I see Russia as a country in decline. It’s a one-crop economy; two-thirds of its exports are energy. It has a terrible demographic problem; the number of Russians is shrinking. It has a huge health problem; the average Russian male dies at about age 61. And it’s got such enormous corruption that it can’t reform itself. So I think it’s a country that’s seriously in decline.
Putin’s adventurism, such as we’ve seen in Ukraine, which has led to Western sanctions, cuts him off from the sources of Western technology that they really need for modernisation and he’s turning Russia into China’s gas station. So I’m very pessimistic about the future of Russia. __Joseph Nye
Most Russians would not have chosen this path of hardship. But to the extent that Russians were allowed to choose Putin as their leader, it makes no difference as to their fate.
… Russia at this point appears to be an industrial banana republic…
…The evidence of Russia’s decline is pervasive… The public health system is in disarray. The birth rate is declining, mortality rates have increased, and the average Russian male dies in his early sixties. Mid-range estimates by United Nations demographers suggest that Russia’s population may decline from 145 million today to 121 million by mid-century. __Joseph Nye
The ongoing internal devastation of Russia is a direct result of the soul-killing despair instilled into the Russian heart by 80 years of Soviet tyranny and oppression. It is this internalised despair that makes any type of sustained recovery almost impossible.
Russians do not want a nuclear war:
…no Russians want a nuclear war… __ Anna Nemtsova
But while “no Russians want nuclear war,” something is happening to Russia that will leave Russia as nearly devastated — if not moreso — than a nuclear war. It is a destruction from the inside, annihilation from within.
An economic implosion, the turning of the young to drugs and alcohol, an angry internal encroachment of Muslim outsiders, a loss of control of Siberia, the flight of Russian capital, brains, and wombs, suicide, murder, — and the return of young dead Russians from Ukraine in body bags.
Russian officials are bracing for an upsurge in violence across the North Caucasus now that the Islamic State has declared Russia an enemy for arming Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been locked in a civil war for four years.
About 1,500 Russians, most from the North Caucasus, have fought for the Sunni extremist group, and many of them are starting to return, according to the government’s Anti-Terror Committee.
“Russia is the Islamic State’s new target,” Caucasian Knot chief Grigory Shvedov said. “The process has begun.” __ Japan Times
Putin built his popular support 16 years ago on a “Chechnyan insurgency” that supposedly reached Moscow. Now that he has overextended himself in Ukraine, a rapidly expanding backdoor insurgency in the Caucuses may be the type of poetic justice the universe would dream up.
Nearly 8.5 million Russians are addicted to drugs, says an official report from Moscow.
This suggests that 6% of the 144.7 million people in Russia are drug addicts.
“A total number of people using illicit narcotics and psychotropic substances in Russia is estimated at 8.5 million,” according to the official report carried by the state-run RIA Novosti. __ IBT
The numbers are going up as conditions inside Russia deteriorate.
In Russia, heroin kills 80 Russians each day – or 30,000 a year – and is “as easy to buy as a Snickers” chocolate bar, Russia’s anti-drug czar Viktor Ivanov said. Meanwhile, new drugs – such as highly addictive synthetic marijuana and a cheap and lethal concoction made of codeine pills known as “crocodile” – compete with heroin and kill thousands more. __ Mansur Mirovalev
Now that conditions are worsening inside Russia, the numbers are likely to grow accordingly.
Russians are braced for layoffs and wage cuts, increasingly wary and uncertain over what the future may hold. Very few reliable sources of information remain for Russians — including (for now) Dozhd TV and Meduza.
One of the uncertainties contributing to Russia’s steady self-immolation is uncertainty over the price of oil. Without high oil prices, Russia continues to fall apart at an accelerating rate. Should the Kremlin have known better than to gamble the future of Russia on perpetually high oil & gas prices?
Some journalists claim that no one could have predicted the fall in oil prices. But such claims unwittingly reveal a naive insularity that no self-respecting journalist should expose. Michael Lynch and Leonardo Maugeri are only two of the energy experts who predicted this drop in oil prices years ago. Al Fin considered their arguments and joined them in declaring an oil oversupply and imminent price decline, years before it happened. No one could have predicted … ?
Along with rising drug abuse, alcohol abuse, violent crime, flight of Russia’s best, and a creeping loss of Siberia, even formerly secure jobs of some of Putin’s most staunch supporters are under threat:
By targeting state workers, Putin may be hurting some of the people who have helped keep him in power since 2000. So far, their obedience has held.
“Since we are in military service, we take orders,” said the Emergencies Ministry worker. “And so we cannot say anything against [our bosses]. But how can you run an organization without operators?” __ Moscow Times
And so we are seeing more frequent predictions that the Putin regime will collapse, and Russia will be thrown into a much worse turmoil than confronted the motherland in the 1990s.
But how could Russia’s snowballing decline be comparable to a nuclear war? In a nuclear war, some areas are destroyed, some are made unlivable, and some areas are relatively untouched. In Russia’s suicidal war-on-itself, no one escapes except those who have escaped from Russia. And the wealth of the greater part of the country remain for outsiders to enrich themselves upon over the coming decades and centuries.
In Russia, people drink themselves to death because they have no hope. They are dying of despair and futility. The hopelessness stabs to the heart and gives no rest or peace. It only gets worse until it is either drowned by drugs or vodka, or until the person chooses a more permanent escape.
Living in a land of creeping suicide, murder, corruption, and despair — a land without opportunity — is not much of a life. It rots and burns from the inside out, unlike a nuclear war which burns from the outside in. But the slower destruction can be the more thorough.
