Putin’s Russia is a poor, drunk soccer hooligan - The Boston Globe
"Russia is not the country you think it is. Its economy is smaller than South Korea’s. Its people are poorer than Kazakhstan’s. It trails Finland in technology. And it has a smaller military budget than Saudi Arabia."
More after the break.
Whut?! Oh, er, heh, my bad!
"But Vladimir Putin’s rise to power marked a sea change in Russia’s fortunes. How the world sees Russia began to shift. The often bare-chested leader consciously cultivated a new brand, for himself, and for the country. Putin’s new Russia was a country that mattered again.
Russia hosted the Olympics, punched Georgia in the nose, took back the Crimea, invaded Ukraine, flew bombers through NATO airspace, built military bases in the Arctic, and generally flexed and posed like an oiled, aged, but still buff, body builder. And we’ve been paying increasingly rapt attention, not noticing the geriatric walker hidden just off stage. A closer look is almost shocking."
Maybe to journalists, but not much to anyone who even occasionally tunes in to the unseemly underbelly of the real Russia, YouTube Russian Car Crash videos.
It is a poor, soused, decaying, country based solely on its energy sales, with energy prices well below the price necessary to pay the bills. But they still have smart people, right?!
"Intellectually, Russia is a distant speck in the rearview mirror. Once, esteemed Soviet universities educated the engineers and doctors of the developing world. Now, the United Nations ranks Russia’s education system behind nearly every other European country, and on par with the Pacific island of Palau. The technological leader that launched Sputnik now produces fewer patents per capita than Iceland. Its scientific publications are cited less often than Finland’s.
In nearly every indicator of health, wealth, and influence, Russia ranks below even the middle powers. What do they have left? Guns and bombs mostly."
So, someone left idiot cousin Vlad the keys to the gun safe, before they died, great!
"When Russia next moves its tanks to the border, we should take it seriously. It has a lot of tanks (although less than Pakistan). But we should also remember that this is not a world power. By most indicators, it’s not even a middle power. Russia is a soccer hooligan: poor, drunk, and frustrated it can’t win anymore. It can only throw beer bottles from the bleachers."
Poor, soused, stupid, and decaying may be no way to go through life, but Russians don't seem to have the pop to leave and do something else.