Счастливого отпуска!! or Is Russia A Place to Invest or a Place to Fear?

by Johnny Debacle

This will be a point/counterpoint analysis. Kaiser, unbeknownst to him until now and fresh off a trip to Germany, will supply the counterpoint.

A common investing theme is that Russia is the place to put your money. Why?

Burgeoning middle class!!
Favorable demographics!!
Heavily educated human capital base from which to draw!!
More oil than T. Boone Pickens!!
Business friendly, and otherwise unfriendly, Dictator Tsar General-Secretary President Putin!!
Tradition of outlining and executing 3-5 year plans!!
Tradition of strongly protected property rights, economic openness and political stability!!
Literature with greats like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn!!
And for the kids…GULAGS!!

Well sorry to be the turd in the blinchiki but Russia is jockeying to try and do the only thing they know to try and do: nuke the USA and rule the world. They don’t care about economic openness. They don’t care about working hard and they don’t believe in capitalism. They want three things, in no specific order.

Vodka.
World Domination.
To do evil.

It is an entire nation which channels the ethos of lazy ammoral kleptocracy. When I was there 11 years ago, my main takeaway is that if there is one redeeming quality about Russia it is the null set. When I have studied Russia, it has seemed like a good place to be unhappy, or to be purged, or to be evil, or to die from nuclear fallout, or to have your loans defaulted on and your money swindled.

And Russia is not a place to invest money for these very same reasons. They don’t have ethics. They refuse to live without corruption which would make a Chinese Judge blush. They are both willing and able to expropriate any foreign direct investment. And don’t think they aren’t still cooking up ways to drop Cuban paratroopes into small unsuspecting Coloradan towns.

Russia is a place to FEAR. Avoid buying stocks, bonds, derivatives and any other security or financial interest which are dependent upon Russian assets….Unless you look forward to waking up a year or two for now and opening your personal portfolio account and wondering “Hey where did my Gazprom go!” as you look at a ‘Thank you Comrade’ note signed “Sincerely, V Putin.”

Recommendation: Ask your financial advisor about low cost index funds which track the Moscow Stock exchange. Then, “do not buy” them.

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