JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin says he’s making Russia great again. In reality, it’s crumbling; The country has been bolstered by European disunity but that obscures a multitude of ills” – The Spectator (UK)/Owen Matthews

Kremlin and River

“[Despite the World Cup and] … patriotic hype over grand multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects like a new bridge to Crimea and shiny stadiums, Russia is crumbling. … [Russia’s own statistics indicate] 68,100 schools in 2000; 41,100 now. … 10,700 hospitals [when Putin took power, now reduced to] 5,400. … living space declared unfit for habitation has more than doubled … the numbers of bureaucrats … 1.2 million [ca. 2000, growing to] to 2.2 million [today] …. Despite years of high oil prices, Russia’s GDP … in real terms [is] smaller than … in 1990 [while] China’s economy … has more than quadrupled; America’s has nearly doubled. … Putin’s foreign adventures have left Moscow less influential in Russia’s near-abroad * * * [antagonizing Kiev, a former natural ally]  … Central Asia ha[s] been thoroughly colonised by Chinese money …. * * * There hasn’t been a major oil discovery on the Russian mainland since 1973 …. [and] to exploit offshore deposits … Moscow needs Western investment and know-how … unlikely … after a series of blatant expropriations of foreign oil companies …. [and] production at current levels requires major investment … cut off by … sanctions. …”

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