So it is no secret that Russia is in trouble. Its economy is shrinking, it has no credit, it has is trying bail out its key state Bank
Russian Bank Bailout
. It has announced
in the middle of its attempt to reform its aging military defense spending cuts by 5%.
Russia Defense cuts
of all the things like the drop in the Rubel,
inflation, rising food prices, new taxes etc. The most telling is defense cuts. Rebuilding the military has been Putin's number one goal. However
with Russia's economy now slightly smaller than Mexico's, World economy
it is trying to remain a world military power.
If you are Russia you have a few big problems.
1. The Russian economy. Mostly dependent on natural gas and oil it is in a free fall with no likely change anytime soon. American fracking, Iran, Iraq
and Libya increasing production everyday and the economic slow down in China reducing demand means oil and natural gas prices are not going up again
for a long time. Outside of that Russia sells weapons, food and not much else. Its problems in its defense industry has meant that while it can design
very capable modern war systems it can not build them in any large quantity with any quality. This had lead to the loss of key arms deals with places
like India. When it comes to small arms Russia still builds some of the best but, China has been stealing markets with cheaper clones. The economy
needs big fixes.
2. Ukraine/Crimea. Russia has alienated most of the World through its actions in Ukraine and Crimea. With only Afghanistan, Cuba, Nicaragua, North
Korea, Syria and Venezuela recognizing Crimea as part of Russia, a huge problem stands. Crimea itself is a huge mess and requires ton of money to get
back on its feet, money Russia does not have. On top of that Russia has to remain in Eastern Ukraine or Ukraine will take it back from the nearly non
existent rebel forces. Meanwhile Ukraine has Western aid pouring in and to make matters worse they have Chinese aid as well along with China jump
starting Ukraine's defense industry with joint projects, helping an enemy and creating yet another competitor against Russian arms sales. And
sanctions from Ukraine has cut off much needed western cash at a time Russia needs it more than ever. Ukraine has to be solved, sanctions must end.
3. Defense spending. The Russian military needs massive reforms and they have been working on them. It is however very expensive. Imagine Mexico
trying maintain a massive military, that is the position Russia is in. Russia desperately needs a small professional military that can stand on a
modern battlefield, That however requires money and almost nobody wants to join the military. So 1 year conscripts are used as a band aid. In
response to Russian actions in Ukraine and posturing against NATO and neutral European states NATO has become more unified and increased defense
spending, already out numbering Russia 7 to 1 that is the last thing Russia needs. Not to mention Sweden and Finland becoming unofficial members of
the alliance. The military needs reforms but, their is no money for it.
4. Lack of international support. With friends like these who needs enemies. Russia few friends in the world seem to lack any loyalty to Russia at
all. Nations like Syria which are propped up by Russia offer nothing in exchange. India, Cuba, Venezuela and Vietnam have all began moving toward
the US. Belarus and the other former Soviet Republics are all feeling their way either towards the West or China. Iran and Russia had common cause in
Syria but, rifts about who should be in control of Syria Iran or Russia has cooled refashions that were already troubled by Iran's pledge to flood
the oil and natural gas markets. Even Serbia who has claimed neutrality between NATO and its longtime ally Russia has even seen the writing on the
wall signing a cooperation agreement with NATO allowing NATO forces to access to Serbia. And while Serbia will not be joining NATO it clearly sees
Russia as weak and NATO as the only game in town. And China. China has always been Russia's great hope. China however has failed to support Russia
in Ukraine and Crimea and in fact has been aiding Ukraine. China failed to support Russia in Syria. And when things heated up between Turkey and
Russia? China stepped in, with trade and coordination deals for Turkey to grab the trade Russia would be losing. China seems to see no problem with
taking advantage of Russia's problems knowing Russia is helpless to do anything about it. Russia was once a key player among the Arab States and
Africa but has lost all that to the West. Russia needs a global reset.
Those would be some of Russia's biggest problems. Now what do they do? What would you do? This is not a place to bash Russia for getting itself
into this mess it simply a question of how do they get out of it?
Do you give up Crimea and Ukraine to get that much needed Western capital? How would you do that and not loose face? How do you fix your global
image? What do you do with your military? How do you reform your economy? How do you deal with the Chinese who have done nothing to help bail you
out of your economic problems and instead have used the time to steal your markets and trade with your enemies. How do you keep the remaining former
Soviet Republics in your sphere of influence away from the West or China? Do you rebuff China and the West and go it alone? Do become a junior
partner to the West or China giving up your great power status for protection and aid? Do you double down and keep on the same path? As the unrest
spreads throughout Russia how do you handle it?
Keep in mind before you happily write off Russia, on what a Russian collapse would mean. Refugees flooding Europe in numbers unseen. Nukes that
could end up anywhere. Military equipment that could end up anywhere. A likely collapse of most of the former Soviet Republics. This scenario so
frightened the West in the 1990s that the West paid to keep Russia nuclear forces funded and its defense industry afloat and gave Russia a seat with
the G7. If your the West do you step in and help Russia if things get bad?
Does somebody new have to step in and denounce everything Putin did so they can end things like Ukraine by painting Putin as a villain like the
Soviets did with Stalin? Giving them a fresh start? Can Putin some how fix things himself? Where would you begin?