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Andrey Illarionov explains Putin

Over on Triggernomatry, Andrey Illarionov has very definite views about Vladimir Putin (no, he is not bonkers) and Russia. Illarionov was Putin’s leading economic policy advisor for several years.

Illarionov addresses many notions favoured by ‘realists’ in a very no-nonsense manner. Highly recommended.

24 comments to Andrey Illarionov explains Putin

  • george m weinberg

    The most interesting part is in the last 10 minutes where Illarionov says something along the lines of “Putin knows Biden very well. He remembers back in 78 when Biden traveled to Moscow and betrayed Soviet dissidents”. Americans have forgotten that (admittedly most us can play the “was very young/not born yet” card).

  • Sof haderech

    For me the most interesting part was where he points out how Putin reacts to being forcefully confronted. Turks shot down Russian aircraft on Syrian border & made no apologies for it, Russia backed off. Russia stops when confronted by strength & advances when confronted by weakness & compromise.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Putin has to go.

    As for his economic adviser – Mr Putin’s policy of state ownership of the “commanding heights” of the economy was tried by Mussolini in the 1930s, it did not work. Indeed it was tried by the Emperor Diocletian – and it did not work then either (although most historians of the Classical period seem to think it did – and in their delusions his Collectivism was the answer to the “crises of the third century”).

    Also Mr Putin had TWENTY YEARS to establish a gold currency – which would have made the moves of the Credit Money “international community” powerless against him, and he utterly FAILED to do so. Indeed Mr Putin seems to have thought that his “100 Billion Currency Reserves” were a physical pile of notes, not just entries on computer accounts that can be negated by the Corporate State that has replaced the Western World – the alliance between the Central Banks (such as the Federal Reserve) and “private” financial entities such as Black Rock.

    Either his chief economic adviser was not giving Mr Putin very good advise – or Mr Putin was not listening.

  • Paul Marks

    Seven years ago I watched “RT” (Mr Putin’s English language television station) boasting of the great Soviet victory over Finland.

    Not something to boast about – unless one is indeed “bonkers”. So this gentleman was correct to resign – Mr Putin thinks that Stalin’s conquests (of the Baltic States and so on) were a good thing.

    As for Francis Fukayama and so on – they never clearly DEFINE what they mean by “Liberal Democracy”.

    If they mean Larry Fink and so on – then it is not the “end of history”, it is just a vast Credit Money SCAM. The “Cantillon Effect” on a truly insane scale. Mr Putin is doomed – his system makes no sense, but his enemies are also doomed because their system does not make sense either.

    Indeed in some ways it is the SAME system – from creating money from NOTHING, to Covid lockdowns (oh yes Mr Putin was a Covid lockdown person – and an injection person as well). After all Mr Putin used to be one of the World Economic Forum people – although they have scrubbed his name from various parts of their computer records (Internet Archives exist – you stupid WEF “you will own nothing” nutters).

    As for the ordinary people of the Ukraine, and Russia, and America (and so on) – I hope they build something that does make sense.

  • Paul Marks

    The Russian economy is based on exports of hydrocarbons, various other raw materials, fertiliser, and food – sadly Mr Putin seems to have turned Russia into a de facto colony of the People’s Republic of China (the great manufacturing power of the word – it dwarfs the dying United States of America).

    And Britain? Best not to think about Britain – but if you must think about Britain, think of a cartoon character that has run off a cliff. He keeps running – till he looks down.

    The People’s Republic of China is NOT very efficient – but it does not have to be. After all it is not facing the basically free society that the United States was in (say) 1912 – it is facing the United States of 2022 (government dominated, Credit Bubble monetary and financial system, small business strangled, and “Woke”, Frankfurt School Marxist, in its social and cultural policies).

    The United States of 1912 could have crushed a system like the People’s Republic of China – but modern America has nothing in common with the America of 1912. Technology is more advanced – but everything else is falling apart. Ironically most people, even in 1912, did not believe in liberty – most people wanted a much bigger and more interventionist government. William Howard Taft (the Republican President), I think, only carried two States in 1912 – Vermont and Utah. The others went for the Progressives (T. Roosevelt) or Woodrow Wilson and his “New Freedom” (read – old slavery). Well careful what you wish for – because you have got it now.

