Obama’s Claims on Russia versus Reality

When U.S. President Barack Obama goes to the G20 summit on November 16th, he is going to for encounter "slouch" leader of a country, which, in his own words, is a “regional power” that “doesn't make anything,” to which “immigrants aren’t rushing” and where “population is shrinking” with “ life expectancy of the male around 60.”
Let's examine each of the claims on Russia that Obama made in his August interview with the Economist and March statement and
December statement.

Obama's claim Reality
“Russia doesn’t make anything.”
  • The only way U.S. astronauts get to and from the International Space Station is ask the Russian space agency to give them a ride in Russian-made Soyuz-TMA crew craft launched by a Russian-made Soyuz rocket.
  • Russian RD-180 engines power U.S. Atlas rockets that the American government relies upon to launch military cargos into orbit.
  • Russian nuclear fuel used to power U.S. inter-planetary missions.
  • The world’s largest nuclear icebreaker in the world is now being built in Russia along with world’s biggest gamma telescope.
  • Sharpest satellite imaging of the Earth with a resolution of 121 megapixels was made in Russia.
  • Russia is second largest exporter of arms after U.S.
“Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity.”
  • Moscow is now home to over 2 million immigrants. Since 2004 the number of immigrants into Russia has grown every year.
  • Russia is second only to US in the number of immigrants living in it.As of 2013, U.S. hosted 45.8 million immigrants while Russia hosted 11 million and Germany hosted 9 million, according to the United Nations’ population division.”
“The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old.” The average male life expectancy in Russia was over 63 as of 2013.
“The population is shrinking.” Russia’s population has been growing since 2010. See table below.
“Russia is a regional power” If Russia were indeed a regional power then how is that Putin and Lavrov essentially saved Obama from putting up air strikes in Syria for a vote in Congress, a vote which he was destined to lose, by seizing on Kerry's remarks and offering to rid Assad regime of CWs, which Moscow actually then helped to accomplish (at least the declared weapons are gone)?
“The challenge is this is working for him (Putin) politically inside of Russia, even though it is isolating Russia completely internationally.” Almost half of UNGA members failed to support the resolution that vaguely condemned Russia for taking Crimea..
Li Hui, the Chinese ambassador to Moscow likes to repeat, “China and Russia are together now like lips and teeth.”
Zhang Gaoli, Chinese vice-premier, said during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin: “I want to make it clear that China categorically opposes the sanctions the United States and Western countries have taken against Russia.”
Even if Obama ignores cozy relations Putin’s Russia is enjoying with China and Russia’s recent arms deal with Pakistan, he should have been aware that head of a NATO state (Turkey) has hosted Putin as a dear guest to conclude business deals and discuss construction of a major gas pipeline two days before Obama’s latest claim of Russia being isolated.
Population of Russia in Millions (source: World Bank)

See earlier version of my repudiation of Obama's claims here)

Updated: On December 5, 2014.



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