Europe, Propaganda, USGovt
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Ukraine, Putin, USGovt Economic Pressure on Russia

For the last seven decades the USGovt has covertly bribed local politicians and editors, planted false stories in local media, created false flag attacks to discredit its enemies, engaged in sabotage and economic blockades to affect elections or cause “regime change” in nations which were not sufficiently “free market” oriented.

Measured by the criteria of opening up markets to Transnational Corporations, these “acts of war” were, (with the exception of Cuba, certain Islamic and Eastern European nations eg Ukraine) hugely successful. The biggest success was the implosion of the USSR in 1989.

With the implosion of the USSR the USGovt set about ratcheting up economic sanctions and engaging in a campaign of “hot wars” beginning with the bombing of Serbs in 1995.

The economic sanctions seriously damaged the economy and the welfare of the citizens of the sanctioned countries, but did not necessarily lead to “regime change” (Iran, Iraq, Syria…)

The USGovt is now extending its “economic blockade” to Russia and the international accounts of individual Russians. The idea, as always, is that the local oligarchs will be sufficiently financially hurt to demand changes in Russian policies, or that the Russian people will be sufficiently pauperized that they will overthrow their government.

With that background here are a few extracts from an article in Forbes by Mark Adomanis a Russian expert, published by Forbes on Nov 14 2014

Love Him or Hate Him, Vladimir Putin’s Poll Numbers Have Never Been Higher

“…Astute analysts of Russian politics have long noted that, upon coming to power, Putin essentially cut a deal with the Russian public: you stay out of politics, I’ll make sure the economy grows and that wealth trickles down.  Any changes in the terms of this deal run the risk of mass protests and perhaps even of a Orange Revolution style uprising. Or so the story went.

The belief in Putin’s vulnerability on the economic front is exactly why the West decided to implement a sanctions regime: it was a way of “punishing” Russia that would avoid the risk of military conflict while simultaneously undermining what little support the authorities had left. The operating assumption was that when Russians saw the economic costs of their country’s policy in Ukraine they would decide that their political leadership was a bunch of buffoons and demand change. Russians, in other words, would prefer continued access to consumer goods over influence in Ukraine, iPads over great power status.

While this policy is internally consistent, by this point it has been implemented long enough that we can attempt to gauge its actual impact on Russian public opinion. The early indications are that it has backfired spectacularly. According to the Levada Center, Russia’s leading independent polling agency, Russians have never been more supportive of Putin. His approval rating in October 2014 was a preposterous 88%, with a mere 11% voicing disapproval. What’s noteworthy isn’t just the high overall level, but the fact that it has been relentlessly ticking higher ever since the onset of the conflict.

It is possible, I suppose, to argue that the polls cited above are all inherently worthless and that they don’t suggest anything at all about what Russians “really” think. This seems to be a rather stunning indictment of Levada’s work, but it’s once that I’ve heard numerous times. It is clearly the case that, given the current political climate, Russians are under some sort of pressure to conform to social expectations. If the argument is simply that Putin’s actual level of support is lower than the polls indicate, I would agree. But what seems noteworthy isn’t just Putin’s level of support but the direction of change. Putin’s support isn’t just high at the moment, it is increasing. It has been increasing steadily ever since the situation in Ukraine blew up in late February and early March.

 

PutinApprovalOct14

… The West’s very clearly stated desire to “punish” Russia wasn’t very impressive to Russians because they didn’t think that their country needed to be punished.

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