, you know your economy is down the pan.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:40:17 AM PDT

    •  This is correct - it's also one of the reasons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Russia's economy fluctuates so wildly compared to other developed nations: on paper, their legal and regulatory frameworks aren't that much different from ours, but their hyperdependence on raw materials means they are much more vulnerable to sudden changes in price, and they haven't done a particularly good job of diversifying, like a monstrously-sized Detroit.

      That being said, Obama not only exaggerated that point, but he was totally wrong re: immigration, which is a big issue in Russia right now. Undocumented workers from the central Asian republics have been a central part of Russia's domestic policy for the last few years, and there's no real excuse for him not knowing this. It's frustrating to see such a boneheaded statement from the president, even if it was just meant to poke at Putin.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 09:54:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Russia's economy hasn't fluctuated as much as (0+ / 0-)

        the UK or EU. It's growth outperformed both in the last decade. During the 2008/2009 crisis disposable income adjusted for inflation fell by 2.7% in the US and rose by 5.4% in Russia.

        The dramatic increase in wealth of the average Russian under Putin is why he has such high popularity figures.

        What is currently going on is economic warfare by the US to damage the Russian economy to affect regime change. The US is unhappy with Putin's re-nationalization in the energy, banking and arms manufacturing sectors.

        •  No. (0+ / 0-)

          This is what happens when you try to extrapolate a puzzle out a single piece: in the mid-2000s disposable income in Russia was rising by nearly 10% annually, thanks to oil prices, and the year before the crisis it peaked at 12%; it dropped by 10% in 2008, a little over twice as much as the United States, again, because of the collapse of oil prices. The U.S. has not, in the last twenty years, had a rise or drop of greater than 3%, Russia's by about 20%. This is what we mean by "instability".

          You're right that wealth has been increasingly, however erratically, at least until the last two years, as it's been grinding to a halt. But these fluctuations are the reason Russia has never had foreign investment commiserate with the size of its resources; that's why Putin initiated such a broad FDI scheme last year, because foreign investment has been wary of the insecurity of the Russian markets.

          It's also why no one can really tell if the sanctions are having any effect: so far the movement has been well-within the standard up-and-down performance of the Russian market.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 03:35:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you have a link for your figures? (0+ / 0-)
          •  Here's a chart of disposable incomes in Russia (0+ / 0-)

            from 1990 to 2010. It shows a consistent increase starting in 1999 when Putin took over. Volatility was much, much greater in the US backed Yeltsin years.


            Russia's Transition from Communism in Figures: Population, Disposable Income, Pensions, Investment, and Inequality

            The Russian Federal Service of State Statistics just released an extremely handy supplement to the 2011 Russian Statistical Yearbook. Charmingly and evocatively titled “Social-Economic Figures of the Russian Federation 1991-2010” it is one of the most easy-to use and helpful sources of statistical information on Russia that I’ve seen. While the folks at Rosstat do great work, their website is not exactly the most modern in the whole world and it can sometimes be quite difficult to assemble comparative data across long timeframes. Their most recent effort, however, makes it extremely easy to look at data from the last two full decades of Russian history.


            Fluctuations in the Russian stock markets do not reflect directly on disposable income of the average person just as the US stock markets do not. If such were the case then US incomes would have risen 2 1/2 times since 2008. The reality is that they have remained stagnant despite record highs in the stock market.
            •  But then, why are we talking about disposable (0+ / 0-)

              income, since this thread was about Russia's participation in the global market? We were saying Russia is less well-represented than it should be because its economy is too unstable for investors, and you've been responding with the impact of disposable income on Putin's popularity, which... isn't really relevant, right? Because as you said, they don't reflect on each other.

              At any rate I pulled the rate of change from a few articles in Russian, but you can get similar numbers from FAS (pdf) and the World Bank (pdf). Note the precipitous drop in rate of growth in 2008, which is just when the crisis hits Russia. You'll also note that Russia - smartly - responds by beefing up its pensions considerably to keep disposable income from dropping into negative numbers. They were hit harder than we were in some ways, but they mobilized government resources more cleverly, at least as far as short-term crisis-management goes. If you can get your hands on the latest issue of Problems of Economic Transition, they devoted the whole issue to Russia's and Georgia's crisis-management strategies, both good and bad.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 11:37:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  You are framing Russia's GDP solely in the terms (0+ / 0-)

      of exports. The US would show up absolutely terrible if you defined it in the same manner. The US had a trade deficit of over $500 billion in 2012. The only thing on the horizon to reduce this trade deficit will be exports of fracked oil and gas.

