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It could be worse

Posted on December 19, 2014 by

There’s only one person on Earth currently more hated by The Sun than Russell Brand (against whom it runs a substantial attack piece roughly every other day), and that’s Vladimir Putin. So the paper’s been almost as delighted by the recently plummeting oil price as Scottish Labour and Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, because it can revel in the trouble the collapse causes Putin.

Today its main politics lead is a full-on gloat about the dreadful state Russia is in at the moment, giving up half a page to an eye-catching graphic.


It must be hoping people don’t look at those numbers too closely.

Despite being a far bigger country than the UK, Russia has less than a tenth of our debt. It also has foreign currency reserves more than 82% larger than the UK’s, and crucially 70% larger than its debt. It could pay the whole lot off in one fell swoop if it chose to and still have £100bn in the bank.

Putin’s country is on a fundamentally sound economic footing, with a monthly trade surplus of £10bn, while the UK loses another £2bn every month. Unemployment in Russia is lower, and while inflation is higher so is wage growth, so Russian workers are getting fractionally better off in real terms, and also doing slightly better relatively than British ones (0.7% above inflation compared to 0.6%).

Cunningly, the Sun leads the graphic with the only two figures that are actually worse for the Russians – interest rate and currency exchange. But neither of those impacts massively on ordinary people – Russian mortgage rates are capped at 2.2% above inflation, so as long as wages keep pace with inflation there’s no problem for homebuyers. (And rich pickings for savers.) And while foreign exchange rates do have a knock-on effect on shop prices, that’s already accounted for in the inflation rates.

In short, then, Russia is running a profitable economy, it’s got hardly any debt, it’s got enough money to pay it off if it wants to, Russians are more likely to have a job and they’re getting marginally richer for doing it even when you factor inflation in. (And they haven’t endured half a decade of real-terms falls in their standard of living along the way, because until now the economy has enjoyed years of growth.)

There are other issues in Putin’s state, of course, like rampant crime and corruption. But on the metrics the Sun has chosen to judge, the oil crisis still leaves Russia in a vastly better position than the debt-stricken, deficit-running UK, where the poor starve, real wages have dropped to 2003 levels, and there are about to be five more years of vicious austerity cuts that will change the fundamental nature of the state as British people have known it for generations.

We might go and buy a copy of Pravda to keep tabs on it all.

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  1. 19 12 14 11:42

    It could be worse - Speymouth

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111 to “It could be worse”

  1. handclapping says:

    Its part of the independence problem that people do not see how poorly life in our wonderful Union compares with other countries.

  2. MajorBloodnok says:

    I noticed the BBC trying to do a hatchet job on Putin the other day too. Has the British Establishment fallen out with the oligarchs and all their lovely money? Very interesting figures though – imagine, Russians and other assorted foreigners being able to manage their economy better than the British!

  3. dunghurlersunite says:

    Hi Stu, Your text says: “UK loses 2bn every day”, but the picture shows Monthly Trade as 2bn deficit. Dunno which is right, or am I just being a diddy? 🙂

  4. farrochie says:

    The decade’s biggest gold buying spree? Would that be the UK buying back Gordon Brown’s

    No, it’s Russia buying gold hand over fist.

    When the going gets tough countries buy gold. Over the past decade, Russia’s central bank has been the most active gold buyer in the sector.

  5. jimnarlene says:

    The Sun seems to be using a “better together” tactic, throw enough brown stuff and see if any of it sticks, regardless of the hard facts.

  6. Valerie says:

    I do find Russia and Putin fascinating, and like others follow RT, because it gives good coverage of what is going on in other countries, like US and UK.

    The country probably is at that tipping point tho, when a decision has to be made about controlling the excesses of the elite, because I think one of the issues for them is inward investment.

  7. Luigi says:

    Russian also own half of London (well, the best bits).

    Oh Dear!

  8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Your text says: “UK loses 2bn every day””


  9. dunghurlersunite says:

    Sorry Stu, I accept the Diddy accolade. 🙁

  10. Big Red says:

    Wages keeping pace with prices – whatever next!

  11. Michael B says:

    Another thing about Russia is that energy companies charge substantially less, they heat entire communities at a fraction of the UK costs and funnily enough, they still make a profit. It shows what a racquet the entire UK economy is.

  12. Macart says:

    “We might go and buy a copy of Pravda to keep tabs on it all.”

    You mean the Record? 😮

  13. Chitterinlicht says:


    Proper evidenced based journalisism

    Very interesting.

  14. Balmoral Estate is handing out a few logs and vegetables to vulnerable local people, I doubt if Putin does this – so we really are better together!
    If we were an independent country, it’s doubtful the slum dwellers in Braemar would benefit from such largess.

  15. Ken500 says:

    Thanks Stu

    Not forgetting 26Million Russian died in the 11WW, approx 1 in 6. To save the Western economies for right wing oligarchs like Murdoch, Russia took the hit. Devastating the Russian economy. An extreme hit to overcome. Respect to the Russian nation. The total lack of respect from ignorant, greedy self serving UK right wing press. 1/2Million in Britain died., and their a never ending stream of two face patriot guff from the UK Press remembering. That Murdoch is one sleazy criminal association. Less we not forget. Putin’s Russian rating 80%+.

  16. Zane says:

    Whilst I agree with your article generally, I’d like to point out that the currency exchange rate has a huge effect on ordinary Russians. When you use many cash points in Russia you still get the choice of Dollar or Ruble withdrawals, they remain a dual currency country, and many Russians, including a number of my friends, have mortgages and loans denominated in Dollars, this is now causing serious suffering as people are faced with the choice of default or swapping the debt to HUGE Ruble debts that will take in excess of 50yrs to payoff, unless there is a serious bout of inflation.

  17. JLT says:

    It is my belief that the low oil prices are being kept deliberately low by the Americans and in doing so, is used as a lever in bringing about a financial crash to the Russian economy, and thus force them out of the Eastern Ukraine, and in doing so, end any hope of a revival of a ‘Russian Empire’.

    The continuation of America’s dominance as the hyper power within the world is what is causing the decreasing of oil prices. The forced decrease in oil prices is part of a bigger game that is quietly going on as America flexes its muscles in the direction of Russia and Chine.

  18. Ken500 says:

    The City of London and reside Russian Oligarths who stole £Billions from the Russian people, many of whom can find life a struggle. The City of London survives on monumental debt the highest ratios in the world. Not helped by criminal, corrupt tax evaders like Murdoch and his associates.

  19. heedtracker says:

    Has austerity teamGB affected anyone with stacks o cash or our middle classes? No. Who are the proud Scot buts? All of the above.

    “If I vote for AliSamin and the seps, my house might drop in value, so fcuk the teamGB debt bomb out there, rule Britannia.” etc

  20. MochaChoca says:

    “Scottish Labour and Tory MSP Murdo Fraser”

    Had to do a wee double take at that line.

