Russia: a Wrench in the Reset Gears?
Putin's economic policies--do they fit or split with the Davos agenda?
Is Putin a part of the Great Reset or an unintended consequence of sanctions gone awry? I take a closer look at the economic policies in Putin's St. Petersburg address: inflation protection for pensioners and families, state support for mothers, low-interest infrastructure loans, reduced expense and bureaucracy for entrepreneurs, and eco-friendly tourism with environmental restoration. He tasks regional governments with increasing self-employment and home ownership, and admonishes large business owners that a good name will mean more to their heirs than money and property. Thanks to Gan and Stan, whose questions and links prompted this investigation.
In Gan’s comment, he states his belief that competition and cooperation are both essential for species development. I couldn’t agree more! All I’ve wanted for my economic system is a fair fight with well defined goals and a means of measuring progress so I can put my plan into the ring and let it battle it out. I think there are clear answers if we’re asking the right questions.
Stan posted a link to a panel discussion called Interrogating Cold War 2.0 by Unlimited Hangout and OffGuardian with Patrick Wood, Iain Davis, Catherine Austin Fitts, and Kit Knightly. They discuss the nature of the East-West dichotomy and whether the rise of the Eurasia and the fall of the West were engineered by certain factions of global elites and for what purpose.
Catherine Austin Fitts is someone whose goals I agree with on small, livable communities. Her measure of success is the popsicle test—whether a child can walk to the nearest place to buy a popsicle and be safe. While this is a lovely vision, it’s nebulous. My plan looks at how many times a local currency circulates in the local economy generating goods and services before it’s siphoned out.
In Putin’s St. Peterburg address, he looks at how the sanctions have benefited the Russian budget and how he is using this to build up domestic production for domestic consumers, substituting for imports:
After the first five months of this year, the federal budget has a surplus of 1.5 trillion rubles and the consolidated budget—a surplus of 3.3 trillion rubles. In May alone, the federal budget surplus reached almost half a trillion rubles, surpassing the figure for May 2021 more than four times over.
Today, our job is to create conditions for building up production and increasing supply in the domestic market, as well as restoring demand and bank financing in the economy commensurately with the growth in supply.
He then talks about how the Central Bank has cut the mortgage interest rate to 9% but they will cut it further to 7% until the end of the year:
As I have mentioned, the program is aimed at helping Russians improve their housing situation, while supporting the home building industry and related industries that employ millions of people. …
What is important here? The programme will last until the end of the year without change. It means that our fellow Russians seeking to improve their living conditions should take advantage of the subsidy before the end of the year.
Putin looks at deferred insurance payments for businesses and putting 120B rubles from the National Wealth Fund into the VEB (small business) Project Factory for long-term loans. He states that imitating import products isn’t enough, even if they’re good imitations, but that Russians need to innovate and invest in new ideas. The US, I learn from Putin, is heading in the opposite direction:
I have already cited this figure: over the past two years, the money supply in the United States has grown by more than 38 percent. Previously, a similar rise took decades, but now it grew by 38 percent or 5.9 trillion dollars in two years. …
The EU’s money supply has also increased dramatically over this period. It grew by about 20 percent, or 2.5 trillion euros.
Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called—please excuse me, I really would not like to do this here, even mention my own name in this regard, but I cannot help it—we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening. …
So, they printed more money, and then what? Where did all that money go? It was obviously used to pay for goods and services outside Western countries – this is where the newly-printed money flowed. They literally began to clean out, to wipe out global markets. Naturally, no one thought about the interests of other states, including the poorest ones. They were left with scraps, as they say, and even that at exorbitant prices.
While at the end of 2019, imports of goods to the United States amounted to about 250 billion dollars a month, by now, it has grown to 350 billion. It is noteworthy that the growth was 40 percent – exactly in proportion to the unsecured money supply printed in recent years. They printed and distributed money, and used it to wipe out goods from third countries’ markets.
This is what I would like to add. For a long time, the United States was a big food supplier in the world market. It was proud, and with good reason, of its achievements, its agriculture and farming traditions. By the way, this is an example for many of us, too. But today, America’s role has changed drastically. It has turned from a net exporter of food into a net importer. Loosely speaking, it is printing money and pulling commodity flows its way, buying food products all over the world.
For our own micro-communities, the percentage of our food, goods and energy that we import is the starting point—how dependent are we? That’s the number our economic system needs to bring down.
Gan mentioned being part of a micro-community and using the labor to increase productivity for the homestead and extended community. But he’d like to be a snowbird and leave it in competent hands to travel during the long Maine winter, and he’d like to build a cultural center for music/ dance/ art/ martial arts.
