Among most hated people in Russia who are associated closely with a catastrophe of 1990s and the so called "liberal" reforms, and who still remain important government figures, two stand out. One is a chairman of Russia's Central Bank Elvira Nabiulina and Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. I omit here all kinds of freaks such as German Gref or Anatoly Chubais who are not government employees, nor Alexei Kudrin is really a person who decides much at his position of a Chairman of the Accounting Chamber, albeit, he is an excellent auditor and that, realistically, is where he should remain. Anton Siluanov, however, is a permanent fixture of Russian government for years and years and he is a designated main "liberal" there. It is more remarkable then to hear such admissions from him such as this (made around 10 days ago) in his interview to Vedomosti:
"Лет пять назад, если бы нефть Urals стоила дешевле 15 долларов - то есть бюджет не получает ни копейки нефтегазовых доходов, - это был бы кризис. А сейчас на нефть уже не так обращают внимание, потому что мы создали необходимые финансовые буферы и даже при цене 10 долларов проживем. Это прошлая война, и к ней мы подготовлены, а сегодня перед нами вызов абсолютно нового масштаба.... cейчас перед нами новые задачи – защита здоровья и жизни людей"
Translation: About five years ago, if Urals brand of oil would have had a price of $15--meaning the the budget wouldn't have received a cent of oil-gas profits--that would have been crisis. Nowadays, we don't pay attention to oil that much, because all necessary financial buffers have been created and even with the price of $10 per barrel we would have survived. That is the past war and we are prepared to it, today we have a challenge of absolutely new scale... now our main task is defending health and lives of people.
It is down right fascinating hearing a person with such background speaking in these terms and increasingly changing the modality of this rather new political tune. This change reflects, obviously, a fundamental shift which occurred within Russian political class against the background of COVID-19. Urals, as of now, fluctuates around $29-30 a barrel, a price, which is fairly comfortable for Russia's budget (and economy), not to mention the geopolitical fallout from Saudis shredding their budget while not forgetting to buy US assets, including in US energy. Funny world we all live in. This world being funny, however, does not negate a grim reality, which was predicted, and cannot be denied anymore:
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- American oil producers have cut much more output than you think. Their reaction to market forces has been bigger than official data suggest, and that means the U.S. is actually working alongside Saudi Arabia, Russia and other big oil producers, to help balance oil supply and demand — even if that wasn’t quite what President Donald Trump intended. Two sets of data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that crude production is now about 11.6 million barrels a day, down by between 1.2 million and 1.4 million barrels a day, or roughly 10%, from plateau levels reached over the just-ended winter, depending on whether you use the weekly or the monthly numbers.
Just read the whole article and at this stage keep in mind this simple fact that the issue is NOT about if it is now 2.4 million barrels per day the US oil cut--not at all--but if, as also was predicted, the cut will be along the lines of somewhere between 5-6.5 mbpds. That is the issue, once the US will resign to the fact that it is back to being net-importer of energy. The fact is, no matter what President Trump intended, the economic and geopolitical reality is ruthless--it is not affected by lies, spin, misreporting of many Western media, unless we are talking about some segments of Western clueless public, and reality is constituted by a combination and interplay of factors many of which never make out into the light of public attention. Or putting it in simple lingo--Russians became better, much better, capitalists than Americans. They also retained most of skills in running the country with a high level of government intervention, when needed. This is the lesson in adapting which probably will not be learned. In real world silly intentions and faith in a magic ability to wish problems away do not work. Never did, albeit some in US still believe in this "magic", like this moron who passes in the US for "diplomat", who was charged with "fighting" ISIS.
This is everything one needs to know about US foreign policy both in economic and military terms, but then again, one is free to browse the whole thesis by this cretin here. It is a tour de force of sheer incompetence and delusion. But then again, US has a rich history of supporting all kinds of humanitarian terrorists, so it is not surprising that this glorious tradition is preserved by people like Jeffrey and his ilk. In the end, it is also possible to declare in media anything one wants, facts on the ground be damned. It seems the neocon schizophrenia is a feature of the American political discourse and it will run the US into the ground--in the end, it is not far from its final destination. As one pundit observed:
On a personal level, most of these neoconservatives turned Never-Trumpers are very nice people. I’ve known many of them for years. They are serious about their faith, family, and country, and treat others with respect. But politics isn’t about being nice, it’s about the real impact of policy on people’s lives—both at home and abroad. By any measurable standard, their careers are failures. Their policies have killed, yes, literally killed, hundreds of thousands, and they should not be taken seriously.
Well, he describes here typical psychopaths--a dominant type in US politics and in the world turned upside down, failure IS success, and murder IS a gift of life. After all, many Nazi leaders were excellent family men and cared deeply about their faith, country and treated others with respect. The only difference--they WERE taken seriously by others and ended up on the stand as war criminals, responsible for tens of millions killed. People like Jefferey--and they infest D.C.--may end up helping to kill hundreds of millions, not to speak of billions. In this case, we may, if we survive, state that their careers were a total success.