  21. Barontorc says:

    According to the UK National Debt we are really showing Russia what bad looks like:-

    UK debt increases £5,170 per second (£51,170 in the time it’s taken to type this line).

    It’s running at over £1.47 trillion (that’s £1.47 million, million in old money).

    But, if you take in state and public sector pensions, which the £1.47 trillion does not – the real debt is, wait for it… £4.8 trillion!)

    This means that every single man, woman and child in the UK has a national debt burden of £78,000!………Nice, eh?

    And the fat cat bankers keep getting humongous bonuses for failing and try to jump through every hoop in the book to avoid paying tax on it.

    Would Robert Peston of the world class BBC care to comment on this?

  22. Ken500 says:

    Simple explanation Murdoch ‘news’ outlets haemorrhaging viewers worldwide to RT. Trying to shoot the messenger. Murdoch associates losing £Billions of revenues because it’s bias reporting.

  23. Luigi says:

    JLT says:
    19 December, 2014 at 10:48 am

    It is my belief that the low oil prices are being kept deliberately low by the Americans and in doing so, is used as a lever in bringing about a financial crash to the Russian economy, and thus force them out of the Eastern Ukraine, and in doing so, end any hope of a revival of a ‘Russian Empire’.

    The continuation of America’s dominance as the hyper power within the world is what is causing the decreasing of oil prices. The forced decrease in oil prices is part of a bigger game that is quietly going on as America flexes its muscles in the direction of Russia and Chine.

    It’s a three-way spat. Sure, the Americans want to screw Russia, but the Saudis are also very concerned that America is taking over the market with their huge, growing fracking industry. The collapse in oil price has been caused by a deliberate flooding of the market by the Saudis. It’s hurting Russia but it is also hurting the frackers.

  24. ScottieDog says:

    Oh dear talk about an own goal.
    The Sun fails to mention the UK pensions and Uk state guaranteed derivatives tied up in the rouble. It fails to mention that a country which bases it’s entire economy on debt, the UK , therefore is on a rather sticky wicket.
    Well I guess the sun is written by thickos for thickos.

  25. MochaChoca says:

    It’s difficult not to admire certain aspects of Mr Putin’s leadership.

  26. Haggis Hunter says:

    Its typical British arrogance, add this to labour & BBC (in Scotland) celebrating the low oil price and the hurt it gives Scotland, then it = Stupid stupid stupid

  27. Ken500 says:

    Balmoral estates hands out nothing to people. Balmoral Estate charges over the top for everything. Owned by the biggest tax evaders in Britain. £300Million+personal fortune they can afford discard a few veggies.

    Cost £405Million a year. New £2Million carriage to add to the collection. The planks can discard a few logs.

    Aye ‘O come all ye faithful. Joyful and triumph’, mugs for ye logs. Total PR exercise for the Press and the green mugs benefit. The Referendum fall out.

  28. gordoz says:

    O/T Stu – when you get a chance could you updated your Referendum 2014 Tab ?

    Didn’t realise the excellent Peter Bell was under a new format at Scoop It / Politics Scotland ‘monicker’.

    Some really good informative material that folks might like to peruse in addition to their primary source of Wings.

    Apologies in advance [just saying like :)]

  29. gillie says:

    The price war between OPEC and the USA could mean the US economy falters and the repercussions of that will have a global effect. The warming signs are all there.

  30. MochaChoca says:

    The pound is actually down 10% against the dollar since July’14.

    As oil is bought and sold in dollars, it goes some way towards offsetting the fall in oil price.

  31. Karmanaut says:

    From Wikipedia. Countries listed by percentage of population living in poverty. (CIA stats). Russia is doing better than the UK. And the UK statistic was from 2006. Things have got a lot worse since then.

    Taiwan 1.16
    Malaysia 3.8
    Tunisia 3.8
    Lithuania 4
    Ireland 5.5
    Austria 6
    Azerbaijan 6
    France 6.2
    Montenegro 6.6
    Switzerland 6.9
    Mauritius 8
    Thailand 8.1
    Kazakhstan 8.2
    Sri Lanka 8.9
    Czech Republic 9
    Serbia 9.1
    Greenland 9.2
    Bahamas, The 9.3
    Canada 9.4
    Georgia 9.7
    Poland 10.2
    Netherlands 10.5
    Chile 10.4
    Syria 11.9
    Slovenia 12.3
    Albania 12.5
    Brazil 13.1
    Russia 13.1
    Indonesia 13.3
    China 13.4
    Denmark 13.4
    Hungary 13.9
    United Kingdom 14

  32. Kenny says:

    Stu, it might be even more interesting to assume an independent Scotland and to compare Scotland, rUK and Russia. Without Scotland, the rUK economy is basically Greece.

  33. handclapping says:


    You are no Diddy. It is papal infalibility brought down to a Reverential level and if you spot that Homer nodded he puts in a sneaky correction and announces in CAPS that it never happened. I understand if you manage three you get an “Alert Reader” badge.

    The thing you dont want to do is point out logical inconsistencies which get a “Huh.” or worse a “Huh!”. Three of those get you an obligatory “Guest” post or else. Serves you right of course, it must be challenging having to expose your ignorance to thousands every day some of whom may actually know what you are talking about. I’m on 2 “Huh”s which is why I dont post so much now.

  34. Mealer says:

    Haggis hunter,
    Stupefied,stupefied and very stupified.Thatll be the description of you and your colleagues before this day is done!

  35. a2 says:

    That’s an astounding graphic if they are actually trying to put across the message that Russia is in a worse state than the UK.


    A. They are Incompetent.
    B. they are assuming all their readers are illiterate/innumerate/just look at the pictures.
    C. There’s some other more subtle agenda where they want to imply the UK government is failing whilst pretending to support it.

  36. Frost says:

    The Russian state is under financial attack right now but seem to be fairly well placed to ride it out. My personal belief is that the oil price is being pushed down in order to punish Russia for it’s invasion of Ukraine.

    If you’re a Russian oligarch, you’re going to be taking a hit financially if you haven’t done so already. But you’re still going to be filthy rich regardless.

    If you’re a member of the Moscow or St Peterberg middle classes then you might have to tighten your belts for a bit. Did Moroz might not be bringing you that new Iphone 6 this year!

    Meanwhile for the rest of the country, the crisis is going to hit people really hard. Prices for millions of ordinary folk have been going up a lot well before the sanctions were put in place and is only going to get worse now. Consumer credit is also quite popular as people like to create the impression of having wealth so increased levels of default of domestic private debt due to the increast in interest rates is a distinct possibility.

    The only question is will all this be enough for the general public to grow tired of Putin’s regime? Will we see a new Russian revolution in 2015? It’s hard to say. Russian people still have a lot of faith in Putin as a leader and many of them willingly believe what is spoon fed to them by the state monopoly media.

  37. gerry parker says:

    To help understand what a trillion is, this is from “The Crash Course”

    It’s expressed on dollars, but will help give an understanding of it.

