— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) February 7, 2014
Everybody’s a critic:
… The Games are a crowning moment for Mr. Putin, a chance to demonstrate anew his mastery of the global levers of power, but perhaps not for the country he governs. With Russia’s natural-resource dependent economy slowing as commodities prices fall, and with foreign investments drying up, the Kremlin has already signaled that it would have to cut spending. The $50 billion or so lavished on Sochi is becoming a political liability…
The sheer cost of the Games has suddenly become a liability even in a political system that allows little room for public debate about the wisdom of government spending.
“It is about a lost chance,” said Aleksei A. Navalny, whose Foundation for the Fight Against Corruption recently published an interactive website charting what critics have called excessive waste and corruption in the construction of the Olympic facilities. “It is about what Russia could have done with this money. We could have had a new industrialization along the same lines as the industrialization under Stalin.”
Instead, he added, “it’s just one crazy little czar who chose to throw money right and left in some kind of madness.”…
Speaking of crazy little czars and non-stop complaining, what’s on the agenda for the start of the weekend?