History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Sunday, May 23, 2004

    The New Feudalism

    In my piece The Death of Russia I examined the perils facing Russia today. A decline in population, rampant corruption and a lackluster economy all have contributed to a situation where the future of Russia is uncertain. Now Russia won't just disappear, it will break apart and be replaced by something altogether different. What exactly will replace it? No one is sure, but if I may hazard a guess it would be a form of neo-feudalism.

    History's End reader and blogger rumcrook made this comment:
    wow kind of sounds like the dark ages when Rome broke down and the common bonds of citizenship disappeared to be replaced by fealty to ones local lord

    I believe that he has accurately summed up what Russia will look like in the future. Now this may be several decades off mind you, inertia is a powerful force, both in physics and politics. The Soviet Union managed to last a long time after Stalin, even though his policies, while speeding up industrialization, helped set up long term economic decline. So it will be with Russia. It may take decades, but eventually things will start to fall apart. Like the Roman Empire, Russia has too few soldiers and capable administrators to hold its empire (for that is what it is) together. It will start with the provinces. Siberia will be first, but not last. Initially, towns and villages will interact with the central government occasionally, maybe once or twice a year. Then perhaps once a year, or every other year. Eventually they will cease to interact with the central government at all. Soon it will be cities that follow suite, although those cities will soon find themselves towns, a fraction of the size that they once were. It is possible that some people might move in from the outlying towns into the cities in order to stay a part of civilization, but not everyone. Soon entire regions will be devoid of any authority. Into this vacuum will step Organized Crime and military leaders. They will form their own little private armies, using old Soviet and Russian military equipment. They will become warlords, and will fight amongst themselves for land and people, the latter being a valuable resources. Likely people will flee this, and attempt to go to civilization. Some will succeed, others will fail.

    The end result is a depopulated wasteland in much of Eastern Russia, in fact most of the land east of the Urals will become "uncivilized." Likely the only centers of civilization left in Eastern Russia will be along the Trans-Siberian Railway, along the Pacific Ocean (like Vladivostok, before the PRC controls it), and perhaps some southernmost areas that are near other nations, cities like Omsk and Irkustsk. Anything that help promotes travel will be conducive to retaining civilization. However, cities like Noril'sk and Tiksi and Cherskty will become ghost towns, composed of perhaps a handful of survivors, and empty buildings and streets. At first it will likely start above the Arctic Circle, but then it will creep down. People will flee to places where civilization still exists, although some will remain, either to escape civilization, or perhaps out of nostalgia. Most will not survive long, though those that do will become the ultimate survivors, emulating their ancestors long ago. Meanwhile, China will not be idle.

    The spread of anarchy will spell the doom of Greater Russia, and Russia will soon become a European country once more, as it loses piece by piece its Asian provinces and cities. Warlords will come to rule those last centers of population. Perhaps, over time, the population will increase once again. Then we might see Mafia bosses and ex-military officers strive to create their own little kingdoms in what was once Russia. Maybe one could even bring together what was once the largest nation on the planet. Or maybe not. While still powerful, Russia will merely be counted as one of several major European nations, and no longer be recognized even as a former super-power. Perhaps it will share the same fate as its cultural predecessor, the Byzantine Empire. Once the most powerful nation in Europe, with an empire that stretched into the Middle East, it eventually declined to the point where it encompassed little more than parts of Greece and Turkey, until it was conquered by the Muslim Turks. Indeed, Russia might join the Byzantine and Roman Empires as another empire of note that disappeared into history and legend. Or perhaps another fate is in store for the Bear...


    I forgot to include Russia's nuclear arsenal in this post, but it is just as well. The subject is worth a post in and of itself, considering the importance of the topic. I should be able to get to it by Tuesday.

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