Saturday, September 12, 2020

Moscow's New Plan for Achieving National Goals Shows Russian Elite Really Ranks Far Below Botswana’s, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 11 – Had the scholars who ranked the quality of the Russian elite alongside that of the elite in Botswana had the chance to examine the Russian government’s new plan for fulfilling the country’s national goals program, they would not have ranked the Russian elite as high as they did but far, far lower, Vladislav Inozemtsev says.

            That rating found Russia ranked 23rd out of 32 countries considered, far beyond the Western states Moscow likes to compare itself with and on par with Botswana, a listing that many Russians found offensive but that others, including Inozemtsev says, does not adequately reflect how far the elites in Russia have declined over the last two decades.

            (On the rating of national elites, see; on the Russian economist’s analysis of the government plan and the reasons for his even more negative judgment about the Russian elite, see

            On the day the rating came out, the Moscow economist notes, the Russian government released what it described as a plan for achieving national goals for 2030. But the way it was presented – without statistics allowing for measurement – and with propagandistic language that can be easily changed highlighted the decline in the ability of the state to function.

            To the extent that those who compiled this document think it is a plan, he continues, they should be urged to see a psychiatrist to examine their minds. At the same time, it shows that the money the Russian state got from the sale of oil 10 and 15 years ago not only allowed the regime to win support but also allowed its elites to deteriorate to the point of shear incompetence.

            Still worse, because the bureaucracy gave itself credit for the windfall of oil profits, its members began to assume that they could run the economy. When the oil money ran out, they tried and failed, and the new “plan” is evidence both of their arrogance about their abilities and the impossibility of their making a positive contribution.

            The new plan they have now come up with shows the level and inadequacy of their thinking, Inozemtsev says. They believe in complete regulation, hundreds of programs and subprograms “which conceal the main tasks and give them an opportunity at any point to change them.”

            That is a more serious problem than many may assume, he concludes, because it will be “impossible” to escape from this state of affairs by “evolutionary means” alone. These people must be replaced and not by their deputies or other subordinates who have descended to the same mindset. 

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