Mr Putin’s Russia is more fragile than he pretends. The economy is failing. The rise in oil prices after 2000, when Mr Putin first became president, provided $1.1 trillion of windfall export revenues for him to spend as he wished. But oil prices are three-quarters down from their peak. Russian belts have tightened further because of sanctions imposed after Mr Putin attacked Ukraine. Living standards have fallen for the past two years and are falling still. The average salary in January 2014 was $850 a month; a year later it was $450.
… reports that anti-aircraft missiles had reached Syrian rebels for the first time since the beginning of the conflict, courtesy of Ankara and Riyadh, may have also accelerated the pullout
Syria is ultimately peripheral to Russian interests. Russia became involved with Syria because it wanted to develop leverage in its dealings with the West, particularly with the United States. The primary issues for Russia don’t hang on Assad’s success. They hang on Russia’s precarious domestic situation and on its western frontier.
The Kremlin’s primary concern is Russia’s ongoing economic crisis, which threatens to undermine domestic stability.
Now that the only ones left alive in Syria are an invigorated ISIS, Iranian troops, Assad’s troops, Russian forces, Hezbollah, and large piles of bloody rubble, Putin has “announced” that his forces will be leaving Syria sometime in the next year or so. Given that Russian forces were supposed to have been in and out by the end of December 2015, this particular announcement is somewhat underwhelming. But that is Putin for you. Bomb a country to an empty shell, then take some time out to replenish his bomb supply and refurbish his worn out bombers, before giving it another go, if necessary. And it will be necessary.
This Type of War is Never Over
The ongoing Muslim youth bulge can supply ample fanatical young men for dozens of such conflicts. The longer it goes on, the greater the hatred for the foreign troops that kill indiscriminately. And Muslim hatred never dies, as one can see in Palestine, Pakistan, and around the rest of Islam’s bloody borders.
What Did Putin Actually Gain in Real Terms from His Syrian Theatrical Adventure?
. . . what tangible good has propping up Assad done for Russia? Has it boosted the Russian economy? No. By all accounts, the Russian economy is performing poorly. Has it improved the standard of living for ordinary Russians? No, things look pretty bleak on that front too. Has it broken open new markets for Russian enterprises to sell into? Perhaps if Assad gets back on his feet, but not now. Has it gained Russia a powerful geopolitical ally? Even before it was a failed state, Syria was no regional powerhouse.
Meanwhile, Russia was flushing roughly $4 million a day into Syria as of October 2015 — cheap by the standards of America’s extravagant Mideast boondoggles, but costly nonetheless. It’s not clear how many Russians have been killed in Syria, in part because Moscow is going to great lengths to obscure those figures, but Russia has seen its share of lives lost as well. __ http://www.realclearworld.com/blog/2016/03/how_much_did_russia_win_in_syria.html
Russia is suffering from Saudi Arabia’s engineered oil glut, and thanks to Crimea sanctions it cannot borrow its way out of trouble as its treasury bleeds itself dry so long as oil prices remain below the $90 to $120 bbl threshold that Russia requires. Russia cannot build the high tech equipment necessary to assemble a modern military arsenal, and has been cut off from many western markets. China can not fill the gap, particularly with its own looming economic problems.
Which Brings Us to the Depleting Numbers of Russian Beauties Suffering Abuse in the Prison State
Russian women are beautiful and intelligent. The world needs more of them, not less. Yet Russia is squandering these young beauties by throwing them into child prostitution, overseas sex slavery, and using them as throwaway mistresses for politically connected criminals and shady cronies of the inner circle. Yes, they will flee for greater opportunities whenever possible — but Putin’s prison state is shutting down more and more possible escapes.
Economy Has Not Yet Hit “Bottom”
At the end of 2015, many high-ranking officials of the Russian government assured us that the country’s economy had already passed the bottom of the economic recession. In order to confirm this, they tend to refer to the positive dynamics of the monthly change in GDP, the rate of employment and corporate earnings growth. However, the analysis of the latest key macroeconomic data do not fundamentally support, strictly speaking, such optimistic projections.
