Today I continue this piece from Komsomolskaya Pravda. Realistically, after today’s installment, I need still one more day to finish this piece, which turned out to be longer and more intricate than I thought. Which means that I must put off my “month-closing” piece still one more day, to October 3. I’ll give you a hint though: My September stats are good, so that’s not the reason why I am procrastinating with their disclosure!
Anyhow, where we left off yesterday, author Elena Larina has been describing to Komsomolka reporter Evgeny Chernykh, the three step-process of the Grand Theft. That was the one where a relatively small group of conspirators, starting in the mid-1980’s, plotted to steal the natural resources of the Soviet Union; launder the theft by changing the status of such assets from state-owned to privately-owned; and in the course of doing this, convert themselves from Communist Party functionaries and/or Criminals, into a new class of capitalist billionaires. The 3 steps were:
- Dumping (of Russia’s minerals into Western Europe), using legal loopholes that permitted some state-owned or cooperative enterprises to conclude foreign trade agreements on their own. The purpose of the dumping was to form relationships between European customers and new Russian elites; and also to accrue start-up capital for the middlemen, using semi-legal shell companies.
- Privatization of Soviet companies and enterprises. Full-scale privatization required an actual political coup (Gorbachov-Yeltsin), the dissolution of the Soviet Union, marginalizing of the Communist Party, the re-creation of the Great Russian entity, and the switch of government from Soviets back to the capitalist Duma. Hence, a complete reversal of Lenin’s April Theses, which had transferred government authority from the Duma to the Soviets.
- Vouchers, the most intriguing and also most mysterious component of this Grand Combination. The vouchers destroyed the Soviet Union, in a way that all of Hitler’s armies never could. We’ll discuss this scam more, below.
If Yeltsin’s Russia was a work of fiction, or a bad dream, then by rights it would be the final chapter of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Which the conspirators had probably read, not so much as a warning, as a how-to manual. As in how-to re-cast themselves from Communist Pigs to Capitalist Pigs.
The natural assets owned by the Soviet Union (as a state and as a citizenry) included Russia’s vast natural resources: especially the oil, gas and other mineral wealth. In order for the scheme to be successful, the conspirators needed to bring about a social-economic counter-revolution, as well as a political counter-revolution, in which capitalism would be restored in its full bloom. Not only would the bureaucrats and entrepreneurs get to own formerly public assets, they would even be able to (=the ultimate litmus test) pass it along to their golden offspring. Specific individuals such as, for example, Nikita Belykh’s chubby son. Elderly Slaves, meet your new young Massa!
And this, by the way, also confirms Leon Trotsky’s status as a prophet of no less standing than Orwell. In his main work, The Revolution Betrayed, Trotsky made a specific Nostradamus-like prediction: Namely that a layer of the Soviet Communist Party nomenklatura, would seek to legitimize their petty corruption; and gain legal ownership of that which they only currently managed, on behalf of the people. Trotsky even predicted that the nomenklatura would plot with foreign imperialist entities. And thus it came to pass. Trotsky dubbed the inter-Party process he witnessed “Thermidor“, named after the French counter-revolution, in which Robespierre and the other Radicals were executed. Thermidor led to Napoleon; and Napoleon led to Bonapartism.
Trotsky’s favorite analogy was Stalin=Bonaparte. Being badly burned by the Chinese events of 1927, Trotsky believed that his inter-party enemy, Iosif Dzugashvili, would be the guy who finally handed it all over, on a silver platter, to the West. Trotsky might have been wrong about Stalin, but he was not wrong about the Soviet bureaucracy as a whole. Nonetheless, those Stalinist ideologues who, to this day, still slime Trotsky as a traitor, have not read Trotsky and do not know the full story. They don’t know that Trotsky sacrificed pretty much all his power and international standing, even suffering irreparable damage to the political party that he led (=The Fourth International), when it came to the principled issue of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Trotsky absolutely supported the Soviet leadership in concluding that pact; and in undertaking such a principled position, he lost half of his international followers, overnight. Especially among his Jewish membership.
