Wednesday Headlines

Admiration Of Stalin Thrives In Putin’s Russia
David Hoffman writes about the continued admiration of dictator Josef Stalin that is common in Russia today. A superpower just a few decades ago, many Russians look at the time when Stalin ruled – and Russia was feared – with a fondness that may unnerve many in the West, but it is a sense of pride in a time of decline.

“Current American-Russian antagonisms have not yet reached the point of a new cold war — the two sides do not have diametrically opposed ideologies locked in a struggle for world domination.

“But in the context of Russia’s diminished international standing and renewed American hostility, it is not surprising that both the Putin government and many Russian citizens look more favorably on the Stalin era — a time when Russia was respected, even feared; a time when Russia’s power was growing, not contracting; a time when Russia vanquished Nazi Germany and became a world superpower,” he writes.

Could Capitalism Survive In North Korea?
Hy-sang Lee asks that question in an article in The Diplomat, noting that glimpses of consumerism have been witnessed, but that have yet to take hold.

While some marketplaces might suggest North Korea’s economy could benefit from commercial and service enterprises, but the reality is, he writes, they have only limited power to drive sustained growth in the North Korean context.

“Manufacturing cannot stimulate production with facilities that are largely decayed, and services can expand expenditures and GDP only insofar as there are customers who can afford them. In fact, most of the goods being sold in North Korean marketplaces are either luxury items smuggled in, or electronics, cosmetics, and other imported merchandise popular with the country’s small number of rich or middle-class consumers,” contends Lee.

While capitalism has not been erased from the North Korean landscape despite repeated efforts by the government, Lee maintains that ideological hurdles and poor understanding of capitalism’s other traits, such as property rights, have stifled its growth.

Anti-Immigrant Violence Spreads In South Africa
Last week, violent attacks on immigrant shopkeepers in several South African townships broke out and have not abated as immigrants in Johannesburg and other cities shuttered their shops.

The victims are often Somalis, Mozambicans, Ethiopians, Malawians, Pakistanis and Nigerians and other Africans. Estimates of the immigrant population in South Africa range from 2 million to 5 million, according to Human Rights Watch.

At least five people have died in a wave of violence against foreigners in Durban, while thousands more were driven out of their homes in the coastal city, reports The Mail & Guardian.


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