No more; where Ignorance is Bliss,
’Tis Folly to be wise.
The ecstatic callowness of the media is jaw-droppingly stupid when it comes to opining on Russia in general and Putin in particular. Consider first these headlines from the Washington Post’s opinion page.
Putin is doing his best to out-fascist Mussolini by George Will
Note that the Post is making sure that no dissenting opinions appear. When you are running a propaganda op you must ensure that disquieting facts that challenge the party line are blocked. George Will, apparently mentally slipping in his dotage, does not appreciate the irony of labeling Putin a fascist while he–George Will–eagerly peddles the party line in order to please corporate and government masters. Ignorance is bliss, George. Ditto for Iuliia, Vladmir and McFaul.
But the most egregious example of ignorance presented as “news” comes courtesy of Yvonne Lau writing at Fortune. Did you know that Russia is on the ropes and headed for the dustbin of history?
‘There’s no path out of economic oblivion for Russia’: New report reveals how corporate exodus has already wiped out decades of post–Cold War growth.
The Western sanctions and widespread corporate exodus from Russia since Feb. 24 have ravaged the Russian economy—and its future prospects look even bleaker, according to a new report from Yale University researchers and economists led by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management professor and senior associate dean for leadership studies. It’s now become clear that the Kremlin’s “finances are in much, much more dire straits than conventionally understood” and that the large-scale “business retreats and sanctions are catastrophically crippling the Russian economy,” the researchers wrote.
As of Aug. 4, over 1,000 companies, including U.S. firms like Nike, IBM, and Bain consulting, have curtailed their operations in Russia. Though some businesses have stayed, the mass corporate exodus represents 40% of Russia’s GDP and reverses 30 years’ worth of foreign investment, says the Yale report.
The international retreat is morphing into a larger crisis for the country: a collapse in foreign imports and investments.
Russia has descended into a technological crisis as a result of its isolation from the global economy. It’s having trouble securing critical technology and parts.
Oh my God. How will Russia live without the NIKE’s made by slaves in China and the wisdom dispensed by Mitt Romney’s old consulting firm, BAIN. I can see Vladimir Putin now. He is curled up in a fetal position under his bed. Barefoot. Bereft of the latest pair of Air Jordan’s. Even more terrifying, he now realizes he is deprived of Mitt Romney’s pearls of wisdom. How can Putin and Russia survive without that titan of capitalism in his corner? Poor little Vladimir is sobbing inconsolably.
Okay. Back to reality. The claim that 1000 plus companies allegedly bailed on Russia is a total misrepresentation ( I think the scholarly term is “bullshit”). The total number listed in the Yale study is 1382. Over 400 companies are still operating in Russia. Another 500 are listed as “keeping their options open” for returning to work in Russia. Only 311 companies have made a “clean break”. For the math challenged among you, that is a measly 23%.