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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

Corruption, crony capitalism, and Russia's near-demise by Justin RaimondoCommunism wounded Russia, grievously, almost irreparably – and Yeltsinism delivered the death blow. The legacy of Boris Yeltsin, who presided over what Paul Klebnikov described as "one of the most corrupt regimes in history," is, quite literally, the death agony of the Russian nation. As David Satter pointed out in the Wall Street Journal:
"Between 1992 and 1994, the rise in the death rate in Russia was so dramatic that Western demographers did not believe the figures. The toll from murder, suicide, heart attacks and accidents gave Russia the death rate of a country at war; Western and Russian demographers now agree that between 1992 and 2000, the number of "surplus deaths" in Russia–deaths that cannot be explained on the basis of previous trends–was between five and six million persons."
The Yeltsin era was marked by a precipitous fall in living standards, but some prospered. Given privileged access to "privatized" state property, the clique around Yeltsin amassed fantastic wealth. The one who perhaps profited the most was Boris Berezovsky, whose methods were described by Klebnikov:
"Using his access to the highest officials of the Russian government and his reputation as a close friend of the Yeltsin family, Berezovsky hammered away at the privatization projects that would put key state industries in his grasp."
Yeltsin's clique, which included his daughter, was known as "the Family" – not as in "family values," or the Partridge Family, but as in the Russian equivalent of The Sopranos. The rule of the commissars had been succeeded by the reign of the gangsters, criminal elements who seized control of the national economy and engineered a complete takeover of the state apparatus, not for any ideological motive or ostensibly "patriotic" purpose, but simply to enrich themselves. Their strategy made use of the "shock therapy" approach to privatizing the economy as advocated by Harvard professor Jeffrey Sachs. The process was set up to favor Yeltsin's courtiers, who paid rock-bottom prices in a rigged auction. The industrial base of the Russian economy was sold off for a song: the whole process amounted to a spree of looting such as hadn't been seen since the sack of Rome.
Yeltsin didn't seem to notice, which is hardly surprising, since he was drunk for most of his tenure in office. And in Yeltsin's Russia, vodka was the only commodity that was cheap and plentiful. If this was an effort to calm the roiling currents of post-Soviet politics and anesthetize the populace while the oligarchs made off with the nation's assets, it didn't entirely accomplish that goal. There was an anti-Yeltsin upsurge in 1993, and the Duma threatened to impeach the Russian president: in response, Yeltsin declared the parliament dissolved and sent in his tanks to take the building, which was ringed by tens of thousands of anti-Yeltsin demonstrators.
This is the guy who is now being hailed as a great democrat and admirable leader by the Clintons, two of the old crook's biggest enablers. Bill Clinton and his cronies funneled billions in American "aid" to Yeltsin 's kleptocracy, most of which disappeared down a rabbit hole and eventually wound up in the oligarchs' foreign bank accounts.
Putin is routinely blamed for the Chechen war, yet this too is part of the Yeltsin legacy. It was Yeltsin who started that war, invading Chechnya in 1994 to protect the interests of certain criminal gangs in Moscow and other major Russian cities, who had a falling out with their Chechen brethren in the homeland. Describing the group around Yeltsin who pushed for war, Gen. Aleksandr Lebed bitterly declared: "This is not the party of war. This is the party of business."
Having consolidated its hold on power, the Yeltsin clique, with Berezovsky's funding and support, proceeded to divvy up the spoils, including cementing their domination of the "private" media. Organized crime networks replaced the state security services as centers of power, with Berezovsky and his fellow oligarchs at the apex of it all. Using strong-arm tactics and engaging in not a few assassinations, the oligarchs – Berezovsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Leonid Nevzlin, among others – drove rival gangs out of business and established their economic and political supremacy.
The oligarchy decimated the economy, demoralized the Russian people, and dissolved the rule of law in the acid of corruption and criminality. Is it any wonder that Yeltsin's death is hardly being mourned in Russia? I would venture a guess that more than a few cups are being raised to his demise.
Understanding the Yeltsin legacy and its catastrophic effect on Russia is key to grasping the Putin phenomenon. Although the former KGB officer who rose from obscurity to become the most formidable Russian leader since Peter the Great owes his present job to Yeltsin, the Yeltsin clique didn't fare so well at the hands of their fallen leaders' designated successor. Putin turned against "the Family" and drove most of the oligarchs out of power and into exile, where they are even now scheming to make a comeback. The ersatz "privatizations" arranged under the previous regime were overturned, to a large extent, and the "entrepreneurs" of the Russian Mafia were reined in, if not eliminated entirely, to the point where they no longer threatened the state's monopoly on coercion. The reintegration of formerly state-controlled assets into the "private-public" arrangements mapped out by the Putin administration is widely seen in the West as evidence that Russia is "backsliding." Similarly, the takeover of major mass-media outlets by pro-Putin businessmen is cited as proof that Putin represents a new "authoritarianism." Yet all that has happened is the passing of power from the oligarchs to the latter-day czarists of Putin's United Russia party.
Gregory Yavlinsky, the liberal parliamentary leader, had this to say about Yeltsin's regime:
"The government that was formed was without any clear ideology. It was neither red, nor white, nor green. It was based solely on personal greed. You got a system that was corporatist, oligarchic, and based on monopolized property rights and semi-criminal relationships."
With the oligarchic and semi-criminal elements purged by Putin, what remains is the corporatist structure, which is now in different hands. Railing at the Russian president from their posh places of exile in Londongrad, Switzerland, and the French Riviera, the oligarchs' indictment of Putin boils down to one principal complaint: they are no longer in power.
Flush with cash, and intent on revenge, exiled oligarchs such as Berezovsky pour their money into phony "human rights" front groups that regularly denounce Russia's "reversion" to authoritarianism. Some, like Andrew Illarionov of the Cato Institute, go so far as to accuse Russia of launching a military bid to regain its lost empire and advise the West to "consider itself in a new Cold War-like era."
The goal of this rather motley crew is to restore Yeltsinism without Yeltsin, but the oligarchs and assorted "dissenters" – ranging from Eduard Limonov and his National Bolsheviks to Illarionov and chess-champion-turned-politician Gary Kasparov – have little support outside the editorial offices of Western newspapers and U.S. government agencies engaged in "democracy promotion." The "color revolutions" that occurred in former Soviet satellites such as Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan have faded to black, and Putin's popularity in Russia has so far foiled the oligarchs' attempts to subvert the country from within. Berezovsky has to content himself with calling for the violent overthrow of the Russian government from his palatial London headquarters, hoping that the professional regime-changers in Washington and London will lend a sympathetic ear and, perhaps, some material support.
In the meantime, however, with the ill-gotten gains of several oligarchs stashed in Swiss bank accounts and sloshing around Londongrad and Washington, there are plenty of think-tank presidents who wouldn't mind getting a cut of that particular action. Expect the propaganda assault on Putin's Russia to get more vociferous and the drumbeat to "do something" about the rising "threat" of Russia to get louder and more serious.
Yeltsin's legacy to Russia – poverty, privation, and a renewed adversarial stance by the West – is the "gift" that just keeps on giving


