More Epic Russian Failure
It would be hilarious if it were not so very horrifying.
Three years ago, the Kremlin implemented a new program of the Federal Migration Service designed to lure ethnic Russians back home from abroad, and regardless of their current citizenship fasttrack them towards Russian passports. Last year the program was funded to the tune of 8 billion rubles (a quarter of a billion dollars) and its goal was to bring 300,000 Russians back “home” by the end of this year.
It was an utter failure. To date, only 12,000 Russians have returned home under the aegis of the program, and the revised federal budget all but abolishes the program and admits defeat, slashing its funding by 75% to less than 2 billion rubles this year. At the current rate, it would take about 100 years to reach the 300,000 target. By that time, “Russia” will be China.
Let’s leave aside the shameless racism reflected in this project (only Slavic Russians, not anyone else, was being recruited to return — certainly not for example the hundreds of thousands of Jews), which is so sordid and repugnant that it almost defies description. Let’s just focus on the fact that this is yet another example of spectacular, hideously expensive failure on the part of the administration of Vladmir Putin, yet another neo-Soviet Rube Goldberg contraption that was doomed from the outset but which, like the infamous Emperior with his “new clothes,” proceeded anyway because there was nobody to question in before Putin, Russia’s new Stalin.
Just think about it: What reason could Putin’s Russia possibly offer an expat to return home? The prospect that his lifespan will be reduced by ten or more years? The possiblity of being robbed and beaten and extorted . . . by the police? The chance of needing medical treatment and being operated on by a “doctor” who gets paid less than an American garbageman? The pollution? The lack of newspapers or TV reporting that actually tells you what is going on in the world? The collapsing stock market and national currency?
What if those billions of rubles had been spent on something that actually matters, like creating a real economy that gives real power to those Russians who are actually foolish enough to remain in the country, or who simply can’t leave?
What if those billions were spent developing a real justice system, so that Russians would stop fleeing in droves to avoid political persecution (only Somalia and Iraq have more political refugees). In 2008 alone, more than 20,000 Russians sought political asylum in other countries, nearly twice the number repatriated by the Foreign Ministry program.
But the Kremlin can’t consider such options, of couse, because a powerful population is capable of deposing the Kremlin’s rotten KGB fanatics at a moment’s notice.
This is far from an isolated instance. Here’s another: Two months ago, the Kremlin announced a program for training professional sergeants for the Russian army, a measure intended to control the brutal dedovshchina hazing process that has driven so many hapless conscripts to suicide and decimated the moral of the army. Days ago, it cancelled the program because of “the extremely low quality” of the applicants it received. They were incapable of eighth-grade academics.
And yets despite all these failures, the lemming-like population of Russia does not call Putin to account. You can argue that they don’t even know about these failures because of the chokehold Putin has developed over the media, but who allowed that to occur? The lemmings.