Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, May 20, 2018

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday opened a $4 billion bridge directly linking Russia to Crimea, giving him a propaganda victory that drew condemnation from the West and served as the latest demonstration of his personalized system of power. Putin, clad in jeans and a jacket, walked on the Russian end of the 12-mile-long, four-lane bridge alongside the business mogul who built it -- Arkady Rotenberg, the president's former judo partner. Then Putin took the wheel and drove over the Kerch Strait of the Black Sea in an orange Kamaz dump truck -- manufactured by a state-owned company headed by Sergey Chemezov, Putin's KGB colleague in East Germany in the 1980s. Both Rotenberg and Chemezov are under U.S. sanctions.

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"It also underscored the Putin-centric system of political and economic patronage in Russia. Rotenberg's role as the builder of the bridge showed how Russia's billionaires have been able to leverage their closeness to Putin to further enrich themselves -- while also rendering services to the state.

The focus on Putin's role, however, also hinted at a less flattering reality: the untold number of poor roads, railroads and bridges across the country that don't benefit from the president's personal patronage.

The World Bank ranks the quality of Russia's trade and transport infrastructure at 94th in the world, just behind Tunisia and ahead of Colombia.

Across the country, Russians complain of corruption and poor execution hindering much-needed public works repairs and infrastructure projects. The government's push to pour money into Crimea will mean even fewer funds for projects elsewhere, said Dmitry Oreshkin, a Moscow political analyst."

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-16 12:23 AM | Reply

Frankfurt '76, Robin Trower in a small venue. --- outstanding.

#2 | Posted by et_al at 2018-05-16 04:26 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I'm looking forward to the story when Ukrainians blow it up. Were I Ukrainian it would be job #1. Putin built a target, don't worry, some enterprising young Ukrainians will destroy it. And I'll enjoy it.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2018-05-16 06:51 AM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

Annexed? Invaded.

#4 | Posted by 726 at 2018-05-16 09:30 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Crimea belonged to Russia after they won it in a war against the Ottomans. This was the land of the Muslim Tartars who are the original Russians. It still is.

Russians see Crimea as being a part of Russian identity. And it has a huge strategic value.

It was Khrushchev (a Ukrainian) who gave it away and made it part of Ukraine. He was possibly high on vodka at the time.

Anyway as it was all the USSR, it didn't matter.

But NOW... they just got back by force what was their right.

Nothing wrong with righting a wrong.

#5 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-05-16 11:23 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

- Nothing wrong with righting a wrong.

Sorry, Comrade, but the Ukraine had been given their independence by the SU, Nikita or not, 60 years before Putin decided to reform the SU... and get a popular vacation spot back again.

#6 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-16 01:03 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

What's Trumps $4B bridge go to?
DC to Mar-a-Lago expressway?

#7 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-05-16 01:07 PM | Reply

Anyway as it was all the USSR, it didn't matter.

But NOW... they just got back by force what was their right.

Nothing wrong with righting a wrong.

#5 | Posted by J_Tremain

These countries used to be part of the USSR, too. So I guess by your logic it will be ok if the USSR rights these "wrongs" with force, too?

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.

These countries also freed from soviet domination: Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania and Yugoslavia. Guess we should just let them take them back by force, too.

#8 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-05-16 07:30 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

The U.S. is fine with countries stealing land by force. Trump encourages it.

#9 | Posted by bored at 2018-05-16 10:15 PM | Reply

The U.S. is fine with countries stealing land by force. Trump encourages it.

#9 | POSTED BY BORED

Well, it does have precedent - Kelo

#10 | Posted by JeffJ at 2018-05-16 10:20 PM | Reply

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"Nothing wrong with righting a wrong.
#5 | Posted by J_Tremain "

Tremain has his eye on Kashmir.

#11 | Posted by danni at 2018-05-17 11:43 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

So J termain, you'd be okay with Mexico , " righting" a wrong by retaking what's theirs????

#12 | Posted by Zelkova at 2018-05-20 09:49 AM | Reply

#5 | Posted by J_Tremain

Your facts are as crooked as your reasoning. I hear the British are coming to reclaim what was once theirs...

Muslim Tartars the "Original Russians" - pricelessly funny since the Muslim religion didn't even exist until about the mid-600s. There are definitely two distinct groups of people - Russians (slavs) and "Tartars" (depending on your definition of Tartar). You need to stay consistent or clarify your meaning of Tartar as it has two very different ones. Cimmerians were the originally recorded Crimean people. Of course the Scythians and Greeks came too. Hey you are correct though that Crimean Tartars are considered Turkic and were originally Muslim though.

Khrushchev was a Russian and born in Russia. His Parents were Russian. His father worked in Donbas though - still Russian dominated. Keep in mind

And for the record look into how the Russians treat Tartars. About like the Turks treat Kurds.

#13 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-05-20 11:02 AM | Reply

Muslim religion didn't even exist until about the mid-600s

Islam was started by Adam and Eve.

DUH!

