Oh dear Owen, oh dear

However accurate, there is no question that Putin is close to oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich, who profited as post-Soviet Russia collapsed into economic chaos thanks to western-backed “shock therapy”.

No, that’s not what happened at all. Russia was bust. The economy was dead and buried. It wasn’t shock therapy that pouhed it over the edge at all. Shock therapy is the only thing that got it moving again.

FFS, winter of 1990 even sodding beetroot was on the ration. I was there: the Soviet economy collapsed internally, nowt else.

47 thoughts on “Oh dear Owen, oh dear”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Male life expectancy had been declining in the Soviet Union since the 1960s. Oddly enough if you tell men they are not needed as husbands and fathers because the state should do that job instead, in the end they will believe you.

    Good husbands and fathers they are not. So why should they do all the hard work needed to make society work? Russia is what you get when men do actually go on strike.

  2. No, the oligarchs are close to Putin. The minute they cease to be close to Putin, they cease to be oligarchs.

    Owen has, as is usual for naive socialists, got the power relationship entirely the wrong way around.

  3. One should not be surprised when someone who looks about 12 has ideas as sound and developed as a 12 year old.

    I speak as a white male in late 50s – ie a soon to be grumpy old man, as opposed to a grumpy middle aged man.

  4. Those profiting from a collapse are often helping the population get through it, see eg black market suppliers of toilet paper in Venezuela. Unless Owen is suggesting Abramovich is some kind of robber baron impoverishing the Russians for personal profit?

    Oh, silly me, if course that’s what he’s suggesting.

  5. Young Owen isn’t averse to liking dictators and authoritarians, so what is it about Putin he doesn’t like? My theory is that the Left turned on Putin a few years ago when he “came out” as disliking homosexuals. Up until then, he was fine.

    J

  6. For Owen, food rationing isn’t “economic chaos”, it’s just democratic central planning.

    “Economic chaos” for him is what you have when people get rich.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    I am waiting for Dave to come along and tell us all that when Owen says “oligarchs” he really means “Jews”.

    Which actually is not far from the truth.

  8. Rob – I’m not sure you’d get a coherent answer out of Owny, because I don’t think he knows himself.

    The Left loved Russia up till 1991. The old Soviet Union was not a bastion of LGBTQIA+ rights. But they were a sworn enemy of Christianity, capitalism and the bourgeois family, so all the smart people like Ed Miliband’s dad loved them.

    Russia is still not a huge fan of the Elgibbities, though it’s not illegal there or anything. There are dozens of countries which persecute guys with moustaches and a Tom of Finland art collection – Russia isn’t one of them.

    So the pink pride thing is just an excuse.

    I think the real reason they hate Putin is because he won’t join in any multiculty/feministy/cucky games.

    The EU wants us to be what they call “a mestizo zone”. Merkel’s pro-invasion policies are just an extension of a decades-old agenda. The Yanks can’t displace their own posterity fast enough – hence all the recent crying at Trump.

    I’m not impressed with the more tinfoil hat claims of a “New World Order” conspiracy – but there’s a definite consensus among Western elites that national sovereignty has to go.

    Russia wants to remain Russian, and we can’t have that, apparently.

  9. At the time it was my view that the last straw that broke the back of the Soviet economy was the huge expansion of their navy and the number of new vessels commissioned. Warships don’t come cheap and are very expensive to run. But then the Soviet planners never did consider running costs, of anything.

  10. They couldn’t afford guns and butter, because their system was so inefficient. The DDR, which was the best-performing of the bloc, had Trabants while the Wessies were scooting around in Golf GTIs.

  11. What did anyone expect the Guardian to say?

    Walter Duranty, apparently, is alive and well and employed by the Scott Trust.

  12. Mariana Mazzacutto who wants us to believe that the state invented the wheel and everything else up to and including the telephone, Thomas Picketty who believes that the rich never spend any of their income, McDonnell who takes advice on economics from Mao whose policies caused the greatest mass starvation in history, beating even Stalin …
    A lot of 60s rock stars took mind-altering substances but taking mind-altering substances doesn’t make you a rock star.

  13. “When challenged on the alleged role of Moscow in the murder of journalists, Trump engaged in what is typically known as “whataboutery” (or the “look over there!” approach to debate), responding: “Our country does plenty of killing also.””

