If you rely on U.S. mainstream media, you might think that Russia was on its last legs. Mainstream outlets like The New York Times and the Washington Post continually publicize U.S. sanctions on Russia and the supposedly declining Russian economy and diminished hard currency reserves.
The opposite is true. Russian growth has slowed a bit, but is still strong. Russian reserves have rebounded nicely from the 2014-2015 drawdown as oil prices collapsed. Putin’s popularity ratings are still high.
In the latest display of Russian resilience, Putin has announced that in September, Russia will participate in the largest military war games since the decline of the Soviet Union in 1991. As this article shows, these new war games will involve 300,000 troops, 1,000 aircraft, and two naval fleets.
Most ominously, this war game is multilateral with participation by China and Mongolia. Other recent reporting shows that Russia has radically reduced its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities and increased its holdings of physical gold to the point that they now surpass China’s and are the fifth largest of any country in the world after the U.S., Germany, France and Italy.
Russia’s longer term objective is to increase its military and financial muscle and completely escape the dollar hegemony trap that the U.S. uses to impose its will. Putin is well down the road to achieving this even as the rest of the world is asleep at the switch.
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