Putin Scores Another Historic Victory: Austria Signs South Stream Pipeline Deal In Defiance Of Europe

Tyler Durden's picture

As the war of words between Europe and Russia has escalated, one of the outcomes that has emerged is that just like in false flag war over Syria, the Ukraine war was about the simplest possible thing, and yet so very complicate: a gas pipeline. Of course, it was never a secret that the prize in controlling Ukraine was possession of the vast pipeline infrastructure that left Russia and entered Europe, but since it was all Gazprom's gas in the first place, it didn't really matter if Kiev had possession of the gas as it transits to Europe, or if, as the case is now, Ukraine is merely a transit hub with all Russian gas delivered to European countries and none of it staying in the civil war torn country. After all as of this moment Ukraine can't afford any Russian gas, and if it siphons off any of the product destined for Germany and beyond it would simply antagonize its new NATO best friends, who also happen to be Gazprom clients.

No, the pipeline that has emerged with a starring role in the Ukraine conflict has nothing to do with Ukraine, but is a pipeline that crosses several hundred kilometers south of Ukraine - the South Stream project, which leaves the Russian black sea coast south of Crimea, crosses the black sea, and traverses Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and ends up in the gas hub in Baumgarten, Austria from where it proceeds to all points in central Europe, mostly Germany.

The project, which was conceived in 2007, was meant explicitly to bypass Ukraine, and to be an alternative to the now mothballed Nabucco gas pipeline which, with the backing of the US and Europe, would have taken Caspian gas (mainly Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan) and traverse Turkey before emerging in Bulgaria, and then followed the European path of the South Stream into the Austrian hub and beyond.

Not surprisingly, it was the key transit hub of the South Stream, Bulgaria, that started making problems for Putin even as he succeeded in trumping Nabucco (when in June 2013 the CEO of Austrian energy giant OMV, Gerhard Roiss, announced the project as "over" after the Turkish Shah Deniz consortium chose the Trans-Adriatic Pipieline over Nabucco as a gas export route which would supply Italy instead of Austria).

Recall that it was in January, two months before the Ukraine government was overthrown that the prime minister of Bulgaria - a country that has a very distinguished love/hate relationship with Russia (a relationship which the US would love to make more "hate") - Plamen Oresharski, surprisingly ordered a halt to work on the South Stream, on the recommendation of the EU. The decision was announced after his talks with US senators.

"At this time there is a request from the European Commission, after which we've suspended the current works, I ordered it," Oresharski told journalists after meeting with John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson during their visit to Bulgaria on Sunday. "Further proceedings will be decided after additional consultations with Brussels."

At the time McCain, commenting on the situation, said that "Bulgaria should solve the South Stream problems in collaboration with European colleagues," adding that in the current situation they would want "less Russian involvement" in the project.

"America has decided that it wants to put itself in a position where it excludes anybody it doesn't like from countries where it thinks it might have an interest, and there is no economic rationality in this at all. Europeans are very pragmatic, they are looking for cheap energy resources - clean energy resources, and Russia can supply that. But the thing with the South Stream is that it doesn't fit with the politics of the situation," Ben Aris, editor of Business New Europe told RT.

It was also in January when EU authorities ordered Bulgaria to suspend construction on its link of the pipeline, which is planned to transport Russian natural gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and onward to western Europe. Brussels wants the project frozen, pending a decision on whether it violates the EU competition regulations on a single energy market. It believes South Stream does not comply with the rules prohibiting energy producers from also controlling pipeline access.

Therein, of course, lies the rub, because as Europe has learned the hard way so many times, its overrliance on Russia for both the production and the transit of gas means that it has absolutely no leverage over the Kremlin - something recent events in Ukraine have only confirmed.

Putin, earlier today, merely cemented the reality that it is not so much about who controls the energy transit pipelines, but whose influence controls Europe: America's or Russia's. "The US opposes the Russian South Stream gas pipeline project because it wants to supply gas to Europe itself, President Putin said on Tuesday. He called the situation an "ordinary competitive struggle."

“They do everything to disrupt this contract. There is nothing unusual here. This is an ordinary competitive struggle. In the course of this competition, political tools are also being used,” the Russian president said after holding talks with his Austrian counterpart, President Heinz Fischer, in Vienna.

"We are in talks with our contract partners, not with third parties. That our US friends are unhappy about South Stream, well, they were unhappy in 1962 too, when the gas-for-pipes project with Germany was beginning. Now they are unhappy too, nothing has changed, except the fact that they want to supply to the European market themselves," Putin stated.

