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Grigory Pasko: A Letter from Iceland, Part 2

See Pasko’s first dispatch from Iceland here. viking101408Descendants of the Vikings or Political Correctness in Iceland Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. On 5 October of this year in Reykjavik one Icelandic newspaper took from me an interview. On that same day telejournalists also took an interview, having promised to put it on the air the next day. On the next day, the 6th, the interview came out in the paper, but was not shown on television. On that same day, the 6th of October, two more newspapers took interviews. And promised to publish them on the 7th. And on that same day, but later in time than when the interviews had taken place, it became known that Russia would supposedly allocate 4 billion euros to Iceland in the capacity of financial aid for overcoming a crisis. Neither on the 7th, or the 8th, or the 9th of October were the interviews published. Nor did television show air the interview with me. Representatives of the Icelandic branch of Amnesty International, the organization that had invited me to Iceland, were unable to ascertain the reasons for such censorship.

And now I will tell you about what specifically I spoke in my interviews with reference to certain specialists in Russia, for example, to former vice-premier of the Russian government Boris Nemtsov, as well as to the opinion of the writer Viktor Shenderovich. I spoke about how the Russian economy had become fully dependent on the export of energy sources, and the financial system — on speculative foreign capital. All the de rigeur talk about high technologies and the “knowledge economy” has remained just that – talk.The conception of a “Eurasian Nigeria” (an energy empire) has gained a foothold: the unrestrained export of raw materials combined with a refusal to use natural raw-materials advantages for the re-industrialization of the economy; a line towards a firm raising of raw-materials prices for the population.The military-industrial complex: the untiring export of old Soviet weaponry and just as not-young technologies, a paralysis of new large-scale elaborations, on the strength of this — a rapid loss of the main external marketing outlets, the Chinese and the Indian; with equivalent consequences for our entire MIC.Foreign policy: the loss by Russia of the status of a regional power and political center of the post-Soviet space (which manifested itself with overwhelming force during the time of the Ossetian war of 8-12 August).The bureaucracy, both the civilian and the siloviki one: total corruption, the carrying out by the apparat of any policy decisions only in the presence of the direct material interests of the official doing the carrying out.The minister of finance of Russia is boasting that the super-risky investments in the bonds of US mortgage brokers teetering on the verge of bankruptcy had brought a whole 3-4% per annum (which is little even by comparison with US treasury obligations) — while Russian business, artificially bled white by the state, was forced because of this to take loans at a rate several times higher. Even Gazprom is placing 30-year bonds at 7.28%! The average rate for short-term loans to Russian enterprises, according to the data of the Bank of Russia, is more than 11%. If we take out the largest corporations, we will see: that same money that Russia is giving to developed countries at 3-4% per year is returning to Russian business at 13-14%, or even higher.par101408Photos: a proud and fearless Viking (top left of article) and his descendants (above) soaking in a hot spring (photo by Grigory Pasko)In the last eight years, Putin has built up typical corrupt Latin-American state capitalism. The flagship of this state capitalism is the company Gazprom. This company has somehow managed in eight years, while the economy of the country grew by more than 70%, to not increase the production of gas at all. Increase in production in the year 2008 in comparison with the year 2007 – zero percent. This company has managed to borrow on international markets money in a sum of 60 bln dollars, which comprises 60%, even more, of its proceeds.I also talked about how in Russia there are no independent judiciary; independent mass information media; oppositional activity is suppressed; the rights of people are being violated…And so on and so forth.Of course, had I known about the 4 bln euros BEFORE THESE INTERVIEWS, I would certainly have made the necessary accents. But on the whole, the directionality of my speaking would have been the same.And so I’m thinking that maybe my colleagues and their editors got scared to publish the conversations with me in those days when all of Iceland, especially its leadership, was singing the praises of the financial aid promised by Russia? Did they end up walking obediently on the leash of that notorious political correctness? If this is so, then I am sad for the descendants of the brave Vikings. If this is not so, then I’m still waiting for the interviews to appear in print and on the air…