  38. No no no...Yes says:

    Right wing press at its very worst. It has been said many times before, it’s all about headline.

    heedtracker 10:51am Austerity team GB

    You are absolutely right with this one. A vote for Better Together was an endorsement for all future UK governments, red, blue or yellow tories to carry on and do as they please. We all know there is very little difference in policies between the three main Westminster parties. Milliband’s latest pitch is that Labour cuts will be fairer- a cut’s a cut for a’that.

    The cuts are coming to Scotland as well. Nicola has the right approach in asking for the opposition to put forward their suggestions, such as she did with the Tories regarding the new Land and Buildings transaction tax. That way, sensible ideas can be considered, and the “Fairness Test” can be applied. Great tactics and Nicola mentioned this at yesterday’s at FMQ’s when she explained the Tories proposals would only save £100 for lower priced houses, but save the rich a disproportionate amount. Fair minded viewers will judge that as being fair and progressive- those with the broadest shoulders, etc.

    Carry on Kezia- Labour deputy Dug and her cohorts operated by the puppet master in the public gallery are devoid of any sensible costed ideas and when they don’t respond to the positive invite for consensus, they will look even more out of touch.
    Tick tock.

  39. RedStarTrout says:

    I usually wouldn’t trust the Sun to tell me what day it was, but in this case they are right, even if they do make a mess of the figures.

    That trade surplus will be historic, i.e. the figure is for the past year when oil was $100+. Looking forward, with oil around $60, they will have a trade deficit. Russia doesn’t make anything else except weapons and flooding the world market with cheap guns can’t cover the gap, and it won’t make the world a better place either.

    The wages and inflation figures look good as well but are also historic. Inflation is accelerating but wages are going nowhere and the average, while much better than it was in the 1990’s, is still only around £300 per month.

    The other big problem is Putin’s blocking of food imports from the EU and US. About half the food sold in Russian shops was imported and any substitutes will be more expensive. Thanks to a lack of investment Russia is still struggling to do the basics like get the harvest in. Food prices are going up fast and a lot of businesses are struggling.

    Russia has seen its exports cut in value with the fall in the oil price, Putin has put up the cost of the food imports they need, people’s wages and businesses are already suffering, and there is virtually no social safety net. Putin has done nothing to diversify the Russian economy and with his trade embargo has damaged it even more. The Sun may be a despicable rag but it’s not wrong on this one.

  40. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The fall in oil prices is no bad thing in some respects. It will force us to establish firmly with our people that the Scottish economy is not reliant on oil revenues – a thing we have signally failed to do.
    It is in fact the only thing we have to do – to establish that Scotland is comfortably self supporting

    Without being unusually prescient I did talk at an SNP conference in the early seventies pointing out that the oil was a mixed blessing. I was not hugely in favour of the “It’s Scotland’s Oil ” campaign as it could portray us as unduly greedy but I also recognised that it could tie us into a perception that our independence was tied up with oil revenues but,much more significantly, it presented Westminster with a compelling reason to hang onto Scotland.

    However they can’t have it both ways. They spent a Better Together campaign telling us how useless our oil revenues were. An unintended consequence of that is that a drop in oil prices is not as damaging to our case as it might have been.

    And what happens when the prices go up again(as they will)?

  41. crisiscult says:

    re Oil prices and Saudi, other theories include a major attack on Iran in addition to Russia, in a longer term game of destroying Shia power bases.

    Also, as someone pointed out above, the referendum revealed how unaware people are about life outside the UK. While many people travel abroad now, they still have very shallow insights into quality of life; let’s not forget that on most quality of life measures that don’t simply take a GDP based approach, UK is languishing very low for ‘1st world countries’ and indeed when you use a measure that includes inequality, UK is second worst in Europe – quality of life for around 40% of people in Glasgow, for example: is it better than in Russia? Life expectancy in East End of Glasgow for example? (answer is no by the way)

  42. R-type Grunt says:

    Yet another Brilliant article Stu. Will people ever wake up?

    I wish you’d do something on a story I seem to remember doing the rounds before 11/9. It was along the lines of OPEC considering adopting a petro-Euro instead of the Dollar but then we all know what happened on that fateful day & the world has never been the same since. If OPEC were ever to make such a move the economy of the USA would have imploded. Not so much now of course, not since the acceptance of fracking anyway.

  43. crisiscult says:

    little point re UK being ‘owned’ by Oligarchs with an axe to grind with Putin, a fascinating comparison can be found on Bill Browder, comparing the English wikipedia page to the Russian one (if you don’t speak Russian, use google translate). I’m not here to argue what a great guy Putin is, but useful to point out that our media and our government are very much in the pocket of people who want Putin out for their own benefit.

  44. Graham MacQueen says:

    Not entirely convinced that crime and corruption is more prolific in Russia than it is in the UK (especially with regards to MP’s, Banksters and CEO’s). Government figures mainly refer to ‘street crime’ if I am not mistaken. Crime and corruption is certainly present the higher you go up the ‘social’ ladder.
    As for Kenny’s comment refering to the economy in Greece; It too is being manipulated by Troika (IMF,ECB and World Bank) and the Greek people are suffering immensely!!!!

  45. Helena Brown says:

    crisiscult says: With regard to the fact that so many here have no idea about life in other countries. I would completely agree with you. So many pop over to Spain, stay within their own community and have no idea how the other half live. I would have to say that my late Mother in Law was moved to say that there would be a revolt if some people here could see how some people lived in the South of England.Having travelled over the past few years round the Baltic, Scandinavia, the Med. Had a struggle with the many many Russians for space in Tourist attractions, they seem very happy to me. Been to the Ukraine as well, before the trouble

  46. yerkitbreeks says:

    The Sun is really saying we’re better with a Westminster elite than with a Moscow one.

  47. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Gerry Parker at 11.38

    Great stuff. This can easily be changed to pounds. So UKs national debt would be nearly ninety miles high if it was expressed in £1000 notes in bundles on top of each other.

  48. Andrew Walker says:

    Although I appreciate you’re taking apart of the sun’s page here and do a good job of it.


    We would not be alert readers if we did not realise it is slightly tenuous to use the sun’s page to try and prove the uk is in a worse position than Russia. Certainly a biggie would be the use of percentages without numbers with reference to wages. And a number of pertinent stats are obviously missing.

    Percentages without numbers is the North Britain Labour way.

    I have no idea whether I am better off here than in Russia as an average Joe, but my instinct is I am(Whether as part of UK or Scotland) I will ask my cousin next week who has lived there for twenty years and report back.

  49. boris says:

    Just a thought. Perhaps it’s a good thing the oil market has taken a wee downturn bringing with it a need for the population of Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland to tighten their belts for some months.

    The experience will also provide reminder that they voted strongly to remain with Westminster and that all income deriving from the extraction of oil etc is automatically transferred to the coffers of George Osbourne and the Westminster Treasury.

