EDITORIAL: More Epic Russian Failure


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.

21 responses to “EDITORIAL: More Epic Russian Failure

  1. If America and Israel did not exist then more Russians would return to Russia. So if Putin and Obama can get rid of these two countries, Russia will solve its population crisis.

  2. Kolchak, both countries should be glad to accept to Russia’s best and brightest, they’ve been assets. And, I hope we are always open to a Russian seeking asylum from the undemocratic rot of Russia and not someone wanting exclusively economic relief.

    Felix, where would you have gone if you had neither option in front of you years ago?

  3. Kolchak said: “If America and Israel did not exist then more Russians would return to Russia.”

    I don’t mean this to sound confrontational but, why would they? Wouldn’t they just go to one of the many other relatively prosperous and democratic nations? And while Obama may actually do some damage to America, I doubt it will be enough for it to become a less attractive option than staying in Russia.

    It will also probably take more than Putin’s support of Iran to “get rid” of Israel. He will probably end up getting Iran involved in a war with the Sunni states before anything else.

    • It was not “hideously expensive” – the funding was actually amazingly low. Imagine, they just gave $2b to Uzbekistan only to disrupt the West’s war against in Afghanistan… from where goes 90% of drugs for Russia’s millions of drug addicts (most of this produced by the Taliban in Helmand Province) who are the main source/victims of Russia’s AIDS epidemic too.

  4. While it will be interesting to see if the small population of Chinese who become permanent Russian residents each year (as opposed to the much larger number who come to Russia for temporary work across the boarder) is able to return to a higher fertility level when outside the jurisdiction of the Chinese Communist population laws, I can only see the Chinese people and culture as having an influence, not a domination of the region now called Russia.

    With an average age for Russian females of 41.6 years it is probably too late for even a sudden increase in the total fertility rate to prevent a massive contraction of the population and as the youngest, best educated and most therefor most mobile the ability to maintain any modern infrastructure is only going to become harder.

    If Russians can curb their society’s racism and xenophobia a bit they might be able to attract some of the sub-Saharan youth bulge or compete with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for the Pakistan/Afghanistan youth bulge. Otherwise they are going to have a lot of painful decisions to make. Iran has decided to close down certain villages and forcibly relocate residents to deal with the future cost of infrastructure to an aging population with a below replacement fertility rate.

    Frankly, even if Putin was gone tomorrow and Russia suddenly had a wise and accountable government and justice system, I don’t know for certain if further decline can be prevented.

  5. Did anyone see Shuvalov’s quote the other day? “The government is doing “everything possible to make sure that Russia becomes the most desirable place to live in the world,” he [Shuvalov] said.
    “This is not absurd, nor is it a fairy tale,” he said. “We have all of the necessary conditions for this.””

  6. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

    Yeah, Snake, sure,,,
    Do your best “)))

  7. penny, can’t speak for Kolchak – but I think he is sarcastic…

    As far as for my choices, the common expression was Бразильский бы выучил только за то, что надо ж куда-нибудь ехать (I would even learn Brazilian language because have to leave for somewhere).
    Looking form the Soviet Union – everything looked attractive. I knew English pretty well, so Canada and Australia looked better than Germany or Sweden. Now, after 20 years hindsight, USA certainly looks like the best option. The opportunities that immigrants have here are not even close to anything possible in Europe. The safety net may be stronger there… but I didn’t leave USSR for the safety net. It is the pursuit of happiness that’s guaranteed here – not the happiness itself.

  8. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

    So, Felix, you made your choice and leaved the country. I stayed and worked as the president for 8 years. I’m happy. Are you? Any chance to run for the office?

  9. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

    Yeah, if you want it seriously please tell me your name and address IRL. Your IP address will help as well. “)

  10. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,
    “IRL. Your IP address will help as well. “)

    What the hell do you mean, Comrade Idiota Sputin?

    What is an “IRL” spammer? Oh I know, your just plain lazy and stupid as well as blind.

  11. Snake Oil Baron, excellent points.

  12. He will probably end up getting Iran involved in a war with the Sunni states before anything else.

    My thinking too. How better to drive the price of oil back up than to foment trouble with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni oil producers.

    • Nah, the anti-Sunni rehetoric was always anti-Saddam. Now only the tiny Bahrain has a Shia majority ruled over by the Sunnis (in Syria it’s actually the other way around).

  13. IRL = In Real Life

  14. er, thanks. I was mislead with VLP’s usually bad grammar, and thought VLP meant URL.

  15. no worries George, deciphering Russian drivel is a developed talent – used to be necessary to survive in the “good old” USSR, nowadays just useful to understand what the hell they’re trying to tell you and how to counter their arguments.

  16. The Chinese will never take over Russia. The Chinese birth rate is low enough that their working population peeks sometime in the next decade. Russia, particularly Siberia, has an unpleasant climate. The Chinese will be content to work there temporarily as well as to buy whatever natural resources the Russians are willing to sell to them cheap. Also, consider that the Chinese have a 3,000 year history of not being expansionist.

    Much of the same can be said for the muslims to the south. Their birthrates are declining as well, and muslims prefer to live around other muslims. Again, the Russian climate is unpleasant for them as well.

    In reality, the Russians actually have little to fear from their neighbors. Instead of conquest by outsiders, it is far more likely that Russia will continue to depopulation and will become an empty region.

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