Russia’s Top 10 Problems According To A Russian Immigrant

cross eyed Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

My good friend Yuri Rashkin describes Russia’s top 10 problems on a recent Facebook post. Yuri emigrated to the U.S. as a teenager from Russia. He was also gracious enough to let me republish it.

Yuri is a community activist and musician in Janesville, Wisconsin. Yuri also lives in Janesville with his daughter. Check out Yuri’s podcast at www.discoverjanesville.com.

Russia’s Top 10 Problems:

Problems 1-6: Russia’s Economy

1. Russia became dependent on oil exports like Venezuela and now oil prices are down worldwide.

2. Sanctions are making a bad situation worse. Sanctions are also denying Russian banks access to international credit markets. The West has made it a priority in helping Ukraine. Yet, the West has refused to help Russia.

3. Ruble (not rubble, but Russian currency, though… same difference) collapse is leaving Russian people unable to pay for anything. The Ruble is worthless and Russians cannot afford cars, TVs, real estate, or even shoes. Some Russians can’t even afford food.

4. The Russian economy is coming to a full stop. Businesses also can’t figure out how to price their merchandise. Business owners don’t want to be put in a position where they can’t pay for things.

5. Russia has become extremely import dependant. Russia literally produces almost nothing except money except money to buy oil, gas, and lumber.

6. Russian economic collapses in the past have resulted in a lot of poor educated people. This collapse is different. Russia now has poor people with no education. This is thanks to Putin doing almost nothing about education or the infrastructure. Putin has also failed to improve the miserable conditions of Russian population over his 15 years in power. 

Problem 7: Putin’s Corruption Is Also A Big Problem

7. Russia is fundamentally corrupt. Crime syndicates control Russian cities. These crime syndicates also control most of the local law enforcement and the justice system. 

Russia’s entire economy is under the control of Vladimir Putin. Putin also has his hand in everything from state-run businesses to private firms. This hurts not only Russian people but also takes away appetite of any potential foreign investor. Foreign investors now consider Russia as toxic.

Problems 8-10: Ukraine

8. Russia is now openly supporting and leading the separatists in Ukraine with inept Russian troops. This is leading both to the West’s frustration and fear that Russia also does not respect international agreements. The Ukrainian situation is also resulting in an undercurrent of anger in Russia. Russian parents worry about their children being sent to die in Ukraine.  

Putin’s government is also hiding the bodies of dead Russian soldiers. In addition, families of dead soldiers are given $3 million rubles ($60,000) as hush money. This is also more money than most Russians see in their lifetime.

9. Putin has put himself in a Catch-22 with his annexation of Crimea. Putin keeps preaching the sacral value of this peninsula. This makes it impossible for Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine. Yet, sanctions against Russia by the West won’t be lifted until Crimea is given back to Ukraine.

10. Putin is either schizophrenic, power hungry, or just corrupt. He has a lifetime hold on power in Russia. He also has shown he is willing to send his subjects to die in a war to preserve his power in Russia. It is unclear if a collapse of the Russian economy will be followed by social upheaval or a coup d’etat but Russia’s future looks bleak. Furthermore, democratic reforms and an independent judiciary are badly needed. The problem is Russia has no institutional infrastructure to support it.

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