    Labour politicians in support of Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland, performing to type are attacking the SNP government, accusing them of doing nothing to ease the financial difficulties of the Region.

    Pure twaddle. The Westminster government and only that place can ease the taxation burden on the industry and in consequence save jobs. The problem for the Labour party is that the MP’s they sent down to London from Scotland are focused only on their own furtures and in any event they are, “farting against thunder” insofar as seeking to exercise any sort of influence with the Tory party government.

    Meantime the rest of Scotland are benefiting greatly, just at the right time of the year from the oil revenue downturn. Cheaper prices for food, petrol rent, rates and much more.

    Don’t worry Grampian I expect things will improve when the oil glut is used up, probably around August 2015.

    Meantime learn your lesson. Vote SNP next year so that the MP’s you send to Westminster will be there arguing your corner unhindered by the direction and and control of UK party leaders whose interest rests in places other than Aberdeen.

  50. Capella says:

    Russia has vast natural resources. A 6,000 mile forest floating on oil and gas. The Western oligarchs want that for the same reason that Hitler did. Secure the oil supplies.
    Fracking is a “ponzi” scheme according to Max Keiser on RT and will implode soon enough. So Western economies desperately need secure supply, and don’t really want to pay for it and there’s nothing they hate more than an uppity national leader intent on keeping control of the natural resources.
    Demonising Putin helps excuse NATO tanks and troops pouring into East Europe to “save Ukraine ” from a non existent Russian invasion. The US Congress has recently adopted a bill which effectively declares war on Russia.

  51. BornOptimist says:

    I’m not up to date with the detail of the Russian economy and oil politics but seem to get the clear message from reading across the media that politics, much more than business costs, are currently determining the price of oil. Reading about the disparities in different perceptions of how well/badly Russia is doing reminds me of when I used to live in Australia in the 1970’s and had easy access to English language magazines from around the world, including a Russian magazine called Sputnik (still around on the internet). It was fascinating (and worrying at the same time) to find diametrically opposed views drawing upon the same basic facts but it led me to question any so called ‘honest, objective, viewpoint’ from politicians and their supporters. Something approaching the truth can only be found by comparing different reports, researching the facts, and taking into account personal and institutional biases. Unfortunately, for many Scots they have not yet got into the habit of questionning the dominant media and considering alternative perspectives. With the new Indy media developing and due to make (a hopefully dramatic) impact next year this is likely to change – markedly – and will hopefully let others in the UK realise that the Great in Great Britain really only means greater part of the British Isles landmass and has no bearing on how quality of life in the British Isles compares with that in other countries, as numerous statistical comparisons demonstrate.

  52. Nana Smith says:


    The energy sector needs to avoid a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to the fall in the oil price, say senior CAs in the industry, but add that government action may be necessary.,-say-leading-CAs/

  53. KennyG says:

    Who the hell do these people at the sun think they are? They have absolutely no interest in reporting what is in the public interest, only what suits their pathetic little agenda.

    They claim to be a paper of the people then as soon as someone with a voice speaks out for the people they try and destroy their reputation. They are as big a part of the problems facing the people as any terror threat or elitist rule.

    Interesting though that by writing this article they have spectacularly fk’d up by showing the UK how bad things really are and how much worse off we are. If only the majority of Sun readers could see what we see.

    Thank God for wings over Scotland.

  54. Frost says:

    “non existent Russian invasion” WTF!!!!

    Clearly you’ve been watching too much RT which is as much of a state sponspored propaganda mouthpiece as the BBC is here.

  55. crisiscult says:

    Helena Brown: I think you’re right about parts of England, but also Glaswegians might also be shocked at how some people live in Whitecraigs!

    I used to live in Ukraine and visit Russia occasionally (I have family on my wife’s side there). Some people on this thread are perhaps reading too much into Rev’s article. I don’t think he’s saying most of us here (we’re probably not in top 1% of UK earners) would be better off living in Russia, but rather just highlighting the pretty meaningless figures the Media band around to reinforce the message that UK is OK. Life in Ukraine has become very tough for a lot of people (and I’m talking about the whole country because the Hryvna has dropped in value around 90% against the dollar). In Russia, I gather their position is much better but definitely being damaged by the range of attacks.

    As for a ‘non-existent’ invasion (Capella) – I’d disagree, but you may be right about the West’s longer term strategy. There’s no doubt Russia is involved in east Ukraine with various theories on what they’re trying to achieve. What I’m less clear about is how deep the US are with certain parties in Ukraine and what they want to achieve. Putting this together with the Oligarchs who are schmoozing with our elite leaders in London, then not much doubt that Russia is the big prize that they lost out on in the 90s, not reckoning on how Russia’s xenophobia would freeze rapacious foreigners out of the asset stripping.

  56. Capella says:

    Here’s Glenn Beck, a right wing, libertarian, US TV commentator, pleading with Americans to stop supplying arms to the Syrian rebels and listen to Putin lecturing David Cameron about it! (June 2013 at the G20) It’s quite shocking to have Glen Beck describe Putin as the saner statesman!

  57. Les Wilson says:

    A great article, it shows how the Western press constantly down Russia, which in basic terms is to encourage an anti Russian sentiment in the the Western countries. Russia is bad, did you not know!

    There are many things wrong with Russia, however Putin has helped raise the life chances of ordinary Russians, and have a sound economy to boot, hence his popularity in his country.

    The oil drop is due to the Saudis putting a glut on the market in order to destroy the shale oil industry, which they are scared of, and it is beginning to work.

    Ref Russia/ Ukraine, well you can blame the West for that in particular the US, who are trying to encircle Russia with missiles. It is NO surprise that Putin is striking out to look after Russia’s interests, it was a given.
    We may not like what we see, but Russia can meekly back off and allow themselves to be encircled or they can bite back.

    Anyone who knows anything about Russia is that they WILL look after their own interests, have no doubt, if this was to explode into a serious confrontation, it is the US and their allies who will have caused it.

    These is the fact of the matter, they have no clue how to engage and agree things with Russia to ensure peace in that particular arena. Putin was right yesterday when he said that the West wants to de claw the Russian bear.
    Well bears can bite your head off, even if they had no claws, but they in fact have many big ones. Risky business.

  58. Capella says:

    @ Frost
    I’m paraphrasing Ron Paul, US Senator, from the article I linked to above on House Resolution 758 4th December:
    “Surely with our sophisticated satellites that can read a license plate from space we should have video and pictures of this Russian invasion,” Paul argued. “None have been offered. As to Russia’s ‘violation of Ukrainian sovereignty,’ why isn’t it a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty for the US to participate in the overthrow of that country’s elected government as it did in February?”
    You’ve maybe been watching too much BBC?

  59. Mealer says:

    I get most of my info about Russia from the BBC so it’s fine to get the Suns take on it.Im a bit of a dope,really.

