Don’t be blinded by Russia’s huge territory

By yqqlm yqqlm
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A map of Russia with crumpled edges hanging in front of my desk Almost 10 years. I am often surprised by the strange rise of the outline of the Russian territory, but most of the cities marked above have no impression.

This should not blame the reader for not being attentive, but because the Russian”essence”-the layout of the European part, is condensed on the far left of the map, and the bilingual names of Chinese and Russian marked on this side are brushed together. Is”dumping” about 45 degrees clockwise.

When I look at cities in the Asian part of Russia such as Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Khabarovsk, etc., the posture is fine, but I see Sochi, St. Petersburg, the neck will twist a lot to the right, which I am not happy.

I prefer Russian Orthodox churches and Greek-style sculptures. Of the three Russian students in the university’s dorm room, one exchanged to Saint Petersburg After studying, I came back and showed me the albums, which made me envious. Those who come back from studying abroad often say how Mao Mei is. The implication is that China is getting better and better, and the status of these boys is rising.

There are one hundred ways to look at Russia. Don’t blame the Chinese people for being more and more realistic, as if they are “seeking money”. Talking about history is easy to go up in blood, talking about economy and geography, and having a sober view of the country’s development model.

The epidemic uncovers the economic cover

Russia’s economic fundamentals over the past 20 years cannot be said to be bad.

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On June 24, 2020, Russia held a military parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War in the capital Moscow

Based on 2018 GDP data, it ranks 11th globally. And 20 years later, Putin Russia (1999) just before taking over, the total GDP is less than 200 billion US dollars, not even as good as Belgium , Only 44%of the Netherlands.

You are right, Russia’s economy was once only 44%of the Netherlands. Now, at least it is 1.8 times that of the Netherlands.

2013 was the peak of the Russian economy. At that time, its GDP was as high as 2.3 trillion US dollars, which is nearly 1.4 times that of the present. Putin is ambitious, and a major event that has not ended so far has caused Russia’s economy to dive.

This is the Russian annexation of Crimea that originally belonged to Ukraine.

The original committee is more complicated. Here we can simply say that in early 2014, anti-government riots occurred in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and pro-Russian President Yanukovych was ousted. Fearing of old problems such as the Russian Black Sea naval base in Ukraine, the Russian army entered Crimea in February. It took full control of the Crimean peninsula in early March and manipulated the local referendum on Russia.

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(March 16, 2014, Crimea The Autonomous Republic held a referendum and announced that it would leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Several states in eastern Uzbekistan also successively declared “independence”. The Ukrainian government refused to recognize the result of the referendum. The conflict between government forces and civilian armed forces in the eastern region continued. The picture shows February 20, Near the Independence Square in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, the demonstrators clashed with the Ukrainian military and police)

As a result, in a short time, Russia unilaterally completed all legal procedures and made the former Ukrainian Crimea autonomous The Republic is incorporated into the Russian Federation as the main body of the Federation of”Republic of Crimea” and”Sevastopol municipalities”.

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(From the perspective of practical interests, Crimea Located on the banks of the Black Sea, it is the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Prior to this, the Russian Black Sea Fleet had been renting the port of Sevastopol. If Ukraine ceases to lease land to Russia, the Black Sea Fleet will be homeless. The entire Black Sea, and even the influence of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean will not survive)

This offended Europe and the United States, plus the civil wars in eastern Ukraine, Russia has never lost Ningri, even if it was reached a year later. A Quartet”Minsk Agreement”.

Putin did not close, and after a year and a half of the merger of Crimea, he announced armed interference in the Syrian civil war and invested in the division of justice to fight the”Islamic State”.

This time, Europe and the United States looked at him differently, but Russia paid a lot of money to deal with extremists in the battlefield-in November of that year, a Su-24 fighter was shot down by Turkey, the following year The ambassador to Turkey was assassinated in December.

Although some arms were sold to Syria, Russia’s military consumption has also been extremely high after more than two years of fighting in Syria. Seeing that the”Islamic State” was uprooted at the end of 2017, Russia was trapped in the US-Russia investigation started in May of the same year for nearly two years-Trump has not reduced the economic sanctions on Russia, but increased it in order to avoid suspicion. A lot.

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(For more than two years of fighting in Syria, Russia’s military consumption It’s also huge-this is a Russian soldier filmed at Aleppo International Airport in Syria on December 21, 2016)

Then there was the epidemic attack and the oil price plunge. In the oil production limit negotiations, Russia wanted to talk to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia banged its head on clearing inventories and creating an”international oil price collapse”, and finally had to promise to reduce its production to a higher share.

