It was one thing when self-proclaimed Russophile Jean MacKenzie confessed late last year that to her Russia was a "dark, savage country."
Case closed on The Moscow Times' tolerate/hate relationship with Russia, right? Wrong. Out of nowhere, their leading business writer, who answers to the impossible-to-believe handle "Gary Peach", lashed out this past Tuesday with an "analysis" that can only be described as bordering on a hate crime.
Entitled "FIMACO Shows All Hope Is Lost for Future of Russia", Peach's most recent installment of the weekly column known as "The Analyst," which is normally harmless monetarist propaganda vaguely connected to the realities of Yeltsin's Russia, suddenly went loony tunes.
"I can no longer restrain myself," the nerve-wracked tool wrote, after a lengthy and totally unnecessary aside on why he denounces the pronoun "I": "No 'I' this or 'I that' should be forced upon readers' better judgement. But due to the appalling 'offshore' events recently revealed, my emotions have gotten the better of me."
Most people here snapped quite a long time ago. Like when it turned out that Yeltsin didn't give a flying fuck about his people, democracy, or human rights; or when reforms wound up impoverishing the entire nation; or when the war in Chechnya led to over 80,000 deaths; or when Yeltsin bombed the White House; or when he created an oligarchy with the aid of his top young reformers; and so on, and so on. Not Peach. What made him snap were recent revelations that the Central Bank funneled reserves out to a secret offshore company, and that profits from the management of this money probably wound up in the pockets of Central Bank officials.
"... Nothing good will come out of this country in the next 30 to 40 years," the analyst wrote. "If the entire system is so [...] hopelessly corrupt [...], then let Russia wallow in its own misery for another century. The country deserves no better."
Folks, this isn't just outrage; it's bleeding-raw malice towards an entire nation! The strangest part is that Peach is willing to condemn an entire nation to suffer misery for 100 years because a small clique that ruthlessly rules over them is corrupt. It would be like analyzing a massive, abuse-laden orphanage, whose overseers have been accused of rape, theft and snuff-film trafficking, and concluding, "If the orphanage is so hopelessly debauched, then let the children wallow in their own misery for the remainder of their youth. The orphanage deserves no better."
So now the question becomes, why all the ill-will?
A simple scan through the trail of analytical evidence left behind by the Times' very own Nostradamus reveals that "The Analyst" would better be titled "The Dumbshit". Because no one, save interim-editor Geoff Winestock, has been more consistently, 180-degrees-edly wrong about Russia's economy and politics than resident analyst Gary Peach.
Just as early as last December, Peach, in his end-of-the-year assessment, poo-poo'd doom-and-gloomers and optimistically declared: "There were plenty of positive events over the past 365 days, which can hardly be said of years gone by." In his opinion, "By far the worst thing to come out of 1998 was a trend: An ugly, unpunished, largely unrestrained rise in racism."
Uh, yeah. Okay, so he was a little off. There was this financial meltdown and all, but... aw heck, forget it. You can never go wrong condemning racism.
Completely missing the point and falling for the Nazi bogeyman hardly explains Peach's Russophobia. Welp, maybe this spring-time column does: "One can immediately see that Russia is in no way threatened by an [Asian-style financial meltdown]... Some observers may place Russia on the same level with Asia based on superficial accusations of corruption and cronyism. This is largely unjustified. [...]Russia's cronyism -- selling the nation's largest enterprises to an inside group of bankers -- can be defended from a philosophical standpoint (Machiavelli, Hobbes), because it helped ensure the re-election of a pro-reform candidate in 1996." [THE ANALYST: Bad Managers Caused Asian Crisis, April 28, 1998.]
Or this: "No matter what mistakes it has made, since taking control in October 1994, the Dubinin-led [Central] bank has been a fortress of farsightedness in a country that lives week-to-week." [THE ANALYST: An
Unglamorous Crisis: The Central Bank at Risk, April 14, 1998.]Want more peachy-keen analysis? "The worst phase of Russia's financial crisis is in the past. [...] Overall, many observers may be surprised to see a stronger-than-expected Russian economy emerge this year." [THE ANALYST: Rating Downgrade a Case of Too Much, Too Late, March 17, 1998.]
You can't stop this man! Only a few weeks before the spectacular crash of Russia's stock market, as terrifying, black-as-death storm clouds were gathering overhead, Peach cheerily declared, "Generally, one can be sure that the bull run of Russia's stock market is not over." [Oil, Power, Connections Spell 4th-Quarter Growth, September 30, 1997.]
The list goes on and on: groveling blowjobs on the young reformers (he calls Chubais and Nemtsov "the dynamic duo of market reforms"), a disgusting apologia for Alfred Kokh after he was sacked for taking a bribe from Uneximbank (Peach describes the universally-criticized Norilsk sale to Unexim as "a delectable treat for the government" and Kokh's sacking as "unjustified"), and he consistently reads both economic and political events with dusted pot leaves instead of tea leaves. In other words, he stands out as the single biggest moron in local print. And not even a nice moron, as is evidenced by his tough-guy "philosophical" defense of the creation of an oligarchy by citing Machiavelli and Hobbes. It would be interesting to see how Hobbesian Peach would be if a Berezovsky controlled and raped his country instead of Russia.
Peach's beef with Russia is not corruption, FIMACO, or economics. Peach's problem, like Jean MacKenzie's, like so many other Westerners', is that Russia didn't turn out the way they wanted it to. They wanted Russia to become something familiar, and when it didn't, they blamed Russia for making them look bad. They rammed a totally alien, poisonous remedy of pseudo-Thatcherism down Russia's throat, and when the patient began to break out in boils and vomit blood, they screeched, "It's the goddamn patient's fault! She deserves to die!" and ran fleeing from the hospital. Instead of doing the honorable thing by publishing a mea culpa for badly screwing up the whole Yeltsin-era story, Peach did what most Westerners have done here, issuing a they-a culpa, and damn them to hell.
Thanks a fucking lot, Peach. Russia will fondly remember your small contribution to the massive cover-up campaign that helped prolong its destruction under the guise of "reform," and now, they'll remember your condemnation of Russia to live out another century in misery. It's a good thing you've given up all hope on Russia. A better thing would be if you'd apply your hard-hitting judgement to your own record.
The best punishment for Gary Peach would be that he wallow in his own miserable little Moscow Times column for the rest of his life. And may flesh-eating bacteria eat away his jaw and ears, but not kill him, making him so physically repulsive that even his cat would flee from him. He deserves no better.