Destruction as Near-Complete as Nuclear War

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:

World at War

World at 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.

A Long Winter of Discontent

A Long Winter of Discontent

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

Leaving Russia to die on its own

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.


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 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.

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21 Responses to Destruction as Near-Complete as Nuclear War

  1. Abelard Lindsey says:

    I’ve noticed that a certain faction of “conservative” bloggers seem to idealize Russia. They think Russia is some sort of pure redoubt against the decay of the West. If this was true, would one not expect the region to be attracting talented engineering and business people rather than repelling them? Is not the indicator of the future success of any human organization, not just nation-state, is whether it attracts and retains talent? Talented people go where the opportunities are. It is reasonable to predict that where ever the talented people are, say, in 2040 is going to be the most prosperous, successful societies on the planet (or in space, for that matter).

  2. NekasM says:

    Sveik, Does “talented” people are the one who run away from hardness, or they stay and fight, overcame it,create a place where they are at home-how those please become opportunity rich if all just run away from problems, and how long you will run,for place with opportunity?
    Do You really can run away from yourself, You are also part of that family,tribe,ethnicity,country,religion and ideology- if it’s not what you like then Your part of that problem to ,it’s like living organism where each interacting with other’s and creates larger picture.Would Dutch people told it’s to hard here no opportunity ,lets move to other place or Switzerland, Japanese etc…… lets go all away- here stinks! You stay ground or run, but what if You bring the problems with You and this new place also get’s worse,You will leave, but this planet is not with infinite space.More then 200 years back some persons mostly from one island,could also say: screw this, let’s go west there are more land, let them have their tea:)
    Why some ethnicity’s and country’s are better places right now then other’s, even they are not so rich by nature…..
    “Russian” people don’t ask much- they will work hard and not make a lot trouble- many years in serfdom have created obedient personality’s mostly. + Many who have not lived there, even I, can’t imagine how organized crime groups have grown together with official justice authorities, at least so I was told from people who lived there.
    Sorry for long and weird- structure of sentence, only can hope You can get what I tried to write.
    There is no easy way out.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      By talented people, I’m talking about people who develop new technologies, invent new products or services, start new businesses, and are generally productive. I have worked with several Russians (in the U.S. and Japan) over the years who fit this description. None of then have much desire to return to Russia. The ones I know here in the U.S. have families here as well. My point is that a rising society attracts these kind of people by providing opportunity for them to excel. A declining society does pretty much the opposite. By this metric, you can guess which societies are likely to be or remain successful by looking at where the immigrants go, particularly talented ones.

      You seem to think there is merit in societies that limit the potential of accomplishments of talented people. This is quite irrational.

      • alfin2101 says:

        Abelard: I suspect that NekasM is rather suggesting that individuals think long and hard before they run away from a troubled society. There is a good deal of sense in that point of view, if hope remains for improving the society from within.

        If no hope remains, ambitious and talented persons may do better by following the opportunity, and mailing money back home to help those who remain.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Thanks for your comment, NekasM. As you say, there are few easy decisions for persons caught in a rapidly declining society.

      The question of the close integration of organised crime with official government agencies is troubling. We will look at that question more deeply in the future. Suffice it to say that it has been going on in Russia for hundreds of years, became of acute importance during the Soviet black market years, and has truly found its stride in the Yeltsin —> Putin years.

  3. Russia has threatened Europe for years and allied with the Asiatics who wish to possess Europe. Seeing Russia completely destroyed and the remnants assimilated by the middle east — I seem to recall a historical precedent for this — means greater security for Europe, but also that Europe must face her natural enemy in the Chinese who will surely come storming over the Caucasus as their own illusory success also evaporates.

    Simo Häyhä understood the nature of Russians and what to do about it. They’re Asiatics who will never, ever support the interests of Western Europeans, and in fact will actively work against them while allying with Asiatics as has happened in the past. The best thing for all of us is for the failed experiment of Russia to disappear without a trace. The “white third world” is in fact another failed experiment in miscegenation, hybridizing Europeans with Asians to produce people of ability but no sense. Even when they come here to the US, as in Mike Anissimov, they still have that problem.

    • alfin2101 says:

      We are not looking to see Russia completely destroyed. Most people would be happy if Russia stopped funding rogue nations and stopped its policy of nuclear weapons proliferation and the funding and arming of terror groups. It would be wonderful if Russia’s government cleaned up its corruption and criminality. If resource wealth went to creating a healthy economic infrastructure, instead of flowing to overseas bank accounts of the inner circle. If Russia allowed entrepreneurs to build efficient enterprises without turning around and putting them into prison and stripping the wealth for the oligarchy. If Russia paid its bills, stopped cheating foreign investors, toned down its overseas hacking and industrial espionage. That would all be nice, but it is as likely as the freezing of Havana harbour.

