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[–]asimplesolicitor 445 points446 points447 points  (19 children)

By all counts, she's a very competent technocrat and even The Economist had very nice things to say about her.

It does raise an interesting moral issue though: can you serve ethically in a technocratic, "non-political" role in a dictatorship, or are you implicated in its crimes? I'm sure if you asked her, she would say that the alternative - some incompetent Putin lackey driving the Central Bank into the ground - would be even worse for ordinary Russians. On the flip side, the regime benefits from her being there.

It's not a black and white issue.

On a purely practical level, if and when Putin is gone, people with technocratic skills like her who aren't total lackeys for the regime (i.e. Lavrov) will be in demand as someone will have to run the country.

[–]SpecsComingBack 260 points261 points262 points  (10 children)

"The Indicator from Planet Money recently spoke with Maximilian Hess, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in London and a long-time Russia watcher. He says the signs that Nabiullina is a complicit member of Putin's inner circle were there for all to see from the moment she took on the role of governor of the CBR. A year into the role, she had to field an appeal from Russian oil flagship Rosneft. Russia had just invaded Crimea and the West had imposed sanctions on a raft of companies, including Rosneft. The company found itself squeezed by sanctions and falling prices on one side, and a combined $21 billion in upcoming debt payments on the other. It needed help.

Nabiullina was there. She engineered Rosneft's issue of 625 billion rubles ($10.2 billion) in local debt, which Hess says were pushed into the market without any kind of notice. She then added those notes to the CBR's Lombard credit list of securities that can be used as collateral for hard currency. Next, she made billions of dollars in loans to Rosneft, using the company's own notes as collateral.

It was a neat financial magic trick that amounted to a $15 billion bailout of the oil giant. It also hammered the ruble, which fell 20 percent against the dollar. Nabiullina tried to save the day by pumping interest rates up to 17 percent from 10.5 percent, but to no avail.

"So effectively what Nabiullina did was to bail out perhaps the most Kremlin-connected company." Hess says. "She not only destroyed Russian savings, but she made the cost of investment for them a lot higher. The Russian central bank says it has a mandate of protecting the economy and keeping price stability in check as with most central banks, but really Nabiullina only has one mandate and that is to protect the Kremlin and the Kremlin regime."

[–]Chocobean 8 points9 points10 points  (0 children)

If the Nazi regime had no competent train engineers and no competent furnace building engineers, they could not have killed so many.

Horrible regimes left with stones and arrows will kill far less than one with well meaning technocrats.

See China and facial recognition software engineers

[–]NotAnotherEmpire 2502 points2503 points2504 points  (265 children)

The short version is that to make some public numbers look not bad (mainly the currency), Russia has taken several steps that are really bad ideas.

Russia does currently benefit from high oil prices because the EU hasn't replaced it yet, while the loss of Russian production that has happened has driven prices up more than enough to compensate.

Mid-term though, the fact that the global oil service companies are not going back to Russia (they're all US based) is going to kill the industry.

[–]Helios4242 1261 points1262 points1263 points  (14 children)

Just to add one point for consideration: faced with a looming fiscal crisis in the face of no action, taking actions that give a little bit of forbearance can make sense. Russia fiscal market could hope that the sanctions were not airtight, that the wars ended, or that Putin relented, and if any of those happened, their actions would have been smart. They would have built a bridge over the fiscal cliff, so to say.

But if they can't reach the other side, all they've done is build a plank to walk.

Edit: Y'all, the metaphors write themselves

[–]HughJorgens 189 points190 points191 points  (10 children)

He doesn't care about Russia's future. It's not about Russia, it's only about Putin in his mind. That is the mindset that Dictators have. When Hitler realized he was defeated, he blamed the German people for not fighting hard enough, and failing him, and then he ordered his Generals to tear everything down to "deny it to the invaders". They refused. Edit: LINK to the WWII stuff, because I believe that demonstrates how he sees things. Edit2: to answer some of the comments. The idea that the State supports the Citizen is a very Western concept. The Eastern/Fascist view is very different. When you have a dictator, he IS the state, and if he goes down, he takes the State with him, rather than give it up, or admit that he was wrong.

[–]viaJormungandr 59 points60 points61 points  (7 children)

Speculating that Putin is just being nihilistic due to ill health is letting him off the hook. It’s entirely more likely that he has painted himself into a corner here and has no other viable option than to continue escalating.

Putin is a strong man dictator and he’s right now in a scenario where his only positive outcome is if he wins. He cannot back down from the conflict in Ukraine because he then looks weak, and weakness means he’s vulnerable and can be replaced. Being beaten militarily in Ukraine has the same result.