    Is there any hope? Who knows – one just has to keep on hoping that “something will turn up”.

  • Bee Boy

    Either his chief economic adviser was not giving Mr Putin very good advise – or Mr Putin was not listening.

    Did you actually watch the video???

  • Paul Marks

    Bee Boy – yes I did.

    However, I may have missed part of it – as I was doing other things at the same time.

    At one point in the video was establishing a gold currency (which Mr Putin has had more than 20 years to do – and has utterly FAILED to do) discussed?

    I do not remember it being discussed at all. But I may have missed that part of the video.

    One can hardly have an independent foreign policy (or an independent domestic policy) with money being just entries on bank ledgers – under the control of the “international community” – see the boasting (yes boasting) of Larry Fink and co.

    The bureaucrats and bankers (who are interchangeable) do not even try and hide this any more – indeed (as already mentioned) they boast about it.

    If anyone thinks that they will not do to “Joe Soap” what they have done to the (admittedly quite dreadful) Mr Putin – then you are mistaken.

    In the future if you dissent, you will “own nothing”.

  • Geoffers

    Mr Marks, instead of engaging with what the video does discuss, you elect to turn the conversation onto something the video does not discuss. If I were the person posting the video, I think I might consider that to be rude. You are not the arbiter here, and it strikes of arrogance to behave as if you are.

  • NickM

    Check this out…

    WHO demands end to ALL time limits on abortions: Agency says laws preventing termination at any point risk violating rights of ‘women, girls or other pregnant persons

    From here:


    Now we can argue over abortion as a moral issue. That is an ethical question. What is not is the simple biological fact that only female humans get pregnant. No bloke in history has ever had sex and thought, “I might be up the duff” unless they had serious psychiatric issues. Issues so serious they are probably the bigger medical issue.

    My poiint is a lot of folk think “woke” is a joke. No, it isn’t when the likes of WHO make a pronouncement of such deranged disconnect from the facts of life as to make Who (as in the BBC’s Doctor) look like a documentary. I suspect that at a deep level this deliberate refusal to acknowledge reality at such a fundamental level lies (in both senses of that word) is behind credit bubble finance and the perceived need for more government and all the rest. Because this is not the denial of the latest advance in theoretical quantum gravity – it is the denial of things people knew back in the day (or rather the night) when Ugg thought it might be a great idea to bring fire into the cave. We rely on the likes of the WHO to offer guidance during global pandemics yet they refuse to accept basic biology. Stuff I knew before GCSE! (I got a grade A, I also did that at A-Level – this was before A*). That is truly fucked-up. That is truly scary.

    Reality is, well, real. The denial of such truth is the most appalling atrocity because it allows side-walk social scintists to create a pseudo-reality that isn’t actually real. It’s 11:59 and I wanna stay alive.


    Is that not the fundamental cause of the Frankurt School? They believe reality itself can be re-shaped to validate their ideology. They believe reality is a construct and therefore can be changed to suit their ends.

    They want to create Tlön. I advise everyone to read that great piece of short fiction by Borges. It is as important a work as “The Lord of the Rings”, “1984” or “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Actually, fuck it! Jorge Luis Borges was probably the greatest writer of the C20th. Utterly brilliant. I’d go for “Labyrinths” as a starter.

    And I’m saying that as a huge Tolkien fan.

  • Look at a map of the region. Russia doesn’t need to control all of Ukraine, it only needs to control the sliver of land on the south and it then has 4 big Black Sea ports, and Ukraine becomes a land locked country.

  • Billl, they have also been trying to take Kyiv and Kharkiv in the north for a month now, so not sure what point you are making.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Excellent interview despite Francis making a fool of himself with the Putin pub question.

  • bobby b

    Paul Marks
    March 27, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    “Mr Putin has to go.”

