Medvedev and Putin have declared intentions to undertake an ambitious re-armament program cross all the armed forces, funded by profits realized from petroleum.  Yet, if an opinion piece in today’s Washington Post rings true, the challenge they face in finding the manpower to build and man those forces may be considerable.  Consider:

• Three times as many Russians die from heart-related illnesses as do Americans or Europeans, per each 100,000 people.

• Tuberculosis deaths in Russia are about triple the World Health Organization’s definition of an epidemic, which is based on a new-case rate of 50 cases per 100,000 people.

• Average alcohol consumption per capita is double the rate the WHO considers dangerous to one’s health.

• About 1 million people in Russia have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, according to WHO estimates.

• Using mid-year figures, it’s estimated that 25 percent more new HIV/AIDS cases will be recorded this year than were logged in 2007.

So, “bluster of the frail, not the swagger of the strong”?  See for yourself here.

2 Comments

  1. Madoc

    SJS,

    Interesting piece here.

    Compounding Russia’s demographic crash is its emmigration and capital flight problems as well.

    Russia’s “best and brightest” are fleeing their Motherland in ever increasing numbers. They can see the decay around them and see Putin’s KGB / FSB thugs making it worse. So, off they go. Europe – Western Europe in particular – and the US seem the primary beneficiaries of this talent pool. Good for us, bad for Rodina.

    Another point in Russia’s collapse is its capital flight. All that oil money _should_ be making a huge difference in the Russian economy. But, aside from the luxury condos going up in Russia’s major cities, it’s not. All those petrodollars could do much to stem the tide of Russia’s decline by reinvigorating its economy, rebuilding its infrastructure and buying itself a new industrial base.

    Instead, the bulk of that money is being sent _out_ of Russia about as fast as it’s paid into it. Those new billionaires in Moscow aren’t stupid. They can see how unstable Russia is and how vulnerable their new found gains are to Putin’s grabbing. So, they put their money in economies where they’ll get better rates of return _and_ stand a better chance of keeping that money out of the government’s hands. Good for us, bad for Rodina.

    Combine this with Russia’s demographic crash and it makes for a disaster unique in Russia’s history. Previously, Russia has always had a large enough pool of population to throw into any problem it faced. This forced it to pay in blood for its failings but, hey, so what? The dead were only peasants, right? Now? They’re about out of peasants to throw away.

    Madoc

  2. Steeljawscribe

    Indeed – Besides oil, the only other Russian exportable comodity of note is weapons and with China reverse-engineering her purchases and India looking more and more to the West for “balanced” purchases, Russia’s major markets will shrink. And how much current oil profit is lost in the layers of formalized graft and crime?

    A proverb about the sins of the fathers being visited upon succeeding generations comes to mind. And if the above isn’t enough, consider this article from the Jamestown Foundation. 2025 isn’t all that far away and if you have a demographically imploding that hasn’t realized the expected benefits from her oil fields and her nuclear deterrent is almost flat on its back, a geriatric Europe facing a Muslim population explosion on its western doorstep and an aggressive, expansionist China on its eastern (and heaven knows what in the ‘Stans) – what kind of measures of desperation can we expect to see?
    – SJS

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