A Few Eerie Parallels Between the Fictional “Hunger Games” and the Real
Meltdown of the Company Towns
[Company towns] are single-industry towns with one dominant employer, usually an industrial plant or a factory that depended on state orders in Soviet days and continues to depend on Moscow today.
… “In such single-industry towns, unlike in Europe and the United States… labor mobility tends to be zero. People cannot change their place of residence, and people will start losing their jobs because their companies will stop paying and go bankrupt.
“People will not have the means for existence, which may lead to chaos in the regions, and may perhaps result in secession of regions and acts of separatism.”
Meltdown from the Rise of Regionalism and Separatism
Valentina Matvienko, Federation Council speaker, says that it is unacceptable that 70 federal subjects receive subsidies from Moscow while 10 provide two-thirds of the government’s income and is calling for a redrawing of borders so that the new larger and thus less numerous federal subjects will be able to meet their own responsibilities. __ http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.ae/2016/04/matvienkos-regional-amalgamation-plan.html
Cries for greater independence of the regions from the centre are growing. Just as in the “Hunger Games” series, the capital city lives a non-stop party at the expense of the regions.
Russia will start falling apart
– federation subjects will declare autonomy. The weaker the center becomes the stronger the movement away from the center will grow. They have to do something about the Far East, Tatarstan. Russia is a huge country, and KGB special forces and [Chechen leader Ramzan] Kadyrov’s fighters will not be enough to send them out everywhere. __ Vladimir Bukovsky
Top-Down Economic Model No Longer Viable Without Wildly Inflated Oil Prices
Global demand is insufficient to prop oil prices up to meet the needs of the corrupt petro-states. Russia, for example, requires oil prices well above $100 bbl to meet its many obligations — both legitimate and illegitimate.
For some reason, Saudi Arabia refuses to play along with the demands of the oil dictators to freeze production:
At a meeting in Doha, the Qatari capital, on April 17th Saudi Arabia blocked an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, such as Russia, to shore up global oil prices by freezing production at January’s level. The idea that such a deal could have been enforced was fantasy anyway. As Carole Nakhle of Crystol Energy, a consultancy, points out, Russia is pumping at record levels and there was no way to police its compliance with a freeze. Iran, which is vowing to raise output to pre-sanctions levels, had dismissed the notion that it would take part as “ridiculous”.
The oil prince of Saudi Arabia understands that the league of oil dictators only want the kingdom to cut production so that they themselves can take advantage of subsequent higher prices to expand market share at KSA’s expense. What he also understands, is that those who would take especial advantage include arch-enemy Iran and Iran’s ally Russia. US shale producers would likewise benefit from any production cuts made by KSA.
The Empire is Losing its Grip on the Riches of the Far East
President Vlad had meant to control China by regulating the dragon’s access to critical energy supplies. Instead, China’s demand for energy has collapsed, and the energy mega-projects by which the bear would control the dragon’s energy access have stalled:
Ever since Europe imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has held high hopes of countering them by strengthening its alliance with China on energy, defense, and agricultural trade and investments. Such partnerships would have made up for the loss of Russian energy exports to and food imports from key European countries, dampening the effects of the sanctions, and would have also shown the West how easily it can be replaced.
Unfortunately for Moscow, this strategy has failed. Russia has been unable, despite its efforts, to sufficiently step up trade and investment with China in its hydrocarbons, nuclear, and defense industries, among other things. To be sure, Russia has made several deals with China that, when implemented, could see oil and gas trade skyrocket. But the construction of two gas pipelines—the “Power of Siberia” and “Altai”—intended to bring gas from Siberia to parts of China have been postponed to the 2020s. To make matters worse for Moscow, low oil and gas prices have cast doubts over these projects’ profitability, and Russian energy companies, constrained by the Western sanctions regime, are also struggling to develop oil and gas fields in eastern Siberia.
China is making plans to move significant parts of its manufacturing (along with Chinese “workers”) into the Russian Far East. Even more ominous for Russia, China is allowing Chinese couples who live along the Russian border to have three children (and perhaps more with a wink and a nod).
Today, South China Insight, a Russian-language portal featuring news from China, reported that Beijing has decided to allow couples living in regions along the Russian border to have three children and not just two as is the case with some exceptions in the rest of the People’s Republic (south-insight.com/node/218173).
