Reading, Writing and Reckless Ruin in Russia
From the very earliest days of this blog’s operation, we have been tirelessly documenting the horrific fraud that is the Russian so-called “education” system. We thought we had seen it all.
But nothing prepared us for the column in last Thursday’s Moscow Times newspaper from high-ranking Kremlin educator Yevgeny Bazhanov, Vice Chancellor of the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy. We republish it in full in today’s issue, and we still cannot keep from quoting it at length here.
We confess that, Russia cynics though we may be, we were left slack-jawed by the horrifying revelations Professor Bazhanov offered about the so-called “best and brightest” in Russia’s top universities. His plaintive cry “with these brains, how will Russia ever modernize?” left us feeling more hopeless than we ever have about Russia’s future.
As if that were not enough, we also carry in today’s issue a report from the Other Russia which documents a reporter having her children kidnapped by the state apparently in retaliation for critical reporting about the Kremlin-connected Avtovaz factory in her city.
No other description fits: This is naked barbarism. It is a country totally disconnected from the basic standards of the civilized world, descending into the bleakest pits of animalistic frenzy, destroying itself utterly in the process.
Yevgeny Bazhanov, vice chancellor of research and international relations at the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, writing in the Moscow Times:
I have noticed a disturbing new trend among my students: In the past 10 years, the number of them who sincerely believe ridiculous conspiracy theories about U.S. aggression and global domination is increasing. This is particularly disturbing considering that many of these students may very well rise to become members of the country’s elite and represent the new faces of Russia.
One of their favorite conspiracy theories is that former U.S. President George W. Bush and his cronies were behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Al-Qaida, it would seem, had nothing to do with Sept. 11, although it has claimed responsibility repeatedly. And when asked why Bush would commit such an unthinkable crime, they always respond, “So that he would have a pretext for attacking Iraq.”
Other Russia reports:
A Russian journalist and activist in the industrial town of Tolyatti had her children taken from her by police without explanation on Tuesday the Forum.msk news site reports. It looks to be the latest of such cases where the confiscation of children by the police has been used to threaten or intimidate activists and oppositionists in Russia.
An article by the journalist, Galina Dmitrieva, had been published two days prior describing the situation in the AvtoVAZ automobile manufacturing plant. Then, on Tuesday at 1:30 pm, local police came to her home and said that since her children were living in unsanitary conditions, it was possible that they could be taken away.
Paul Goble reports:
Migration within the Russian Federation has fallen significantly and now stands at level it was in 1897, a figure that reflects popular inertia, bureaucratic obstacles and shortages of housing stock but one that is simultaneously leading to more immigration from abroad and slower economic growth at home, according to a leader of the Social Chamber. In an article in Profil, Leonid Davydov, a political scientist who heads that body’s Commission on Regional Development and Local Self-Administration, argues that “the lack of internal migration remains a serious brake on the path of the economic development of Russia.”
Davydov notes that this year represents a triune anniversary in that regard: the 150th since the end of serfdom in Russia in 1861, the 35th since the mass distribution of passports to collective farmers in 1976, and the 20th since the ban on the residential registration system or “propiska” in 1991.
Meet Lina Kulchinsky of Sigmund Pretzel Shop in New York City. She’s a Russian who wanted to be successful in the food business. Here’s her formula (photos from the New York Times):