Would Russia still be Russia Without Siberia?

Siberia’s population is disappearing. In a generation, if current trends continue, the vast land—one and a half times the size of China—will have fewer inhabitants than Moscow or St. Petersburg. _Shrinking Siberia More

Putin's Erratic Leadership Risks Loss of Eastern Siberia

Putin’s Erratic Leadership Risks Loss of Eastern Siberia

Massive oil and gas profits allow the leadership to finance pet projects, many of which benefit those in Putin’s inner circle but contribute little to the general welfare. They suck up money needed for modern highways, regional airports, hospitals, courthouses and other infrastructure, analysts say.

State-owned factories still dominate production. Bureaucracy stunts the small businesses that are the engine of growth elsewhere. Private wealth generated in Russia is often spirited abroad, to countries where banking and investment are more trustworthy. Efforts initiated by former President Dmitry Medvedev to streamline the economy have sputtered since Putin engineered his return to the top job two years ago and shifted the focus to enhancing state control and ensuring public order.

As economic growth has flat-lined over the last six months, a sense of unease has emerged, even among state economic advisors who see more risk to stability from an economic crisis than a political one. Putin’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, causing a sharp deterioration in relations with the West, is likely to make matters worse.
__LAT

Russia's Unbalanced Economy -- What Will Happen After Siberia is Lost?

Russia’s Unbalanced Economy — What Will Happen After Siberia is Lost?


Budgetary break-even costs for Russian oil sales were estimated to be about $120 bbl in 2012. But that was before Putin’s ambitious new spending plans, and grand expensive gestures meant to demonstrate Russian power. And there is no reason to believe that Putin is satisfied with his expensive annexation efforts to date. The grand new Russian empire is still being built.

What happens if Russia adds territory to the west, only to lose much more territory in the east? Siberia is a huge, hostile territory, both unattractive and relatively inaccessible to most ethnic Russians.

Sparse population east of the Ural Mountains discourages investment in roads or cost-effective air connections, often forcing those who want to travel between Siberian cities to fly via Moscow. To fly from Yakutsk, in the depths of Siberia, to Ulan Ude near Lake Baikal, a distance equivalent to that between New York and Miami, takes a minimum of 23 hours and a route through Moscow. _LAT

We must continue to remember that the Russian government depends upon sales of natural resources to finance its budget — and to dominate Europe and other regions. Most of its natural resources are located far away from ethnic Russian populations. The situation is growing worse, as ethnic Russians continue to flee Siberia. Who will be left behind to watch over this source of great wealth?

China has old territorial claims to parts of Siberia. As Russian populations and concerns shift westward, China is making plans for Siberian wealth. Some of the demographic shift is taking place beneath the surface:

One feature of the Russian-Chinese relationship seemed especially telling: Cross-border marriages are overwhelmingly between Chinese men and Russian women. Much of this has to do with demographics-Russia has a surplus of women, while China has too many men. But as one Russian woman told me, “Chinese men are kinder and more attentive to their wives. And they usually have more money.” __China is the Destiny of Siberia

An eager current of Chinese immigration and investment is flowing northward into formerly Russian Siberia.

The Chinese have effectively avoided paying taxes and managed to take control of several companies that have become de facto monopolies in the food supply. In the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk on the Amur River, a 1755-mile-long waterway separating Russia and China, the factory producing Kvass, a popular Russian beverage made out of rye bread, is now owned by Li Lihua, a Chinese businesswoman. He Wenan, a Chinese entrepreneur, has specialized in the construction of shopping centers, along with running the most expensive hotels in town. In Chita, Chinese investors have bought a former tank factory and converted it into a truck manufacturing plant.

All indications show that the Russian Far East is fast becoming (if it has not already become) economically dependent on China. Its future is in the hands of the local Chinese, not Russian local authorities. The Chinese cultivate the land, which the Russians are not motivated to do on their own. Local authorities and businessmen don’t complain about dwindling Russian manpower beyond the Amur River as they can easily replace native workers with Chinese who are willing to work 12 hours a day or more. __EurasiaReview

Meanwhile, as the slow motion annexation of Siberia by China takes place, Putin’s attentions continue to be focused on re-building the Eastern European portion of the Tsarist empire. Has Putin forgotten the source of his ambitious spending, and the basis for his ability to cow Europe? With Putin, one never knows.

But the biological imperative is driving China’s stealthy expansion, even as a widespread malaise is intensifying inside the portions of Russia that are still controlled by the Russian government. Russia’s best and most fertile people are leaving. They are being replaced in Moscow and elsewhere largely by muslim newcomers with no loyalty to Russia, and with significantly higher birth rates and lower death rates than ethnic Russians.

Slow motion history-through-demographics is not as startling as wars, invasions, or genocides, but the end result over vast expanses of time may appear the same.

More:

The hubris of Tsar Vlad carries a price tag

Russia faces a stark demographic reality on two fronts: births and deaths.

Do you get your information on Russia from Mark Adomanis? Mark comes across in that interview as a typical member of the modern skankstream journo-listic echo choir. Scared to death of Putin, and clearly lacking the courage of persons — both still living and murdered — who have dared to speak the truth to dictatorship.

With friends like Adomanis, Russia doesn’t need enemies.

More: Interesting historical insight into Putin’s strategy to restore the grand Russian empire

Update 16 April 2014:
Russia Experiences Sudden, Serious Capital Flight

Ruble Not Strong

Russian Recession in the Pipeline

Life in Crimea under Russia a clusterfoque

Although Russia is focusing mainly on the western frontier of its empire, it is making a bloody hash of it. Meanwhile, the east of Russia is slipping away, and that is where most of Russia long-term wealth resides.

