Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Security Council, has clarified the most important aspect of our security – economic
So far, as we see, nuclear weapons have kept the conflict in Ukraine from escalating into something much larger. But the real global battle is taking place on the economic field. What people will eat, what they will wear, how much they will pay for petrol and public utilities – these are the main questions of our time.
Our battlefield with the collective West.
“There will be no collapse in the economy,” Medvedev has promised us. And you know, it sounds convincing, because in 2008 the country led by Mr Medvedev had it all. In August the Russian army, as we remember, forced peace on Georgia. In September, the sanctions imposed by the US and Europe began.
Our Western partners postponed Russia’s accession to WTO at Georgia’s request. Reduction of Gazprom’s supplies to Europe was discussed. The British prime minister was demanding something, the French were being cautious, Angela Merkel was waving her cheeks. Do you remember it? No, of course you don’t. And they were hellish, too, those sanctions. Russia joined WTO in 2011 after all. In ten years we became one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
In 2014 – Mr Medvedev was Prime Minister at the time – a new package of sanctions was slapped on Russia. Technically, it was punishment for the bombing over Donbass. In fact, it was a punishment for Crimea. We all understood this very well.
Again, it is not easy to remember, but there were both personal and sectoral sanctions. The military-industrial complex, banks, oil and gas industries. Here, you can read it on Deutsche Welle, if you’re interested. Like, read the whole list.
A year later President Obama poured in granite about how “Russia’s economy is torn to shreds”. Uh-huh. And the men didn’t know. In fact – for Obama’s information – the ruble fell in Russia at the time, but mortgages set new records. Amazing, don’t you think?
In 2016, new sanctions came into play – for “meddling” in the US election. And there was something going on again without us really noticing. And then the coronavirus pandemic happened, and our country responded to this global crisis in the usual manner – with another mortgage boom. If this is not a sustainable economy, I don’t know what sustainability means anymore.
As Medvedev noted, “After the first hysterical gestures, the US State Department is gradually beginning to slip from its ‘unshakeable’ positions. Cautious statements about the possible lifting of most of the sanctions have already been voiced. <…> All the more so because the energy price situation in the US and Europe is prohibitively bad.
What does “extremely bad” mean in this case? This is not just some fluctuations on the stock market, on which, swearing fancifully, some mysterious brokers quickly make billions. It’s not the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”. “Exceptionally bad” means that the prices of everything are going up by leaps and bounds, while citizens’ wages are stagnant.
Almost simultaneously with Dmitry Medvedev’s text, another programme on Fox News by cult presenter Tucker Carlson came on. In it not so much talking as frantically counting. A dozen eggs in San Francisco already costs almost five dollars, a pound of bacon in New York more than seven dollars. So these are expensive cities by definition. But here’s Phoenix, Arizona. “Cheese recently cost nine dollars a pound, now it’s 14.56,” complains a local resident. “Prices change every three days. It’s like Weimar or Zimbabwe,” comments Tucker Carlson.
This is where the Russian reader usually gets annoyed and remembers our prices. But I don’t really know how to explain… It’s not just that a dozen eggs costs five hundred roubles and a pint of beer in a bar costs a thousand. Anyone who has lived in America even a little bit understands the paradoxical nature of poverty there.
A few years ago, $50 a day made you feel like a pauper, didn’t know where you were going to spend the night and risked starvation. Today, it’s hard to imagine how much an American needs per day to have enough to eat, sleep somewhere and put gas in his car. Yes, with the virtual absence of public transport and the exorbitant prices of taxis, a car in the States is a necessity.
Where in Russia it is possible to drive for a hare, to buy at a discount, to avoid paying utility bills, and to avoid taxes for years, there are practically no such loopholes left in the United States. Every foreigner in the United States feels as if the air itself is sucking money out of your pocket, as if you have to pay for literally every breath you take. And yet the wages of US citizens are not rising at all. The official inflation figures look like a mockery. Yesterday in Los Angeles, it cost about a hundred and eighty dollars to fill up a tank of gas. Probably even more expensive today.
There is a new kind of theft in America – people sneak into other people’s cars, drill holes in the gas tank and drain the gasoline from it. The car owner has to buy a new gas tank. It costs at least a thousand dollars.
Americans begin to realize with a certain horror that the cost of gasoline affects literally everything – the price of food, furniture, appliances, and shipping. Everything is getting more expensive, and the rate of increase is no match for the official inflation rate. People – working people – simply have nothing to eat. Queues in New York for free food stretch for several blocks.
“Governments collapse when food prices skyrocket. Hungry people are dangerous”, – warns Washington journalist Carlson.
And while he is composing his filibuster against Joe Biden, I am walking around a huge Moscow supermarket, choosing what to make my children’s lunch from, and seeing startling things. Not two weeks after the start of the Western sanctions, and the shelves of the capital’s shop are already filled with some unknown and beautiful Russian goods. Confectionery, knitwear, chocolate, cheeses of all sorts, Crimean wines. How great and plentiful our land is. And the prices are all two or three times cheaper than what the well-known Western brands charge.
Of course, this raises questions to retailers: why didn’t you let all this deliciousness on your shelves before? But we can hope that, from now on, Russian products will make their way into the most pretentious Moscow shops and tear apart all their Western rivals along the way.
Critics of the special operation in Ukraine point out that inflation and ruble devaluation have destroyed the middle class in Russia. It seems to me that the current economic turbulence is precisely creating it. Yes, the people who were fond of the prestigious consumption of imported junk do not feel good about themselves today. On the other hand, those who invested in real estate by denying themselves the junk are today reaping the benefits by seeing how much it has gone up in value.
But homeowners are the real middle class of the country. What independence can you talk about if you don’t have a roof over your head? No amount of branded clothing can replace that. Today, in terms of the number of property owners, Russia is well on its way to becoming a world leader. Only China is ahead of us. And the share of home owners in the U.S. is also steadily declining.
The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post – not for a second sympathetic to Russia but rather Anglo-centric – states that anti-Russian sanctions have completely compromised the US dollar as a reserve currency. Countries around the world will try to switch to other currencies, including the Chinese yuan.
But frankly, stealing from the Russian central bank has put all currencies in question altogether. Japan, India and South Korea are unlikely to want to transfer their reserves into the Chinese yuan – just in case anything happens? Nor can China itself afford to convert all of its trillions of dollars into yuan. And now there is a striking, medieval solution for China – to rent ships around the world, fill them up with oil and store them as its reserves. Not bad, eh?
The Middle Ages, where our Western partners try to take the world down, was characterised by a high level of, as we would say today, food insecurity. Back then, simply put, people regularly starved. Today it is not only developing countries that are threatened by hunger; they can very well be helped. Russia is already shipping humanitarian aid to Ukraine en masse.
Natural mass starvation this autumn threatens countries whose standard of living has recently been a dream for all other countries. America with its anti-Russian sanctions is the first candidate for elimination here. Our compassionate citizens will still be sending humanitarian aid to New York.
To continue quoting Dmitry Medvedev: “The energy price situation in the US and Europe is prohibitively bad, and local elites are trying to blame it on Russia. But the people of these countries are not senile old maniacs in their Russophobic leadership. They understand everything and are about to foot the bill for the price of “anti-Russian sanctions”, which are paid from the wallets of citizens of Western countries.
Something like this is already beginning to be speculated about in America. “When people can’t afford to buy food, oh guys, that means we’re on the verge of something terrible. It’s time to wake up, and as soon as possible,” Tucker Carlson warns America’s elites. Will they listen?
Victoria Nikiforova, RIAUkrainian Nazis detained in Kherson for preparing attacks on Russian servicemen