Yesterday I was trolling through Boston’s Big Picture, and I came across their pictorial about the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam disaster in central Russia a few weeks back. Long story short, something went wrong at the damn, water get into the turbines and they blew. Luckily, they didn’t take the dam with them, but they did leak tons of oil into the river (literal tons, mind you, 40 of them) causing an ecological disaster for the fisheries downriver.

This got me thinking. The US infrastructure might be in a shitty situation, but Russia is far worse. The modern Russia is built on a foundation laid by the old Soviet empire. A foundation that might not be as strong as we’ve been lead to believe. Wait, strike that, a foundation wasn’t nearly as strong as we were lead to believe.

You know why it wasn’t? Because we were fucking sending them into paraonid fits on a daily basis. We’re about talking literally thousands of sorties into the buffer zone around Soviet airspace during the Cold War. Nuclear armed bombers would hurtle toward Russia on vectors that put them over key targets, and then veer off a few miles from the point of no return. Both sides were talking about how they were planning on surviving a nuclear exchange, hell the Russians built a doomsday retaliation device called “Dead Hand“, and we were planning on putting nukes into space with “Star Wars”. The world was absolutely mad, and it didn’t get any saner until the wall came down and Russia went through a few coups.

And what did all of this mean for the poor little Communist worker on government pay and food rations? Fuck it. That’s what it meant. For the entire last half of the 20th century, the Russia people expected to die in a blinding flash of light. And that fucking does something to you. You stop caring about the future, stop caring about your present, your culture and technology suffer, and your women start looking like shaved bears. (Ok, that’s a cheap joke – Russian women have always looked like shaved bears.)

Our infrastructure is falling apart because it was built in an attempt to get us out of the Great Depression, and we can’t be assed to spend money on upkeep. The Russian infrastructure is falling apart because they thought they’d all be dead by the time anything broke, and now things are breaking – catastrophically. But, why should you build something to last if none of you are going to last?