Is Russia Getting Its Money’s Worth from Putin?

It has been suggested by some bloggers that no matter how corrupt or ruthlessly ambitious Putin may be, at least he is loyal to the Russian people, so that Russia is getting its money’s worth from the former KGB functionary. So where does Russia stand after a veritable eternity under Putin?

Statistic Ranking Source
Mortality 10th highest CIA Factbook
Birth Rate 165 th CIA Factbook
Life Expectancy 152nd CIA Factbook
Predicted Pop. Decrease 17.5 million by 2050 World Bank

Source _ By the Numbers

The numbers are even worse if you separate ethnic Russians from the vast and growing immigrant population of non-Russians. Despite the new “rose tinted glasses” being held over Russian demographic numbers by the usual suspects — numbers that Russian demographic experts themselves do not even trust — the human substrate of ethnic Russians is melting away.

Putin is trying to control all news coming out of Russia, but with the internet that is harder than it sounds.

About one million Russians a year are retiring into an uncertain future. And their replacements are becoming harder to find. The best of the young are leaving, capital flight limits new investments in-country, and the youngest of the young are either not being born, or are abandoned after birth to a crumbling and horrific orphanage system. “As of 2010, the abortion rate was 37.4 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 years, the highest of any country reported in UN data.

The Russian military is running out of men to draft for a number of reasons. Eligibility is low due to fewer overall numbers along with poorer levels of health and fitness overall. Drug and alcohol abuse are rampant among Russian youth. “… addiction is hitting young people the hardest. The majority of drug addicts are between 16 and 30 years of age. In the last decade, the age of “first use” dropped from 17 to 14 years.” Overall, Russia’s Youth Population is in Steady Decline
Russia's Deeply Notched Population Pyramid Russia’s Deeply Notched Population Pyramid
Russia’s “womb drain” — the flight of young fertile ethnic Russian girls and women — further reduces the future number of young men and women able to enter Russia’s workforce.

It is reasonable to assume that the real number of women emigrated from Russia is 1.5–2 times greater than the official data.

The reproductive losses caused by female emigration from Russia are indirectly estimated at 833,000 children that will not be born in the nearest 5 years. [15]

Russia’s ongoing brain drain further depletes the number of capable young Russian men — exactly the ones Russia will need if it is to become competitive economically and technologically any time in the foreseeable future.

Russia has not seen anything like it since 1917, reported. Over 1.25 million people have left in the last 10 years, the news portal reported. “The country is hemorrhaging intellectual potential,” cited political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin as saying. “The most active, the cleverest and the most mobile are leaving.” _MoscowNews

“It seems that the whole generation of 25- to 45-year-old Russians is actively thinking about running away, especially considering the prospect of seeing the same people in power …. All dinner conversations tend to finish with this subject,” said the general director of a multibillion-dollar multinational company in Russia, who asked not to be identified because of the blunt nature of his comments. _MoscowTimes

More: Look beneath the surface glitz, the public relations announcements, and the official (and carefully funneled) propaganda. What is actually happening to real people and the country itself under the nascent tsar of the grand new Russian empire?

…a potential problem for Russia is that the depopulation rate in its far east, near the border with China, is higher than the national average. By contrast, the Chinese population on that increasingly sparsely populated border is growing rapidly. Will trouble brew on this border as a result? _Russia’s Future

But since Siberia is the repository of Russia’s great resource wealth — which is what Putin is banking on to build his grand new Russian empire — the future is anything but secure for Russia.

The goal: to restore the glory of Russia the only way Putin seems to know how—the raw acquisition of power. “He is trying to keep stability, as he sees it, with billions of dollars in oil,” said Evgeny Gontmakher, an analyst at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, a Moscow-based think tank. “I predict chaos.” _Anna Nemtsova

Russia needs a lot of outside help to upgrade Russia’s infrastructure — including its oil & gas and its military infrastructure. And Russia has the bad third world dictator’s habit of nationalising foreign industrial assets as soon as they start producing well.

The tight oil story has been closely watched in Moscow, where Russian oilmen and politicians have quickly realized its enormous potential promise for themselves. At the time when Russia’s legacy fields are running down, tight oil — at least in theory — could lead to a renaissance. Some in the Russian oil community are even starting to say that Russia’s top oil priority now should not be the Arctic offshore but tight oil.

Yet tight oil, as the Russian proverb has it, “is not like just walking across a field.” Tight oil typically requires approaches carefully tailored to each oil field, an artful combination of technologies, much trial and error, and strict cost control. The “tight oil revolution” in the United States has been mostly the work of small and medium-size companies. _NYT

For Russia’s energy and military infrastructures to survive, they need the freedom to form independent startups and diversified enterprises — free from Putin’s grubby grasping fingers. That is something Putin will never allow, even if the startup capital were available, rather than fleeing to overseas banks where it is inaccessible.

In Russia, capital is highly centralised — and very flighty. And foreign capital operates in Russia at a very high level of risk. A level of risk that is virtually uninsurable.

