Vladi(I)mperium worries

Security & Defense

  • After Russia’s 2008 “successful” campaign in Georgia was decided that the size of  it’s armed forces would be cut from 1,2m to about 1m. Today the true figure is more like 700,000. The officer corps was to be slimmed by almost 50% and the creation of well-trained NCOs became a priority
  • Military service for conscripts is only 1 year.
  • Corruption on the defense sectors accounts for 1/3 of the equipment budget.
  • In 2010 a 10-year program worth of $720 billion was launched. By comparison only in 2012 US defense spending was roughly $830 billion although by terms of percentage of GDP,  in 2012 Russia outspended oncle Sam by 4,47%  Vs 4,35%. The Bear’s defense spending has nearly doubled since 2007 and accounts for over 20% of all public spending.. In 2014, will rise by 18,4%.
  • The defense industry remain quasi-Soviet, inefficient and riddled with corruption. Until the T-50 stealth fighter appears in small numbers towards the end of the decade, the main-stay of the air force will remain upgraded SU-27 and MiG-29s that first flew in the 1970s.

Demographics

  • Between 1993-2010, Russia’s population shrank from 148,6 million to 141,9 million (5% drop). Russia in 2014 will be classed 10th/226 in death rate (just above Swaziland-11th). US is 95th whilst Greece is 34th.
  • In 2009, life expectancy at age of 15 was more then 2 years below it’s level in 1959, barely higher than Senegal.
  • Child abandonment. In 2011, more then 400,000 Russian children below 18 years of age lived in residential care, meaning that almost 1 child of 70 was in an orphanage.
  • Between 2001 and 2025, the median age in Russia will rise by almost 2 days every week, from 38,7 years to 42,4 years. Russians 65 and older now makes 13% and in 2025 will compose 19% of the population. By comparison the US will reach this 19% in 2050.

sources: The Economist, Foreign Affairs Mag, CIA factbook, Pew Research Center report.

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