Politics Magazine

Putin Is a Radical Neoliberal?

Posted on the 24 April 2014 by Calvinthedog
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

As you can see, Putin and his party are not radical neoliberals in any way, shape or form. Instead, Putin is a fairly progressive fellow in a lot of ways. Let us compare what Putin has done with the US Republican Party, the penultimate neoliberal party.

Putin increased the minimum wage by 6%. Pro worker. The Republican Party opposes all minimum wage increases on principle.

Increased maternity capital by 5%. Social program. I am not sure what that is? Is that money you get every year for being a mother. The Republican Party opposes all such schemes as “welfare.” In fact, this was the very ADC welfare program that the Republicans and Clinton destroyed in 1996. And here the Russians are proudly increasing it. The UK has a similar welfare type program for mothers for children.

Transition of Russian drug production to international standards. Regulation of business. The Republicans would probably not oppose this, but neoliberalism opposes all minimum regulations on business on principle.

New federal contract system. State will restrict public procurement of contracts from abroad. Anti-corruption. I am not sure what that means, but it sounds patriotic and progressive. Sounds like he is trying to reform a corrupt federal contract system. The Republican Party has completely corrupted the federal contract system. Look at all of those fake contracts during the Iraq War.

New law banning draft dodgers from entering civil service. Patriotic. Republicans would no doubt support this.

Indexed rates of excise duties on gasoline, alcohol and tobacco. Tax . Excise duties are a form of taxation, considered to be an indirect tax because it is not levied specifically by the state. The Republican Party no doubt opposes all excise taxes on principle as they seem to be opposed to taxation period.

Increased taxes on cars costing over $82,000. This could be considered a wealth tax. Tax. The Republican Party would obviously oppose this. Amazing. Putin raises taxes and it sails right through the Duma with little or no debate!

Russian auto manufacturers would pay a disposal fee. Tax. Not sure what that means, but it is definitely a new tax. Surely the Republican Party would be for it.

New law on multiple insurance of liability for construction enterprises. Builders cannot raise funds from the public without insuring responsibility to creditors. Apparently an anti-corruption measure. Not sure how the Republican Party would react to this, but neoliberalism opposes most regulation of business on principle.

Russian enterprises will have to obtain a permit to discharge waste into a waste treatment plant. Pro environment. Otherwise, they must pay a fine for the environmental damage that they cause. Republicans have always opposed all efforts to control US water pollution, especially fines on polluters. I suppose they think pollution controls should be voluntary.

New bans on privatization of public land for improper use. Pro public. The Republicans are always trying to sell off our public lands to private interests so they can profit off of them.

Ban on the sale of SIM cards by unauthorized persons. I am not sure why they are doing this, but this may be an anti-crime measure. Republican stance uncertain.

Declaration of goods at customs using electronic forms. Apparently a modernization process. Republicans would probably support this, but they are always cutting government budgets so much that the state might not have the money to upgrade.

Credit card reform. Banks must notify all clients of all card transactions and clients may now recover charges for unauthorized transactions. Pro consumer. Apparently a banking reform to prevent fraudulent use of cards by enabling chargebacks. Not sure how Republicans stand on this. Whatever the banks’ stance is, that would be the Republicans stance. Republicans generally oppose all pro consumer measures.

Federal standards for preschool education. Apparently public preschool ed is mandatory in Russia? Social spending, pro public education. The Republicans have always opposed public funding of preschool. That is what all the fuss over Head Start is about. Head Start is simply a public preschool program so poor kids can go to preschool too just like kids with money.

Electronic queue in kindergarten launched. Not sure what this. Looks like a modernization process. Pro public education. Republicans might support it, but with incessant education budget cuts, the state might not have enough funds to do this.

Reorganization of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Public funding for the sciences. The Republican Party has been slashing away at public spending on science forever now. Apparently they do not believe in it.

New public transport card introduced for the Moscow area. Mass transit. Republicans oppose all mass transit spending on principle. Apparently they do not believe in state mass transit programs.

Increased fares slightly on public transit in Moscow. Mass transit. Not exactly progressive, but Republicans would oppose this as they oppose all mass transit programs.

Russian travelers to South Korea no longer need visas and vice versa. Pro tourism. They can now stay for up to 60 days. Republicans might support such a thing, but who knows?

As you can see, the notion that Putin is a reactionary is just wrong. In fact, Russian Communists say that Putin has brought back most of the best things about the USSR. How is that reactionary, rightwing or neoliberal. As you can see above, Putin is not a neoliberal. He would not be at home in the US Republican Party. In fact, to Republicans, Putin would be a socialist.

Taxes on manufacturers and luxury goods, social programs, minimum wage increases, business regulation, education spending, mandatory public preschool, public education spending, state spending on science, mass transit programs, pro consumer measures, pollution controls, protection of public lands from privatization are all socialist measures. That’s what socialists do.

A good definition of socialism is anything that limits the profits of capital. By that measure, all pro-environment, pro-public lands, pro worker and pro consumer projects are objectively socialist. And all social spending and state spending on science is socialist. All regulation of business is also socialist, and taxation itself, especially of large business and the rich, is clearly socialist.

By these measures, Putin is doing many socialist things in Russia. The allegation that Putin is a reactionary neoliberal is simply false.

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