Putin's latest call to strengthen Russia's crippled military forces has raised eyebrows and prompted a flurry of analysis. Yet the typically dry writers at Stratfor win this week's prize for honesty in analysis.
"Stratfor never takes such statements from people who possess nuclear capabilities lightly. But, in this case, the apparent militancy behind the comment is sadly funny...Low birth rates, combined with soaring death rates -- particularly among men between the ages of 30 and 55 -- have saddled the country with the worst demographic picture in centuries...As a country, Russia is -- quite literally -- dying.
"For the Russians, it is about being told in a rather absentminded and oblique way that they and their interests no longer matter. But matter they do, and while the Russians are indeed dying, they are not dead yet. Acting as if they were is tantamount to discussing a grandmother's past marital infidelities before she finalizes her will, and expecting her to be oblivious to it. "