Misery — Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky
As I write this blog post, 1 US Dollar equals 57.90 Russian Ruble. In late 2014, the Ruble was plunging beyond 1 Dollar to 80+ Rubles.
In December of 2014, the Western media was overflowing with Schadenfreude over the declining Ruble, and predictions of total economic collapse and misery for Russia. Bloomberg (or Gloomberg) provides one example of Western media gloating over the prospects of Russian misery:
Putin’s Mantra of Russia Stability Unravels as Ruble in Meltdown:
“How many bankruptcies await us in January?” opposition lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov said on Twitter. “People will be out of work, out of money. The nightmare is only just beginning.”
“People thought: ‘he’s a strong leader who brought order and helped improve our living standards,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, an independent political analyst in Moscow. “And now it’s the same Putin, he’s still got all the power, but everything is collapsing.”
“After 2009, there was a quick recovery,” Rogov said. “Now we’re facing an uncontrollable shock. This undermines trust in Putin’s whole economic model.”
Paul Krugman: Putin’s Bubble Bursts:
Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomed:
This Washington Post article is no longer available – I wonder why. 🙂
Color Revolutions & Financial Warfare against Russia:
The Ruble Crisis of December 2014 and Gloating Hyenas: As the ruble slides, many pundits point to Western sanctions as the cause. This is pure fantasy! The main reason is the falling price of oil. And where should we look for the cause of this? Let’s go back to last year and look at Putin’s support of Assad in the face of Western plans for invasion of Syria on the ridiculous pretext that Assad gassed his own people in a chemical weapon attack. Many Western leaders, especially in London and in the US State Department, were annoyed with Putin and his support of Assad, but only one person actually visited Moscow to threaten Putin in person if he wouldn’t back down: Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar! At the time, he issued thinly veiled threats of terrorist attacks at the upcoming Sochi Olympics, but are we now seeing Prince Bandar’s threats manifesting themselves in the form of plunging oil prices?
Not so fast!
Now even Gloomberg has to admit that the Russian economy is doing OK and surviving the sanctions, even thriving because of them:
Russian economy revives despite sanctions – Bloomberg:
The Russian economy has seen a notable rebound with businesses recovering despite a year of contraction caused by Western sanctions. Fluctuations in the domestic currency have narrowed, which brought investors back into the market.
Russia Rebounds, Despite Sanctions – Bloomberg:
Investors in Russian government securities denominated in rubles have earned the equivalent of 7 cents on the dollar so far this year, as measured by the Bloomberg Russia Local Sovereign Bond Index. In contrast, anyone holding similar government debt in emerging markets across-the-board has lost 1.1 percent in 2015.
The picture is even rosier for Russia’s corporate bondholders; they’ve had a 7.3 percent total return in 2015, leading the gains in the index for emerging market corporate bonds compiled by Bloomberg. And while shareholders in the global emerging market stocks measured by the MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 1.7 percent this year, the 50 Russian stocks in the Micex index are up 11.9 percent — better than the Standard & Poor’s 500 or any other North American market.
The ruble’s relative value helps explain why there are some signs of confidence in Russia. Although the ruble remains the most volatile of the 31 most-traded currencies this year, its swings are narrowing. This is visible in implied volatility, a measure of traders’ bets on how much the currency’s value will change day-to-day. After surging in late 2014 amid the widening Ukraine crisis, the ruble now is fluctuating the way it did in 2009.
Business also appears to be on the rebound. Some 78 percent of the Russian companies in the Micex index showed greater annual sales growth than their global peers, even though the shares of these Russian companies lagged behind their international competitors, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s consistent with a two-year improvement in the relative value of Russian companies.
One possible reason for the growth? Sanctions. With foreign goods unavailable, Russians had to choose homegrown products and services.
The Utter Failure of Western Media
So the Russian misery Schadenfreude party has to be postponed. It’s just too bad these media outlets never apologize for their appallingly poor analytical skills and lack of any journalistic integrity – which unfortunately leads them to rely on some of the most spurious sources available on the Internet, like the Brown Moses Blog:
The West’s Go-to MH17 Expert Is a Social Media Hack Who Pushed Syria Chemical Attack Lies:
Desperate for details to confirm US/Kiev accusations about MH17, Western media outlets turn to a dubious social media aggregator whose claims about the East Ghouta chemical attack in Syria were debunked by an actual arms control expert from MIT.
