Staunton, August 29 -- In yet another way, the Russian government is recapitulating the last years of the USSR: the government has adopted the strategy Mikhail Gorbachev did in 1989 t “accelerate economic development” by forcing defense industries to shift to the production of high-tech civilian goods.
According to the Finanz.ru portal, Moscow officials are trying to escape the stagnation they now face by drawing on one of Gorbachev’s favored tactics, promoting economic acceleration by shifting defense production to civilian use (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/uskoryat-rossiyskuyu-promyshlennost-reshili-po-receptu-poslednikh-let-sssr%E2%80%A8-1028481050).
As at the end of the 1980s, the portal continues, this shift will occur at the direction of the center rather than on the basis of decisions by factory managers responding to economic opportunities, a pattern that again now as 30 years ago means that it will likely be far less successful than its advocates now hope.
Factories that have been making tanks will be ordered to produce medical equipment, computers, and the like, forcing them to make transitions that few of them are ready for and likely introducing real chaos into the sector, something that may mean that military production will fall without civilian production increasing.
But just as in 1989, officials are busily convincing themselves that such “conversion” can be the salvation of the Russian economy -- and for the same reason: declining oil prices mean that Russia can no longer afford to purchase many things that its own population needs and wants.
Even more intriguing, Finanz.ru says, is this curious fact: Gorbachev himself is again among the chief advocates of such a policy, despite all the problems it created for him at the end of his Soviet presidency (nsn.fm/policy/policy-gorbachyev-vozrazil-putinu-po-povodu-skovorodok-na-voennykh-zavodakh).