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So What Happens To Russia?

Written By: - Date published: 11:39 am, May 9th, 2022 - 57 comments
Categories: energy, International, Peace, Russia, war - Tags:

The commercial parts of Russia’s state will do very well with plenty of customers remaining for its oil and gas. It’s $3-$4 a litre 91 everyone. Everything else in Russia is ruined.

We are seeing, slowly but perfectly surely, the United States and the European Union get closer and closer to a full military confrontation with Russia.

There’s no winners but there is a likelihood that one side will be defeated more than the other. We don’t have to look back to the ‘nation building’ failures of Iraq or Afghanistan too far back.

Russia will continue to bomb Ukrainian Donbass cities and towns into concrete dust, just like Aleppo. Everyone should take a moment to admire the heroics of the Ukrainian military and their determination and skill, but they will be ground down no matter what military weapons are supplied to them. “They made a desert”, said the Roman historian Tacitus, “and called it peace”. Putin already has control of the coal, iron ore and steel factories and he will bank it. Putin now controls what he sought, even if he needs his military to defend it for many years. Ukraine will keep the far less productive remainder and that will be that. A Russified eastern Ukraine is all that is needed to achieve sufficient victory.

But this is a perverse win for the Ukrainian leadership as well as to NATO. A Russian occupation of Donbass would be incalculably expensive, because the Ukrainians are clear they will always and forever attack to get it back now. There is never going to be peace for Ukraine while Russia occupies any part of its former boundary. Perhaps Putin had in mind the Warsaw Pact in which the Soviet Union ruled over many European nation-states. Now that was expensive, but it was nothing like a zone under perpetual internal rebellion and armed to the teeth by NATO and other partners on the lookout for any gathering of generals or wayward Russian naval ship. Ukraine may become the large version of Mariupol: used to drain Russia dry.

A natural expansion of the conflict is for the EU’s trade benefits to expand to include the United States and Canada; the elision of a defence pact into a common trade arrangement. Even the Republicans would see that coming.

To humiliate and bring Russia low is the apparent strategy of Europe and the United States. Remove foreign investment and the key investors that would have developed more oil and gas fields. Make capital very very hard to acquire. Stunt their modernisation even as the war deepens global scarcity. Bring to nothing all further tech transfers. Kill their markets even where possible oil and gas. Open the doors to all their top talent and their young sportspeople. Let the occupying force burn itself to ash. Let it take Donbass and at the same time consign itself to the third world for any future markets. Let Russia be made low. It’s very 1920.

It will take years, but Russia’s internal repression will fold  into collapse: just ask the Soviets.

Once a territory + compensation deal is reached as it will do, the world is left with a rebuild plan on a scale of Germany after WW2. But there is not yet any sign that “nationbuilding” is in the offer from the United States or anyone else. The great majority of remaining Ukraine orbits tighter around Europe and the resource-rich remainder snugs into Russia. What’s fairly likely is now that the Ukrainians will not let up as they never have since 2014, and any Russian governance claims to Donbass statehood will be weak and militarily contested as far as the eye can see. Dark.  Humanitarian crisis far larger than that from Syria, but by tens of millions into Europe.

China at 4-5% GDP growth will figure that it needs the capital and customers of the United States and Europe more than it needs the coal and gas of Russia. China will I’m pretty confident figure a different path to India, and follow the money of those who can buy its Gucci handbags, Tesla cars and Apple phones. In a decade perhaps a sufficiently weakened and poor Russia splits apart that that west of the Urals orientates to the European Union.

A smaller, weaker, more resentful and bitter Russia emerges no matter who leads it. Russia’s  core markets become Africa and India: poor people buying bulk energy commodities.

NATO will emerge stronger and Russia weaker, by the end of this year. China isn’t going to get much out of it other than more influence over the remainder of a truly broken Russia. China will not sustain the ambitions of its middle class trying to find customers in Russia, but they will find them in Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan, Korea, and South East Asia. Russia is going to feel the hurt faster than US hegemony declines.

