Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Let's consider a topic I have not yet written about--Russia.

To understand the misalliance, we must look back over time.

The economic problems in Russia go back to before the Bolsheviks.  One of the reasons for the economic decline is the absence of primogeniture in Czarist Russia.  Feel free to Google the topic.

The second reason is the failure of leadership to understand that while propaganda may fool some foreigners, it won't fool the citizens.  They must live under the conditions as they are, not as they are defined or described.  In short--when everyone owns everything, no one owns anything.  Reported in the news over four decades ago.  Eighty-five percent of the food grown in the Soviet Union is grown on fifteen percent of the land. We are not discussing surficial geology.  We are talking about the 15% of the land allocated to the farmer for his personal use.  This was a problem the Pilgrims confronted in Colonial New England.  They resolved the issue more expediently.  (Change or starve.)

With this much established, a centralised government, provided little or no opportunity for the independence that fosters creativity.  However, there is more.  The lessons of the revolution.  For those who read Danton's Death by Georg B├╝chner: The Lessons of the Revolution: "They are suspect, we are suspect, all are suspect."

However, the Soviet Union is no longer in business.  Today, President Vladimir Putin is moving Russia into a free-market economy, moving Russia into the WTO. These are positive moves.  However, what happened in between?

Russia had a startling success with Sputnik in 1957. However, it was not long before the U.S. put a man into space and a man on the Moon.

Soon after, we saw some rather iconic images.   The Gdansk Shipyard Strike. Then:  Ronald Reagan, a President of Mythic  Proportions single-handedly tearing down the Berlin Wall. The collapse of the Soviet Union. And, most poignantly, the unbridled success of China's economy.  Too, there was the reunification of Germany and the stark contrasts that were revealed. 

The problem President Putin has in his efforts to move the Russian economy forward and upward is this simple--he must contend with the fact that there are still a few members of the Old Soviet Guard who "remember a better time".  

Quite frankly, I believe President Putin will succeed.  Still, globally, there are many old wounds that have not yet healed.  Many slights, embarrassments, "awkward moments" in diplomacy.  The "companionable" silence.  Complicity in excruciatingly polite behaviour. And, there is another factor:

"It is a universal condition: We refuse to accept that all alliances and enmities are transitory." Slim Fairview.  From The Quotations of Slim Fairview.




Copyright (c) 2012 Slim Fairview
All rights reserved. 

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