Oil at $40 a barrel is the best that Russia could expect in 2016.
The dynamics of reduction in fixed capital investments and industrial production does not indicate any improvement in the economy.
Internal consumption continues to fall.
Inflation will not allow interest rate reduction in the near future.
Putin has set Russia on a suicide course. He badly overestimates the strength of his hand.
… what has happened in eastern Ukraine has not been widely acknowledged as a success for Russia or for President Putin, either inside his country or elsewhere. Indeed, efforts to use Russian compatriots as an instrument of Russian foreign policy inherently provoke backlash, as has occurred inside Ukraine, where views of Moscow have hardened substantially. This is likely to be counterproductive for both compatriot communities within Ukraine—especially in eastern Ukraine, where it could be very difficult for competing groups to live side-by-side in the future—and for Russia’s goal to avoid having a hostile state on its borders.
For these reasons, if not for the myriad other excellent reasons that exist, Muscovy delenda est. Certainly Putin is killing Russia as certainly as long abused outsiders will do eventually. But it will be too late for the bright beauties of Russia since by all accounts Putin is determined to leave nothing behind him but rubble.
In future installments we will look at how Russia will disintegrate — either after the death of Putin, or in the middle of a Putin instigated “war too many.”
Putin’s Potemkin “Victory” in Syria Portrayed as “Mission Accomplished”
… Russia hardly took any action against the Islamic Caliphate or ISIS, the principal terrorist force in Syria today, which has retained almost all of its Syrian possessions, suffering losses only in Iraq.
On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Panov admitted that it was “far too early to speak of victory over terrorism.” Russia has carried out exceptionally savage bombing raids against other anti-Assad armed groups, including those that are supposed to take part in a process of negotiations. But on that score, too, Russia has merely dented the position of Jibhat Al-Nusra, Ahrar Al-Shaam and the more than two dozen other armed groups that have turned Syria into a patchwork of autonomous “emirates”.
… Putin’s intervention has certainly helped consign the Crimean episode to the oblivion, at least for the time being. Thanks to the art of changing the headlines, world public opinion has all but forgotten about tricks that Russia is playing against Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. Nor does anyone recall that Russia continues to occupy 25 per cent of Georgia’s territory.
Putin’s Failed Crimean Adventure Largely Forgotten by a Dysgenic Idiocracy in Europe
“My life is pretty much identical to what it was [under Ukraine,]” said Olga, a woman in her early sixties.
She was initially excited, she says, when annexation almost doubled her pension to 8,000 rubles. But food prices in Crimea have also doubled over the past two years, according to state statistics, and overall inflation has been around 80 percent.
“Whether under Russia or Ukraine, I still can’t afford to replace the windows in my home to keep out the cold,” she says.
… “Crimea is taking a step backwards. Companies like McDonald’s were a sign of civilization,” he says.
With a large part of the peninsula indirectly or directly dependent on tourism for their incomes, the drop in Ukrainian visitors has hit people’s wallets. Only 4.5 million people visited the peninsula last year, compared to roughly 6 million before the annexation, according to statistics from Russia’s federal Rosturizm agency.
… Crimean Tatar activists in Ukraine have become increasingly militant. In September, they set up a road blockade and stopped lorries on their way to Crimea. Several months later, unidentified activists blew up several electricity pylons in Ukraine, causing Crimean homes to go dark. With the reported acquiescence of the Ukrainian authorities, Crimean Tatar activists consequently set up camp at the scene to delay repairs.
Putin’s mad theatrics — pretending that Russia is a great power when it is rapidly becoming a failed state — cannot help but lead to widespread international and domestic death, misery, and a continuing collapse of Russia’s status among nations.
Russia’s inability to innovate, to create a viable startup economy, its failure to grow beyond its corrupt crony mafia-style KGB government, its crumbling infrastructures of all types, its demographic crises, and its backward fantasy psychology of wish fulfillment, all conspire to channel the barbarous and backward nation down the chute to the recycling department in the basement.