      Russia has lost its core of human strength over the past two centuries, and the human flow of talent and fertility continues to flow outward. This miscalculation of a war against Eastern Europe only accelerates the eventual downfall.

      Russophiles who cheer on the Russian forces against the Ukrainian ones, are unwittingly cheering on the speeding decline of greater Russia. Too many things are happening beneath the surface for them to keep up with. So they cheer the deaths as they might cheer the scores of a football team.

      Russia no longer has friends. But it has built a score of angry enemies over the recent years. It is easy to see a re-shaping of Russia, with a consolidation in the core area around Moscow and St. Petersburg. Without Putin’s rash actions over the past year, such a concept would be far more difficult to envision.

      If not for the seizing of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, western banks and industries would be falling over themselves to re-build Russian infrastructure and to supply the advanced technology Russia needs to fend off an advancing China.

      • Ryan says:

        You’re making some odd points.

        So for example what Russian support of nuclear proliferation are you talking about? All recent proliferation has come with Pakistan’s support, both North Korea and Iran. And Pakistan got their technology from the Chinese, not the Russians. It’s true that Russia’s policy in Iran is better a nuclear Iran than an American dominated Iran. But that’s not support for proliferation, it’s picking the lesser of two evils.

        And their inevitable conflict with China? China and Russia have shared a large common border for like 400 years and fought over it exactly twice. I read about the “threat” of Chinese people colonizing Siberia. What a joke. Even the people who live in Siberia don’t want to live there.

        This isn’t to say they don’t have huge problems. I just don’t understand the view that every single thing that could be wrong is wrong, that every single evil we can conceive of is true of them.

        • alfin2101 says:

          I understand what you are saying. It is not surprising, since to understand what I am saying, you would have had to read the entire argument, spread across dozens of blog posts on a half dozen blogs, supported by many links. No one blames you for that. If you are serious about discussing the issues, you might go back and read the materials then we can discuss the ideas.

          On the topic of proliferation the book described here does a better job than I am willing to do to explain the Russian connection to Iranian and N. Korean proliferation. This brief English language summary of a small part of the argument is necessarily without the massive documentation contained in the book itself. It would be better if all the information one needs for intelligent discussion of this topic were freely available, but that is not the world we live in.

          Keep in mind that at this point, Russia refuses to disclose exactly what it has and what it is doing in its nuclear programme. Perhaps even in Russia no one truly knows where things are.

          It is fine to disagree once you understand what it is you are disagreeing with, and can support your views. Gut level intuition does not constitute support.

          I again urge you to go back and read what is happening in the Russian Far East in terms of Chinese interests displacing Russian. Changing your mind can be a liberating experience if you are willing to admit that you might be wrong. I have done it dozens of times and continue to do so when merited.

          Your final sentence is nonsensical, since no one has claimed that everything that could be wrong with Russia is wrong, or that every single evil we can conceive of them is true. I could easily generate dozens of additional things that could be wrong with Russia, or conceive of dozens of additional evils that might be true of Russia. Rather than to do that, I confine myself to the things that can be and have been documented.

          • Ryan says:

            I didn’t understand that you meant ballistic missile technology when you said nuclear proliferation. However such is commonly lumped in with spreading technology for producing nuclear weapons to attach to the missiles. So I guess it’s a fair statement.

            I’m afraid I still remain quite skeptical that Chinese people have some general yearning to live in Siberia. I readily concede there is nothing Russia could do to stop a 100 million Chinese people from colonizing Siberia and converting it to a part of their Empire. I just don’t see why they would want to. Maybe the CCP would like the idea, but the 100 million Chinese people wouldn’t.

          • alfin2101 says:

            Most Chinese would prefer not to live in most areas of Siberia. But when you have almost 1.5 billion people, it doesn’t require a large percentage of your people to move into such an area to make a big impact. Combined with the fact that most Russians living there would like to leave, and you can see the potential for a problem from Russia’s point of view. The problem has been looked at many times from the POV of Europe, the US, Russia, China, and Japan.

            China is likely to move into Siberia in a phased fashion, beginning with areas that have been historically Chinese in the past. This includes excellent farming land and highly strategic real estate across the Sea of Okhotsk from Japan. China would prefer to either lease access or to attain de facto access via steady commercial encroachment.