http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=10867
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 08:53 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

You know, the whole article lost its purpose as soon as names of Khlebnikov and Yavlinskiy were mentioned. The former one was just bad journalist who paid with his life for his own lie and the latter never did a darn thing in politics or economics.
Yes, there has been war in Chechnya that will always be linked with B.N. presidency. But the economic reforms, price liberalisation and privatisation were needed. There was nothing, literally nothing, in shops, in markets in the end of 1991. No food to buy, no clothes to buy - NOTHING. There was definite possibilty of starving in Russia. Yeltsin's and Gaidar's "shock therapy" saved the country. And privatisation could not have other results. We've come through things which USA, for example, were experiencing in second half of 19th century - beginning of 20th century. Within 5 years Russia survived changes that other countries did during dozens if not hundred years. But we had no choice. That was the only way to escape Russia's collapse.

And you know, even now, with Putin's friends sharing all profitable industry, if you have brains, if you have legs and arms you'll be alright - if you work, of course. But if you don't wanna work, or you're stupid, or you're drunkard - don't blame Yeltsin, Putin, oligarchs, CIA etc. in your 'suffering'. It's your personal choice: to live like a human or to live like a swine. It's your OWN choice now - and that's the biggest B.N.'s achievement.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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You know, the whole article lost its purpose as soon as names of Khlebnikov and Yavlinskiy were mentioned. The former one was just bad journalist who paid with his life for his own lie and the latter never did a darn thing in politics or economics.
Yes, there has been war in Chechnya that will always be linked with B.N. presidency. But the economic reforms, price liberalisation and privatisation were needed. There was nothing, literally nothing, in shops, in markets in the end of 1991. No food to buy, no clothes to buy - NOTHING. There was definite possibilty of starving in Russia. Yeltsin's and Gaidar's "shock therapy" saved the country. And privatisation could not have other results. We've come through things which USA, for example, were experiencing in second half of 19th century - beginning of 20th century. Within 5 years Russia survived changes that other countries did during dozens if not hundred years. But we had no choice. That was the only way to escape Russia's collapse.

