The invasion of the Ukraine by Putin’s forces has burst the bubble of the ‘invincibility’ of the Russian Army, together with the ‘threat’ the West has been sold since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In some respects this is the last battle of World War Two, the fantasy of an all conquering Russia that Putin has nurtured is now laid bare.
Recent demographic trends in Russia have caused widespread public concern. Russia is experiencing unusually high death rates from non-natural causes, many related to alcoholism. Life expectancy, especially among working-age males, has dropped precipitously. The Russian fertility rate has declined to among the world's lowest, while its abortion rate is the highest. As a result, for the first time in Russian history, the annual number of deaths has exceeded the number of births.
Compounding these challenges, the population is aging rapidly—a trend that will accelerate over the next two decades - and immigration continues to increase, posing thorny political and social problems for a nation historically accustomed to a net outflow of people.
Russia has one of the lowest Male to Female rates in the world because of the devastating losses in WW2. In the Ukraine War Russia has had trouble raising enough manpower to replace its infantry losses, and is forced to call up the forty plus age bracket.
Fast approaching the third month of war, it is turning into a war of attrition using artillery. In the medium to long term Russia cannot prevail in terms of resources and manpower.
With Sweden and Finland applying for NATO membership, Russia has lost two buffer states, and it is inconceivable that Ukraine will not be granted membership in the near future.
We are heading full pelt towards a changed Europe and nobody has any idea what the plan is.
Andrew Withers FRSA