So any steps that are taken to shore up the economy in the short term to allow for “victory” in Ukraine (though probably more accurate to term it “demolition”) are necessary because anything else leads to weakness and being deposed/death.

It isn’t nihilism, it’s desperation.

[–]Hatedpriest 129 points130 points131 points  (114 children)

BP Amoco is based in London.

Not an argument, just a nitpick.

The big question is, are other Asian countries going to be buying oil/fuel from Russia? If they do, it could reduce the economic damage Russia suffers.

[–]Spurrierball 93 points94 points95 points  (30 children)

Yeah Asian countries (namely China) know the complete position of power they are in with Russian oil sales. They won’t buy unless it’s extremely discounted and Russia will likely end up selling just to keep a float for a few more months.

Japan has a big bone to pick with Russia concerning the northern Islands and South Korea is firmly in the US camp when it comes to almost any economic sanctions, and especially those that deal with Russia.

Everyone else is either too far to make the purchase worthwhile as the transportation costs will nullify any discount (think Indonesia) and if there were some costs saved at the end of the day they would only end up pissing off their other trade partners.

[–]QuotableMorceau 974 points975 points976 points  (228 children)

Probably they went past the point of no return.

Let's say they pull out from Ukraine today and start begging for sanctions to be lifted etc., and also agree to pay compensations and send their war criminals to face justice.

If all those things happen, 3 things will follow suit:

- the Russians ( which already suffer from an inferiority complex ) , will be infinitely spiteful towards the west and everything it represent ( good or bad )

- the Russophobia is here to stay, even if companies would like to resume business in Russia, they will face a lot of pushback in the west, which would make any return to Russia less likely to be profitable

- no agreement Russia tries to strike with the west would be accepted without humiliating check towards Russia, it will take decades of "good behavior" before the extra scrutiny will go away ( just look how Greece is handled by investors for reference )

[–]golgol12 47 points48 points49 points  (0 children)

miracle Ukraine armed forces held

This whole thing started over gas fields discovered in the Ukraine in 2013. Enough to seriously complete with what Russia provides to the EU.

Almost exactly a year later, Russia annexes Crimea, one of the major areas where the oil was discovered. Ukraine at this point lets it happen because they realized that with they didn't have the capability to stop it and their military complex has been working off of methods based on combat in the 80s. Not to mention corruption in the rank and file. They also realized then that Russia would attack again in the future.

Almost immediately they abandoned all the old military training and tactics that they have been using up until this point, and brought in western military advisors, and made a great deal of effort to route the corruption in the ranks. They've basically been training all their forces under modern western approaches to combat for the last 8 years.

Fast forward to 2020. A billion ton field of hydrocarbons (5x larger) is discovered. One Covid later, and the invasion came.

It's more than just a miracle, it's a revamp, good intelligence, and training vs a relatively poorly trained forces with outdated methods and stricken with corruption. Yes Russia has more bodies and armor. But the thing about armor, it's almost useless on the modern battlefield due to infantry weapons that can neutralize it.

[–]LAVATORR 35 points36 points37 points  (0 children)

Putin has had so, so many chances to cut his losses and concoct some BS rationalization for declaring victory and leaving that are no more absurd than his half-assed stories about Jewish Nazi potheads conquering the world.

He could just as easily say "Our goal all along was to significantly degrade the enemy's ability to wage war, we're not into nation-building like those stupid Americans." Then he could claim some arbitrary Ukrainian soldiers were actually members of an elite terrorist cell, and killing them was another major objective.

Ta-daa! Vague claims that are technically true, can't be disproven, and can be spun into a win. Not terribly complicated.

[–]mike4001 42 points43 points44 points  (15 children)

Problem is

Sanctions should only be lifted when Putin is gone from office.

When we reverse all sanctions the minute they leave Ukraine they know they can attack anyone and will just have sanctions for the duration of the attack.

[–]Ammear 29 points30 points31 points  (3 children)

Many people support it, because the government - led by Putin - restricts access to information and shows them propaganda. Hence the high support.

Putin is quite... radical.

Complete overhaul of Russia and nuclear disarmament are fairytales.

[–]oripash 1003 points1004 points1005 points  (36 children)

Does it matter what they admit?

Nobody really cares what Russia says. It’s all drivel anyway. Only thing about them that matters is what Russia does.

Shame their economic situation doesn’t leave them much they can do now, and the goodwill of anyone on the planet to help them (short of predatory Asian nations that would help them and eat them) has flatlined for at least a generation or two.

Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes.

[–]arbitraryairship 146 points147 points148 points  (12 children)

Sure, but what Russians want more than absolutely anything else is a strong man. A 'winner' who keeps things stable and prevents chaos.

