It was a difficult and exciting year. Our country, as well as the whole world, faced many challenges that both the government and the citizens of Russia had to face. And at the end of the year, I can say that the citizens of my country took the challenges of 2020 calmly and with dignity. Today I want to highlight those that I considered the most dangerous for our citizens, the country as a whole and its position and prestige on the world stage.
Of course, how could it not be mentioned? To be honest, I was very worried about our vaccine, I was afraid that there would be delays in its development, and western countries would put conditions on our leadership, threatening to block the supply of the vaccine in case of non-compliance. But our scientists have made a brilliant breakthrough, and, as can be seen from the aspirations of the British and Germans to participate together in the production of the Russian vaccine, everything will be the opposite: we will set the conditions. Russian citizens will be vaccinated free of charge with a domestic vaccine, and our research institutes and factories will raise a good amount of money. Citizens of one country, very striving for Europe, can already give their “asses” a command to start prelaunch preparations.
I can’t ignore the fact that Russian scientists have developed several vaccines, which caused a shock to the “kind-faced elves”. Yes, it was expected that the heirs of the great Sumerian civilisation [Ukrainians – ed] claimed and still claim that there is no Russian vaccine. Well, all “civilised” countries know this. And there is no Crimean bridge either. And there are no hypersonic weapons either. And there was no world Cup in 2018 either. These are all cartoons of Putin, who, by the way, is also no longer there. What, Muscovites, you didn’t know? The real Putin died long ago, and the Russian zombie box shows numerous doubles.
But, contrary to the dreams of the great Euro-Ukrainians, the cartoon vaccine turns into quite a material one, and they will have nothing left but to shout about the advanced American vaccine, simultaneously accusing the faint-hearted Europeans of betraying the interests of Ukraine.
The economy as a whole
Rostislav Ishchenko in May 2020 noted that the Russian leadership “is trying to pass between Scylla and Charybdis”. He was referring to the fact that the Russian government is trying to find a balance between maximum protection of the population with restrictive measures and minimal economic decline. And I argue that the Russian government has found such a balance, contrary to the predictions of experts of “normal countries”. Do you remember what they foretold to us? Let me remind you: a drop in GDP of at least 20%. And what about the results of the year? 3.9%, something like that. Well, naturally, the pious and non-pious various western media claim that this figure will be from 4.5-6%. Not 20% anymore, though.
Yes, and how are the US and Germany doing? Germany lost 18% of GDP in the first half of the year alone, while the US lost 32%. Data for the results of the whole of 2020 will appear in the first quarter of 2021. Something like this. Let me remind you what they predicted for themselves: Germany predicted a maximum drop of 4-5%, and the United States generally predicted growth of 3-4%. This once again proves that all their “forecasts” are based on political wishes and widespread wishful thinking.
Society and community
The possibility of spontaneous protests and riots, accompanied by marauding and looting, against the background of panic moods due to the coronavirus pandemic, worried me very much. But as it turned out, I needn’t have worried. It was all in the west, not here. Yes, there were local problems with the presence of masks and the impudence of some retailers who decided to make money for the New Year by raising prices for socially important food products. The government stopped these wishes, though not quickly enough, and the Russians did not organise any riots and disturbances, much upsetting “western partners” and Ukrainian non-brothers.
Also in the west, “in normal countries”, there were collapses of the state medical system, disruption of state supply, multi-million queues for overdue food and tens of millions of applications for unemployment payments. I’m talking about the west, fellow citizens. But all these western “analysts” foreshadowed totalitarian Russia and China. And then, having changed their spots, they began to publish articles about the “unusual phenomenon of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes”, in which they said that countries with a strong vertical of power are fighting the pandemic much more effectively than “democratically developed countries”. Well, well. It will be necessary to write a separate article about the unfulfilled forecasts of the “kind-faced elves”.
Defence and import substitution
Our military-industrial complex this year just surprised me. Submarines and warships came out of the slipways of our shipyards like hot cakes. The pace of deliveries of armoured vehicles of various types and appearances to our troops was simply off the scale, and it’s still ongoing.
I was also pleased with aviation. Just last week, two new models of passenger aircraft took to the air: Il-114 and MS-21 with PD-14 engines. After that, I can confidently say that the plans of Medvedchuk‘s experts, who dreamed of reviving Antonov at the expense of Russian purchases, have been hammered with the last nail.
