17 November 2012

An Accelerating Collapse of Empire

Russia is haunted by the history of empire -- an empire that is rapidly slipping the grasp of a bleeding bear. The collapse of Russia's male population is related to alcohol abuse and drug abuse. Russia's politically connected wealthy are stashing tens of $billions in foreign bank accounts, her best and brightest youth vie for overseas jobs, and her beautiful young women seek husbands in Australia, North America, and Europe. Besides oil & gas, Russia's main asset is bluster.
Russian Men and Vodka

The mansions and gardens of old imperial Russia have faded or crumbled, as have many of the collective farms that fed communist Russia. Today, the hamlets dot a forsaken land of rampant poverty where men drink from morning to night. The interconnected crises of low fertility, high death rates and ragged infrastructure have left much of the nation barren.

... Even darker times may lie ahead.

A major study that the United Nations released in April, authored by leading Russian experts, projected that Russia would lose at least 11 million more people by 2025. Another U.N.-sponsored report said last year that the population could fall to as low as 100 million in 2050.

That report cited a recent improvement in fertility but cautioned that, "while these favorable trends may last another five or six years, all recent forecasts . . . predict that Russia's population decline will only intensify."

"There's a risk that in the most negative situation, Russia will stop existing as a state," said Olga Isupova, a senior demographic researcher at the Higher School of Economics, a leading private Russian university in Moscow.

...Russia as a whole lost 12.3 million people from 1992 to 2008. An influx of immigrants, mainly from former Soviet territories, helped hide the extent of the problem. The population is now 142 million, but it would have been 136.3 million without that surge from outside.

...— the decay in the heartland suggests that Russia isn't a resurgent superpower so much as a nation that's trying not to come apart at the seams._NewsTribune

In a worst-case scenario, the population drops from a peak of around 145 million at the turn of the century to about 60 million by 2100, a catastrophic loss of 85 million people at an average rate of 850 000 per year. Unless the government brings in hundreds of millions of foreign migrant workers to compensate, Russia’s productivity and GDP would shrink along with its population.

Strategically, Goldman (2010) points out that a potential problem for Russia is that the depopulation rate in its far east, near the border with China, is higher than the national average. By contrast, the Chinese population on that increasingly sparsely populated border is growing rapidly. Will trouble brew on this border as a result? _Russia's Future
How can Russia help but come apart at the seams? It is only a matter of time before the country no longer has the manpower to hold its vast land area -- particularly when neighboring population overflow has been slipping into Russia for decades, diluting Russia's core population and national spirit.
Despite the rhetorical bluster by Putin and others, critics say that Russia's leadership is largely at fault for not diversifying the economy and helping modernize companies.... During the past decade or so of booming oil and gas exports that brought wealth and prestige, very little was done to revamp a nation still largely stuck in Soviet-era practices. _NewsTribune
On the local level, the problem is poisoning by vodka, drugs, and despair. On the national level, the problem is rampant corruption -- with Russia's heritage being stolen by government officials and their cronies, and shipped overseas.

There is no reason to expect Russia to be any more careful with its huge nuclear arsenal than it has been with any other national assets that might be stolen by insiders and sold to the highest bidder.

With few exceptions, the entire nation is in decay and decline. Expect trouble ahead as a result.


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Blogger MnMark said...

Is all of this decay occurring because of the after-effects of communism? Why is a nation full of relatively smart people unable to get a grip on this? Why didn't their nation explode with prosperity after communism was defeated? Is this what a nation looks like after it adopts a collectivist mindset - a total destruction of the work ethic and notion of private property that has habituated people to believe there is no point in making an effort to improve their lives?

Saturday, 17 November, 2012  
Blogger bruce said...

"Why is a nation full of relatively smart people unable to get a grip on this"
it may be the corruption factor. It never died with the new order?
Mexico, China, and soon coming to visibility in the USA. Corruption of regulations no longer meant for health and well being but for penance and taxes (in the USA). Regular old fashioned corruption in Mexico.

Saturday, 17 November, 2012  
Blogger -dan said...

My state university is getting Russian scientists, mathematicians, and engineers of the very highest quality - people who would not have deigned to consider a mid-level American school even a few years ago.

A Russian friend tells me that the relative prosperity of Moscow tends to hide what is happening in the rural areas. Civil unrest increases even as the infrastructure deteriorates.

Is this our future?

Saturday, 17 November, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

No, Dan. It could be much worse.

Sunday, 18 November, 2012  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...


Russians in my part of the USA have been rather prosperous. Over the past decade, I have run into A LOT of fully employed Russian engineers. Unfortunately, the Russian mafiosi have also been 'prosperous'.

No matter how smart a people are, you cannot gain true economic growth in a nation run by a corrupt, totalitarian govt.

Monday, 19 November, 2012  

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

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