A few months ago on March 3, Yuval Noah Harari wrote that Russia is nothing more than “a gas station with nukes“. And in fact, a report published in July that examined the financial implications of phasing out fossil fuels in six emerging economies showed that fossil fuels represent a staggering 34% of the total Russian government revenue. But even with all those fossil fuel revenues, Russia’s GDP per capita is just 12.000 USD ! So if we already lived in a non-fossil fuel civilization (that we need to become) Russia’s GDP per capita would be slightly higher than Botswana’s but lower than Cuba’s.
The same report warns that 13 trillion USD in fossil fuel revenues will just disappear in a low-carbon world economy and advised that those six fossil fuel-dependent countries must diversify their economy in order to tackle that dramatic change. But it is not easy to see how will Russia be able to do that if it has a very serious lack of highly skilled human resources. Russia has almost the same GDP per capita as Bulgaria but has a ratio of top scientists per million of the population that is only half that of Bulgaria.
But even that much was before thousands of Russians (including highly skilled ones) fled to neighboring countries https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01622-1 not to mention the many (more than 200.000) who recently fled Russia after the military conscription began on 21 September, which further exacerbated the Russian brain drain.
Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, a Russian-born Professor at King´s College, explained that the invasion of Ukraine is due only to the fact that Putin´s popularity among the Russian people was declining, because of economic-related problems. So is not without some irony that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed to accelerating the phase-out of fossil fuels thus aggravating those economic problems.
This means that the very same (Assassin-in-Chief) Putin that has compared himself to 18th-century tsar Peter the Great will be remembered as the sole responsible for making Russia a very poor country, with teachers being paid bottles of vodka as a monthly salary once again.