Wednesday, 8 April 2015

What Russia Could Have Been Without Putin...And Can Still Be

Russia is clearly going down the road to ruin under Vladimir Putin.  It's a very sad story for a nation whose people invented television and radio, and put the first satellite in space, followed by the first person in space, not to mention the astounding contributions that they have made to music, art and literature.  As I see Russia sink deeper and deeper into the abyss under Putin, I have to ask myself, what would Russia have been like had a megalomaniac like Putin not come to power?  What if Russia had taken a different path?  - A path towards democracy and economic growth.  I think the answers to these questions lie in another country that in the past took went down the same path of genocide and conquest that Putin's Russia is going down now: Germany

Like the Russians, the German people are also notable for their contributions to civilization.  But this fact did not stop Adolf Hitler from coming to power and waging the worst war the world had ever seen, during which he subjugated and slaughtered millions.  Actually, World War II was the second time that Germany attempted to conquer Europe, having failed in the First World War.  The end result for Germany in both wars was utter devastation, economic ruin and lost territory.  But after Germany was defeated for the second time in WWII, the country took a different path - a path that would lead it to become the leader of Europe, both economically and politically.  Ironic, isn't it.  The Germans tried twice to conquer Europe by force of arms and failed.  Then, the Germans built their country into the continent's leading economy, to the point where they have been able to turn their economic might into political power and become the effective leader of today's European Union - and they did all this without even firing a shot. 

Now imagine if Russia had decided to take the same path as Germany did after World War II.  The Russians have the largest population in Europe, around 140 million people, compared to around 80 million in Germany.  Their country is also several times larger than Germany.  In fact, Russia, even after the breakup of the Soviet Union, is the largest country in the world in terms of land mass.  And unlike most of the countries of Europe, Russia still has vast, untapped natural resources, most notably oil and gas.  If Russia were to concentrate on building its economy and its democratic institutions, like Germany did after World War II, the Russians would quickly surpass Germany and eventually find themselves as the leaders of Europe without firing a shot or shedding a drop of blood.

Unfortunately, however, the Russians under Putin are not taking the kind of path that the Germans took after WWII.  Instead, they're taking the path of Hitler's Germany - a path that will only lead them to ruin, just as it did for the Germans.  The only difference is that unlike the world of WWII, today's world boasts much more powerful and deadlier weapons.  Hence, should Putin continue to lead his people down the path of Hitler's Germany, the destruction that will be brought upon Russia will dwarf the destruction that Germany sustained, not to mention the destruction that the rest of the world will face when forced to confront Putin's tyranny.

The good news is that it's still not too late for Russia to change directions.  If the Russian people can find a way to get rid of Putin and the criminal bunch that support him, they can chart a different course towards freedom, democracy and economic prosperity.  Indeed, once Putin and his supporters are gone, all that the Russians need to do to begin changing course is to withdraw their forces of occupation from Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.  Before they know it, the sanctions imposed on them by the West will be lifted and their economy can start growing again.  Now of course, I know that removing Putin and his entourage from power is no small feat, but I also know that the Russian people are capable of great things.  Heck, if they can invent the radio and the television, and put a person in space, then getting rid of Putin shouldn't be too hard.      

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