And you know, even now, with Putin's friends sharing all profitable industry, if you have brains, if you have legs and arms you'll be alright - if you work, of course. But if you don't wanna work, or you're stupid, or you're drunkard - don't blame Yeltsin, Putin, oligarchs, CIA etc. in your 'suffering'. It's your personal choice: to live like a human or to live like a swine. It's your OWN choice now - and that's the biggest B.N.'s achievement.
Because of him Russia plunged into chaos. He was indeed the destroyer. First he destroyed communism regime. Then he destroyed everything else! Political turmoil, war, rise of organized crime economic collapse, poverty, corruption are his responsibilities.

Yes, reforms were needed. But there are different routs that Russia could take. The 'shock therapy' nearly doomed the country. Russians are very lucky to get out of this!

The best decision of Yeltsin's presidency was his decision to retire. He was able to save the nation from himself!

RIP Boris. I don't think you were a bad guy, but you definately don't belong to politics!
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 09:13 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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Because of him Russia plunged into chaos. He was indeed the destroyer. First he destroyed communism regime. Then he destroyed everything else! Political turmoil, war, rise of organized crime economic collapse, poverty, corruption are his responsibilities.

Yes, reforms were needed. But there are different routs that Russia could take. The 'shock therapy' nearly doomed the country. Russians are very lucky to get out of this!

The best decision of Yeltsin's presidency was his decision to retire. He was able to save the nation from himself!

RIP Boris. I don't think you were a bad guy, but you definately don't belong to politics!
Tell me honestly: are you Ukrainian and if so how old are you?
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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Tell me honestly: are you Ukrainian and if so how old are you?

Yes, I am Ukrainian and 25 years old. I spent 14 year of my life there before moving to USA. I used to be a strong Yeltsin supporter. But as I got older I finally realized the damage that was incurred by Yeltsin's presidency.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 09:34 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

I have asked you cos you seem to know nothing about 'poverty'. Poverty is when you need to travel to Moscow in order to buy butter, meat, sausage or cheese. Poverty is when you need to have very good and 'right' friends in order to get chance to buy some clothes like fake jeans. Poverty is when no matter how much you work you're not gonna live better unless you are Communist Party boss. Poverty is when you can't even dream of visiting other countries. Poverty is when you're witnessing how your grandma has a heart-attack after she has been standing in queue for 7 hours to buy some butter. So don't tell me about poverty! THAT was poverty no-one could escape.

If you work NOW, if you work hard you WILL overcome any poverty. Just shut up and work!
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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I have asked you cos you seem to know nothing about 'poverty'. Poverty is when you need to travel to Moscow in order to buy butter, meat, sausage or cheese. Poverty is when you need to have very good and 'right' friends in order to get chance to buy some clothes like fake jeans. Poverty is when no matter how much you work you're not gonna live better unless you are Communist Party boss. Poverty is when you can't even dream of visiting other countries. Poverty is when you're witnessing how your grandma has a heart-attack after she has been standing in queue for 7 hours to buy some butter. So don't tell me about poverty! THAT was poverty no-one could escape.

If you work NOW, if you work hard you WILL overcome any poverty. Just shut up and work!

Many people in Russia would tell you that in Soviet era they had money but there was almost nothing to buy cause the stores were almost empty. However, after the collapse of communism when the stores were filled with goods, people had no money to buy those things.

Wages were often not paid to the workers in the 1990's. The delays in wage and pension payments were very frequent and could last for more that a year.

Putin has 85% of approval rating right now. His greatest accomplishment according to the poll was elimination the delays in workers' pay and pensions.

http://newsfromrussia.com/main/2004/02/02/52110.html
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 09:54 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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I have asked you cos you seem to know nothing about 'poverty'. Poverty is when you need to travel to Moscow in order to buy butter, meat, sausage or cheese. Poverty is when you need to have very good and 'right' friends in order to get chance to buy some clothes like fake jeans. Poverty is when no matter how much you work you're not gonna live better unless you are Communist Party boss. Poverty is when you can't even dream of visiting other countries. Poverty is when you're witnessing how your grandma has a heart-attack after she has been standing in queue for 7 hours to buy some butter. So don't tell me about poverty! THAT was poverty no-one could escape.
Have you been outside of Moscow? Siberia? Russian countryside? You're brainwashed.
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If you work NOW, if you work hard you WILL overcome any poverty. Just shut up and work!
Tell that to people who are near retirement age. Or lower ranked medical staff. Or teachers in Russian province. Doubt that they will shut up.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 10:19 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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Wages were often not paid to the workers in the 1990's. The delays in wage and pension payments were very frequent and could last for more that a year.

