In Russia, Where’s the Beef?
Russia’s Agriculture Minister breathlessly announced last week: ” By our estimates, by 2020 export volumes could be up to 400,000 tons of poultry and 200,000 tons of pork. That’s $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year compared with a combined 10,000 tons of exports last year.”
A sixtyfold increase in meat exports sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But there are three small problems with the Russian data.
First, for some contrast, in just the first four months of this year the United States exported more than 600 tons of pork alone. That’s to say nothing of poultry.
Second, the careful reader will notice that the Agriculture Minister was merely predicting what might happen in the future. What’s actually happening now? The Moscow Times reports: “According to figures from the Russian Poultry Union, poultry meat production rose 16 percent in the first half of the year to 1.33 million tons. The group estimated that Russia imported 120,000 tons over the same period.” At 16% every six months, it would take three years for Rusisa’s meat production to merely double. A sixty-fold increase in ten? Hardly likely.
And finally, the Agriculuture Minister appears to be overlooking two facts which apparently have no significance to him, but which are probably more important to average Russians: The nation’s economy has imploded and Russians are going rapidly extinct. The impoverished and the deceased, of course, are rather famous for their moderate consumption of meat products. So a rising export surplus isn’t exactly something to be pleased about, no more than is Russia’s vast surplus of crude oil, which Russia can find no viable domestic purpose to utilize.
The world saw many of these hilariously dishonest, demented propaganda outbursts in Soviet times. It should not be surprised to see them once again, now that Russia is ruled by a proud KGB spy. But today’s Russia is far less able to sustain itself in the face of such insanity than was the USSR, and its days of doing so are clearly numbered.