Eurasia, History, Politics

6/6: the 1990s Russian catastrophe could have been avoided

It is commonly accepted that, after 70 years of Communist dictatorship, Russia’s 1990s transition was inevitably going to be a massive train wreck. This is yet another convenient misconception that western intellectuals like to embrace. The foregoing article seeks to dispel this notion and set the historical record straight. It is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book, “Grand Deception: the Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russia Sanctions”. The book’s previous incarnation was banned last summer.

This is the last in a six-part series on Russia’s 1990s transition from communism to capitalism. Links to previous posts: introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. Continue reading

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History, Politics

5/6: the transition that took five million lives

In a recent appearance on FOX News, U.S. senator Ted Cruz stated categorically that Vladimir Putin was a KGB thug who said that the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 21st century was the dissolution of the Soviet Union (the quote and the warped timeline Cruz’s own). The foregoing article should explain why Vladimir Putin may have said something of the sort. It is part 5 in a six-part series on Russia’s 1990s transition from communism to capitalism, excerpted from Chapter 3 of my book, “Grand Deception: the Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russia Sanctions.” The book’s previous incarnation was banned last summer.

Links to previous posts: introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4. Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics

4/6: the Enterprise – role of the deep state in 1990s raid on Russia

The foregoing article is part 4 in a six-part series on Russia’s transition from communism to capitalism during the 1990s. Links to previous posts: introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3. It is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book, “Grand Deception: the Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russia Sanctions.” The book’s previous incarnation was banned last summer by some of the same actors we’ll be discussing today. This post should prove relevant today, in light of hysterical rebukes of President Trump‘s recent summit with his Russian counter part in Finland, particularly regarding the role and trustworthiness of the so-called “intelligence community.” Continue reading

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Economics, Eurasia, History, Inflation, Politics

3/6: the strangulation of Russian economy in the 1990s was a deliberate IMF policy

… if the notion of billions of barrels of proven oil reserves and billions of tons of gold fills your dreams with visions of red-hot cash flow and ice-cold vodka, then Boris Yeltsin just might find some work for you. – Paul Hofheinz, Fortune Magazine, 23 September 1991[1]

The foregoing article is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book “Grand Deception: the Truth about Bill Browder, Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions.” Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Shock therapy gave Russia one of the worst and longest economic depressions of the 20th century, an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe for a peace time crisis, and a criminally inequitable privatization of public assets. The reasons why things happened this way in Russia generally aren’t well understood in the west. Even among better informed intellectuals, the failure of shock therapy is often thought to be vaguely related to some sinister flaw in the Russian society. It is what Bill Browder characterized as “the dirty dishonesty of Russia,” or “Russia’s evil foundation,” which spawned corruption and criminality of staggering proportions. In this toxic environment, the sweet fruits of western democracy and capitalism simply could not grow in spite of the generous benevolence of Russia’s western friends. Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics

2/6: Russian lawmakers’ revolt and the 1993 Constitutional crisis

We created a virtual open shop for thievery at a national level and for capital flight in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, and the reaping of natural resources and industries on a scale which I doubt has ever taken place in human history. – E. Wayne Merry, chief political analyst at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow (1990-1994)

The foregoing article is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book “Grand Deception: the Truth about Bill Browder, Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions.” Part 1 is here.

Economic reforms and privatization were highly destructive for Russia. They were also achieved outside of the legitimate legal framework. To sidestep the government agencies and circumvent the parliament, Yeltsin’s government worked through a network of private agencies and non-governmental organizations set up by Anatoly Chubais, his associates, and their western advisers. One of the most important of these organizations was the Russia Privatization Center (RPC), set up by the HIID and Anatoly Chubais under a presidential decree. RPC’s directors were Andrei Schleifer and Chubais himself. Continue reading

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Economics, Eurasia, History, Policy, Politics

1/6: How Russia decided to go from communism to capitalism in the 1990s

The foregoing article is an excerpt from the third chapter of my book, “Grand Deception,” which I wrote in response to Bill Browder’s bestseller, “Red Notice” but also as a retort to the relentless demonization campaign against Russia and its leadership in the West. Browder, an investor and hedge fund manager who made his fortune in the 1990s Russia, describes his fascinating experience during that time. However, he almost entirely glosses over the broader context within which events played out. Instead, he offers the same terse explanation he had regurgitated countless times in his various presentations and speeches, and it goes like this: after the collapse of the USSR, the government of Russia decided to go from communism to capitalism.[1] They thought that the best way to do this would be by giving everything away practically for free through various privatization schemes. Very rapidly, they transferred the nation’s economic resources into private hands.

But the unusual aspect of this transfer was that the private hands that received Russia’s wealth were not the same ones that had built it up since there were no restrictions on who could participate in the privatization program. As a result, the crown jewels of the nation’s productive resources ended up in the hands of a small group of oligarchs, most of whom covertly represented the interests of various western financiers. Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Policy, Politics

Grand Deception: the 1990s raid on Russia

As the 2018 football World Cup in Russia draws to a close, many of her foreign visitors were surprised to encounter in Russia an affluent society and a friendly, welcoming host. This makes it difficult to appreciate that only a generation ago, Russia experienced a political, economic and social collapse of calamitous proportions. After the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, Russia embarked upon a transition from communism to capitalism. The so called “shock therapy” program, prescribed and guided by western experts resulted in the longest and one of the most severe economic depressions in the 20th century. Today, few people outside of the nations of former Soviet Union remember this dark episode. Fewer still understand it.

Even among the better informed intellectuals in the west, the failure of Russia’s shock therapy transition is largely misunderstood and often attributed to some sinister flaw in Russian society – a flaw which spawned corruption and criminality of staggering proportions. In this toxic environment, the sweet fruits of western democracy and capitalism simply could not grow in spite of the generous benevolence of Russia’s western friends and helpers. Continue reading

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