Global Research | Riley Waggaman
Mike Whitney (MW): In many parts of the world, Vladimir Putin is admired for his outspoken defense of national sovereignty. But on the domestic front, many of Putin’s policies seem to align with those of the Western globalists. As you note in a recent post at Substack Putin just “signed a decree on the creation of a ‘digital’ domestic passport,” which many people think will pave the way to technocratic tyranny. Am I exaggerating the risks of digital ID here, or does this development pose a serious threat to personal freedom?
Riley Waggaman (RW): Imagine if the United States started issuing digital driver’s licenses that could be used as an official form of ID. What would the reaction be? I suspect a lot of Americans would feel “worried”, for lack of a better term. And not without good reason.
The digital passport system being implemented in Russia is deserving of the same skepticism.
First some context: Russia has a “domestic passport” that basically functions as a national ID. You use your domestic passport to open up a bank account, and for when you have to interact with the local bureaucracy. It’s an important document that you need to do ordinary, everyday things.
The digital passport has been billed as an electronic copy of the domestic passport, accessible via smartphone (via the State Services portal, Gosuslugi). The government is still deciding in what situations/scenarios the digital passport will be accepted as a valid form of ID.
Proponents of this digital document say it’s more convenient than a paper ID, and perhaps they’re right. The problem of course is that modern conveniences can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness, and with time these unpleasant things can even become “normal”.
The fact that this ID will be linked to the State Services portal (Gosuslugi) is certainly cause for concern and it’s easy to imagine how digital passports could be used (and abused) by the Russian government—or any government, for that matter. All in the name of convenience.
Of course, the authorities promise that digital IDs will never be made mandatory. Well, I’m old enough to remember when the Russian government promised that Covid vaccination would be 100% voluntary.
MW: Russia appears to be spearheading the transition to Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) with its creation of the “digital ruble”. In your opinion, what are the potential pitfalls of such a plan?
RW: Excluding the possibility of imposing a full-spectrum digital gulag, the digital ruble has no obvious benefits. I would say the same of all CBDCs, of course.
Some claim that the digital ruble is a very necessary, prudent, and brilliant way to bypass Western sanctions. This is untrue. The Bank of Russia has a fully functional Financial Messaging System (SPFS) that operates independently from SWIFT. Here are a few RT.com headlines for your consideration:
- March 2017: “Russia’s banking system has SWIFT alternative ready”
- February 2018: “Russian banks ready to switch off SWIFT – official”
- October 2019: Russia, China & India to set up alternative to SWIFT payment system to connect 3 billion people”
All of these articles are about SPFS and were published long before the Bank of Russia announced its intention to develop the digital ruble in October 2020.
I’m puzzled as to why so many westerners who claim to understand the dangers of CBDCs think the digital ruble is somehow “different”. The Bank of Russia’s CBDC has been almost unanimously condemned by the country’s most prominent commentators in the alternative/conservative media space. Even mainstream outlets like Tsargrad have published scathing take-downs of the digital ruble.
Meanwhile, in English-language “alternative media”, we are blessed with the profound postulations of deep thinkers like Simplicius who write nipple-hardening purple prose about how amazing and anti-globalist the Bank of Russia is, and why the digital ruble is super hip and cool.
I just don’t understand why English-language commentary (all non-Russian commentary, actually) is so far removed from what patriotic Russians living in Russia are saying about their own country, in Russian.
By the way: The Bank of Russia has already reneged on its promise that it will never, ever “color” digital rubles so that they can only be used to purchase certain items. The central bank’s deputy chairman recently said that placing restrictions on how digital rubles can be spent is a real possibility—and one that will be explored in the future. (link)
The digital ruble hasn’t even entered circulation yet, and the Bank of Russia is already open to “exploring” how this fun new tool of total control—endorsed by Davos, the IMF, the G20,–can be used to curb and stomp on basic human dignity.
MW: Is Russia moving closer to mandatory vaccinations?
