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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Current Events > Russia, Central Asia, and The Caucasus

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Russia, Central Asia, and The Caucasus Post-Soviet Russia and some neglected smaller neighbors.

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  #16  
Old 26 May 16, 17:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Epigon View Post
Siberia is definitely not going anywhere, either as a geographic term, or the region. No popular support for it, no political or economic justification. Tatarstan was problematic during the worst period, but was kept inside Russian Federation despite being an independent republic in all but name.

The Baltic countries, although beautiful (both the land and the ladies) have no resources of note.

Chechnya is bought and pacified, and the Russians would have been better off had they amputated the Caucasian cancer altogether, with their tribalism, backwardness and unique blend of religion and organised crime. Unfortunately, the interests of common Russians are not the same as the interests of the elite and state, so the oil reserves and strategic position prevailed. Georgia is an American ally, the USA recently held joint exercises there. The country has no noteworthy natural resources.

Azerbaijan has the most oil and gas reserves, and Russia has an uneasy relationship with them. Despite being dominantly Shia, they are Turkish allies and mortal enemies of Armenians, another Russian ally. Interestingly, Russia sold and sells weapons to both sides, attracting criticism from both, but keeping at least some control levers.

The central Asian -stans are a varied bunch, Kazakhstan being the most interesting for Russia. There might be trouble in the future there, in my opinion.
Interesting.
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  #17  
Old 27 May 16, 03:20
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Originally Posted by Prospekt Mira View Post
so of the 378B of exports only some 19B (Mechanical, Inorg Chems & electronics) or 5% have some significant value added.

In Ukraine the 38B (which was already depressed due to the 2013 trade war imposed by Moscow) included some 4B in machinery/automotive and 2B in medications or almost 16% value added.
These are incomplete stats. In 2015 exports of machines and equipment was 25 billion $ (just comparable with total Ukrainian export). I strongly doubt that it was much smaller previously. Anyway, that is my point exactly: oil&gas export easily exceeds all other items. Expectations that some other area on the international market with a similar capacity can be found in the immediate perspective are simply unrealistic.
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russia's problem is that she has managed to get a case of Norwegian disease without any of the real benefits accruing to the majority of its citizens.
You just have to watch the number of cars on the streets (and compare it with situation 15 years ago) to see that it's not true. The drastic improvement of common people' lives after 2000 is strikingly obvious.
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  #18  
Old 27 May 16, 05:10
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Originally Posted by Artyom_A View Post
You just have to watch the number of cars on the streets (and compare it with situation 15 years ago) to see that it's not true. The drastic improvement of common people' lives after 2000 is strikingly obvious.
Which mostly is a gauge of what a mess the Russian economy was prior to it, and of how much unused capacity there was. There isn't anymore, so then the question is where the Russian economy can head form here. The thing of course is that without a ton of reforms, the situation of growth and gradual improvement is no longer sustainable. Whether it will be sklerotic zero-growth or even going in reverse is hard to gauge.

It's still overwhelmingly likely to mean a missed opportunity for Russia — that it should have used the revenue from energy for over a decade for investment (which it didn't, and arguably possibly that never could work in Russia, since it's national finances is more of a redistributive economy than a market one, and shifting from one to the other isn't a given, and will be opposed by vested interests). And it was missed because Russian politics under Putin understands and approves of raw materials extraction, which is relatively easy to control, while the more high-performing versions of a modern economy are not.

There has been a growing pie to share. That's a always a sweet spot to be in. Now the looming question is rather what happens when the pie stops growing, possibly even god forbid shrinking some? At least until it's worked out to make it grow again. Since presumably that's what the majority want? (Since there will always be those who think getting more of the stagnant pie is what's best for them, and screw everyone else.)
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  #19  
Old 27 May 16, 07:22
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And it was missed because Russian politics under Putin understands and approves of raw materials extraction, which is relatively easy to control, while the more high-performing versions of a modern economy are not.
I'm afraid you have little idea about the modern oil industry. Basically it's not less complex and demanding on technologies than most other areas, and I would say certainly more complex and demanding than writing apps for smartphones. The real problem is that the price of products is subject to huge fluctuations. Then Russian economy under Putin was run by the same gang of liberal economists as most Europe or USA. That those guys have run out of ideas and are just endlessly repeating mantras about "market economy" is pretty clear to a critical observer.
And, no, oil&gas are not dominant part of Russian economy. They are dominant part of Russian export which is a different thing. As I said it is simply unrealistic to expect that any other product would substitute them in any foreseeable future. Alternatives to export are pretty clear: either orientation to internal market or (and) less dependence on import.
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  #20  
Old 27 May 16, 10:23
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Oil and gas form the dominant part of the Russian government revenues. Other areas of the Russian economy so far get a desultry and insufficient look-to. They're not particularly jumping certainly.

And energy like that IS simpler than just about any other economic activity as far as the ability to exert political control over it is concerned, which matters in the Russian case.

But it is a problem that Russia is a technology importer regarding oil and gas extraction technology. It's extraction procedures are relatively inefficient, and currently it has problems securing this kind of crucial tech to improve efficiency — for political reasons.

So, can't maintain itself on current tack, can't get the tech to upgrade, can't change tack either due to lack of revenue to invest in doing things different.

Potentially Russian business should be able to pull itself up by its shoe-strings, as private enterprise outside Russian government control. That's not happening though. And it would require the political leadership to create certain necessary ground-rules that would allow for trying that. For reasons of political control, that hasn't happened yet and don't look like they will happen soon. (Would require a kind of hands-off approach in a certain sense. And a better working legislative system.)

