EDITORIAL: Russia and her Clueless Citizens


Russia and her Clueless Citizens

Last week witnessed another bizarre juxtaposition of news reports about Russia. 

First, the world learned that Russia had humiliated itself yet again by watching one of its supposedly fearsome nuclear missiles explode harmlessly on launch, almost as if it had been sabotaged. And indeed, of couse, it had:  It was built by Russians.  When one thinks, though, of how many lives could have been saved in Perm by devoting the funds squandered on this monstrous failure instead to fire prevention and burn treatment, one stops laughing and beings to weep.  The fatality toll in Perm soared above 140 as dozens perished in Russian hospitals under so-called treatment following the blast.  Totally unable to pursue reform of his failed policies, all  Putin could do was threaten criminal charges, the same type of policy embraced by Stalin.

Then, the world learned that Russia had thrust the European Court for Human Rights into a “crisis” by first overwhelming it with lawsuits alleging barbarism by the Kremlin and then obstructing the reform of the court so that it could deal with the tsunami of Russian cases in an efficient manner.

And then on the same day, the world learned that the approval ratings for both dictator Vladimir Putin, who is responsible for all this outrage, failure and humiliation, and his sidekick Dima Medvedev, had actually gone up.  Even though only one-quarter of Russian respondents believed that the Putin regime could right Russia’s foundering economy, down from a third in September, Russians — mindless sheep that they are — were still willing to congratulate Putin by moving his approval rating from 65% to 68% (and to bump Medvedev from 54% to 58%).  That is, of course, if the Kremlin did not have its way with the numbers first.

There is no word for this behavior except barbarism. Either the people of Russia think better of their leaders the more they destroy the country, or they allow their leaders to lie shamelessly about what they think and to retain power despite disapproving of their actions. We find it difficult to decide which scenario is the more appalling.

One response to “EDITORIAL: Russia and her Clueless Citizens

  1. Industry: Russia’s one-company towns face bleak future

    Most monogoroda are not more than half a century old, having been built over coal seams or ore deposits or near hydroelectric dams under the Soviet Union’s rapid industrialisation drive starting in the 1930s. Life in these cities has been harsh, for the most part, over the span of their existence.

    Now, spread out amid Russia’s vast steppes and forests, many have little economic reason to exist following the fall of communism and the end of central planning. Their products are uncompetitive against imports, they have seen little investment and have been kept barely afloat by a government that until this year was awash in oil revenues. With the onset of the economic crisis, many of these towns have gone from limping along to a slow death spiral.

    Mismanagement at the factory is at the root of the problem. In October Avtovaz admitted 7,500 vehicles were missing from its dealer network. Avtovaz cars just barely compete with imported cars, despite 30 per cent import tariffs. The plant has had a variety of owners. In 2005 Rostechnologiya, the state arms monopoly, took over the plant. France’s Renault took a 25 per cent stake in 2008. Troika Dialog, the Moscow investment bank, owns a similarly-sized stake.

    Moscow clearly fears instability in these towns, where economic conditions can get very bad, very quickly. A series of strikes in the Kuzbass region of Siberia in 1989, for example, helped hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later. In June a strike in one monogorod, Pikalevo, brought national attention after Mr Putin flew to the city to address strikers, forcing industry leaders to get the town’s cement factory back on its feet.


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