OT - Russia

User Forum Topic
Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 26, 2016 - 1:32pm

Russia has been in the news a lot lately.

I listened to some Russian music this morning. Seems like a great country in many ways. but I think of Russia mostly as a frozen country of drunkards.

https://youtu.be/FJt_JdFwLw0

Will Russia ever be a prosperous free country of happy people?

Submitted by spdrun on December 26, 2016 - 1:37pm.

Sure, but then it won't be populated by Russians :)

Submitted by CA renter on December 27, 2016 - 1:06am.

:)

Submitted by mixxalot on December 27, 2016 - 2:16pm.

As an American who speaks Russian and has friends from FSU and so forth, it annoys me that the corporate state run mainstream media hates Russia so much and wants major war with them.

Submitted by mixxalot on December 27, 2016 - 2:16pm.

Da!

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 27, 2016 - 3:26pm.

Man, $130k for a 2/1 apartment in a third tier city in Russia. Expensive! $12 for an automatic car wash back in 2013, I think before sanctions.

This guy is funny.
https://youtu.be/gwHfnIs_Ico

Submitted by Escoguy on December 27, 2016 - 11:32pm.

I lived in 5 former USSR republics for 15 years plus 5 years in the former GDR.

First trip to Moscow was in '86 as a student.

I married a lady from the region, a child of mine was born there and have investments there. A genius surgeon operated on one of my children and did things that US doctors were unable or unwilling to do.

Needless to say, there is much positive about Russia which gets overlooked.

If you go through life easliy believing only the good or the bad about any particular place or culture, you put on blinders and that can severely limit your ability to see opportunity or put things in perspective.

The Russian economy is very dependent on oil, but there are many very intelligent people over there. A fair number are content with the "fair to very good" opportunities they have. Yes many would like to immigrate but that can also be very disruptive if not done at the right time in life.

Alcohol and drug abuse are major problems, but one can live a normal life over there without that getting in the way.

State control of the media is pervasive, but free information is available online for those who want more sources.

Many Russians of mid-upper economic status travel abroad and are quite aware of their relative status in the world.

The period from 2003-2007 was good one, the past few years have been rough but not nearly as much as the 1990s when many basic items were in short supply or the final days of Communism when there were regular lines for food. (which I personally saw in Moscow in 1986).

For a person who wanted to learn the language and deal with some hardship, places like Chekassy, Bishkek, Chisinau, Odintsovo, Kazan, Baku and Moscow were a great way to gather a wide range of experiences and earn enough to come back to the US and have a good degree of economic freedom.

Of course, the Russian intervention in Ukraine and Syria are not helpful and many innocents have died, but no side in any of these messes is perfect. The US should more carefully consider potential outcomes when arming even "moderate" groups.

Russia will likely muddle along if not seriously provoked. Albeit, their media can't seem to let up on the anti US propaganda. This is one potential silver lining of a Trump presidency in that the Russian leadership may well realize that focusing more on their internal development is needed to fully modernize the economy, but that will still take decades in spite of the progress that has already been made.

Their current president will likely stay on as long as his health will allow which could be at least eight more years.

I could go on, while the war in Ukraine did cause some sleepless nights, and Aleppo was tough to watch. I'd like to think that Russia may lose some of it's appetite for adventurism (or using force to protect it's vital interest) depending on your perspective.

In some ways, the US-Russian relationship is like a dysfunctional family which somehow wants mutual respect but can't agree on certain things. As long as the occasional tussle doesn't become suicidal, we're ok but we'll always need to stay vigilant.

The West in general could have done more in the 1990s to lessen the hardship in the region but the political leadership wasn't there. Perhaps going forward, we can learn to engage in a manner which fosters some degree of real trust.

It hasn't been helpful that the current administration has been learning on the job the past eight years.

Submitted by Escoguy on December 27, 2016 - 11:44pm.

Flyer

Biggest drag for Russian was the drop in oil prices. Sanctions were more of an add on later. Like an 80/20 split. If the Russian leadership had foreseen the drop in oil prices, they might have passed on Crimea.

Russian real estate prices in USD are down significantly since 2013 then but have recovered some this year with the rise in the price of oil.

Guys like this are the best chance for Russia and normal relations with the US.

We can only wish him and those like him well.

Prices even in 3rd third cities will always be higher than the US for many reasons.
Key problem is the inability to produce large amounts of housing in a cost effective manner (partly due to corruption/lack of infrastructure/lack of financing).

The list of reasons is fairly long and isn't easy to resolve.

Submitted by harvey on December 28, 2016 - 10:18am.

Escoguy wrote:
In some ways, the US-Russian relationship is like a dysfunctional family which somehow wants mutual respect but can't agree on certain things. As long as the occasional tussle doesn't become suicidal, we're ok but we'll always need to stay vigilant.