Should this happen, American gas “will not be cheaper than Russian gas – pipe gas is always cheaper than liquefied gas,” Putin stressed.

* * *

Which in turn brings us to the culmination of the political struggle over the South Stream, when earlier today, in yet another coup for the Kremlin, one of the most stable and respected European countries, AAA-rated Austria gave its final approval to the "controversial" Russian gas pipeline project early Tuesday, defying EU officials and welcoming Russian President Vladimir Putin to the neutral country that has been a long-standing energy customer for Moscow.

As Reuters reports, "the chief executives of Russia's Gazprom and Austria's OMV sealed the deal to build a branch of the South Stream gas pipeline to Austria, a staunch defender of the project in the face of opposition from the European Commission."

In other words, one short month after Putin concluded the Holy Grail deal with Beijing, he not only managed to formalize his conquest of Europe's energy needs with yet another pipeline, one which completely bypasses Ukraine (for numerous reasons but mostly one: call it a Plan B), but scored a massive political victory by creating a fissure in the heart of the Eurozone, after Austria openly defied its European peers and sided with Putin.

Needless to say, the European Commission is furious, and is digging in its heels saying South Stream does not comply with EU competition law because it offers no access to third parties. South Stream also, as noted above, counters the EU's policy of diversifying supply sources to reduce dependence on Russia.

But OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss, in a stunning moment of realpolitik clarity and admission that when it comes to the energy future of Europe, Putin is more important than Mario Draghi, told a news conference after the signing: "Europe needs Russian gas. Europe will need more Russian gas in future because European gas production is falling ... I think the European Union understands this, too."

Of course, they do. The only issue is they don't want to admit it because doing so seals Europea's fate as a vassal energy state of Russia. As for Europe's pipedream, pardon the pun, alternative of receiving LNG from the US, it was none other than Cnehiere CEO Charif Souki who said in April, when asked if Cheniere’s terminal could rescue eastern European countries from their dependence on Russia, that "It’s flattering to be talked about like this, but it’s all nonsense. It’s so much nonsense that I can’t believe anybody really believes it.

They don't, but it's all politics. And in politics it is all about wielding power, or submitting to it. Austria did the latter today, and by defecting on its European peers, it may have started a process that leads to the splintering of the Eurozone itself, with none other than Vladimir Putin once again pulling the strings.

The project has pitted European industry against politicians in Brussels, and divided South Stream supporters - which stretch from Germany through the heavily Russia-dependent central and southeastern Europe - from other EU member states.


On a one-day working visit to Vienna that drew some criticism in the EU, Putin spoke of close business ties to Austria, the first western European country to sign, in 1968, long-term gas supply deals with Moscow.


He called Austria an "important and reliable" partner for Russia, which is Austria's third-biggest non-EU trading partner after the United States and Switzerland.


Austrian President Heinz Fischer also defended the South Stream project, saying: "No one can explain to me - and I can't explain to the Austrian people - why a pipeline that crosses EU and NATO countries can't go 50 km into Austria."

Oh and for the record, the Austrian president said "He said he opposed sanctions against Moscow"... just in case the next time Europe dares to pass off any Russian sanctions over Ukraine decision as unanimous.

And speaking of Ukraine, things got downright bizarre in Vienna when the head of Austria's chamber of commerce reminded Putin that part of Ukraine had belonged to Austria in 1914.  "What is that supposed to mean? What are you proposing?" Putin quipped, eliciting laughter from the business elite. Next thing you know Putin will be joking about annexing Hungary...

And there you have it, just in case it was still unclear: what is happening in Ukraine is all a big joke to the power brokers in Europe, the "business elite" - the decision has long since been made that Putin will see no objection by said elite to whatever his intentions with regard to the irrelevant and civil war-torn country are. Aside, of course, from the token CIA and US theater fit simply for lower common denominator consumption.

The joint South Stream Austria project will be 50 percent owned by Gazprom – Russia's largest gas producer – and 50 percent owned by Austria’s OMV Group, the country’s largest oil and gas company.

Austria's president Fischer stated that if anyone criticizes Austria, they should also criticize other member countries and their companies.

“I suppose that there will be no such moment when such a country as Austria will not be holding talks with a partner, which has intense relations with us, and will not be ready to negotiate with it,” the Austrian leader said.

We know such a dialogue does not contradict any EU decision,” he added. What he meant is that nobody in Europe can tell Putin what to do.

* * *

As for the logistical issues of the pipeline, now that the agreement has been signed, they will all be resolved in due course: Gazprom chief Alexei Miller said earlier he was in weekly if not daily contact with European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger about winning approval for the South Stream project.

"We solve problems as they come up, and now the problem of construction of the pipeline is to be solved," Miller said.

The pipeline deal does not address the question of third-party access, which is required by EU law to prevent the owner of an energy source from monopolising its distribution channels. OMV's Roiss said the issue must be negotiated with Brussels.  Roiss said the Austrian part of the pipeline, which is planned to be built in 2016 and deliver its first gas supplies around the start of 2017, would comply fully with European law.

Gazprom and OMV said they would split the 200 million euro ($272 million) costs of building the 50-km (31- mile) Austrian stretch of South Stream, which in total will be 2,446 km long. The total cost of the South Stream pipeline is $40 billion.

At the end of the day it's only capex: money that is more than returned to the investor in the long-run. America may remember capex - it's what companies did before they pushed financial engineering beyond the edge, all in the pursuit of short-term capital appreciation gains. And if Gazprom can't fund it, we are confident China would be delighted to invest in the project by buying a few billion Renminbi-denominated bonds.

* * *

So congratulations to Putin: today he merely further cemented his status as Europe's default energy provider. But not only that. As Reuters noted some politicians have warned that Putin may try to exploit divisions between friendly EU states, such as neutral Austria with its traditionally good ties to Moscow, and those like Britain that want to take a harder line.

"Obviously ... Putin wants to split the European Union. That's nothing new. That's what the Russians always try to do when they are in a corner," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told Austrian broadcaster ORF on Monday.

Well, Mr. Bildt, Russia certainly succeeded in sowing the seeds of even more discord in the European Union, whose most stable country just sided with Putin and told all of its European "partners", Merkel and Cameron included, a big fuck you. As for your completely wrong remark about just who is "in the corner" we will let it slip: after all, as that other European career politician Jean-Claude Juncker taught us, when it gets serious, you have to lie.

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localsavage's picture

I guess that not everyone buys the EU energy policies

palmereldritch's picture

Western backed Nazi coup and annexation of Austria in 3, 2, 1....

SWRichmond's picture

notice who is bypassed by the South Stream project...an energy-starved nato partner...Turkey.

stoneworker's picture

I think I remember Turkey already suggesting that they would play ball on the South Stream project if asked....so if Bulgaria decides to wait for the EU commission to decide(US LNG) I think building the pipeline through Turkey could be a possibility.

knukles's picture


Narrowly missed by most of the press was a surreptitious recording of the National Security Council today discussing the Austrian decision.
Partial transcript follows:

VJ:  Well, they've gone and done it now, dammit!
BO:  Who?
VJ:  The Austrians
BO:  I wonder how they keep the kangaroos off the greens?
VJ:  No, the Austrians!  NSA, have you anything we can use?
NSA: We have recordings of illicit underage transvestite kangaroo sex from the SEC

And so the discussion continued long into the night, fueled by heavy consumption of fois gras and caviar seized at numerous border crossings which needed to be recycled before the use by dates passed.

VJ:  Waste not want not!
MO: Ah, the fallacy that the liberals don't see.
VJ:  What's that?
MO: That political correctness is merely fascism with a smiley face.
VJ:  I'll toast to that!
MO: Pass the Dom Perignon!

markmotive's picture

Putin didn't get to be possibly the richest man in the world for being stupid.


MeBizarro's picture

No he got their the classic Russian way - intimidiation, fear, and threat. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Side tracking, ad hominems, strawsman etc...

Seems is all this what Kievan Yatzi Junta Citizenism Banderatards can provide.

MeBizarro's picture

Really?  Please provide a single example of what Putin 'created' and 'invented' or was critical to enjoy his supposed wealth?  He strong-armed his way into pure and simple 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Banderatarded Kievan Yatzi Junta Citizenism citizens and their propaganda. Cheaper by the day. Now they want you to explain them when their propaganda so obvioulsy fails.

chumbawamba's picture

I gotta give it to this dictatorial bastard: he plays this shit really well.

I am Chumbawamba.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Tylers, this is ridiculous. You need some more Tylers based in -1 and 0 GMT. Not getting my daily dose of ZH until after lunch makes the mornings drag on without reprieve.

