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Russia Watch Thread


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#81
caltrek

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Far From Moscow, Thousands Turn Out To Protest Putin In Siberia's Capital

 

http://www.npr.org/s...iberias-capital

 

Introduction:

 

A wave of anti-government protests swept across Russia on Monday, starting in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok and rolling east, across half-a-dozen time zones.

 

About 2,000 miles from Moscow, thousands of people in Novosibirsk heeded the call of opposition leader Alexei Navalny for a second round of rallies after nationwide protests in March stunned the Kremlin.

 

Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia and Russia's third most populous city, is becoming an important regional center in Navalny's quixotic campaign to run for president next year.

 

Under the slogan "Corruption is robbing us of our future," protesters in the city marched along the embankment of the Ob River, one of Siberia's great waterways.

 

Lenin Square, the city's main plaza, as well as other central locations, had already been booked for official celebrations of Russia Day, Monday's national holiday.

img_2227_slide-347920f9b938d3887e6cf20af

 

Anti-government protesters march in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia and Russia's third most populous city, with a banner reading "Corruption steals the future!"

Lucian Kim/NPR


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#82
Maximus

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In Russia, Protests Demonstrate a Fundamental Change

 

 

Protests have swept across Russia once again, and the Kremlin has wasted no time in moving to quash them. Demonstrators, many of whom were answering the calls of prominent Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, flooded into the streets of more than 145 cities across the country on June 12 to demand an end to corruption, better standards of living and some form of democracy. The protests highlighted the increasing willingness of young Russians to engage in political action, as well as the government's willingness to use mass arrests to crack down on them. As the Kremlin gears up for a prolonged election cycle, President Vladimir Putin's administration is concerned about protecting the margins of its electoral victories nationwide. And though the recent political commotion is not enough to drive Putin from office, it will lay the groundwork for a shift in Russia's political landscape down the road.

 

russia-12june2017-protests-planned-t.png

(Credit: Stratfor 2017)

 

Oh, I have no doubt that what PhoenixRu tells us is true; I'm sure these protests are being run by a small minority. It really is hard to imagine what it would take for Putin to become unpopular with Russians. This is the man who has struck back at the West after two decades of Russia being humiliated. He's annexed Crimea, left the West divided and confused, and most of all, he's been involved in getting Trump elected. Russia's arch nemesis is now led by a cheeto with the mental capacity of a 5 year old, who is slowly but surely tearing apart America's liberal world order.


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If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#83
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I found this to be fascinating! http://www.pewresear...e-in-the-world/



#84
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I found this to be fascinating! http://www.pewresear...e-in-the-world/

Many Russians see inherent conflict in their relationship with the West, but few rule out cooperation. According to a recently released Pew Research Center report based on 2015 survey data, overwhelming majorities in Russia believe that their country serves as an important counterbalance to the West (85%) and that Russian values clash with Western values (73%).

 

 

Hmm, I wonder how this will change once China becomes a superpower. Of course, it's been only natural for Russia and the US/West to be in conflict for the past decades; it's a consequence of a bipolar world order. Soon, Russia will have to contend with the fact that it will be sandwiched between two blocs of power: the EU, and China. I wonder if counterbalancing China will take priority over counterbalancing the West.


If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#85
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Yes, the survey said that China and India are also seeing a rise in the amount of their population that sees their country as having an influence on the world. So, it'll get very interesting.



#86
PhoenixRu

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Voice from the past:

 

CIA angers Russia by predicting break-up of state within 10 years (29 April 2004)

 

Russia's political elite has been stung by a recently declassified CIA report that suggests the world's largest country could fall apart at the seams in a decade and split into as many as eight different states.

 

According to the CIA report, a falling birth rate meant that the country's population was likely to decline to 130 million by 2015 from 146 million today. It also painted a picture of Russia as a terminally ill patient.

 

And now we can see how accurate these prophecies are. Terminally ill patient stubbornly refusing to die... The population by 1 January of each year, according to official statistics:

 

Year --- Population (thousands) --- yearly growth 

 

2012 --- 143 056,4 --- +0.13%

2013 --- 143 347,1 --- +0,20%

2014 --- 143 666,9 --- +0,22%

2015 --- 143 972,4 --- +0,21%  (or 146 267,3 --- +1,81% with Crimea)

2016 --- 144 221,3 --- +0,17%  (or 146 544,7 --- +0,19% with Crimea)

 

This is why i take foreign predictions of "near collapse" with scepticism (to put it mildly). They're more the wishful thinking than real sociology.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

"And the Russian land, let God keep it! Under heavens, there is no other land like this. And although Russian nobles are not righteous neither kind, let God arrange the Russian land and give us enough justice" - Afanasy Nikitin, medieval traveler of XV century.


