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Russia: More Babies, Less Oil
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April 22, 2008: Russia is reversing its population decline, which began before the Cold War ended, and accelerated after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Births were up 14 percent last year (to 1.6 million), over 2006. At its worst, a few years ago, the Russian population was declining 750,000 a year. A growing economy, more health consciousness and more pro-family laws have all contributed to this. Still, it will be another decade or two before the decline will halt. By then, the Russian population will be under 140 million. It went down 200,000 last year, to 142 million. At this rate, it would  be under 100 million by 2050. That, however, is being reversed.

 

Russia will not go to war if Georgia or Ukraine join NATO, but will be unhappy with such a move. This could lead to more troops on the borders. Russia doesn't get it, that neighbors want to join NATO for protection from Russia. Historically, being a neighbor of Russia has not been a good thing.

 

Russian oil production is declining, after peaking at 9.86 million barrels a day. This came about because, during the re-nationalization of the oil industry over the last decade, there was a sharp drop in money spent on oil exploration. Foreign banks were reluctant to invest the enormous amounts of money needed (about a trillion dollars) when Russia was so blatantly violating property rights. Russia will either have to fund the exploration itself (which will mean less money for other economic expansion projects) or allow foreign investors more control of their Russian investments.

 

April 21, 2008: Georgia released video showing a Russian MiG-29 firing a missile at a Georgian UAV over Abkhazia. Russia denied it. Russia has troops stationed in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. Relations between Russia and Georgia have not been good since the Cold War ended, and Georgia (which is just south of Chechnya) became independent.

 

April 4, 2008: The U.S. sponsored ballistic missile defense system in Eastern Europe is a done deal. Russia is not happy, but has agreed to tolerate it. The system is mainly to protect Europe from Iranian missiles.

 

April 3, 2008: In Belarus, pro-democracy demonstrations resulted in police raids on independent media that reported it. Some 30 journalists were arrested, and the independent media got the message. Russia is a little more subtle in this department, but not by much.

 

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arodrig6    Good Fences...   4/22/2008 11:37:58 AM
"Russia doesn't get it, that neighbors want to join NATO for protection from Russia. Historically, being a neighbor of Russia has not been a good thing."

Also, Russia is suspicious of its neighbors, citing invasions in WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. To them, NATO is still an organization design to invade Russia and take its oil.
 
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kensohaski       4/22/2008 2:27:36 PM
Russia paranoid?  Say it isn't so!
 
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MoJoe       4/24/2008 12:45:09 PM
"Russia doesn't get it, that neighbors want to join NATO for protection from Russia."
Which is why 53% of Ukrainians don't want to join NATO while 21% support the idea?
 
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displacedjim       4/24/2008 4:25:47 PM

"Russia doesn't get
it, that neighbors want to join NATO for protection from Russia."

Which is why 53% of Ukrainians don't want to join NATO while 21% support the idea?

 
No, by definition.  So far they are a neighbor that doesn't want to join NATO, so they can't want to join NATO for protection.
 
 
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zpaladin    Babies named Mohammed   4/25/2008 12:19:37 AM
Yes, Russians are having more babies, but not ethnic Russians.
http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2005/08/predicting-a-majority-muslim-russia.html

The fertility rate for Tatars living in Moscow, for example, is six children per woman, Goble said, while the Chechen and Ingush communities are averaging 10 children per woman. And hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have been flocking to Russia in search of work. Since 1989, Russia's Muslim population has increased by 40 percent to about 25 million. By 2015, Muslims will make up a majority of Russia's conscript army, and by 2020 a fifth of the population. "If nothing changes, in 30 years people of Muslim descent will definitely outnumber ethnic Russians," Goble said.

When a demographic vacuum forms, it gets filled in. We worry about Iran and the "Islamic bomb" but what will happen when Muslims make up a majority of the Strategic Rocket Corps, which controls half the world's nuclear weapons? How hard would it be for one or two to "disappear" and end up with Hamas or Al-Qaeda?

 
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Lance Blade    zpaladin   4/26/2008 6:13:41 AM
I think there's muslims and then there's muslims. Uzbeks and Tatars are rather different ethnically and religiously I believe, to Persians. Or Arabs for that matter. Arguing like that is like saying that America is run by crusaders, which is why they're so involed in the Middle East. Which I suppose you could make a case for, if you really wanted to, but...
 
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