The economy continues to have problems. GDP growth is currently about one percent a year which, combined with many other negative economic indicators, confirms that despite optimistic government propaganda, living standards and employment opportunities continue to decline, along with manufacturing activity and so much more.
… deficit spending and poor infrastructure have made Russia less attractive to economic partners (even China). The lower standard of living comes with higher unemployment and a growing number of younger and well educated Russians are unable to find work and emigrating … Russia still has one of the worst road networks in the world and the railroad system is still awaiting delayed (for decades) maintenance and upgrades. __ Don’t Mention It
Table 1. Out-Migration from Russia, 1997-2016.
Year . Number Emigrating
2005 69, 798
2012 . 122,751
2016 . 313,210
SOURCE: See ‘Mezhdunarodnaya Migratsiya”, http://www.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_main/rosstat/ru/statistics/population/demography/#.
The Kremlin’s failure to provide competitive opportunity and lifestyle for Russian youth is driving a massive Russian brain drain abroad. Russia’s discontented, highly educated, highly skilled university graduates tend to move abroad to find suitable work. __ Source
It is estimated that at least 40,000 Russian scientists and engineers have emigrated yearly since 2012. But as the best of the best leave, those that remain tend to be second rate.
Even the Russian Military is Hurting
As mentioned in the article excerpted at the top of the page, the Russian military has been given the lion’s share of government funding during the ongoing Russian economic crisis. But that hasn’t prevented the armed forces from suffering some crucial setbacks in critical weapons systems.
Look over the excerpted articles below, and see if you can make a connection between the hundreds of thousands of Russian scientists, engineers, and technicians who have been leaving Russia since 2012 . . . and the problems that Russia is having fielding advanced weapons systems.
The cancellation of the Su-57 comes as no surprise… two Su-57 stealth fighters sent to Syria conducted two days of testing their sensors and countermeasures over Syria and returned to Russia by the end of February. The reality was that all the Su-57s could do was land and take off. There were no sensors and countermeasures to test.
The Su-57 design was flawed and fixes were not available. __ https://www.strategypage.com//qnd/russia/articles/20180713.aspx
Besides the cancellation of the much-vaunted Su-57, Russia is having problems supplying its Navy with the new stealth frigates it had been promised. The first of the Admiral Gorshkov-class stealth frigates will be over a year delayed due to ongoing problems experienced during sea trials. The second of the same class will likewise be delayed — probably by another year or more. And those two are the only Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates on the horizon, because Russia only had two left-over Ukrainian-made gas turbine engines on hand — and is still unable to make the engines in Russian factories.
The Admiral Gorshkov-class has had to deal with various technical issues, including performance and compatibility problems with its Polimut Redut air defense missile system and with its propulsion system. The entire Project 22350 program also suffered from periodic funding shortages since its inception.
… Two additional Project 22350 frigates have been laid down in 2012 and 2013 respectively. However, given that the Russian defense industry is still struggling with designing a new propulsion system for the Russian Navy’s surface combatants as it can no longer rely on Ukraine-made gas turbine engines (it still had two Ukrainian engines for Gorshkov-class destroyers in stock), it is unclear when or if either of the two ships will enter service. __ The Diplomat
Russia Needs Help
Russia has been getting some help from China during the last few years of “hard times.” But help from China always comes with strings attached. If the Putin misery continues much longer, Russia may not have credible claim to much of the Far East remaining. China needs Siberian resources desperately, and has Putin over the barrel economically as long as western sanctions hold.
In an article on AsiaRussia.ru yesterday, [Aleksandr] Khramchikhin argues that a Chinese invasion of Russia is almost inevitable because “objectively” China cannot survive “in its current borders. It must become much bigger if it does not want to become much smaller” and it needs resources Russia and Kazakhstan have but Southeast Asia does not (asiarussia.ru/articles/4864/). __ via WO2
Russians Should Hope for Best and Prepare for Worst
After Russia’s brain drain and womb drain continue to plateau and then subside — because no other country will take those who remain — what is left of a formerly impressive ethnic Russian population will barely be able to make a pretense of defending current national borders.
China already wields greater economic influence in Central Asia than does Russia, and as the One Belt One Road loans come due, China will begin exerting military influence there as well. Chinese business interests are taking over financial control of Russian cities in the Far East and across the Siberian border. Lake Baikal is slowly becoming a Chinese water supply for all intents and purposes. China is insinuating itself deep inside Russia’s oil & gas infrastructure — the very life’s blood of the Russian economy.
It has taken Putin roughly 20 years to accomplish this. And through it all, Russophiles have defended him in a staunch and stubborn manner. How easily they have been played. Time to pay the piper.