Russia’s Military Collapse
“So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous and cruel. As you are.”
– Peter O’Toole to Omar Sharif in “Laurence of Arabia”, 1962
Just last week, we editorialized about the shocking collapse of the Russian military. We pointed out that, in being forced to purchase weapons from NATO countries that it cannot manufacture itself, Putin’s Russia was not only humiliating itself before the eyes of the world but exposing itself to grave danger: Its ability to maintain these weapons would depend solely on the good will of countries Russia considers its enemies. Russia is buying ships from France, armored vehicles from Italy and, if you can believe it, drone aircraft from Israel.
Now it’s time to tell the other side of the story, namely the truly devastating impact of the pathetic inability of the Russian Kremlin to make its own weapons on the national economy. The always indispensable Paul Goble reports that even the Russians themselves recognize the horrifying consequences they face.
Goble notes that “the Italian deal represents an immediate threat to Russian workers who produce a similar piece of equipment.” Goble relates that Russian union leaders predict that because of the Italian deal “more workers at the Arzamas machine-building complex, one of Russia’s hard-hit company towns, will see their wage arrears increase or even see their jobs disappear entirely.” The consequences are dire: “As of January 2010, wage arrears in Russian firms had reached, according to official figures, 4.1 billion rubles (135 million US dollars), including unpaid back wages in the region where Arzamas is located of 152 million rubles (5 million US dollars).”
And it turns out that “the Italian company which would sell the armored vehicles to Russia is a shadow partner of another Russian firm, KamAZ, whose director in turn is friendly with the leadership of the defense ministry.” So it’s not even clear that Russia can’t produce these vehicles, it may be that it’s not going to simply because of Russia’s rampant corruption.
Regardless of the cause, however, fundamental defects in Russian society are revealed and the results of the diversion of Russian resources to foreign countries are clear: Unemployment and wage arrears for Russians.
Little wonder, then, that Russians took to the streets last weekend in a “day of rage” that saw dozens arrested on the streets, leaders arrested preemptively and the website that organized the protests shut down by the Kremlin. Russians are outraged at the savage mismanagement of their economy by the crude clan of KGB thugs whom Vladimir Putin has brought to power.
But too few Russians have the courage to stand up for their country and their future. The Kremlin is seriously undermining Russian national security by failing to address fundamental Russian backwardness and corruption, and it is pushing the economy to the brink of bankruptcy with its crazed KGB-fueled cold-war fantasies. If more Russians do not take action soon, we will see yet another national collapse from Russia.