My friend Paul:
Riga is the capital of Latvia, a country where neoliberal economic disaster took place. Out of 15 Post-Soviet countries, Latvia enjoys the 3rd highest standard of living – all thanks to being looted by austerity measures. Latvia is slightly outperformed by Estonia and Lithuania, the only two Post-Soviet countries that have also chosen to be raped by Chicago Boys-style reforms in the 1990s. All three are European Union member states. Latvia’s GDP is unbelievably low at some $18,000 (estimates vary). Latvians are dirt poor and aren’t even able to afford McDonald’s, with average monthly wages stuck at around $1000. According to Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson, 10% of Latvians left the country in search of a better life to more successful countries.
Speaking about success stories, Abkhazia is a region of Georgia so lucky as to be saved from neoliberalism by Russian tanks and to be treated as an independent state by a whole four of the world’s most impressive countries such as Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Vanuatu (that has recently withdrawn its recognition). In 2010, Abkhazia was proud to announce that at some $2000 in today’s dollars, its GDP is higher than that of all but three African countries as well as world’s famous economic powerhouses – Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia and Mongolia.
Inspired by its successes, Crimea now wants to learn from Abkhazia, while gullible Ukraine looks up to Latvia, not knowing what they are getting into. Now you know.
Pictures of Abkhazia: http://nasha-canada.livejournal.com/1408144.html
Latvia’s Economic Disaster as a Neoliberal Success Story: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/latvias-economic-disaster-as-a-neoliberal-success-story-a-model-for-europe-and-the-us.html