if Russians are dying for lack of hope, as they seem to be . . . What happened to Russians over the course of the Soviet century that has rendered them incapable of hope? __ The Dying Russians
Russian despair is a part of the national bloodline, present for centuries. But the problem grew worse as the USSR aged and showed signs of breakage. When the massive bill came due after the USSR’s collapse, Russian hopelessness shifted into a higher gear. But as the false hope under Putin collapses, expect the mood to dive to new depths of pathology.
Mortality is high, fertility is low. Hope is fading as the economy falters. The only Russians that are doing well at this time are civil servants, workers in the state propaganda apparatus, and the politically connected. Sadly, average Russians and pensioners may have to feel real pain before they are able to rouse themselves from their stupour, and hold those accountable who have been stealing their birthright.
… the idea of rebuilding the Russian Empire is popular with most Russians, especially older ones. That popularity is eroding as awareness of its economic cost sinks in.
The impact of the UN sanctions have been made worse by the falling price of oil. Russia is economically very dependent on oil revenue and the falling oil price is a major, and growing, problem. __ The Price of Empire
Russia’s Finance Minister is desperate to stop Putin’s mad spending spree.
Russia’s finance minister said on Tuesday the country could no longer afford a multi-billion-dollar revamp of the armed forces approved by President Vladimir Putin, stepping up a campaign to trim spending as sanctions over the Ukraine crisis bite. ___ Spending Spree Must Stop
As bad as Russia’s economy is already reeling, sanctions against Russia may have barely begun:
… breaches of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine have renewed Western diplomatic pressure on Moscow. Western states accuse Russia of giving military support to the rebels, an allegation the Kremlin has denied.
“If Russia does not change its policy, sanctions will be toughened and they will make themselves felt even more in Russia,” Schetyna said in an interview with Polish broadcast Polsat News.
“All the European countries are speaking with one voice, together with Australia, the United States and Canada. The free world says ‘no’ to this kind of policy,” he said. “The Polish viewpoint is shared by other countries.” __ http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/07/us-ukraine-crisis-poland-iduskcn0hw1ws20141007
Meanwhile, capital flight, brain drain, and womb drain, alcoholism, suicide, and an all-pervading malaise continue to take a toll on Russia’s ability to bounce back from its own mistakes.
Can anyone prevent Putin from starting a nuclear war when it is clear that his day is done?
the authoritarian state Mr. Putin has built, with its dependence on a single personality, is doomed. Like its two autocratic predecessors, both of which unexpectedly collapsed within the past century, Russia will soon face an emergency. __ Another Existential Crisis for Russia?
No two men are more demonised inside Russia than Khodorkovsky and Kasparov. Of course, in Russia today, perhaps only mafia goons and ex-KGB can truly be heroes. With such role models for young Russians, no wonder vodka is the national religion.
Desperate days are growing more desperate in Russia, as the wounded bear doubles down on stupid in typical belligerent fashion.
Oil Prices and the Collapse of Empire
Propaganda’s many faces: Pay no attention to the belligerent man behind the curtain. He is not a threat. We will tell you who is the threat and who is not, and then you can turn your power against whomever we wish. And you are just stupid enough to believe us! 😉
The last big joint operation between the US and Russia was the International Space Station, brokered by Albert Gore Jr. as US Vice President. That cooperative effort proved to be a cosmic clusterfuck. The situation is very much like the tale of the scorpion and the tortoise, crossing the river. Fool me once . . . fool me twice . . .
… as he crisscrosses Russia… he finds a drunk, suspicious, bitter country where everyone has been broken in their own small way … __ The struggle to save a dying nation..
Falling oil prices tighten the noose
Russia is not a world of stable, impersonal and rules-based institutions but a world of rank intimidation and of whom you know. __ Robert D. Kaplan
Kaplan is saying that at this stage, Russia will drown in chaos without a dictator oligarchy at the helm. This Spiegel article makes the same argument, more broadly.
Neither author appears to understand the corrosive effect that dictatorships have on the underlying human substrate, especially the smart fraction. Of course, if a population stays under a dictatorship too long, average population IQ will tend to decline even without immigration from the third world, due to internal population dysgenics — as we saw in East Germany and see in North Korea. Distorted, dysfunctional incentives are hallmarks of dictatorships.
The Spiegel author in particular seems not to understand social or population dynamics, being mired in a static view of what the word “stability” means.
Live and die by the personality cult Personality cults tend to have expiration dates, as Obama is discovering.