Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Russian Gazette

By Rich Kozlovich

Russia’s ethnic Russian demographic pyramid is upside down. Ethnic Russians are breeding themselves out of existence. The demographic most likely to have children are the 15 through 35 age group, and that segment of the ethnic Russian population has serious problems with HIV, and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. The average male mortality is 59. The educational system has collapsed and is incapable of maintaining a skilled labor force. Russia is a land with low capital generation capability, limiting funds for infrastructure, education, market formation, productivity and the effectiveness of their military. This is a nation that has no real natural barriers to help defend them. Russia, from the Imperial days, has always needed buffers and they obtained those buffers by conquering the smaller ethnic groups and nations surrounding them. Those nations are no longer subservient to the Russians since the end of the Soviet Union. Putin isn’t in a position to attack too many people in too many places for very long.

Russia is a “horde land” country that was overrun by Attila the Hun, Genghis Kahn and Tamerlane. In order to defend the Russian nation he needs to be able to man - 1) the Baltic coast, 2) the Polish Gap, 3) the Bessarabia Gap, 4) the Black Sea, 5) the coastal strips of the Caucasus, 6) the Central Asian Corridor and 7) the Tia-Altay Gap. As of 2014 they could only control three, so for Sweden and Finland to join NATO (take a look at a map) his Baltic Sea access corridor becomes a massive indefensible border.
He desperately needs to control the Ukraine because along with Moldavia they control the Bessarabia Gap, which would prevent a "resurgent" Turkey from attacking. Remember the Ottoman Empire was a threat to the Russians for generations and controlled the Balkans for hundreds of years. The Ukraine is also a source of grain and energy capital. Putin needs the Ukraine.

But Putin doesn’t have the population, the capital or the capability to do it all so everything he does is based on that fact. That leaves him three options. The old tried and true Soviet obsession with bluff and bluster and getting states just outside his buffer zone to support him by supporting them, and re-dominating old buffer states, but that's a risky tactic and may actually hasten Russia's collapse.  Once that's understood everything he's doing is understandable.

Demographically in five years Russia will start to really disintegrate and in ten years it may not be a country as we know it, and by 2040 the ethnic Russians – at current birth rates– will be a mere sliver of a population in their own country - and Putin knows it – and by that time it may not even be their country, which is even more frightening. Source information, The Accidental Super Power by Peter Zeihan.

Russian ambassador: If Sweden joins NATO, therewill be 'consequences' - Russia's ambassador to Sweden has warned the country of the potential military "consequences" associated with joining NATO in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, The Local reports. Russian Ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev told Dagens Nyheter that Russia does not have any military plans against Sweden, in line with Stockholm's alliance neutrality. But Tatarintsev warned that this could change if Sweden were to join the NATO alliance. “I don't think it will become relevant in the near future, even though there has been a certain swing in public opinion. But if it happens there will be countermeasures," Tatarintsev said according to a translation from The Local. "Putin pointed out that there will be consequences, that Russia will have to resort to a response of the military kind and reorientate our troops and missiles," the ambassador said. "The country that joins NATO needs to be aware of the risks it is exposing itself to." .....

Keeping an Eye on the Russian Financial Market - Those promoting good news from Russia are focused on the fact that Russia's equity indices are among the best performing in the world this year. The RTS Index is up 11 percent while MICEX is 18 percent ahead of where it started the year. That compares with a loss of 16 percent for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MSCI EM) and a drop of 4.5 percent for the U.S. S and P 500 index. The bad news is that the main reason the indices have performed relatively well is because valuations were already very low coming into this year as foreign investors, i.e. those who did not need to ... more»

What a Russian Vision for Syria Means for America - President Obama’s worldwide “Troop Talk” at Fort Meade on Sept. 11 was wide-ranging, covering foreign policy topics as well as reflections on the difficulty of being president and a family man simultaneously. But what stands out is what he said regarding Syria and the role Russia is currently playing in that tense situation. His remarks revealed an uncanny ability to stay on message no matter how much reality he has to ignore. Obama told the troops that the United States and Russia have converging interests in Syria in fighting the Islamic State.,... more»

How to Resolve the War in Ukraine- As the fall of 2015 unfolds, the Russia-Ukraine crisis is not generating nearly as much news attention as it created throughout most of 2014. But in fact, it is still very serious—which is why the incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, told Congress in his recent confirmation hearings in July of this year that no issue concerned him more. The hope that the so-called Minsk II agreement, negotiated last winter, will produce a durable solution seems very unlikely. That plan called for ….more»

Will Putin Exchange Ukraine for Syria? - Will Syria become a second Afghanistan for Russia? Is it wise for Russia to intervene in that conflict? Rumors are circulating that Moscow is planning a face-saving maneuver whereby it gradually“hands over” the Donbass in fulfillment of the Minsk agreement while aiding the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition in Syria to get back on good terms with the West. The plan sounds good in theory, but it looks unfeasible in practice…

The Putin Solution What we’re watching emerge is novel—not Russian ambition, of course, but American indifference.

When the U.S. Goes Weak, Russia Strikes- War on the Rocks Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is piling on military support for the faltering Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. And Washington is shocked — as Washington’s always shocked when the predictable-but-distasteful becomes reality. Unlike the current U.S. administration, Putin doesn’t abandon embattled allies. What’s more, Russian leaders, whether in Soviet or neo-imperialist guise, always strike when the United States and the West are distracted or weak. more »

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