Video: The Pikalyovo Incident

Recently the Russian industrial town of Pikalyovo exploded in protests over unemployment and wage arrears – prompting Putin to fly in for a big media visit, which involved a public dressing down of Kremlin loyalist businessman Oleg Deripaska and an immediate payout to the protestors from the state budget.  This was followed by a threat from President Medvedev to fire any governors who show themselves incapable of handling economic unrest.  These incidents both represent an important indication of how the Russian government is handling social unrest related to the global economic crisis.  Paul Goble, a blogger and former state department diplomat (among many other former postings), recently met with me in Dupont Circle, Washington DC, to discuss the Pikalyovo incident.

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One Comment

  1. rkka
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    The first sign of destructive criticism is that it seeks to drive expectations to impossible levels, and that’s all Goble is giving here. Vladimir Putin didn’t make these one-industry towns. Fixing them is the work of several decades, and breaking the political power of the Oligarchs is one of the first required steps.And Medvedev/Putin have managed this global financial collapse very well, to the chagrin of those like The Economist who want to see Russians impoverished further so they will rise against their government. They’ve left the banks and the oligarchs to restructure their debts as they can, while we’re still throwing money into the bottomless pit that is the US “shadow” banking system.And compare it to what’s happening in the Baltics, so recently held up as an example of what the Russian government should do, where the Latvian people are being crucified by their government on a cross of Euros.