            As China becomes more deeply involved in the exploitation of Russian energy resources (coal, oil, gas, etc) inside Russia itself — using Chinese engineers and labour — it will become easier to move Chinese dual use infrastructure into different Chinese installations within Russia.

            And as China supplies more and more sophisticated weapons — including warhead guidance and delivery systems — to Russia, it will become easier for China to take control of those systems if necessary.

            It may seem that such things are not happening, but it isn’t that hard to find public announcements of China’s growing role in Russia’s weapons systems and Russia’s energy production.

  4. A.B Prosper says:

    This would assume Russia could trust the West which at least to Russians it can’t since we are as corrupt as they are and that whatever efforts we make wouldn’t line our own pockets and screw everyone in Russia. which they have. Also Russians perhaps wisely figure Western banks have no interest in helping Russia, they want to loot it and turn Russia into a Western satrapy. Can’t blame them for the distrust

    Russia is after all a low trust society and we have shown time and time again to the Russian mind we are inherently politically untrustworthy, turn on supposed allies whenever we feel like and are under the thumb of oligarchs just as much as Russia is.

    Also do recall the last time anyone West friendly was in charge there, things went from bad to worse than to simply awful under Yeltsin, much much worse than now. It seems to me that they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t and as such might as well do what you are doing and screw the west/

    Also I think its naive if you think there is any actions that would benefit Russia that would magically make us treat them better. we are an empire in decline and will brook no independence of thought or action or keeping wealth out of the hands of our own oligarchs. Be our slave or be destroyed is how the Russians see it. Its only partial truth of course but Russians if nothing else are a proud people

    Also why on earth would anyone here thing what we are offering would help? We don’t even care for our own people or their future fertility, allowing mass immigration all the while up to 50% or more of peak fertile age people 915-29) have too low an income to have children. We don’t have too much krokdile (some its in Saint Louis and allegedly in Phoenix) thank goodness but we are awash in deadly drugs too.

    We are better off but dying in almost the same ways, decaying US infrastructure

    even faster ethnic replacement, equal low fertility and heavy amounts of expatriation, drug abuse, poverty, crime (Stockholm Sweden is worlds leader in forcible rape)

    We are richer and this blunts the rot but we don’t have an “out” any more than they can. We are in the same boat to hell ours is just going slower. Heck Putin to his credit is making public efforts to repair things and does not as far as I can tell hate the Russian people something I can’t say about our leaders.

    Also nuclear proliferation is inherently good for peace. This sounds terribly Orwellian but nukes prevent large scale war. The fear that dying Russia will push the button is unfounded,

    However if we actually wanted to help Russia, we could do it easily. Leave them to handle their own external and internal affairs be happy to trade with them instead of China and ironically enough stop exporting cultural Marxist filth into their country. All nations would benefit and while this would not be great for some of the periphery nations in the Russian sphere, Russia isn’t actively evil and realpolitik should put Russia ahead in the queue anyway.

    • alfin2101 says:

      No one needs to attack Russia. Just keeping Russia from attacking its neighbors would be more than enough.

      Russia is not being invaded and devastated, although Ukraine is. No one is threatening Russia with nuclear war or military attacks, although Russia has been threatening Europe and members of the Anglospheric alliance with nuclear war and other various aggressive and violent actions ever since Putin went on the warpath in Crimea and Ukraine.

      Frankly, we at Al Fin are more concerned with the welfare of Russia’s long-suffering, long-tormented, and long-raped neighbors than we are with a bullying, rotting, has-been empire that cannot seem to get a grip on its new less prominent role in a changing world.

      Russia could be massively wealthy, with a happy prosperous people, a land of opportunity. Instead, it is an Africa-class corrupt hovel with a Potemkin facade. Rotting from within. The greatest advantages Russia now has over black African nations is a higher average IQ and a legacy infrastructure — although the infrastructure is crumbling.

      It is more accurate to compare Russia to black Africa, not to the more advanced world. Neither region will survive without large scale outside aid.

      • A.B Prosper says:

        I think the comparison to Africa is a wrong one but I might be wrong on that.

        As far as the Ukraine and Crimea , neither of these nations are low corruption, high integrity or good performing.They don’t belong in the EU/American Imperial sphere anyway.

        Ideally they’d be independent but if that’s not the case, I’m not sure the Russians would be a worse steward.

        I’d draw the line and defend the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland (another mass exporter of human capital BTW) and the other clearly in the Western camp but the rest really aren’t our problem. They aren’t even a good fit for the EU and while I could imagine defending Greece (though China Inc is a bigger threat) if they wanted to join a the Russo-Sphere or the Orthodox-Sphere or whatever ends up I’d have no trouble with it, A nation that habitually elects Communists belongs with a different block. Well alright Italy gets a pass on that. Its a fast dying Camp of Saints hot mess waiting to happen though.

