[Marxism] No Longer the People's President: the New Putin

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Mon Dec 28 23:45:00 MST 2015

On 2015/12/28 06:19 PM, Fred Murphy via Marxism wrote:
> ...At Vladimir Putin's annual presidential press conference on December 17 "we
> saw a Russian leader who has stopped being the people’s president and is
> now serving the state-affiliated oligarchy."

Yes, and she adds, "The new Putin is a politically neutral state 
strategist—a functionary with faded charisma who feels uneasy in public 
and has lost interest in government and domestic policy. Instead, we see 
Putin the Strategist—an international actor who is mainly sending 
messages to the leaders of other countries and foreign elites."

And what are those messages? In the recent press conference, Putin 
(http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/50971) had this to 
say about world capitalist law and order:

    "Our trade balance also remains positive. The overall trade volumes
    have gone down, but the export surplus remains at a rather high
    level of about $126.3 billion. Our international reserves stand at
    $364.4 billion – this is a slight reduction, but a good figure
    nevertheless. The Russian Federation’s external debt has gone down
    by 13 percent compared to 2014. Capital outflow has also
    significantly dropped. Moreover, in the 3rd quarter we observed a
    net inflow. The reduction in our debt burden is a very important
    positive indicator. This is the other side dealing with the
    so-called sanctions. It would have been good, of course, to have
    access to foreign refinancing markets, so that all the money would
    stay in the country and help us develop, but on the other hand
    over-crediting is also a bad sign. So, what did we do? Despite all
    limitations, we complied with all our commitments to our partners,
    including international credit institutions. We pay everything due
    on time and in full."

I'm not sure if people like Michael Hudson 
or William Engdahl 
or a group of others who are pro-BRICS New Development Banking (Walden 
Bello, Mark Weisbrot, Mike Witney, etc) are watching these kinds of 
relations or seem them the same way, as they stress what I feel are mere 
feints to anti-imperialist political economy, especially in world 
finance. I talk about these a bit more in this slideshow/video at Open 
University last month: http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za/default.asp?11,65,3,3587

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