Under my plan, every neighborhood should use eminent domain to develop a community center because you can’t be a community without a place to meet. It can be used for celebrations, conversation, library, cafe, pop-up dinners, and bank branch—because that’s what funds it. And when you create the mortgages, every debt is a debt to yourself and creates jobs.
In the panel discussion, Patrick Wood talks about how more and more people are growing their food and trading their services. As I talk about in Questioning the Greater Reset, that’s fine but not enough. We need community ownership of the mortgages in order to organize labor.
When Putin helps businesses with long-term deferral of insurance payments, the State owns the insurances rather than private profit. Under my plan, all ways that money is made from money—like insurances—should belong to the commonwealth and all ways that money is made from labor should belong to the individual.
If the commonwealth creates the money, insurance funds can be applied before there’s a disaster. Here in California, earthquake insurance could create subsidies to help homeowners improve their structural stability. Infrastructure should also be owned by the community so that, in example, there would only be one phone network but any entrepreneur can compete in offering better services.
Like Gan’s vision, Putin is putting money into developing cultural centers, especially in small towns and rural areas:
I suggest that we expand the programmes for upgrading and modernising rural cultural centres, as well as regional theatres and museums by allocating six billion rubles for each of these projects in 2023 and 2024.
What I have just said about cultural institutions is something that people are really looking forward to, something they really care about. …
Every year, more and more tourists want to visit the most beautiful corners of our country: national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. According to available estimates, this year this tourist flow is expected to exceed 12 million people. It is essential that all government bodies, businesses and tourists are well aware of what they can and cannot do in these territories, where they can build tourism infrastructure, and where such activity is strictly prohibited because it endangers unique and fragile ecosystems.
… Overall, we will be developing clean technology to achieve the goals we set in the environmental modernisation of production facilities, and to reduce hazardous emissions, especially in large industrial centres. We will also continue working on closed-loop economy projects, green projects and climate preservation. I spoke about these issues in detail at this forum last year.
He also looks at upgrading housing and utility networks, and replacing roads:
An ambitious plan for building and repairing the federal and regional motorway core network will be launched next year. At least 85 percent of the roads are to be brought up to code within the next five years.
Infrastructure budget lending is a new tool that is being widely used. The loans are issued for 15 years at a 3 percent APR. … Upgrading housing and utilities services is a separate matter with a backlog of issues. The industry is chronically underinvested to the tune of 4.5 trillion rubles. Over 40 percent of networks need to be replaced, which accounts for their low efficiency and big losses. … The goal is to turn the situation around and to gradually reduce the number of dated networks, just like we are doing by relocating people from structurally unsafe buildings or fixing roads. …
Promoting comprehensive improvements and development for rural areas is a top priority for us. People who live there are feeding the country. We now see that they are also feeding a major part of the world, so they must live in comfort and dignity. In this connection, I am asking the Government to allocate additional funding for the corresponding programme. Export duties on agricultural produce can serve as a source of funding here. This is a permanent source of revenue.
While production is the long-term strategy for prosperity, Putin’s policies protect the vulnerable from inflation, such as pensioners, families and those in hard circumstances:
Social justice is the fourth principle underpinning our development. There must be a powerful social dimension when it comes to promoting economic growth and business initiatives. This development model must reduce inequality instead of deepening it, unlike what is happening in other countries. To be honest, we have not been at the forefront when it comes to delivering on these objectives. We have yet to resolve many issues and problems in this regard. …
Reducing poverty and inequality is all about creating demand for Russian-made products across the country, bridging the gap between regions in terms of their capabilities, and creating new jobs where they are needed the most. These are the core economic development drivers.
Let me emphasise that generating positive momentum in terms of household income growth and poverty reduction are the main performance indicators for government agencies and the state in general. We need to achieve tangible results in this sphere already this year, despite all the objective challenges we face. I have already assigned this task to the Government.
Again, we provide targeted support to the most vulnerable groups – pensioners, families with children, and people in difficult life situations. Pensions are indexed annually at a rate higher than inflation. This year, they have been raised twice, including by another 10 percent on June 1.
The minimum wage was also increased by 10 percent at the same time, and so was the subsistence minimum—a reference figure used to calculate many social benefits and payments—accordingly, these benefits should also grow, increasing the incomes of about 15 million people.
In particular, Putin looks at families as the true wealth of Russia:
In recent years, we have built a holistic system to support low-income families with children. Women are entitled to state support from the early stages of pregnancy and until the child reaches the age of 17.
People’s living standards and prosperity are the most important demographic factors; the current situation is quite challenging due to several negative demographic waves that have recently overlapped. In April, less than a hundred thousand children were born in Russia, almost 13 percent less than in April 2020.