  60. crisiscult says:

    going a bit off topic but re Russian invasion, I think we’re maybe just taking different interpretations of ‘invasion’. I can provide anyone interested with plenty of sources to make all but hardcore sceptics (I’ll only believe it with my own eyes) convinced that Russia is actively involved with the rebels in the Donbass. As to who to blame that this situation exists, well that’s a bit more complicated. I feel pretty sorry for the people in the middle, and for ordinary Ukrainians who are collateral damage in the geopolitical moves and meddling of Oligarchs, who are currently turning east Ukraine into something akin to medieval fiefdoms.

  61. Andrew Walker says:


    I think you were probably referring to me. I was just trying to provide an objective point of view. If a person who had never read wings was viewing for the first time it is this sort of article that might put them off.

    Stu does a great job of ripping apart the mainstream media, and did(does) a great job providing yes voters facts/figures and information that they can use to further their arguments.

    Articles like this are preaching to the converted and not really adding anything. I understand that there’s little for Stu to report on at the moment and he needs to give the site regular ‘feeds’ to keep the site fresh but maybe not this one.

    I speak as someone who has been yes all my life, but took a bit of time to become a regular reader of wings due to Stus sometime overexuberance. I quickly learned to ignore it and focussed on the fact Wings was quite often leading the mainstream media, and on a couple of occasions seemed to be steering the SNP itself.(possibly due to leaks by Stus insiders)

  62. Capella says:

    @ Andrew Walker
    If the Sun is stupid enough to lead with a “get Putin” article then it is fair game. Stu is doing a great job of filleting the MSM and the more readers realise what a load of propaganda they are being fed DAILY the better.
    BTW the Gremlins are interfering with the site again. Must have hit a nerve!

  63. Haggis Hunter says:

    naaa, it will be drunk, drunk and drunker.
    Works x mas night, in the Grill, an auld mannies bar in Aberdeen, with cheap nips, present will be 3 staunch Yessers and 1 staunch No voter who will leave early because he cannot handle the truth

  64. RedStarTrout says:

    Some people seem to think that stories about Russian corruption are made up to make Putin look bad and that the UK is just the same. As someone who lived there I’d like to explain just how bad it really is.
    Putin talked about getting corruption under control. He did that. He got it under his control. The going rate for a job as a traffic cop was $30,000. That wasn’t the wages, that was what you had to pay to get in. Then you had to agree to pay so much per week to your boss, and so much of that would be passed up the chain, eventually to the Kremlin. Where did that money come from? From shaking down the public, and any extra you could keep for yourself.
    If you drive you will be stopped by the traffic police and not released until you pay a bribe. If you take the train it’s cheaper to pay a bribe into the guards pocket. When your business gets a visit from the tax police they won’t leave until you pay them. If you import goods you won’t see them until you pay the customs officials. Teachers, doctors, judges, anyone you might need something from in officialdom, you have to pay.
    That corruption is all pervasive. Everyone suffers from it, everyone has to pay.
    But that isn’t enough for the crooks at the top. Look at the Sochi Olympics. At $50 Billion they were probably more expensive than all the previous Winter games put together. It was estimated that one road would have been cheaper to build if they had surfaced it with Caviar. A new road from Helsinki to St Petersburg will cost 6 times as much to build on the Russian side of the border, despite the workers wages being a fraction of the Finns.
    Some of our MP’s may have helped themselves to a few thousand in dodgy expenses. but in Russia they are helping themselves to billions. Just don’t expect Russia Today to report it.

  65. Frost says:


    I’m not sure if Republican Senator has actually been to Ukraine but I have been several times and I get some of my information from the people who live there who have friends and relatives involved in the conflict in Donbass and Luhansk. However, seeing as you and Mr Paul are sure there is no Russian involvement in Ukraine I’ll be delighted to pass this onto them when I head across there in a couple of weeks and I’m sure this news will be a source of great confort to them 😉

    As for the media outlets that I have watched the reporting of the conflict on, I try to get information from as many different sources as possible which includes the much-maligned BBC & RT, Hromadske.TV, Spilno.TV, Vice News, as well Graham Philips’ Youtube channel on occasion. Obviously they all have their own agenda but the key is to get as much information as possible and try to draw your own conclusions as as best you can.

  66. Dave says:

    The position of many pro-independence Scots on Ukraine saddens me. Most had never heard about Ukraine, probably even thought it was in Africa, until last christmas, suddenly they’re all experts and unfortunately the principle ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ seems to be the standard thinking. Aside from anything else Scots surely should automatically side with the smaller, weaker party in any disagreement (hint, they’re usually the good guys anyway, how often is the school bully the smallest kid?). Putin is a dictator, there’s no two ways about it. Maybe his economy is sound, so what? I think the standard of life wasn’t so bad in Libya not long ago but if you fuck with Qadafi you get taken outside and shot, same in Russia. And don’t even think about being gay or black there by the way. There are more important things in life than money. I wouldn’t want Scotland to be independent if it did not oppose dictatorship, invasion and imperialism. If you are looking abroad for inspiration in how to run a country politically and economically look to the ones where people are wealthy and free; Scandinavia. Seriously, if you have a choice between living in Denmark or Russia, or a choice of modeling your own country on Denmark or Russia and you choose Russia then you deserve everything coming to you.

  67. Dave says:


    But can’t the Russian people just elect the opposition next time? Oh wait…

  68. Grouse Beater says:

    – a word coined to signify a recurring phenomenon of propaganda that had no description before –

    – bastard politicians and flaky hacks that link strong personal feelings with fake statistics to justify racist or authoritarian policies.

    The subject of my forthcoming blog.


  69. CameronB Brodie says:

    That’s a well filleted herring (red). Nice one Rev.

    In Part 1 of the WoR Report, I examined Zbigniew Brzezinski’s warnings to elites around the world of the “global political awakening” of humanity. In Part 2, I looked at the relationship between inequality and social instability, and in Part 3 I examined the World Economic Forum’s warnings of growing inequality and the “lost generation” of youth who pose the greatest threat to oligarchic interests around the world. In this fourth installment in the series, we turn to reports from top banks and financial institutions warning about the growing threats to their interests posed by an increasingly disenfranchised and impoverished population – manifested in protests, strikes and social unrest.

    For more background, you could do worse than this ‘conspiracy theorist’.

  70. David says:

    I am just back from russia and found it fantastic the only thing that was exspensive was alcohol food was cheap clothes cheap and the people in the five city’s I visited were great polite and friendly except the older ones who remember the cold war in moscow they were still a little bit unpolite.
    A manager of a texstile company has just won a large contract in Moscow told me he will need to hire an aditional 20 staff and has just gave his 123 staff before hiring additional staff a pay rise of 5% taking his staff wages to about £980 per month not alot compared to some but with prices being cheaper than UK it is still a good living wage and he gets all his materials from within Russia this is just one excample of the people i met when i was there.

  71. heedtracker says:

    The Sun creep show left out housing costs in TeamGB.

