OT: I learned something about Putin last night

Our HOA is changing some rules which requires signatures from half +1 of the owners; we had the signing thing last night at my house. I have a Ukrainian garden flag in front of the house, and have had for over a year, so it sometimes comes up in conversation with people.

Anyway, one couple of neighbors are from Russia, Moscow, actually. Both have parents from Ukraine, so they have a view from both camps. Mrs. Goofy asked them what Russians think about Putin. The answer surprised me:

“You have to understand that before Putin everything in Russia was a mess. There was no food in the grocery stores, crime was rampant, jobs were scarce, life was a mess. When Putin came in, almost overnight, everything changed. Now food is plentiful, children are getting educated, you can get a job, people are buying homes, and crime has been pushed back into the shadows. So yes, he has great support from the people of Russia.”

Now I will say that neither of this couple supports the invasion of Ukraine, they have fund raised for humanitarian relief there, and seem to be pretty normal, nice people. Who, incidentally, have achieved the American dream. He is an esteemed college professor, she a very successful real estate developer; they live in a gigantic house on the water, drive the latest cars, etc.

But if I had doubts about Putin’s staying power inside Russia, this conversation pretty well ended that for me. I thought I would pass it along.

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My view of Russia as well, following my visit there. They all know what Putin is like but life was generally good for the average Russian.

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So he made the groceries run on time.

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Ms. Wolf and I do door-to-door political campaigning. A few years ago, I got in to a conversation with a Jewish Russian immigrant and the conversation turned to Putin. The guy said he liked Putin. I was shocked.

Me: How can you like Putin? He’s a cold-blooded murderer.

Immigrant: Yes, but past Russian leaders only killed Jews. Putin kills everyone!

Me: :open_mouth:

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Heard the same thing growing up about Mussolini. The People finally had more than fish heads for dinner. It’s what made Mr “H” so popular at the beginning. And we all know it’s what kept the Communists in power. "You should have seen what it was like when the Tsar ran things! for 70 years was the best campaign slogan.

I guess all that “unfettered freedom” they had between Gorbie et al and Putin was so bad it made Putin look like the better deal. Like Castro in Cuba.

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Reminds of that line in Fiddler on the roof, “May God bless the Tsar, … and keep him far away from us.”

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It is not that simple.

Just citing the Irish immigrants’ experience, when you arrive your political outlook freezes. Things change a lot while you are gone. I can meet 60 grandchildren of Irish immigrants who know it all but in reality, are clueless. Granddad’s politics from 1907 live on.

This couple has no experience with the current inflation in Russia. The hatred of this war might surprise them. The feelings of why one man only might surprise them. The police state that has kept developing might sicken them.

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This couple confirms what Milton Friedman wrote in the preface to the 2002 edition of Capitalism and Freedom:

If there is one major change I would make, it would be to replace the dichotomy of economic freedom and political freedom with the trichotomy of economic freedom, civil freedom and political freedom.

The Captain

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He just said nothing.

Quoting Friedman is a waste of bandwidth. He got every single policy objective wrong. Samuelson with metrics proved that anything Friedman proposed would not or did not help the US economy and only hurt the US economy.

Friedman as an economist is the biggest failure in modern history.

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The rich got richer, which was the stated objective of policy in the 80s.

Steve

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The country got poorer by every metric. Many corporations did not survive. I am not so sure the rich got that much richer. Many of the rich lost in the deal.