The fact is that after the “validity revolution” of the “Ilyushin” concern, part of the “United Aircraft Corporation”, was forced to replace those AN models that are in service with the Russian army and are still used by regional civil air carriers. I can not help but note that before the appearance in 2019 of a flying copy of the Il-112 military transport aircraft, Ukrainian experts were mocking the Russian aviation industry. Like saying: Muscovites, you can not replace “our” “Antonov”? But after the demonstration of the Il-112 this somehow subsided. Until the last moment there was hope that the Russian regional air carriers after a warming of relations between the countries will be able to purchase a civilian model of “Antonov”. But the Il-114, just designed for domestic civil air transportation, soared into the air. Goodbye forever, “Antonov”!
With space, too, everything seems to be fine. Yes, the number of launches has sunk significantly compared to 2019. And the Americans in 2020 are not so “pressured”, pushing us from 2nd place to 3rd. This is partly due to the transition of our space industry to a new launch vehicle, and partly due to a decrease in the number of commercial orders. Let’s hope that they will catch up next year. In general, our Aerospace Forces and Roscosmos can be congratulated on the successful launch of “Angara” and the construction of additional “tables” at both cosmodromes. The catastrophe that the liberals predicted did not happen, but we need to think about the future prospects.
Most of all, I was afraid that the rate of commissioning of import-substituting enterprises would decrease. This was in vain. Not only did it not decrease, but it also increased. Enterprises for the production of composite materials, microelectronics, specialised chemistry, and so on were put into operation.
Separately, we were pleased with the guys who seriously want to push the Chinese and Americans in the domestic market of office equipment. Our processors, for example, have already begun to produce in serial volumes. Yes, we are still far from serious competitors like AMD or Intel, but we need to start somewhere. I also want to brag: I have a Russian-made mouse, which I bought this autumn. I’m a big guy myself, and I like big mice. I walked, looked, peered ― the inscription on the price tag of a huge mouse “Made in Russia”. In terms of functionality and efficiency, it is no different from the foreign counterpart X7, which I have been using for several years, and costs 650 rubles versus 2400 for the X7. I was told the other day that we have also been producing speakers and keyboards for quite some time. I will definitely buy them, and I will make an additional gift for myself for the New Year. Keep it up, guys! Don’t forget about video cards, motherboards and RAM cards, too. You see, in five years, a Russian will be able to buy a normal domestic computer set four times cheaper than now. This is really a problem, because the price tag for a good system unit (not a typewriter) is really excessive, and only our own production can “knock down” this price tag.
Industry and construction
According to the results of the first half of the year, the Russian industry as a whole decreased by 3.5%. For example, the automotive industry (27.5%) and mining in general were very badly affected. The production of chemical and petrochemical products, food, medical equipment and much more has increased. Collapse and disaster did not happen, but I do not intend to praise anyone in this section. Conversely.
If the decline in mineral extraction and production of petroleum products can be explained by the global situation caused by the pandemic, then the fall of the domestic automotive industry to such a level cannot be welcomed. Yes, according to the results of three quarters, sales of passenger cars and medium-sized commercial vehicles decreased by 13.9% compared to 2019 (according to “Autoreview”). But this was affected by the fall of the first two quarters, in the third there was a sharp increase. And who was in the black at the end of the third quarter? I report: Skoda, Suzuki, Porsche, Cadillac, Fiat, Isuzu, as well as Chinese brands Haval, Geely, Chery, Changan and FAW. And where are ours? Again in the red. And why? But because in 2020, the price tag was raised to the point of being inaffordable. Citizens of domestic automakers, have you collapsed from an oak tree to raise prices during a pandemic, when demand is already low? Should Putin and Mishustin also intervene to put your brains in place? If prices were at the same level or slightly lower, then you in the third quarter would come out in plus, like everyone else. Start thinking with your head, not your rear axle.