Russia’s “captive trading partners” in Europe will eventually find other sources for the things they need. As that happens, Russia will be a loser on both the western and the eastern fronts.

As all that takes place, Russia continues experiencing capital flight, brain drain, womb drain, high death rates, low birth rates, and the steady replacement of ethnic Russians by muslim outsiders. Tell me again about how brilliant are Putin’s plans for Russia.

More:

China will play a waiting game with Russia, hoping the country will eventually implode from a lethal combination of ethnic strife, government corruption, Islamic rebellion, fiscal mismanagement, and a commodities driven economy that lacks diversity. When a total collapse does occur and chaos ensues, China will move in a deliberate and swift fashion across its 4,000 km boarder with Russia to secure what it can of the Russian Far East and Siberia. _ China’s Manifest Destiny

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7 Responses to Would Russia still be Russia Without Siberia?

  1. bob sykes says:

    The utility of a functional alliance between Russia and China will probably prevent any outright annexation of Siberia by China. That might lead to a nuclear war anyway. And Chinese manpower combined with Russian technology and resources makes a powerful combination against the US/EU/NATO, which should cement the relationship

    But the whole China/Russia relationship is complicated by India and Pakistan. Does Russia finally cut India lose, or is the cash and a friendly power near the Persian Gulf too valuable? Then there is the Chinese relationship with Pakistan. That must complicate the Chinese/Russian relationship.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Relationships of convenience such as the China : Russia alliance (or the Hitler – Stalin alliance) operate on a moment to moment basis. We are already seeing a de facto invasion and takeover of parts of Eastern Siberia by Chinese interests. Russian leadership has been able to ignore this long-term, inexorable demographic shift — so far.

      Putin has pissed away Russia’s great advantage in exchange for transient political power and personal privilege. As I explained on Al Fin Energy blog several years ago, Russia needed to exploit its energy wealth in order to build and diversify its economy, and make the quality of life inside Russia better — for growing healthy families and a healthier society from the ground up. Putin’s skull is too thick to see beyond his grand Russian Empire fantasies.

      Russia has enough enemies already. But Putin is not satisfied, so he continues making more. With leaders like Putin, Russia does not need arch-adversaries.

  2. Mark says:

    China’s “old territorial claims” are to Outer Manchuria, which is a small part of Siberia.

    The people leaving Russia certainly aren’t the most fertile. The more mobile, more educated, and people more motivated by money tend to be less fertile.

    Russians certainly aren’t being replaced like native Westerners are. Moscow is significantly more Russian than London is English or New York is American, etc. Hispanics just surpassed whites as the largest group in California: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26893126

    • alfin2101 says:

      There are multiple points of view on this issue. In reality, China is making a wide range of counter-intuitive territorial claims, and I doubt that China’s government will be content to let you make their claims for them. 😉

      In the 19th century, China reluctantly ceded control of the Far East and Siberia to Russia. During the past 50 years, however, Chinese territorial claims to the area have steadily increased. Chinese communist founder Mao Zedong and leader Deng Xiaoping both publicly asserted that the Russian cities of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk were Chinese. Some Chinese historians have claimed that the current China-Russia boarders are unfair and that Russia “stole” the Far East by force.

      “The Chinese view this region [Siberia] historically as their territory,” said Larisa Zabroskaya, an Asia expert. Moreover, Russia’s Far East population increasingly identifies itself with the east – looking to South Korea, Japan and China for guidance on matters of governance and culture. As a result, the region has become less connected to Moscow and the ideals of “Euro Asia.”

      In Moscow, apprehension and uneasiness concerning China’s influence in the Far East has gradually increased. …Russian President Vladimir Putin warned, “If people here [Far East] will not regenerate their region and economy, they will all speak the Asian language.”

      http://globalpolitician.com/print.asp?id=799

      Of course, that was a number of years ago. Things have become much more pressing since then.

      • Mark says:

        Chinese territorial claims to Outer Manchuria have not “steadily increased.” They’ve been constant since the Qing Dynasty, when it was ceded. As I said, China’s “old territorial claims” are to Outer Manchuria, which is a small part of Siberia, not to “Siberia”, which is a massive expanse.

        China has bigger territorial and geopolitical issues with Japan, the US, and even the UK over the Opium War than it does with Russia and Outer Manchuria. Especially since the former involved the Han nation directly, whereas Outer Manchuria was the Manchu nation’s territory.

      • alfin2101 says:

        You should note, Mark, that the phrase you are arguing against is a direct quote from the article linked above at globalpolitician.com.

        Your assertions remain your own opinions and do not gain added weight through repetition. If the Chinese are moving into wide swathes of Eastern Siberia — far larger areas than the ancient Outer Manchuria claim — that suggests the likelihood of greater claims in the future. Possession being 9 points of the law . . . Control is the other point.

        I understand that you gentlemen feel strongly about these issues, but you have yet to present anything of weight to support your claims. Why anyone would care a fig about Putin is difficult to fathom. Putin and the neo-imperialists are what is leading Russia to perdition, not “Russia” per se, or Russians.

        Weigh the evidence (capital flight, brain drain, womb drain, de-diversification of Russia’s economy, de-population of Russian Siberia by ethnic Russians, etc etc etc, all well documented. Disregard what you wish to be true. Stick with what you can support.

  3. alfin2101 says:

    While the men of Russia appear to be sinking into a death spiral of vodka, drugs, violence, and other bad habits that lead to very high death rates and the decline of infrastructure . . . . , the women of Russia and surrounding regions offer much to admire: Russian Women

    It is no wonder that Chinese men are moving to Siberia to exploit the financial opportunities that Russian men are neglecting, and to marry the Russian women which are being similarly neglected.

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