        As far as threatening people with nukes, why wouldn’t they? It what nukes are for and its either done quietly (as the US does) by proxies (as China does with some supposedly rogue general) obliquely (like Russia) or directly as North Korea does. Its normal since there are no such things as defensive weapons anyway and one man’s anti missile battery is another man’s dire threat.

        The only really silly thing I’ve heard is something some Russian general claiming they should “intervene” in the US since it has a large Russian population that may be being abused. Or the other idiots with an eye on Alaska . I can’t always read Russian humor but if its not a joke that is absurd . The Russian know full well as weak as we are and as PO’d at our government we are, they’d be destroyed.

        So I figure it this way, if you are right we contain Russia and let them fall apart faster than we do. As long as some idiot Neo-Con doesn’t start a war, there won’t be any major troubles other than they gobble up a few low performing and corrupt countries with high Russian populations. Oh well.

        If the others are correct and Russia is doing acceptable well given its troubles than the same as above and as added bonus, Orthodox Russia offers a faith based alternative to the toxic Cultural Marxism afflicting the West and if we pull our heads out of the hole, we can form a mutually useful trade arrangement with them and maybe kettle China.

        In any which way, we in the West can snake up a a few of their awesome women and some new citizens and benefit richly anyway. Though I’ll pass on Russian sauerkraut, like Russian food but that? Hits the belly like brisk glass of Pripyat water.

        As always a pleasures to converse and I’ll keep reading. Keep up the great blogging.

  5. alfin2101 says:

    I would assume that if ethnic Russians feel they are being mistreated by their host countries, they can always migrate to the motherland. Most of them choose not to do so, except where Putin has destroyed their homes and all hope for a decent life — as in East Ukraine.

    But in the Kremlin’s eyes, they make a wonderful pretext for a bloody invasion and rubble-making. Apologists for the bloodthirstiness of Putin and the Kremlin neo-imperialists never seem to understand how much harm they are doing to Russia in the long run, by trying to defend the barbaric and indefensible behaviour. It will come back to Russia in a devastating manner, and the longer it takes to do so, the more final the devastation will be.

    Russia is making lifelong enemies at a time that Russia badly needs friends. That is quite stupid, and a reflection of a leadership that is lost in its own insular and delusionary thought processes. But the criminals at the top of today’s Russia may feel they have no choice if they are to survive against the other criminals in Russia one level down nipping at their heels, but biding their time before making an all-out assault on the leadership.

    If you are fooled by Kremlin propaganda (or Russia’s version of “Baghdad Bob”) then conversing on this topic may be less useful than holding a conversation with the granite presidents on Mt. Rushmore. I have done it, but I’m not sure how much good it did.

  6. Alrenous says:

    You got linked on Xenosystems and suffered heavy though unsubstantiated criticism. Let’s get everything but corruption and infrastructure out of the way.
    Let’s also get my disclaimer out of the way: as an anarchist, I’m out to prove Putin’s authoritarianism is imprudent.

    First, all statistics are dubious. That said, that’s no less a difficulty for Russophiles. That said, nobody has the kind of accuracy on Russia that’s required to make good management decisions, not even the Russians.

    While it’s true that Russia is losing people like every industrialized country, it is losing them slower and the TFR trend is currently upward. (I would cite but this is all from casual googling, do it yourself.) Theoretically they shouldn’t hit 2.1 but my hunch is they will. (Hitting ~1.9 would make me happiest, as it proves everyone wrong. TFR goes up, contra you, but never hits replacement, contra Russophiles. Looking at the data makes me uneasy, predicting it will end up far from 1.9. Long story short, the outcome consistent with the hunch is 2.1+)

    Russia’s drug problem, while bad, is not getting worse. The heroin issue went away…mainly by all the addicts dying, but gone is gone. Ditto the crocodile. They’re on ‘spice’ now, which while interesting isn’t at the magnitude of the heroin outbreak.

    Your assertion that Russia’s economy is smaller than Canada’s is unsupported. I particularly distrust La Wik on this but it disagrees, and it’s not like there’s a better authority. That said Russia’s per capita wealth looks to be roughly half of such places.

    Russian suicide rate is bad. But, as per my bias, it’s actually normalizing downward as the effect of Communism fades. There’s always a worse tyrant… Really I should have predicted this from the start. No matter how bad Putin is, he can’t beat communism.

    However, the corruption and infrastructure points seem critical.