Separately, I would like to go through the prices of domestic cargo special equipment. This summer, I had to get acquainted with them: the customer’s representatives recommended that we, the contractors, call the dealers and find out the prices. Soon, in the second half of 2021, the customer will introduce new internal rules, according to which contractors will be required to submit 65% of their own equipment in the annex to the contract (leasing equipment is also considered their own) and only 35% – borrowed. It is throughout the construction industry in Russia that the process of getting rid of “PP” – professional intermediaries [professionalnykh posrednikov – ed] – is underway. Our customers understand that not all contractors can afford to buy, so we are considering the option of assistance (partial financing) to purchase equipment for those contractors with whom they intend to continue working.
So, when we looked at the KAMAZ catalog at the site, we had to hold our jaws. Representatives of the customer (a very non-poor world-famous Russian oil and gas giant) at the sight of prices from this catalog also scratched themselves in the most immodest places. Well, my separate greetings to the representatives of the Minsk automobile plant for their dumb undying Belarusian maidanist (or European?) optimism. Have you seen your paltry sales figures for the first half of 2020? Your warehouses are already overflowing with finished products. A successful contract with Vitaly Klitschko for the supply of 200 buses will not change anything for you. And then, after delivery, you still need to manage to take your hard-earned money from the euro-ukies, and “not only everyone” [a quote from Klitschko, famous because it is nonsensical – ed] knows how to do this. And no, you can not put on your trucks price tags a little cheaper than KAMAZ, because it has state leasing preferences at the federal and regional level throughout Russia, and you do not! Dear “great, wise and independent” Belarusian maidanists, after all, the cause-and-effect relationship between the prices of their products and overflowing warehouses, stuffed with this very product, is not so difficult to notice! In general, comrades, domestic and allied automakers, curb your arrogance a little, otherwise the sales will continue to be bad.
And finally, I would like to separately mention our shipbuilders, who this year took second place in the world in terms of the total displacement of ships produced. First place belongs to South Korea, third – to China. A case-by case basis: in space we slid over, in shipbuilding we hopped along.
In the construction sector, there are both fat pros and fat cons. Of the fat minuses, we can note the freezing of construction projects with purely private financing. Also, I can not pass by the increase in prices for some types of building materials, in my opinion, completely unjustified during the pandemic.
Among the advantages, we can mention 13,000 kilometres of rebuilt and reconstructed roads, from which about 1,000 kilometres are new roads. Many infrastructure and energy construction projects have been put into operation, about 11% more than planned (in monetary terms). It is also planned to start the construction of many auxiliary facilities in the near future as part of the development of the Vostok oil field. And this project will be larger than Yamal-LNG, in which the amount of investments will grow to $100 billion by 2025.
The outflow of gastarbeiters from both the state-building sector and the country as a whole is encouraging. We “sent home” about 48% of migrants. As a result, the crime rate in almost all regions has decreased. Well, I never believed in the phrase “crime has no nationality”. It does. Ask, for example, the French and Italians what they think of the Albanians.
As a result, the places of gastarbeiters were taken by Russian specialists who were left without work as a result of the temporary freeze of private construction projects. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Yes. It is better to lose in volume, but get rid of the criminalised foreign public and employ your own.
I will not consider the machinations of the collective west in this section, since this is a centuries-old trend, and not a feature of 2020. It’s better to consider the three most important geopolitical challenge: the oil war, the Belarusian maidan, and the conflict in Karabakh.
God, how many negative forecasts for Russia in the aspect of the oil war were issued by Ukrainian “experts” of a moderate persuasion! Countless. Anyone who wants to can see what all sorts of Dzhanhirovs, Bogatyrovs and other funny people have said on YouTube. When you listen to them, you really understand that they regard the global hydrocarbon market as something akin to a bazaar where old grandmothers sell seeds. The Arab grandmother’s seeds are cheaper, so they will buy everything from her, and the Russian grandmother will die of hunger. At the same time, they refuse to take into account the vertical integration of Russian oil and gas giants, the number of refineries abroad owned by the Russians, and the fact that almost all tankers are owned by the Russians, they do not depend on the wishes of the sea oil carriers. The result: the Russians, of course, “sagged”, but not in the same way as the “pro-Ukrainian” Arabs and democratic Americans. Indeed, if you want to amuse the Almighty, show him the forecasts of Ukrainian experts.
