Venezuela and the USSR In Context

Erranter disputes my views in A Look at the “Failed Socialist States”:

Venezuela is certainly not better than much of Latin America. Russia is probably better off now than it was with communism. The Soviet Union killed way more people than recent alcoholism. I see no reason to romanticize the USSR whatsoever; it was infernal. The nuclear meltdown alone may have killed 1 million people.

Actually, Venezuela does look good compared to the rest of the region. More importantly, when Chavez took power, about 80% of the population was in poverty. They’d been that way since independence, and the ruling class had never done jack shit for them despite plenty of oil wealth in recent years. All of the oil wealth was siphoned off by this small elite while the majority festered in horrific shantytowns that lacked even basic services. Chavez has dramatically improved the lives of that 80% who were in poverty in 1992, and that’s why they love him and keep electing him. The economy has also seen explosive growth under Chavez, much higher than under previous regimes.
Venezuela, with the exception of a few tiny islands in the Caribbean, is the wealthiest country in Latin America! So Erranter is wrong, Venezuela is indeed better off than the rest of Latin America.

Per Capita Income

Country        PCI in US$
Venezuela      13,300
Chile          9,200
Uruguay        9,200
Mexico         9,100
Brazil         7,500
Argentina      7,500
Panama         7,500
Costa Rica     7,000
Suriname       6,600
Colombia       5,200

As you can see, the Venezuelan opposition is totally correct, Hugo Chavez’ socialism has destroyed Venezuela.
Is Russia better off under capitalism? It’s hard to say, because they still have a heavily socialist system, much more socialist than the US. Let’s ask the Russian people. ~1/3 say things were better in the USSR, ~1/3 say things are better now, and ~1/3 say it’s a wash. So Russians don’t agree with Erranter, and they live there.
Should we ask Russians in the US? As with other former and present Communist states, most Russians who moved to the US are reactionaries. Same with Laotians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. The ones that were happy with the system stayed there. The reactionaries all come to US, the greatest anti-socialist state on Earth. It’s even true with British immigrants to the US. Most British immigrants to the US seem to be hard Tory Thatcherites. The Laborites don’t want to come here. So we get a distortion if we ask immigrants.
The move to capitalism in Russia was planned by monster criminals in the US, Russia and Israel, a very high percentage of them Jewish. Many were neoliberal Milton Friedmanites out of US universities. The US government was deeply involved.
To sum it up, the wealth of Russia was stripped, the country was robbed blind, and much of the stolen patrimony was shifted out of the country to accounts on Wall Street, in London and in Tel Aviv. To their shame, the Russian Jews were heavily involved in what was for all intents and purposes an act of vengeful war on their Russian countrymen, who they hated.
Russia now has one of the largest concentrations of billionaires on Earth. They run private armies that control local governments and act as their death squad-thug type enforcers, Latin American style.
Putin is for all intents and purposes a fascist.
Racism has exploded, where it barely existed in the USSR. Russia now has the worst White Supremacist gangster problem on Earth. The movement is homicidal and is supported by a majority of the population, police and politicians.
The environment has been devastated as out of control timber operations have ruined vast tracts of land. Animal populations have collapsed as game enforcement laws lapsed, game wardens vanished, and organized crime gangs ransacked wildlife populations, similar to the early days of the US.
A frankly genocidal and fascist war was launched on the Chechen people. Out of a population of 1 million, 200,000, 20% of them, were killed. Not even Stalin launched monstrous hot wars like that against his own people.
Organized crime, via the oligarchs, still runs the Russian state, and the billionaires and other organized crime types run private armies that periodically shoot it out with each other and at anyone who gets too nosy. It’s a Hellhole.

Death Tolls
Period           Time/Yrs   Number
USSR 1921-1953   32         8.1 million* min.
Russia 1991-2006 15         15 million
*Includes the famine of 1932.

No way did Chernobyl kill 1 million people in 20 years, but even if it did, the tolls are still lower than under capitalism. After 1991, life expectancy actually collapsed, whereas it either rose every year or was flat in the USSR.
In the last 20 years or so of the USSR, the system was scarcely killing a soul.
The best you can say is that both systems sucked in their own way, but it’s a really tough case to say that things are better now, and anyway, the system is still pretty socialist, so comparisons are hard to do between the two eras.

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0 thoughts on “Venezuela and the USSR In Context”

  1. Venezuela still has about 40% of its population living in poverty; Chile, 20%. Plus crime is outrageous. In Chile you live on average a better life. Same with Argentina and even Mexico. People may be better off now under Chavez, but I wouldn’t say Venezuela is the star of South America.
    I don’t even know where that USSR death rate comes from. I know you’ve done research on that, but generally it’s supposed that many millions died. Considering the Russian had a population of about 126 million in 1900 and also was growing fast, I don’t doubt that at all.
    Per Capita Russia did damn well under Putin. Most of it was probably among oligarchs, sure, but Russia has always been centralized and corrupt. And the environmental disaster that was the USSR is indisputable.
    As for Chernobyl, there’s been a book written on it. It is by far the worst environmental disaster in human history. Here’s a good link from a progressive site. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/26

    1. About 25% of Venezuelans live in poverty. Down from about 80% when he came in.
      Violent crime is very bad, especially homicide. But that’s all in the slums, the shantytowns. If you live outside of those places, you won’t see the homicide. Violent crime and homicide has been terrible in Venezuela for decades. It’s not something Chavez has created.
      Sure, maybe it’s better to live in Argentina or Chile, but that’s not Chavez’ fault.
      Those “many millions” figures for people being murdered in the USSR are all lies. After the KGB archives were opened up in 1990, real figures came out. I should include the famine of 1932 though.
      There wasn’t a ton of corruption in the USSR. The nomenklatura lived better than others, but not a whole lot better.