Due to the recent suspension of production and production, the Russian economy has just resumed growth for three years and is expected to decline by 7%~8%in 2020.

The world knows that Trump is eager to restore the economy in order to seek re-election. In fact, Putin is also anxious, but Russia’s current epidemic data is fourth in the world, and the cumulative number of diagnoses is close to 700,000, an increase of 6-7 thousand cases per day. Under such circumstances, forcibly restarting the economy can only do work on the death rate of the new crown.

In addition, the United States appears to offer a reward of US$250,000 to expose fraudulent data on the Russian epidemic. The actual situation is that Russia has more than 10,000 deaths, and the mortality rate (1.5%) is about half that of India and 1/3 that of the United States.

In Russia, the deceased is eventually included in the new crown death list and must also meet a series of conditions, including the pathological anatomy process requires the presence of specific experts to operate or supervise.

The most important rule is that the direct cause of death is neocoronavirus, not a complication. There is a lot of room for human operation.

However, in the epidemic, Russia successfully held a referendum on constitutional amendments tailored for Putin’s re-election with a transparency standard slightly lower than that of the general election. The economy is”not a problem”. In other words, Russia’s national prestige can bring people happiness similar to economic growth, and make the current economic pain intolerable.

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(On January 15 this year, Putin submitted two The Court proposed amendments to the Constitution when it issued the State of the Union Address. On June 1, Putin announced that a referendum on constitutional amendments would be held on July 1.

The only shortcoming of this series of narratives is that Putin has been in charge of the country for 20 years. Afterwards, Russia is still a developing country that mainly exports primary products such as energy in terms of trade structure, and even advanced petrochemical industry has not formed; while in the post-epidemic era, traditional petrochemical energy has been seen to decline and sell at sky high prices. It’s gone forever!

Relying on arms exports? There cannot be so many battlefields to feed you for a long time in the world. Even in India, Libya, and Venezuela, it is an”impossible task” to try to open a”deep well” and dominate from now on.

A proper”landlocked country”

Some commentators pointed out that at present in Russia, in addition to the military, powerful departments and pensions In addition, the lives of other working-class people are not good, and the income of pensioners is also very low. Many people want to emigrate abroad.

Isn’t Russia’s land area the first in the world? Doesn’t it have the world’s first natural gas reserves and the world’s eighth oil reserves? Isn’t it all around the sea and accessible to the world, even if China wants to open up the “Ice Silk Road”, it needs to be immersed in the light of Russian ports?

Wait, it’s true to be surrounded by the sea on three sides, but Russia is actually a “landlocked country” in concept.

A small number of coastal cities like St. Petersburg used to be”the first of its kind”, but today’s overall business environment can only be said to make their state-owned enterprises and new oligarchs like fish. Russia has not yet had a foreign investment protection law. Except for Chinese state-owned enterprises, few large Chinese and foreign private companies have invested.

From the world map, Most of Europe is at most 300 miles away from the sea, but almost half of Russia’s land is inland. Except for the Arctic Ocean, Russia’s access to the sea is very limited. The key points of the available channels (Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Japan Sea) are under the jurisdiction of other countries. The Arctic Ocean is too far away from Russia’s densely populated areas, and a few ports are almost unusable in winter.

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Russia’s Haikou is nothing more than four:one is the Arctic OceanMurmansk, subject to freezing and geographical location, is not a major port. One is Vladivostok, but due to Russia’s presence in the Far East and Siberia and its weak population and small economic aggregate, This is not Russia’s main foreign port. The remaining one is St. Petersburg in the northwest, which is Russia’s main estuary facing Western Europe. The last one is the port of Sevastopol in the south (Source:Earth Knowledge Bureau)

A country’s access to the sea has greatly affected the country’s economic and political power.

Almost all of Russia’s population is concentrated in the western near Europe region and the southern Caucasus border. Siberia also has a small population, but the population is less than half of Moscow. The layout of Russia’s agriculture and railway network is centered on the southwestern part of the country. There are only two railway lines connecting the western near-Europe region and the eastern near-Pacific region, and the entire northern Siberia is not covered by the railway network.