Note: Here’s a quote from one of your recent posts:
Russia’s Ministry of Health wants to amend the National Preventive Immunization Calendar so that COVID vaccination could be mandatory for “vulnerable categories of citizens” whenever the country’s benevolent health authorities believe the “epidemiological” situation warrants another round of coercive injections…..
Of course, any new mandatory vaccination decrees would also apply to state employees, including teachers, doctors, military personnel, etc. Edward Slavsquat, Substack
RW: If Russia’s enterprising health ministry—which works tirelessly to safeguard public health—decides that “Covid” is “spreading” at an unacceptable rate, various categories of citizens will have to choose between getting vaxxed or losing their jobs. This is of course still voluntary vaccination because Russians get to choose whether they want to be employed or inject themselves with an unproven genetic goo developed in cooperation with AstraZeneca.
There are many highly intelligent intellectuals—like Aussie Cossack —who continue to pretend that Russia never had mandatory Covid vaccination, which is very brave considering that as of January 2023, there were still hundreds of Russians who were barred from working because they refused to be injected.
The Gamaleya Center continues to “update” its Covid vaccine, and the Russian government continues to shill this dangerous and barely tested trash to children. Whether Covid vaccination will become as ubiquitous and “normal” as the annual flu shot (which is even shoved into the little arms of Russian children every year; I know because I had to sign a document forbidding the kindergarten nurse from injecting my 6-year-old son) is an open question.
But you have to be impressively credulous to believe that the Russian government wants to keep Covid vaccination a purely voluntary affair. Russia’s health bureaucracy has a very poor track record when it comes to calling out Big Pharma/WHO scams. Did you know that you have to get an HIV test (an old school 1980s Fauci scam) to get a work visa in Russia? Well, now you know.
MW: Here’s an excerpt from one of your recent posts that will surprise many readers who think that President Putin actually opposes the Davos crowd and their globalist agenda:
“To defeat globalism, Moscow is reluctantly but responsibly adopting the globalist agenda….
There is no way to stop the technological “progress” promoted by Davos, the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, the UN, and the WHO, which is why Moscow must closely collaborate with all of these globalist organizations in order to maintain globalist parity with the Collective West—otherwise Russia won’t be able to protect herself from the globalists.”
And, here’s more from another post:
“…almost every joint declaration Moscow signs (whether it be a G20 Declaration, a BRICS Declaration, or just some word salad authored with the help of Beijing) includes a passage praising the vital roles of the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund? This seems like relevant information.
The Russian government has repeatedly said it has no intention of withdrawing from the WHO, the WTO, or even the IMF. It would be nice if Cerise could update his article to reflect this undeniable reality. Edward Slavsquat, Substack
You appear to be saying that—even though Russia is fighting the western oligarchy in Ukraine—it is still marching in lockstep with the globalists on matters of social policy. Can you expand on this a bit? And how does Putin fit in with all of this? Is he an unwitting accomplice or an eager participant?
RW: Is Moscow fighting the western oligarchy in Ukraine? Gazprom has been pumping gas across Ukraine since Day 1 of the Special Military Operation (SMO). And that’s not the only natural resource that Russian “entrepreneurs” are desperately transiting through Ukrainian territory.
I have yet to read about a western-backed Ukrainian oligarch having his home vaporized by a Russian missile. Actually, it’s doubtful that a single western oligarch, anywhere, has been inconvenienced by the SMO. On the contrary, it has been a wonderful money-making opportunity—for Russian oligarchs as well.
But to address the second part of your question: Anyone who follows Russian-language media knows that Moscow is in near-total lockstep with the West when it comes to soul-crushing technocracy and other forms “safe and convenient” societal progress. Actually, an objective observer would recognize that Russia is far ahead of the West in implementing “digitalization” shilled by Davos and other celebrated globalist organizations.
Putin has done nothing meaningful to slow this process down. Actually, by allowing glorious patriots like Herman Gref to spearhead AI, biometrics, QR-coded cattle-tagging, facial recognition systems, “sustainable development”, and other trendy tech-development in Russia, Putin is an unapologetic accomplice in all the unsavory madness pestering Russia and every other country.
