Canada and Australia Each Have Larger Economies Than Russia

It is not that Canada and Australia have grown so awfully much. Rather, Russia’s economy has shrunk from a rough parity with Italy, to a rough parity with Spain — a loss of the greater part of $1 trillion of GDP.

Putin’s Russia … now carries roughly the same economic weight as … Spain:

Russia has lost its ranking as the world’s eighth biggest economy, shrinking in just nine months from a $2.1 trillion petro-giant to a mid-size player comparable with Korea or Spain.

For the past several years, Spain has been regarded as one of Europe’s more feeble economies, with 1 in 4 Spaniards unemployed. Spain’s GDP was about $1.4 trillion in 2013, according to the World Bank. Spain was the 13th biggest economy on the planet until Putin ordered tanks into the Crimea.

Now it is likely that Italy, India, Canada, and Australia are all more economically significant than Russia. _News-Yahoo

Russia will lose $160 billion in capital flight this year alone. Added to the collapse in the rouble, falling oil prices, and an out-of-control public health crisis, and Russia is suffering a “perfect storm” of woe.

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The lack of economic opportunity and social mobility have destroyed hope in the country’s future and driven many of the educated and entrepreneurial younger Russians to emigrate to achieve success. This, in turn, has hindered investment in the Russian economy, incentivized capital flight, aggravated the brain drain, and strengthened Russia’s authoritarian regime.

Solving these issues would require a change of heart both at the highest levels of Russian society and government as well as among ordinary people. If these problems are not tackled in the near future, Russia risks becoming a corrupt police state with even higher dependence on exports of raw materials that have a well-established history of price volatility, with negative economic and social consequences for its long-term future. __Russian Decline

Only 30% of Russian children are born healthy — and there are not that many ethnic Russian children being born to begin with. That is better than in 2001 when leading Russian pediatrician Aleksandr Baranov estimated that only five to 10 percent of all Russian children were healthy. Source But it is clear that the Kremlin’s plans for a “Grand Eurasion Empire” is placing a huge burden on its diminishing population of healthy Russian young people.

Putin’s “implausibly deniable” war against neighbors in Eastern Europe is creating yet new problems for the shrinking Russia of the coming “post-Putin era.”

With thousands of regular Russian troops in Ukraine and tens of thousands massed on the border, the danger of further Kremlin aggression in Ukraine is high. America must work urgently with its European allies to find a stronger and more effective response to deter this threat. _HPost

While increasingly scarce young, healthy Russian men are fighting in Ukraine, back home in Russia, the infrastructure is slowly rotting and quality of life is in steady decline.

As the state’s hand recedes from the hinterlands, people are struggling with choices that belong to past centuries: to heat their homes with a wood stove, which must be fed by hand every three hours, or burn diesel fuel, which costs half a month’s salary? When the road has so deteriorated that ambulances cannot reach their home, is it safe to stay? When their home can’t be sold, can they leave?

Most Russians live in housing built in the late Soviet period. A report released last year by the Russian Union of Engineers found that 20 percent of city dwellings lack hot water, 12 percent have no central heating and 10 percent no indoor plumbing. Gas leaks, explosions and heating breakdowns happen with increasing frequency, but in most places infrastructure is simply edging quietly toward collapse. __NYT “Left Behind”

Eventually it becomes clear to even the most die-hard Russophile consumer of Russian propaganda, that the country that Russia is becoming cannot support grand global ambitions of all-encompassing empire.

Europe may survive, Russia may not

Putin is forced to dip into pension funds to pay off cronies and gangland supporters. The Russian civil service is one of Putin’s largest single support groups. If he gambles away their pensions, he may end up strung from a lamp post. Russia is a land of revolutions, and another could come along any time.

A Russian default on foreign debt is not out of the question, if trends continue.

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