We will all cry out as our mortgage rates hit 5% and petrol hits $3 and our grocery bill hits $200 a week – many governments will fall on it including our own.

Russia’s war has weakened us all.

But the richest countries overall will get richer and the poorer ones will get a whole bunch poorer. While we stick close to Australia, United States, Japan and China as our core trading partners we are on balance going to do fine out of the Russian invasion.

Russia: not so much.

57 comments on “So What Happens To Russia? ”

  1. Visubversa 1

    Mortgage rates were 6% for decades. Banks took money in at 3% and lent it out at 6%.

    In the bad days of the mid 1980's I was paying 17%. I was lucky, I had a fixed Housing New Zealand mortgage because I bought in an area that Government and Council were wanting to "re-develop " after a motorway extension. Others were paying over 20%.

  2. lprent 2

    I can't see many good effects from this conflict.

    The main one will be that the founding principle of the UN founding is upheld. The same one that was the principle of the first Gulf war. That aggressive states grabbing and annexing territory that they have no long claims to are not rewarded – regardless of what stupid excuse they use.

    The effect on the developed economies is likely to be of short duration. A few years. Those are deep economies witha immense resilence. They will move to other sources of supply. Unlike Russia.

    The effects on Russia are likely to be far worse than their late 90s economic issues. They are unlikely to have any real allies.

    Basically no state including (and especially) the Chinese like the idea of a superior military power annexing by force. Not their neighours like the Georgians or Amenians or anyone else to the south or east.

    Their sympathetic acquaintances like India will mainly be interested in making a buck off them. Even then I suspect the seabourne shipping is going to be tricky with insurance. Goods travelling and from Russia will be subject to sanctions, and intercepts by Ukrainians.

    The Donbas, if Russia manages to hold it, won't be worth holding. Non moveable assets are just targets for missiles and artillery.

    It seems unlikely at present that Russia will be able to seize enough of a buffer to make that difficult. Regardless it will be a porous border for supporting partisans and infiltrating military units.

    Messy – a seriously stupid war of aggression master minded by a military and political idiot.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      And nato member Turkeys 1970s invasion of its small neighbour Cyprus ( a commonwealth member) where it remains in occupation of its republic of Northern Cyprus to this day.

      The UN security council didnt give George Bush his authorisation to invade Iraq but he and Blair ( plus Poland!) went ahead anyway. No consequences for US and UK and no WMD stockpiles or production found either.

      Its quite incredible to ignore the history of conflict since WW2 and somehow strew rose petals over Natos actions

  3. Listening to a American spokesperson on You Tube saying they thought China was having these lockdownd simply to avoid having to send stock to America and showing already empty shelves.

    Wouldn't worry me if China brought American politicians to their knees. One good turn always deserves another.

    This is Americas proxy war with Russia using Ukraine because they don't give a shit about people.

    American politicians want to rule the world

    • Populuxe1 3.1

      Who annexed whose territory and shelled whose civilians again?

    • tsmithfield 3.2

      Yes, the equivalent is a kid being bullied at school. The kid (i.e. Ukraine) decides to bring his big brother (i.e. NATO) along who helps him absolutely thrash the bully (i.e. Russia).

      This type of situation is something Russia should have thought about before deciding attack Ukraine. So, Russia really has no reason to complain that NATO is helping Ukraine. Russia can always resolve the issue by withdrawing its troops.

      • Blazer 3.2.1

        This conflict is about how much longer the world can tolerate the biggest bully of…all.

        With visionaries like Sleepy Joe and Bojo in charge the future looks……!!

        • tsmithfield 3.2.1.1

          The last I saw the US wasn't invading Ukraine.

          • Blazer 3.2.1.1.1

            Good work…you acknowledged who the biggest bully is….every year voted the biggest threat to…peace.

