“This is unique,” the Russian president recently told a group of enthusiastic young people as he unveiled the 460-foot-tall Moscow Sun Ferris wheel (16 feet taller than the London Eye). “There is no such thing in Europe!”
Thanks to Putin’s ambition to make his regime the first in all, Guinness World Records last year certified that Russians choreographed the largest number of people ever standing on a bed of nails (151); whipped the largest slab of clotted milk (2,153 lbs) and set the best time for someone dressed in a clown costume (30.7 seconds).
In 2022, decades after Guinness verified that the Soviet army launched the first rats into space in 1960, despot No. 1 of Russia has a new arsenal of objectively measurable statistics: launching the largest conventional military strike (330,000 troops) to ignite the largest land warfare in Europe (230,000 square miles) since World War II. Putin can also boast the largest number of generals killed in battle (13) in the shortest period of time (six months), while at the same time gutting 45 percent of his country’s GDP.
Informed of the string of new ventures to add to Russia’s current tally of roughly 5,037 Guinness World Records, agency spokesman Doug Male said the raters on the day of the February 24 invasion of Russia stopped corroborating Russian records. in protest. “Guinness curates carefree and celebrated records,” Male told The Daily Beast. “Russian Lake Baikal in Siberia will remain the deepest freshwater lake in the world, but we are not concerned with their war records.”
This left the job to supporters like Anastasiya Shapochkina, president of the Eastern Circles Policy Institute and professor of EU-Russia political and economic relations at Sciences Po in Paris.
“The Russians seem willing to offer Guinness numbers,” Shapochkina told the Daily Beast. “Not for us, though; sharing any information related to the military is now a crime. There are glimpses, but we are now seeing statistical indicators through a closing window in an economy that is falling under military supervision. ”
“Russia”, Shapochkina warns, “is moving towards a war economy”.
“The best way to lose a war is to believe it will never come.“
Knock them out, Putin. The global financial system hasn’t even thought about authenticating a full-blown boogie war economy since the 1940s, when nations prioritized the production of goods and services, both to fuel Adolf Hitler’s aggression, and to counterattack. the belligerence of the Axis powers.
“The military budgets in the United States and Europe are disguised and totally unsuitable to respond to this type of conflict, because a war economy is very difficult to sell to the electorate, even if Russia has deliberately created an energy crisis and global food that has already brought America and Europe into battle, ”said Shapochkina.
A war economy is truly an embarrassing sale in 21st century America. As during past world wars, rationing becomes a reality, key prices and wages are placed under government control, and today’s individual retirement accounts would fall faster than an oligarch Putin accidentally falling out of a window.
“[A war economy] it is not simply a shock to a healthy system, “University of Texas economist James K. Galbraith, president of Economists for Peace and Security explained in 2001.” The public obligation is to do what is necessary to promote military effort, to protect and defend the territory of origin, and above all to maintain the physical well-being, solidarity and morale of the people “.
Shapochkina said his team has negligible faith in any of the data Western leaders have deployed to financially neutralize Putin, end his war in Ukraine, or exorcise his clear motivation to build a war economy. “Economies nowadays are more emotional than numerical and especially in wartime,” she worries. “Statistics obviously still play a huge role in economic decision making and forecasting, but Russia is manipulating them by default. It is an instrument of war ”.
But let’s face it. Statistics can be strangled by admitting anything. So, when looking for reliable direction through the fog of war, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is the guy who wonders if America is close to recognizing – or reacting to – the idea of a war economy in full rule.
“The West is not exactly at war with Russia,” Krugman recently reflected on the subject The New York Times. “However, he’s not exactly at war either,” he covered himself, echoing wartime president Harry Truman’s call for a “one-armed economist so the boy could never make a statement and then say ‘on the other hand’. ”
Ever since Putin invaded Ukraine, agitating global energy and other commodity markets, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have devised all sorts of anti-inflationary methods to isolate the West from the economic backlash of the war. Putin. However, as President Lyndon Johnson punctually remarked in offering a solution to a stubborn economic problem, “making a speech about the economy is a bit like pissing down the leg,” he said. “It looks hot for you, but never for anyone else.”
Speaking on the phone to The Daily Beast from a few miles south of Moscow’s Sun Ferris wheel, a former Justice Ministry official has only half a joke that the soaring costs of the war have left Putin’s economists prepared for eventual. failure.
“The best way to lose a war is to believe it will never come, and this is current conventional wisdom in the West,” says Shapochkina. “Remember, economically ruined Nazi Germany in 1938 successfully invaded its neighbors without entering a war economy until 1943. Putin has all the money he needs to continue the war in Ukraine for as long as he wants. . But his ending was never just Ukraine “.