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The State of the Russian Nation
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When one looks at Russia, whether it be economically, socially, and financially, I want to compare her to the
Weimar republic of the 1920's. Economically, she has a great deal of potential, but with the collapse of Communism and the difficulty of turning the Soviet command economy into a market orientated one, Russian GDP has fallen for seven consecutive years (to about $ 700 billion). Many are quick to write Russia off, blaming the inefficiencies of the Russian government and civil reformers as their grand fiasco. Some look to the economies of Poland and the Czech Republic which are growing rapidly and curse Russia for her lack of transformation. One must remember though, Russia has had almost no experience with Democracy and/or a free society. One must also remember that Russia has lost a great deal of territory that was in Russian hands since Peter the Great (early 1700's). Russia is in pain not because it is lazy or not willing to make the change to a market economy, it simply does not have the experience and is just trying to cope to the changes already forced upon it. Did Poland or the Czech's lose 30 % of their territory? Did the Poles or any other lose an empire and its Superpower status??? No.

Related Russia Links

The Russian Military - the following are a list of Comprehensive sites dedicated to the Military

 - The State of the Russian Navy - An excellent page on the Russian Navy! Worth the click!

The state of the Russian military is also worth note. The Russian armed forces can be summed up in the following fashion,

-It still maintains the largest nuclear force in the world, with almost 8,000 warheads at its disposal.

-It still maintains the largest conventional and nuclear powered submarine force and navy in the world. Russia's subs such as the diesel electric Kilo, and the nuclear powered boats of the Akula, Sierra, Oscar, and others are just as quiet as western boats, and can dive to deeper depths. Russia has also retained her large ballistic missile boats, carrying nuclear tipped SLBM's that could hit the US or anywhere in the world while still at a Russian dock.

-The Russian air force is still one of the best combat ready in the world today and sports some of the most advanced fighter aircraft available. It's SU-27 Flanker's AND MIG-29's are considered on a par with the US F-15 and is being sold on the world market. With newer planes like the SU-33, Russia's air force will remain one of the best in the world as the 21'st century approaches.

-Russian armored units, while not being as technically advanced as the west, are getting better equipped and more advanced as time goes on. The standard Russian tank of the Cold War, the T-72, is quite pathetic by western standards (US tanks destroyed them 12/1 in the Gulf War). The Russians though have made substantial advances in nuclear, biological and chemical protection for their tanks. The Russians have also made huge advances in armor protection and night vision capability. All these advances have been put to use in the newest Russian tank, the T-90 (pictured above). This tank is also being sold on the international market for cut rate prices.

With all of the following things kept constant, the US should pursue a policy towards Russia that includes the following principles,

1. Including Russia in the "club" of nations. This means treating Russia as a partner and not the defeated cold was enemy. Russia should be included in the World Monetary Fund and the International Monetary Fund and the WTO.

2. Do not expand NATO at the expense of alienating Russia. The Russians are a proud people with a great since of History. With NATO looking to expand into areas that were once in the Russian sphere of influence, the Russians are not only spiteful, but this puts them in a sour geopolitical position. The Russians are not blind like some believe. One of the main purposes of NATO expansion is stop Russian expansionism, not the other quite vague reasons Western leaders give to Boris Yeltsin. With the Russians feeling surrounded by possible hostile nations that will stop by treaty what may be her historical policy of expansion, Russia is looking for allies or at least friends to in list against the west. This has lead Russia to sign a treaty of partial union with Belarus, which has know essentially returned to Russian satellite status. The Russians have also been speeding toward reproachment toward China. This reproachment has included,

- The selling and transferring of military technologies to China which include the Su-27, the IL-76 transport plane, and possible advanced ICBM technologies.

-Russia and China agreeing to a common border and reduced troop levels. The Russo/Sino border has been the sticking point of countless border clashes and one of the main disputes in the two nations relations.

-Both nations signing a document pledging both nations to resist any one power on reaching hegemony in the region or the world.(aimed at the US)

China armed with Russian technology and the economy of a superpower scares the living daylights most western leaders and certainly myself. What stops the Chinese from using their growing military and the economic clout it is gaining daily and attack the Russians some day in ten or fifteen years? Do the Russians really want a military as well as economic Superpower on its border? Stick with the West, Russia . We may wound your pride from time to time, but joining the West is better than putting your hopes on the Commies in Beijing.

3. Russia should be supported in every way financially in its attempts to become a fully functional market economy and democracy. Russia should be promoted to international business people as a great new market and vast potential. Don't make the same mistake of Weimar Germany and let Russia go it alone. Nazi Germany was bad enough to fight, a nuclear armed Russia under a dictator would be worse. Trust me.

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Foreign Policy Forum was created By Harry J. Kazianis. Email :