Russia to Biden: Thanks, Joe, We'll Be Fine
Vice President Biden’s recent statement about US-Russia relations struck a raw nerve in Russia. It's one thing to discuss Russia’s internal situation behind closed doors – it’s a whole different matter when such a high profile American political figure throws such facts in your face. And even if a country faces internal difficulties that may threaten its long-term future, being “poked in the eye,” so to speak, by Biden’s statement was far from pleasant. Russian political establishment responded right away, but the country’s cultural elite was not far behind.
Kirill Benediktov is a popular and best-selling author, historian and policy analyst who concentrates on writing about Russia's harsh reality and its uncertain future. His books topped Russia’s best-selling lists, and were being made into popular TV series. As a man who constantly checks the cultural pulse of his country, Biden’s Wall Street Journal description of Russia’s future merited a response. Benediktov focused on Biden's statement that "... they have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable." Benediktov wonders: “But why bury the Russian economy? Perhaps Biden has other sources of information, some insider sources? Otherwise, why would he so confidently predict the death of the Russian banking system? Russia, it must be recalled, is one of the largest U.S. lenders, as Biden certainly knows that very well.”
The following is a direct translation of his op-ed in the daily “Vzglyad” paper: