Good, Bad, and Ugly in Putin’s Russia

Incomes are up, but only because government workers’ wages are rising so fast. Bank deposits and the national reserve fund are at their lowest. “… missile factories are almost at a standstill because of shortages of parts and problems with existing systems (… ” and recruitment into the Russian military is stalling.

Russians Drinking More than Ever, Putin “Burns in Hell”

“Putin at Last Judgment” Church Fresco
Source via Baker’s Dozen

Although Moscow claims that Russians are drinking less…, experts say that in reality, Russians are drinking far more alcohol, as much as 30 liters a year, if one includes not only samogon but increasingly dangerous surrogates, thus exacerbating what is already the most serious national alcohol problem in the world (, and [and] ( __ via Baker’s Dozen

Moscow Cannot Afford a Blue Water Navy

Sergey Shoygu, Russia’s defense minister, says that Moscow will still build submarines – a giant one was launched this week – and will recondition its only aircraft carrier – despite rising costs – but will build frigates rather than larger ships, [implying] that Moscow can no longer afford large surface ships for a blue water navy.

In reporting Shoygu’s assertion that the Russia’s main task is to attack coastal targets, Vzglyad journalist Andrey Rezchikov says that according to experts with whom he spoke, the minister’s words mean that “Russia can no longer permit itself an oceanic fleet” consisting of large surface vessels as in Soviet times (

… Russia is no longer planning to field a fleet as powerful as the American one and instead is focusing on coastal defense and those tasks that smaller ships can perform. __ Window on Eurasia

Russia cannot afford to build and maintain a working blue ocean fleet — for many reasons. Just maintaining a brown water fleet for local defence will stretch the limits of Russia today.

The Economy Supports Everything Else

Russia went completely off the rails when Putin chose to invade Ukraine at the same time as global oil prices were dropping. Putin’s war calculations were based on much higher oil & gas prices. In addition, Putin did not expect a unified western reaction to his aggressive actions in Ukraine, so he was taken by surprise when western economic sanctions began taking a bite out of Russia’s ability to obtain high tech western equipment and expertise.

As Russia’s economy suffered, so did its ability to support medical care, education, and other critical infrastructures such as transportation, housing, and energy infrastructures. To top it off, Russia’s military systems had become dependent upon technologies and expertise that Russia no longer possesses. Under the sanctions regime, it became more difficult for Russia to modernise its Soviet-era military.

The ongoing truckers’ strike is another sign of deep problems in Russian infrastructure.

Russia’s Demographic and Economic Crises Feed Off Each Other

As the old guard quickly ages and dies, Russia’s new guard is finding it more and more difficult to maintain all the structures of governance and modern life which they are inheriting from a wealthier, more motivated, and more powerful past. They are making a brave show of it, but the will is more anemic and the heart is growing smaller under the personality cult of Putin.

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5 Responses to Good, Bad, and Ugly in Putin’s Russia

  1. bob sykes says:

    Russia cannot afford a blue water navy, it can afford modern land and air forces.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Yes, although even there its lack of access to modern technologies stymies Russia’s ability to mass produce its well designed prototypes.

      … procurements of new hardware, such as the Armata tank and the Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter jet, were curtailed.
      … what is clear is that major contracts have stalled, and there is “room for economizing,” says Pukhov… the Defense Ministry has been forced to curtail procurement of other weapons and hardware, too. __ The Moscow times

      Remember, Bob. The vaunted Kremlin trolls will only feed you officially state sanctioned Kremlin propaganda. Such a flight from reality is not for anyone who wants to see what the world looks like.

      And so we see again that invading Ukraine may have been one of Putin’s stupidest acts for that very reason — and of all Putin’s stupid acts, that is saying a lot!

  2. Abelard Lindsey says:

    I see that one of the “cheerleaders” of Russia is admitting what you and Zeihan have been saying for several years:
    It appears that the “Glasnost” women are now starting to age out of their childbearing years, resulting in a corresponding drop in fertility rate.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Yes. That is why it is so important to rescue young Russian girls so that they can have a better life in a better place with less corruption and without the neo-imperialist dictator. Russian girls want a family and children, but conditions in Russia are bad..

      • Bob says:

        Fertility rates are even lower in the West. [Admin: Where are your numbers?]

        The association seems to be that places with better material conditions and less corruption have lower fertility rates. It doesn’t seem that Russia becoming more like the West would increase Russian fertility rates. [Admin: Very true. It is much too late for Russia.]

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