    So, it appears that Joe Biden reads Paul Marks!

  • So, it appears that Joe Biden reads Paul Marks!

    Heh. But much as I dislike Biden, it is preposterous that people are clutching their pearls over that particular Biden gaff. I mean seriously, it is hard to see how Putin ‘accidently’ falling out a 10th floor window would be a bad thing.

    Well, ok, Biden too for than matter, as long as he had Pelosi & Harris under each arm at the time.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . it is preposterous that people are clutching their pearls over that particular Biden gaff.”

    I don’t know. It would be fine if people like you and me said that we’d take that shot if Putin ever appeared in our sights, but I think it’s a different level when the President of the United States announces it.

    I suspect that it serves to stiffen the paranoid and insecure Putin’s back at a parlous time and may well cost more Ukrainian and Russian lives. I’m beginning to understand why some say that Biden wants this proxy conflict to continue.

  • Snorri Godhi

    […] it is preposterous that people are clutching their pearls over that particular Biden gaff.

    Not when you consider how it plays right into Russian nationalist/Putinist propaganda.

    What is really preposterous is people comparing it to “tear down this wall”.
    Especially since Reagan did not clarify a few days later that he did not mean that the Berlin Wall should be torn down.

    It would be fine if people like you [Perry] and me [Bobby] said that we’d take that shot if Putin ever appeared in our sights

    What intrigues me is Paul Marks’ language, which seems to imply that Samizdata readers are likely to get that chance.

    In any case, i would not want to turn Putin into a martyr.
    In my opinion, Eerik Kross has offered the most realistic strategy for getting rid of Putin without turning him into a martyr.

  • When it comes to Biden and Putin, I embrace the healing power of ‘and’. One may simultaneously see Putin’s departure as desirable and Biden’s remarks as unconducive to that end. Senile-sounding words, quickly-walked-back by handlers, make Biden look weak, not strong – likely to do nothing effective – and the west looking weak is part of what got Putin started and keeps him going.

    Pearl-clutching also makes the west look weak.

  • Paul Marks


    The video raised the subject of Russia – specifically the connection of economic policy and foreign policy.

    It is not my fault that the film did not cover the basic factors that influence the subject that it raised.

    I dealt with the basic problems, precisely because the film did not. Indeed the film implied that the West was a series of free market economies.

    Anyone who implies that the Western world (America, Britain and so on) is a series of free market economies is either a liar or an idiot. Or both.

    You can not have a free market economy, or an independent foreign or domestic policy, with a monetary and financial system like this.

    So I did engage with the “matters the film raised” – it is a pity that the film itself largely did NOT.

  • Jacob

    Most what Andrey Illarionov says is ideological nonsense, unrelated to nothing. Starting with Stalin and Finland – which is in no way related to Putin, is just nonsense, and is also factual wrong. It was Hitler’s help to Finland that prevented a Soviet quick victory (beside, of course, the bravery of the Finns). Nothing to do with England or France.
    And the silly incident of the Russian plane downed by Turkey. The plane penetrated Turkish air space, so the Turks were within their rights, Putin had really no reason or pretext to do anything. Seems that, unlike the Tsars in 1914 – he was not out to conquer Turkey.
    And the silly claim that Turkey closed the straits to Russian warships – it did nothing of the kind. That would be akin to a war declaration. So Illarionov doesn’t know what he is talking about. Same as “no fly” zone – again – that would be a declaration of war. As to his idea of sending British commandos to Lviv…. he is more crazy that Putin.

  • It was Hitler’s help to Finland that prevented a Soviet quick victory (beside, of course, the bravery of the Finns) (Jacob, March 29, 2022 at 3:59 pm)

    That is wildly wrong as regards the winter war (1939-40) when Hitler was allied to Stalin and carefully honoured the nazi-soviet pact, giving no help whatever to Finland (and was unhappy at the delay in Stalin’s victory as it created a risk of British and French involvement in Scandinavia). German absolute refusal of aid or sympathy to Finland continued until after the fall of France, when Hitler’s decision to attack Russia prompted a revised policy of courting Finland as a possible ally.

