NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Putin Promotes Russia as Tax Haven - Gives Depardieu Citizenship to Flee French Income Tax


    Aleksandr Buzgalin: Putin shows he is a right-wing neo-liberal politician as he promotes Russia as a paradise for the rich -   January 8, 2013
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    I appreciate immensely The Real News reports. You report news that is covered nowhere else. - Elizabeth Sheppard
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Aleksandr Buzgalin is a Professor of Political Economy at Moscow State University. He is also editor of the independent democratic left magazine Alternatives, and is a coordinator of the Russian social movement Alternatives, author of more then 20 books and hundreds of articles, translated into English, German and many other languages.

    Transcript

    Putin Promotes Russia as Tax Haven - Gives Depardieu Citizenship to Flee French Income TaxPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

    French actor Gérard Depardieu, in order to avoid a proposed new tax on the very wealthy—apparently about 75 percent—has decided to give up his French citizenship and, on offer from President Putin, has now become a Russian citizen. He's already been given his Russian passport in a meeting with President Putin.

    Now joining us to talk about all of this is Professor Aleksandr Buzgalin. He's a professor of political economics at Moscow State University. He's also editor of the independent democratic magazine Alternatives. Thanks for joining us again, Aleksandr.

    ALEKSANDR BUZGALIN, PROF. POLITICAL ECONOMICS, MOSCOW STATE UNIV.: Thank you, and I'm glad to be on your program.

    JAY: So what do you make of all of this? Why did President Putin step in? And most of the attention so far has been on Depardieu and his—apparently they're proposing a 75 percent tax. And this is, to put it in some context, the tax on the very wealthy in the United States after World War II was 90 percent, so it's not like this is so crazy outrageous. But Depardieu's gone. But what's in this for Putin?

    BUZGALIN: This is really very symbolic, because in my country, in Russia, we had a lot of debates about Putin's policy. And even among left, it was such opinion that Putin is supporter of ordinary people. But this step, when Putin decided to support Depardieu, who left his country, who left France because he didn't want to and he doesn't want to pay normal taxes—I think—normal taxes for the rich, this is very symbolic, because Putin saw that really he's a right-wing politician, that flat income tax in Russia is not an accident. This is the strategy of our authorities, of our officials. And this is really dangerous from one side and important from another side, because all this show around Depardieu is only attempt to show that Russia is good place for foreigners. But it's not true.

    JAY: Well, it shows that it's a good place for rich foreigners. What is the tax rate in Russia for the very wealthy?

    BUZGALIN: So everybody now in Russia pays—everybody pays 13 percent, one-three for everybody. If you are an extremely rich oligarch and you have billions of dollars, you will pay 13. If you are a poor doctor or teacher or worker, you pay the same, 13 percent. And by the way, if you speculate on the stock market, if you speculate on the foreign currency market, you will not pay, even, 13 taxes, because this is a reinvestment of their income. So really rich in my country can pay 6, 5, maybe 7 percent. And this is opposite to all European countries, and opposite even to the United States.

    And really in the crisis we must find solution and we must find who will pay for the crisis. Our opinion was and is that those who created crisis must pay for this crisis. I think story with Depardieu is also very symbolic, because we can again examine so-called arguments of the right-wing economists and politicians, and they are very primitive. But I want to repeat my debates. First argument, that left, everybody among the left wants to take money from the people who are working hard and give money to those who do nothing and who are just parasites.

    But what is reality? In reality, Depardieu now is mainly not an actor. He's a rentier. And he is nobody for the real economic development. He is simply taking money from his past star status. And that's it. Nothing else. Normal actor, if he is talented, he's real creator, main motivation for him will be creativity himself, opportunity to give his talent to the people, the reception by the people, the applause of the people, but not money themself.

    So who will pay this big income tax in France, in the Scandinavian countries? Who must pay, I think, this tax in Russia (but they are not paying this tax, unfortunately, in my country) first of all, all financial speculators, second, all people who are quasi stars for creating simulacrums of so-called mass collage.

    Depardieu is good actor, maybe not very good actor—it's not my problem. The problem is that mainly these quasi stars in professional sport and mass culture, they're just simulacra of real creativity. And what is important, even talent manager, top manager, if he is, first of all, creator of new organization, of new production, of new innovations, of innovations themselves, he is working as creator, and for creator, it's enough to have maybe ten times more wage or income than ordinary worker.