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Important cities in Russia are far away from the Siberian region (Photo credit:Earth Knowledge Bureau)

In short, the basic center of gravity and key regions of the Russian state are in the west, followed by the Caucasus. Siberia covers a large area, but it is sparsely populated and has little strategic significance. Several large rivers in Siberia flow from north to south, but instead hinder the development of domestic transportation.

Most of Russia’s economic activities are centered on the western border, but they lack effective protection from natural barriers. Therefore, Russia’s national strategy naturally wants to move the border to the west as much as possible. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow lost control of the front-line countries on the eastern border of the European Peninsula. It has been a long time since the Russian border was so close to Moscow.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the three Baltic countries could no longer be approached, and the Belarusian government adopted the attitude of riding the wall. At this time, Ukraine was very crucial. Moreover, the Ukrainian border is right next to the Russian agricultural powerhouse, population center and railway hub.

So, the ongoing Ukrainian crisis in recent years has kept Russia on thin ice. It is impossible to leave Ukraine with a chance to attack it. However, now that Russia has lost the protection of the buffer zone and is facing serious economic problems, it may not be able to support its own national power if it is to counterattack the West as it did in World War II.

What’s more, for Moscow, Ukraine is near worry, Poland is far away.

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American scholar George Friedman once wrote The 100 Year Prophecy predicts that after the 2020s, the continued chaos in Russia and the further slowdown in China’s growth will cause Eurasia to fall into a power vacuum again. Poland, as the fulcrum of Europe, will serve as a pawn for the United States against Russia.

Recently, Polish President Duda proposed to Trump that he hopes to increase the size of US troops stationed in Poland. There are reports that the United States will not transfer 1,000 to Poland, but 2,000 soldiers. NATO currently has about 4,500 soldiers stationed in Poland, and they have fixed Moscow firmly, which has also put Putin’s strategic vision on the western land border for a long time.

After Putin has been in power for 20 years, Russia’s economic aggregate is not as good as a New York State in the United States, and its per capita GDP is not as good as that of China’s Guangdong Province. It seems that the reason can be found-New York State and Guangdong Province They are all truly”coastal” states and provinces, and Russia as a whole is not a”coastal power”.

Thriller story

In late June of this year, the temperature in the Russian village of Verkhyansk, Siberia, soared to 38℃, setting the highest local temperature record in more than 30 years.

European meteorologists lamented that this level of temperature anomaly only occurs once every 100,000 years.

The heat wave sweeps the Arctic Circle, and the permafrost accelerates to melt. The most affected is Russia, which has a vast ice field. Before the permafrost becomes suitable for farming, it will become unsuitable for passage, let alone long-term residence.

It is not just a problem of muddy roads. The melting of deep permafrost will cause many roads and facilities on it to be slanted and damaged, just like being swallowed by quicksand.

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In the north of Russia, the rails are deformed due to the hot melt subsidence caused by the increase in temperature

A large number of Russian oil and gas fields and oil and gas pipeline networks are built in the so-called permafrost zone. Unexpected melting of the permafrost brought great trouble to oil and gas transportation.

The cracked apartment buildings are still a small matter. At the end of May this year, a thermal power plant in Norilsk, Russia, 300 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, leaked 20,000 due to the sudden collapse of the support part of the oil storage tank. Multiple tons of diesel fuel have caused the biggest environmental disaster in the Arctic Circle.

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Norilsk Industry in Russia located in the Arctic Circle

Yong The melting of frozen soil will form a vicious cycle, such as the rapid escape of methane and carbon dioxide. The greenhouse effect of methane is 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. This will aggravate the warming of the climate, and it will cause the permafrost to release more carbon…

No wonder Russia has been late to join the”Paris Climate Agreement”, and in the”climate change adaptation” The Plan lists the risks of damage to Arctic infrastructure.

Not just carbon, but ancient viruses. In 2015, from the Siberian frozen soil, French scientists sampled a giant virus 30,000 years ago and revived it, and found that the virus can still infect single-celled amoeba.

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(July 2, 2007, several scientists The city of Salekhard in Siberia observed a body of a small mammoth found in a frozen Siberian permafrost, which is estimated to have been buried in the permafrost for about 9000 years)

A version of a horror story looks like this:

In the summer of 2016, a young boy in Siberia and 2,500 reindeer died. After dozens of people were hospitalized, the disease was confirmed as anthrax. The source of the disease was a thawed reindeer carcass, which died of an anthrax outbreak 75 years ago.