I ask the Government to continue to keep the development of additional support measures for families with children under review. They must be far-reaching and commensurate with the magnitude of the extraordinary demographic challenge we are facing.
Russia’s future is ensured by families with two, three and more children. Therefore, we need to do more than provide direct financial support—we need to target and direct the healthcare system, education, and all areas that determine the quality of people’s lives towards the needs of families with children.
This problem is addressed, among other approaches, by the national social initiatives, which regional teams and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives are implementing together. This autumn, we will assess the results of their work, review and rank the Russian regions by quality of life in order to apply the best experiences and practices as widely as possible throughout the country.
Another post by Kanekoa on Covid Vaccines and Infertility illustrates the divergence of this from other countries under the thumb of the Great Reset. The UK birth rate has decreased by 7.7%, Germany by 13% and Taiwan by 23%!
In the panel discussion, Catherine Austin Fitts says that she doesn’t see how Russia could be doing what it is without the help of the West. And she sees all the fiat currencies as about to implode. But she admits that Russia has the three sources of power—energy, food and economics backed by actual trade, rather than the ‘bubble gum wrappers’ that he calls the imperial currencies of the pound, the Euro and the dollar. Instead of needing Western imports, Putin tasks regional governments with encouraging entrepreneurship:
The federal government and regional and municipal governments should focus on supporting individual business initiatives in small towns and remote rural communities. We are aware of such stories of success. That includes developing popular software and marketing locally produced organic food and environmentally friendly products nationwide using domestic websites.
It is important to create new opportunities, to introduce modern retail formats, including e-commerce platforms, as I mentioned above, and to cut the logistics, transportation and other costs, including by using upgraded Russian Post offices.
It is also important to help small business employees, self-employed individuals and start-up entrepreneurs acquire additional skills and competencies. Please include corresponding measures tailored specifically to small towns and rural and remote areas as a separate line in the national project for promoting small and medium-sized businesses.
He admonishes large business owners that a good name is a better inheritance than property and money:
You have told me many times that business is much more than just making a profit, and I fully agree. It is about changing life around you, contributing to the development of your home cities, regions and the country as a whole, which is extremely important for self-fulfillment. There is nothing like serving the people and society. This is the meaning of your life and work.
Recent events have reaffirmed what I have always said: it is much better at home. Those who refused to hear that clear message have lost hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in the West, in what looked like a safe haven for their assets.
I would like to once again say the following to our colleagues, those who are both in this audience and those who are not here: please, do not fall into the same trap again. Our country has huge potential, and there are more than enough tasks that need your contribution. Invest here, in the creation of new enterprises and jobs, in the development of the tourism infrastructure, support schools, universities, healthcare and the social sphere, culture and sport. I know that many of you are doing this. I know this, but I wanted to say it again.
Incidentally, I would like to note once again that it remains to be seen what is more important for potential heirs: money and property or their forefathers’ good name and service to the country. The latter is something that cannot be squandered or, pardon my language, wasted on drink.
A good name is something that will always belong to your descendants, to future generations. It will always be part of their lives, going from one generation to another, helping them and making them stronger than the money or property they might inherit can make them.
So if our intent is to repossess and repopulate our communities, to counter the Reset agenda of dispossession and depopulation, I think we need to follow Putin’s lead and focus on supporting families and small local businesses. In that way we can restore the good name of our own micro-nations, once the dust of the Reset settles.
To see economic policies being enacted by the US, here’s The West vs The Rest:
What I learned this week: Aaron Mate on US arming terrorists in Syria, Kanekoa on the Ukranian oligarch funding Hunter Biden, Zelensky & Azov, Moon of Alabama on Russia entering phase two, Scott Ritter on Russian strategy and false flags, Pepe Escobar interviewing Putin's economic czar, Sergey Glazyev on the new global financial system, and Vijay Prashad on "We Don't Want a Divided Planet; We Want a World Without Walls." I end with some hopeful ways in which the empire might be dismantling itself and preparing the ground for a network of small, local economies.
and here’s Putin’s Peace and Petrodollar Pain:
Adds new info on Ukraine from Aaron Mate, the US Peace Council, Scott Ritter and Michael Hudson. Asks whether there were diplomatic options that Russia could have pursued but didn't. Examines Putin's strategy in having $650B of Russian gold in foreign banks subject to seizing and freezing. Was it a trap so he could repudiate the petrodollar? Has the US done him a favor by bankrupting the Russian oligarchs? What does this mean for Germany and France that they'll need to buy oil and gas in the petroruble? And how much trickle-down pain will there be when petroleum-based fertilizer factories shut down? Lastly, could this be a catalyst for taking back local economies and making them productive?