    Funny thing Owen, it is an absolutely fine argument from an IRA apologist or annapolgist form Eastern European Socialism, claiming a moral equivalence between the cold war protagonists. Now though it suddenly unacceptable; why?

  14. So Putin can asset strip his own nation, destroy press freedom by murdering journalists, undermine due process, smash civil liberties, turn on minority, particularly homosexuals, turn his attentions abroad to enact and finally invade his neighbours and then create mayhem in Syria. All of this passes the British Left by; he is a hero when he is thumbing hos nose at the Americans. And then it emerges he has raked in a fair bit of dough for himself. This puts him beyond the pale as far a little Owen is concerned.

  15. “I am waiting for Dave to come along and tell us all that when Owen says “oligarchs” he really means “Jews”.

    Which actually is not far from the truth.”

    What on God’s Earth are you talking about?

  16. Demetrius,

    A significant factor in the military overextension and collapse of the USSR appears to have been, oddly enough, born under the Carter administration: the combination of the long-range cruise missile and the low-observable aircraft. These were game-changers for the Soviets, which made their air-defence system (hoping to stop B-52s, with radars positioned with the required coverage and interceptors designed to find and kill large bombers with massive radar cross sections but kilowatts of ECM jamming) extremely porous.

    In a conventional scenario, TLAM from the US Navy battlegroups off Norway could attack the bases in the Kola Peninsua and make the seaborne Soviet deterrent vulnerable in their “bastions”, or just reduce the Soviet ability to prevent REFORGER. In a nuclear case… ALCM from B-1s and B-52s couldn’t be reliably detected, let alone stopped, by Voyska-PVO and the B-2s would be cruising through the gaps blown in the defences to wreak whatever mayhem the author of a threat statement could desire. (One role proposed at the time was hunting SS-25 mobile ICBMs)

    All high-end policy stuff, but it was a decisive military disadvantage that the USSR had no quick, cheap remedy for: they had the ability to design more capable equipment (for instance replacing Fishpots, Flagons and Fiddlers with Flankers and Foxhounds) but the cost of tripling up the ground-based radar net with new hardware and adding AEW was crippling.

    Scary days, back then – we’ve lost the habit of planning a game or two of “Global Thermonuclear War” with tens of thousands of warheads on the board, which is probably no bad thing.

  17. “Labour’s economic rock stars will expose the Tories as a one-hit wonder”

    I like the way we’re simultaneously supposed to care about academic credentials when it comes to Mazzucato and Piketty, but consider such things irrelevant when it comes to Corbyn and McDonnel.

  18. Harold Wilson’s defining speech about the white heat of technology back in 1963

    And how well did that work, then? Hmm, Anne?

    I’ll tell you – we got Concorde. Which was nice and shiny and cool and we still dont have anything better. And very, very expensive and a total of 14 aircraft were sold (with an additional 6 test airframes.)

    Oh, and ICL. Which was like Concorde but without the nice, the shiny or the cool. But very expensive and didn’t sell much. Compared even to the French, never mind the Yanks.

  19. we’ve lost the habit of planning a game or two of “Global Thermonuclear War” with tens of thousands of warheads on the board, which is probably no bad thing.

    Indeed – I took part in an international military exercise last year for the first time in over a decade. And it didn’t finish with the thermonuclear obliteration of the European, American and Asian continents. I was quite nostalgic for the old days …

  20. @Jason Lynch – Jerry Pournelle’s Strategy of Technology spells out how forcing the USSR into a technological race was the desired strategy.

    You even get a free copy when you bung him a “subscription”

  21. Take Putin ( or an equally ..pragmatic.. and relatively ruthless substitute) out of the equation, and you’ll have the whole of Asia erupt like the middle east/north Africa.

    Russian Federation collapses, China will have to get involved, North/South Korea will explode as one or the other will grab the lapse in attention/status quo to Set Things Right, middle-East will become a bigger mess, eventually bringing in either Pakistan or Indonesia, which will give India the half-excuse it needs.
    Mess complete, even without the US or Europe even trying to get involved. And that’s even without considering nukes, just normal HE and loads and loads of kalashnikovs.

  22. SE

    I remember once being sat at a desk in a prefab for 3 days, hand – writing memos whilst wearing an NBC suit. I think that was called an international military exercise. Sat in that prefab I didn’t notice anything particularly international or military about my existence and I got no exercise. Did I miss the point?

