Vladimir Putin has been the he-man hero of Republicans from Trump, on down to the Q-nuts, militias, right wing media, and elected officials. He is the tough guy genius leading the fight for White Christian Civilization against the woke, multicultural, gay, liberal mob. Putin and his band of thugs are the very embodiment of toxic masculinity, cruelty, corruption, and violence – all traits that Trump and his minions worship and seek to emulate. If Trump and his Republican party get control of the government we can look forward to a society and economy modeled on the Putin model. So what sort of economy and society did Putin and his kleptocrats deliver to Russian citizens before the war and the sanctions? What does the Republican’s White Christian Utopia look like?

Russia gave Putin a lot to work with. The Russian Federation has by far the largest landmass of any country on the planet. It’s almost double the size of the USA or China, the world’s two largest economies. Russia is one of the world’s biggest producers of oil and gas. Russia is a major producer of cobalt, chrome, copper, gold, lead, manganese, nickel, platinum, tungsten, vanadium, and zinc. It has one of the biggest fishing fleets in the world and it has the world’s largest forest reserves. In an age where freshwater resources are becoming more and more scarce, Russia possesses one-fifth of the world’s freshwater reserves.

That vast landmass and wealth of resources support a population of 144 million, less than half of the population of the USA. Russia inherited a world-class population of applied mathematicians, computer programmers, and engineers from its Soviet era, and today Russian software developers are the equal of their counterparts in the West. Russia’s great contributions to music, the arts, and literature are recognized around the world.

Russia certainly has all the ingredients needed to build a competitive economy. So what has Putin built? Russia ranks #11 behind South Korea, Canada, and Italy. Those countries have populations a third the size of Russia. The USA has an economy 14x larger than that of Russia. Worse, the Russian economy is totally dependent on oil and gas. Rather than having a world-class diversified economy, Russia is just another petrostate.

Along with a second-rate economy, Russia’s population is in decline..

“In 1992, Russia’s population entered a period of negative growth—that is, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births combined with the number of immigrants.”

“By 1994, mortality rates for males between ages 15 and 64 were about twice as high as they had been in 1986. Rising alcoholism and related conditions have figured prominently in this trend.”

“Russia’s rates of homicide and suicide are among the highest in the world. In addition, deaths from illness and chronic and degenerative diseases, such as cancer, respiratory failure, and circulatory and cardiovascular diseases, have increased sharply.”  
Russia’s Demographic ‘Crisis’

This past year the Russian population shrunk by more than a million as incompetent handling of the COVID epidemic combined with the above-mentioned demographic trends resulted in what was the biggest ever population decline in peacetime. Declining fertility rates, a dysfunctional health care system, massive increases in substance abuse, suicides, and violence. Not the stats of a healthy, thriving society or economy.

Corruption
Russia has had the lowest rating of any European country in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for years. Putin’s kleptocracy has looted the wealth and resources of Russia hobbling its economy and stifling opportunity and growth.

In comparison, some independent experts maintain that corruption consumes as much of 25 percent of Russia’s GDP. A World Bank report puts this figure at 48 percent.

There is also an interesting shift in the main focus of bribery: whereas previously officials took bribes to shut their eyes to legal infractions, they now take them simply to perform their duties.
– Corruption in Russia as a Business

The consequences of this have been starkly illustrated in the state of the Russian military. It has been gutted by theft and corruption from the top to the bottom.

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No wonder Russia’s economy is performing so far below its potential. And this was before sanctions! The combination of sanctions and Putin’s new repressive measures have taken Russia back 70 years to the nightmare years under Stalin. Russians are fleeing Russia in droves. More than 200,000 since the start of the war. 70,000 Russian IT professionals have left the country, another 100,000 could leave in a month according to estimates by the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC).

Then there is Putin’s foreign policy. Flagrant disregard for international law and the sovereignty of neighboring countries. Bullying, threats, and intimidation are backed up by war crimes and violence. This long depraved history has now culminated in Putin threatening WW3 and the destruction of humanity over his failing military adventure in Ukraine.

If I had to describe Putin’s Russia in one sentence? It’s a red state on steroids.

It’s our future if the Republicans get the reins of power. Ukrainians are dying to defend freedom. All we have to do is vote and get everyone we know to vote.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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