If that leads to a population boom in these border areas either because Chinese already there decide to have three children or other Chinese move in to take advantage of this exception, some in Russia are likely to view this as yet another demographic threat from China, whose population density in border areas is already far higher than in the Russian Federation.
A demographic threat by China against Russia? No, they would never do that! We all know that present borders are irrevocable, and have been for some time. 😉
In fact, male Chinese workers and entrepreneurs have been moving into Eastern Siberia for decades now, marrying ethnic Russian women and raising families. In case of the entry of Moscow-sanctioned Chinese enterprises moving into the far east, entire Chinese families are moving in to stay.
The influx of Chinese into the Far East Adds to the Centrifugal Forces Tugging at The Empire’s Integrity
This Can Lead to Civil War
“Once such acts of separatism start,” continues the Obozrevatel.ua analysis, “Putin will send his security forces to restore order. Previously, no one knew that the National Guard would be created, and it was thought earlier that Putin would likely send FSB troops, army, and airborne units in such a scenario, and there would be bloodshed. But now it is clear why he is creating the National Guard with a purported strength of 400,000 troops. … All this can lead to civil war.”
And so we see a few interesting parallels between The Hunger Games and the fading empire. A decadent centre vs. hungry districts and company towns. Rumours of separatist activity among those who are being robbed by the criminal regime. Floods of propaganda, bread, and circuses to keep the masses entertained. And beneath it all the iron fisted state apparatus and the shiny new National Guard reporting directly to Putin and no one else.
Throw in the stealth Chinese invasion of the far east — a direct threat to the heart of Russia’s resource wealth and Pacific access — and the plot thickens. Sprinkle in financial and trade sanctions, paranoid Russian isolationism, and the ongoing demographic collapse of ethnic Russians across Eurasia, and the future begins to look “interesting,” and not particularly reassuring to the inveterate russophile.
One Cannot Reliably Predict How President Snow Will React
When brutal dictators are pressed to the wall, they typically react in ruthless and desperate ways. If the future of the evil tyrant’s regime is under threat, he may decide to go all out in order to match the world to the maelstrom living inside his own mind. When that happens, beware all those living in the empire and beyond.
More on Hunger Games in Russia:
One writer who compared Putin’s Russia to The Hunger Games way back in 2014, the year of the beginning of the end of the empire in its current form. Things have been on a steep decline since then.
If this goes on, will the EU eventually need to begin airdrops of food into Russia to prevent starvation? Cuts in government assistance, underemployment, and a cruel rise in food prices all conspire to present Russians with the choice: Food or vodka? Since most true Russian-Russians will choose vodka, food may need to be supplied via outside charitable assistance via air — reminiscent of the Berlin airlift over half a century ago.
A hybrid country run by a hybrid president into a hybrid ground full of hybrid wars and unrealities
Moody’s is not remotely as pessimistic
” current account surplus remains large enough to finance a significant share of external debt payments and most capital outflows over the next two years, both of which have shrunk considerably since 2014″
” Foreign exchange reserves have stabilized since the introduction of the floating exchange rate regime in late 2014 and even moved up slightly recently. ”
Although they do see possible problems down the road: “no strategy has yet emerged to address the economy’s low growth potential and chronic underinvestment. Many years of dependence on oil and gas receipts have distorted domestic price formation and substantially deterred investment in other sectors of the economy” this type of thing is common in commodity exporting countries, and it’s not unique to Russia.
[Admin.: Moody’s has made some horrendous mistakes before and will do so again. They and the other ratings agencies cost investors $trillions by inflating the value of bad investments leading up to 2007-2008.]
[Admin: Off topic comments deleted.
The article discusses the uncanny resemblance between Russia and The Hunger Games entertainment franchise. It is truly quite a remarkable parallel, and deserves more serious discussion]
I completely agree with Admin’s comments.
Moody’s are a mouthpiece of the mainstream and are not capable of independent analysis let alone contrarian. The events of 2008 being a case in point of having no idea with events unfolding underneath their noses.
I cannot remember if Moody’s predicted the fall of communist Eastern Europe or the USSR. But as you say, their record of investor advice has been extremely poor — and very costly to those who took them seriously — in recent years.
Best to ignore such rubbish generators.