    You can do two things about corruption: aggressively fight it or let it get worse. Russia isn’t fighting it. There’s a critical point where corruption leads, sometimes literally, to classic feudalism.

    While it would be nice if Russians realized they can’t rely on the government for infrastructure, it seems unlikely, and in any case the implicit corruption taxes put the cost out of reach. Given that, again there’s a critical point. A road gets gradually worse and worse until suddenly you can’t use it at all. A power line gets a little flakier until it finally just snaps. Drains run a bit slow until they suddenly clog.

    Putin is obviously indifferent to these issues. Russia’s apparent normalization is going to suddenly, drastically halt, with little to no warning.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Thanks for the heads-up. I generally ignore off-site criticism, but if it’s that bad I may as well alert my readers here so they can take a look and make up their own minds.

      Take a quick look at this and consider how Russia’s population numbers are being jiggered.

      Comparisons between Russia’s economy and others are difficult at this time of extreme flux. See: and note that between 2013 and 2015 the values of the rouble and of most Russian assets have been slashed by 40% or more. The information one needs for precision is closely held by persons of dubious integrity and patently bad intent.

      I tend to focus largely on infrastructure, corruption, and family breakdown issues in my criticisms of Russia. Oh, and Putin, of course. 😉 I’ve been watching Russia’s break-even oil costs for several years now, observing the ramping up of cheaper North American oil & gas, and anticipating the economic fallout for Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, among others.

      Posting on Russia is an unwelcome distraction from more enjoyable topics, but the ongoing situation forces me to pay attention. If Putin, like Hitler, gets away with these early-stage shenanigans, there will be hell to pay later. Many of those paying will be former Russophiles, the chumps.

  7. Dan says:

    I wonder how much of this is backward-looking. Abortion peaked at 4 per live births a generation ago and is now around 1/2 per live births. Crime rates are supposedly down from very high peaks. Alcoholism continues to be a huge problem. Per capita incomes are way up in comparison to the past. Through the Orthodox church and nationalism they are trying to rebuild their social fabric.

    Comparing Russia to Africa? Really? They were the first humans in space.

    Yes, there has been nuclear-war level destruction. It was Communism and it nuked society. Communism in the USSR attacked the best and brightest specifically, and it went on for many, many years. Churchmen tied alive to posts across Siberia to turn to ice and be eaten by wolves simultaneously. Social capital brought to almost absolute zero by policies that required ratting out even your family to feed a murder machine that slaughtered tens of millions. And then criminal, crony privatization of the entire economy into the hands of a connected few. In 1992 consumer price inflation in Russia was 2,520%. It improved to around 230% in 1992 and 1994. The already-shabby Soviet economy was burned to the ground.

    Russian GDP per capita:
    1989 – $3428
    1999 – $1300 (!)
    2013 – $14,611 (la-wik)

    If even half of this this improvement if real, then may God bless those people that have suffered more than any other. This is not to absolve the Russian people for the stupidity of their choices, but living in a country that is chasing left-instanity in its own wierd ways, I can’t say I know what to do to get off the runaway train of a society gone mad.

    To Russia’s great credit, they seem to recognize some problems with our brand of leftist insanity, having eaten so much of a different brand in living memory. I wish there was another significant European country that would genuinely hold the line against our brand of insanity, but I can’t think of any.

    Why am I a Russiaphile? Mainly for the same reason that Elon Musk thinks we need to get into space: Civilization as I understand it needs some backup. I am not at all persuaded that the West will be okay in the long run.

    And re the Ukraine… The eastern parts are full of ethnic Russians who seem to lose at the game of democracy even when they win elections. (Any wonder that American conservatives can empathize?) The new Ukrainian government couldn’t even resist taking away the official status of the language that they speak. The chances that Crimea would have voted to stay in the Ukraine is nil. If there was a different answer to the question of who? whom?, the west might well have supported independence.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Sadly, one can no longer trust vital statistics of a sensitive nature (or anything else) coming from the Kremlin. That was certainly true under the USSR, and it is becoming true once more under the KGB/mobocracy regime of Putin.

      For most westerners, Russophilia is a type of wishful thinking based upon ideological preferences. Ideology itself is antithetical to rational thinking, something that we have been working with at the Institute for several years now.

      If civilisation needs a backup, it had best look quickly for one more reliable than the dying bear. Emotional attachments can be a killer in the real world. Wishful thinking is fine as long as it is tempered by a wide enough assortment of real time data so that one can play weakness against weakness. All data and all models lie. The trick is in reading between the lines. Wishful thinking makes it more difficult to do that.

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