EDITORIAL: Russia’s Government is Lying about Unemployment


Russia’s Government is Lying about Unemployment

As Russia’s economic situation deteriorates ever more dramatically, the Kremlin is beginning to lose control over its domain.  Vladimir Putin’s latest public tirade, in which he ordered Sberbank to lend more and told them the price the could lend at, ignoring the institution’s desperate financial condition, had to send chills down the spine of any remotely qualified economist anywhere in the country.  Sooner of later, men of good conscience are going to speak out. Common sense will compel them to do so. As in the time of Stalin, Putin’s only “response” will be violence.

Blink and you’d have missed it, for example, but a tiny item last week on the Kremlin’s own ITAR-TASS newswire told the tale.  We’ll reprint it in full, just in case it disappears:

MOSCOW, July 25 (Itar-Tass) — Unemployment in Russia grew at a rate of 100,000 people a week in January and February 2009 and had reached 2.150 million by the middle of June. Currently, 6.5 million people are unemployed nationwide, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development Maxim Topilin told Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday, citing statistics prepared using the ILO methodology. In October 2008, when the talk of the crisis only began, registered unemployment in Russia was under 1.5 million and overall unemployment stood at around four million people.

On Friday, Federation Council chairman Sergei Mironov accused the Ministry of Health and Social Development and regional authorities of understating unemployment. According to Mironov, actual unemployment is coming close to eight million. “In the autumn people will come back from their gardens to the labour exchanges and it will become clear then that the Ministry of Health and Social Development wasted the summer months away. Instead of providing concrete help to regions in developing employment support programmes, federal officials juggled figures and tried to smooth over the situation in the eyes of the state and the population,’ Mironov said.

Wow.  The Kremlin’s own handpicked toady in charge of the sham Federation Council publicly accuses the Kremlin of cooking the unemployment books to save its skin.  It doesn’t get much more embarrassing than that.  And even according to the Kremlin’s own data, 6.5 million Russians are unemployed, with more than two million added to the rolls in the first half of this year.

By the Kremlin’s own count, there are 60% more jobless people in Russia today than there were in October 2008, less than a year ago.  And a high-ranking Kremlin official says the Kremlin’s count is inaccurate, a gross  understatement of actual unemployment.  According to him, Russian unemployment is up 100% compared to last October.

There are other examples. Russians are openly roasting the Kremlin, for instance, over the humilating failure of the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, and they are forced to recognize the horrific potential consequences of Russia’s domestic subprime crisis, which are no less obvious than the unemployment catastrophe.  In both cases, the Kremlin’s gross mismanagement is obvious and undeniable.

But that doesn’t mean that, just as in the times of Stalin, it won’t soon be a crime to point it out.  Another obvious failure is the deterioriation of security in the Caucasus, and there the Kremlin has been willing to impose an even more blunt solution copied from Stalin:  outright murder of the truth-tellers.

4 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia’s Government is Lying about Unemployment

  1. Its all very simple, there is 70bn outflow at least by year-end in corporate debt repayments ,same thing as government. 100bn deficit to cover for 09, and another 100bn for 2010 at least given the truck load of expenses , that makes the Reserve Fund and National Welfare Fund 200bn wasted in no time. Thanks again for this. I wouldn’t want to think what would have happened
    if the Minister of Finance was not Mr Kudrin. Regards, Henry

  2. So the question is – how long until Russia collapses into anarchy?

  3. Russian Statistics Rule of Thumb. If a statistic favors the Kremlin, divide by half. If a statistic does not favor the Kremlin, multiply by two.


    LOL! And if it may cause public protests, load your pistol.

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