            • tsmithfield 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Probably not this year though.

              If you had a friend who was a bigger bully than the one attacking you, wouldn't you like them on your side?

              • Blazer

                I might get a little..worried with this daily demonstration of…competence.

    • Belladonna 3.3

      American politicians, by and large, have a profound disinterest in the rest of the world. They are always interested only in what happens within the borders of the US (and even then, most interested in the contiguous states).

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    The Allies took a pretty pessimistic view of Ukrainian military capabilities as the war opened, expecting that their conventional forces would be overwhelmed, and, in spite of spirited resistance, any material aid would rapidly end up in Russian hands. Russia expected on the ground delays might cost them another 5-6 days.

    That changed about a month ago, and the allies began supplying heavy weapons sufficient to neutralize the Russian advantage, which have now made their way to forces to the northern end of the Donbas sector, where Ukraine is rapidly pushing back invading forces. Russia can no longer win, but it is crucial for Ukraine that they regain their southern coastal territories, both for defense, and so that their economy is not altogether wrecked.

    A Russian recovery really depends on how they deal with the Soviet rump they failed to suppress back in 1990. If they retain the dregs of the current kleptocracy, it will scapegoat reformers and refuseniks as they retreat backwards into the dark ages they never fully escaped. But if they embrace a genuine, less bellicose, reforming democracy there is every reason they should rise again just as Germany did after WWII.

    The real question is whether the failed Putin regime will cling to power until they lose Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kaliningrad, and the Kurils.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    Russia is now something much more recognisable as it's 19th century Tsarist incarnation – the deeply corrupt, autocratic, and almost comically reactionary state so dispised by the liberal British Empire.

    Russia has gone from being perceived as having the second best army in the world to having the second best army in the Ukraine, and the long term strategic ramifications of that are profound. The only thing now guaranteeing the integrity of Russia's huge (and disputed) borders are nuclear weapons that many people now suspect have been rusting away quietly in their silos for almost half a century. Already, Japan has again started to refer to the Kuril Islands as "occupied" Japanese territory.

    And yes – NATO is back, but with important changes. Whereas it used to exist for Europe "to keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down" and was an Atlanticist Anglo-America project in orientation it is now becoming a much more middle European orientated alliance and is surely much more about "to keep the Americans in, the Russians down and the Germans up". Who thought we'd live to see the day we'd all cheer German rearmament?

    Zelensky, with Churchillian perspicacity, knows the only way he can win the war against Russia is to bring NATO into direct confrontation with Russia into what is already a second Crimean war that Russia will lose. Like the first Crimean war in the 1850s, this current war will decisively weaken Russia for decades to come and possibly even force Russia's elites to confront the huge weaknesses of their corrupt kleptocratic autocracy.

    • I think you are absolutely right, Sanctuary, but I do so hope this Second Crimean War is conducted with a tad more efficiency that the first – which was an almost complete fiasco – the allies only won because the Russians were a little more incompetent than them.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    My post below is based on my general obsession and heaps of reading and viewing around this conflict. No links with this at the moment. But I am happy to provide sources as and when people want them.

    Advantage, I agree the Russians are applying a scorched earth strategy. I am not sure they have the resources to continue that for too long.

    At the moment, in the Donbas, the Ukrainians are skillfully applying a fluid defence. That means they will defend and deplete the attacking force for as long as possible before retreating to another prepared defensive position and restart the process. That strategy means the Russians are constantly advancing against heavily defended positions, which is very costly in terms of attrition of equipment and troops.

    Around Kharkiv and towards Izyum, the Ukrainians are successfully counter-attacking at the moment and threatening to cut off Russian supply lines. It appears that the US artillery is having a major effect there as it has superior range to the Russian gear, and the Ukrainians have been provided with anti-battery radar that makes the US artillery much more accurate in terms of targeting Russian artillery.

    The head of the Wagner group recently made a comment that the Russians really need 600-800000 troops to control the area they want to take. That is not a realistic option for Russia at the moment.

