For Russia to be a world super-power, it must battle far above its economic weight class. Eventually this burden will prove far too onerous for the Russian people — particularly if Putin’s regime continues to fuel capital flight, brain drain, and womb drain — and continues by its violent bombast to isolate the nation from parts of the world offering greater freedom, innovation, technological expertise, and opportunity.
The military infrastructure of a belligerent nation must present a credible threat if it is to be taken seriously. That means that its economy must be able to support an industrial infrastructure that can back up the belligerent’s boast.
It isn’t clear that Russia’s industrial infrastructure (or its demographic backbone) can back up the ongoing swagger of the Putin regime.
… looming defeat in Ukraine angers Russia, where senior politicians have portrayed the Ukraine situation as all the fault of the West which was seeking to turn Ukraine into an enemy of Russia (which Ukrainians prefer) rather than a part of a Russian empire (which Russians prefer). Bad relations between Russia and Ukraine go back over a thousand years but Russians still claim Ukraine is theirs and consider any disagreement over that attitude to be a hostile act towards the Russian people. The current Russian leadership is backing this myth but that support is becoming a lot more expensive than originally expected. The West sees the Russian efforts in Ukraine as a return to ancient forms of politics which began to die out in the 20th century. This ancient “create a crises and send in troops to fix and annex it” has been used for thousands of years to justify acquiring more territory. Most large nations used it to a greater or lesser extent to become large nations. This sort of thing had gone out of fashion by the late 20th century and Russia is being widely and loudly criticized for trying to drag the world back to a savage past most people want to move away from… StrategyPage
… recent developments in Ukraine pose the question of whether the momentum of arms modernization can be maintained. First, there is the direct impact of the breakdown of relations with Ukraine; second, the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, Japan and Australia.
On the basis of Ukraine’s and Russia’s currently hostile relationship, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was reported in mid-June to have forbidden all military cooperation with Russia. While the overall volume of arms deliveries between Russia and Ukraine is relatively modest, the supply of power units for ships by Ukrainian state-owned Zorya-Mashproek, is an issue. Deliveries from Mykolaiv have stopped, and it is now acknowledged that the building of frigates for the Russian navy, a priority goal of the armament program, will be delayed, perhaps by three years or more.
The delivery of helicopter engines may also prove to be an issue. The company Motor Sich has been delivering some 400 engines a year for Russian Mil and Kamov combat and transport helicopters under a five-year, $1.2 billion contract signed in 2011. Given the current tensions, these deliveries may be halted. __ MoscowTimes
Russia is accustomed to dictating terms to its “partners.” But as the current state of the world continues to unfold, Russia is slowly learning a few basic “facts of life.” First from China, then from the EU, and perhaps eventually from the US.
The big question mark remains the future of oil & gas prices. After committing himself to making mischief in at least a half dozen countries recently, Putin expected the price of oil to be much higher by now. Without the high oil & gas prices, Putin’s entire strategy falls apart.
China is equally as sleazy and corrupt in its foreign and domestic affairs as is Russia. But China has more international financial weight to throw around than Russia, so China is not yet forced to use bombs, rockets, and artillery shells to get its way.
If Putin had taken advantage of the rich years before the 2008 crisis, to diversify the Russian economy and invite foreign investment as did the Chinese, the Russian nation would be in far better circumstances now.
Unfortunately for Russia, Putin has no expertise in the more expansive forms of corruption that China practises.