Senate Russia: its impact on the world, and its future

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    From 2000 to 2008, Vladimir Putin led Russia as its President, only the second president since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Unlike the weak and chaotic terms of Russia's first president (Boris Yeltsin), the two terms of President Putin marked the return of Russia as a global power as well as increasing stability at home.

    Russia's resurgence was cautiously yet warmly received by Western leaders at first, but concerns grew as: Putin established a cult of personality around himself and his macho exploits, reports were released alleging human rights violations (particularly in Chechnya), opposition from rival politicians and the media were silenced, Putin called the dissolution of the Soviet Union one of the greatest tragedies of modern times, power was given to the President to appoint regional governors instead of them being elected by the people, mysterious assassinations and poisoning attempts across Europe seemed connected to Russia, Putin was aggressive towards the expansion of NATO and the proposed missile shield in Eastern Europe, among many other things. There were warnings that a New Cold War was beginning, with tensions climaxing during the Russia-Georgia War that erupted on the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    [image=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-12/19/xinsrc_58212042020015152199446.jpg]

    Putin was limited to two consecutive terms. He endorsed Dmitry Medvedev, who was then easily elected as the Russian Federation's third president, with the United Russia party retaining power. Medvedev has been softer in his approach, talk of a New Cold War disappeared, and a New START Treaty with the United States has been ratified. But Putin stayed on as Prime Minister and is allegedly still running the show.

    As for Russia as a whole, it is stronger now than before Putin's rise, but its future is uncertain. The ghost of Communism still haunts the land. Corruption is still rampant. It has s vast and underpopulated territory, containing a wealth of natural resources (particularly in energy). The natural gas giant Gazprom accounts for around 10% of Russia's GDP, it's a private corporation but the Russian government holds a controlling stake in it. Despite being rich in natural resources, the birth rate is declining, quality of life is lower than the West's and stagnant. Russian nationalists also fear that Muslim minority groups may become a majority and undermine the original character of Russian culture. Russia is said to be a resurgent power, rising along with China, India, and Brazil (the BRIC countries); but with its demographic trends, oligarchs, corrupt officials, state oppression, poverty, and less-than-vibrant economy, its long-term future appears to be dim.

    Now, it has been announced that Medvedev will not run for re-election. Instead, Vladimir Putin will run for a third term as President, exploiting the loophole that Russian presidents cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. With his party still firmly established and relatively unopposed, his re-election seems certain. Putin is less friendly with the West, and not shy to publically confront the United States and the European Union. The hopes of Russia becoming a true democracy, as well as a partner with the West, seem to be fading.

    With Putin's return to the presidency, I think it's reasonable to predict that Russia will also make a return to world news headlines. This thread is intended to be a place for all topics relating to Russia, especially concerning its impact on the world and its own future.



    Maps that might be helpful:

    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/RussianLanguageMap.png]

    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Russian-regions.png]

    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4c/RF_NG_pipestoEU.gif]
  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Putin could conceivably stay in office until 2024; if he does, I feel safe in saying that Russia's aggressiveness towards her neighbors will continue to increase as it's internal situations go downhill. It's Putin's general game; amp up feelings of Russian nationalism by acting tough towards Georgia/the Balts/etc to hide the increasing domestic train wreck. Happily, we probably won't see a "new cold war" as long as Russia's economy continues it's downhill slide-it won't be able to pay for it any more than the USSR could in the 1980s.
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Putin could conceivably stay in office until 2024; if he does, I feel safe in saying that Russia's aggressiveness towards her neighbors will continue to increase as it's internal situations go downhill.

    This is an understatement. Countries like Georgia, the Ukraine, and Kazakhstan must be having uncontrollable night terrors right about now. At least Georgia is even more integrated into NATO, and I believe the Ukraine is going to be a partner within the EU, which I think is going to happen at the start of 2012... So the playing field is stacked against Russia to bully them this go around.

    And Chechnya, little Chechnya might be to, except Chechnya pretty much had a chance to bring down the entire Russian military, so Putin might actually bypass them the second time around.

  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, I agree in a general sense, I still don't think a general confrontation is very likely because of Russian economics and their general downhill decline. They can't afford to be the way they used to be (and couldn't then either, but managed to trick themselves pretty well for about 70 years.)

    There'll be lots of posturing and empty words from them I'm sure, but it'll all be about as real as Oz.
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I'm not sure... that pipeline map doesn't look that fantastical to me.
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    That's right, Watto; BUT Russia is highly, highly dependent on it's oil & natural gas exports, and the Americas are going to be crowding in on that over the next ten to twenty years:

    How The West Was Drilled
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    But unless we get a transatlantic pipeline, Europe will be at the Russians' mercy. And the fact that Russia depends on its export doesn´t mean they can´t choose which country to export to...
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, for Europe it's going to come down between choosing political independence or cheap(er) energy, I think. Perhaps there could be some kind of NATO-influenced agreement on the USA and Canada selling oil at a discount for Europe? NATO doesn't make much sense if it's largest potential enemy effectively has a veto on NATO action via threatening to choke Europe off at the gas pump.
  9. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Europe doesn't really have a choice, it already has significant economic unrest, and more unrest is likely to come with future austerity packages to deal with the PIIGS' debt crises. Berlin once wanted the power to rule Europe and decide its fate, well now they have it, and they really don't want it anymore.

