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Political Promises.

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 7, 2012 in News & Opinion |

Depending on which sources you happen to read or rely on, Europe, thanks to the elections in France and Greece over the weekend, is going to collapse and there is no hope for the future of the Euro as a viable currency. Several share indexes have reported losses in business share values and there is some worry that agreements – between European partners, between Greece and other European countries, between France and anyone else you care to name – already signed and sealed are going to be invalidated and need immediate renegotiation.

And this despite the fact that no new governments have been formed in either Greece or France, that negotiations to form coalitions, to form cabinets, to even lay down some idea of the policies each country will follow in the coming months or years, have not even hit the tables for discussion yet. The new French President – François Hollande – won’t be sworn into office until May 15 and in Greece, well, in Greece they are still trying to fathom out who or what will take control after the massive swing in votes away from the center parties.

Few, if anyone, are looking towards the newly elected Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, perhaps because we have seen it all before, perhaps because it is not quite so close to home. The fate of Russia, as far as Europe is concerned, is unimportant when weighed against other trading partners, indeed against countries within the Union itself. And as far as the States are concerned? China and India are the big problems at the moment, major trading partners and, at the same time, consumers of oil products the West would gladly see flowing in their direction, and that at a considerably lower price than we have seen in recent months.

It is fair to say that only the Russians need pay any great attention to what is being said, what is being promised in Moscow at the moment, but they don’t need to make any notes or check back in future years to see whether election and post-election promises have been held to, or even achieved. Everyone knows, as we knew before this election, who will come into the Kremlin when their name appears on the electoral ballot paper.

Even so, here are a few of the promises Putin has made to the Russian people in his acceptance speech.

  • The creation of twenty-five million new highly-skilled jobs.
  • The mortgage rate will be cut to 2.2%.
  • House prices will be reduced by 20%.
  • The shortage of nursery places will be settled by September.

Imagine such promises coming from any politician in Europe or the States – I mean, of course, any politician who stands the remotest chance of being elected. There would be uproar across the board, from all political factions, all government institutions and ministries, all forms of business right down to the smallest bagel kiosk on the corner. In Russia, it appears, there are merely knowing nods from those who have heard it all before and, undoubtedly, will hear it all again next time round.

But are these promises achievable? The answer, as far as Russia is concerned, is yes. It is simply a case of manipulating the market – as far as mortgages and house prices are concerned – and defining exactly what a skilled job is. And the nursery places? The easiest solution in the world, and one which Russia would have been well advised to implement many years ago, is to force each major business to provide nursery places for workers and free up the state nurseries for those without access to such a facility. Pretty much, in effect, the way things were up until about twenty-two years ago…

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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3 Comments

  • Francois Demers says:

    Few, if anyone, are looking towards the newly elected Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, (snip) The fate of Russia, as far as Europe is concerned, is unimportant when weighed against other trading partners

    Not quite, ask your friendly neighborhood Minister of Energy: she or he is paying very close attention.

    What Tsar Vlad has made very clear to Europe is that he will dictate as he sees fit and that Europeans are free to like it, dislike it in the privacy of their homes, or freeze in the dark.

    Thereby the EU blind spot on human rights, life expectancy (57 years), violation of international treaties, Chechnia, and a long, long laundry list. No gas does not fly well with European voters.

    • viki says:

      Russia has no problems in supplying the West with gas. The problem with supply is that the pipelines run through other countries, so politicians are more tuned in to reactions from the Ukraine – as one example – at the moment.

  • Francois Demers says:

    Reactions from Ukraine (no “the”)? Where? Why? How? Ukraine is a doormat and the sloppiest country it has been my pleasure to live in (13 years 2 days ago) when it comes to managing its image.

    Here is what really happens. Once a year, invariably in winter, Russia accuses Ukraine of siphoning gas transiting to Europe. True: Ukrainians sometimes do that, but not every year.

    Russia then presents Ukraine with an invoice for about ten times what was actually stolen. Obviously, Ukraine cannot afford to pay it. So, Russia cuts the gas supply to Ukraine.

    Regrettably, about 80% of Russian gas sold to Europe transits through Ukraine. Oops: no gas in Europe until Ukraine agrees to pay the bill, which it is pressured to do east and west. So, up
    goes the international debt by obscene amounts.

    Energy is always a strategic asset. The purpose of Russia is to remind Europe of its energetic dependence and, more importantly, of its vigorous objection to Ukraine joining NATO. If this were really about gas, Ukraine could tell Russia: you know your Black Sea fleet in our country? Let’s trade for all the gas we can burn.

    Now, I will make you laugh:

    1- Ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine Julia Tymoshenko signed a gas treaty in 2010 with Vladimir Putin that solved the problem once and for all. It allows Russia to monitor and police the pipelines. She is currently serving 7 years in jail for signing that treaty.

    2- The thieves were not Ukraine but Ukrainian organised crime. Since the 2010 elections, they are known as “the Government of Ukraine”. They jailed Tymoshenko because they no longer can steal gas…

    Isn’t funny?

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