Acting like Canute, Putin Orders Government to Stop the Dying Off of Russia by 2024
Staunton, August 5 –
With Deaths exceeding births by an increasing margin over the last five years, Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to reverse that by 2024, a directive that recalls the way King Canute’s order to the tides has been misused for almost a millennium, reversing the message he reportedly wanted to send.
The medieval English king ordered the tides to reverse themselves, knowing they would not obey him, in order to show his nobles that he was not all powerful, but the story has been reversed to suggest that he actually believed he could do it and was surprised that when they did not obey when he called.
Putin seems to believe that if he gives an order to change the demographic behavior of millions of Russians that it will be carried out. But experience suggests that such a reversal of fortune is unlikely given that the one thing the Kremlin can be counted on not to countenance is changes that would boost Russian incomes across the board and spark optimism among them.
As a result, and as has been true throughout his period in office, Russians will respond to these underlying realities rather than to propagandistic bombast; and the continued pattern of fewer births than deaths almost certainly will continue not just for the next few years but for well into the future.
For just how bad the trend lines are and why they are getting worse rather than better despite all of Putin’s promises, see finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/putin-potreboval-za-tri-goda-ostanovit-vymiranie-rossii-1030702134, kasparov.ru/material.php?id=610D68E911F42 and forum-msk.org/material/news/17336041.html.
(C)WINDOW ON EURASIA 2021