Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mixed feelings

I have recently read stories about how Russia's farming economy has recovered and made Russia a leading exporter of grains.  After all the nastiness that has come out of Russia in recent years -- aggression in the Crimea and Ukraine, violent homophobia, corruption, the assassination of Nemtsov and the repressions of others -- it has become easy to root against Russia on all fronts, even for those of us with a long historical engagement with the region. But I find myself somehow heartened by the idea that Russia might actually have an economic 3rd act that is not related to extractive industries and general petrokleptocracy.

The fact is, Russians are not all bad, and in general people don't understand the sacrifices that the nation made in WWII. Estimates run as high as 26 million Russians dead in the war.  This out of a population of about 200 million at the beginning of the war.  Estimates run as high as 1.3 million of Russians born during the war who died before 1945. Ponder that.

These are big numbers, much bigger than any other nation in absolute terms (I'm not sure how it nets out on a percentage basis).  Gotta hop.

No comments: