Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 1 01:37:07 UTC 2017

On Mar 31, 2017, at 1:49 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote: 
> From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Dan TheBookMan
> >…Heck, for years after its fall, some not so stupid people were argue it was just a ruse, that it was rise again…
> Dan
> They were partly right: it rose again.  In a sense.  It isn’t the complete Soviet Union, but it managed to overthrow communism and its people aren’t starving now.  It made the difficult transition away from communism.  They’re tricky bahstids I tells ya, gotta watch em.  They will lure us into complacency, then mess with our elections.

If you want to consider the current Russian state as merely the latest mutation of former ones, consider this. The Russian Empire was quite large, though it reacted its greatest extent probably during WW1.* The Soviet Union lost a big chunk of that territory -- first through its treaty with the Central Powers and then in the aftermath of the Paris Treaty. It gained a little back after the Russian Civil War ended.

After that, there was WW2. Initially, the Soviets really expanded (into Europe and in Asia), then were pushed back (in Europe by the Nazi invasion in 01941). The expansion was then fairly swift after WW2 and only curbed or set back in a few areas. I reckon we can set the invasion of Afghanistan as the high water mark for the Soviet empire, along with its interventions in Central America. 

After that, came rapid collapse. By 01989, the Soviets lost the Eastern European empire they'd gained just after WW2. Then the Soviet Union itself broke up. 

The Russian Federation today seems to be expanding, but its expansion is mostly confined to areas that were part of Soviet Union in 01941 and even then not most of those areas. It seems unlikely to get the Baltic States back. It's taken a piece of Ukraine. It still has been mostly ejected from the Caucasus and from Central Asia.

Sure, the Russian elites, like any elites including our elites, are not to be trusted and surely would love a chance to extend their reach. And there's no Iron Law of history that says a fallen empire can't rebound. But it's a stretch to compare Russia today with the Soviet Union of, say, 01960 or 01980.  


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* One scholar argues the Russian government caused WW1. He makes an interesting case, but I'm no scholar of WW1. See: 

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