    I just got eXmas card from my MP Dame Anne Begg drawn by a kid from Tullos that says

    “For the first time I am sending an e-card and I will be making donations to the Torry Development Trust towards the instalment of festive lights on Victoria Road and Aberdeen Cyrenians to support the vital help they provide to people affected by homelessness.”

    Aberdeen’s freakishly rich now with some extremely rich dudes raging against evil and cruel AlicSamin, cybernats, who the hell do the sweaties think they are etc, and Dame Anne is a very wealthy lady too but Tullos? There’s been virtually no social housing built in Aberdeen for over 30 years now and oddly enough, Aberdeen City Council finance dude Willie Rennie’s also a rental millionaire and failed Labour in Scotland candidate and ex council houses cost 2 grand a month to rent from speculators like… welcome to UKOK.

    Tullos is in the eye of austerity teamGB and all of it after three terms of red Tory boys Crash Gordon, the Flipper, red and blue Tory, you name it, all very wealthy men now.

    Maybe its a satirical xmas card but I really hope its the last I ever get from Dame Begg.

  72. De Valera says:

    It is worth reading Peter Hitchens’ blog in the Mail. I do accept he is a right winger, but he hs lived in Russia and while he is no fan of Putin his views on Russia and its people are interesting.

  73. Frost says:


    “The position of many pro-independence Scots on Ukraine saddens me.”

    Well said!

  74. crisiscult says:

    @Andrew Walker point taken. I don’t agree with everything Rev puts out, but I’m sure he’s well aware that we’re adults, not acolytes as some LabConLibs seem to think, and so are interested in the big picture and the very positive force he is.

    As someone with strong connections to Ukraine, I am very interested in what’s going on there and when it all kicked off earlier this year (in terms of conspicuous Putin involvement) I was left to question my previous default position that Dave mentions i.e. Putin kind of being ‘my friend’ because he was the enemy of my enemy i.e. the Western corrupt elites. I was, at that time, a believer that balance was needed in the world and a strong Russia would curtail the excesses of the US Empire project that was going into overdrive from early 90s to quite recently.

    The reality in Ukraine, if that doesn’t sound preumptiuous, is that corruption there has been rampant of a level very similar to that described by RedStarTrout since Soviet Union split up. I’m less knowledgable on Belarus and Moldova, but I’m pretty sure it’s very similar there too, together with large numbers of ex communist countries. What we have now in Ukraine is a medieval system in the Donbass area, with homage likely being paid to Putin, while Kiev vlast is being enticed in to pay homage to the western elites. The result is that ordinary Ukrainians are now the victims in this geopolitical power game, just as ordinary Syrians are right now too.

  75. Lollysmum says:

    When talking about the oil price decrease, posters are talking about US & Saudi(OPEC). It isn’t just those two. UK is part of the agreement which will see Saudis flooding the market thus forfeiting considerable oil revenues for up to 2 years. Saudis can do this because they have enormous financial reserves so they won’t feel the pinch aaahh!

    I would like to know what Obama & Cameron promised Saudis in return for this deal cos they aren’t forgoing all that dosh out of the kindness of their hearts. There is a price being paid by us taxpayers for all that market flooding.

    Sanctions on Russia means that not enough dollars are being generated by Russian oil sales to other countries to pay its bills. Putin’s self imposed blockade on other imported goods only makes the problem worse hence the pressure on the rouble.

    Oil is traded in US dollars across the world however there have been noises recently about Russia challenging that position as it favours US.

    This is why I get angry at SLaB & WM gloating about the oil price drop. They generated it by their political manoevring with US & Saudi.

    So Cameron & the rest of you wasters-GTF

  76. Effijy says:

    What’s the difference between Pravda, the BBC, and the Daily Record?
    No I can’t find a difference either.
    Propaganda is propaganda at the end of a government controlled

  77. crisiscult says:

    btw- question for anyone re Russian politics. If Russian elections were democratic and honest, who or which party would be in power?

  78. Kevin Evans says:

    Well said stu – even someone with a basic knowledge of an economy can do the real maths and see the comparison between the two actually favours the Russian man on the street rather than all of us who are better together.

    The UK is playin a dangerous game.

    To be honest tho my heart sinks in the knowledge that no msm in this country with actually explain this to people in a way that they can understand but instead just jump on a few choosen points such as interest rates.

    Let’s be honest here. After reading the resent bella Caledonia articals posted by “no” voters it’s clear to see money, mortgages, interests rates and pensions really persuaded the haves to vote against the have nots in some sort of moronic “a no vote protects my money” way of thinking. I never once heard a no voter mention social matters. 99% of the time it was self interest issues they focused on.

    It’s sad to see and hear.

    I spoke to yes voters and regularly heard “hey if I need to pay a bit more to get us started am fine with that” I mean really. When has a campaign actually done that ever. Amazing.

    I liked a post on here a few days ago that listed a basic outline of things to come. And I pray this comes to pass.

    1. Sent down 40+ MP’s in 2015 to westminster.
    2. Offer labour a coalition on the condition of full devo max.
    3. 2018 scotland writes England it’s first cheque to bail them out.
    4. After witnessing this the people of Scotland demand a refurendum in 3 months.
    5. With no argument left about how wee and poor we are by the union we vote 65% yes to independence.

    Probably a dream it’ll be that easy but one can but aim for the stars.

  79. Christian Schmidt says:

    Stu – since when do you trust the Sun to get things right?!?

    They have the ‘foreign debt’ wrong – Russia’s debt is basically in Euro or Dollar, so they need foreign currency to pay it off. The UK’s public debt is 100% Sterling, so it is impossible for the UK to be unable to pay it back – they could just print the stuff.

    But the crutial difference is private debt – again many Russian companies have loans in Euro or Dollar while most British have theirs in pounds. That’s why debt and a falling exchange rate is so dangerous for Russia and not for Britain, and that’s why the Russian interest rate is 17% – which will put Russia into a deep recession.

    Or in short, Putin and Cameron are both making their country poorer to protect their friends – super-rich oligarchs.

  80. Robert Peffers says:

    @Haggis Hunter says:19 December, 2014 at 11:08 am:

    ” … celebrating the low oil price and the hurt it gives Scotland”.

    But! But! But! Scotland does not get any direct revenues from the oil harvested from our Scottish Territorial Waters. All the revenue goes directly to the UK Treasury. All Scotland is credited with earning, and has returned to Scotland, is around 8.4% as part of the Scottish Block Grant. So, as you say, Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Daft even – but then, it is Better Together Unionist we speak of – whatever else should we expect?

    Yon numpties ir like, “Cybermen”. The hale clamjamfrie o thaim share ae mankit harn.
    (Owersettin intil the Inglis),“Those nitwits are like, “Cybermen”. The entire crowd of them share a single corrupt brain”.

  81. CameronB Brodie says:

    Re. eastern Ukraine, formerly known as the Crimea.

