Putin Smiles for All of Russia

Overall, Russia is far from economic collapse and losing governability, but it is slowly moving in that direction. If the authorities avoid dire errors, the country can survive at the margin of safety for at least six to ten years, or more. After that, urgent measures will be required to preserve Russia’s integrity and governability. __ Rundown

We won’t quibble over whether Russia has four years or ten years. The problems are not being acknowledged, much less addressed.

What Russians Want, What they Get

… Russians want economic and personal security and are willing to tolerate a police state to get it. That atmosphere, plus the anxiety generated by having troops fighting in Syria and Ukraine has scared away a lot of foreign investors and many Russian ones as well. Russia can downplay this in the state controlled media but without all that foreign and Russian capital the economy cannot grow. Meanwhile China, the only real threat to Russia, quietly makes progress in the east. There China has claims on much of the Russian Far East and is openly replacing Russia as the primary economic, military and political force in Central Asia. __ What Passes for Satisfaction

The news from Russia is both “good” and bad. Russia has not collapsed . . . yet. But looking under the facade of Kremlin agit-prop, fantasy TV, and trolls, existence for ordinary Russians is growing harder in terms of just getting by — much worse if one actually considers starting a family. Trump cannot save them. Reversing the economic sanctions will not save them. Even a strong jump in energy prices cannot make wise men out of the corrupt fools who have run the country into the ground.

… the number of Russians living below the poverty line has risen from 15.5 million in 2013 to 21.4 million last year.

And that’s going by the state’s definition of what it means to be “poor”. The actual number of Russians barely managing to get by is likely to be higher. __ Success Abroad? Rot at Home

Russia’s educational and medical systems are crumbling to shambles. Mostly Soviet-era housing, transportation, and domestic energy infrastructure are rapidly degrading. There is barely money to pretend to pay workers and pensions, and none at all to upgrade tragically fraying infrastructure. Russia’s best people are getting out, and those left behind take cold comfort wherever it can be found.

… the real average income of Russians has, as of the end of 2016, been declining 25 months in a row and the decline continues. With so many people seeing their income decline corruption is getting worse, despite vigorous efforts to curb it. The number of best educated and capable Russians who have left the country since 2014 has now reached 1.5 million. The poor are getting poorer and more Russians are slipping into poverty. __ No Country for Children, Men, or Women

Over the past year, Russia has scored significantly worse on measures of innovation, productivity, and corruption. Putin has solidified his grip on power, but at the cost of greater hardship across Russia.

Splendour in the ruins — master chefs of rock soup

Russia’s Best Leave Country; Investment Abandons Russian Industry

Over the last 17 years, the Putin regime has value stripped the country, relying far too heavily on existing equipment and not investing in new while taking out as much wealth as possible, a strategy that has enriched Putin and his entourage but at the expense of Russia and its future. __ 188 pp Report On Industrial Decline

Corruption erodes all industrial efficiency and productivity. This decay is now infesting military and strategic defence production in Russia, leaving its vaunted conventional systems and missile deterrence as rusting, empty facades. Russia’s space program and other programs relying on missiles and rocket engines are at growing risk of obsolescence.

Most of Russia’s Oil and Gas is Located Under Non-Russia Tribal Territories

Oil & gas incomes prop up Putin’s neo-imperial ambitions. But most of Russia’s energy wealth lies under ground that technically belongs to non-Russian tribal groups. As ethnic separatism takes firmer hold in Russia’s periphery, Moscow’s grip on remote oil production facilities and pipelines becomes weaker. Particularly as the demographic collapse of the ethnic Russian nation becomes less and less deniable. Ethnic Russian demographics are failing at both ends, as ethnic Russian birthrates remain low and death rates remain stubbornly high.

Central Asian muslims are filling in the openings that the disappearance of ethnic Russians leave behind — except in the extreme far east. In the Far East, it is the Chinese who are taking up the slack for the vanishing Russian population.

The most likely future for Russia is disintegration into several pieces, over a 20 year time span beginning sometime near the middle of next decade. If it happens slowly enough, nuclear fallout will be minimal over most of Europe and the Anglosphere.

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