Wednesday, January 28, 2015

over the mountains, under the water

I'm moving home
my thoughts and clothes
I sweat my tears between
these walls
and choke them
I leave the violets
and roses
and the wild winds
infused with butterflies
I agitate the birds
and bees
I pick the stinky
and send them free

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

a maze of tweaks

Cum s-ar fi terminat pentru mine dacă s-ar fi terminat altfel? Întrebarea care ne frământă cam toată viața, n'es  pas? Ce ar fi fost de mine dacă nu traversam oceanul? Ce tâmpenii aș mai fi îndrugat eu? Ce ar fi fost dacă alegeam literatură, în loc de... ce am ales? Cu asta fantazez cel mai des și îmi place să cred....
Că n-am ales de fapt nimic și nici acum în „praf” de noi alegeri nu simt alegerea făcută. E și totuși nu e în mine. Și nu e nimic mai rău decât ca un „ceva” să fie și totuși să nu-l simți complet. Nu poți să nu mergi în direcția „ceva”-ului. E acolo și reprezintă o părticică din ce ar putea să fie complet și te gândești, inevitabil, că ... la naiba ar putea să devină.

Losing hours

Because "spending" would not be the appropriate word. Brother, some books are written to never be read and some movies are filmed to never be watched! I would rather spend two hours staring at the ceiling instead of reading one of those books or watching one of those movies. I am not saying "bad books" or "bad movies" 'cause I'm trying not be judgemental (can't say where that came from)... and I don't believe that all people are cut out in my shape (that's a bore, right there!). But maaannnn! I just lost 2 fucking hours of my life, motherfucker! 2 fucking hours! Blimey!

To be or not to be: Russia's economy

As I paid only $1.99/gallon for gas today, I remembered I wrote this article a couple of week ago as part of the aplication for a writing gig and I've been planning ever since to post it here as well. So, while Americans pay only $24 to fill their gas tanks, what's the deal with the Russian economy?

With the value of the ruble dropping more than 40% against the dollar, food prices rising with as much as 100% and oil price hitting a bottom $60 per barrel after five years of stability, Russia’s economy has seen its better days. On the other hand, the financial crisis and isolation imposed on Russia is also affecting its bigger trading partners and the large and well-connected companies that operate on the European market. While Europe still depends on Russian oil and natural gas, Russia doesn’t seem to be worried much about new US economic restrictions.

Before the crisis, Germany, the economic powerhouse of the EU, was engaged in a trade relationship with Russia worth more than $76 billion, mostly from car exports and oil and gas imports. Furthermore, Italy and the UK exported a large share of luxury items to the Russian market, and 40% of Russia’s food supply was imported, with more than $15 billion worth of merchandise coming from EU countries. If Russia’s economy is crushed, Europe stands only to lose. No doubt, a well-versed politician like Vladimir Putin evaluated all the big economic interests involved and expected a more moderate reaction from EU to his geopolitical decisions.

Consequently, the current situation has the world wondering on how far President Vladimir Putin will go with his aggressive and risky political decisions and expansionist agenda. For now, Putin is holding his position while declaring that he expects the economy to rebound in the next two years. However, Russia is just starting to feel the full blow of the biggest financial crisis that hit the country since 1998. While the regime is not yet contested by its people with its popularity reported to have reached 80%, can Russians make it through another two years of economic hardship?

Experts estimate that Russia still has an approximately $419 billion worth of currency reserve with an additional $250 billion in foreign exchange reserve, more than enough to repay its foreign currency debt of $130 billion for this year and the next. However, banks are increasingly relying on the government for funding, as well as the Russian companies facing an alarming stock fall and a $76 billion debt due next year. On top of that, half of the reserve funds are tied in long-term projects that make them inaccessible. If the current market state is prolonged, Russia’s reserves, already dropping by 20 %, will be depleted fast.

While desperately trying to stabilize the ruble and discourage massive exchanges into more stable currencies, the Russian central bank raised the interest rate to 17%. Companies protested against this measure which according to financial experts is further slowing an already paralyzed economy. Furthermore, the measure did not impact the dropping ruble as expected, and there are rumors regarding future austerity measures such as currency exchange restrictions and forcing companies to repatriate their foreign capital.

The future of the people of Russia is to be decided in the next couple of months. Although Russia’s international connections have been damaged during the recent international events, the EU would welcome any initiative from Russia in order to renegotiate the current economic situation that is affecting everyone. Consequently, the European economy depends on wiser and more sensitive actions taken by both the EU and Russia. To be sure, there is still time for Russia to reverse its economic decline but the question of whether Russian will seize that opportunity or not remains to be answered. Sadly, at the end of the day those most affected by these games of power are not the big corporations but the common people of Russia and of the EU.