Russia’s infrastructure is in rapid decay. For 15 years high oil & gas prices showered Russia with windfall profits, but the money was stolen by Putin and his inner circle. Now, Russia’s infrastructure fund is being looted to rescue failing banks and to make under the table payments to maintain the assets of the ruling looters of the country.
Gas leaks, explosions and heating breakdowns happen with increasing frequency, but in most places infrastructure is simply edging quietly toward collapse. __A Crumbling Russia
Even before the current Russian crisis, infrastructure was well on the path to decay.
Businessmen say the decrepit infrastructure is a barrier to growth – especially in a vast country where a shrinking labour force will need to become increasingly mobile to be productive. __ Reuters
Poor construction, poor maintenance, a drunken workforce, and a shriveling away of engineering expertise as the old generation dies off — this is a one way street downward to permanent decline.
65 percent of roads in Germany and 38 percent of roads in China are reinforced with steel beams, while none are in Russia. And forget about seaports – the sleepiest Chinese seaport handles more freight than all Russian ports combined. __ Infrastructure is wrong with Russia
Russia was once compared with Nigeria. But things are worse now. Now Russia can be compared with Detroit.
According to the results of an assessment carried out by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian government, in particular sectors of industry as much as 80 percent of the infrastructure is worn out.
In comparison with 1970, the average age of equipment used in Russian industry has doubled. In 1970, 40.8 percent of facilities were less than five years old, whereas currently only 9.6 percent is that new.
… Russia’s industrial base and basic infrastructure, largely left over from the Soviet period, continue to age. They have become a source of potential disasters, with unpredictable consequences. This situation is the consequence of neglect, corruption, the systematic violation of safety laws, the criminal character of business operations and the feebleness of regulatory bodies. __ Source
Putin’s Russia is built almost entirely upon corruption, cheap vodka, and a creeping rot and decay of infrastructure — including human infrastructure.
Now is the time for all good Russians to get out while they can.
… well-educated professionals are emigrating from Russia in massive numbers. According to Rosstat, Russia’s federal statistics service, more than 300,000 people left the country from 2012 to 2013, a migration that tellingly coincides with Putin’s stage-managed return for a third presidential term; the rate of departures climbed even higher after the annexation of Crimea last year. By comparison, approximately 70,000 people left from 2010 to 2011. The cream of Russian society is voting with its feet, leaving a stultifying, ever more corrupt environment for greener pastures that allow them to productively apply their talents. __ How the Kremlin props up Putin’s poll numbers
Dimwitted thinking on Russia from paleoconservatives All empires fall. Time to treat Russia as a fallen empire, with no special rights above those of the surrounding nations in Eastern Europe and the Baltic which Russia will always bully and torment if allowed. See through the Potemkin facade to the utter and incomparable (except in Africa) rot beneath the surface, and treat the dying bear accordingly.
More: Does anyone really know what the population of Russia is? In fact, the “true population” of Russia is a matter of state security, and as such is closely guarded by the Kremlin.
Europeans can be incredibly bull-headed, but even most Europeans will eventually catch on to how Putin is shifting the ground beneath their feet. Whether enough Europeans still have enough of the family jewels to stand up to the tyrant or not, is another question.
Russia’s economy is smaller in size than that of Australia, Canada, or the US state of California. Russia’s holdings of US treasury bonds are less than those of Ireland or Luxembourg. And yet Russia is threatening to “dump its holdings of US treasuries,” as if such a thing would upset anyone at all.
If you have not taken the trouble to read about what actually happened in Crimea in the days leading up to annexation, read this.
After Yanukovych’s ouster, camouflaged men with Kalashnikovs and no identifying insignias began appearing throughout Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula whose geography and historic legacy to both Russia and Ukraine staked claims. They were known as “little green men.” Random strangers were accosted, harassed, even assaulted by groups wearing masks, many carrying automatic weapons, some with accents from other regions of Ukraine, of Russia, even the South Caucasus.
The “little green men” were accompanied by an onslaught of Russian propaganda promoting a referendum on March 16 that served to ratify the peninsula’s accession to Russia. Billboards urged “Crimea: Together With Russia,” as posters promised higher wages, higher pensions, and greater benefits. Local television broadcasts became a continuous loop of gauzy, nostalgic propaganda—waving wheat fields and tractor combines, that might have been drawn from Khrushchev-Brezhnev-era Kremlin film archives.
DARKNESS IN SIMFEROPOL
There was a darker element, however. A campaign waged in the shadows, just barely beneath the surface, designed to instill fear, doubt, hesitation, and acquiescence among any who might openly challenge the Kremlin’s intentions. Old tactics were dusted off for a new era, the tools of a police state used with devastating efficiency in past eras—Dzerzhinsky after the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalin in the Great Terror of the 1930s, Beria in post-World War II Eastern Europe, and Putin since 2001. __ A Cry from Crimea
Read on for an eye-opening experience. Of course, if you are set on believing Kremlin propaganda, you are probably already dead from the neck upward, so don’t bother. 😉
It is not good enough to assert that these things are not representative of what is happening in Russia. You need to support your assertions. Otherwise you are like all the other hidebound wankers with unsupported opinions struggling to assert themselves all over the internet.
Mark Adomanis ravaged by Russian trolls for speaking just a tiny portion of the unhappy truth about Russia’s trajectory. The wankers are all-in for Putin.
Update: This article was linked on Xenosystems.net chaospatch #50, with some commenters there taking exception to my tone. 😉
To be honest, there are several topics that I would rather write about than the inexorable decline of Putin’s Russia. But Putin bears watching quite closely, so that the chumps who call themselves Russophiles cannot later say that no one warned them.