Posts Tagged ‘Mark Ames’

When the United States rigged Russia’s election

February 14, 2017

Twenty years ago, the U.S. government intervened in Russia’s election to put Boris Yeltsin in power.

Mark Ames, editor of the English-language eXile magazine in Moscow in the 1990s, explained all this in an interview with Abby Martin for The Empire Files.

He told how the Clinton administration managed his election campaign, and the International Monetary Fund pumped money into Russia to keep the Russian government going.

With the guidance of economists from Harvard University, Yeltsin sold off Russia’s national assets to foreign corporations and Russian individuals who became the oligarchs who dominate Russia today.   With U.S. approval, he shut down the Russian parliament and concentrated power in his own hands.   Independent journalists were murdered.   Oligarchs took over the independent press.

The Russian people were reduced to a state of misery not seen since Stalin’s rule in the 1930s.  The death rate soared and the birth rate fell.  Eventually even the Russian stock market crashed.

Source: The Diplomat

Source: The Diplomat

Vladimir Putin was Yeltsin’s right-hand man.   The U.S. government accepted him as a reliable successor to Yeltsin.  But when Putin refused to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. turned against him.

I wrote in a previous post that Vladimir Putin is a killer.  But every abuse of power by Putin was made possible by Yeltsin.

Boris Yeltsin in fact was more of a killer than Putin, but the American government didn’t care because he was willing to subordinate Russia’s national interests to the interests of American and other foreign corporations.


Putin and Russia’s right-wing populist majority

May 15, 2014

Russia has a much greater concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny elite than the USA does, and a much more thorough surveillance state.  The conflict in Ukraine gives Vladimir Putin the opportunity to draw attention away from the former and beef up the latter.

vladimir-putin-riding-bearAll this was well-described in an article by Mark Ames for PandoDaily, an on-line magazine.  I have no first-hand knowledge of Russia, but what he wrote seems right to me.

He said Putin has lost the support of Moscow’s and St. Petersburg’s managerial and professional class, along with the liberal intelligentsia, and has built a new political power base among Russia’s impoverished masses.   The majority of Russians are even worse off materially than they were under the failed Soviet system, and they blame the urban economic and intellectual elites.

Now if you want to appeal to the masses, and you can’t or won’t adopt policies that will make them better off, you wage a culture war.  That’s how it works in the USA and many other countries, and it is how it works in Russia.

That is why Putin cultivates his manly, tough-guy image.  That is why he has adopted a hard line against the Pussy Riot demonstrators, whom he has made into a symbol of the decadent West.  Ditto for his hard line against gays and lesbians.   He did not initiate the conflict in Ukraine, but it plays into his hands.  It makes him even more popular than he is, and gives him cover for cracking down on the opposition.

He is likely to be in power for a long time, and I don’t think we Americans can do anything about it because, as Ames wrote, Putin’s politics aren’t about us.

What do you think?