Siberia, Russia, has a hard-to-reserve part of the population. After this story spreads, will housing prices in Moscow and other big Russian cities rise again?

Siberian fate

In fact, ancient Siberia was a muddy place. The Mongolian ancestors who lived here named the place”Xi Boer” (muddy, muddy place), and the Russians translated this transliteration as”Siberia”.

The”West” Siberian Plain is a granary in Russia, but the”Middle” Siberian Plateau and the”East” Siberian Mountain are not so good. Not only are not many young Russians willing to move in, but the”brilliant flowers” of the planned economic era are also withering away.

Like Siemchang, Kadchang, Numki, Arekri and other places, due to the sharp decline in local population and the surplus population “relocating” to Europe, the entire city All the villages, as factories and farmland were abandoned, went into history and into the night.

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“The brightly lit Moscow, Kamchatka is frozen thousands of miles”

My computer screensaver is a global light map made by NASA, you can see it Under the night sky, except for a small series of cities on the Siberian railway (as well as scattered cities such as Yakutsk and Magadan) with faint light, the northern part of Russia east of the Ural Mountains is almost dark.

This area can reach 1.25 times the size of China. The”dark zone” that spans 9 time zones from east to west is also divided into many republics and border areas, but to be honest, I can change the western landlocked states of the United States from North Dakota went back to Nevada, but could not remember the names of several first-level administrative regions of the Russian Federation that were so vast.

It is estimated that Russian middle school students will also be afraid when they are in national geography classes-after all, there are 22 autonomous republics alone, and the number of similar states and border regions is even more important. Multiply by 2.5.

Especially in Siberia, where many Russians haven’t been in most of their lives, if there are more tourist attractions like Lake Baikal, it may be impressive, just like I know some states in the United States , Because the Colorado Grand Canyon is in Arizona, Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, and Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota.

But you have to ask me what is in Kamchatka and what is Chukotka, and I really can’t answer it. Presumably, Russian partners are more interested in the three palaces and four pavilions in St. Petersburg.

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(The Hermitage Museum on Palace Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Together with the Hermitage Museum, the British Museum in London, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, known as the world’s four major museums)

I can’t tell whether this belongs to”The curse of geographical resources”, but the so-called”no extra territory” of the huge Russia reminds me of a kind of Japanese quintessence-sumo. The sense of fullness gives people a visual shock, but I dare not say that letting a boxing champion with six packs of muscles challenge it will be the result.

If you ignore the surviving population strongholds, you can roughly say that most parts of Russia’s Siberia-Far East are becoming the world’s largest industrial and civilian ruins. Some people even describe that when you walk into the small cities and villages hidden in the forest, grassland and harbour, it is like entering a group of modern tombs!

It’s an exaggeration, but when the rubble of the abandoned town is buried by weeds and trees, when the factory is covered with rattan, everything is back to what it was like when the Russian conquerors first arrived more than 300 years ago. Lun Weissman envisaged in”The World Without Us” that within 500 years after the disappearance of mankind, the original reinforced steel forest collapsed completely, and the real forest ruled everything.

Yes, when the portland cement is weathered into sand, when the steel and profiles are rusted into metal slag, when the cottage is turned into wood chips and soil, ask weakly What should we do with so many unmanned areas without production?

Can it be used as a landfill for dumping nuclear waste, chemical waste and toxic substances in this world-leading nuclear power?

In reality, the Russians are rushing to the affluent west, but in the context of stagnant or even shrinking population growth across Russia, even the European part of Russia is not spared from”residential settlements” shrink”.

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On March 18, 2015, Moscow held the celebration of the first anniversary of Crimea’s entry into Russia

From Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, St. Petersburg to Krasnodar along the Black Sea, there are abandoned cities and villages everywhere; there is no equipment to be transported away, such as waste profiles, sports equipment, Camas cars, Lada cars, and even tanks and helicopters were discarded in disorder. Even if you want to move it, there is no road to transport.

Of course, free people will choose to move to a more suitable city and build a better residence. Like Sochi, the”Winter Olympic City”, a brand-new Russia goes to the world like a hibiscus.

Do not violate the free will of man, do not challenge the eternal economic laws, ignore the natural laws on the vast earth, and the non-fighting people can also be accompanied by red dust and live laid-back.

Why do you make a”criminal” on a city’s name annotation?

Author | Xie Yiqiu, Deputy Chief Editor of Nanfeng Window

Editor| Huang Jingfang

Typesetting | GINNY