Ghordius's picture

LOL. know what you mean. yet let's face it, ZH is a small affair, and the main Tyler seems to be based in NY

you could do some homework, in the morning. go to http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-24/momentous-eu-summit-week , I was missing your angle, there

Wolferl's picture

And anyone who thinks that was done without the consent of the German government is a fool.

jeff montanye's picture

compare his leadership with that of boris yeltsin, as a starting point.

gonetogalt's picture

I read  'and by defecting on its European peers,'   as 'defecating on its european peers'.

pob's picture

I think your map needs updating Crimea is pink how !

luftmensch's picture

It seems hard to believe there would naturally be this many Putin lovers on this site?! Is it one guy with a bunch of fake Zerohedge accounts and proxy servers???

TheMeatTrapper's picture

He should get there like our western heroes like Madonna, Michael Jackson and Brittany. Then he could run around doing drugs, molesting kids and  going to rehab. Maybe he could marry a wealthy ketchup heiress. Maybe he could ne like John McCain and ride the coat tails of a powerful daddy. Maybe a low speed chase in a white Bronco after cutting his wife's throat. He really should follow our examples. Our way is so much better. 


MeBizarro's picture

Of because Putin is an example of morality with at least one public mistress and many rumored others.  Let's not forget about how people cultural, political, or economic have ended up too since Putin came to power in Russia.  Jail, leave, and in some extreme cases assasination. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Playing defensive, side tracking...

MeBizarro's picture

Did you provide any examples?  Of course not because there are none publicly available and how has any idea what Putin has stashed away domestically and internationally.  Just idiotic buzzword ranting which is par for the course for a lot of ZH posters. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Did you provide any examples?  Of course not because there are none publicly available and how has any idea what Putin has stashed away domestically and internationally.

Banderatards have this special knack at dealing one statement and in the same breath, a non compatible statement.

I suggest you read your own sentence again. No ideas about what Putin has stashed away means that your claims of great theft, looting, pilfering are without ground and very zero.

But hey, dont worry, Kievan Yatzi Junta Citizenism citizens' standards are highly volatile and can shift with the wind.

chumbawamba's picture

Are you two queers seriously going back and forth about this shit?  Shut the fuck up, this is stupid.  His sycophancy is stupid and your taking his sycophancy seriously is equally as stupid (if not more so because you should know better).

I am Chumbawamba.

mumcard's picture

This from the pretentious asshole that has to announce his user ID at the end of every worthless post?

Miles Ahead's picture

KEYBOARD KOOL-AID ALERT!!!!!!  FUCK ME!!  Back to the MacStore.


And you forgot, it's usually "I am Chuwumbaba" or whatever.  But when he get's put in his place he just signs off "Chumba". lol...

Lore's picture

Whose hands are dirtiest?

MeBizarro's picture

Like the difference between various kind of cr@p.  Look I'm far from a 'ra ra American' and have no problem with this deal especially since it is in the Europeans best interest and Austria/Russia in particular. 

Just don't tell me that Putin's hands aren't dirty either and that he is come kind of force of moral good or openness.  He isn't.  Just has been outmanuevuring the US and has a much stronger hand especially when it comes to local geographic issues & energy.   

jeff montanye's picture

even assuming all you say about putin is true, and it isn't, the cold russian winter has no force of moral good or openness, yet it helped defeat napoleon and hitler.

see how that works?

Miles Ahead's picture

Yup. You got that right.  And oh look... they're at it again...

hobopants's picture

Alot of these misguided souls are rightfully fed up with the west's crap, and human nature being what it is they go over to the other extreme without thinking about it too much.

The common thought process on here seems to be "I hate the west, Putin hates the west, therefore Putin is my friend". They don't want to think about it much more than that, and any sort of truth shone upon Putin and his mafioso tactics threatens the fantasy they have built up around him.

The sad truth is they are weak and need somebody to believe in. They were tired of being America's bitch, so they willingly became Putins.

It's actually pretty damn funny, especially if you are familar with the soviet cult of personality phenomenon. If Putin knew the amount of useful idiots and tools he had at his disposal at ZH, he would be overjoyed.

Ideally they would have the capacity to view Russia (and everything else) with the same keen and critical eye that they view the west with, but then they would lose their security blanket and the world would be a scary place without the fantasy that a Russian dictator is going to look out for them and protect them from the boogeyman.