Putin has 85% of approval rating right now. His greatest accomplishment according to the poll was elimination the delays in workers' pay and pensions.

http://newsfromrussia.com/main/2004/02/02/52110.html
It's not that diffcult when oil prices are above $60 and not between $8 and $20 like they were during Yeltsin presindency. It's not that difficult when you have $120,000,000,000 in reserve and not $4,000,000 like in the end of 1991.

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Have you been outside of Moscow? Siberia? Russian countryside? You're brainwashed.

Tell that to people who are near retirement age. Or lower ranked medical staff. Or teachers in Russian province. Doubt that they will shut up.
I've been outside of Moscow, thanks! I spent a lot of time outside of Moscow. And I know dozens people who were working on 3 or even 4 jobs in the 1990-s. My mom was one of them. And I had grandfather who was communist and disliked B.N. but was still working when he was 70 and never complained on his 'hard' life. And my aunt who's been a wife of simple Russian officer now owns furniture shop in a small Russian town.

All you need is just to be more or less healthy, not drink vodka and work. It's hard life but it's NORMAL.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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It's not that diffcult when oil prices are above $60 and not between $8 and $20 like they were during Yeltsin presindency. It's not that difficult when you have $120,000,000,000 in reserve and not $4,000,000 like in the end of 1991.



I've been outside of Moscow, thanks! I spent a lot of time outside of Moscow. And I know dozens people who were working on 3 or even 4 jobs in the 1990-s. My mom was one of them. And I had grandfather who was communist and disliked B.N. but was still working when he was 70 and never complained on his 'hard' life. And my aunt who's been a wife of simple Russian officer now owns furniture shop in a small Russian town.

All you need is just to be more or less healthy, not drink vodka and work. It's hard life but it's NORMAL.
Yeltsin govt. was given billions dollars in foreign aid and loans. Where did this money go? To corrupt politicians!
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2007, 11:36 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

Suddenly, I'm finding Russian politics very interesting.
Oh, and R.I.P. Boris Y.
My son has been studying Russian Politics this week in his AP European History class [Marxism, Leninism...etc, and various Communist ideologies] and I'm embarrassed to say that I knew nothing that was of help to him. *embarrassed*
All I could offer, was that Communism is actually a viable form of government IF you had the right leadership.

Hopefully this discussion will continue so that my son and I can learn from those who are experiencing Communism firsthand, and can offer up its pros and cons.

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. - Malcolm X
A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. - Malcolm X
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - Confucius
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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Yeltsin govt. was given billions dollars in foreign aid and loans. Where did this money go? To corrupt politicians!
What do you know about economics, I wonder?
Money mean nothing when there are no goods to buy, when there is no industry to produce consumer goods cos Soviet industry collapsed till 1991. The only commodities we could export were oil and gas. And oil prices were down. Russia's budget had no money in the end of 1991. Russia's foreign debt exceeded 100 billion dollars in the end of 1991. Russia were on the verge of Civil war and dissoluton back then. And it was Yeltsin, and it was his "shock" reforms that prevented us from that fate. B.N. received 90% votes on the free elections in 1991, back then he was the most popular politician Russia have ever known and he sacrificed all 'people's love' and his own health (cos that was when he had first heart-attack) for unpopular but needed reforms to save Russia. He did something that Nikolay II was unable to do.

No-one in Russian history had been criticized and humiliated as much as B.N. had. But he NEVER closed a single newspaper, he NEVER sued a single journalist. He NEVER sued or sent to jail a single poilitical opponent.
Corruption? Yes, there is huge corruption. But there has always been a huge corruption in Russia. And that's not because of Yeltsin (or Putin now); it's because that's how Russian society is organised.

If you work now you'll earn for the living; if you work better or harder than others you'll earn more than others. If you don't like your job you're free to change it. But if you're lazy or you're drunkard you'll earn nothing. And I repeat once more: that's how it should be. Life is not easy thing but NOW it's only your choice how you will spend it. It's your choice, guys - YOUR choice.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

Justin Raimondo biased and paranoid Putin-worshipper
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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Justin Raimondo biased and paranoid Putin-worshipper
i don't see much putin worshipping in the article. i think it analyses the role of both putin and yeltsin quite correctly.

personally i never had a nice opinion about yeltsin. i mean, imagine the social catastrophe that took place under his rule and the chechen war happened in your country.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 2007, 12:41 PM
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Re: The Legacy of Boris Yeltsin

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i don't see much putin worshipping in the article. i think it analyses the role of both putin and yeltsin quite correctly.
Read his other articles on antiwar.com. He loves Putin. And he thinks USA is planning a regime change in Russia.
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