Russians increasingly indifferent to Trump, US turmoil

In this Feb. 20, 2017 photo, traditional Russian nesting dolls called depicting US President Donald Trump, center left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin are displayed for sale at a souvenir street shop in St.Petersburg, Russia. (AP)
Updated 20 May 2017
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Russians increasingly indifferent to Trump, US turmoil

MOSCOW: While their country has become a daily source of headlines and political intrigue in the US, most Russians are watching the drama over President Donald Trump’s relationship with Moscow with resignation, even indifference.
Russian media chronicle Trump’s troubles matter-of-factly. Regular citizens generally care little about them. Many share the view that what is unfolding in Washington has dimmed prospects for the mended Russia-US ties his candidacy represented here and thus have lost interest.
“I live in Russia, and that’s why I’m not so much interested in what’s going on in the United States,” musician Artem Burnat said. “Yes, the president is a controversial and unpredictable person. But this is their country and their president.”
Opinion surveys have indicated that initial expectations of a thaw have given way to apathy, and perceptions of Trump have become more negative. Although many Russians attribute his travails to Democrats’ anger over losing the election, they do not see the billionaire businessman as someone to stand up for.
“The vote was split nearly in half, and he didn’t even have the majority of votes,” manager Andrei Tereshkovich, 56, said on the streets of Moscow.
“There is a strong desire to change things, people are upset, and the situation is unstable. Trump lacks resources to put an end to that.”
The Justice Department’s decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between Russia and the Republican campaign also was widely seen in Russia as part of relentless efforts by Trump’s foes to weaken and sideline him. The reports this week that the president shared highly sensitive classified information with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the US were viewed as more of the same.
“Anyone with his kind of persona would draw attacks,” poultry farmer Oleg Matveyenko said, referring to Trump’s combative ways.
Matveyenko, 54, said that he supported Russia’s liberal pro-Western Yabloko party during the 1990s, but added that Western-style democracy had since lost its appeal.
“Neither Europe, nor the United States can serve as an example for us,” he said. “There is a crisis of democracy there, a systemic crisis.”
The Kremlin has staunchly denied meddling in the US election. Russian state television and other media have offered detailed coverage of the US political infighting and developments such as the ouster of FBI Director James Comey, maintaining a neutral tone.
Tereshkovich predicted that Trump will not face impeachment proceedings as long as Republicans have the majority in the US Senate. Yet despite his sophisticated knowledge of American politics, he confesses to having only passing curiosity about the biggest political scandal in modern US history interest
“I don’t really care about the developments in the US and the rest of the world,” Tereshkovich said.


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 21 June 2018
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”