#14 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-05-20 01:07 PM | Reply

So J termain, you'd be okay with Mexico , " righting" a wrong by retaking what's theirs????

Ummm... better food. Better women.

Yeah. Sure. Why not?

And then let the Injuns have their pound of flesh too.

#15 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-05-20 01:12 PM | Reply

What this most applies to is Isreal... oops... I mean Palestine.

Occupiers will be eventually kicked out as the demographics change against them. No worries there.

#16 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-05-20 01:52 PM | Reply

The story here is that the USA conspired to make the Ukraine part of the West including NATO, contrary to negotiations which preceded the unification of Germany. Under the Carter administration Zbigniew Brzezinski identified Afghanistan and Ukraine as key regions to attack Russian strength. America made plans were made to destabilize these regions.

The USA has 800 foreign military bases and Russia has 8. Crimea is their only warm water port capable of supporting their nuclear submarines. Putin moved quickly to protect that property, which Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, had bequeathed to the Ukraine, when the Ukraine was a satellite State of Russia. Putin has surrendered most of the Ukraine but consolidated his annexation of Crimea, accomplished with the loss of one life, by building this bridge. This project prevents the need to annex other territory in the Ukraine, in order to supply Crimea, which has been isolated economically from Ukraine, by the West, which is angry about this outcome. Crimea provides Russia a level of parity in the arms race and will never be surrendered voluntarily.

Crony capitalism certainly built the bridge, just like all the American refineries and other oil transfer facilities in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East, just like many US bridges, rail and highway projects. The US helped to implement a system of crony capitalism in Russia after the Berlin Wall came down.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall Russia has sought increased trade with the West, a move which has been aggressively obstructed by the United States, who still regards Russia as an arch enemy. This is a small part of a larger successful attempt to dominate the planet earth using banking and military force.

But in the endless pursuit of profit, the USA has simultaneously offshored manufacturing, to China and other countries. So far that has increased US Corporate profits but over time, as the foreign labor they utilize, develop similar independent manufacturing capacity, using US technology, profits will vanish and with it the ability to support the worlds largest military force. The more immediate consequence of these policies are the stagnation of wages in the USA, which have failed to follow increases in productivity, as they have in Germany. Wage stagnation prevents investment and economic growth because consumer spending is 70% of the economy. Meanwhile rents, healthcare and energy costs continue to rise. Only recapture of democracy can reverse this trend.

The purpose of our Government must include the promotion of the general welfare, which is a constitutional mandate. Income disparity in the United States amongst the top 35 industrialized countries in the world is higher than all other nations except Mexico and Chile. This outcome is a consequence of falling for the Milton Friedman theory that greed is not just good, but it is the only value which drives human progress.

#17 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-05-20 03:05 PM | Reply | Funny: 2 | Newsworthy 2

#17

Hilarious. The US MADE Putin do it.

How deluded.

#18 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-20 04:10 PM | Reply

Never said that. But it is a logical response to an accurate chronology of events for someone trying to preserve the capacity of a nuclear armed submarine system. Lately Corky has been better about refuting facts and events or creating an alternate fiction consistent with official US propaganda. But the word "hilarious" is not an argument of any kind. To refute what I said you should point out an error on my part. But you can't. The facts and order of events are correct.

Its a crying shame so much talent and resources are thrown at the military industrial complex. Without the arms race the standard of living would rise dramatically. The easiest way to pay for health care for everyone would be to cut military spending.

#19 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-05-20 05:25 PM | Reply

It's funny because it is so predictable... and so predictably anti-historical and Putin-esque.

"Ten former communist countries in eastern and central Europe joined Nato in 1999 and 2004. The most recent members to join were Croatia and Albania, in 2009."

www.telegraph.co.uk

"Behind Russia's confrontation with the West lies a clash of ideas. On one side are human rights, an accountable bureaucracy and democratic elections; on the other an unconstrained state that can sacrifice its citizens' interests to further its destiny or satisfy its rulers' greed. Both under communism and before it, the Russian state acquired religious attributes. It is this sacred state which is under threat.

Mr Putin sits at its apex. "No Putin--no Russia," a deputy chief of staff said recently. His former KGB colleagues--the Committee of State Security--are its guardians, servants and priests, and entitled to its riches. Theirs is not a job, but an elite and hereditary calling. Expropriating a private firm's assets to benefit a state firm is therefore not an act of corruption.

When thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets demanding a Western-European way of life, the Kremlin saw this as a threat to its model of governance. Alexander Prokhanov, a nationalist writer who backs Russia's war in Ukraine, compares European civilisation to a magnet attracting Ukraine and Russia. Destabilising Ukraine is not enough to counter that force: the magnet itself must be neutralised."

www.businessinsider.com

Former SU states choosing freedom and democracy over crony capitalist Russian plutocrats isn't a US plot. It's freedom on choice. Stop making these people puppets . It's like saying that they can't vote for their own self-interest.... which does not include Putin's Russia.