#87
Alislaws

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Voice from the past:

 

CIA angers Russia by predicting break-up of state within 10 years (29 April 2004)

 

Russia's political elite has been stung by a recently declassified CIA report that suggests the world's largest country could fall apart at the seams in a decade and split into as many as eight different states.

 

According to the CIA report, a falling birth rate meant that the country's population was likely to decline to 130 million by 2015 from 146 million today. It also painted a picture of Russia as a terminally ill patient.

 

And now we can see how accurate these prophecies are. Terminally ill patient stubbornly refusing to die... The population by 1 January of each year, according to official statistics:

 

Year --- Population (thousands) --- yearly growth 

 

2012 --- 143 056,4 --- +0.13%

2013 --- 143 347,1 --- +0,20%

2014 --- 143 666,9 --- +0,22%

2015 --- 143 972,4 --- +0,21%  (or 146 267,3 --- +1,81% with Crimea)

2016 --- 144 221,3 --- +0,17%  (or 146 544,7 --- +0,19% with Crimea)

 

This is why i take foreign predictions of "near collapse" with scepticism (to put it mildly). They're more the wishful thinking than real sociology.

 

Any idea where to find numbers going back to 2004 when the report was released? Would be interesting to see if it was all wishful thinking, or if maybe there was a temporary short term trend that they just assumed would continue unchanged for 10 years.



#88
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Any idea where to find numbers going back to 2004 when the report was released?

 

This is from report called "Global Trends - 2015" which you can see (or download) in PDF fromat. Quotes:

 

Russia and many post-Communist countries of Eastern Europe will have declining populations. As a result of high mortality and low birthrates, Russia’s population may drop from its current 146 million to as low as 130 to 135.

 

Bullshit. Didn't happened.

 

Russia will be unable to maintain conventional forces that are both sizable and modern or to project significant military power with conventional means. The Russian military will increasingly rely on its shrinking strategic and theater nuclear arsenals to deter or, if deterrence fails, to counter large-scale conventional assaults on Russian territory. The total Russian force by 2015, including air launched cruise missiles, probably will be below 2,500 warheads.

 

No, army was seriously modernized and still 7000 warheads. Not that it was such a great achievement but...

 

Although most Russian urban-dwellers will adopt information technologies well before 2015, the adoption of such technologies will be slow in the broader population.

 

Partly true. Obviously, Russia is a huge country and you can not expect the fast internet in distant rural areas.


--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

"And the Russian land, let God keep it! Under heavens, there is no other land like this. And although Russian nobles are not righteous neither kind, let God arrange the Russian land and give us enough justice" - Afanasy Nikitin, medieval traveler of XV century.


#89
Alislaws

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...

This is from report called "Global Trends - 2015" which you can see (or download) in PDF fromat. Quotes:

...

Bullshit. Didn't happened.

 

You can see from this graph, that in 2004, Russia had just started to have a small dip in population, the trend then clearly reversed itself just couple of years later. Still definitely some element of wishful thinking involved, as to hit 130-135million by 2015 the drop would have needed to accelerate quite a lot, and there was no real sign of this.

 

 

 

Russia will be unable to maintain conventional forces that are both sizable and modern or to project significant military power with conventional means. The Russian military will increasingly rely on its shrinking strategic and theater nuclear arsenals to deter or, if deterrence fails, to counter large-scale conventional assaults on Russian territory. The total Russian force by 2015, including air launched cruise missiles, probably will be below 2,500 warheads.

 

No, army was seriously modernized and still 7000 warheads. Not that it was such a great achievement but...

 

This definitely seems like a weird claim!

 

Russian_Military_Spending_1992-2012_SIPR

If this graph is at all accurate, then this claim might have made sense in 1999, but by 2004 the trend of increasing military spending was clear to see. 

 

 

Partly true. Obviously, Russia is a huge country and you can not expect the fast internet in distant rural areas.

 

I'm not sure there are any large countries with 100% internet coverage yet so this makes sense. I bet they would have predicted that the USA would have 100% coverage by 2015 though. They'd have been disappointed there too. 



#90
caltrek

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Trump’s Other Russian Connection

 

http://www.motherjon...ian-connection/

 

Extract:

 

Trump indeed has given Putin plenty of reasons to not worry and be happy. His chaotic presidency has only alienated the United States, destabilized traditional alliances, and helped to strengthen Russia’s position internationally, and his withdrawal of the world’s biggest economy from the fight against climate change has given Putin yet another advantage. The future of the Paris climate change agreement is now more uncertain than ever, which throws more obstacles in the way of transitioning to renewables. France’s environment minister went so far as to warnthat the United States and Russia could be the “axis of mass destruction” by advancing fossil fuel interests at the expense of global stability. 

 

But as unique as this historic moment is, in many ways, Putin has been here before. 

