Russia: Not as powerful as the Swamp likes to make out

Russia: Not as powerful as the Swamp likes to make out, by Al Fin.

Until very recently, the Russian view of the North American Oil & Gas Renaissance was to “deny!deny!deny!”. According to Putin and the Kremlin flunkies and trolls, North American shale oil & gas was a joke, destined to collapse “any day now.” And they played the same song for almost a decade with minimal, if any, revision. Years after oil & gas prices collapsed in 2014, Russia was still claiming that North American oil & gas production was not having any appreciable impact on the Russian economy. …

When the Kremlin is afraid of something, its first response is to mock it and deny its existence and/or its importance. This is a standard operating procedure seen during the Soviet years and during the Putin years. But there may come a day when the Kremlin needs some credibility, and finds that it has squandered it all.

SpaceX has been changing the equation of space launch for over six years now, which should have given Russia plenty of time to adapt to the challenge.

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

But for many reasons, Russian industry is old and tired, cranky and stiff. Rich in grandiose vapourware announcements of “startling innovations”, mediocre in the prototype, but very very weak in actual mass production. It is becoming a Russian cliche. …

Whether you are talking about ships, planes, helicopters, tanks, or missile forces, the story is the same. Loud claims about the capabilities of weapons systems are made, while the darker realities behind the propaganda screens tell a different story. And given the massive levels of corruption across Russian industry, even a doubling of current oil prices would not allow Russia to make up the skills and innovation deficit across the industrial spectrum. Russia no longer has the necessary talent to do what would have to be done to back up its propaganda releases.

And that is very bad, because the Kremlin is getting Russia involved in a large number of wars and quasi-wars:

… the Kremlin has gotten involved in “too many fronts,” has “too few resources,” and “absolutely no friends,” a situation that has prompted Putin to talk about the use of nuclear “wonder weapons” not as a last resort “but as the only one” ___ (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2018/04/10/1695422.html) via WOE2.

The civilian homefront is losing its strength and cohesiveness in a weakening economy, encouraging ever increasing brain drain and capital flight abroad. Tipping point mechanisms eventually take hold, making decline unstoppable.