  23. Oh, and ICL. Which was like Concorde but without the nice, the shiny or the cool. But very expensive and didn’t sell much.

    The tragedy of ICL is that it was formed by destroying an innovative private company that sold plenty. See the history of the LEO.

  24. @Richard

    “For Owen, food rationing isn’t “economic chaos”, it’s just democratic central planning.

    “Economic chaos” for him is what you have when people get rich.”

    This is superb. I’m sorry to gush, but this is the most quotable thing I have seen in years. And I love PJ O’Rourke.

  25. Flat cap Army

    That has to be a mistimed April Fool surely – they only need add in mention of Murphy for the article to be the funniest of all time…

  26. I often hear lefties and Russians complaining about shock therapy. As if it was the economic policies which made Russian thugs start murdering each other wholesale. Funny that the Lithuanians didn’t.

  27. So Much For Subtlety

    Blue Eyes – “They couldn’t afford guns and butter, because their system was so inefficient. The DDR, which was the best-performing of the bloc, had Trabants while the Wessies were scooting around in Golf GTIs.”

    It was always the case though. It didn’t stop them before. Khrushchev complained that East Germans ate 75 kilos of meat a year, while Hungarians ate 40, the Russians and the Romanians something like 30-35. The Bulgarians even less.

    American slaves ate over 60 kilos of meat a year in the Old South. The only Communists capable of feeding their people better than slaves were the East Germans.

  28. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “No he didn’t.”

    That article doesn’t prove a damn thing except that, like so many of the New Left, by the 1970s he saw a reason to distance himself from Stalinism. Not from the Soviet Union. It does not imply anything about his beliefs before literal Stalinism became unfashionable. Notice he does not condemn Trotsky in that article.

    Ralph Miliband did not join up until 1942. After Germany attacked the Soviet Union.

  29. SJW – OK, but Mili senior loved Marxism and in his early days believed in revolution to bring about Marxist rule in the UK.

    And with Marxism being unrivalled in its ability to generate human misery on an epic scale that still makes him a cunt.

  30. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “No he didn’t.”

    The question to ask is what he thought about the extension of Stalinism to 1. South Korea, 2. Cuba, 3. Vietnam and 4. Laos and Cambodia.

    He might have distanced himself from Stalin for tactical reasons given that it looks to me like he was in favour of Stalinism being inflicted on all of those countries.

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “So you don’t want to explain what you mean about oligarchs and Jews. Thought you wouldn’t.”

    I am not that interested. But if you are interested, why not?

    Dave claims that every mention of “bankers” is actually code for “Jews”. He is a Social Justice Warrior not unlike you. Here he has a chance to actually condemn someone for condemning a group of people who are overwhelmingly Jewish – seven of eight I believe. But he doesn’t.

    You can tell anti-semitism is dead in Russia. When Jeffrey Sacks and Andrei Shleifer worked with Anatoly Chubais and Yegor Gaidar to allow Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Smolensky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Mikhail Fridman, Anatoly Chubais, Vladimir Gusinsky, Vitaly Malkin and Vladimir Potanin to loot the Soviet State, and the Russian public does not riot, it is clear that they no longer care.

    After all, all those people but one have something in common. Not just billions of dollars made out of Russian privatisation – even an American academic like Andrei Shleifer did well for himself.

  32. oh God, that Graun article – “never read the comments” say the wise men, but occasionally one does. They’ve gone all KURAJUS STAIT, demanding that “the state provide leadership”

  33. SMFS

    “I am not that interested.”

    Not true; you are very interested. You introduced this yourself. Absolutely nobody induced you to; you chose to. And when challenged, you then showed the level of research you had already chosen to carry out into the subject by reeling off a list of names and finding out enough about each to conclude “After all, all those people but one have something in common”

    I know you would like to pretend not to be interested, if I had introduced it I would be as embarrassed as you. But stop wriggling for once you little worm and tell us why you chose to introduce Jews into it. And then be a man and explain what you mean by “Which actually is not far from the truth.” And what is that what is that one thing in common your research has informed you?

  34. The real kicker for the Soviets was Ronnie’s Star Wars and the Space Shuttle, putting Anti-ICBM missiles in low orbit which didn’t violate the ABM treaty. There was no way the Soviet space program could compete or afford any expansion It didn’t need to be a reality even, just the threat of eliminating a second strike and the world ending in MAD put the Soviet war machine on the back foot, they just could not win a war anymore, they couldn’t threaten anyone, the Americans could walk all over them on the geopolitical stage.

