Imagine Siberia Slipping Russia’s Leash, Becoming One Giant Patchwork Economic Free Trade Zone
As for the massive Siberian resources, can the Russians be their guardians forever?
… where Westerners have trouble imagining anything other than a flag – Chinese, Russian or Turkish – flying over the Siberian territory, wouldn’t it be better to see this desert like a sea, an open space of communication, criss-crossed by human flow and exchange of goods and information, accelerated by these communication channels in which Chinese are currently investing.
Siberia might appear as a laboratory for this kind of experience, in this case: a sea full of fish managed by a community of residents gathered around the same table … __ Russia China Future
Siberia as an international trade zone? That might be exactly what China would like to see. Certainly Russia is becoming less and less able to fend off Chinese intrusions, nor can Moscow stop the growing separatist movements across Siberia forever.
Chinese immigration into the Russian Far East — both legal and illegal — is accelerating beyond Moscow’s ability to control. When combined with growing Chinese domination of Central Asia, and increasing Chinese alliances with Ukraine, Poland, Finland, and other Eastern and Central European nations, the conversion of the “Russian Far East” to “Novo China” has ominous overtones for the future of the grand Russian Empire.
“China’s efforts will undermine Russia’s military influence…, potentially derailing the two countries’ strategic partnership in the process.”
In the nearly three decades since Chinese-Russian relations began improving, a number of Russians still worry that Chinese migration could result in a takeover of Russian territory.
On the Chinese side, commentators and bloggers continue to note that Tsarist Russia had annexed nearly 600,000 square miles of Chinese territory in the late 19th century.
And some Chinese can still remember that at the end of World War II, Russian troops who fought the Japanese in Manchuria had carted off factory equipment and railroad tracks that rightly belonged to China.
… Despite initial Soviet misgivings, thousands of Chinese migrants are now employed as farmers in vast and lightly populated Siberia and the Russian Far East. And many of them do work that most Russians would prefer not to do. __ http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/china-russia-08302016160340.html
The Alternative to a Multi-National Free Trade Zone for Siberia
If Putin continues with his wasteful out-of-country military expenditures, to the sorrow of the Russian economy and infrastructure, it is likely that China will obtain outright ownership of large swathes of Siberia via purchases and investments that Russia cannot avoid. In such a case, China’s control over Siberian resources will become almost exclusive.
Alternative News from Russia Behind the Propaganda Curtain
Russia’s economic slump has become so deep that one Moscow commentator this week said that Russia may have wanted to become the Third Rome but it has ended up as “the second Zimbabwe” (economics-prorok.com/2016/11/blog-post_84.html).
Budget cuts in the health sector are pushing up mortality rates across the board, officials say, with some now speaking of a health care disaster in Russia (regnum.ru/news/economy/2202329.html).
Moscow officials have refused groups which want to hold protests against Putin’s war in Syria, an indication both of shifting Russian attitudes about that conflict and official concern about that shift (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5825855130AB5). Meanwhile, on the first anniversary of their original protest, long-route truckers in St. Petersburg have resumed their demonstrations against Moscow’s taxes and fees (rosbalt.ru/piter/2016/11/11/1566276.html).
Ever more repressive and illiberal ideas are being enshrined in Russian laws even though they contradict not only the Russian constitution but Moscow’s undertakings as a signatory to various international rights accords.
A Catalonian activist has visited several non-Russian republics, something that reflects Moscow’s support of separatism in the West but that may provoke even more interest in separatism among non-Russians and Russian regionalists in Russia itself (kavpolit.com/articles/dagestan_glazami_katalontsa-29399/).
Military and educational officials say that history is now “a zone of military operations” in which Moscow must fight off everything they deem to be a falsification of Russian history and must promote myths rather than facts in order to serve the Kremlin (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2016/11/07/70441-falsifitsiruya-edinstvo and http://avmalgin.livejournal.com/6589552.html).
Russia is a wild brawl of a country, nothing at all like what Kremlin propaganda outlets and trolls attempt to project. As the ethnic Russian population in Siberia (and other parts of the periphery) rapidly shrinks, the effective control of those regions is slowly but surely shifting away from Moscow. Growing movements of separatism and independence from Muskovy are not conflicts that nuclear weapons were meant to solve.
Putin recklessly set raging wild fires in Ukraine, Syria, Moldova, Georgia, etc., but forgot about the brushfire raging out of control within Russia’s own borders. Now the chickens from those overseas wildfires are coming home to roost, and Putin has no idea how to put out the pre-existing fires within Russia itself.
“There are from 2,000 to 4,000 Russian nationals fighting in ISIS ranks, mostly Chechens and representatives of other North Caucasus republics,” said Vladimir Akhmedov.
As the group is suffering military defeats in Syria and Iraq, it is very likely that militants will be returning to Russia to carry out attacks there __ Russia Behind the Headlines
ISIS is not something that can be killed by bombs. It is a deep reflection of Islamic belief, a violent acting out of a bloody desert religion practised by over a billion people across the world. Cut off its head and a dozen heads will grow up. Putin painted himself into a corner with his unnecessary entanglements in the internecine Muslim civil war. His tactical opportunism overpowered any sense of longer term strategy which he may possess, and now Russia is well and truly quagmired.
Russia is aging rapidly. Its working-age population is on track to shrink by 14% over the next 35 years, posing a real risk to economic growth.
“Russia will have the largest implosion of population in the history of the world,” Gundlach said last week at ETF.com’s Fixed Income Conference. The legendary investor said that’s excluding war, famine or disease. __ http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/08/investing/russia-jeffrey-gundlach/