With the Belarusian maidan it was more interesting. During the first week of protests, Lukashenko turned his back, and then he crawled to Putin. We all remember the memorable picture of Lukashenko like a guilty schoolgirl, fidgeting on the chair in front of Papa. In the role of daddy was the Darkest. Yes, Lukashenko will continue to try to act on the principle of “give me pennies, but I will still do my own thing”. But it will be more and more difficult for him to implement this principle, taking into account internal circumstances and the world situation. The Kremlin will not be so willing to make concessions, and it is not known when the Belarusian maidan will calm down. It would seem that one needs to wait and analyse the situation, but no! Tatiana Montyan came out of nowhere and began to sell her version of events to naive subscribers and viewers of YouTube channels. She said that one of the Kremlin Towers wanted to overthrow Lukashenko and support Babariko, Putin hesitated for a long time and made the right decision: to support the independent Lukashenko, because the Kremlin had no other choice. And it is this that explains the delay between the start of the protests in Belarus and the meeting of the two heads of state: Putin was thinking. Actually, it was nothing like that.
Even before the election, Aleksandr Lukashenko offered Putin two options in an ultimatum: a bad one and a very bad one. The bad one was that Putin gives Lukashenko everything he wants, money and preferences, but at the same time he remains “multi-vector”: he is cunning with Russia and persistently licks the west’s boots. Otherwise, a very bad option comes into force: Lukashenko and his European friends completely fall under the west and Belarus becomes the second Ukraine.
It did not work out, because the west did not accept Lukashenko, and this pathetic parody of a statesman had to beg Putin for forgiveness and a little money. He begged for one and a half billion and went back to Minsk, where after a while he again began to talk about “multi-vectorness”. Why did he start? One and a half billion ended. The Belarusian epic is not over yet, and we will undoubtedly see many more videos from Russians about “narrow-minded Kremlin strategists” and “wise” independent rulers. Well, they’re at least good for a laugh.
Only a lazy independent expert did not speak about the Karabakh conflict. Yes, the appearance of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh caused a shock to western and Ukrainian experts. But just as they sculpt a “victory” out of their “betrayal”, they started to sculpt defeat out of a clear Russian victory. And it would be fine if it all ended there, but their dreams that Turkey would build the Great Turan and take away part of the territories from Russia, were quite a bit too much. Yes, it is possible to understand ukro-experts who only dream of at least someone taking something from Russia. Another thing is alarming: Ukrainian experts have exactly the same erroneous idea about geography as about the world market of hydrocarbons. To listen to them, one might get the impression that the former Soviet republics are powerful and large states that encircle the whole of Russia along the perimeter of its borders and can act as an “anaconda”, i.e., if something happens, “strangle” it economically and politically. To rip the “legend of the anaconda” into pieces, just look at the political map of the world. Yes, the west and the anti-Russian limitrophic elite are trying to arrange problems for Russia on the south-western borders, in the north-west (the Baltic states and Belarus) and a little in the south. But that’s all. Putin has long said that Russia is too big to try to isolate it. As many Russian experts have already mentioned, and our readers even wrote in the comments, this Nazi anti-Russian trend in the post-Soviet limitrophic space is incurable, but it has a positive side: you can laugh a lot. The number of all sorts of “independent” pseudo-experts, who on the basis of Russophobia really went cuckoo, gives us hope that we will split our sides next year.
As a conclusion, I would like to wish my fellow citizens, first of all, not to change. May women remain the most beautiful in the world and men the most powerful. And naturally, I want to wish both sexes (thank God, not six, like in “normal countries”) of our people a sufficient amount of oil in the pot, in addition to beauty and strength. Health to your parents and children, for both need to be taken care of. And I do not want to wish you a wizard in a blue helicopter who will fulfil all your desires, you do not need him. I wish you strength, intelligence and means to achieve the goals that you have outlined for yourself. And to hell with dreams of all sorts of wizards. Yes, a new world order is coming, the west will fall sooner or later. But don’t get your hopes up, we won’t be allowed to relax. A whole “galaxy” of young predatory states will try us for strength, and more than once in the coming century. Moreover, more than once in the coming decade, and even more than once in the coming year. As in this year, we will have to and must respond to all challenges with dignity. And so it will be, do not hesitate. Happy New Year to you, fellow citizens! Pax Russo.
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