Soros “Very Concerned” About Rising Global Unrest, But Sees Positive Signs In Russia

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April 7, 2009 2:43pm ETF BASIC NEWS NYSE:EEM

george-sorosThere are always tensions somewhere in the world but the global economic crisis has billionaire financier George Soros “very concerned” about the potential for rising social unrest.

“You have a collapse of the financial system that impinges on the life of ordinary people in a very big way,” Soros says. “There’s terrible human suffering and a lack of understanding why and where it comes from. It creates anger. People want to hit out.”

Signs of this anger and potential unrest were evident at the G20 meeting last week, as well as current protests against Ukraine’s ruling party and attacks against the Gypsy population in Soros’ native Hungary.

Then there’s Pakistan’s internal battle against radical Islam, which Soros calls “probably the most dangerous situation” in the world.

Pakistan needs “substantial financial assistance because American aide has done nothing for the people,” says the author and philanthropist. Furthermore, President Obama needs to use the “utmost discretion” in approving military action against terrorists inside Pakistan because of the risk of civilian casualties, he adds.

“Very often an economic crisis reinforces internal political divisions,” Soros says. “It could lead to governments losing control.”

In his most recent book, The Crash of 2008 and What It Means, Soros warned the economic crisis could make Russia’s Vladimir Putin “more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad.”

“But I’m pleased to observe, as of now, that hasn’t happened,” he said in our extensive interview this week. “In fact, more critical voices in Russia than before so far haven’t been silenced by force. Maybe there is a chance of attitudes a change of maybe even a change in government slowly developing. ”

The outcome of the ongoing (second) trial of former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky – who was sentenced to prison in 2005 on charges of tax evasion and fraud – will be an “important test” for Russia, Soros says.

The charges against Khodorkovsky are widely viewed as being politically motivated and designed to help Putin consolidate his grip on Russia’s natural resources.

“If he were found not guilty [that] would be very important sign there is change in the wind,” Soros says.

Source:  Aaron Task

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