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The Russian mentality: fear of enslavement and the Resource Curse

The Russian mentality: fear of enslavement and the Resource Curse
Article by: Nina Jobe

Alfred Kokh had a long piece on his Facebook page yesterday about the Russian mentality, and Russian fears.  He wrote:

Among the typical phobias of Russians… there is a fear of conquest.  This is one of the foundations of our mentality: we want to win.

This fear is divided into two parts:

  1. fear of [natural] resources [and the rents from them] being taken away [known as the Resource Curse]; and
  2. fear of enslavement.

The first fear is just delusional, Kokh says, because such a threat does not exist.  Prices are controlled by markets, and there are no new markets for Russia to expand into.

And why would another country invade Russia when they can purchase the natural resources so cheaply?

“The total volume of Russian exports (assuming that this is all raw materials) is about $400 billion per year.  Suppose the profit is 25% of that figure.  Therefore, a potential conquerer would only gain $100 billion a year in profit.

How much would a war with Russia cost?  It is impossible to estimate!  But it is clear that it will cost at least more than the American war against Iraq.  And that cost between $800 and $1000 billion in direct costs.  Apart from human losses on both sides, which is impossible to estimate.

And, by the way, here you need to include the cost of restoring what was destroyed during the war, the very infrastructure of the production of raw materials for which the entire war was begun.”

It would take 12-15 years to net a profit after all of that, Kokh claims, and nobody would invest in something like that.

In addition, the decline in commodity prices would make the whole venture completely unprofitable.

And Russians would fight for their land, and therefore victory of the invaders would not be inevitable.

“In short, there is no real danger to Russia’s mineral wealth.  Nobody wants it.  Especially when you consider that Russia sells its raw materials at below cost sometimes (see for example, all Chinese contracts)…. To fight in such conditions is stupid and unprofitable.

It is easier to just buy off the current Russian leadership.  Which apparently happens in reality.  This is easier and cheaper.  And this approach offers real profits.  In contrast to such a risky step as war.”

Kokh continues on to the second Russian fear:

“As for the fear of personal enslavement, there exists two motives: fear of loss of freedom, and fear of excessive labor.”

The first is ridiculous, Kokh says, because Russians have always been enslaved.  They “have never valued” freedom and have “always demonstrated a willingness to surrender to a Master”.

The real reason Russians fear “mass enslavement” is because they are “afraid they will finally be forced to work.”

Kokh continues:

“They know that they work poorly and little.  Especially when compared to, for example, Europe, America, and Asia.  They don’t earn money, but only get a portion of resource rents.  And this is the truth that they carefully hide.”

This arrangement is a kind of contract between the government and the Russian population that suits both parties.  And this will continue as long as Russia remains dependent on its natural resources, Kokh says.

But once it is over, Russia will no longer exist in the form we are used to.  And then the “invaders” will come.  Completely free of charge, and without firing a shot.  And this end is inevitable as long as there is this union based on a lie about [Russia’s] greatness and power.”

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