The US is the younger brother who dropped out of college, started a successful business, and lives in a mansion with his trophy wife.

Russia is the older brother with multiple college degrees, a drinking problem, barely gets by with a government job, and has to listen to his kids say how they want to be like uncle America when they grow up.

Submitted by Escoguy on December 28, 2016 - 11:49am.

harvey

Perhaps if you had any exposure to that country/region, please share this with us.

Simple case in point, most Russians don't have a mortgage and are never at risk of losing their home. Employers tend to take a more flexible approach to financial crises and don't lay everyone off blindly and then scramble to find workers for the next upswing.

If you want grim reading on Russia, look up "dying too young".

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/e...

The reality is that discussing Russia can be a fascinating topic but only if real substance is offered. If there's anything you'd like to know, I'd be happy to share in a serious discussion.

Respectfully,

Submitted by harvey on December 28, 2016 - 12:49pm.

You went down the path of defining the relationship between the US and Russia with a simple metaphor. I was simply playing along.

I've done some business in Russia, we set up a trading office in Moscow but abandoned it after a less than a year because the Russian markets were just too corrupt and broken. I made a few business trips during that time, but never lived outside of a western-owned hotel. I've worked with quite a few Russians here in the US.

One of my children is adopted from Russia. My wife and I spent a little over a month there going through the process. So I have Russian citizen living in my home which gives me a fondness for the country. As a result I've read quite a bit on Russian history and follow current events there more closely. But of course my child has no firsthand experience with Russian culture.

I've done too many vodka shots on Aeroflot even though I don't like to drink on planes. It's hard to say no under the circumstances.

I've had a little more exposure to Russian culture than most Americans but not enough to have any deep personal insights. Nevertheless I think I "get" Russia well enough to have an informed opinion on US foreign relations.

True, most Russians don't have a mortgage as there are no financial infrastructure that could successfully manage long-term-risks on ordinary people. Of course most Russians don't own houses either, or even have consistent hot running water or other utilities.

Americans like to bash our financial institutions - the Fed, Freddie/Fannie etc. but they have no clue what it would mean if these things didn't exist.

Thanks for the book recommendation but I've had my fill of grim reading on Russia.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on December 28, 2016 - 12:53pm.

all i know is what i read in anna karenina and that those bastards chased my great grandfather till he fled all the way to nyc. so im glad i guess that they wanted to kill the tiny old guy. worked out for us.

Submitted by mixxalot on December 28, 2016 - 1:10pm.

My favorite Russian book was Brothers Karamozov by Dostoyevsky.

Submitted by bababooey on December 29, 2016 - 7:46am.

Hungry duck was nice, don't think I want to live there.

OUT.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 29, 2016 - 11:44am.

Escoguy wrote:

It hasn't been helpful that the current administration has been learning on the job the past eight years.

Honestly, I don't see how the next administration can improve relations with Russia with everything going on in the Middle East. I don't think that Russia responds nicely to tough policies because tough is what Russia is made off. They are ready to make greater sacrifices than we are. Russia is a great power and wants to be treated as a peer despite the wealth gap.

My cousin married a Russian and we all love him. They go visit the in laws every couple years and I hope to tag along the next time to see the real Russia.

I just feel sorry for the Russian people. The country has always been backwards and for centuries the people have had to sacrifice their own well being for the greatness of the nation. No wonder they drink.

The plane crash that killed a big portion of the red army choir was tragic. I've been listening to their music. Sounds great on my stereo. Very stirring although I don't understand a lick.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 29, 2016 - 11:56am.

Sergey is pretty real estate savvy. Better than hgtv.

https://youtu.be/540I0YpYKLU

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 29, 2016 - 3:37pm.

harvey wrote:

True, most Russians don't have a mortgage as there are no financial infrastructure that could successfully manage long-term-risks on ordinary people. Of course most Russians don't own houses either, or even have consistent hot running water or other utilities.

Americans like to bash our financial institutions - the Fed, Freddie/Fannie etc. but they have no clue what it would mean if these things didn't exist.

Very true.

Our property taxes are high but US housing is comparatively the cheapest in the world.

The US and Canada are the 2 countries where central hot water to all faucets is standard. I have been to many places, including Europe, where a nice hot shower is not available. In Britain, people still use those stupid separate hot water taps.

Submitted by spdrun on December 29, 2016 - 3:51pm.

Meh.

I grew up in a house that wasn't plumbed for hot water on the upper floors.

The bedrooms got a sink in the hall with a single cold tap and a closet with a "water closet." Actually, no heat upstairs either, just grills in the floor for heat to rise. This was in the US, BTW.

The separate taps in British houses are more a matter of style, since they're easily converted to a single faucet. The plumbing for hot water is generally there.

What is more common in Continental Europe are instant water heaters. One in the kitchen, one for the bath. It's lovely to always have hot water available, not run out half way through a shower as the tank gets cold!

