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 – FranÃƒÂ§ois 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.