 

Trump is Putin’s fourth American president and Paris is his second massive climate agreement. The Russian leader is neither as overt nor as consistent in his climate change denial as Trump, but he’s long played the contrarian to cast doubt on the science and seriousness of the issue. What distinguishes him from Trump is his unpredictability; Putin has always lagged behind the world’s pulse on climate change, yet he hasn’t actively disrupted international agreements in the way the United States has. Instead, he’s capitalized on the instability, especially when the United States has either retreated  or completely reversed itself on climate change.

 

Following the news that Trump intends to withdraw the United States from its Paris climate commitments in four years’ time, Putin has continued his long-standing tradition of hedging his bets in relation to American leadership around this issue. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#91
Yuli Ban

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Russian communist party set for generational change

In the first half of 2017, media reports on Russian politics in the West and elsewhere focused heavily on mass rallies all over the country on March 26 and June 12 that were called by the anti-corruption activist and barred presidential candidate Alexey Navalny. 
 
Much less coverage was awarded to efforts by some in the Russian Communist Party (KPRF), the nominal main opposition force in Parliament, to launch an official investigation. Such things are usually interpreted as attempts to channel popular discontent into avenues control led by the Kremlin-loyal “systemic opposition.” And yet, given the current politisation in Russia and the prospective departure of the ageing Communist leader, the KPRF could soon become a transformational force in Russian politics.
 
In the 1990s, the KPRF was the main challenger to former president Boris Yeltsin and thoroughly dominated the Duma, Russia's legislature. The party's leader Gennady Zyuganov, who still heads the KPRF today, even came within reach of the presidency in 1996. However, the Communists began to lose their clout and began to be marginalized by the rising United Russia.
 
Over time, Zyuganov and the KPRF began to play the role of nominally opposing the government in the Duma while not seriously challenging the status quo on the national level.


Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#92
caltrek

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Perhaps not even remotely comparable to the horrors under Stalin, but still...

 

St. Petersburg Protesters Claim of Abuse and Use of Pepper Spray While in Detention

 

https://themoscowtim...detention-58254

 

 

Protester Oleg Kabatov says he had never been arrested before, so he was unprepared for what awaited him. For two days after his detention in St. Petersburg, Kabatov was held in police custody where he witnessed an incident that has provoked widespread outrage.

 

According to Kabatov and several other eyewitnesses, police officers used pepper spray in the close confines of precinct cells, causing detainees to experience severe breathing difficulties.

 

…Russia has long been criticized for a culture of police brutality, including allegations of torture much worse than what the St. Petersburg protesters apparently faced. Victims and activists have reported cases where police have beaten detainees, administered electric shocks to their genitalia and hung them by handcuffs. Long disappearances within the prison system, when families cannot locate their loved ones, also occur.

 

“Torture and other ill-treatment continued to be widespread and systematic during initial detention and in prison colonies,” international human rights charity Amnesty International concluded in a report on abuses in Russia published earlier this year.

 

…Monitoring groups maintain that there is nothing unusual in many of these stories.

b73806917f954ce1afd315ef5e772ea7.jpg


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#93
Yuli Ban

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Stalin is still more popular than Putin with Russians

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has been voted the most “outstanding” figure in Russia’s history, beating the country’s most beloved poet, Alexander Pushkin, and current Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The poll, by Russia’s independent Levada Center, is the latest to showcase the changing view amongst Russians of Stalin, who presided over mass deportations, a network of concentration camps—or gulags—and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of around 20 million Soviet citizens.
But for many Russians it is Stalin's role in winning World War II that is remembered and encouraged in government propaganda. Recent approval ratings of Stalin and the man he succeeded—Vladimir Lenin—show that both enjoy majority approval in Russia.


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Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
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#94
Alislaws

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I wonder what the chances are of a return to communism in Russia? I hadn't realised the communist party was still a significant factor. Obviously nowhere near the United Russia party, but maybe in 25 years when Putin has retired*.

 

Anyone know if the communist party mostly voted for by older or younger voters in Russia?

If they're like UK labour, and young people are voting for them in high %s this could be possible, If they're like the conservatives and they're getting high %s of the 65+ vote, then they're probably doomed long term. 

 

*(Assuming no major anti-aging breakthroughs, technological singularities, or people putting Putin's brain in a robot)



#95
Yuli Ban

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^Believe it or not, from what I'm seeing they have a high percentage of both.

Nostalgic starry vecks and youths alike think Russia was at its best when it was communist. Of course, the major thing to take away from this is that they're longing for the glory of the Soviet days more than they are the policies. I can't imagine most people would enjoy a generation-long period of economic stagnation. I'm still not quite sure why anyone would willingly vote for a communist party in the first place, but even if you can rationalize it, the Russian Communists don't seem that appealing to begin with.

