The Russian Sinkhole
Earlier this week, we reported one of the most pathetic facts about Russia we can remember in our years to date about about the fundamental failure of the Putin regime in Russia. It told the story of a Moscow businessman who could not pay his employees’ wages because he had to give priority to massive bribes to government officials in order to stay in business. And that wasn’t the worst part. This man actually held out hope that the collapse of the Russian stock market would be good for him, because it might make the expectations of the corrupt bureaucrats he deals with more realistic.
Guess what the response of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is to this crisis. He’s writing (another) book!
The Moscow Times reports:
Mayor Yury Luzhkov has written books on love and the Kuril Islands. His latest tome, “Water and Peace,” revives a grandiose Soviet plan to redirect Siberian rivers to irrigate cotton fields in Central Asia. On the cover, Stalin leans over a map of the Soviet Union in a propaganda poster with the slogan “Victory Over Drought!” The project “was thoughtlessly closed at the beginning of Gorbachev’s perestroika,” a news release from the mayor’s office reads. It calls the scheme a “unique megaproject of the state and business.”
Luzhkov presented the 170-page book at the Mayor’s Office on Thursday. Journalists weren’t allowed to ask questions, Kommersant wrote. The project “will give us the possibility to sell water in the republics of Central Asia,” Luzhkov said, Kommersant reported. The idea to divert water from Siberian rivers came under serious consideration after World War II, and Brezhnev poured funds into research in the 1970s. Facing serious opposition from experts and campaigners, the Central Committee wound up the scheme in 1986.
The mayor is a long-term advocate of the idea. In 2002, he sent a letter to then-President Vladimir Putin calling for the construction of a 2,550-kilometer canal from Khanty-Mansiisk to Central Asia via Kazakhstan. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Uzbek President Islam Karimov have voiced support for the plan. On Friday, Greenpeace expert Mikhail Kreindlin called the plan “absolute madness, even a criminal project.” Soviet irrigation projects in Central Asia created “absolutely dead territories,” he said on Friday. “We are making the same mistake. The water would sink into the sand.” The Federal Water Resources Agency and prominent academics have spoken out against the plan, Kreindlin said. “I don’t believe our authorities would go so far as to support such a project.” A spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Ministry said she couldn’t comment on the project.
Only a neo-Soviet state like Russia could generate news this bleak and utterly insane, so fully detached from reality. This is what happens when you cut a people off from the flow of real information, as Vladimir Putin’s KGB regime has done, and when you obliterate political opposition. Soon, your leaders are living in a fantasy world just like the one that caused the USSR to topple and collapse.