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Window on Eurasia: “What will become of us when the oil runs out?” northern people deputy asks

Oil RefineryStaunton, March 28 – Because Vladimir Putin has made oil and gas and their export the foundation of the Russian economy, many in Moscow and abroad have speculated on what will happen to Russia as a whole when that country’s reserves run out. But a representative of a small reindeer-herding people of the Russian North is asking the same question.

And while local officials have reassured them that Russia has oil and gas enough for the next two centuries, the fact that a representative of one of the country’s smallest nationalities, whose well-being depends on subventions from a state budget that rests on that industry, is asking that question is almost certainly more important than any answer he has been given.

That is because it suggests that at least some members of that nationality clearly recognize that the subsidies they have been receiving are insufficient either to preserve their nation or to modernize it and consequently are beginning to ask questions about where they and by extension their entire world will be when rather than if the oil does run out.

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