Mr. Osyak Goes to Moscow
Russia is such an amazingly messed up place that sometimes even we, who are prepared to believe just about any extreme nonsense where this nightmare of a country is concerned, see something in print, even in the quality press, that we find difficult to swallow.
Such was the case when we opened our virtual copy of the Chicago Tribune last Wednesday and learned about the amazing Mr. Ivan Osyak.
A Russian Orthodox priest in the southern city of Rostov, Osyak and his wife Nadezheda have 17 children. 13 of them, along with their parents, recently made a trip to the Moscow Kremlin where they were handed a medal denominated the “Order of Paternal Glory” and a bouquet of flowers from Russian “president” Dima Medvedev.
With a plummeting population that is predicted to drop by one -third to below 100 million within the next half-century, the Kremlin has decided to respond by ignoring the actual problem, Russia’s horrific mortality rate, and bribing parents to have babies in the hope of staunching the population flow. Hence, Medvedev also handed Mr. Osyak a check for the astounding sum of . . . wait for it . . . $1,600.
Yes, you read that right. It’s $94.11 per child. Is Russia really so impoverished that this pittance seems like a windfall to its downtrodden masses?
You bet it is. The Tribune reports, that the Osyaks live in squalor — sharing a cramped three-bedroom cottage with 15 of their children.
Yes, you read that right. That’s 5 kids per room, one of which holds the two parents as well. Even if each room has two pairs of bunk beds, virtually unknown in Russia (except in prisons, of course), one kid is still hanging from the ceiling.
It’s hardly surprising, then, to read the Tribune‘s blunt conclusion on Putin’s population policy: “There’s a flaw in the strategy—it’s not working.”
Things like an “order of paternal glory” were supposed to be relics of the Soviet past. But then, so were KGB rulers like Yuri Andropov, and so was the national anthem of the USSR. Yet, Russia is ruled by a proud KGB spy, plays the Soviet national anthem when it wins medals at the Olympics, and it has gone back to the laughable practice of trying to inspire Russians through the awarding of ridiculous medals proclaiming “glory” while embodying only shame.
If a couple doesn’t want to have a baby, then learn they can get cash by having one and decide to do so, this may not necessarily make for a happy family or a vibrant society. Given that Russia leads the world in divorce and that the average Russian man doesn’t live to see his 60th year, it’s in fact an obvious recipe for disaster even if it did solve the population crisis.
But it can’t do that, because Russia’s population crisis isn’t born of a low birthrate, if you will pardon the pun. It’s born of an obscenely dangerous society, where all manner of plagues from smoking to house fires lays waste to the civilian population while the government does its level best to kill of the rest with equally dangerous military service. And the Kremlin isn’t prepared to lift a finger to do anything about that, just as the Soviet regime was not.
Russia is pressing ahead, just as the USSR always did, with plans to expand its military power and provoke cold war. It has no trouble finding money for that, but for Mr. Osyak it can only dig up $94.11 a head for his gigantic family, and he stays in his pathetic little shack packed in like sardines. As the Kremlin’s financial cupboard gets barer, what will be to prevent the KGB thugs who rule the country from concluding, just as Stalin did, that it’s too expensive to bribe parents to have kids, much cheaper to simply order them to do so at gunpoint, on pain of Gulag?
That is the story of Russia, the one that will be written on the nation’s tombstone.