    So, while Russia may take areas, they haven't got the forces to hold those areas. So, they will always be vulnerable to Ukrainian counter-attack.

    So, it seems clear that the Russians need a lot more infantry. And they need to be able to equip all the new soldiers. Since Russian soldiers have been observed with equipment such as old style 303s from WW1/2. They also need to replace all the gear they have lost. However, a lot of their more complex stuff has western electronics which they obviously have difficulty in sourcing due to the sanctions.

    At their big parade on May 9th Putin may well declare war on Ukraine or "Nazis" everywhere, and look to mobilize more troops. The problem with that, (even being acknowledged by some Russian media) is that it will take a long time to train the troops, let alone equip them.

    One of the Russian commentators was talking about the need to introduce "military socialism". That is, bringing all industry under the control of the government for the purpose of ramping up military production. If this were to happen, Russia would essentially become a big version of North Korea. But this is probably what they would need to do to meet their strategic goals.

    However, their problem is that such a move may dramatically cut their income. For instance, I expect Germany would have no option but to cut off all imports of hydrocarbons from Russia.

    So, I think Russia is stuck in a situation that they haven't got enough military resources to escalate the conflict (in conventional terms, anyway), and if they declared war and went onto a full war footing with their industries then I think a lot of their income to do that would be cut off.

    Hence, I think they are stuck in a situation where it is very difficult for them to do anything other than escalate the war in a very scary way. However, I hope it never comes to that.

  7. roblogic 7

    The march of progress advances one funeral at a time. Especially looking forward to the end of Putin. Perhaps we will see the rise of more breakaway states like Chechnya, and the satellite states (Belarus, Kazakhstan) lose interest in being Russian lapdogs. Hopefully there will be a way for the disputed regions of Ukraine to be demilitarised and given some independence apart from the grasping avarice of the Kremlin.

    The best future IMO would be a renewal of the hopeful post Soviet days. Perhaps western Russia becoming a civilsed neighbour to Europe, and eastern Russia recognising its ties to Asia matter more than diktats from Moscow. Break up the whole monolithic dinosaur.

    The worst future would be a widening theater of war, tactical nukes, and Russia becoming an insular pariah state akin to North Korea

    • Subliminal 7.1

      You see rob, you have totally captured the West centred view that has led us to this place. The collapse of the USSR led to a collapse in Russian life expectancy not even matched by covd. Yet we laud this time as a time of hope. Just as all our good times seem to be on the back of suffering sonewhere.

      • roblogic 7.1.1

        Agree about the general failure of the supposed free market reforms in Russia. But I was referring to a brief moment of time after the fall of the Berlin Wall and there was talk of prestroika and glasnost and a changing attitude in East/West relations… all turned sour in the end 😢

        • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.1

          My Russian friends particularly resent Yeltsin & Putin, who turned Russia away from representative democracy and back to the Soviet style oligarchy. Absent the kleptocrats, the early enthusiasm for democracy might well have seen the country through the pain of the reforms.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz 7.1.1.1.1

            Maybe you havent noticed but most of Asia are linear democracies with the same party winning over decades and while democratic the norm is for a party change to be either brief or unheard of.

            The idea that Russia would suddenly be like Germany with a plethora of parties and governments formed after 6 months of negotiations is absurd. ( 12 months for others)

            Even eastern Europe is trending toward a linear democracy model with a single party winning/ manipulating to stay in power.

            Apart from Czechoslovakia pre war the Poles , Hungarians and so on were all dictatorships

            • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.1.1.1

              The issues confronting Russia, and those confronting most of Asia are presently rather different.

              Structural reform is one way of breaking out of the dead end follies that beset Russia, leaving it broken and backward.

              It would suffice to break the stranglehold of the former soviet office holders, a species of reform that the likes of Navalny and his supporters found pretty palatable.

