Last week the world heard yet another truly appalling bit of bad economic news about Putin’s Russia. In January alone, Russia saw a shocking $13 billion in capital flight. For some context, that figure was almost equal to the amount Russia lost in the first three months of 2010, and it was more than one third of the total amount Russia lost in all of 2010.
This news makes mincemeat of any claims that Russia is on the path to economic recovery. Anyone with a clue knows full well that, just as in 2008, the fact that the Russian stock market is surging carries with it no good news about Russia’s real economy. The stock market is only concerned about one thing, the price of crude oil, because the fact that Russia has oil is the economy’s only bright spot.
Intelligent people understand that Russia’s dependence on oil is a bad thing, not a good one, and they are voting with their wallets on whether Russia has a future. The vote is a landslide: Russia’ doesn’t.
We never cease to be amazed at the stark inability of the people of Russia to realize how they are being destroyed by their own government — or, realizing it, by their craven unwillingness to do anything about it.
Truly, Russia seems to us to be a nation bent on self-destruction, on suicide. A nation that has simply given up any hope of being a normal, progressive country that can offer a bright future to its children. Instead, almost it seems in a childish act of spite, Russians have thumbed their noses at the world and said that if the world won’t play by Russia’s rules, Russia will take its ball and go home.
The only problem, of course, is that the world doesn’t want or need Russia’s ball and doesn’t have any reason to play Russia’s game — no more than it had to play the USSR’s. Deluded by self-deception, like the infamous Emperor with his “new clothes,” Russians have no idea how close their nation is, once again, to collapse, so the have no chance of suffering the same fate experienced by their Soviet ancestors.