The mayoral election in Archangelsk is over. I must admit I was somewhat surprised that Larisa Bazanova won the election with 37,55% of the vote against the governors candidate 37,41%. Read more about the five candidates here.
Put my puzzelment was soon over. The votes are recounted and Viktor Pavlenko was declared winner. No big surprise at all. The surprise is maybe that they needed a recount? Most interesting was the fact that only 18% of the electorate bothered to vote.
The Russian Federation has increased the export duties on timber. This shows that the Russian government has understood a few basic about the economy that most of western and Norwegian economists has allowed to be forgotten.The forgotten lesson is that no country can get rich by exporting raw materials and importing finished goods. This is really so easy to understand that it is inexplicabel that common economic theory denies this fact. Is it not strange poor countries remain poor when economists in the worldbank and elsewhere argues that they can get just as rich by raising camelsl as if they build a national industry that can add value and increasing salaries.
Erik S. Reinert refers to an example in the book is, “How Rich Countries Got Rich… and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor” in which a British economist of the 1700s suggested the death penalty for exporting raw materials. It is perhaps going a bit far, but the point is still right.
Maybe Norway can be a examplesthat exporting raw materials can make a country rich – because of its oil. But it is important to note that one of the most important reasons that oil has made Norway rich is all the industries that have been built up around its oil. That talented Norwegian politicians early decided that we should use oil to build up knowledge and industry is one of the most important difference in Norway and countries as Angola or Nigeria with the corresponding oil revenues.
Should a country be rich, it must be permitted to build up it’s industry protected behinds custom barriers, like all the rich countries have done. Free trade is the scourge of poor countries, but good for the rich.
The BarentsObserver reports that the number of poor Russians are decreasing. This is very good news. Still more than 13 percent of Russians are living for less than 4005 rubels a month. That equals 170 US dollars or 840 Norwegian kroner. This is not much at a time when foodprices are soaring.
Until the first of May Russia had a price freeze on “basic essentials”. The St. Petersburg Times report that: “A regular bottle of vegetable oil in St. Petersburg cost about 50 rubles ($2) in April but by May it cost up to 80 rubles ($3.25). In September last year it cost about 28 rubles ($1.10).” These prices don’t leave you with much if you are living on less than 4000 rubles a month.
Lets just hope that the new found Russian oil wealth can be succsessfully translated into productive industries to give people work and a living salary.
What is the most special thing about the upcoming mayoral election in Archangels? You could not guess? Five of the candidates have the same name. They are all called Sergei Moiseev.
One could of course speculate how this may come about. The fact is that one of the Sergeis is a strong candidate, and a leader of the organization “People’s Control”. However, he is not the governors candidate. The governors candidate is called Viktor Pavlenko who is the acting mayor. Maybe is it a good tactics to split the opposition votes among the Sergeis? Pavlenko was, by the way, the only candidate that did not attend the only debate in the campaign. The students at the university arranged the debate.
The former mayot was surprisingly arrested shortly after making clear his intention to run for the russian presidency.
In Norway at least it seems like the election in the US is onesided. By the looks it seems that the contest between Hillary and Obama decides who becomes president. John McCain is somewhat forgotten.
I believe unfortunatly that McCain has good reson to be confident that he will win, come November. The reasons for this is manyfold.
Reason one, if Hillary should win the democratic nomination she will not be able to connect with many of the most vociferous people in the democratic party. Mainly, because of her stand on the war in Iraq, and recent comments on Iran.
Reason two, Obama has not responded well enough to the economic issues confronting so many Americans (and others around the world).
And there are many more
This give a warmonger a good chance to win.
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