              It is unlikely that anyone is going to dictate a solution to Russia – but it will get no international respect or cooperation while it persists in Putin's follies.

              • RedLogix

                Consider how in the aftermath of WW2 the Allies dictated to defeated Germany that it would repudiate the Nazi era. With an extraordinary success.

                The same was never done after the collapse of the marxist catastrophes in Russian and China – and it is my view that the current regimes in both nations still point to the toxic legacy of Lenin and Mao for their political legitimacy. Even if they have long ditched their policies.

                And until they are compelled to do so the brutality and paranoia of this decrepit, decaying history will continue to seep into current events.

                • Ghostwhowalksnz

                  Germany and Japan were under military occupation for 11 and 7 years respectively to 'expunge their past'

                  The last military high commisioners left Germany in May 1955

                  So your suggestions is for western countries to occupy and control Russia and China is workable how ? Clueless is what I would describe it

                • KJT

                  You missed at least four decades of history there.

                  Russia has been predatory Capitalist since the 1990's.

                  If the "West" had repeated the Marshall plan, instead of supporting ex KGB and other Soviet elites in burgling the place, they may have had results like Germany and Japan.

                  • Ghostwhowalksnz

                    That doesnt make any sense . Germany was devastated by Allied bombing and the recovery through Marshall plan ( almost entirely US) was because of the cold war split in two of Germany.

                    Its laughable that , even though it wasnt devastated by war in 1990 that western taxpayers were going to give 'magic funding' to change the then unknown political future. Having had a Leninist-Party-state system avoiding capitalism wasnt even possible.

                    It seems that anything about Russia brings out the 'fruitcake' in people

                    • KJT

                      "It seems that anything about Russia brings out the 'fruitcake' in people".

                      It certainly does!

                • Stuart Munro

                  Yes. I don't think contemporary Germans resent it at all, so it can't have been too onerous. But I can't see anyone volunteering to do as much for Russia – though the consequences of long term misgovernance are if anything, more serious in this case.

                  • RedLogix

                    The important difference is that Stalin and Mao largely inflicted their horrors on their own people. The collapse of their evil regimes was brought about from their own internal contradictions and failures. There was no external invasion needed, no occupying force to impose change in the aftermath.

                    As a result there was never a de-marxification program, no truth and reconciliation, no open and final repudiation. Stalin's body for instance still remains interred in the walls of the Kremlin, Putin has been able to speak admiringly of him and the security organisations that were there core of Lenin and Stalin's terror – are still very much located at the core of politics in modern Russia.

                    Yes the people, the policies and acronyms have superficially changed with time, but the old culture of authoritarian paranoia and a ready willingness to resort to mass brutality as an instrument of state power has not.

                    • Ghostwhowalksnz

                      What a tired old Cold War warrior you are. It seems you feel that the Cold War ending without a military subjugation of Soviet Union was a mistake as it 'would have had better outcomes'

                      I think you have gone beyond the 'fruit cake' stage and its now nuts

      • Populuxe1 7.1.2

        I thought the West centred view was a la Chomsky et al that the US was the Great Satan and nothing else in the world – not even a kleptocratic petro-oligarch who fancies himself a Tsar in all but name invading a sovereign neighbour – could be considered evil if some tortured, convoluted argument could be come up with to blame the US?

        • Blazer 7.1.2.1

          Germany is a sovereign nation too.

          Biden said the U.S would 'stop' Nordstream2.

          • Populuxe1 7.1.2.1.1

            German Chancellor Scholz suspended certification of Nord Stream 2 on 22 February 2022. Sounds like Germany was exercising their sovereignty.

            • Blazer 7.1.2.1.1.1

              That is correct.

              The Q is why would Biden think he can impose his will on a sovereign…nation?

              • Ghostwhowalksnz

                The Baltic sea pipelines only divert transit gas from Ukraine and Poland who get billions in transit fees as it passes through to Germany and the West .

