It Starts With the Lies
According to official sources, Russia is a great world power. Russia cannot be hurt by low oil prices, by western sanctions, nor by anything else, it seems. But what is the reality beneath the facade?
When your president, your bank and your boss keep lying to you, claiming that things are just fine even as you witness your real purchasing power evaporate, they may not be able to convince you that everything is fine, but they are able to sow doubt. And by routinely denying your lived experience, they also succeed in demonstrating their power over you, if not over the actual economy. __ NYT
Russian Mortality Going Up Again — Russians Not Having Sex
Mortality rates are on the rise again in Russia — even among the young. Worse for the future, young Russians appear to have lost interest in sex as worries over the economy take precedence.
Russians have sex less often during hard economic times. “The human organism is built for survival,” Shcheglov said, explaining that love-making takes a back seat, when people are struggling to put food on the table.
While Putin is Playing “The Big Man,” Russia is Quietly Dying
Russians are getting more and more worried — for good reason. While Putin is playing war games using real human blood, back at home things are growing ever more grim. And Russians are expected to suffer in silence.
As Dmitri Trenin has recently argued, an acute foreign policy crisis could trigger the collapse of not just the system, but the entire country. __ Russia’s Challenges for 2016
Even before Putin brought on the economic crisis, the misery index in Russia was rising — with escalating rates of addiction, HIV/AIDS, drug-resistant TB . . .
Something is wrong with the state of Russia’s health…And it is only growing worse, with a collapsing economy and a return to Soviet-style restrictions of personal liberties. Russia’s working-age population is collapsing. The pension system is already badly in arrears — and being plundered by a Kremlin growing increasingly desperate for funds.
Russia’s demographic crisis has been simmering for decades now — with only a brief respite during the oil boom years of the early 2000s. But even before the ongoing oil price crash and European sanctions against the Russian invasions of Crimea and Ukraine, it was clear that Russia would soon be losing population more and more rapidly. But now, under cover of economic catastrophe and a government media news blackout, the demographic collapse of Russia appears to be quickening in silence.
• Low fertility rate: It’s about 1.7 births per woman, lower than the 2.1 per woman needed for population replacement. That’s better than the 1.2 rate from the late 1990s, but still.
• Men dying super young: A boy born in Russia today is expected to live to approximately age 64. That’s 15 years less than in Germany, Sweden, or Italy.
• A lot of HIV/AIDS: 700,000 Russians were living with HIV/AIDS in 2013, a 5% increase over 2012. The Irish Times reports that in five years, three million people (or a full 2%) of the population are expected to be carrying the virus. Worse, the Russian government just announced it’s going to ban the import of foreign condoms.
• A skyrocketing number of drug addicts: Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service estimates that the country had 2.5 million drug addicts in 2010. In 2013, it was at 8.5 million.
• Little government spending on public health: “In terms of health expenditure per capita, Russia ranks near the bottom among OECD countries – spending $1,474 in 2012, compared with the OECD average of $3,484,” Chamie and Mirkin write. __ http://www.techinsider.io/a-perfect-demographic-storm-is-crippling-russia-2015-9
Russia’s demographic decline will accelerate in the coming years and its population will fall in this century to just over half of what it is now.
A Forgotten AIDS Crisis
… because they feared they’d become humiliated outcasts, thousands of Russians, especially drug addicts, preferred not to know whether they had HIV, and instead of receiving the right treatment, continued to spread the epidemic.
Often, regional HIV/AIDS centers have not provided patients with proper medicine. “That threatens not only HIV patients’ lives, but the lives of healthy people, too,” Medvedev admitted.
If the number of drug-addicted, HIV infected youth was growing during the prosperous times, the misery is likely to penetrate much more deeply in these dark times of spreading misery.
In Russia, it is believed that between 1.5 million and 2 million Russians suffer from HIV/AIDS — far more than the “official” statistics provided by the state.
If the budget is not cut by 10 percent, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said, “then the same thing will happen as happened in 1998 and 1999, when the population pays for what we did not do” through a loss of savings via inflation.
Siluanov also warned that if budget cuts are not quickly imposed, the country could burn through one of its major reserve funds by the end of the year. The fund stood at $59 billion at the end of November. __ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/with-oil-prices-plunging-russia-looks-ahead-to-grim-2016/2016/01/14/3575a2c4-ba10-11e5-85cd-5ad59bc19432_story.html
Russia’s Leadership Paves Path to War, as Does China’s
The two would-be superpowers — Russia and China — are vying with each other for control of much of the same real estate. But only one nation can be master of Asia, and China is in the driver’s seat in almost every way — economically, demographically, innovation-wise, average national IQ, mastery of cyber-espionage and cyber-warfare, and much more. China has massive leverage over Putin, and things are growing worse far more quickly for Putin than for the CPC in China.
Russia is caught between an Eastern Europe preparing for war, and its frenemy China, preparing to stab the bear in the back. The ruling junta in Moscow is ratcheting the international tension to the breaking point — while within the nation of Russia itself, the weakness grows.
This is not likely to end well for anyone directly concerned.
Russia struggles to defend soft underbelly from Muslim infiltrators. Not enough money to maintain the small presence that already exists.
Infrastructure was already in a severe state of decay, butfor over a year now, already bad critical infrastructure inside Russia is degrading even more rapidly from neglect.