    The failure of Stalin to win the anticipated quick victory of huge Russia over tiny Finland in 1939 caused a serious threat of British and French aid to Finland. This threat helped motivate Stalin to accept a peace deal that just annexed some territory from Finland instead of annexing the whole state, as he had originally intended and as he intended to do in 1941 – until relations with Germany made him increasingly cautious and then otherwise engaged.

    The analogy of this with today is obvious: a small state is putting up unexpectedly effective resistance to a Russian invasion, leading the west (who had assumed its case hopeless before the attack) to show increasing sympathy for the small state and hostility to Russia. The areas where the analogy breaks down are also obvious.

    – There is no German enemy to make the idea of getting involved in an open war with Russia as well look risky to some British politicians even during the phoney war (French ones showed an eagerness to transfer active fighting to somewhere – anywhere – far from France that looks very dubious in retrospect).

    – (counterbalancing this somewhat) there is no possibility of shutting down German-supplying Swedish ore mines to give the west a huge extra motive for direct action (one British plan proposed sending three British battalions to help the Finns fight Russia, and three British divisions to guard their lines of communication across the northern Swedish and Norwegian rail lines – that also connected the mines to the Norwegian port of Narvik in winter and to Sweden’s Baltic Sea ports in summer).

    – Access to the small state is not effectively blocked by states that are either hostile or neutral-and-wanting-to-stay-so. Western willpower – quite weak enough to substitute for that obstacle – is what delays Polish MIGs being transferred to the Ukraine, not the difficulty of accessing either a Baltic Sea dominated by Germany (and a bit by Russia) or a northern route controlled by a Norway and Sweden that imagined scrupulous neutrality could protect them from much-feared Germany.

    For the record, Jacob’s remark makes virtually no sense if instead considered as a comment about the resumed war between Finland and Russia in 1941-44. The Germans provided a little help on the Finnish front in 1941 but it was overwhelmingly the Finns who retook their country in 1941. In 1942, the Germans had plans to take Leningrad and then act with the Finns but the German forces became involved in repelling a Russian attack so their own offensive plans never matured. In Spring 1944, the Germans sent some arms in the face of the initial Soviet attack on Finland. This no doubt assisted the Finns a bit to halt the Russian advance but it was not a big factor. When the Russian attack resumed a little later in 1944, the Germans could send no more aid and the Finns could see the writing on the wall, so they reluctantly but prudently took the way out they were offered, as it left a (smaller) Finnish state still existing. The Finns then attacked the Norway-based German forces in their far north who were at first unwilling to leave Finland; the Germans retreated some way into northern Norway, creating a devastated strip of far-north Norway to discourage pursuit from either the Russians (whose annexation of Petsamo from Finland gave them a border with Norway) or the Finns.

  • Bell Curve

    And the silly claim that Turkey closed the straits to Russian warships – it did nothing of the kind.


  • Rich Rostrom

    Niall Kilmartin:

    That is wildly wrong as regards the winter war (1939-40) when Hitler was allied to Stalin and carefully honoured the nazi-soviet pact, giving no help whatever to Finland…

    He went further. Mussolini, in a fit of anti=Bolshevik enthusiasm, wanted to send military aid to Finland. (He was not privy to the secret protocols of the Hitler-Stalin Pact.) Hitler prevented him.

  • For the record, Jacob’s remark makes virtually no sense if instead considered as a comment about the resumed war between Finland and Russia in 1941-44

    Referred to in Finland as the ‘Continuation War’.

  • William O. B'Livion

    There’s a huge difference between Putin and Biden.

    Not that I wish either of them to stay in power.

    The difference is that Putin is running the show. Biden’s being stage-managed by White House (Democrat) staffers/Democrat Party Apparatchiks.

    If Putin has a heart attack there’s going to be a power vacuum and there will be significant policy changes.

    If Biden has a heart attack, Kamala steps in and there will be minimal to no policy changes.