    The transfer of the Crimean Oblast to Ukraine has been described as a “symbolic gesture,” marking the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming a part of the Tsardom of Russia.[4][6][7]

    Nina Khrushcheva, the political scientist and great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev, the then General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union said of Khrushchev’s motivation “it was somewhat symbolic, somewhat trying to reshuffle the centralized system and also, full disclosure, Nikita Khrushchev was very fond of Ukraine, so I think to some degree it was also a personal gesture toward his favorite republic. He was ethnically Russian, but he really felt great affinity with Ukraine.”[4] Sergei Khrushchev, Khrushchev’s son, claimed that the decision was due to the building of a hydro-electric dam on the Dnieper River and the consequent desire for all the administration to be under one body.[8] Sevastopol in Crimea being the site of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, a quintessential element of Russian and then of Soviet foreign policy, the transfer had the intended[citation needed] effect of binding the Ukraine inexorably to Russia, “Eternally Together”, as the poster commemorating the event of 1954 proclaimed

    I’m sure everyone luvs a Great Game though.

  82. Tamson says:

    And of course, the MSM carefully ignores Russia’s $200 billion sovereign wealth funds. Wouldn’t want the British public learning how competent governments smooth out the ecocomic difficulties caused by volatile commodity prices, would they?

  83. Willie John says:

    Totally O/T. (But I can’t resist!)

    The party of the left (?) has been offered a deal if there is a hung parly. You couldn’t make it up. Only the headline as it hits the paywall, but that’s enough.

  84. Lollysmum says:

    @Kevin Evans

    On your point 2-I very much doubt SNP will offer a coalition-that is fraught with danger as the LibDems found to their cost. Once committed to coalition that’s it -you can’t keep threatening to leave it.

    No-it is much more sensible to have a supply & confidence arrangement where SNP will decide which govt bills it wants to support using its block of SNP MP’s. That way govt has to stay on its toes & can’t take SNP support for granted-it has to work for that SNP support & that means trading something which Scots want-more powers.GE2015 is about powers not indy. That is off the table for the time being-DevoMax is the target for next year.

  85. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “many Russians, including a number of my friends, have mortgages and loans denominated in Dollars”

    Do you happen to know what proportion of Russians actually have mortgages, and what the average size is relative to wages? I couldn’t find that data while Googling this morning.

  86. Dave says:


    btw- question for anyone re Russian politics. If Russian elections were democratic and honest, who or which party would be in power?

    I haven’t agreed with much of what you’ve said but this is a great question and I think you are making a very challenging point. My honest answer to that question is I think they would elect Putin. And that does unfortunately flavour most of my interactions with Russians, (not that I meet too many and given that the Mrs is from Kyiv they might hold their tongue sometimes!). Democracy consistently fails to lead to the optimal outcome. Scotland voted no. But I still don’t think that is an argument against democracy nor is it an endorsement of Putin. Why the hell can’t he just have elections like everyone else?

  87. Dave says:

    @Rev Stu

    Re – Russians and the housing market; I’d be wary making direct comparisons with the UK. I don’t know anything about Russia but I know a wee bit about Ukraine and think the situation might be similar. The legacy of the Soviet Union has created a unique housing situation. In Kyiv nobody buys or sells because the generation that are now grandparents were literally given houses by the Soviet Union. My grandparents in law have 3 fucking houses in the centre of Kyiv and they bought none of them. This is obviously creating very unique problems for the younger generation looking to get into the market.

  88. crisiscult says:

    I have it on unreliable source, i.e. it may be wrong, that the Communists would win.
    Btw, I haven’t disagreed with a lot of what you’ve said 🙂

  89. Harry Alffa says:

    Yeah, if only there was a way to make the banks not just pay for the economic mess they made, but also make it in their best interests to REPAIR the economy.
    I’m sure if you knew of a policy idea which did both simultaneously, and also made the financial system MORE stable over time rather than less – you’d be shouting about it from the roof-tops.


    Wait a minute.

    You do know of such a policy, and agree it would work, but don’t want to talk about it you said because no electable party has it as its policy.

    Why are you keen to talk about the problem:

    “deficit-running UK, where the poor starve, real wages have dropped to 2003 levels, and there are about to be five more years of vicious austerity cuts that will change the fundamental nature of the state as British people have known it for generations.”

    but not the solution?

    I’m really very puzzled.

  90. Alex says:

    Russia has only one Pravda ( Truth). We’ve got 14 of the bleedin things – plus the good old Colonial Broadcaster, of course.
    Britain is dead. Long live Scotland

  91. RedStarTrout says:

    @Rev Stu
    As Dave says, after the Soviet Union collapsed all the housing was transferred to the tenants. Everyone got their house for free, so no one had a mortgage. With the shortage of decent housing there has been a building boom. Those new houses had to be paid for and that was the start of mortgages.

    With the currency collapsing every few years, builders and banks were not keen on lending the money in Roubles. A Dollar would get you 100 Roubles in 1992, today it’s the equivalent of 59,000 of those Roubles (they knocked 3 zeroes off back in 1997). So mortgages are in Euros or Dollars.

    One of the problems for Russia this week is that the oil company Rosneft had borrowed about $40 Billion to buy TNK-BP. A quarter of that is up for repayment but no one wants to lend to rollover the debt. Russian banks were allowed to count their bonds as collateral for Central Bank loans at below market rates before the rates went up to 17%. Everyone assumes that they will just print a load of extra Roubles to cover it.

    So Putin is bailing out the banks and oil companies owned by his friends by printing money, while ruining other businesses and people’s savings. How is that better than the UK?

  92. Grouse Beater says:

    ‘A Christmas Cracker’ – Grouse Beater on WordPress

  93. CameronB Brodie says:

    Grouse Beater
    Boom, boom. 😉

  94. Martin Keatings says:

    Heading out to moscow to see my wife in a little under 6 days. Russian people not phased by Western bully boy tactics but the West should be very worried if russia pulls the plug on them because the russians own a large chunk of our national debts.

  95. Grouse Beater says:


    Ta, Big C. 🙂

  96. Snapkins says:

    In answer to the query “has the UK establishment fallen out of love with the oligarchs?”, I’ll give you a two-word answer: “yes: fracking”.

    Note how the Beeb were championing falling oil costs from fracking of late – against popular opinion & describing savings the public will barely see – in a piece which pointed out how Russia was susuffering as a result.

    Now, they’re actively blaming Putin for not seeing it comin. But to anyone who never came down in the last shower, this is precisely the outcome that the US-based Petrochems and government wanted. Ergo, Westminster.

  97. Lollysmum says:

    @ Martin Keatings @ 4.21pm

    It would really hit the fan then if they called those debts in. WM better pray they don’t push Putin too far-could live to reget it.

    Have a great time when you go to Moscow. This time of year being with family is the most important thing 🙂

  98. yabadabadoo says:

    London -Wall st – Financial system is in meltdown (The same system AS wanted us to keep including the Bank of England). Europe already imploding with some “regions” with 60% youth unemployment. EU banker Technocrats now taking over power all over the place.

