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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin on a Tightrope, Market Hype and Pigs

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In response to "Who Likes Mr. Putin?," a comment by Olga Kryshtanovskaya on Oct. 6.

I like Mr. Putin. I appreciate what this man is doing for my country despite the well-orchestrated hue and cry of the opposition. The president is certainly delivering the goods beyond hollow phrases and PR-oriented public dressing-downs of his subordinates. Yes, he is walking a tightrope -- anybody does who takes the trouble of managing the mammoth enterprise named Russia.

True, grievances are many, but why blame Putin for what we ourselves have failed to do? The finale of the article is plain silly -- Putin is somebody working day and night to keep the government and the country on course. The majority of Russians want their country to regain its status as a world power. They are not just happy with Putin's achievements in the international arena -- they also find his general performance good and they appreciate the magnitude of his job.

Yes, many Russians are impressed by Putin's honesty and decency. Not a bad record for a president who, according to Olga Kryshtanovskaya, is "nobody."

Eugene Leonenko

Hype, Hype Hurray!

In response to "Bulls Alive and Kicking," a comment by Eric Kraus on Oct. 7.

I am indebted to Eric Kraus, chief strategist and head of equities at Sovlink Securities, for providing compelling and unsolicited support to my Sept. 30 comment "Don't Believe the Hype-sky."

With one foot in research (chief strategist) and the other foot in sales and trading (head of equities), who is better qualified to eloquently argue that Russian research cannot possibly be conflicted?

James Fenkner
Head of Research, Troika Dialog

Orwell's Piggy Lessons

In response to "Two Percent Dick," a column by Matt Bivens on Oct. 6.

My mind was taken back to a popular interpretation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" when I read Matt Biven's article on Dick Cheney. President George W. Bush and many others easily point the finger at other countries and shout corruption, while turning a blind eye to a large amount of it within their own countries.

My friends in Russia scarcely believe me when I tell them that there is corruption in Canada and the United States, although how much there is, and where it is greatest, is really difficult to say. But is a larger amount of corruption in one country an excuse for turning a blind eye to the same crimes in another country?

I would argue that in any group of people there will be a percentage that will try to gain at the expense of the rest. These are the pigs: They do not work, but they skim off the efforts of others. Corruption knows no boundaries or discrimination -- it is everywhere. Orwell may or may not have meant to suggest that the Soviet system would result in inequality, but capitalism has and so has every other system.

Wherever you find people, you will find the savvy group of elitist pigs who benefit from the work of others. Rather than pick on the country that has the greatest number of the fattest pigs, we ought to focus on keeping all pigs leaner.

Barrie Hebb
Halifax, Canada


In response to "Democracy, In Putin's Own Words," an editorial on Oct. 9.

I think President Vladimir Putin's reference to "state-appointed oligarchs" is quite clear. The reference is to Boris Yeltsin and Yegor Gaidar, who 10 years ago basically gave Russia's assets to this fine handful of oligarchs.

To my mind, the fight between Putin and the oligarchs is more an argument concerning the divine origins and rights of the state versus anybody's right to buy the state, provided they have the money.

The average Russian citizen, however, will not benefit, regardless of who wins the argument. The only way the average Russian citizen wins is if Russia's assets are returned to the people as a commonwealth (to use an old English concept) and democratically controlled, or disposed of, from there.

Meanwhile, it does not bode well for the Iraqi people that Gaidar has a new job in Baghdad, courtesy of the United States. But, I guess that is another story covering another shakedown.

Chuck Wynns
Salem, Oregon

Double Standards

In response to "Bush's Sellout on Chechnya," a comment by Matt Bivens on Oct. 3.

In their reporting on Chechnya, the Western media talk constantly about the atrocities of the Russian "death squads" and endless sufferings of peaceful Chechen civilians. And always the rhetorical question is asked: How long will the Western world tolerate this?

But there is another rhetorical question: Why are the Russian people so indifferent to the Western media's righteous outrage? It is definitely not because they don't know about the issues -- the media coverage of Chechnya is more than sufficient in Russia. Part of the answer is that many of us do not trust the West's integrity: The double standards are so bluntly obvious.

Hundreds of thousands of Russians were thrown out of Chechnya in the period prior to the first war and there was not a single word from the West. Not a single human rights organization came along to collect the evidence.

So why should Russians trust the West's outrage and honest intentions?

They are politically or ethnically motivated. Bush's change of stance -- or his sellout on Chechnya, as Matt Bivens prefers to call it -- is just another confirmation of this.

Alexei Ananiyev