Lore's picture

You oversimplify, which is easy to do, considering your jingoistic frame of reference. It's hard to shake. We share the difficult position of having to choose from among a variety of evils, the most dangerous being servants of the "NWO." It can be argued that all sides are part of the same game grid.  Fair enough.  But which would you rather see: default on U.S. debt and reform of the monetary system along the multipolar lines brought forward by Eastern representatives, or the my-way-or-the-highway-fuck-you approach witnessed presently?  Because left unchecked, they are going to bring their destructive hell into your back yard, and really don't care which flag you wave.  The pyramid in their utopia is more steep and more bloody than the alternative.

hobopants's picture


You accuse me of over simplifying then produce a false dilema that contains only two possible outcomes to a complex situation...

You also dimiss my stance as jingoistic without substantiating your accustation with any evidence.

Sophistry at it's finest.

I also highly suggest you study the definition and contextual meaning of words before you use them, particularly Jingoism. I can only guess you made the false assumption that I support western hegemony because I question the motivations behind Putin's maneuvering.

(Either that or you possesed just enough intelligence to dimly grasp that it carried a negative connotation, and hoped that it's use would discredit me and lend weight to your otherwise weak argument/tangent/off topic rant.)

This would be incorrect, I'm merely lamenting the slavish, non-thinking worship of the man displayed by characters such as yourself.

Basically you tried to change the subject and paint me as a NWO shill because you got upset that I attacked the cult of Putin.

Props for speaking up though, most the idiots around here just hit the red arrow button because it hurts their feelings.


Miles Ahead's picture

I also highly suggest you study the definition and contextual meaning of words before you use them

I, on the other hand, highly suggest you study the definition and contextual meaning of "yourself" before you use them.  Or it. Whatever.

Here: http://grammartips.homestead.com/self.html

Also provide a link for "dilema" as we idiots have no idea what that means.  Meanwhile I'm finished with my homework on "sophistry", "jingoism" and "derp derp".

Have a nice day idiot.


hobopants's picture

You still failed to produce an argument...but I'm glad I was able to help you expand your vocabulary, you badly need it.

I also greatly admire your use of the ad hominem fallacy to compensate for your lack of the ability to actually discuss what's being argued. You try, despite your mental handicap, and that's all that matters.

Me: "I beileve it is dangerous to idolize Putin, hero worship and nationalism has led to some of the worst atrocities seen by mankind and the trend I see on this site scares me, because people who are able to see corruption so well in the west have a huge blind spot when it comes to the east, thanks to their hatred of the current system."

Miles up Putin's ass: "You did a typo, and r dumb! long live Putin! I will defend you foreverez my Putin love"


Sirius Wonderblast's picture

Now come on, the thing that has been proven truly and unutterably dangerous through time is reeeeligion.

Miles Ahead's picture

@Lore, you understood that selective-reality spaghetti logic?  My hat's off to you.  I read it sober, read it high, but couldn't make good sense of it either way. 

I'm about to man-up, pinch my nose, and try to plough through the follow-up response.  Wish me luck...

hobopants's picture

@Miles up Putin's ass

Cool argument bro, I especially like the part where you contributed your well thought out counterpoints. Oh wait...you got your feelings hurt and dismissed it as "Selective-reality spaghetti logic" without actually intelligently refuting any of it, and then high fived poor Lore in the hopes of some circle jerk action? got ya! I'm sure he will oblige, I hear he has a new putin poster for you guys to view while you go at it.

luftmensch's picture

"without thinking about it too much."  Yes, but all the comments and votes on this site seem particularly well coordinated.  I would say ZH is on a list of sites targeted by Russian propagandists.  The Chinese have small armies of people who surf the web with multiple accounts, ask questions, answer them, upvote, downvote, etc., to continue to push their views about everything on the world.  I'm pretty sure we're seeing the same thing here.


Even crazy ZH readers don't love Putin this much.  This is flagrant psychological warfare being perpetrated on this site in real-time folks.  This and other sites are now part of the battleground for Russian expansionism.  They rightly see that those critical of the status quo might just be easy prey to their ludicrous talking points, especially if they repeat them over and over and over.

kenny's picture

Gimme more your prop dude!

JuliaS's picture

Putin got rid of western leaches who've infiltrated Russia under Yeltzin, and did it in a way to ensure they don't come back. He's looking out for his interest, which also happens to be the interest of the country, unlike here, where politicians and people are polar opposites. Because of his foresight and leadership, Vlad probably has better approval rating amongst Americans than the Telepdompter Diva-in-chief.


