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New confidence in Damascus as Russian strikes turn the tide – BBC News

First truthful report on state of affairs in Syria from BBC in many years


Golden ruble

Full blown Russian currency crisis was entirely predictable. Russian companies & banks must pay back $30 bln to Western banks in this month but crisis still caught Kremlin off the guard. Ruble is in free fall, desperate midnight hikes of key interest rate by Central Bank chief Nabiullina didn’t help.

So what to do & who’s responsible – two eternal questions hotly debated in Russia.

In my view Putin must understand RUSSIA IN the state of undeclared WAR with Ukraine and the West so his government (stuffed by Liberals of old Washington Consensus school) piece-meal approach will escalate financial crisis which will spill over into real sector and jeopardize his regime.

Whenever I listen to economists debating necessary measures they skirt over stand-off with the West by citing “geopolitical risks”. But nobody tell what will happen if the West or crazy Kiev junta will declare real war on Russia? What will Putin do?

I think Kremlin must sack Nabiullina and Ulyukaev (and Medvedev if necessary) & appoint Glazyev’s team into economic ministries & Central Bank. Some Glazyev’s ideas were quite radical, but he sensed coming geopolitical risks long before the current crisis which Nabiullina, Ulyukaev prove to be incapable of dealing with.

But changing personalities won’t calm markets – ONLY PEGGING RUBLE TO GOLD WILL HELP to bring about much needed macroeconomic stability, tame inflation & restore economic growth.

I know gold price is manipulated by US, but unlike oil gold cannot cost cheaper than certain level otherwise Indians will consume all gold of the world. Besides size of US Fed golden reserves many questioned. I don’t believe in a moment US Fed will dump its gold reserves to make damage to Russian currency. If that will be the case Russia, India and China should buy all American gold on the market.

Pegging currency to gold has its disadvantages, first of all regarding emission of money, but advantages of gold pegging in present circumstances seem to be prevailing.

Anyway Russian ruble since 1990s unofficially pegged exchange rate of ruble to another commodity – oil so I see no big moral problems switching to golden ruble, if Nabiullina think pegging to oil is “free floating” while to gold is not, let her to prove first how is that oil different from gold as commodity?

Wanderer’s life is back

Turning away from grim realities of Tibet I’d like to turn to local life – it’s back with a vengeance!

Today was one of the warmest days of the season in Dharamsala, surely higher than +20C.

Just a month ago the main square of McLeod was like this with few Punjabis exhilarated by snow, white wonder.

A cafe in my place opened finally today. I ordered pizza for evening, Mohan (owner) makes pizza exactly like in Pizza Hut, with fat panbase and thick fillings.

I also bought tickets, for bus to Delhi then train to Gorakhpur – soon I will be on the road again.

I will report everything unusual I’ll see.

Life grew in water

Recently in my home in Dharamsala there was no electricity for many days because heavy snowfall damaged electrical wires. Trying to kill time I reread the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, or rather their Russian translation in two volumes of “All about India.”

Indian religion is incredibly vital & naturalistic, almost all deities can be found among natural phenomena. Many gods related to water, god of rain, god of thunder, goddesses of rivers and lakes. They are deeply revered and extolled as the most sacred creations.

Waters are divine, “they take away all filth, I’m out of them cleaned and undefiled.” Besides the utilitarian properties of water are highly valued: its purity, healing, effects on vegetation, animal health, and therefore on welfare of people.

In the documentary “House – a date with the planet” there is an episode illustrating importance of water for Indians, especially nowadays due to depletion of underground water sources.

Due to climate change and population growth Indian civilization is becoming increasingly fragile, dependent on the strength of annual monsoon rains as Russia depends on oil prices.

Hi to everyone

I finally arrived in English-speaking blogosphere and this is my first post. It’s not that I am newcomer – I posted English language diaries long before, for example on Daily Kos but I never had personal space to express myself.

This is not so much political blog, it’s just about everything in Asia and India in particular. I have lived in India for many years and I am very much interested what’s going on there and especially I am interested in Tibetan question despite it looks so hopeless at the moment.

For political commentary I opened another blog, so if you’re want to discuss current political affairs with me welcome there.

And last few words about myself: I am traveller and writer. In last 8 years I have been living and travelling in many countries of Asia, in the process I wrote three guidebooks on India and Goa for Russian publishers. Right now I am working on my fourth book.

Andrey Davydov