Doomsayer ‘Experts’ Still Predicting Russian Economic Collapse Despite Bustling Trade, New Infrastructure Projects

Doomsayer ‘Experts’ Still Predicting Russian Economic Collapse Despite Bustling Trade, New Infrastructure Projects by Nebojsa Malic for Russia-Insider

The cottage industry of ‘experts’ predicting the inevitable demise of Russia for years is ignoring the hard evidence of progress such as the infrastructure projects that the West is unable or unwilling to undertake itself.

The late US Senator John McCain once famously snarled that Russia is “a gas station masquerading as a country.” British scholar Robert Service – a biographer of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky – seems to echo that sentiment in his latest work, ‘Kremlin Winter’, published last month and receiving fawning reviews in mainstream Western outlets such as the Financial Times.

Judging by the reviews, Service’s book is little more than a journey through well-worn cliches about Russia popular among the experts in ‘Thinktankistan’, the league of doomsayers who have been predicting ‘Russia without Putin’ for as long as he’s been in power. He describes the Russian economy as being roughly the same size as that of the Netherlands, dependent on oil and gas exports, and not manufacturing much.

One could counter that the Russian economy is actually twice that size, or offer reams of data on its ongoing diversification.

The view of the Crimea bridge over the Kerch strait.

Problematic trends such as alcoholism, violent crime, and demographic collapse have largely been halted or reversed since the 1990s, when they emerged as a side effect of predatory privatization – pushed and praised by the very think tanks lamenting Putin for 20 years now.

In the view of Western experts, President Vladimir Putin is the one keeping Russia down while funneling money into the military. Except that he’s not, slashing the military budget in 2018 to focus more on infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Russian military has not been any less effective – the success of its Syrian expedition is one obvious example, especially contrasted to the expensive but ineffective US interventions.

Winter is commonly associated with gloom in the West (e.g. Shakespeare’s “winter of our discontent”), but the season simply does not have the same gloomy connotation in Russia. Instead, General Frost is remembered fondly as the ally against Napoleon and Hitler.

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