                Its Poland and Ukraine who got the US to interfere in another countrys energy supply

              • Populuxe1

                Of course it couldn't possibly be the case that Germany is committed to the principles of the European Union to the point of making sacrifices to be on the right side of history for once…

                • Ghostwhowalksnz

                  Principles over gas pipelines, do tell.

                  Let them of course use European Unity as the reason to stop all Russian gas supplies immediately .

                  Thats so funny how you make up principles for others when they have self interest first. We have long seen migration, financial standards ignored at will by the EU members

  8. Subliminal 8

    Youve got to be joking. China will just kiss goodbye Russia?? When exactly the same narrative is spun for Taiwan as we are faced with Ukraine? The world has changed and there is no path back. Biden has made clear he doesnt do diplomacy except at the end of a gun. Continuing down the Ukraine path with regard to Taiwan will give a similar result. But then with all the armament CEOs and board members running US administrations, its hard to escape the feeling that they consider war a bonus

    • roblogic 8.1

      Biden isn’t the one invading Ukraine
      China is not Russia
      Taiwan is not Ukraine

      Please change username to “Delusional”

    • Populuxe1 8.2

      It's like you've conflated two completely different situations into some terrible false analogy because the West is opposed to both in different contexts or something…

  9. Populuxe1 9

    I think this is an excellent analysis of why it's futile for some on the left to continue to frame Russia's invasion of Ukraine as justified by US militarism or imperialism, or NATO. Opinion | There Is No Left Position That Justifies Putin's Attack on Ukraine | David Ost (commondreams.org)

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      Who would justify an invasion. I thought at the beginning it would happen because

      1) His army isnt that great and the numbers mentioned by western experts that were on the border seemed to small

      2) Ukraine is large country and with 40 mill people its not some tiny place like Crimea

      3) he could lose – ask US about its exit recently from Afghanistan ( it took an idiot like Trump to get out, something even Obama never even tried)

    • Blazer 9.2

      Tell it to…Frank…

      'Pope Francis recently shocked many by positing parity between Vladimir Putin and Russia on one hand, and Ukraine and NATO on the other. The Holy Father insisted both are to blame for the raging war. In stark contrast to the “Holy Alliance” of Saint John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher who deployed a brilliant strategy to defeat Soviet communism, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been channeling his youthful leftism again in a bumbling effort to relate to Russia.POPE FRANCIS SUGGESTS THE ‘BARKING OF NATO AT RUSSIA’S DOOR’ MAY HAVE FORCED PUTIN TO INVADE UKRAINE'

      Pope Francis blames the victim in Russia-Ukraine war (dialoguecentre.org)

      • Populuxe1 9.2.1

        Ah yes, that notable bastion of socialism the Roman Catholic Church…

  10. aj 10

    Adding to some of the outrageous predictions above, in some western countries by 31/12/2022:

    • Bread will be 5 times what it is today.
    • Beef will be unaffordable and scarce.
    • Gasoline US$4L and scarce.
    • Rolling blackouts.
    • Heating vs. food will be an issue.
    • Riots everywhere.
    • Scud 10.1

      Well, if the Ukrainian Farmers don't get this yrs grain crop sowed & on top of Russia blockading it's remaining Grain Export Port of Odesa.

      The bread price is going to be the least of our worries, given how much of Ukranie's grain crop is rely on in the Middle East with some countries it's around the 80% mark ie Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran & the rest above 80-100% ie Lebanon at 100% if it's silos have rebuilt.

      Drought conditions are already appearing in parts of Africa & on the Sub Continent. That would normally grown grain crops.

      Australian grain growers would get through this yrs winter grain crop, but next yr onwards may not be good? As not sure how much grain is grown in NZ these days as most Canterbury is now converted to Dairying or further sth around Gore or Balfour areas these days.

      I think those assumptions of prices to be a tad low given the current situation.

