In on of his most interesting films, The Trap: What Happened to our Dream of Freedom, Adam Curtis describes how the free market fundamentalists attempted to apply what has been called 'Shock Therapy' in Russia, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. 'Shock Therapy' not only ruined the Russian economy, but even led to the rise of Vladimir Putin in power.
As Curtis says:
In 1992, the American government had passed the Freedom Support Act. Its aim was to help Russia reconstruct itself. Along with millions of dollars of aid, came a group of young American advisers, economists and political theorists, that had a radical vision of what was necessary. They called it 'Shock therapy'. The aim was to remove all State control over the Russian economy as a stroke. All price subsidies will be removed, and all State industries privatized overnight. Their leader was a Harvard economist called Jeffrey Sachs.
The Americans allied themselves with a group of young radical free marketeers around Yeltsin, and together they drew up a plan. Underlying it there was a theory of how to transform society by creating new human beings. It was the same theory that laid behind the rise of what was called market democracy in Britain and America in the 1980s.
The theory said that if one destroyed all the elite institutions that in the past had told people what to do, and instead allowed individuals to become independent in the market place, then they would become new kinds of rational beings, choosing what they wanted. Out of this, would come a new form of order, and a new kind of democracy, in which the market, not politics, gave people what they wanted.
But things didn't work out as the theory predicted. On the first day of the plan, all price controls in Russia were removed, and the cost of all goods soared. Millions of people found themselves unable to afford even the most basic of goods, and with no one to help them. The only solution for millions of Russians, was to come out on to the streets and sell their belongings for anything they could get.
The chaos began to spread, as the currency no longer had any value. Factories began to pay their workers in the products they made, which the people then had to sell wherever they could in order to live. Then, the privatization plan kicked in. Every Russian was given vouchers to buy shares in the privatized companies, but desperate for cash, they simply sold their vouchers to ruthless businessmen for a fraction of their worth. And a new elite began to emerge who snapped off vast sections of Russian industry. They became known as the 'oligarchs'.
Faced with this, the deputies in the Russian Parliament, began to protest against what they called 'economic genocide', would led to chaos and violence inside Parliament. And in the face of this the group of reformers around Yeltsin persuaded him he had to suspend Parliament. In protest, the deputies occupied Parliament. Yeltsin's response was brutal. He ordered the army to attack, the deputies were arrested, and Yeltsin announced that he would now rule by decree.
Shock Therapy continued, but in the future, people were going to be made free, through force and dictatorship. But what actually happened was that Yeltsin became the creature of those with the real power in the new Russia, the oligarchs. In return for loans, Yeltsin gave oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky, the rest of Russian industry. Sometimes at less than 2% of its real value. And then, in 1998, the experiment came dramatically to an end.
The days of economic reforms seem to be well and truly over here. Out of this economic catastrophe, a new order emerged, but it wasn't a spontaneous order dreamt of by the free market utopians. It was the very opposite, a harsh, tough nationalism, imposed by the new president Vladimir Putin. Putin arrested or exiled the major oligarchs, and set about dismantling many of the democratic freedoms in the new Russia. But this was welcomed by the majority of Russians, who now wanted order, not freedom. What president Putin could offer Russians were other things, security, dignity, and above all, a meaning that went beyond their own individual lives.
Curtis presents ideas originated from the neoconservatives, first appeared in the US in the early 70s. This coincides with the neoliberalism era that dominated the West for about four decades until today. Since then, the neocon/neoliberal establishment of the West has spread chaos in various regions through military or economic intervention.
Russia was on its knees after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it is obvious that the neocons not only failed to fulfill their ultimate target which was the definite occupation of Russia from inside through an economic war, but, instead, they helped Putin to rise in power. Now, they want desperately to return to Russia with the same target. With Putin in power, things now are much more difficult. The US deep state has only one option: provoke an open and direct conflict.
As already described, what we see in Ukraine is probably another failure of various think tanks, mostly from Washington, which they are funded, of course, by the international capital. It seems that, apart from the fact that they have underestimated Putin's abilities, they have also wrongly estimated that Russia had passed permanently in the neoliberal phase and would be ready to become an easy victim to promote their plans. According to these plans, the ultimate goal would be probably to dissolve the vast Russian territory in future and bring in power Western-friendly puppet regimes, in order not only to conquer the valuable resources, but also to impose permanently the neoliberal doctrine on "unexplored" regions and populations.
The sloppy and obsolete propaganda has started, yet people don't buy it that easily, anymore ...