Friday, August 17, 2007

Russia's growing clout in world affairs

The news that Russia is now sending its bombers on long-range flights as military exercises reflects the new confidence of the Putin regime. "We have decided to restore flights by Russian strategic aviation on a permanent basis," says Putin [in BBC report]. “Today Moscow's coffers are stuffed full of oil money,” says the BBC, and it wants “to show it is still a military power to reckon with.” Couple that with the July 4 report of the BBC indicating that the Russian economy is flourishing, at least the upper crust. According to the BBC retail sales rose 13% last year, well ahead of the rest of Europe. “And almost half the Russian people believe it important to be fashionably dressed.” “Last year, the number of so-called ‘high net worth individuals’ - people whose spending power exceeds $1m (£500,000) - in Russia rose 15.5%” about twice that of similar class folks around the globe. With all that wealth, Russia can afford to show that “it is still a military power to reckon with.” The strategic position of Russia – between energy hungry Europe and energy hungry China – may enable the Russian economy to continue to grow and for the country to again become a powerhouse, energy-wise if not otherwise.

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