  11. SPC 11

    Putin's immediate legacy will be to have revitalised NATO, and it did not have to be this way.

    Germany's position on NATO was up for grabs in 2024 (2014 commitment to spend 2% GDP on defence – was looking unlikely to be met, still at 1% in 2021) after the planned uptake of Nordstrom. All Putin had to do was stick to diplomacy.

    The chances of an EU having defence and trade partnerships with NATO (Norway/UK/Canada/USA) to the west and Russia to the east have diminished. But it still makes practical commonsense. As does determining borders after break up of nations via plebiscite (Yugoslavia/USSR) rather than war.

    The problem for Russia is that its isolation – and continuing overemphasis on military/security will further compound its internal decline (investment in its people and modernising its civilian/economic society).

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 11.1

      The Plebiscites in Yugoslavia happened after the federal states declared independence

      Nato remain in occupation of part of Serbia , 20 years after the war, breaking its own rules about changes to borders cant happen by military force.

      Nato member Turkey remain in occupation of part of its neighbour Cyprus, with its proxy state Republic of Northern Cyprus maintained by force and in contravention of a UN Security council resolution

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_353#

  12. Cantabrian 12

    Come on Advantage, yours is a flawed analysis. As one of Russian/Ukrainian heritage, the main task must be to remove Russia from being a militaristic society. The siloviki are a mixture of FSB, SVR, GRU and Vory criminals running the country in their interests. The massive amount of security forces far dwarfs those of the West. The best thing for everyone would be for Russia to split. Peter the Great's westernizing vision could be realised in a democratic European Russia. There are enough democrats in the big cities to make this happen. Then we could hive off all the would be despots to Siberia. Their capital could be Novosibirsk or Irkutsk. A divided Russia is a good Russia.

    • Ad 12.1

      Covered your point:

      "In a decade perhaps a sufficiently weakened and poor Russia splits apart that that west of the Urals orientates to the European Union."

      Though not sure wishing for another post-Yugoslav Balkan war is useful at the moment.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 12.1.1

        The reality is every end of empire leads to border wars . Its inevitable

        The end of German and Austrian empires led to a range of border wars across eastern europe.

        Even Poland and the new Soviet Union 100 years ago had a series of wars over …guess what Ukraine.. The Poles wouldnt accept the Versailles drawn Curzon Line between what was Polish and Ukrainian speaking areas. Historically the Polish nobility and upper class 'controlled' the eastern Ukraine under the Russian and Austrian imperial systems and they wanted to keep it that way

        Lviv and a big chunk became part of Poland, until Stalin got it back in his deal with Hitler

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 12.2

      There are enough democrats in the big cities ?

      Why is you dont even check.

      The Communists ( both parties combined was around 20%) vote far exceeded the Liberal Democrats at around 6%

      European Russia has 110 mill people with maybe 20 mill in the biggest cities , the Moscow ' city and oblast' has 16 mill. St Petersburg has 5 mill with another 1.5 mill in its oblast

      Its a complete fantasy

      • Cantabrian 12.2.1

        Come on Ghost. you can’t go by those stats. Given free and fair elections the figures would be radically different. You forget other European centres – Ekaterinburg. Volgograd, Kazan, Kaliningrad. The Putin approval rating figures are grossly inflated. Given the huge numbers. of security forces watching, what Russian would vote against Putin. As in the Soviet Union people keep their private opinions to themselves.

  13. Populuxe1 13

    Ah yes, the famously free, fair and transparent Russian elections…. If I posted every critical article about the 2021 legislature elections alone I'd be pinged for spamming. Even the Communist Party disputed it.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 13.1

      Let me guess . You live/socialise in maybe a Grey Lynn or Miramar type urban milieu and cant ever understand why people dont think like you do.

      Look at even US where theres was some considerable dispute over the results (not that I agree) that because there was disagreement by the losers MUST mean that they are right and it was rigged , Surely.

      Your logic is nonsense

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