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mr_yak Wrote:
Quote:Russians are coming under intense pressure to vote in Sunday’s presidential election amid apparent official concerns that the result is such a foregone conclusion that turnout could be embarrassingly low.

Not enough to have a single party system. Apparently there's an urgent desperate requirement to 'legitimize' it as well.

So? What "else"? Just wonder...
If you know the only party in Russia - it's your problem.
bh Wrote:
mr_yak Wrote:
Quote:Russians are coming under intense pressure to vote in Sunday’s presidential election amid apparent official concerns that the result is such a foregone conclusion that turnout could be embarrassingly low.

Not enough to have a single party system. Apparently there's an urgent desperate requirement to 'legitimize' it as well.

So? What "else"? Just wonder...
If you know the only party in Russia - it's your problem.

Just strikes me as part of your national inferiority complex that there is such a compelling need to 'legitimize' Putin's decisions with a national election. Your initial question is "So?" .... "So?" indeed. You have chosen to return to living under a dictatorship. So? Why go through the charade and pretense of an election with virtually only one party on the ballot? Why go to so much trouble? Why threaten students, employees and pensioners who have better things to do than take part in a community rubber stamp exercise?

You've made your choice ... why not celebrate it rather than investing so much in a fairly transparent ruse to keep up appearances? In short, why give a rat's a## whether the rest of the world considers your government "properly accredited" and credentialed?

... just seems like a lot of trouble for nothing. Don't you think the folks that are having their jobs or grades or pensions threatened if they don't go through the ballot motions probably feel the same? Why bother? And why is it so 'embarrassing' to hold and election and not have anyone bother to participate?
I'm not going to the polls today, but if I did I think I'd just invalidate my ballot by writing some obscenities on it. I personally didn't come under any direct pressure to vote as I work in the private sector but my mother, a public school teacher, was essentially ordered to go and vote, even though they didn't tell her which candidate to vote for. She says she's simply going to spoil her ballot by ticking all the boxes on it. I also know for a fact that the employees of the local vodka plant are getting paid fifty roubles each next Monday if they provide proof they voted. I guess if they offered me money I'd probably go and vote, after all if they want me to participate in their farce it would only make sense for them to compensate me for it, I wouldn't sell out for fifty roubles, though, it's just too little.
Culturally, I just can't see the "value added" here. Maybe you guys can help me out? You and your countrymen know this is a charade, your leaders know this is a charade, and the rest of the world knows it's a charade. I just don't see the point in threatening people to participate to make it look legit. It's simply not going to happen.

... the only cultural analog that I can come up with is that I guess it would be pretty 'embarrassing' at a shotgun wedding if the groom can't be compelled to say the words "I DO" .... but I guess that's what the shotgun is for eh? :twisted:
mr_yak Wrote:Just strikes me as part of your national inferiority complex that there is such a compelling need to 'legitimize' Putin's decisions with a national election. Your initial question is "So?" .... "So?" indeed. You have chosen to return to living under a dictatorship. So? Why go through the charade and pretense of an election with virtually only one party on the ballot? Why go to so much trouble? Why threaten students, employees and pensioners who have better things to do than take part in a community rubber stamp exercise?
I can't speak for bh but I certainly didn't choose to live under a dictatorship, it wasn't as if we ever had a democracy was it? There was a fleeting chance in the early 1990's but it all went down the chute when Yeltsin had tanks light up our parliament building in 1993, that was basically the end of it. The presidential elections in 1996 were rigged shamelessly in favor of Yeltsin, however far as I recall that fact went totally unnoticed by the western media as at the time Yeltsin was perceived as the right guy for Russia. And since then they've been rigging pretty much every election here, so now we didn't choose anything, nobody ever asked us. It's just that some people have been brainwashed into thinking that the kind of system we now have is actually a good thing, yet I don't think that United Russia would have stood a chance in the last duma (parliamentary) election if it had been fair.It was only with 99.9% turnouts with 99.9% of votes for United Russia in places like Chechnua and Dagestan that they were able to secure a "victory" The problem is they've got the money and the guns and we've essentially got nothing.