Putting Trotsky aside for a minute, an even better analogy, in light of modern events, might be, in my view: Putin=Bonaparte. Putin was the guy who helped to put an end to the Soviet Union, who overthrew the Jacobins; who aided and abetted the conspirators; who then restored a modicum of order and drew the line at Khodorkovsky handing over hereditary rights to Russian oil (still in the ground) to greedy Western capitalists.
As a result of which, said capitalist pigs, having the juicy prize ripped from their trotters at the last second, took a grudge against Putin which lasts until this day. Verify he became “The Great Shirtless Demon” to them. They have never forgiven him for thwarting their hungry snouts in their greediest hour.
And verily, in Putin’s Russia, the various schemes and “combinations” continue, just as in yesteryear. Russia being so vast and so wealthy in natural resources, there is still a lot of stuff to steal. Including even stuff that is nailed down. Like trees.
Thus, history repeats itself, but often as a farce. Case in point: Alexei Navalny’s infamous “KirovLes” adventure. In which Navalny attempted a combination worthy of his mentor and sometimes-boss, Khodorkovsky. The targeted asset, in this case, being, not oil, but the vast Heartland of Russia: Her Forests. Trees that grow out of the soil and belong to everybody — were supposed to become the private property of a few families. On the way, a bumbling Navalny ran into some ordinary Soviet-type people who had seen all of this before, and whose acute Ostapo-meters went off like fireworks. These ordinary people blew the whistle on the carpetbagger. His subsequent arrest and conviction prove that there still beat a few honest hearts, yea, even in the Heartland of Russia.
But now it is time to turn back and finish Larina’s interview. With this matter of the Vouchers. The third and final step in the looting and pillaging of Russia.
Larina: Let me introduce you to an author named Sergei Chernyshov. He wrote an article called “Features of National Privatization”. Chernyshov is an absolutely respectable, I would even say, mainstream, professional — a philosopher, an economist, a Professor at the Higher School of Economics, a man who helped to work out the first draft of Skolkovo and the Center of International Finances in Moscow. Currently he serves as an advisor to the Russian government. Here is a quote from his article:
An unambiguous bell went off in the course of the great “combination” involving the vouchers. The new managers of the Russian state were playing the game of the free IPO, having issued to the population titles to all of the national wealth, in the form of Privatization checks. Having sold the population on the PR of Privatization, they led the slack-jawed masses to believe that a voucher would buy two “Volgas” [brand of automobile]. Cash on the barrel, vulgarly speaking. And the market cynically valued [each voucher check] as around $27. Nobody put the brakes on the auctions, in the expectation that the market will change its mind and hand out a fat wad of greenbacks for each check. On one end of the scales lay the main material assets of the nation; on the other — a mass of vouchers, bought up by the populace at a ridiculously low price. What was supposed to happen? The market knows how to do its sums. Industrial giants were sold off for the price of a corner stand. It is a well-established fact that, in the course of this madness, $1,496,000,000 [1 and a half trillion dollars] of the national wealth simply evaporated into thin air. “They divide the slivers while the forest burns.” [Russian proverb: American equivalent might be: “They move the deck chairs around on the Titanic.”]
Somewhere between 1990 and 1994 a global catastrophe occurred, and nobody was there to hear the crash. An invisible asteroid struck the world’s second largest economy, and 99.7% of its wealth simply evaporated.
Chernykh: My neighbor was happy to sell his voucher for two bottles of vodka. My own voucher got lost somewhere in the “Hermes” project…
Larina: Some friends of mine had the opportunity, toward the end of the 1990’s, with the accession of the Primakov-Masliukov government, to get acquainted with actual archival documents of the State Assets agency (), including decrees, internal memos and the like. From these documents it can be seen that, just prior to the massive privatization and the voucher auctions, state assets were deliberately de-valued, to the tune of 12-15 times [less their actual worth].
This fact sheds light on one of the main puzzles of contemporary Russian history. Why were the new [class of] private owners ditching heavy equipment, which at that time was mostly modern and contemporary; and converting, say, factories into furniture stores, trade centers, customs warehouses, and the like?
Chernykh: That indeed is a riddle!
[to be continued]