Just over its debt, Mr. Putin…? Richard Boudreux writes in the Wall Street Journal:
MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called the U.S. “a parasite” because of its huge debt load, evoking a term used by Soviet leaders to demonize people who didn’t work, study or serve the Communist state.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, shown at a youth forum, on Monday labeled the U.S. ‘a parasite’ for its debt load. The term is steeped in Soviet rhetoric: Lenin invoked it after the 1917 revolution, and Stalin, himself denounced as a parasite by Trotsky, used the label against Jews, dissidents and others.
In a speech Monday, Mr. Putin said Russia and other countries should seek new reserve currencies to hedge against “a systemic malfunction” in the U.S. Both Russia and China in the past have questioned the dollar’s pre-eminence as a reserve currency and its role in international trade and investment.
Russia keeps almost half its reserves in dollar assets.
“The country is living in debt,” Mr. Putin told a pro-Kremlin youth rally in central Russia. “It is not living within its means, shifting the weight of responsibility on other countries and in a way acting as a parasite.”
More: Wall Street Journal