    Only one example, Finnish transnational corporation Nokia. It's not the paradise of the socialism at all. This is transnational capitalist corporation. But in Finland, the top manager of Nokia has only ten times more than ordinary worker in Finland. And this is normal. And Depardieu can have ten times more than ordinary actor or ordinary citizen, ordinary teacher, or social worker in France. This is normal for good life. Nobody take everything from Depardieu. This is only problem of income for another million of Europe per year. So this is money which he will spend for nothing, for symbolic, prestige consumption.

    JAY: Right. Aleksandr, what's in this for Putin? Why draw such attention to the fact that the rich in Russia pays such low tax rates? Why does he want this in terms of Russian public opinion?

    BUZGALIN: So, first of all, in Russia we have another image. In Russia, everybody in mass media is trying to show that Depardieu came because Russia is paradise of democracy, Russia is paradise of economic development, Russia is paradise for investments, and so on and so far. This is propagandistic show which is very far from the truth. Really, Russia is becoming like a huge offshore zone, like a small island where you can not pay taxes. Now it will be in Russia. It's really terrible. And I am not proud at all that my country—not my country, but the president of my country is trying to realize such policy.

    JAY: So this is a big PR campaign is Russia as a tax haven.

    BUZGALIN: Yes, for foreigners as tax haven, for Russians, that such fantastic people like Depardieu—it's not my opinion, again; this is mass media opinion—is coming to Russia. And that means that West loves Russia. And really it's not true. I'm not speaking about normal relations between ordinary people in the United States, in Europe, in China. We can have friendship, we can have common campaign for defense, our civil rights, our social rights, for protection of a college education and so on, and we can love each other. But the problem is that Russia, for real business, is bad country with corruption, without long-term investments, without state programs which can guarantee investments, because country's in the chaos in many aspects, with a lot of problems in infrastructure, with fixed capital, and so on and so far. That's why it's just PR. This is just their lie, if I can say so.

    JAY: Aleksandr, now, when Depardieu made this announcement, he talked about how democratic Russia was and how it allowed free debate and all of this. How did Russians respond to those comments?

    BUZGALIN: So, first of all, of course we have some elements of democracy. And it's not fascist regime and it's not a totalitarian regime. But from another side, this is so-called manipulative democracy, and we have concentration of power in the hands of presidential administration and ruling party in the parliament, in Duma. Real opposition is under the control, under the pressure. To organize normal meeting is nearly impossible. To organize normal strike is nearly impossible. You will be, in next day, arrested, or you will lose your job, simply. This is country where all central TV channels are under the control of president or its administration or another officials. And in this situation it's really very difficult to say truth.

    It's possible to do it in internet, in small opposition newspapers, it's possible to fight in the streets, but this is real fight, and a lot of my friends were arrested, beaten. And it's permanently nervous atmosphere, and nobody knows when KGB or police will come and say that you are hooligan or something like that because you wanted to meet your friends or to tell together that it's not really social-oriented development in Russia, in my country. We are trying to do this. And I love my country. I never will go to France, even in France if I will have, I don't know, ten times more wage here. And I think I can have, as professor, more wage in the West. But I love my country and I will work here.

    JAY: I guess for Depardieu, saving 60 percent on his taxes, it's not a big price to pay to do some democratic rhetoric about Russia.

    BUZGALIN: But really he made very bad joke, if it is joke, or maybe very negative decision, because he lost his name in the eyes of, I think, all normal socially oriented, democratic, simply intelligent people. And I am very sorry for Depardieu, because he's really good actor, and to do this, it's like a bad game to save another million or two million of euro for lie and to tell open lie because you will have for this some million of euro. This is not a beautiful decision at all.

    And, by the way, one more very important detail which I want to stress: very often we say that all poor people has envy, and that's why we want to redistribute everything. It's not true. The real envy [incompr.] the rich people who wants to have not one palace, but two palaces, not, I don't know, boat 100 meters, but boat 130 meters, or something like that. They have this feeling of envy which moves them not to pay taxes, which moves them to consume more and more and more.

    And for the left, idea of using—of taxes, money from taxes, is opposite. We are thinking about development, development of education, development of ecological programs, development of science, development of social support for ordinary people to become more skilled, more educated, more developed, to support culture. So we are fighting for development, and they're fighting for the consumption of rentier. This is the case.

    JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Aleksandr.

    BUZGALIN: Thank you very much, Paul.

    JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting