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No matter how hard the Kremlin’s mouthpieces tried to smooth out the corners (even having received ₽1 million for the development of journalism), this year was a failure for Russia in all directions. The empire passes into the next decade significantly weakened.
The most severe economic crisis was caused not so much by the coronavirus pandemic and the thievery of the authorities, but by defeats in foreign markets. The unprofitableness of the main raw material giants Rosneft and Gazprom, formed at the beginning of the year, predetermined the shallowing of the budget, while the firm seat on the oil needle and sanctions made it impossible to diversify revenues and deepened the technological gap. Given that Putin was personally involved in the decision on the deal with OPEC, responsibility for the consequences of the “price war” lies not only with Novak and Sechin. Miller also distinguished himself from the same side – by 2015 he was supposed to complete the full gasification of the regions, today the plan has been fulfilled by 70%, by 2030 they want to reach 85%. But the main thing is that he did not fill the Power of Siberia and drained the Turkish Stream.
On the one hand, the financial drawdown is good news. Putin will have less money for imperial wars. On the other hand, the burden of the president’s geopolitical fetish will now completely fall on the shoulders of the “deep people”, which this year began to die out at a record rate over the past 14 years. In any case, the Kremlin will be forced to minimize its participation in various conflicts. But he will leave Ukraine alone last.
The picture is the same with technological development. Contrary to Putin’s bragging at the press conference, not all missiles take off, Bulava does not find the right course, and problems arise with the control of nuclear reactors. Experts say that the Su-57 generation 4 ++ fighter against the F-32 should not even be raised into the air. In this regard, the success of the development and production of the latest laser systems and attack UAVs for the rearmament of the Russian army also raises great doubts. Technological lag has been recognized for several years in a row, even in the Kremlin. Because of this, accidents will be more frequent, and the consequences are more severe. The Russian ISS module siphoning for half a year and the negligible number of space launches this year (17) are just a partial confirmation of this.
The topic of ecology has also become one of the central topics this year. Technogenic accidents due to slovenliness and triviality have covered almost the entire territory of Russia. “Uranium tails” to boot. And the lies of officials only fueled the negative attitude of people towards the oligarchs and the federal government.
Moscow’s foreign policy has also suffered a series of pretentious defeats. The blitzkrieg in Belarus apparently failed, the allied Armenia was defeated in the war with Azerbaijan, as a result of which Turkey ousted Russia in regional leadership in the Caucasus. Serbia has applied to join the EU, and Germany has ceased to be a conductor of Russian interests in Europe. As a result, almost everyone turned away from the Russian Federation, leaving Moscow with only one opportunity – to poison with propaganda and bribe, pouring billions of loans into false allies to the detriment of the well-being of its own population. Russia’s position is no longer heeded and its opinion is not taken into account. This is not the only fault of Lavrov and Zakharova, they are performers.
A separate article of foreign policy is to endure the vaccine race. Despite the primacy in development and registration, further scandals with the efficiency and unfinished testing of Sputnik V, as well as the lack of capacity for mass production, threw Russia to the end of the ratings of the “saviors of humanity” and scientifically developed countries. The priority of modest supplies to Argentina and Venezuela, to the detriment of providing the regions, only worsened Moscow’s image and revealed the propaganda essence of drug development. However, this was predictable from the very beginning.
The use of battle poison to eliminate Alexei Navalny was the last straw in the patience of the collective West. If at the beginning of the year the democratic coalition assumed (promoted) a soft transition of power in the Kremlin, now it will only be satisfied with the complete elimination of the regime and a change in Russia’s course. Neither Washington nor Brussels any longer hopes for the observance of the international law by the Putin system, or even for elementary standards of decency on the world stage. This is noticeable if only because the West is no longer interested in seeing Moscow as a reliable partner. Repentance from the bunker is no longer expected, but they are trying to bring to justice not only the executors, but also the customers. And this concerns not only Navalny – Putin managed to splash himself with blood in many countries of the world.
The topic of the health of the President of the Russian Federation and his ability to fully fulfill the functions of the commander-in-chief and coordinator of intra-system relations came to the fore at the very end of the year. The built image of a strong, strong and wise leader faded, waking up the forces that had slept before, which began to rush to power while the emperor was still alive. It is already clear to everyone that Putin has weakened. And given the vertical sharpness of the system, the whole of Russia has weakened. Smelling the throne in the struggle for influence and remaining resources, the “Kremlin towers” entered direct confrontation, presenting the world with a series of resonant revelations of Putin’s inner circle and each other, which affected him.
In this case, constitutional reform and zeroing of the deadlines look like agony. Realizing this, the Kremlin went into deep digging and pouring additional concrete over the bunker in the hope of protecting itself from the upcoming invasion of the “Pechenegs and Polovtsy”. On the penultimate day of the year, Putin signed the most necessary laws – on ban, on deprivation, on nondisclosure, on tightening, on blocking, on criminal liability and on fines. This is, albeit a very shortened, but quite informative announcement of the authorities’ reaction to internal challenges next year. This was created by a record surge of protest sentiments that tame sociological agencies are unable to hide. Despite attempts to defuse popular anger through a series of revelations and arrests of officials, Russia continues to gain pressure. Harsh persecution of non-systemic opposition instead of dialogue adds fuel to the fire. The hastily created legal framework refers to the “enemies of the people” almost any citizen of the Russian Federation who does not hunch over at the sight of the owner and dare to look up from the floor. The system independently digs a “political grave” for itself.
Considering that systemic crises are acquiring the scale of catastrophes, and also taking into account the upcoming transit of power and elections to the State Duma next year, we can safely say that 2020 was a prelude for Russia. Truly epochal events should be expected in 2021.