As for the inferiority complex, I think the thing is that our oligarchs and politicians simply want to be able to buy soccer clubs in the UK and mansions in Florida and that is probably the main reason behind their insistence on keeping up the appearances of democracy. With the soaring oil prices they've been making loads of money in recent years and what good would all this money be if they couldn't spend it and where can they spend it? There are basically two options, Moscow and the west, Moscow is for night clubs and the west is for more serious investments. They don't want to end up like Josef Kobzon, a Russian famous singer who's long been implicated in links with organised crime. The guy's got tonnes of money but he's denied entry even to Israel even though he's a 150% Jew.
mr_yak Wrote:Culturally, I just can't see the "value added" here. Maybe you guys can help me out? You and your countrymen know this is a charade, your leaders know this is a charade, and the rest of the world knows it's a charade. I just don't see the point in threatening people to participate to make it look legit. It's simply not going to happen.

... the only cultural analog that I can come up with is that I guess it would be pretty 'embarrassing' at a shotgun wedding if the groom can't be compelled to say the words "I DO" .... but I guess that's what the shotgun is for eh? :twisted:
the bit about people being threatened to participate, imho, is down to the stupidity of local authorities primarily. Obviously they've been given specific turnout numbers which they are supposed to ensure, and I would also guess that they were probably threatened themselves with dismissal in the event said turnout rates aren't achieved, so they probably figured it would be safer to put pressure on state and municipal employees than to simply falsify the results. Russia has a huge proportion of people employed in the public sector, the last figure I heard on TV was about 35 percent, so by making them go to the polls they can be sure they will have at least a 35% turnout rate. Why they need it though is totally beyond me because a couple of years ago our United Russia controlled duma passed a law under which an election is legitimate even if just one person turns up and casts their ballot. Probably they're just scared that without prodding very few people will vote and with turnout rates of under 10% they'd be revealed for what they really are, not our leaders but simply a bunch of ex KGB thugs who got their hands on Russia's oil reserves and are now selling them left and right like crazy while the prices are good.
Just came back from the polling station located in the neighborhood school.
Didn't note any pressure, spotted a lot of babushkas, piroshkis and one policeman.

Communism rulez.
[Image: icon_trud7.gif]
Yeah, yeah, Medvedew, the chairman of Gazprom. I wonder when the nation will be renamed Gazpromistan?
Personally I don't care. My income has grown five times since gazpromization.
Green Wrote:Personally I don't care. My income has grown five times since gazpromization.
the price of oil won't stay this high forever, think what will happen to your income when it finally plummets.
First off, there is no indication the price will plummet, what may happen is slow decline and it won't drop less than $60 anytime soon. (the price for oil in the country budget fixed for three years till 2010)

Secondly, what about cushion of gold and currency reserves? It must work in real sector (preferably in Russia), the sooner the better.

Third, diversification of economy is under way.

Fourth, maybe the cost of flats will go down, it would be just fine. The more bubbles burst the better.
Green Wrote:First off, there is no indication the price will plummet, what may happen is slow decline and it won't drop less than $60 anytime soon. (the price for oil in the country budget fixed for three years till 2010)

Secondly, what about cushion of gold and currency reserves? It must work in real sector (preferably in Russia), the sooner the better.

Third, diversification of economy is under way.

Fourth, maybe the cost of flats will go down, it would be just fine. The more bubbles burst the better.
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The is no indication that oil price is going down. World needs energy and bioenergy cannot substitute much. So Russia will still profit from high oil prices many years ahead. If not, Russia also have plenty of nuclear electricity it can export.

But Gazprom has to put more attention to leaking methane from pipeline and other natural gas installations. Methane is as you all know a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 and leaking methane from natural gas installations is the greatest source of anthropogenic emissions, much bigger than the well known methane-producing cows.
Green Wrote:First off, there is no indication the price will plummet, what may happen is slow decline and it won't drop less than $60 anytime soon. (the price for oil in the country budget fixed for three years till 2010)

Secondly, what about cushion of gold and currency reserves? It must work in real sector (preferably in Russia), the sooner the better.

Third, diversification of economy is under way.

