Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Russia's Hubris....it will come back to haunt them

Today's NYT headlines that "Russia's Recognition of Georgian Areas Raises Hopes of Its Own Separatists". Back in the day, with the breakup of the USSR, Yeltsin encouraged regions to assume sovereignty. Many of these regions seized this opportunity. Unfortunately (initially for the new Russia, but ultimately for the regions themselves), these areas contained mineral wealth that the new Russia wanted/needed and when Putin materialised out of the KGB and onto the national stage, he squashed these budding independents with ferocity (think Chechnya). Many of these areas are now taking courage from the Russian support of Ossetia and Abkhazia to make moves to separation. As one voice of opposition noted, that while Russia can try to squash these movements, ultimately, "The seeds of self-destruction are built into the authoritarian system. It is Moscow's mistake".
And if this does not do Russia in, then alcoholism and smoking surely will. The Russian government does not dare to put limits on smoking (see NYT) because The People like their nicotine and booze...numbs the effects of contemplating their corrupt and strong-arming politicians. So, they have the 4th highest per capita smoking rate in the world, their males have a life expectancy of 60....maybe, those who don't have lung or liver cancer get strung out on heroin, and, don't even mention the AIDS epidemic!

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