Monday 13th of July 2020

the russian conundrum...

perestroika

Perestroika (Перестройка) was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s and is widely associated with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his glasnost (meaning "openness") policy reform. The literal meaning of perestroika is "restructuring", referring to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system.

 

Perestroika is sometimes argued to be a significant cause of the revolutions of 1989 (referred to as counter-revolutions by the USSR's defenders, and colour revolutions) and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which marked the end of the Cold War. 

 

For Gorbachev, Perestroika was a means to achieve peace and prosperity for Russia... But the vultures came in. In Russia they were mainly Oligarchs. Businessmen who took "profitable" state enterprises into their private hands for little effort. Meanwhile as the Soviet Union was being dismantled, the West saw enormous possibilities in robbing the place. The CIA set up "banks" as shop front. By the end of Yeltsin's tenure, a drunk supported by the West, Russia was a giant mess, about to become a third world country. 

 

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In 1989, Berezovsky took advantage of the opportunities presented by perestroika to found LogoVAZ with Badri Patarkatsishvili and senior managers from Russian automobile manufacturer AvtoVAZ. LogoVAZ developed software for AvtoVAZ, sold Soviet-made cars and serviced foreign cars.[31] The dealership profited from hyperinflation by taking cars on consignment and paying the producer at a later date when the money lost much of its value.[32]


One of Berezovsky's early endeavors was All-Russia Automobile Alliance) (AVVA), a venture fund he formed in 1993 with Alexander Voloshin (Boris Yeltsin's future Chief of Staff) and AvtoVAZ Chairman Vladimir Kadannikov.[32] Berezovsky controlled about 30% of the company, which raised nearly US$50 million from small investors through a bonded loan to build a plant producing a "people's car". The project did not collect sufficient funds for the plant and the funds were instead invested into AvtoVAZ production, while the debt to investors was swapped for equity.[33][34] By 2000, AVVA held about one-third of AvtoVAZ.[35]


In 1994, Berezovsky was the target of a car bombing incident, but survived the assassination attempt, in which his driver was killed and he himself was injured.[36] Alexander Litvinenko led the FSB investigation into the incident and linked the crime to the resistance of the Soviet-era AvtoVaz management to Berezovsky's growing influence in the Russian automobile market.[37]


Berezovsky's involvement in the Russian media began in December 1994, when he gained control over ORT Television (see Channel One (Russia)) to replace the failing Soviet Channel 1.[38] He appointed the popular anchorman and producer Vladislav Listyev as CEO of ORT. Three months later Listyev was assassinated amid a fierce struggle for control of advertising sales.[39] Berezovsky was questioned in the police investigation, among many others, but the killers were never found.[40] Under Berezovsky's stewardship, ORT became a major asset of the reformist camp as they prepared to face Communists and nationalists in the upcoming presidential elections.[41]


From 1995 to 1997, through the controversial loans-for-shares privatisation auctions[42][43] (see Privatisation in Russia), Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili assisted Roman Abramovich in acquiring control of Sibneft, the sixth-largest Russian oil company, which constituted the bulk of his wealth.[44][45] In an article in The Washington Post in 2000, Berezovsky revealed that the American financier George Soros declined an invitation to participate in the acquisition.[46]


In 1995, he played a key role in a management reshuffle at Aeroflot and participated in its corporatization,[31] with his close associate Nikolai Glushkov becoming Aeroflot's CFO. In January 1998, it was announced that Sibneft would merge with Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Yukos to create the third-largest oil company in the world.[47] The merger was abandoned five months later amid falling oil prices.[48]

 

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When Putin came in, he had a massive job on his hands, including fighting the disinformation stemming from the West and from within. People are entitled to have viewpoints, but the country could not afford to go down the drain because someone had an "opinion". It's as simple as this. Having worked for the KGB, Putin knew how things were being manipulated. As the protégé of the St Petersburg Mayor, a clever and reasonably ethical man, Putin had little else to do but play a very clever game to stop Russia bleeding to death. Since then, the West has been trying to unseat him, including through misinformation and various tricks.

 

Misinformation comes from journalistic sources in various ways. Journalists in the West are biased and always blame Putin for what happens to their colleagues in Russia. Journalists die. But no only in Russia. In Europe and the USA, the picture is not good either. Many journalists who have opposing views to present governments, US and Europeans, choose to live outside these jurisdictions, otherwise they would be eliminated by various means including the way Assange is treated in the UK. Jamal Khashoggi's murder was blatant but sometimes one has to ask questions...

 

More to come

 

Cartoon at top by Gus Leonisky, lazily using the doves from cartoonist Moir...


democracy...

democracy

 

This cartoon by Mark Lynch, c. 1990.


Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were driven by a complex interplay of ideological, political, and economic factors, which led to shifts between cautious cooperation and often bitter superpower rivalry over the years. The distinct differences in the political systems of the two countries often prevented them from reaching a mutual understanding on key policy issues and even, as in the case of the Cuban missile crisis, brought them to the brink of war.


The United States government was initially hostile to the Soviet leaders for taking Russia out of World War I and was opposed to a state ideologically based on communism. Although the United States embarked on a famine relief program in the Soviet Union in the early 1920s and American businessmen established commercial ties there during the period of the New Economic Policy (1921–29), the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations until 1933. By that time, the totalitarian nature of Joseph Stalin's regime presented an insurmountable obstacle to friendly relations with the West. Although World War II brought the two countries into alliance, based on the common aim of defeating Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union's aggressive, antidemocratic policy toward Eastern Europe had created tensions even before the war ended.


The Soviet Union and the United States stayed far apart during the next three decades of superpower conflict and the nuclear and missile arms race. Beginning in the early 1970s, the Soviet regime proclaimed a policy of détente and sought increased economic cooperation and disarmament negotiations with the West. However, the Soviet stance on human rights and its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 created new tensions between the two countries. These tensions continued to exist until the dramatic democratic changes of 1989–91 led to the collapse during this past year of the Communist system and opened the way for an unprecedented new friendship between the United States and Russia, as well as the other new nations of the former Soviet Union.

 

This from:

https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/sovi.html

 

 

The reality following this beautiful new friendship can be seen at:

 

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/34276

 

 

.. and who mentioned the Russian invasion of Afghanistan should be wary of stones and glasshouses...