Putin to the Russian Far East: ‘Why do you need cars? You don’t have roads.’

One of the four bridges in Primorye region of the Russian Far East that have collapsed in the first five months of 2016. (Image: kp.ru)

One of the four bridges in Primorye region of the Russian Far East that have collapsed in the first five months of 2016. (Image: kp.ru) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Many Russians believe that Dmitry Medvedev long ago retired the Marie Antoinette prize for the most insensitive statement by a Russian official concerning the standard of living of the Russian people, a prize he keeps reacquiring with claims that things are getting better when in fact they are getting worse.

But it is quite possible that Vladimir Putin may edge out his prime minister with a statement that he made not long ago about Russians’ inability to afford cars given that prices for them have risen and the incomes of Russians have fallen. He asked Khabarovsk residents

“Why do you need cars? You don’t have roads.”

Commenting on the state of the Russian economy, Moscow commentator Aleksandr Nemets cites this remark in support of his contention that all official claims notwithstanding, the Russian economy isn’t coming out of the crisis. Instead, he says, it is mired in “a catastrophe” from which no exit is visible.

Among the statistics he adduces to make that argument are those showing a dramatic fall off in the sales of cars and light trucks since 2012 and the collapse of the Russian GDP from 2.232 trillion US dollars in 2013 to 1.10 trillion US dollars this year, a decline of 50 percent.

The former figure put Russia above India and Canada, although less than China and Brazil and sparked Moscow propagandists to talk about “overcoming Germany.” But the latter one means that Russia has fallen to 14th in the world, ahead of many developing countries but far behind those it normally compares itself with.

Russian officials, of course, contest these figures, claiming that the decline totaled only three percent over that period. But their claims show only that Rosstat and other figures in the Russian government simply lie, as any examination of the details of the country’s economy show, including those on automobile sales which have tanked.

According to Rosstat, real per capita incomes in Russia fell all of 15 or 16 percent, but it achieves those numbers only by manipulating inflation rates and thus putting itself in a position to claim that the declines in income and thus consumption were not as great as they in fact have been.

If one uses the inflation estimates of independent experts, per capita income fell over this period by 30 to 35 percent, more than twice what Moscow admits. Retail trade fell by 30 percent, and investment over this period fell “at a minimum” by 20 percent. State spending as a whole didn’t fall, but social spending collapsed.

That reflects the fact that spending on internal security and defense rose by 72 percent: from 2.2 trillion rubles in 2013 to 3.8 trillion in 2016.

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And all these catastrophic declines become even more obvious if one focuses on those things that individual Russians can feel in their daily life. Among the ones Nemets cites are the following:

Not only do Russians now view a car once again as in Soviet times as a luxury, but a third of them lack the money to buy cheese, sausage or fish.

That isn’t a crisis: it is a catastrophe. Worse, it isn’t ending, Nemets concludes.


Edited by: A. N.

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  • Mykola Banderachuk

    funny guy this putin guy

  • veth

    Russians love to be poor.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I doubt that, but the average Dwarfstanian is simply too lethargic and apathetic to do anything about the dismal state of affairs in the country. Solzhenitzyn remarked that the major revolts in the Gulag in the 1950s e.g. Vorkuta were instigated by Ukrainians, not Dwarfstanians.

      • RedSquareMaidan

        But little Mr. Platform Shoes tells his Sheep that it is patriotic to suffer for their Dear Leader as he increases domestic security and surveillance by 72%.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          It’s high time the Sheep put cotton wool in their ears and tell little Mr. Platform Shoes to get stuffed!

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    Spending some 33% of the budget on the security services and the armed forces when the economy is going down the drain simply makes no sense at all. One can’t eat MiGs, Sukhois or Armatas (the latter don’t even work properly). Despite all of the dwarf’s propaganda, NATO isn’t going to attack Dwarfstan. Nor will China- Peking will get its territories back through immigration, legal or otherwise, and gaining economic control of Dwarfstan’s Far East. It’s already well on the way to achieving precisely that.

  • veth

    More Armatas on Russia’s roads!

    • Quartermaster

      If they can’t afford Russian made, how will the afford Nissan’s vehicles? 😉

      • veth

        I mean, for the quality of Russian roads………….

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          But Armatas don’t work, and there was a report last year that the plant building them is almost bankrupt. Not even Dwarfstanians will buy something that doesn’t work, hence their preference for Japanese and European cars.
          Anyway, for Dwarfstan’s roads an old T-34 or T-54 should be more than sufficient, and there are lots of the former as monuments all over the country. They can always be used as transport after removing the turrets and installing a sheet metal cabin in its place.

          • MichaelA

            thats the point
            armatas dont tear up roads because they dont go anywhere

  • Eolone

    They need asses. Whip those asses. No road, no problem.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      There are lots of asses in the Kremlin, and the biggest ass is the demented dwarf Pedo Vladito Putolini.

  • zorbatheturk

    There always seems to money for mobile ICBMs but. RuSSians will just have to make their own sausages, from rat meat. Here’s the formula: 2 parts rat, 3 parts gristle, 5 parts sawdust. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste… Hint: slice thinly, so the rat salami lasts longer…

    • Mick Servian

      Hahaha sure buddy.
      The Russians believe you deeply care for their wellbeing.
      I mean its well known Ukrainian fascists are the protectors of Europe from the mongol horde. Lol

      • zorbatheturk

        Only fascists are in the Kremlin Putin assboy.

  • Dirk Smith

    Just like old times in third-world ruSSia. Once the West quits enabling this sociopath, then the end will come. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f7d495d3807e5709a644aaf3da53d739232731fd2af79b10a37c3c1e921d467f.jpg

    • Mick Servian

      I really don’t know if it’s more sad or amusing seeing racist bigots dole out advice and revising history on here.

  • Tony

    and the reason the mineral rich far east doesnt have roads is because moscow takes all the profits and returns almost nothing. Russians in the far east would be better off independent.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The centre i.e. Moscow is totally dependent on the resources of Siberia, and would quickly collapse if Siberia were ever to become independent or annexed by China. The dwarf or his successors will do everything to prevent this, including sending in the army if necessary. Oil and gas revenues make up about 55-60% of Dwarfstan’s state budget.
      One is reminded of Lenin’s description of the situation in pre-revolutionary Russia- “What Ireland was for England, the Ukraine has become for Russia: exploited in the exreme, receiving nothing in return.” All one has to do to make this very relevant to the current situation is to alter “the Ukraine” to “Siberia”.

    • Mick Servian

      Yeah they really believe you.
      Imagine how far they would get listening to you.

  • Mykry

    “Why do they need cars?” They have tanks.

  • Brent

    Same question should be asked of the demented dwarf….

    “Vladimir, why do you need to be a “World Power” when you’ve got no navy and economy to support such fantasies”???