Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sagacious Economist

It is widely believed that the Economist is a serious and respectable magazine but somehow its analysis of Russia is simply miserable. Only a couple of years ago Economist stopped making doomsday forecasts for Russian economy. It embarrassed itself too many times.

Kirill Pankratov found this wonderful masterpiece in Economist’s “The World in 1999” where its renowned analysts made economic forecasts almost for every country on this planet.

1999 will be the year of Russia's disintegration… Trade between Russia's regions will plunge at least until they hit on a stable, trusted currency in which to do business. That is hardly likely to be the rouble, and the planned coupons and currencies which some regions have been planning look equally unattractive substitutes. How much would a Urals franc be worth in Rostov-on-Don, or a Saratov mark in Perm? ...foreign invasion, albeit of a peaceful and benevolent kind, is exactly what Russia's regions should want… The probable decline in Russia's wealth in 1999 will be around 10%… expect yet another bleak and miserable year.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fedia Kryukov's New Blog

When I grew completely sick and tired of writing on the topic “Western media lies about Russia” Fedia Kryukov took the baton from me and started his own blog “Russia in the media”.Here’s an extract from his post “The “Empire of Lies” Strikes Back”:

Our fearless exposer of lies and liars, Alexandra Poolos, further maintains that if you "ask any seemingly cosmopolitan Russians on a downtown Moscow street about their take on the international scandal, [...] they will most likely shrug and suggest that the former spy Alexander Litvinenko poisoned himself just to make Russian President Vladimir Putin look bad." Well, from this I can only assume that Alexandra Poolos never actually bothered to "ask any seemingly cosmopolitan Russians" anything of that nature. Because the polling agencies, those who actually ask such questions as part of their job, came up with somewhat different results. For example, the independent Levada Center conducted a poll between December 8-12 and found that 20% of Russians believe Litvinenko was killed by his former business partners, 15% -- by Boris Berezovsky, 10% -- by Russian special services, 8% -- by western special services, 8% -- he accidentally got poisoned while smuggling radioactive materials, 1% believe it was a suicide. The same poll also asked why Litvinenko was killed. Only 19% of Russians believe it was done to make Russia (14%) or Putin (5%) look bad. Other theories included revenge for something Litvinenko did (15%), due to dangerous information he possessed (14%), in order to create a political emergency in Russia to enable Putin to run for the third term (4%). Thus, Alexandra Poolos's alleged "most likely" replies are possible only from the 9% of respondents who believe Litvinenko killed himself, and the 19% of respondents who believe it was done to damage Russia or Putin. And these two sets don't even necessarily intersect, which would make the number of people who espouse the "most likely" view rather tiny.
Read more…

Great job, Fedia!