Alexander Savchenko, Professor, Doctor of Economics, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (1991-1992 and 2005-2009), Executive Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (1993-1996) and Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine (2009-2010) shares his opinion on the future of the Russian Federation. This is a “Free Idel-Ural” exclusive.
If you would train yourselves alone,
You’d have some wisdom of your own.
I want to cite a very relevant excerpt from my book “Antyukrainets” (The Anti-Ukrainian):
«For the first time in its entire history Ukraine is fighting against its historical enemy Russia in the coalition not only with all European countries, but also, and most importantly, in a partnership with the United States. Taking into consideration the fact that Turkey maintains neutrality in the war. So, as the Prophet said, “Keep fighting — you are sure to win!” I will add: “The United States is helping you.” I would like to emphasize the following once again. Ukraine can be guaranteed to defeat Russia in its struggle for the right to be a fully fledged member of the Western world only if both of the following conditions are met: the first one is the deployment of NATO and US troops on its territory, and the second one is the Russian disintegration. Thus, the question, when and under what circumstances the collapse of Russia is possible, is no longer theoretical. I’ll start with the preconditions.
The first precondition is geopolitical – Western civilization clearly and unambiguously identifies Russia as a great regional country of Evil and begins to fight it by all non-military methods – economic (especially sanctions that are constantly intensifying), information (mainly spreading true information about wealth and morale of the ruling elite and oligarchs which are servicing it), legal – making Russia financially responsible for all its illegal actions through international courts: the annexation of Crimea and parts of Donbass, support for terrorists, shooting down the plane, etc.
The second precondition implies keeping prices of oil and gas low on a long-term basis. How to do this? I will give you several clear-cut recommendations: blocking of the projects that promote the monopolistic position of Russia in the gas market in Europe, increasing of quotas and tariffs for alternative energy sources in the countries of European Community, and providing of tax incentives for manufacturers and consumers of e-vehicles.
The third precondition is the prosperity of former member states of the USSR, which joined the Western civilization once and for all and, in return, got the annexed part of their territories from Russia. Prosperity of these countries is a severe blow to a social and economic system of Russia spreading on its borders only chaos rather than order and further development. However, such a success is impossible without a significant military, expert, and financial support of the USA and the EU. I suggest the USA and the EU support these countries to the extent and under the conditions of their supposed membership in the EU and NATO. This is a small price to pay for restraining expansion of the Russian chaos into Europe and the USA. Moreover, such a policy creates new markets for the EU and significantly strengthens NATO.
But the main condition for the disintegration of Russia can only be a strong internal will to destroy the country. Frankly saying — it cannot be the will of the Russian opposition, which is not operating now — there are Kremlin projects or talented dissidents acting themselves alone, so they are even useful to the system. This cannot be the will of one elite group, such as the group of talented economists, bankers and financiers that Putin holds close to him. This cannot be the will of the suffering Russian people, even if they starve (or become sober, that is impossible to imagine).
Such a will (to witness the collapse of Russia) exists in some republics and may appear in some regions of Russia. But to actualize this will, a socio-economic stimulus is needed. This kind of stimulus can be represented by long-term (one or two years) food shortages in the respective republics or regions, short-term (two to three months) vodka shortages in Moscow or St. Petersburg, Putin’s decision to change power in Belarus or Kazakhstan, Putin’s new war on the border with Russia, and others. Russia will collapse when its GDP falls to a critical level – less than 1% of the world’s one. Then Russia will witness the shortages of food, vodka and «enforcers», i.e. government.
Unfortunately, for five years since the publication of «Antyukrainets», the Ukraininans were primarily listening to “stool pigeons” from Russia, followers of the «Russian world», or politicians’ internal squabbles under the slogans «Who is a fool?» or «Who stole more?»
Thus, Ukraine ruined the Soviet Union 30 years ago! Economic collapse of the USSR and Russia, which GDP dropped down to the level below 1% of the world’s, preceded the downfall of the USSR. Under Putin’s governance, in good times, Russia’s GDP decreased to 2%. After Crimea’s occupation by Russia, ORDLO (separated districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions) in 2014, and the establishment of sanctions, Russia’s GDP has not risen above 1.6% of the world’s. Nowadays, when the ruble exchange rate depreciates to 150 rubles per dollar, Russia’s GDP is less than 1% of world’s, but Russia still exists.
The matter of fact is, that physically GDP has not fallen twice like an exchange rate yet. Only the stock and currency markets are now destroyed, but the real economy still exists. So, if Western sanctions are not lifted, but vice versa, especially for oil, gas and weapon export, and the Ukrainian armed forces and territorial defense along with all Ukrainians, will effectively resist and defeat the aggressor, Russia’s GDP will fall by 25-35 % within three to four months.
What else does the West need to do? Finish off Russia’s Sberbank and start imposing sanctions against Russians and, unfortunately, against Belarusians. Everything has a price, especially criminal decisions of their leaders – Putin and Lukashenko. The first step is blocking all international transactions of all Russian and Belarus citizens (including those Ukrainians with Russian passports), not only with a Visa or MasterCard, but also to introduce a limit of $ 100 per day for cash withdrawals in all banks abroad. If the occupants don’t leave all the Ukrainian captured cities and villages within two weeks, it is necessary to nationalize all funds and also all real estate holders of Russian and Belarusian passports in a week. if the occupation lasts more than three weeks, so after this period all visas for Russian and Belarus citizens must be revoked. Exceptions are possible only for open opponents of dictatorial regimes.
So Putin’s Russia may cease to exist this summer! It’s not only the desire of 42 million Ukrainians but but now, perhaps, half the world’s population. This is a sober calculation by an economist who accurately predicted the collapse of the USSR in his article in The Wall Street Journal in the spring of 1991.