El fin del debate Rusia-China

Hace diez años comparar los procesos de reforma en China y Rusia era una moda intelectual. ¿Era preferible empezar con la economía --intentar enriquecerse rápido pero sin hacer olas en lo político-- como los chinos, o era mejor empezar con lo político --recobrar la libertad y tal vez la prosperidad vendría después-- que parecía ser la ruta de Rusia bajo Mikhail Gorbachev y Boris Yeltsin?

Ahora ha empezado un nuevo debate comparativo. Esta vez el tema ya no es el de Rusia frente a China, porque Rusia dejó de ser un punto de comparación hace mucho. En cambio, el nuevo debate tiene que ver con los dos nuevos gigantes económicos, demográficos y políticos de Asia: China y la India. El crecimiento económico anual de China ha sido de aproximadamente el 8-9%; la India ha tenido tasas similares durante la última década.

En el "mundo plano" de la globalización --para tomar prestada la poderosa metáfora de Thomas Friedman-- parece que Rusia ya no tiene un lugar. Por supuesto, Rusia sigue siendo la segunda potencia nuclear del mundo y, como uno de los mayores exportadores de petróleo y gas, se beneficia de los altos precios actuales de los energéticos. Pero la población de Rusia está desapareciendo frente a nuestros ojos. Con un promedio de esperanza de vida para los hombres de apenas 57 años, el país está perdiendo cerca de 800,000 personas al año. En efecto, Rusia es más un frágil Estado productor de petróleo que un gigante económico en proceso de modernización.

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