#20 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-20 05:37 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The point is, that no matter how bad you think the US gov is, in whatever way, and we aren't good... Russia is much, much worse. And their neighbors know it... without any help from us.

#21 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-20 06:26 PM | Reply

There is no democracy in the USA, but we're bringing it to the rest of the world with banking extortionists and military force using napalm, uranium dust and ether bombs.

scholar.princeton.edu

You often accurately point out Putin's flaws which can be criminal and sadistic. I just wish we didn't do the same bigger and better. With what kind of logic do we condemn Putin for taking Crimea back when we took Okinawa,Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Somoa. Then we cooked everything including everyone on the Marshall Islands and anyone downwind of Nevada Test sites. We did it all because of our deep concern for mankind and its need for democracy and free trade. Oh, and because by living in the good ol' USA mankind escapes bureaucracy. Dietician, mortician, Cheeseburgers...

www.youtube.com

#22 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-05-20 06:28 PM | Reply

Yes, Corky, life is still better here than in Russia and not just because of the weather. But, when you consider the principles which we were founded on and has at times has inspired the world, even Ho-Chi Ming, it is an inexcusable tragedy that we rank 33 out of 35 industrialized countries based on the depth of income disparity. This is purely a political problem with political solutions. The only roadblock to overcoming them is the pernicious lies which most people believe, like poor people are lazy. Trump is lazy, poor people have to work harder for what little they have, but few here realize this.

I do not want war with Russia, an issue in which I agree with Trump. There is little any of us can do about Putin, whose election was more democratic than ours, but only after all meaningful competition was eliminated.

#23 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-05-20 07:03 PM | Reply

#17 | Posted by bayviking

Dude sometimes you are out there.

#24 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-05-20 09:02 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

- Putin, whose election was more democratic than ours

Um, the media is state-owned, meaning Putin-owned, Putin is Dictator for Life, and the only possible opposing candidate was deemed ineligible to run on trumped up charges while his supporters were jailed.

- I just wish we didn't do the same bigger and better.

More absurdism. Putin poisons his enemies and puts his bodyguards in charge of major industries, of which he gets a cut. He is everything Trump wishes to be.

I don't know what Vlad pays you, Comrade, but it ain't enough.

#25 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-20 09:43 PM | Reply

Dude sometimes you are out there.

#24 | POSTED BY GALAXIEPETE AT 2018-05-20 09:02 PM | REPLY | FLAG

The very best people are "out there" dear.

#26 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2018-05-20 10:03 PM | Reply

"I don't know what Vlad pays you, Comrade, but it ain't enough."

You don't know that. Maybe Vlad is giving him a plot of land in the Crimea or unlimited Russian escorts along with his monthly stipend.

#27 | Posted by sentinel at 2018-05-20 10:04 PM | Reply

#27

So, the same deal as Trump, only not with the biggest hotel in world, the Trump Moscow hotel?

Maybe so.

#28 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-20 10:12 PM | Reply

"Ummm... better food. Better women."

Food, maybe, sort of. Women? ------, you clearly don't live in a state bordering Mexico.

#29 | Posted by dibblda at 2018-05-21 03:19 AM | Reply

Anyways I thought you were all about blonds? change your mind?

#30 | Posted by dibblda at 2018-05-21 03:20 AM | Reply

duh, yes corky I already acknowledged that Putin has eliminated political competition. But he still enjoys an astounding 83% approval rating and garnered 77% of the vote. There's no use repeating why Yeltsin, who appointed Putin, resigned or why the Russian economy is still such a terrible mess. But doesn't change the fact that the bridge was a way around fighting over a land route through Ukraine. Its unrealistic to expect Russia to give up its entire nuclear submarine force, given US hostility. Get over it.

www.reuters.com

The USA is a model of crony capitalism. We need to stay out of foreign entanglements and clean up our own country. Make it more democratic by sending 12,000 registered business lobbyists home, eliminating the electoral college and gerrymandering.

#31 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-05-21 06:27 AM | Reply

- he still enjoys an astounding 83% approval rating and garnered 77% of the vote.

So does NK's Kim.... they own the media and the people, dummy.

-The USA is a model of crony capitalism.

A model that Russia has perfected and that US crony capitalists can only dream of.

#32 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-21 01:39 PM | Reply

Wrong again. The GREATEST crony capital crime in the history of mankind was the 2008 crisis and bailout.

#33 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-05-21 02:10 PM | Reply

On an ongoing daily basis, Russia is much more the crony capitalist's Nirvana. The only rule is there are no rules, no order of law at all to protect the citizens.

#34 | Posted by Corky at 2018-05-21 04:53 PM | Reply

You are most likely correct. I have worked with bankers and miners who would not dare go into parts of Russia and especially its former satellite States without an armed guard. But, I doubt Russia's corruption has the reach to hurt you or me or the capacity to cripple the world economy as the 2008 crisis did to nearly every human being on earth. The numbers are simply staggering.

#35 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-05-21 05:34 PM | Reply

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