By Vitaly Portnikov, Kyiv journalist and political commentator, columnist for Radio Liberty
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Source: Radio Svoboda
Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Suicide Club has long since become a classic detective story that illustrates how talented conmen can speculate on people’s instincts to safely ship them off to the next world, and profit along the way. But if the president of the Suicide Club in Stevenson’s novel had only a small group of followers, the Russian government has a whole country at their disposal. Talk about room for action!
Sergey Glazyev, Advisor to the President [of Russia], naturally, won’t have the president’s chair in the Russian “Suicide Club.” Glazyev, being an economic air-monger and a failed politician, will have the same position in the club as he has right now–the president’s assistant. But in an assistant’s role, there is plenty he can accomplish.
We still remember the time when this smug Russian bureaucrat born in Zaporizhzhya, always quick to insult and degrade his opponent, visited Ukraine, attempting to teach us how to live and demanding we immediately refuse European integration and join the “Suicide Club.” Now that it didn’t work out with Ukraine, Glazyev decided to run an experiment with Russia, instead.
The President’s assistant got so inspired by Western sanctions that he already decided that Russia must entirely denounce the bourgeois [US] dollar and carry out all of its transactions in rubles. This applies not only to companies in the energy sector, but to private individuals. Russians must believe Glazyev when he says that the ruble is better and has brighter prospects [than the US dollar]. Especially in a time of sanctions. Apparently, they are supposed to take his word for it, too.
Glazyev also suggests to get rid of any securities from NATO countries, to stop cultural property from going abroad, to replace foreign loans with ruble loans, and to make the ruble an international reserve currency. The opinions of Western buyers of Russian gas–who are currently looking into dumping Russian supplies altogether rather than switching to the ruble–have no place in Glazyev’s speeches. It appears that for him, such opinions hold no interest.
Meanwhile, experts in Russia are registering an opposite trend–holders of bank deposits are actively converting their savings into US dollars and euros, moving away from rubles. This is only understandable, because it is the West that is implementing sanctions against Russia, not the other way around. That is something that even Glazyev cannot deny.
He is not denying it. As befits a professional suicide, he is jubilant. For some reason, Glazyev believes that if Russia’s foreign reserves are converted from US dollars and euros [into rubles], the West will perish. The academic stubbornly fails–or refuses?–to understand that in this scenario, Russia will be the one losing its reserves, because such reserves will have no sense unless allocated in hard currencies. This is another trait that sets apart a professional suicide–his wish to observe the agony of his comrades.
But Glazyev is not just an observer–he is also a mocker. His propositions, for all intensive purposes, withdraw Russia from the global civilizational process, because you can’t buy technology and ideas with rubles, and these Russia lacks–it has only raw materials. Even China won’t supply technologies and ideas [to Russia]–because it also purchases them from the West. Glazyev is taking Russia out of the car and off the airplane, sitting her into a horse-drawn wagon, and pushing that wagon towards the abyss. All this looks much more impressive than his attempts to shove Ukraine into that abyss, too.