Russian Facebook Protest – A Field of Dreams

Paper dreams... 300x170 Russian Facebook Protest   A Field of Dreams

T&B is always amazed at the ability of Westerners to see what they wish to see in Russia, whether or not it is actually there: The field of dreams!

Tarkovsky’s Solaris – the planet where one’s innermost thoughts, deepest fears, most painful memories take physical form and walk (T&B’s favourite movie, bar none!).

The “10 Days that Shook Facebook” anti-government demonstration last Saturday proved a damp squib.

Sorry. That is just how it is.

T&B has seen the aerial photos and the estimate of 25,000 demonstrators seems extremely generous – perhaps when you count the tourists and the vendors and journalists… But, okay, today we are generously inclined and so will grant you 25,000 – that accounts for 0.1% of Moscow’s population.

Quite fortunately, the authorities had the brains to step back and avoid gratuitous provocation, so it all passed off very peacefully.

A gaggle of Western hacks went home feeling that they too had finally gotten a chance to participate in history – press coverage will largely reflect their dreams of heroism.
One of our friends, on the Russia sales desk of a major Western institution, has just got back from marketing in the United States and tells us that 100% of the American accounts expect an imminent revolution in Russia…

Yes, we knew that marijuana has been essentially legalized in California, however we had not realized that its use was quite that widespread, nor that it had so affected the ability to process information.

The decline in the level of political discourse is truly appalling – given that a major US presidential candidate has been pushed out of the race, not because he demonstrated breathtaking ignorance by cautioning that “China was trying real hard to go nuclear” (something which actually happened in the late 1950s…) but because he (oh–my-god) had affairs!

The dumbing down of the American media, and the take-over of the mainstream press by major financial interests, has had a predictable effect; to expect rational analysis of complex foreign political issues is thus a bit too optimistic.

So all is well in Russia? Not really…

The elections represented not just protests against corruption, deeply uninspiring politics, bad weather, and a slowdown in economic growth (to a still respectable 4% per annum), but also far more importantly, a sharp reaction against the liberalizing, pro-Western line embraced by President Medvedev. We remind the reader that the liberals of Yabloko took a thumping 3% of the vote – the Communists and Hard-Line Nationalists a combined 33%. This is no Orange Revolution…

Russian politics is about to become a lot more “interesting”. “Democracy” requires that the government respect the wishes of the electorate, and the KPRF/LDPR electorate does not wish to cuddle up to NATO, render Ayn Rand obligatory reading in high-schools, privatise Gazprom, nor allow the West a free hand in the CIS. Quite frankly, it represents an aspect of the Russian body-politic which T&B would rather forget – as would most of our readers, even those who disagree with us most strongly regarding the rest.

Investment implications are pretty much nil – much ado about very little. One can expect a somewhat more stimulatory fiscal policy, with a shift towards a more statist model.

Given our (once again, verified) bullish call on oil, there is no threat to Russian macroeconomic stability within the foreseeable future.

That said, the mood among foreign investors will be sour, leaving the less excitable among our readers the opportunity to pick up some cheap assets. For now – given the havoc in Europe – T&B will stick to the bonds.

Happy FB Posting!

T&B

To read the article click on the link below:

T&B – Russian Duma Elections Desk Note

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5 Responses to Russian Facebook Protest – A Field of Dreams

  1. Excellent ! I repost it !

  2. Pingback: This Week in Russia Blogs #3 | Siberian Light

  3. the reformer says:

    Dear T&B,
    I have followed your web-site since 2006 and want to thank you for insightful analysis and information about Russia & CIS countries

    My perception about Russia is that corruption is the biggest obstacle for progress and healthy growth; it’s also a hindering of the growth of middleclass and rule of law. All of this in my opinion goes hand in hand. Also I share your opinion that Russia will never be an appendix to the west. That is a thing that I admire the Russians, their history and self acclimation to be a great nation.

    I’m sorry to say that your opinion is not longer that essential any more… The perception that you have an agenda of protecting the incumbent system is clearer by the day. It’s sad because I think you could have made important contribution to improvements for business climate instead of acting like a guardian for something that all can see needs improvements and reforms. But I guess that you are one of the few that belongs to the “inner circle” and receive benefits for keeping the status quo.
    Personally I don’t have anything against Putin, but if he cannot handle the challenge with corruption, I think he should let others that wants’ to fight this, have a try. I think you also could agree that if nothing would be done with this, it’s a failure that will lead to very high costs for the Russian society.

    Just a reflection…..

    Best Regards
    Somebody that want the best for Russia

  4. Mark says:

    The decline in the level of political discourse is truly appalling – given that a major US presidential candidate has been pushed out of the race, not because he demonstrated breathtaking ignorance by cautioning that “China was trying real hard to go nuclear” (something which actually happened in the late 1950s…) but because he (oh–my-god) had affairs!

    That is a disgusting state of affairs.. American political commentary a la Who Weekly. I know you guys rag on the FT and Economist from time to time, but just remember the 99% of garbage publications that are left for the masses.

  5. Ursa Major says:

    The reformer speaks utter nonsense…One supports or condemns any existing political system depending upon whether or not one favours it. Shall we assume that anyone who supports the current political systems in France, China, Poland or Outer Mongolia is ipso factor discredited?

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