Friday, May 09, 2008

Mother Russia, Why Do You Cry?

Today, May 9th, is Military Day in Russia. Every Russian, no matter where he/she lives, today will stop and remember the end of World War II. It has been and will always be a day of memories, of happiness mixed with extreme sadness.

I am married to a beautiful Russian woman, who is now a proud American citizen. When I went to Riga, Latvia to bring her children home I was a guest at her former in-laws, on May 9th, 2002. Her children’s grandfather sat at the dinner table in his old uniform and cried in his vodka for hours.

Millions of men, women, and children died of starvation and directly at the hands of the Nazis. All of his brothers died in the war. The families were so depleted afterwards, that many names simply ceased to exist. My wife has only one living relative, an aunt in Moscow.

Between the Nazis and a Georgian by the name of Stalin, between 50 & 60 million Russians, Belarusians, & Ukrainians died last century.

In 2000 when I met my wife, we both were hopeful for the future of Russia. Many reforms of the 90’s were taking affect and changing lives all over the country.

Yes, a few bureaucrats became wealthy as always (several were in the top 100 billionaires), but even that didn’t last.

Hundred of thousands of Russians have left the Motherland for parts known and unknown around the globe, probably never to return. Even the Russian Mafia left in droves. Why? The reason is simple: because the real gangsters have taken charge there again.

The Soviet hierarchy was nothing more than organized thugs with a theme. As much as Socialists and Liberals in this country over the years thought communism was a viable alternative to capitalism, it isn’t. They never had to stand in bread lines, not yet.

The former KGB leader, Tsar Putin, has just anointed his puppet President and has placed himself in the position of Prime Minister, with all of his former powers and more, such as the ability to disband the Duma at will.

Many of the rich men in that top 100 list are now either dead, exiled, or in prison, stripped of their new wealth, and the hopes for a better future. Was it given back to the people? No, Putin himself is now worth at least 10 billion dollars, and probably a multiple of that. His cohorts of course are sharing the wealth and supporting his power play.

What about the average Russian? Most have a difficult time getting enough to eat. Does that sound familiar? There are many meals in restaurants in Moscow that cost $200 to $3000 each, and the man and woman on the street can’t afford a pound of chicken parts.

Mark my words, there is trouble brewing here. Belarus is following apart quickly, with Russia hungrily waiting to scoop it up. The Ukraine is a little more stable, but living in fear and hatred of the Putin gang.

Not good, my friends. And, why should we care? An unstable Europe/Asia is a major problem, especially for oil that comes out of that area. Even though we get little from that region, if the flow stopped for the other countries that do, there will be hell to pay.

Just to piss us off, Putin is arming and making nice with Iran & Northern Korea, think about that for the future.

This is indeed a sad day for Mother Russia, in many, many ways.

God Bless them all and you my friends,

The Hammer


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