Staunton, August 31 – The Soviet system was marked by numerous bottlenecks when central planning meant that what one link in the system needed to function was not produced by another. But now Putin’s Russia has its own counterpart to that problem where one group to make money is taking actions that others are protesting against.
Over the last six months, the RBC news agency reports, Russian firms have been importing for processing 41 percent more trash than they did in the corresponding period last year, even though Russian citizens are protesting Moscow’s plans to dispose of its own trash in regions far from the capital (rbc.ru/economics/30/08/2019/5d67e17f9a7947d966d7fd3d).
The Russian firms promise to process the foreign trash even though 96 percent of domestically produced garbage in Russia goes directly to landfills, according to a new study by Greenpeace Russia (greenpeace.org/russia/Global/russia/report/toxics/recycle/RUSSIA-GARBAGE.pdf).
The results of that study are confirmed by another 87-page one produced by A.V. Volkov of the Center for Development of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (dcenter.hse.ru/data/2018/07/11/1151608260/%D0%A0%D1%8B%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%BA%20%D1%83%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B0%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%B8%20%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%85%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%BE%D0%B2%202018.pdf).
Russian firms should be processing domestically produced trash, but they can make far more money if they import garbage and ignore the domestic flows, even if people are in the streets protesting. And thus a new kind of post-Soviet “bottleneck” has emerged, one that may be even more fateful than its Soviet predecessors.