No, things are not getting better in Russia — despite all the state sponsored agitprop. Why do you think Putin grabbed control over all public forums? Because what is happening in Russia cannot stand the light of day.

Russian Brain Drain articles from Al Fin blog
“Russia” archive from Al Fin blog
“Russian Woe” archive from Al Fin blog

More: Dealing with the Neo-Russian Empire

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8 Responses to Is Russia Getting Its Money’s Worth from Putin?

  1. NekasM says:

    Sveik, from one of Your Blogroll, Greg’s Boots and Oil- “Look. Russia had the same problem with their birth rates. Maybe they haven’t turned things completely around, but at least the trends are improving in that country. As mentioned, Russia is also improving its military capabilities, while ours stagnates. The thing that changed in Russia was its leadership. Despite what Putin is doing in Ukraine, I am going to keep mentioning that he is doing the right kind of things for his country. We aren’t.”
    He probably is fan of a person from 20 century 30’s, also savior’ of his nation!

  2. alfin2101 says:

    Yes, that is a common belief. But if Russia is doing so well, why does Putin control all news sources, and why is he also trying to control the internet? Something stinks very badly when the disconnect between the “happy happy story” of Russia and the apparent ongoing tragedy, is so large.

    What will it take to get people to stop “believing what they hear,” and to start paying attention to the underlying dynamics that is not so easily hidden or distorted?

    By the way, if you have any personal anecdotes from Eastern Europe that you would like to share, please do so. Most westerners who have not lived under Russian domination have no idea what a future under an ascendant Russian Empire would be like.

    • Mark says:

      The fact that Putin is trying to take greater control over the media doesn’t mean Russia isn’t doing well.

      He’s trying to obtain greater control because the media is a battleground for competing, hostile interests.

  3. Steve Johnson says:

    “Yes, that is a common belief. But if Russia is doing so well, why does Putin control all news sources, and why is he also trying to control the internet? ”

    Not saying this is his motivation but western culture is poison and the first thing a responsible leader would have to do would be to cut off its flow into the minds of his subjects.

    • Mark says:

      Exactly. It’s clear that the media in the West has been absolutely devastating to native Western populations over the past few generations. It would be irresponsible for foreign leaders like Putin to expose their populations to unfettered media influences like those in the West, given what has been done to native Western populations, which have been demoralized, deracinated, and are now being rapidly replaced by foreign populations.

  4. jabowery says:

    One has to keep focus on the particular demographic variables that determine the fate of the people.

    A lot of people who support Putin probably think that that in the most important demographic variables, Russia has at least ceased getting worse under Putin. It is important to identify the top 2 or 3 demographic variables and then show their time trends before Putin took power and after — with appropriate accommodation for time delays.

    I’m not going to particularly weigh in on this issue except to say that I think the world would be a _lot_ better place today if the Cuban missile crisis had resulted in all out nuclear war between the US and Russia. Perhaps that is what many people are hoping for from Putin today, although the world of today is far different than the world of the early 1960s.

  5. bob sykes says:

    I am repeating myself, but Western Europe has some of these problems, too. Portugal, Spain and Greece are in a full-blown 1930’s economic depression with unemployment rates north of 25%. Everywhere in Europe, the native white population has reproduction rates similar to that of Russia or even lower (Spain 1.1), and in much of Europe the white populations is actually declining. White Americans also aren’t replacing themselves, but our rate of decline is much slower.

    If these trends continue, then by 2100, the population of the US will be larger than that of all of Europe, Russia included, say 400 million vs. 350 million or so.

    Russia has zero immigration, but that might be a good thing. The Ruling Classes of both the US and Europe are trying to offset white population decline by importing large numbers of Third World people. But the immigrants are low IQ, uneducated (and often uneducable) and unskilled and become parasites on the Western welfare states. Worse, the black Muslim population colonizing Europe is virulently hostile to European culture and white Europeans. They are a potential time bomb that might explode into open civil war.

    Our Mexicans are more amenable to our culture, but theirs is different, and where they control matters the territory is Mexican. This should be troubling to black Americans because Mexicans and Central Americans despise blacks. They ethnically cleanse them from their neighborhoods and take over their jobs. (White employers prefer Mexicans to blacks, and for good reason.) Once the Mexicans gain control of the Democrat party in the Southwest, that resulting Mexicrat party will narrowly serve Mexican interests, and blacks and their interests will be pushed aside. If you’re old enough, you will remember the Dixiecrats and their role in the national Democrat coalition. Expect the same, including segregation.

    Immigration reform is the most openly and vicious piece of anti-black legislation since the Jim Crow era.

  6. Mark says:

    What are you comparing Russia’s demographics to? Russia is certainly in a better position than the US. The next generation of voters in the US will be mostly non-white:

    Russia is also in a better position than Western Europe, which is dominated by the US and the EU which promote immigration and minority rights in Europe.

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