      A recent survey I saw showed a vast majority of Russians prefer to buy imported vodka rather than Russian made! When your manufacturers even loose the confidence of your drunks, you know your economy is down the pan.
      Absolute nonsense. Where did you get your data stating that Russian consumers prefer imported goods?
      Landor’s Russian Consumer Report: An introduction
      January 30, 2014

      When we arrived in Russia the first time, we had a clear set of expectations: lots of Prada bags, Beluga caviar, and French champagne; essentially the kind of ostentatious consumption you see from the Russian contingent in London’s Knightsbridge.
      This year, Landor commissioned the Russian Insights Program to delve deeper into this powerhouse of consumption. The results, compiled in our Russian Consumer Report 2014, were enlightening. Our 2,000 respondents debunked long-standing myths and demonstrated that Russia remains a land of contrast and contradiction, where brand building is now more important than ever.

      It’s been more than 20 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Russian consumer has come of age. No longer in awe of the West or the shiny novelties it calls “brands,” Russian consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about what they buy and receive in return. Make no mistake—Russia won’t simply be following a well-trodden path; the road it takes will be all its own.
      A reemerging power, redefined

      There are 143 million Russian consumers, and for the first time in 20 years that number is growing. What’s more, Russians are getting richer and have more money to spend on consumer goods.

      Retail is the driving force of the economy and is three times larger than the raw materials sector in terms of value.1 According to the Russian state statistics agency Rosstat,2 Russia is already among the top three European markets by value for almost all consumer products3 and is number one, as of 2013, in categories such as mobile telecom, dairy, clothing, footwear, and apparel.4

      With endless opportunity, there’s never been a more interesting time to be building brands in Russia. But simply replicating Western practices won’t do—our results show that Russian consumers have a unique set of needs that must be met. Here are six insights from our report:

      1. Russians prefer to buy Russian, but domestic companies are failing to deliver

      Our results show that there is a potent “product nationalism” in the world of Russian retail. Customers generally prefer to buy Russian if they have a choice.

      Almost half of those surveyed believe that Russian brands understand their needs better than Western brands do, while a third say Western brands aren’t appropriate for Russia at all. Consumers show a preference for domestic brands in over half of the sectors surveyed, with domestic dairy, grocery, telecom, vodka, banking, and social networking brands preferred by a whopping 80 percent of Russian consumers.

  •  Odd. It sounds like he's taunting Russia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Now why would he do that?

    "I understand, Mr. Spock. The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity."

    by brainwave on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:56:21 AM PDT

    •  Obama is channeling his inner Tom Friedman. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, brainwave

      They appear to share a similar worldview. Corporatist, free-trade fundamentalist, techno-utopian, with a streak of Randism, far more concerned with pleasing the money-men than serving the little people, or rather, "buying off the poor", as Mr. Friedman so contemptuously puts it.

      To people who hold these views, the insinuation that another country is "uncompetitive" is intended as a put-down.

  •  "Russia doesn't make anything..." says the (5+ / 0-)

    guy whose astronauts have to hitch rides on Russian spacecraft to visit the International Space Station.

  •  It's all about Putin re-nationalizing strategic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Wizard, Dauphin, cybrestrike

    Russian industries to prevent Western hegemonic corporate control of the country. Since WWII, the line between a country supported by the US and a country overtly or covertly attacked has always centered around the advancement of unfettered capitalism within that country.

    Russia was bankrupt in 1998 as a result of Yeltsin's "shock therapy". Under Putin it now has the world's third largest financial reserves despite paying off the old Soviet Union debt and is labelled a high income country by the World Bank.

    The US is willing to destroy the Russian economy in order to defeat Putin. Russia has become a threat to US hegemonic interests in the world.

    TITLE: A History of President Putin’s Campaign to Re-Nationalize Industry and the Implications for Russian Reform and Foreign Policy (pdf)
    FORMAT: Civilian Research Project
    DATE: 27 January 2008
    WORD COUNT: 19,862
    PAGES: 68
    KEY TERMS: Russia, Foreign Policy, Industry
    CLASSIFICATION: Unclassified


    During Vladimir Putin’s two terms as President of the Russian Federation, a major campaign has been underway to re-nationalize many of Russia’s ‘strategic’ industries – labeled as such by the administration for their importance to the security of the nation. The scale of this de-privatization has been quite large. This research provides evidence that almost half of Russian industrial output is now in corporations that are under state control. The manner in which the state has undertaken this campaign indicates its true stance on Western values, such as respect for contracts and private property. This campaign also has negative implications for the future of reform in Russia and the ways in which Russian state-controlled businesses will behave. This re-nationalization has had some very beneficial side-effects for controlling the instruments of Russia’s national power in the implementation of its foreign policy objectives. This Civilian Research Project places how Russia’s political elite carried out the campaign in historical perspective and surmises their various motives. It then analyzes how the Russian government has leveraged these industries in its foreign policy execution and what the implications are for the future of Russian foreign policy, as well as domestic economic and political reform.

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