Russia's overriding problems stem from its brand of politics. The erosion of Russian institutions of government, aside from presidential power, in latter years tend to be pointed out as aggravating the situation.
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Old 27 May 16, 13:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan Banér View Post
Oil and gas form the dominant part of the Russian government revenues.
Not dominant, but a large one. And that is partly a result of deliberate construction of taxation and other revenues some years back. It was just simpler to take revenues in oil companies, because production and export were accountable.
The rest of the post is some meaningless stream of consciousness IMO. If you guys own some secret for faster-than-light economical growth you are better to demonstrate it on yourselves rather than embark on endless lectures. By far this level of bravado is in contrast with quite a sluggish progress of US and European economy and accumulation of obvious economical and social problems in recent years.
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  #22  
Old 27 May 16, 16:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artyom_A View Post
Not dominant, but a large one.
About 50%. Has been for years. So — dominant. Nothing else come even close.

As for whether you like any of the rest — well, it's easier to play catch-up than continue to grow an economy for already high levels of performance, except Russia isn't catching up. And there is so far scant evidence of Russia actually diversifying its economy.

Stuck squarely in the "middle income trap" for the forseeable future in other words.
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  #23  
Old 31 May 16, 12:11
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Originally Posted by Johan Banér View Post
About 50%.
Nope. Hint: what is a difference between a federal and a state budget?
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As for whether you like any of the rest — well, it's easier to play catch-up than continue to grow an economy for already high levels of performance, except Russia isn't catching up.
Why so?
In 1999 GDP (PPP) per capita in USA - 34 620 $, in Russia - 5 914 $ or 17%
In 2014 USA - 54 630, Russia - 22 990 $ or 42%:
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD
Throughout 2000s Russia demonstrated generally faster economical growth than USA or EU. Now the situation is different, of course, and the question of producing fast economical tempos comes to the fore again. Still "the West" if we discard all those tons of boasting and look at actual performance is not the place where one should look for answers. Nor I really believe in effect of liberal phrases about ground rules and political control. I would rather believe that human sacrifices to gods of economy would have more effect.
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  #24  
Old 31 May 16, 13:48
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Using your figures
russian GDP 1999 $5,914
russian GDP 2014 $22,990
increase 3.88x

Avg. Oil Price 1999 $23.42/bbl
Avg. Oil Price 2014 $112/bbl
increase 4.78x

result, Russian economic growth in interim years actually shrunk since growth due to oil price outpaced economic growth as a whole.

situation actually a little worse since the population of Russia actually declined from 147m (1999) to 142m (2014), as a result the 2014 GDP benefits from having a smaller denominator. At any rate, considering how bad 1999 was any policy outside of outright civil war or Martian invasion would result in some growth.
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  #25  
Old 31 May 16, 15:20
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Originally Posted by Prospekt Mira View Post
result, Russian economic growth in interim years actually shrunk

I wish it would shrink the same way for another decade or two.
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  #26  
Old 31 May 16, 16:07
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Worth to add that since the crisis start the oil price declined about 2 times, at times being just 30% of the per-crisis level. Yet the Russian GDP decreased by about 4% (April 2016 compared with April 2014). Ergo: the Russian economy measured against the oil price was growing fast as a rocket ()
I repeat again: oil is only a part of the Russian economy, important but still a part.
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  #27  
Old 31 May 16, 18:06
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The general problem with petro-economies tends to be that it leaves the general incentive structure to do much of anything else shot to hell. Russia certainly isn't the worst example of this, but it is still an example.

Not enough incentive on the part of the Russian government to do things different — most of all as and if that requires more profound changes to the model of "governmentality" adopted under Putin. (Not that the signs weren' there already under Yeltsin — who opened fire on the bleedin' parliament even...)
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Old 01 Jun 16, 07:43
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Don't know about "general trend" but it's certainly true regarding the Russian government especially its financial-economical block. Curiously enough this block had always been the most liberal and pro-Western part of the government with all that typical rhetoric about "free market", "globalization", "monetarism", "institutional reforms" etc. For a long time a teaching of Ministry of Finance was that too fast an economical growth is bad, investment to Russian economy are harmful, and oil revenues are better to be used to buy US treasury bonds. I'm not kidding, that was their official doctrine indeed.
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Old 07 Jun 16, 13:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artyom_A View Post
Don't know about "general trend" but it's certainly true regarding the Russian government especially its financial-economical block. Curiously enough this block had always been the most liberal and pro-Western part of the government with all that typical rhetoric about "free market", "globalization", "monetarism", "institutional reforms" etc. For a long time a teaching of Ministry of Finance was that too fast an economical growth is bad, investment to Russian economy are harmful, and oil revenues are better to be used to buy US treasury bonds. I'm not kidding, that was their official doctrine indeed.
well there is some truth about too fast of economical growth. which then leads to crash.

.
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Old 08 Jun 16, 15:49
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108 000 cars and light trucks were sold in Russian market in May 2016 or 14.5% less than a year ago. Total sales in the first five month of this year - 548 000, 14.7% less than in 2015. Production 9 of 10 vehicles sold is localized in Russia. Avtovaz company is still a biggest seller with 20 600 machines sold this May. Experts expect the market to stay on the same level or even to grow slightly to the end of the year:
https://lenta.ru/news/2016/06/08/aeb/
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