Der Spiegel publishes a “scoop” by Berlin-based Corrrectiv magazine and British blogger Eliot Higgins alleging that MH17 was shot down by a BUK surface to air missile launcher from Russia
The Brown Moses blog of Eliot Higgins:
Human Rights Watch – Attacks on Ghouta – Methodology:
In its investigation, Human Rights Watch was assisted by arms experts including Nic Jenzen-Jones, author of “The Rogue Adventurer”, as well as the independent investigation conducted by Eliot Higgins of the “Brown Moses” blog, who collected and analyzed photos and videos from the attacks.
The mainstream western media has been woeful in its coverage of the recent crises in Ukraine and Syria, demonstrating deficiencies in their research and reporting that go far beyond the typical biases against all things Russian and Arab, in many cases displaying sheer ignorance of the basic issues at stake in the two regions on a grand scale.
BBC Now Admits: Armed Nazis Led “Revolution” in Kiev, Ukraine:
What the Story of Putin’s “Disappearance” Says about How the West Misunderstands Russia:
Western mainstream media cannot be singled out for criticism without mentioning a few of the rotten alternative sources which have appeared and have been quoted from frequently of late. Many of them trace back to the ultra-dubious Sorcha Faal of whatdoesitmean.com.
The way it seems to work is, something gets posted to Sorcha Faal’s website whatdoesitmean.com, and immediately gets picked up by a host of similarly delusional sites – perhaps even related, sister sites. These include The European Union Times and YourNewsWire.com.
Who is Sorcha Faal? The short answer is, he/she is a disinfo agent.
For the long answer, the entry on Rational Wiki will suffice:
Let’s have a look at some recent Sorcha Faal headlines:
“Prepare For Nuclear War” Russia Warns Citizens As US Tanks Flood Into Europe
Just Hours Away From Nuclear War, America Remains Asleep
Bodies Of US Soldiers Killed In Ukraine Float Ashore In Florida
Moscow Bomb Shelters Begin To Fill As Russia Prepares For War
Top US Commander Under Arrest For Refusing To Fire Nukes At Russia
Here’s yet another fantastic example of Sorcha Faal’s insanity:
US Laser Test Destroys Germanwings Airliner Killing 150 Innocent Civilians:
Any time you see extremely sensationalist headlines of this nature, run the titles through a search engine and see if the exact same headlines are copied at whatdoesitmean.com or The European Union Times. Make a note of any other websites that are playing along in this game of disinfo and discrediting legitimate criticism of NATO/Anglo-American foreign policy.
Here’s a recent one from yournewswire.com:
Russia may lift food embargo for Greece if they leave the EU:
Russia has indicated that they will lift the food embargo on Greece, Cyprus and Hungary, but have not made it contingent upon Greece leaving the EU. Stories like this are made up out of thin air. The ultimate motives of these websites can only be imagined until they are linked conclusively to whatever foundations and NGOs support or create them.
Hungary, Cyprus and Greece first to return to Russian market after sanctions lifted:
Food products from Hungary, Greece and Cyprus may be the first to return to Russian supermarket shelves once the food embargo ends, said Sergei Dankvert, head of Rosselkhoznadzor, the Russian agricultural watchdog.
Given the BBC’s reliance on sites such as the Brown Moses blog, we can only wonder whether they will soon turn to the mad ramblings of Sorcha Faal!
Other (foundation-funded) websites and news sources to be wary of:
Caucasian Knot: http://eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/
The Moscow Times: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/
(To be continued!)
Some recommended alternatives to mainstream media disinfo:
21st Century Wire: http://21stcenturywire.com/
New Eastern Outlook: http://journal-neo.org/
Voltaire Network: http://www.voltairenet.org/en
Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/
Sputnik International: http://sputniknews.com/
Activist Post: http://www.activistpost.com/
The Anti-Media: http://theantimedia.org/
Press TV: http://presstv.com/
Zero Hedge: http://www.zerohedge.com/
Strategic Culture: http://www.strategic-culture.org/
Oriental Review: http://orientalreview.org/
Consortium News: https://consortiumnews.com/
Committee for East-West Accord
US Needs New Edition of American Committee for East-West Accord To Promote War Avoidance Against Ruling Class Anti-Putin Hysteria:
Is it time to bring back the Committee on East-West Accord?:
Round Table on ‘Defining a New Security Architecture for Europe that Brings Russia in from the Cold’ with John Mearsheimer, Stephen F. Cohen, Katrina Vandenheuvel. Q&A. Gilbert Doctorow, moderator: