Russia’s Problems Deeper than Previously Believed

life expectancy has been falling since 1964. So in the same period as the Soviet Union reached socialist near utopia with full employment and universal health care—but when the state broke any impulse to freedom—its citizens began the slow slide to self-destruction. __ Last Man in Russia

If this is true—if Russians are dying for lack of hope, as they seem to be—then the question that is still looking for its researcher is, Why haven’t Russians experienced hope in the last quarter century? Or, more precisely in light of the grim continuity of Russian death, What happened to Russians over the course of the Soviet century that has rendered them incapable of hope? __ Dying Russians

EBRD said: “Deep recession in the Russian economy is having larger-than expected negative spillover effects on countries with which it has strong economic links. The impact of the Russian downturn has worsened the outlook for eastern Europe and the Caucasus and for central Asia.”

Russia could face a protracted period of slow growth or stagnation, it said, exacerbated by the fact it is overly dependent on the oil and gas sector. “Low oil prices and sanctions have taken their toll on an already weak economy with deep-seated structural problems,” the EBRD said. __

Russia’s economy was doing badly even before Putin’s adventures in neo-imperial invasion. With the addition of western sanctions and a likely long-term dip in oil & gas prices, the Russian economy may not see daylight for several years.

So far Russia has been dipping into its Reserve Fund, but it is depleting fast. Worth about $75 billion now, Finance Ministry projections indicate most of it will be spent over the next two years.

… “[Russia] cannot possibly manage such a high rate of military spending now,” Sergei Guriev, a former rector of the New Economic School in Moscow, said in a commentary published last week.

… Without any meaningful spending cuts, the only option could be for Russia to return to international debt markets to borrow its way out of the problem, and for that it would need relief from the Western sanctions. __ Russia Running Through Its Reserves

Russia’s government budgets have been slashed, including most recently the space budget and the non-nuclear military budget.

Construction of a new class of highly advanced warships for the Russian navy has been abandoned after shipbuilders were unable to find parts to replace foreign hardware cut off by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday. __ Russian Military Suffers Cut Off From Sophisticated Western Electronics Hardware

Russia cannot make its own sophisticated military electronic components, and is finding it much more difficult to obtain these components overseas.

Russia’s military is heavily dependent upon western electronics and Ukrainian expertise.

Russia’s space industry is failing

Russian public health budgets have been slashed, even as severe epidemics of TB, HIV, drug/alcohol addictions, and suicides sweep across the nation.

… Pokrovsky said that heterosexual intercourse appears to be the most common route of HIV transmission in Russia, drawing parallels with Africa, the epicentre of the HIV-Aids epidemic. ___ HIV Running Riot Through Russia’s Heterosexual Population

Russia has no experts in HIV prevention, and is losing badly at playing the “catch-up” game. HIV prevalence is due to increase by an additional 2 million Russians within the next 2 or 3 years.

Official emigration statistics are always treated with a degree of skepticism in Russia; as one tech entrepreneur explained, if you’re leaving Russia for good, you tend not to tell the authorities. But the figures available point to a national brain drain.

… “If they open the borders and let people have visas, everyone will leave.” ___ Russian Brain Drain Unchecked

Russia is losing tens of thousands of its young girls overseas yearly, through modeling scams, prostitution rackets, child-pornography rings, and overseas marriage bureaus.

Few good Russian men remain in the dying former empire. Russian women must often travel long distances to find better opportunities abroad, despite the risks. Now, more than ever, Russian women and girls just want to get away.

Dating apps and websites abound, and more seem to spring up every day.

What is it that Russian society lacks which causes decent women to expose themselves on apps like Tinder and

An explanation may lie in the profiles of these women.There is a similar flavor to them all, and it is almost comical- all love travelling and are looking for a prince. Selfies and pictures taken on exotic beaches really confirm how much these women want to get away. But where is that place and just who is going to take them there? ___ Russian Women Want to Get Away

A sense of desperation has sprung up inside Russia since March of 2014, when capital flight, brain drain, and the mass exodus of elites / entrepreneurs / professionals / scientists / engineers, and anyone else who could, resumed again in earnest.

The first eight months of 2014 saw more Russians leaving their country of birth than in any other year since 1999, the year before Putin first entered the Kremlin. The official figure, 203,659, is an increase of 80,000 over the previous year. The number of Russians successfully applying for the U.S. green card lottery nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014. All over social media, groups have cropped up with names like “Time to Go?” that offer advice to Russians looking to relocate. __ FP

I repeat, all of these problems existed even before Putin conquered Crimea and invaded east Ukraine. But a growing sense of desperation hangs over Russia today. A deep fear of appearing publicly disloyal to Putin — on pain of death — pervades the atmosphere. The future not only seems grim, it is grim.

Russia, China, and India are all stockpiling gold. This indicates that the elites of these countries anticipate the possibility of a significant global economic downturn. But not just any economic downturn — the type of downturn that is caused by war, when only hard currency can buy the absolute essentials to support a large war effort.

China will play a waiting game with Russia, hoping the country will eventually implode from a lethal combination of ethnic strife, government corruption, Islamic rebellion, fiscal mismanagement, and a commodities driven economy that lacks diversity. When a total collapse does occur and chaos ensues, China will move in a deliberate and swift fashion across its 4,000 km boarder with Russia to secure what it can of the Russian Far East and Siberia. __ China’s Manifest Destiny


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