      1. Taking PPP Per Capita, which reflects cost of living, you get a much different picture:
        Chile: 14,700
        Argentina: 13,800
        Mexico: 13,500
        Venezuela: 13,100
        Uruguay: 12,700

    2. @Erranter
      “Per Capita Russia did damn well under Putin. Most of it was probably among oligarchs, sure, but Russia has always been centralized and corrupt.”
      Actually is benefited a growing middle class the most which he kicked out or imprisoned the most obnoxious Oligarchs all of which have ties to Britain and Israel where they have fled to there masters in case Putin prosecutes them.
      Khoderkovsky was Lord Jacob Rothschild’s agent and front man in Russia.
      “The World Bank, never a cheerleader for Putin, announced that the Russian poverty level has decreased over 50%, from 21% to 9%, and of this 9%, 7-8% are students, which is natural state of affairs, as I was quite poor in grad school.
      Now, of course, the Bank couched its report in various ways, one of which was to start the survey in 1999, the last year of Yeltsin’s mis-presidency, rather than 2000, the first year of Putin’s, obviously in order to avoid the obvious conclusion.”

      http://www.rusjournal.com/Putin_Econ.pdf
      Right about the corruption but the problem has been lack of central authority where corrupt regional leaders, law enforcement and organised crime rule.
      Chernobyl from what I understand the reactor is still radioactive and need a new reinforced protective shield.
      Totally agree with your views on the failed system that is Communism.
      All the countries that have abandoned it for market economy have dramatically cut poverty rates and improvements in field like human rights, etc even China.

  2. Putin is for all intents and purposes a fascist.
    Racism has exploded, where it barely existed in the USSR. Russia now has the worst White Supremacist gangster problem on Earth. The movement is homicidal and is supported by a majority of the population, police and politicians.

    Actually most crimes are committed by minority groups were they dominate organised crime sectors especially the Chechens this is why there has been a backlash to witch the extent has been completely over hyped.
    A frankly genocidal and fascist war was launched on the Chechen people. Out of a population of 1 million, 200,000, 20% of them, were killed. Not even Stalin launched monstrous hot wars like that against his own people.
    That is a flat out lie propagated by the CIA/Soros/etc mass media machine that finances and supports the Chechen regime which is the exact same number they come up with for those killed in the Bosnian war which the same organisations and people involved.
    In fact the population has increased 3 fold according to the Soviet census of 1989 and 2002 keeping in mind half the country left abroad after the first war, those killed in combat and in foreign jihadist wars in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, those warlords who moved there families to Kosovo and Waziristan, kidnapped and killed by armed criminal gangs, etc.
    USSR 1989 census: 898999 / Russian 2002 census: 1360471
    http://www.perepis2002.ru/ct/doc/English/4-1.xls
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Census_(1989)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Census_(2002)
    Keep in mind this is during a period where the vast majority of people in Russia especially ethnic Russians had a stark population decline in the millions.
    The Chechen regimes especially that of Johar Dudayev the first Chechen president was extremely fascist organising pogroms against the ethnic Russian and non-Chechen populations with mass rapes, theft, murder, kidnapping and ethnic cleansing.
    The Chechens organised and planned the first war forging links with organised crime gangs and foreign intelligence services and international jihadist networks establishing criminal networks in Russia and abroad.
    There was a Russian documentary called Plan Caucasus featuring a former member of the Dudayev government that covers this with interviews and documentation.
    http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/23-04-2008/104984-us_plans_capture_caucasus-0
    He even abolished the regional parliament and tried to have it and paramilitary units all under is control essentially a military dictatorship resulting in a small scale civil war.
    You do know the largest Chechen community outside of Chechnya itself is in Moscow and other regions of Russia?

  3. @ robert- i just think its so fucking ridiculous that everyone is saying now that russia has a white supremacist problem. really? look at the stats. over 4000 white farmers have been killed in South Africa…..crickets chirping……less than 100 blacks killed in russia–OMG those evil racist Russians!!!!!!! Russia doesnt have a white supremacist problem, South Africa has a black supremacist problem. SA is soooo much more racist than Russia. oh, and btw fuck Chechnya. chechynans are my enemy and your never going to be able to get a russian to feel sorry for those muslim barbarians. at the most, we can talk about Chechnyan Independance purely for pragmatic reasons. but thats unlikely. oh, and i also think that its funny that wether or not people think socialism or capitalism was/is the problem in Russian, the Jews are always blamed for supporting it. makle up your minds people, should jews be right-wing or left-wing?

    1. @AJ
      Northern region of Chechnya is actually or should I say was traditional Tesek Cossack territory given to them by Khrushchev as part of his de-Stalinisation/Russian program.
      Anyway it was never about independence if that was the case they would have been running training camps in Afghanistan, Turkey, Chechnya and neighbouring Dagestan and signing oil contract deals with Britain and the US for the Caucasus oil development and repeated incursions into Dagestan plus terrorists attacks like the 98/99 market bombing in North Ossetia which guaranteed a second war would happen especially after Khattab and Basayevs invasion of Dagestan in 99 funded by the Qatari government and sanctuary given to them by the Chechen regime.

  4. John can you recommend a Russian blog which posts frequently and is in your opinion authoritative and trustworthy? How do you rate Sublime Oblivion, which has neverthless tapered off of late? Your opinion on Dugin?

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