    The Russians along with the China, Brazil, South Africa and India (BRICS – half the worlds population) have chosen a different route base on the future increase in PHYSICAL PRODUCTION. This has made the London-wall st crowd go nuts, as they are not going with the austerity – financial derivative blow out programme.

    London fixates on fraudulent GDP figures where: increase prostitution, increase heroin use, increase illness, increase in lawyer fees etc all make the GDP go up without producing anything, Harry Potter style.

    NEW Bank of England rules ensure YOUR CASH DEPOSITS are classified as uninsured investments in whichever bank you have chosen. In the next financial crash, banks are now allowed to take deposits -YOUR CASH- to pay their debts (New bail-in rules).

    When a rat is cornered it will do anything to save its skin. This is what is happening with London – Wall st.

    The London – Wall st – Russian economic sanctions and deliberately reducing the oil price are an ACT OF WAR and will be seen as such by Russia. Russia is busy setting up a “WAR ECONOMY” as they mean to win.

    Why are the SNP saying nothing regarding the promoting of London for a new war with Russia?

    Scotland is total defenseless: note two days for RN to turn up after the last Russian ship visit and recently the RAF having to phone a friend to look for a sub.

    WWIII has already started and before it becomes a HOT war, that can lead to THERMAL NUCLEAR WAR very quickly. Dont you think the SNP should raise the issue in Westminster or has their grasp of international affairs stop at Gretna?

    BBC propaganda was clear to see during the Referendum but is now again in full flow to demonise Russia.

  99. Stolobenskaya says:

    Oh dear. WOS is normally superb, Rev Stu, but after living in Russia during most of Putin’s rule I have to say you’re way off beam here.

    The Sun’s Russia analysis is a joke, of course, but that doesn’t mean RT’s variety is any better. As with Scotland, sober coverage of Russia in the MSM is rare (in English, at least). If you want something up to your own standards, here’s a start:

    It is possible for the majority in the UK to be poor, the UK elite to be self-serving AND their equivalents in Russia to be so to a far greater degree. Please don’t sully the unequivocally democratic aspirations of the Scottish independence movement by holding up the Putin regime as some kind of model.

  100. Ken500 says:

    Deposits in British banks and the EU are still guaranteed on the first £85K. It’s EU Law. A tiny minority of the country have bank deposits of up to that value. Average norm is about £500. Most assets are held as property, jewellery, gold, stocks, art, precious metals, shares and pensions. Cars? Although most depreciate in value.

    National Debt ie the debts of the whole country are balanced by the assets which can out weigh the debts. Most EU countries carry smaller gov debt because they have to, a condition of using the euro. A (lower) ratio of debt to expenditure has to be maintained. That is what is causing austerity in EU, the countries are not being given a longer time to repay which would mitigate the effects of the monetary system collapse brought on by US/UK banking fraud.

  101. Ken500 says:

    Russia just needs to cut Gas supply to Germany etc in retaliation for the sanctions. It would destroy the EU, UK and US economy. Maybe they do nit want to make the situation worse. The EU/US are playing an exceptionary dangerous game.

  102. Ken500 says:

    The Ukraine wanted a loan from the EU. Merkel influenced a refusal. The Ukraine President (pro Russian?) then turned to Russia for a loan, that was when trouble kicked off. The Ukrainians who want closer ties with the West (and to eventually join the EU), started rioting against the administration. The new (elected?) President is now a £Billionaire who acquired the countries asset. If he and his associates hadn’t acquired so much assets there have not been a need for a loan. If Merkel/EU had given a loan none of the trouble would have happened?.

    There are reports (US?) Corporates are trying to access Ukrainian assets for profit. Ukraine has vast potential resources. Corporates were not allowed into Russia to exploit Russian assets.

    Russia Police take bribes. Scottish Police detain 71 year old who say ‘tinks’ in their gardens spend two days in cells and then put them on trial. Arrest 71 year old taxi drivers who say ‘offensive P word and take them through courts. Arrest an elderly women over an argument with her unoffended husband over which TV programme to watch and detain her in a cell for two days. When maybe a caution or warning might do? As a bribe is unacceptable. HMRC hounds small businesses to death. A bribe is unacceptable. Whatever system works. Scottish Police committed to stamp out abuse against women and elderly people. Public money being totally wasted for mild misdemeanours

  103. Ken500 says:

    Some countries in Asia and Middle East do not trade their currency. It can only be bought and used in the country. Any unused excess can not be sold back or exchanged for a different currency. Credit cards can be used.

    Oman is one of the most expensive countries in the world, especially exchanging sterling. Most countries accept payment in dollars. Less use of dollars or euros. Many Russians holiday in Asia.
    Russian population 300Million? Is £200Billion reserves high per population?

  104. CameronB Brodie says:

    Lest we forget the Ukraine’s most significant ‘asset’.

    Chernobyl Disaster What Really Happened

  105. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Please don’t sully the unequivocally democratic aspirations of the Scottish independence movement by holding up the Putin regime as some kind of model.”

    I did no such thing of course. I’ve never been to Russia and wouldn’t seek to make sweeping generalisations about life there. This site exists primarily to monitor the workings of the media, and that’s what the article was about – The Sun’s trumpeting of the terrible state of the Russian economy, while using figures showing that ours is far worse. I made no comments about the Russian political system whatsoever.

  106. Stolobenskaya says:

    Oh come on, the state of an economy depends upon a political system, you can’t treat it in isolation.

    Russia might be running a profitable economy on paper, but that profit is siphoned off by a crony capitalist elite and held outside the country (in London property, for example).

    If you had been to Russia, and gone beyond the centres of Moscow, St Petersburg and a few other major cities (e.g. Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk), you’d see that urban living conditions for the majority of Russian workers (who you claim are getting better off than those in the UK in real terms) resemble the poorest parts of Glasgow. In rural areas, it is still rare for residents to have gas and running water.

    This is a direct consequence of how the economy is being run.

  107. crisiscult says:

    and there it is there: “resemble the poorest parts of Glasgow” In my experience of Russia, there are parts that are worse than the poorest parts of Glasgow, but the fact that we’re even running close comparisons between parts of the second city of the British Empire and the poorest parts of provincial towns in a country that 20 years ago was in utter chaos and falling apart at the seams, says something.

    I guess everyone’s moved on from this thread so happy enough to have the last word 🙂 which is, that I’m pretty sure the point of this post was to do what we’ve just ended on – to show the poor health of the UK. Any predictions for the directions the UK and Russia will go in? Who will be better off in 50 years? I’d be pretty cautious on that prediction because I’m not optimistic for either.

  108. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Russia might be running a profitable economy on paper, but that profit is siphoned off by a crony capitalist elite and held outside the country (in London property, for example).”

    Oh aye, because that’s TOTALLY different to what happens here, of course…

  109. Stolobenskaya says:

    As I said, the UK elite is self-serving AND its Russian equivalent is so to a far greater degree.

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