Fourth, maybe the cost of flats will go down, it would be just fine. The more bubbles burst the better.
Markets are complex systems in which very large numbers of agents and factors interplay and on top of that there is the issue of incomplete information, so that even though there may be no indication of the oil price declining sharply anytime soon it doesn't mean there won't be plenty of such indications tomorrow. Think back to 1998 when it went down to $8 per barrel for a relatively short spell and what that did to our economy. It is possible that huge oil reserves could be found tomorrow off the coast of wherever, prices depend almost as much on expected supply and demand as they do on the current supply and demand so news like that could easily drive it down past the $60 dollar threshold.
Now as for the slow decline, I think in the long term it's just about inevitable as the switchover to more efficient technologies like hybrid cars or even to alternative sources of energy like hydrogen gathers momentum the price of oil is bound to decline. In fact the current super high price is an abnormality for which we probably have to thank George W. Bush and his highly destabilizing "democratization" crusade in Iraq. As soon as things settle down in the middle east the oil price will begin to go down and that will be us finished.
Forget about the gold and currency reserves, that cushion will be used by a handful of people in our government to send their kids abroad when shit hits the fan in Russia. You won't see any of it. They will probably use the same explanation as they're using now that they can't just give this money to the people because that would result in a galloping inflation, as if it wasn't galloping already.
You're wrong about the diversification of the economy, if anything the opposite is true, since Putin came to power a number of sectors have actually been killed off almost entirely by insurmountable tax burdens and all those national projects they are touting are nothing more than schemes for stealing federal money, meaning that they don't have any real results, all they produce are rosy TV reports.
Green Wrote:Third, diversification of economy is under way.

henrylee100 Wrote:You're wrong about the diversification of the economy, if anything the opposite is true, since Putin came to power a number of sectors have actually been killed off almost entirely by insurmountable tax burdens and all those national projects they are touting are nothing more than schemes for stealing federal money, meaning that they don't have any real results, all they produce are rosy TV reports.

What specific sectors are you guys talking about? Agriculture? Services? Manufacturing?

... curious. Also curious why anyone would think that a centrally planned economy (or 'diversified' sectors thereof) would do any better this time around than it did in most of the last century. Even your (harmless) pals the Chinese seem to have started coming around to that realization.

Green Wrote:The more bubbles burst the better.

Does that include oil? Wink1
What an outrage!!

Medvedev only got 69.6% of the vote!!? In Cuba he would have rated at least 99.99%.

Quote:Earlier in the day, Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion and leader of the opposition “Other Russia” coalition, was barred by about 20 police from leading a small protest on to Moscow’s Red Square. Mr Kasparov was carrying an empty bag on which were printed the words “I will not take part in this farce”.
mr_yak Wrote:What specific sectors are you guys talking about? Agriculture? Services? Manufacturing?

... curious. Also curious why anyone would think that a centrally planned economy (or 'diversified' sectors thereof) would do any better this time around than it did in most of the last century. Even your (harmless) pals the Chinese seem to have started coming around to that realization.

well agriculture is dead, services are still getting by, most of the manufacturing industries are in shambles, one recent victim of our government's policies has been the diamond cutting industry, who've been having a pretty hard time in the last couple of years because of the falling roulbe to dollar exchange rate and who have now been made to pay VAT on the rough stones they buy from Russian suppliers, basically in all probability this last step taken by our government will put most of them out of business.

as for the planned economy fetish to me it seems it has to do with the perceived order that's usually associated with this kind of system, things seem to be under control. Naturally the people at the top want to have as much control over things as possible, and there are also plenty of characters among the general population here who sort of like the idea of being told what to do every step of the way, figuratively speaking, the attraction being that when you're told what to do you don't have to think for yourself.
henrylee100,

OK, what is the 'advertised' diversification that Green is getting at?

As much as I might want to, I'd have trouble arguing Green's $60 floor. And a return to the '90 sub $10/bbl oil is pretty unlikely unless there are a whole bunch of discoveries. But one of the reasons that OPEC controlled prices so carefully over all these years is to prevent such things ... now any 'control' over price is pretty much a delusion. And speculation has become the ruler of the day.

Rather than a price collapse, I'd be much more interested in a potential infrastructure collapse. Is there good evidence that Gazprom is pumping enough money into keeping the machinery running? Word is that reinvestment is vastly overstated. Also, has there been much public discussion regarding the vulnerabilities of your pipelines and other energy underpinnings to terrorist attacks?
I don't understand why you guys see the BOPD as a price bubble?

Oil is extremely difficult to find,define and get to market and costly. Demand is increasing faster than supply can be brought to market.

Supply is very inelastic.

It will likely go down only when economic activity goes down across the globe,not until then. Sure,there is fear premium,but you would have to be retarded to expect that to EVER go away. The world system is less stable than it has been since 1945. In almost every major exporter there is deadly political crisis.

ALL commodities are way above what they were 3 years ago almost to the commodity,why do you guys think oil operates independent from all commodities???? Lead,zinc,oil,gold,silver,you name it is way up.
The revised price point makes all sorts of things possible. "Cheap Oil" is hard to find ... but 'cheap' is getting redefined. Producing from tar sands is considered 'expensive', but we buy plenty from Canada don't we?
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