The "free" market rat descendants of Friedrich von Hayek were largely responsible for destroying the lives of millions of Russians with their gangster capitalism, as von Hayek was for destroying the Weimar Republic with his austerity remedy to make room for capital markets.
I have to thank Dr. Gregory Stam and his wife, who taught Russian at Loyola University in the 1966-67 academic year, for introducing our small class to Russian history - as well as teaching a terrific language course. Their enrichment using Russian history made the course much more palatable despite having to learn a new alphabet (Cyrillic) as well as more conjugations, declensions and cases since I took Latin in high school.
This provided a background into another nation most Americans lack, and plus, it was provided during the Cold War. Why did I take Russian? Clue one: Not because I was a "commie sympathizer". I needed an additional language to German on the math-science-engineering track. A second reason was I wanted to gain further insight into a nation that had been so demonized from the end of WWII - despite the fact the Russians made way more sacrifices than we did, losing millions of their own as they fought the Nazi onslaught on their own soil. (If you need a hint: check out the Battle of Stalingrad, including documentaries of that mammoth battle!)
The other reason is that one whole branch of my family ancestry is Slavic in origin, and my grandfather spoke Russian, as well as other languages. (He came from what is now Cabuna, Croatia). Thus, I wanted to become more fluent in that language and indeed, I did have a few brief Russian exchanges with Grandpa before he passed. I also admired him for being a conscientious objector when it wasn't popular, in the WWI era. He had come to this country just before the U.S. entered the war, escaping the then war torn Austrian-Hungarian Empire - and having escaped he sure as hell wasn't going to join the conflagration from this side of the pond! Instead he worked as a lumberjack in Wisconsin, giving alternative service, much like I did in Peace Corps.
Sadly, a certain "brother" seems to know nothing of this, because if he did he would surely realize that when he slanders me for "not serving in the military" he slanders our grandfather too!
Anyway, the topic of this blog is why the Russians detest the Neoliberal, hyper-market imperative and why they evolved to be the suspicious nation they are today - distrustful of most of the crap the West (including its secondary agents like the IMF) tries to foist on them. Author Naomi Klein gives the key information in her book 'The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism' (2007). I had referenced Klein in an earlier blog, e.g. http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-military-industrial-complex-still.html
and noted how the "Chicago school" of faux economists - led by Milton Friedman- have been using multiple shocks or intermittent crises (military and non-military or economic) over the past 30 years to try to turn our world into a capitalist pig whore house.
Well, in her chapter on the Russian capitalist "experiment" (pp. 282-87) she documents how a cabal of gangster capitalists under the IMF and the "Chicago gang of Milton Friedman" attempted to brutally re-make the existing Russian centrally planned economy into a Neoliberal free market outpost of the West. The process was long and painful, entailing first getting rid of Mikhail Gorbachev - who through his glasnost and perestroika did far more than Reagan to render the world more peaceful, never mind the propaganda.
Klein makes no bones about the fact that the Friedman "school of economics" - tracing its lineage to Friedrich von Hayek (the same creep that was responsible for bringing about the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic - opening it to Nazi takeover) was responsible largely for the ideological ruthlessness that laid waste to Russia in the early 1990s. They only needed (Boris) Yeltsin to help dissolve the former Soviet Union.
Economist Joseph Stiglitz (p. 283) called Russia's pro-capitalist market experimenters "market Bolsheviks". As Klein put it (ibid.):
"However, where the original Bolsheviks fully intended to build their centrally planned state in the ashes of the old, the market Bolsheviks believed in a kind of magic: if the optimal conditions for profit were created - the country would rebuild itself- no planning required."
U.S. Neoliberal puppet Boris Yeltsin, meanwhile, made reckless promises that things would only be hard "for six months" and "very soon" Russia would be an economic titan. Never happened! As Klein notes (ibid.):
"The logic of so-called creative destruction resulted in scarce creation and spiraling destruction"
Newspapers, magazines from the period (which I still have and can peruse anytime) depicts horrific suffering by ordinary Russians as they had to beg, borrow or steal to survive - thanks to the Neoliberal market barbarians. Is this being an "American traitor" to reveal this, probably something most Americans don't know? Nope, because one can't be a traitor to an economic paradigm he never accepted in the first place!
The sad facts? After only a year of Neoliberal thuggery and "market therapy" millions of Russians had lost their life savings when the ruble lost nearly all its value (similar to what happened to Germans and their Deutsch mark, thanks to von Hayek). Adding insult to injury, abrupt cuts in government subsidies meant that millions of workers had not been paid in months. Consumption? The average Russian consumed 40 percent less in 1992 than 1991 - and they weren't even consuming that much in '91!
Basically, to survive, the Russian middle class was forced to sell all or most of their belongings - setting up card tables on the streets to do so. As Klein describes this travesty:
"Desperate acts, that the Chicago School of Economics praised as 'entrepreneurial' and proof that a capitalist renaissance was indeed under way."
Wonder why the Russians of today are deeply skeptical and affronted by the Neoliberal rogues and puppets of the G20? Look no further than recent Russian history and how the uber - capitalists twisted and perverted the country's whole economic foundation in order to force it into a globalized capital new world order.
Next: How the U.S. was itself deformed based on the shock doctrine used on Russia