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21 Aug, 2019 23:41

Russia ‘expert’ says Ukraine economy doing great, citing mail-order bride blog

Russia ‘expert’ says Ukraine economy doing great, citing mail-order bride blog

Notoriously wrong Swedish economist Anders Aslund invoked monthly wage statistics from a dating website geared toward Western men seeking eastern European wives to argue that Ukraine is doing better than Russia.

Ukraine’s average monthly wage at $428, almost back to where it was in 2013 before “Russian aggression,” Aslund tweeted on Wednesday, noting that wages in Russia have fallen under President Vladimir Putin.

The senior fellow at the US-funded Atlantic Council think tank, known for his strong anti-Russia views, quickly got called out for using as his source Elena’s Models, a dating service matching Russian and Ukrainian women to wealthy Westerners. 

“Do you often visit mail order bride websites, Anders?”asked one amused tweeter.

“One thing about the Russia/Ukraine beat, at least it's never boring,” quipped Russia-based journalist Bryan MacDonald, who screencapped the exchange just in case.

While Aslund has been wrong about Russia repeatedly, often and in major ways – he famously predicted the country’s total collapse in 1999 and has been trying to wish it into happening ever since – in this particular instance he may have been on to something, after a fashion. 

Elena’s Models seems to have an accurate understanding of official statistics, MacDonald noted, adding that economic data from ex-Soviet states should be taken “with a pinch of salt” due to “large grey economies.”

Not to mention that simply converting average wages into US dollars at the current exchange rate, without accounting for inflation of purchasing power, is just lazy economics and even lazier analysis. Or, as it is also known, par for the course. 

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