    They had a choice, go for the nuke button now or just give up, luckily they had Gorby who chose option 2.

  35. Anybody notice that the Soviet bloc was under tremendous pressure in the eighties ,time of Deutschland 83? Little matter of Reagan’s psychotic Evil Empire speech in which he said fathers should see their children dead rather they than live under Communism and all the rocket rattling that had Germans both sides of the border shitting themselves they would have the privilege of seeing his demented fantasies acted out on their territory.Of course we had the brutally autistic Thatcher as well and Boris Yeltsin ready to further the cause of freedom ( which would leave London as a science fiction policed- by- money city state where only elite international crooks are permitted to live and the rest of the country in tributary poverty).

  36. @ DBC Reed
    “brutally autistic” is an oxymoron.
    I have never, repeat, never met an autistic person who was brutal.
    You are offensive (as you frequently are, but this one is gratuitous and pointless).
    Whereas brutal lefies abound and the evil empire murdered tens of millions, leaving Hitler far behind in fourth place in the twentieth century rankings.

  37. DBC Reed

    I’ve found myself asking this a fair but this week: what exactly are you trying to say?

    Yes, we know the Soviet Union was ‘under pressure’. It was under pressure because it was losing the Cold War, had run out of decent moves and the Americans were playing a brilliant end – game. So you fuckwits lost. You couldn’t run an economy ( still haven’t managed that), couldn’t provide basic freedoms to your slave peoples and finally couldn’t win an arms race, the only game your structures allowed you to play with any success. Is that what you’re trying to say.

  38. Whereas brutal lefies abound and the evil empire murdered tens of millions, leaving Hitler far behind in fourth place in the twentieth century rankings.

    Nit-picking certainly, but Hitler was also a lefty.

  39. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “Not true; you are very interested. You introduced this yourself. Absolutely nobody induced you to; you chose to.”

    Rusty, don’t you have some gang rapists to be defending somewhere? As it happens I am not that interested. Not even to the point I care to argue with you about it. I did choose to mention it. Very clever of you. Because it is interesting that we have another unhinged SJW posting here who asserts that every mention of “bankers” is a secret code word for “Jews”. No one seems to agree. But a lot of people agree that “neo-Conservative” is a secret code word. I assume most people know that “Russian oligarch” almost certainly refers to some of Jewish origin and so I wonder why Dave is not here frothing at the mouth.

    “And when challenged, you then showed the level of research you had already chosen to carry out into the subject”

    Alternatively, and you might want to consider this option, I am just a hell of a lot smarter than you.

  40. No, you’re just lying and you’re a coward. You saw a thread about Russia and wanted to say something about the Jews. And you went to quite a bit of trouble undertaking that research didn’t you.
    In the past week you’ve given us your thick racist opinions on muslims. Then you’ve offered us your thick racist opinions on why white people shouldn’t have babies with black people. Now you chose to introduce the Jews into this thead.
    So sorry, no. Your claim not to be interested doesn’t hold up. Let’s drop it; you can’t and won’t defend yourself. You Thick.Racist.Prick

  41. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “No, you’re just lying and you’re a coward.”

    But I am not wrong. That is kind of the point isn’t it?

    “You saw a thread about Russia and wanted to say something about the Jews.”

    I didn’t say anything about Jews. I did not even imply anything about Jews.

    “And you went to quite a bit of trouble undertaking that research didn’t you.”

    Again we are back with me being so much smarter than you.

    “In the past week you’ve given us your thick racist opinions on muslims.”

    Have I? I don’t think I have.

    “Then you’ve offered us your thick racist opinions on why white people shouldn’t have babies with black people.”

    I haven’t done that either. I have said something about preserving a population from being bred out. Different.

    “Now you chose to introduce the Jews into this thead.
    So sorry, no. Your claim not to be interested doesn’t hold up. Let’s drop it; you can’t and won’t defend yourself. You Thick.Racist.Prick”

    I don’t need to defend myself. Not even a strongly motivated spite-filled stalker like you can find anything offensive in what I said. Nor untrue.

    I remain relatively uninterested. It was a slightly interesting point but no more.

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