Seriously, just look at how the Russian government treats schoolchildren(like diseased, suspicious cattle), and you will begin to understand where this country is headed. Children are the future, after all!
MW: Can you summarize your views on the Covid-19 vaccine?
RW: It’s bad.
MW: You say that “Russians are not too keen on Russia’s Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina”. According to you: “The socialists, the monarchists, the neo-soviets, the conservatives, the military hardliners—with few exceptions,… all despise Elvira and her digital rubles.”
Later in your article you say: “(Elvira) Nabiullina is a symbol of pursuing an economic policy contrary to Russia’s interests.”
That’s pretty harsh criticism. Can you explain what’s going on? Why would Putin reappoint someone to such an important position who –many feel– is implementing a globalist agenda?
RW: The second quote is actually from Nakanune.ru, which is a left-leaning independent news outlet based in Yekaterinburg. Excluding state-funded media, every news outlet in Russia hates Elvira Nabiullina and thinks she’s a globalist stooge who is actively working to destroy Russia. The conservatives, the Orthodox hardliners, the Communists, the Neo-Bolshiviks, the nationalists—they all despise Nabiullina. This is a fact and why it is never conveyed to non-Russian “alternative news” consumers is a massive mystery.
I haven’t the slightest idea why Putin nominated this Yale World Fellow graduate for another term as the Bank of Russia’s governor, even though she is awful and nobody likes her. Probably this is part of Putin’s ingenious strategy to defeat the globalists with a programmable CBDC 100% controlled by an IMF-obedient central bank that operates independently from the Russian state.
MW: In our last interview, you delivered a stirring summary of our current epoch saying:
“I am often reminded of that unsettling line from Alexis de Tocqueville: “I go back from age to age up to the remotest antiquity; but I find no parallel to what is occurring before my eyes: as the past has ceased to throw its light upon the future, the mind of man wanders in obscurity.”
With each passing day it seems we are being forcibly severed from our own past. We are being “retrained” to accept a new civilizational model. It’s happening at the local, regional, national and global level. It is tearing apart families.
I do believe we are facing an evil that has no equal in human history.” Edward Slavsquat Substack
Judging from the response, I think there are a great number of people who feel the same as you do… My final question to you is this: Do you still feel as pessimistic as you did then?
RW: Mike, I would like to thank you (again) for that interview—it remains the most-read post on my blog. As you probably recall, the realities of Russia’s “public health” policies lacked “accuracy” (I’m trying to be charitable here) in 2021, and I think our internet exchange paved the way for a more fact-based, nuanced discussion about Russia’s “Covid response”.
Actually, I’m quite optimistic in the sense that I have accepted that there isn’t a 5-dimensional omnipotent white hat Twitter account that will save me from the Western Satanists, and I will have to save myself—which is actually relatively painless, easy, and even fun. I would even describe my current outlook as hopeful. But I fully understand the pessimism of someone who is sick of the US government, or any western government; someone who looks longingly at the Russian government as an alternative.
The problem with this curious way of thinking is that according to official data, around 30% of Russians live on less than $10 a day, Russia is facing a catastrophic demographic crisis (and it’s hard to think of a more basic metric for gauging the health and of a nation), and the Russian government is a fanatical proponent of policies that are chipping away at the last vestiges of basic human dignity.
But again, I am an optimist. I have been able to connect with like-minded individuals here in Russia, and all over the world, and my life has greatly improved as a result. I am able to live the life I want to live without having to make obscene excuses for the inexcusable.
We should all be guided by truth, friendship, and love, and why the so-called “alternative media” is so obsessed with carrying water for governments who offer the world nothing but more of the same (sadness) is truly amazing. Enough already. We have everything we need.
Source: The Unz Review
Original Article: https://www.globalresearch.ca/putin-cahoots-globalists/5836121