Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Foreign Affairs

Pora Valit

When Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, hope and a sense of upward mobility filled the people of Russia, finally freed from the central economic planning and political oppression under the Soviet Union. They could get jobs, raise children, and live in peace and happiness, they felt. Now, Putin is set to retake control of the presidency from his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, and the mood of the nation could not be more opposed to what it was when he first came to power, as the Economist describe in this study of a sickening Russia. The Russian people are emigrating, or at least planning to or want to, and taking their money with them. The first to want to get out are entrepreneurs, followed closely by students, fleeing the oppression of a nation whose politics is so rotten that dissenters are thrown in jail or forbidden from travel, and where investors are hesitant to put money into new businesses--if a rival is friends with the local government, you could be jailed and your assets seized. In Putin's Russia, nostalgia for the Soviet Union is now coming equipped with some similarity to the circumstances of Soviet rule.

The Economist is quick to point out that Russians will not emigrate in droves; the vast majority of them will stay home, unhappy with their lot in life. How the Russian people react to their situation is of great importance though, and something we need to study very closely--not least because Russia still remains the only nation on the planet physically capable of destroying our own. It would do well to try and understand where they are going.
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Discussions - 3 Comments

You seem displaced in time by about 15 years. The breakdown of central planning and pell mell privatization occurred during the decade prior to Vladimir Putin's accession in 1999. Concern over public health and the incipient decline in male life expectancy was the impetus of the campaign against alcohol consumption initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev -- in 1985. The country suffered a catastrophic economic contraction during the period running from 1989 to 1997 or therabouts. The country is in better economic condition today.

The reason more aren't actually actively trying to get out is because, unlike in the economic stagnation and oppression in earlier times, this hardship is bearable. So things are better, yes, but the outlook is much more dim than it was then, according to young Russians and entrepreneurs now. There was tremendous growth under Putin, and it masked his grabs for solidifying power back under the Kremlin-- now the growth has slowed down, and "stability turned into immovability." Oil prices are rising with oil consumption, social and economic mobility are blocked by corruption, and most of the country isn't very hopeful that things are going to improve. Yeah, they are better than they were with the Soviets, but they still don't have what they want-- the type of mobility we have in the West.

They need to join the EU and adopt the Euro:)

German courts may have difficulty considering Russia part of Europe, which is why some are circulating a petition to change Russia's name to East Germany.

All jokeing aside: I think Russia joins the EU by 2050, and depending on how things work out with the Euro, joins the currency by 2025.

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