September 16, 2023


INTERVIEW: Russia will stay 'infected with apathy' until Putin is gone  (Darko Janjevic | Andreas Brenner, 9/16/23, Deutsche-Welle)

Anin himself shows no sign of apathy. He moved to Russia as a teenager, studied journalism in Moscow, and in 2006 started working as a sports reporter with the Novaya Gazeta, a paper known for seeing several of its reporters killed under the Putin regime. In 2008, Anin was sent by Novaya Gazeta to cover the brief war between Russia and Georgia, when he joined the outlet's investigative unit.

That position allowed him to work on major stories including tax fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky and corruption surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics, but also conduct investigations into people at the highest levels of the Putin regime, such as Putin's friend and billionaire cellist Sergey Roldugin and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. In a 2016, Anin wrote an article about Sechin's wife owning a yacht worth $100 million (€94 million). Sechin sued the paper for defamation and won.

Anin is aware that many people find it hard to understand the level of graft happening in the Russian elite.

"Russian society simply lives in colossal misery," he told DW's Andreas Brenner in Hamburg. Stories about Putin's castle or his friends' yachts mean little to rural people living "without flushing toilets in 18th century-like conditions."

This disconnect is "nothing to marvel at -- even the war was only a concern for a few people until the mobilization started and they started detaining husbands and brothers, sending them to the front with no training, where they simply got killed," he added.

Ending the Ukraine war would only be the first step in waking up Russian society, according to the reporter. He believes it would take decades of working with the populace to reform the country. And it would happen only after the death of Putin and the "collective Putin" -- the clique gathered around the long-ruling Russian president.

"It's impossible to break this apathy under the Putin regime," says Anin. "All the truth about the war needs to be made public, so that the people would simply become aware what horror was happening during those 30 years, with them witnessing it in silence. And those horrors were committed with the unconditional approval of the people. And maybe after that Russia will have some chance to overcome this apathy and start living in a new way."

Populist Leaders and the Economy (Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick, Christoph Trebesch, AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW)

We build a new long run cross- country database to study the macroeconomic history of populism. We identify 51 populist presidents and prime ministers from 1900 to 2020 and show that the economic cost of populism is high. After 15 years, GDP per capita is 10% lower compared to a plausible non-populist counterfactual. Economic disintegration, decreasing macroeconomic stability, and the erosion of institutions typically go hand in hand with populist rule.

Posted by at September 16, 2023 6:38 AM