 

From what I can ascertain, the Russian Communist Party is basically the Chinese Communist Party But Russian— that is, they're communists on the cards but authoritarian capitalists in the fields. And that's why they're only averaging 14% or so in the polls. They're bringing nothing to the table that you can't get with United Russia; they're just dressing it up in post-Bolshevik imagery to appeal to a proud past. There's no personality, no Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn-style figurehead around which the footyouths can rally. They don't have their own Putin because their Putin died in 1953 and no one's stepped up to the plate since.


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#96
Alislaws

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From what I can ascertain, the Russian Communist Party is basically the Chinese Communist Party But Russian— that is, they're communists on the cards but authoritarian capitalists in the fields. 

Thanks for the info, its very interesting, I guess they are unlikely to get anywhere unless that changes over time i guess. 

 

The reason i was curious, is that it seems to me that any attempt to actually centrally plan an economy, under communism or any other similar system, was always going to be corrupt and ineffective without modern information systems.

 

With modern information systems (incl. things like blockchain etc.) you could actually keep things transparent and minimise corruption that way, as well as organising and coordinating the economy efficiently.

 

I just want to see someone give it a go  :biggrin:



#97
PhoenixRu

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I was preparing for a long essay, but Yuli Ban alredy said what needed to be said. Yes:

 

1) High ratings of comrade Stalin doesn't mean the same high rating of communist ideas. This is just nostalgia for days of "proud past" and desire to return them back. Plus reaction to his hysterical demonization by liberal "intellectuals with good faces" (deeply despised by common people).

 

2) Modern Russian "communists" are actually the ordinary bourgeois party with gray and faceless leadership with no big ambitions. Chinese communists are, at least, the smart and effective managers. Russian "comrades" aren't.


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--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

"And the Russian land, let God keep it! Under heavens, there is no other land like this. And although Russian nobles are not righteous neither kind, let God arrange the Russian land and give us enough justice" - Afanasy Nikitin, medieval traveler of XV century.


#98
PhoenixRu

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The population by 1 January of each year, according to official statistics:

 

Year --- Population (thousands) --- yearly growth 

 

2012 --- 143 056,4 --- +0.13%

2013 --- 143 347,1 --- +0,20%

2014 --- 143 666,9 --- +0,22%

2015 --- 143 972,4 --- +0,21%  (or 146 267,3 --- +1,81% with Crimea)

2016 --- 144 221,3 --- +0,17%  (or 146 544,7 --- +0,19% with Crimea)

From the new, recently released report:

 

2017 --- 146 804,4 --- +0,18% (with Crimea)

 

The growth remains slow (0,15-0,20 % per year) and will not become faster in the coming years. To accelerate this, households should become significantly richer than they currently are. And, of course, this also depends of geopolitics. In the coming years Russia can get another few millions of culturally close migrants from dying Ukraine.


--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

"And the Russian land, let God keep it! Under heavens, there is no other land like this. And although Russian nobles are not righteous neither kind, let God arrange the Russian land and give us enough justice" - Afanasy Nikitin, medieval traveler of XV century.


#99
Maximus

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The growth remains slow (0,15-0,20 % per year) and will not become faster in the coming years. To accelerate this, households should become significantly richer than they currently are. And, of course, this also depends of geopolitics. In the coming years Russia can get another few millions of culturally close migrants from dying Ukraine.

 

It's good to see that Russia's population is growing, but I feel like the Russian economy, as a heavily oil-based economy (close to half of Russia's exports are fossil fuels), is at risk in the future from perpetually low oil prices, the shift of European nations to renewables, and the adoption of electric vehicles.

 

If we do get the climate apocalypse, then Russia will be a prime destination for mass migration. 


If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#100
Alislaws

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The growth remains slow (0,15-0,20 % per year) and will not become faster in the coming years. To accelerate this, households should become significantly richer than they currently are. And, of course, this also depends of geopolitics. In the coming years Russia can get another few millions of culturally close migrants from dying Ukraine.

 

It's good to see that Russia's population is growing, but I feel like the Russian economy, as a heavily oil-based economy (close to half of Russia's exports are fossil fuels), is at risk in the future from perpetually low oil prices, the shift of European nations to renewables, and the adoption of electric vehicles.

 

If we do get the climate apocalypse, then Russia will be a prime destination for mass migration. 

 

 

Fossil fuel reliance is definitely a big risk, but on a more positive note, if they can last long enough, Russia could become a global superpower again due to one area of tech: Automation.

 

Russia has massive natural resources, but is relatively underpopulated. With enough automation, the 144 million people in Russia can extract 100% of the value from the vast resources Russia has. In a world where each nation is extracting 100% of value, Russia wins. 

 

This is why i don't think its going to make long term sense for Russia to start invading eastern Europe or whatever. If they can embrace Automation, using just the land they have, every Russian could live like millionaires, while the elite all become trillionaires. 

 

(estimated cash value of Russia's resources is something like $75 trillion) They're already working on automating their military.






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