07 January 2012

Is Giant Russia a Dying Bear?

The people won't be fooled again. The demonstrations have been going on since December, and despite hundreds of arrests, the people keep coming out... Putin is...finding that many of his publicity and information management techniques that had served him so well for over two decades, no longer work. It was that damn Internet again, where a lot of smart Russians had collaborated to pick apart the reality from the myth that Putin had created in the media. There are many real problems in Russia and the Internet has allowed details, and names, to be collected and made available to all. _StrategyPage
Russia is in decline on several fronts:
  • The very high death rates for men reflects a horrendous public health situation in Russia.
  • The core population of Russia -- ethnic Russians -- continue to die faster than they can reproduce
  • Russia is losing a large proportion of its best people via emigration to countries offering higher wages and greater opportunities to achieve
  • Russia's educational system is in free-fall collapse
  • Capital flight out of Russia continues to grow
  • The Russian military is in decline in terms of both human capital and weapons competence
  • Russia is declining in power and population at the same time that its neighbor China seems to be growing in power economically, politically, and militarily.
  • Russia's economic trump card -- its oil and gas reserves -- are doomed to decline in importance as some of its best customers discover and learn to exploit massive reserves of unconventional hydrocarbons within their own borders.
There have been many attempts to deny the ongoing and accelerating decline of Russia as a world power, but these have not been convincing. The main reason for this is that such Russian apologists are typically reduced to comparing Russia with its Eastern European neighbors, rather than comparing Russia with genuine world powers. Such irrelevant comparisons should not even be printed in reputable media outlets.
Russia is likely to remain a net mortality society for the foreseeable future.Official Russian statistics anticipate a continuing and widening gap separating deaths and births between now and 2030. Rosstat envisions a surfeit of 205,000 deaths over births for 2011, rising to more than 725,000 in 2030, with a cumulative total of 9.5 million more deaths than births between 2011 and 2030. Even in Rosstat’s most optimistic scenario, the agency projects a mortality surfeit of 2.7 million between 2011 and 2025, reaching 4.7 million by 2030. In these official Russian forecasts, further depopulation can be fore-stalled only by massive immigration from abroad.

Russia has certainly benefited over the past two decades from a net influx of millions of workers, most of whom hail from former Soviet states in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

...Although Russia today accounts for about six percent of the world’s population with a post-secondary education, barely 0.1 percent of the worldwide patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over the last decade and a half were awarded to Russians. This is not some U.S. conspiracy against Russian inventors: the records of the UN’s World Intellectual property Organization show that Russia’s share of out-of-country patent applications over that same period was less than 0.2 percent of the global total. The picture is hardly better when it comes to the output of scientific papers: the number of articles by Russians in peer-reviewed journals was no higher in 2008 than it had been in 1990,whereas output almost everywhere else in the world rose over those same years. By 2008, Russian authors were publishing far fewer scientific papers than the authors of Russia’s bric peers: Brazil, China, and India. In effect, Russia stands as a new and disturbing wonder in today’s globalized world: a society characterized by high levels of schooling but low levels of health, knowledge, and education.

...Unlike Beijing, which is committed to military modernization in the coming decades, Moscow is in effect preparing to fight this century’s wars with last century’s technology. In fact, as the Russia analysts Anders Aslund and Andrew Kuchins noted in 2009, as China’s military capabilities have improved, Beijing has reduced its imports of Russian military technology and even exports its own versions to traditional Russian clientssuch as Angola,Ethiopia and Syria. Russia’s dwindling conventional military is on track to become the Polish cavalry of coming generations. _AEI Dying Bear PDF
Putin is taking Russia in exactly the wrong direction. Instead of giving Russians greater opportunities and more reasons to form families and build a better Russia from the bottom up, Putin is moving the nation back toward a Soviet style of authoritarianism and hyper-centralisation that will only accelerate the nations decline and dissolution.

Eventually, Russians will grow tired of being manipulated by Putin's and the communist's endless paranoid ravings about "western foreign provocateurs," and will begin to look much closer to home for the sources of Russia's accelerating decline.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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