    If the European Union decides that the weaker economies of continent aren't worth it, then Eastern Europe could see a power vacuum. Russia has blackmailed Eastern European countries before, usually in the dead of winter to negotiate higher prices for heating oil/gas. We know they would seek to fill that vacuum, especially with you-know-who as president. Putin would love to reassert Russian influence, up to the borders of Germany. We also know Putin wants to annex Belarus, and he may lure the Ukraine into a military confrontation before it can join NATO, like he did with Georgia in 2008.

    But the return of the Russian threat could also create a backlash, especially if Putin over-reaches, reuniting Europe in purpose and leading to an expansion of NATO, leading the West into a New Cold War that's smaller but still high-stakes because of Russian energy resources and pipelines.

    We also don't know what side China would take in a New Cold War. Although they would probably try to play both sides so China wins no matter what. A New Cold War may even be seen to serve China's interests, if it distracts America from their rise in the Pacific.

    I don't know where the others would fit in yet (like India, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and the Republics of Central Asia), although we can be sure Iran and Venezuela will try whatever hurts America the most (as long as their current regimes remain in power). The other "rogue/pariah states" don't really have much influence outside their borders and aren't projected to become more influential.

    The Persian Gulf and Suez Canal will remain important. But I think Central Asia and the Caspian Sea, as well as the Arctic Ocean, will become just as important due to their energy resources. America, Canada, Europe, and Russia are already competing over the Arctic Ocean, as the ice melts away to reveal vast deposits of oil and natural gas. America and Russia, possibly even China and India and Iran, could fiercely compete over the energy deposits in the Caspian Sea and Central Asia.
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Support for Putin has actually dropped since announcing he would seek re-election. The voters seem to be taking their frustration out on Putin's "United Russia" party, and UR looks like it will lose its supermajority.

    Link

    Is there a slight chance that Putin may not win re-election, after all? Or at least that there might be a competitive presidential election? Maybe the Arab Spring is having an effect on the Russian people, and they wish to renew their democracy. Maybe.
  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, United Russia has suffered it's only real blow to date.

    MUST CRUSH CAPITALISM!

    The Communists now have about 19.6% of the vote, with the Just Russia Party scoring 13% and the nationalist Liberal Democratic party scoring 11%. United Russia now has about 49.5 percent of the vote. It's still immensely powerful, given that the other three parties combined only command about 43% of the vote, but it's an improvement since 2008, that is for sure.
  12. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    The creepiest thing about all this is something that's not readily apparant, though: most Russian political parties are scary.
    You got Putin, you got the Commies, and then you've got whacky old Zhirinovsky.

    Together, they got eighty percent of the vote!

    Those Russians need some education or som'n.
  13. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Yeah, I was researching the four major parties earlier, the Just Russia party seems the most reasonable to me! :p United Russia isn't that bad, but it's time that its monopoly was broken, especially if they're going to keep the same man (Putin) as their leader.


    Moscow official admits to rigging election to favore United Russia



    I also posted this in the JCC earlier:

  14. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    You don't want to see Putin with his shirt off? :p

    Personally, I'm afraid that there might be a military-style crackdown a'la Tiananmen Square given that Putin is ex-KGB and those guys weren't kidding around when it came to crowd control.

    Here's to hoping I'm wrong.

    Peace,

    V-03
  15. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Well, good news so far!!







    Anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 protesters are in Moscow today, the largest since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian police actually seem to be on their best behavior, and the Russian media is actually covering it. Hope?





    Tens of thousands of people held the largest anti-government protests that post-Soviet Russia has ever seen on Saturday to criticize electoral fraud and demand an end to Vladimir Putin's rule. Police showed surprising restraint and state-controlled TV gave the nationwide demonstrations unexpected airtime, but there is no indication the opposition is strong enough to push for real change from the prime minister or his ruling party.

    Nonetheless, the prime minister seems to be in a weaker position than he was a week ago, before Russians voted in parliamentary elections. His United Party lost a substantial share of its seats, although it retains a majority.

    The independent Russian election-observer group Golos said Saturday that "it achieved the majority mandate by falsification," international observers reported widespread irregularities, and the outpouring of Russians publicly denouncing him throughout the country undermines Putin's carefully nurtured image of a strong and beloved leader.

    Putin "has stopped being the national leader ? in the eyes of his team, the ruling political class and society," analyst Alexei Malachenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center wrote on his blog.

    Putin, who was the president of Russia in 2000-2008 before stepping aside because of term limits, will seek a new term in the Kremlin in the March presidential elections. The protests have tarnished his campaign, but there is not yet any obvious strong challenger.

