Russia and Vietnam
A report on Business Insider entitled “Russia is Toast” offers a series of arguments in favor of booting Russia out of the BRIC group and bringing in Australia and South Africa to create a new group called BASIC. Russia, of course, no more bears comparison to Brazil, India or China than it does to the members of the other group to which it claims membership, the European democracies of the G-8. The item we republish below today on Russia’s “mausoleum of democracy” makes that clear.
The report’s most interesting feature, however, is a pair of charts comparing Russia to lowly little Vietnam — and showing that the little Asian nation handily whips Russia in essential characteristics. The impact of simply reflecting on the meaning of these graphics is genuinely shocking.
The first chart, shown above, illustrates a projection of comparative population growth between the two nations. The revelation that the population of tiny Vietnam could actually exceed that of gigantic Russia before the middle of this century is truly mind-blowing.
The second chart, above, shows the blowback of population fatigue on economic performance. Of course, a nation whose more remote villages are rapidly becoming ghost towns can hardly be expected to maintain a dynamic level of economic productivity even if it is not burdened with record-setting corruption the way Russia is.
Wracked by a massive war just 30 years ago which was at least as devastating to Vietnam as World War II was to Russia, and lacking any of the energy resources with which Russia is blessed, tiny Vietnam has nonetheless forged its way into the modern world as a huge success story while Russia, despite all its advantages, has only turned time backwards towards its failed Soviet past.
Far better understanding basic economic fundamentals and far more caring towards its population, the government and economy of Vietnam have show only resilience and resurgence in the face of the global economic crisis, while Russia by contrast has suffered more than any other major nation on the planet.
These pictures tell the story of Putin’s Russia more eloquently than any words could ever do. And what is most tragic about them is that the people of Russia will never see them, because the KGB regime over which Putin presides will not show them on national TV or discuss them in the national press. Instead, it will do the same as the USSR did, lie, cheat, steal and conceal until the edifice of the nation comes crashing down, eaten up from within by corruption and failure.