EverythingEviL's picture

Oh that's rich. I'm sure Vlads interest is the same as that of "his people". Just like Obummers interests are one in the same as America's people. I'll give it to Putin, he plays his populace like a fiddle when it comes to stirring up pride in ones own nation. You seem like a prime example Julia of one of the fools he's got singing his tune, because I'm damn sure that Russian politicians, Vlad included have the interest of their people first and foremost in their minds. Go sell your garbage somewhere else. You've got as big a political mafia there as we do here. Wake up you idiot

JuliaS's picture

 Gorbachev helped demolish the bankrupt USSR, destroying the iron curtain and opening public to direct influence of Western media. That was step 1 of the infiltration campaign. As soon as the nation warmed up to the idea of foreign intervention, the IMF financed coup got rid of Gorbachev's cabinet and installed Yeltzin, who opened the capital and resource doors to the West. IMF structured loans were the key aspect of his reforms. Under his rule, investment dollars rushed in, factories, mines and pipelines were privatized by the outsiders, and the Ruble was destroyed going through multiple devaluations due to Russian debts being denominated in foreign currencies. That eventually lead to defaults.
 When Putin entered office, he promised not to rock the boat and was unopposed by oligarchs who treated him as a friend, he then quickly changed tune, reclaiming all that was valuable by exterminating the vultures and putting his friends as replacements.
 Russia ended up benefiting tremendously under his rule. He kicked out Europeans and Americans, while keeping the money. Well, good for him, and good for Russia. He pulled Iceland on the IMF, and that's why they're so pissed.

EverythingEviL's picture

Well thanks for the history lesson, though I already knew it. You glossed over my point being that Putin is as big a criminal as any of them and that he cares nothing of anyone outside his circle. The same goes for Obama and his cronies. You speak of him as Russian hero and such a great patriot. This patriotic bullshit is the mind of thing that makes people like you and so many others fall hook, line, and sinker for all these idiots in power.

JuliaS's picture

All politicians are criminals. The difference is when private interests are alighned with those of the country, such as in Russian case, or being at odds like in America.

Russia's a big country with vast resources and valuable land. It takes a special kind of leader to run it. Putin's a perfect fit for Russia. Stalin, despite his war crimes and repressions was right for Russia. He used WW2 as an oportunity to expand borders.

Gorbachev and Yeltzin facilitated an outflow of resources. That was bad for the country as whole. Putin generates inflows of capital. That is good. In comparison, the lineup of recent politicians in America is like a lineup of Yeltzins. All they do is help foreign banks and offshore corporations plunder the land of its dwindlign resources. Instead of avoilding costly all out wars, like Putin, our presidents are eager to throw us into as many conflicts as possible. And it shows.

There's the kind of "selfish" that's good of the country - the kind of selfish that raises the standard of living and there's a bad kind of selfish - the kind that eradicates the middle class.

In Russia, prior to Putin there was no middle class. Even when Russia abandoned communist model and switched to a democracy, people didn't get any richer. All the resources were flowing off shore. His power grab helped lift Russia from dirt it was in for 10+ years.

Clinton, Bush and Obama together helped destroy whatever little was left of our economy. Thanks to them the middle class is practically extinct, the jobs are gone and the money will eventually be worthless.

luftmensch's picture

Julia is actually an example of many Russians who believe facism is good.  However, the younger generation of Russians is more idealistic and would like to move towards a more open, free, democratic society rather than a klepto-oligarchy.  Putin has brought stability to Russia, but the price for that is that most of the wealth goes to his small group of friends, and Russia's economy is fucked -- try starting a small business there.  Due to the lack of opportunty, they will continue to not develop new industry, and lose their best and brightest.  Their main wealth just comes from pumping rotting ancient forests from the ground (oil) to create more global warming.  Lets all hope that Russia can continue to take small steps towards a freer happier societal structure.

FlyingDutchman's picture

I don't know about others, but I kind of secretly think he's the only one who could clean up our mess.

I can't believe I'm even considering this, but it's true.

Calmyourself's picture

Cough, Polonium,ahem..  I think no one is fooled by the ex KGB agent but sometimes a pure bastard is admirable in the sense he embodies the purity of the title..

FlyingDutchman's picture

Fortunately, western justice is fair and balanced, press is free and independant, politics is clean from money, and people love their leaders.

Just to be sure <sarc>