    The most dramatic of Saturday's protests saw a vast crowd jam an expansive Moscow square and adjacent streets, packed so tight that some demonstrators stood on others' toes. Although police estimated the crowd at 30,000, aerial photographs suggested far more, and protest organizers made claims ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 or more.

    Elsewhere in Russia, some 7,000 protesters assembled in St. Petersburg, and demonstrations ranging from a few hundred people to a thousand took place in more than 60 other cities. Police reported only about 100 arrests nationwide, a notably low number for a force that characteristically quick and harsh action against opposition gatherings.

    The police restraint was one of several signs that conditions may be easing for the beleaguered opposition, at least in the short term. Although city authorities generally refuse opposition forces permission to rally or limit the gatherings to small attendance, most the protests Saturday were sanctioned. In a surprise move, Moscow gave permission for up to 30,000 people to rally and police took no action when the crowd appeared to far exceed that. Just as striking, police allowed a separate unauthorized protest to take place in Revolution Square.

    State-controlled television, which generally ignores or disparages opposition groups, broadcast footage not only of the Moscow protest ? which was so big it would have been hard not to report ? but in several other cities as well.

    United Russia official Andrei Isayev on Saturday acknowledged that the opposition "point of view is extremely important and will be heard in the mass media, society and the state."


    Yet the concessions may be only a way of buying time in hope the protests will wither away. The opposition says the next large Moscow protest will be on Dec. 24. What it will do in the interim to keep morale high is unclear. In addition, the social media that nourished Saturday's protests may be coming under pressure. A top official of the Russian Facebook analog Vkontakte said this week his company has been pressured by the Federal Security Service to block opposition supporters from posting. On Friday, he was summoned by the service for questioning.

    Meanwhile, though United Russia may be shaken by the last w
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, nearly a month on and increasingly powerful people are starting to align with the protestors:

    Russian Orthodox Church urges Govt to listen to protestors



    Some background:

    The Russian Orthodox Church is an extremely potent organization. Nearly 75% of Russians consider themselves to be part of it. The Church is also exceptionally old; it was founded in 988 AD and therefore it can be argued to be the oldest continually existent organization of any kind in Russia, as the government that it initially co-existed with, Kievan Rus, was overrun by the Mongols.

    Even if Putin regains power, which I think he will, his next Presidency will no longer be a bully pulpit commanding a supermajority.
  17. Nagai Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2010
    star 3
    Its not just Ruusia. Blackwater guys trained many of the forces in the Stans and the US has bases all over Russias underbelly.
    I would recomand The Grest Chesstablbe by Bzerzinski.
  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    The demonstrators are back, and in greater numbers:


  19. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    Putin and the YR still control things though. Might have to wait until he dies.
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I doubt it. United Russia is already becoming distinctly unpopular, as this thread has shown; it barely controls half the vote. Yes, that's still a lot, but Putin's supermajority is no longer a thing; he no longer has the ability to literally dictate terms.
  21. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Russia's presidential elections are only a few weeks away. Putin currently has a large lead over all the others, but he's still only at 55%, and he's basically campaigning on being anti-American.

    What will the immediate changes be for US-Russian relations when the presidency goes back to Putin?
  22. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    We'll see. TBH Russia is becoming the large-nation equivalent of North Korea; an annoying nuisance that basically mouths empty threats that it can't begin to back up. China's rise and the Euro crisis are much bigger issues than Russia's empty militarism.

    Vladimir Putin had an article on Foreign Policy today. I am really not sure what to make of it; it's bizarrely amateur hour-sounding for coming from a former head of state. I think I've honestly seen more coherent posts from random people in here. I'd like to think it's just losing something in translation, but the guy comes off as an idiot.

    Anyway, here is the entire article.


  23. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I hope it's just Putin in campaign-mode, but I have heard rumors that he's been neglecting his duties as Prime Minister, becoming an alcoholic. Which is unsettling, if true.

    I agree that Russia isn't a big concern of the United States, I don't see them as a rival, but I'm afraid that Putin sincerely sees us as a rival. US-Russia relations may take another hit, and waste all the goodwill that Obama and Medvedev have worked on since 2009. Obama and Medvedev actually get along great together, they've developed a close friendship. I don't know how Obama and Putin get along, and the personal relationships really matter in politics and international relations (they shouldn't, but they do).

    The last thing we need right now is another distraction, with blustery rhetoric from Putin about how he's threatening to become a nuisance over whatever we don't agree 100% on that day.
  24. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Hopefully, with effort and dedication, and his control over vast oil and gas reserves, Putin can build a military-industrial complex as competitive and free of corruption as America's...
  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Haha.hahahaha :p

    The most hilarious part about how jacked the military-industrial complex has gotten can arguably be blamed on the late 1980s-early 1990s defense cuts. Sure, it dropped spending an awful lot, but it also made it impossible for more than a few massive companies to maintain a profit, and so Rockwell International, Northop, Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, and McDonnell-Douglas became Northop-Grumman, Boeing, and Lockheed-Martin. BTW, Northrop-Grumman owns most of our last major shipyards and shares building the LCS fleet with Lockheed-Martin.