China’s New Lease on Russia
To become a superpower, China will need the energy resources and natural resources of its neighbor, Russia. It appears that China will soon get what it wants, as Russia moves to change rules so as to allow China to gain majority control of Russian assets in situ.
Russian engineering and technology is unable to keep up with the demands of modern oil field production and management. Russia needs more technologically advanced outsiders in order to keep the oil & gas flowing, to sustain the export income that allows Putin and his inner circle to maintain the world’s highest levels of income inequality.
Russia Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Friday that “there are no political obstacles” for Chinese investors to acquire large stakes [over 50% interest] in Russia’s strategic oil and gas projects…
… “We are on the threshold of a serious investment breakthrough,” he said.
For years the Kremlin closely guarded control of Russia’s large oil and gas fields, limiting the foreign participation in developing them to a minority stake. Russia’s oil industry needs modern foreign technology, expertise and investment to develop new fields, and to extend the life of the old ones… Energy-hungry China has for long tried to take a bigger role in Russia’s oil and gas production… __China Buying Russia Piece by Piece
This fateful decision by the Kremlin is being made necessary by Putin’s refusal to cease his war-making against Eastern Europe. Russia will discover that once it lets the dragon in, it will be next to impossible to push it back out again.
More on income inequality in Russia since Putin took over:
So you see that the wealth-grabbing of the corrupt criminals has been far worse under Putin than under Yeltsin. No wonder Putin will do anything — including turning Eastern Europe into rubble and selling Siberia to the Chinese — to maintain his wealth and control.
Russia is rapidly spending down its foreign reserves, and is being forced to reduce essential government services. The poor and middle classes will suffer, but Putin’s inner circle will be preserved as long as possible.
In December 2014, Rosneft received preferential regulatory treatment from the central bank to help it refinance debt, sparking a huge fall in the ruble once currency traders became aware of the shadowy deal. __ Russian Economy Sinking Fast
Rosneft and other preferential recipients of bailouts “just happen” to enjoy close relationships with Putin.
As the Russian economy weakens, battles between powerful Russian clans are likely to spring up. Ferocious infighting within and around Russia’s ruling circle is apt to create a new ruling junta.
…the Russian economy would weaken further and … eventually its weakness would provoke a battle between the powerful clans which dominate Russia.
“Tomorrow when the regime changes you will have to build a relationship and you will have very little time,” …
… Vladimir Putin was a “naked king” presiding over an economy that will weaken further, eventually provoking a battle between rival clans in Moscow. __Putin Has No Clothes
Putin to Shift the Cost of his Mighty Ambitions Onto the Backs of the Russian Population
For most of Putin’s time in office, high oil prices have made it possible to avoid tough decisions about distribution. Throughout the 2000s, Russia’s economic pie was growing so rapidly that everyone could have a slice. Wages rose sharply, benefiting average Russians, while windfall oil rents meant the state still had plenty of resources to distribute to political allies. The coming recession, however, will bring distributional questions to the fore. Who will pay the bill? Unwilling to reverse course in Ukraine or to restrain oligarchs seeking for bailouts, the Kremlin appears to have decided to make the population pay through austerity.
To some extent, this has already begun. Inflation has crept upwards even as wage growth has slowed, degrading the purchasing power of Russians’ incomes. Unemployment is increasing. The devaluation of the ruble will raise prices for imported goods, forcing Russians to cut back not only on luxuries such as European holidays, but also on basics such as clothes and food, much of which is imported.
Other measures to shift costs on the population are also being considered. __ EurasiaReview
Organised Crime in Russia is How Things Get Done
Unlike the normal situation in civilized societies, there is no clear distinction in Russia between criminal enterprises and the government. In fact, criminal organizations and their leadership often have direct ties to oligarchs and others in positions of power. In order to conduct business in Russia, companies are finding that dealings with the government lead directly to dealings with thugs demanding pay, not for product or services but for protection and other vague promises, including “permission” to conduct business. The protection they are purchasing, however, is from the people they are paying. __ Source
It is generally said that the Russian mob originated in the former Soviet Union, but it was actually prominent inside the Russian Empire for hundreds of years. Putin is merely carrying on an ancient Russian tradition.
Just as nothing gets done inside the territory of a crime mob without the godfather’s okay, nothing gets done inside the criminal nation of Russia without Putin’s okay — which means that Putin gets a big cut.
The huge burden of suffering that is consequently thrown onto the backs of those outside the inner circle is inestimable. It is true that Russians tend to be long-suffering, but should they ever wake up to how they have been manipulated by Kremlin propaganda into supporting a massively corrupt ruling class which has no feeling for the people of Russia, some civil unrest is always possible.
Meanwhile, China Continues Moving Into Siberia
China is already taking over commercial interests on the Russian side of the border. Vladivostok is slowly falling under Chinese control. The steady march of Chinese economic controlling interests across the landscape of Siberia appears unstoppable.
Most of Russia’s oil production is based in western Siberia, where fields are running out. Any new areas for discovery, such as east Siberia and the Arctic, and hard-to-recover resources, would require foreign assistance. __ MoscowTimes
Before Putin invaded Ukraine, Russia obtained a large amount of advanced weapons systems from Ukraine’s sophisticated weapons industry.
Ukraine inherited one-third of the Soviet defense industry ? 1,840 enterprises and research centers that employed 2.7 million people. Some facilities had unique capabilities such as shipbuilding and missile production. However, it was not a coherent national defense sector per se, but a fragmented collection of what used to be the mammoth Soviet military-industrial complex, which had to be transformed into the national defense sector of Ukraine.
Subsequent to Putin laying waste to much of Ukraine, Russia will need to turn to China for several types of sophisticated weapons systems that the Russian weapons infrastructure is not capable of producing.
As China comes to produce more and more of Russia’s most sophisticated missile guidance systems and other advanced computer-based systems, the dragon will acquire more and more influence over the bear’s ability to wage sophisticated war. Backdoors into weapons systems controls will proliferate, and eventually many of Russia’s weapons will not work unless China allows it.
This creates a huge vulnerability in the soft underbelly of Russia, should it ever try to stop China’s long march to the Urals.
Update: Meanwhile back in Moscow
Boris Nemtsov, a towering figure in Russian post-Soviet politics and a biting critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down steps from the Kremlin late Friday, authorities said. The drive-by shooting had the potential to open a violent new chapter in Russian political life.
Nemtsov, a physicist-turned-politician who was seen in the 1990s as a possible heir to President Boris Yeltsin, was one of the loudest voices condemning Russia’s sharp turn toward confrontation with the West in the past year. The killing sent immediate shock waves through Russia, where he became the highest-profile opposition leader to be slain in a nation where such figures are sometimes imprisoned or pushed to emigrate…
The 55-year-old Nemtsov was gunned down Friday near midnight as he walked on a bridge near the Kremlin with a female companion. The killing came just a few hours after a radio interview in which he denounced Putin’s “mad, aggressive” policies and the day before he was to help lead a rally protesting Russia’s actions in the Ukraine crisis and the economic crisis at home… AP
A large number of Kremlin critics have been murdered, including journalists and other outspoken persons.
Moving to London is no guarantee of safety, as Litvinenko and Berezovsky discovered. The Russian mob-affiliated government of Russia has fingers in almost every national pie.
Putin supporters, and other slimy toads, will no doubt blame the CIA for killing Putin critics in the effort to embarass the “Dear Leader, Der Fuhrer.”
Russia’s prospects under Putin are dismal, regardless of how the Kremlin’s war against Eastern Europe plays out. Against the few who attempt to tell the truth about Russia are arrayed armies of mobsters and former KGB operatives — along with the tens of millions of toady dupes and slaves eager to lick the nether parts of Putin and other members of the inner circle.
Russia is built upon oil & gas profits, yet is selling control of important new oil & gas fields that Russia lacks the expertise to develop and operate, to its frenemy, the dragon. Russia relies on its weapons systems — including nukes — to intimidate its rapidly growing number of foes, yet is depending more and more on its frenemy the middle kingdom for advanced weapons Russia can no longer make.
In the name of neo-empire, Putin is surrendering the foundations of what little empire is left to the only nation on Earth that may be more duplicitous and back-stabbing than Russia herself.
Congratulations, Russia. You asked for it, you got it.
Ownership is dependent upon Mr. Putin’s will. Law is something he administers to his enemies and from which he exempts his friends. The plunging price of oil is racing Russia toward insolvency. And the monumental costs of occupying and subsidizing Ukraine may push it over the brink.
Russia is beset by other afflictions: a dwindling population; rampant alcoholism; low military morale; and, escalating emigration and a brain drain.
In sum, Mr. Putin’s Ukrainian adventurism might be likened to Napoleon’s return from Elba for one last fling at military success before expiring at Waterloo. __ Bury Putin in Ukraine
How will Russia react when someone guns Putin down on the street? You know it will happen, sooner or later. That is just the type of Russia that Putin himself has built. Moscow has blood on the streets on a regular basis these days.
Perhaps then, under the firm hands of Chinese peacekeepers, Russia will finally find peace.