C:\Documents And Settings\Ethansb\My Documents\2010 Is Moscow Burning

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This presentation discusses the political and economic consequences of the Russsian fires this summer.

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C:\Documents And Settings\Ethansb\My Documents\2010 Is Moscow Burning

  1. 1. IS MOSCOW BURNING? After Hundreds of Forest and Peat Bog Fires Raging Out of Contol throughout Russia -- Will Medvedev, Putin or Both Be Irrevocably Charred? Ethan Burger, Senior Lecturer Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention University of Wollongong – Faculty of Law [email_address]
  2. 2. Should Australians Be Concerned about Developments in Russia? <ul><li>Economic Relevance: </li></ul><ul><li>– Australia and Russia compete for export markets (coal, oil and gas, iron ore, gold, alumina, nickel & wheat). </li></ul><ul><li>National Security Concerns: </li></ul><ul><li>- Weapons Exports; - Transnational crime; and </li></ul><ul><li>- Climate Change; - Illegal Immigration. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Preliminary Questions to Ponder: <ul><li>- Why was the Russian government so unprepared? </li></ul><ul><li>- Was the situation foreseeable and avoidable? </li></ul><ul><li>- What role did incompetence and corruption play? </li></ul><ul><li>- Will there be political consequences? </li></ul>
  4. 4. A National Disaster ? <ul><li>- 1/3 of Russia’s agricultural output was destroyed by a severe draught and the fires. </li></ul><ul><li>- Moscow had been engulfed in smog, workers told to stay home. </li></ul><ul><li>- The Civil Defense Ministry reported that approximately 1,000 forest and peat fires. </li></ul><ul><li>- Thousands of people were made homeless. </li></ul><ul><li>- Morbidity in Moscow increases 200%. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Climate Change? <ul><li>- The hottest summer in Russia in 130 years. </li></ul><ul><li>- Temperatures at 35 Degrees Centigrade for weeks. </li></ul><ul><li>- Horrific floods in Pakistan this year preceded by the Tsunami in Southern Asia. </li></ul>
  6. 6. How Could This Have Happened?
  7. 7. <ul><li>Both federal and regional are being criticized for mishandling the situation and failing to prepare adequately for a preventable disaster. </li></ul><ul><li>  During Putin's presidency, the forestry service was practically dismantled. </li></ul><ul><li>The 70,000 forest rangers who might have registered the fires and even been able to put them out had all been let go.  </li></ul>Seeking Explanations
  8. 8. Additional Explanations <ul><li>There are only 22,000 professional fire fighters in the whole of Russia (more than 27,000 in Germany) and no system of volunteer fire fighters. </li></ul><ul><li>Russia's fire-fighting vehicles and equipment are often outmoded. </li></ul><ul><li>The Russian Government was slow to recognize the magnitude of the disaster and slower to respond (e.g. only after a few villages and even a naval aviation depot near Moscow were destroyed by the forest fires). </li></ul>
  9. 9. For the Sake of Comparison <ul><li>Summer 2003, over 40,000 mostly elderly persons of dehydration died in Europe during an extreme heat wave due to absence of air conditioning in many flats. </li></ul><ul><li>The toll would have been lower had many of the relatives of those had not been away on vacation . </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous governmental bodies in the relevant countries neglected to respond promptly to the crisis. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Political Fallout? <ul><li>It seems to me that the situation is not dissimilar to the Chernobyl ’ tragedy, which many people say gave rise to glasnost’ which set in motion forces that ultimately led to the Soviet Union’s spontaneous break up after the unsuccessful August 1991 Putsch. Chernobyl’ had long-term domestic and foreign consequences. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Political Explanations <ul><li>For many years, the Russian central government operated in a largely dysfunctional manner , yet little was done to correct the situation as the political leadership’s interests lay elsewhere. </li></ul><ul><li>The Russian Government is incapable of providing quality and many essential services to the population. </li></ul><ul><li>The Kremlin refuses to empower regional governments or private sector that can offer needed personnel and equipment for meaningful assistance as it could give rise to challenges of its authority. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Thinking About the Sources of Corruption
  13. 13.
  14. 14. Consequences? <ul><li>-- The government’s incompetence is evident to Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov – КТО ВИНОВАТ ? </li></ul><ul><li>-- But the government controls major media and hence can sway public option. </li></ul><ul><li>-- No real political system makes change difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>-- NGOs and environmental movement may be able to influence things at margins. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Will there be a Medvedev-Putin split? </li></ul>

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