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 29, 2016 - 11:43pm.

Spdrun, you minimize the small things that added together create comfort, enjoyment and a high standard of living.

You can eat boiled chicken and cabbage for dinner. But if you have the skills, ingredients and cookware and/or someone to prepare a nice meal, then you enjoy life more.

Submitted by spdrun on December 30, 2016 - 12:18am.

Maybe homes and cars are just not my priority, I don't know.

Agree with your example of good food, but my needs in a home are pretty minimal.

Submitted by Escoguy on December 31, 2016 - 12:04am.

harvey,

Thanks for providing some background on your personal experiences.

The adoption step is one of the best things a person can do in life.

Admittedly, the former USSR kind of sucked me in and I ended up working there about 15 years. It's really a fascinating place and I'm sure at some point in time I'll be back.

Speaking of flights to Russia, my first one was during Gorbachev's attempt at prohibition in 1987. Needless to say, that didn't work and was a classic example of the limits of government policy, no matter how well intended.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 31, 2016 - 2:12pm.

If I remember, Putin banned American adoptions from Russia. Sad for the orphans.

I'm waiting to see how Trump will improve relations with Russia while at the same time projecting more American in Syria and the Middle East, and supporting Israeli settlements in Palestine. Will Trump recognize the annexation of Crimea?

On the energy front, I believe that renewals have broken a sustainable point, so high oil prices are nowhere on the horizon. Not good for Russia.

Any other US President would try to encourage a maidan type revolution in Russia as economic difficulties set in.

Submitted by mixxalot on January 6, 2017 - 9:47pm.

well you must not have been to Switzerland! Same goes for Chile and Uruguay. All modern places.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 12, 2017 - 1:55pm.

I have movie script.
Trump is the manchurian candidate. Ivanna and Melania were moles from the KGB.

Putin will become master of the universe.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on January 12, 2017 - 4:24pm.

Say what you want but if you really really want to stop nuclear proliferation and nuclear materials from getting into the wrong hands, there is only one ally you absolutely must have.

But if that were to happen then we might not get into another nuclear arms race and that might piss someone off.

Just saying

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 14, 2017 - 12:17pm.

The-Shoveler wrote:
Say what you want but if you really really want to stop nuclear proliferation and nuclear materials from getting into the wrong hands, there is only one ally you absolutely must have.

But if that were to happen then we might not get into another nuclear arms race and that might piss someone off.

Just saying

Even without Trump, we are already spending $1 trillion to upgrade our nuclear arsenal.

maybe you were not paying attention, but despite this talk of friendly relation with Russia, Trump says he wants an arms race. So his rhetoric is inconsistent.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/tr...

Personally, I think that Russia has something on Trump. He will cave to them and Assad will remain in power to create the Shia crescent, and that means caving to Iran also.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on January 15, 2017 - 10:54am.

FlyerInHi wrote:

Personally, I think that Russia has something on Trump. He will cave to them and Assad will remain in power to create the Shia crescent, and that means caving to Iran also.

IMO it is and unfortunate "inconvenient truth" that the only way you get Assad out is go to war with Russia as well.

It is a lost cause IMO and prolonging it just causes more suffering and problems that get exported elsewhere.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 15, 2017 - 6:02pm.

The-Shoveler wrote:

IMO it is and unfortunate "inconvenient truth" that the only way you get Assad out is go to war with Russia as well.

It is a lost cause IMO and prolonging it just causes more suffering and problems that get exported elsewhere.

Exactly... we tried to change Syria and failed. We should have left Syria alone to change on its own. But we have a megalomaniac security establishment (Hillary and the likes of McCain and the generals included) that wanted to intervene.

Security wise it was arguably necessary to topple Assad because the invasion of Iraq inadvertently created the Shia crescent that empowered Iran and destabilized the region.

Can't have better relations with Russia without caving on Syria and Crimea. It'll be interesting what Trump does.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on February 25, 2017 - 10:00pm.

It just occurred to me. Red America is just like Russia. Drunk and substance addicted, nationalistic, war mongering. All to avoid facing reality.

http://www.pbs.org/video/2365962295/

Submitted by ucodegen on February 26, 2017 - 12:49am.

FlyerInHi wrote:
Russia has been in the news a lot lately.

I listened to some Russian music this morning. Seems like a great country in many ways. but I think of Russia mostly as a frozen country of drunkards.

https://youtu.be/FJt_JdFwLw0

Will Russia ever be a prosperous free country of happy people?


And they used to vote Democrat until they voted for Trump! It right there in the video.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on March 14, 2017 - 11:42am.

So i did some casual reading about Russia. Does anyone know the relationship between the Russian Federation and the old Soviet Union. From what i understand, there are republics within the Russian Federation that don't have the right to secede, unlike Ukraine that became an independent country. Wikipedia is of no help.

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