Tag Archives: Cracks

Revolution in Russia: Putin’s Popularity Wanes as Russia’s Boom Ends

Cracks are showing in Russia’s leadership as a slowdown in the economy is beginning to cause rifts at the heart of the government, with one academic telling CNBC on Thursday that the economy poses the biggest threat to the country’s leadership.

Putin Out?

Richard Edgar Pipes, professor of Russian History at Harvard University, told CNBC that there was a danger that prolonged weakness in the economy could harm Putin, whose popularity among the Russian electorate has been waning for some time.

Putin’s Popularity Wanes as Russia’s Boom Ends

Related article:

Revolution in China: Slowing growth could cause more internal instability

Putin Cracks Down on Russian Internet

Russia’s Vladimir Putin has declared war on the Internet, and not just within his country’s own borders. Putin’s war may be coming soon to a laptop or smart phone near you.

For years we’ve been told by Putin’s apologists that his moves against traditional media didn’t matter because it was impossible to strangle Russia’s feisty Internet. But for a KGB dictator, “impossible” is a meaningless term. Putin’s campaign consists of a three-part pincer movement, and now that he has essentially been made “president for life” he is pursuing it with greatly renewed vigor.

In part one, Putin rammed two key pieces of legislation through the Russian parliament, called the “Duma” or “thinking place.” …

Articles: Putin Cracks Down on Russian Internet

Nobody Is Listening to Putin Anymore | Opinion | The Moscow Times

The serious cracks in Putin’s power vertical are now apparent. Historically, authoritarian leaders have always needed to rally their subjects around a national idea, such as the need to repel a formidable, insidious enemy. To be sure, Putin has tried to mobilize the masses around the fight against his fictitious enemy of choice: the United States and NATO. But there are limits to the effectiveness of these tactics.

Instead, Putin’s real “national idea” is to allow his friends and former colleagues to use such institutions as law enforcement, intelligence agencies, key political and economic ministries, state corporations, the judicial system and parliament exclusively for their personal enrichment. Former Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Cherkesov once appealed to his fellow chekhists to remain warriors who defend the motherland and not to become corrupt merchants. Needless to say, Cherkesov’s appeal failed miserably.

The result is that the longer Putin’s vertical power system acts like everything is business as usual, the weaker it becomes. Although Putin has only just returned to the Kremlin, it is looking more and more like his new term has already finished.

Nobody Is Listening to Putin Anymore | Opinion | The Moscow Times

Chinese Economy Shows a Second Month of Anemic Growth – NYTimes.com

The Chinese economy, widely seen until the last few weeks as the strongest remaining locomotive that could drag the global economy back from the brink of recession, showed a second month of anemic growth in May and performed even worse than the already lowered expectations of most economists.

Chinese Economy Shows a Second Month of Anemic Growth – NYTimes.com

When your economic model is heavily based on exports, and your export market is falling apart, then one should not be surprised that cracks start appearing in the economy. Attempting to stimulate local consumption is probably not going to work in the short term.

Bear in a China Shop – By Arthur Kroeber | Foreign Policy

It’s not the booming economy that’s about to burst — it’s bigger than that. Social discontent and, yes, income inequality could rip China apart at the seams.

At the root lies a political system built on a principle of unfairness. The Communist Party ultimately controls the allocation of all resources; its officials are effectively immune to legal prosecution until they first undergo an opaque internal disciplinary process. Occasionally a high official is brought down on corruption charges, like former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai. But such cases reflect elite power struggles, not a determined effort to end corruption. In a few years’ time, China will likely surpass the United States as the world’s top economy. But until it solves its fairness problem, it will remain a second-rate society.

Bear in a China Shop – By Arthur Kroeber | Foreign Policy

When a country is growing at a nice rate then the cracks in society aren’t really noticeable. When things start slowing down then the problems start to appear. China is now at this point. It’s economy is starting to slow down and its problems are becoming noticeable.

How can a country with massive capitalism be led by a group of communists? This scenario is a time-bomb waiting to go off.

Russia’s future: The cracks appear | The Economist

Don’t bet on a falling tsar

The idea has taken hold abroad that Mr Putin’s regime, though mildly distasteful, provides stability. That has proved wrong. As many Western companies have found, Mr Putin has failed to build the rules-based system that provides the economic security foreign investors need. Nor, as recent events suggest, has he delivered a political equilibrium. It is not just this week’s protests that are a reason for concern: rising lawlessness in the north Caucasus may cause problems not just for Russia, but for the entire region.

Russia is not stable. It is rigid. Unless its tsar moves to reform his realm, it will become more dangerous—both for its neighbours and for Mr Putin himself.

Russia’s future: The cracks appear | The Economist

China’s bubble might burst next

But here’s a little secret: If you really want to know what could blow up your portfolio for years to come, forget Europe.

What you should really be concerned about is a potential Chinese bust.

Investors have long taken for granted the growth of China’s eyepopping gross domestic product, and indeed the nation’s emergence has been one of the most stunning stories in economic history.

But recent numbers show some widening economic cracks: The Chinese stock market is near its twoyear low; third-quarter GDP growth slowed to 9.1 per cent, a continued deceleration after years of doubledigit gains; and the government’s stockpiling of foreign-exchange reserves has been slowing to a crawl.

China’s bubble might burst next

Another Setback at Reactor Creates Race Against Time | Dr. Kaku’s Universe | Big Think

One question is: where did this radiation come from? Most of it was in the form of iodine-134 (with a half-life of 53 minutes) and iodine-131 (with a half life of 8 days). This indicates that the radiation came directly from the core at Unit 2, rather than the spent fuel pond (where most of the iodine has already decayed). So there seems to be a direct path way from the core to the outside, meaning a breach of containment, similar to the situation in Unit 3. In other words, there could be a crack in the pressure vessel surrounding the super hot uranium core, as well as a crack in the outer primary containment vessel surrounding the pressure vessel. These cracks may allow radiation to escape from the core directly into the environment.

At the very least, this means continued leaks of deadly radiation from the core to the outside world.

Another Setback at Reactor Creates Race Against Time | Dr. Kaku’s Universe | Big Think

Widening cracks in Iranian president’s grip on power « Global Intelligence Center

Beware the instability in the Middle East, including Iran. This could be one reason to hasten war in the Middle East in order to refocus people’s attention.

There are growing indications that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing his second epic struggle to stay in power since the 2009 popular riots against his election – with his back to the wall. Even the secretive revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran has been unable to conceal the widening fissures in Iran’s ruling elite.

Widening cracks in Iranian president’s grip on power « Global Intelligence Center

Originally posted on Jan. 4, 2011

Russia’s ‘fracked’ future – UPI.com

For most of the past decade, Russian leaders and their top officials and businessmen have believed that their huge reserves of oil and gas would guarantee them prosperity and global influence for decades to come. But suddenly some cracks are emerging in that confidence.

As often happens, technology is changing the conventional wisdom. Over the past five years the combination of two technologies has transformed the energy market in the United States and now threatens to do the same elsewhere in the world.

Walker’s World: Russia’s ‘fracked’ future – UPI.com