Now suddenly the economy is falling off a cliff, Belgorod has explosions every night, Siberia is on fire, fires rage across the country's weapons factories, the Moskva Flagship is at the bottom of the sea and, most importantly, after 75 days of war, the 'strong leader' had zero victories to announce on Victory Day, May 9th. Not even Mariupol.

Weakness is what they hate, and Vladimir Vladmirovich Putin is looking weaker and weaker every day.

Maybe Putin's cult holds on, but you need someone to blame for the weakness. The West only goes so far, and there's nothing you can do about them.

But you can attack your regional governors. You can burn down Shoigu's house (as already happened).

The weakness is a cultural black stain, and eventually Russians will get angry at someone within hammer distance. A likely scenario is balkanization as regional governors fight each other to prevent their citizens from going after them.

EDIT: Five Russian Regional Governors just resigned today, apparently.

[–]EvidentlyEmpirical 358 points359 points360 points  (22 children)

So yesterday we see that they're having to sell oil at below-market-value just to get buyers.

No surprise, they're sanctioned to hell and back - the few buyers they have left know Russia has to sell, and they'll cut their price to do so... if said buyers collaborated, they could drive the price down even further, and Russia would still say yes... because what else are they going to do? It's not as though the buyers have to buy from Russia, they have options, whereas Russia does not.

Now we see that they're facing economic collapse, that their domestic industry can't even support the shit they have that's already falling apart.

It's going to be funny watching Russia in about 6 months when they can't even make a goddamn toaster due to lack of technical expertise and parts.

There's a certain Kremlin apologist/propagandist here on Reddit that I wish I could talk to about this, rub his face in this, but the coward blocked me when he realized his arguments couldn't compete in the face of evidence.

[–]mtarascio 237 points238 points239 points  (46 children)

The % contraction is also not the story at all.

This stuff snowballs as things fall out of repair and can't get replaced.

Then those GDP figures lead to job losses, less opportunities, brain drain.

It's just compounding factor after compounding factor.

Edit: For an easy reference imagine 'upgrading' your laptop and receiving one back without an SSD and less RAM. Then extrapolate that type of contraction and loss of productivity across the economy.

[–]catslay_4 219 points220 points221 points  (38 children)

There’s no way out of this for Putin besides his death. He could pull out of Ukraine tomorrow and withdraw every single troop and it wouldn’t matter. The damage has been done and the sheer atrocity and loss of innocent lives, rapes, torturing, robbing etc. is burned into the minds of everyone in the world. Journalists, civilians, soldiers, children, and babies murdered..he’s done. Russia as a country is now seen as despicable. The leaked audio calls show how barbaric and inhumane many of the citizens of Russia are. The empathy people once had for the “brainwashed” doesn’t exist anymore. They will never be seen as a major ally or one of the most powerful nations in the world and they will be surrounded by NATO countries. The reputation of Russia as a whole is stained forever. People may be too afraid to speak up but they are going to see their lives crumble around them as their country completely falls apart. Whether he dies from illness or he’s offed, there’s no going back for him, the Russian people or the country. In 70 something days we have seen the world unite in a way that has never been done before, all against his country under his rule by his sole decision.

[–]taxiecabbie 50 points51 points52 points  (12 children)

They will never be seen as a major ally or one of the most powerful nations in the world and they will be surrounded by NATO countries.

This is probably not true. Plenty of people are rather keen on Germany and Japan these days. They both seem to be doing pretty OK for themselves. "Never" is a bit of a stretch.

Things change. Doesn't mean grudges don't get dropped. My grandmother hated the Japanese until she died last month. Me? I studied Japanese and lived there. Also, my long-term significant other is German.

So... that's two generations. Doesn't erase all of the atrocities, but both Germany and Japan are well-integrated into the modern economy and both overall have decent diplomatic relations.

[–]taxiecabbie 12 points13 points14 points  (0 children)

I mean, I also imagine that many people couldn't fathom of the Japanese emperor calling for the nation to surrender and then giving up his "godliness."

It just depends on what ends up happening. If Russia keeps on going down this hardline path they are on, then... well, yes, obviously there won't be much chance at reintegration. But I could see there being a chance of some sort of reform.

Of course, I have no idea what it would look like. There is a lot I don't know about this situation. I'm just a civilian with access to whatever gets reported. But, just historically, things like "never" are suspect.

[–]___Price___ 20 points21 points22 points  (0 children)

Fascism always implodes because it doesn’t use logic.

You can beat your war drums as long as the money to fund it exists.

The moment everyone starts getting hungry even your closest supporters realize they are now targets for scalping.