Staunton, May 4 – Stalin defeated the German invasion because he did not spare the lives of his people, sacrificing them in enormous and unprecedented numbers, to achieve his personal political goals. Now, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, Putin is doing something similar, seeking to overcome the pandemic by protecting the sources of his income while sacrificing the people.
As Russia approaches the May 9 Victory Day commemorations, the Moscow media are filled with stories about Russian courage and heroism during World War II and about the enormous losses the Soviet people were forced to make in order to achieve their triumph over Nazism, the Russian commentator says (newsru.com/blog/04may2021/ris_mort.html).
But the attention of the Russian people and the Russian government should be focusing not on that war and its losses but on the pandemic and the losses Kremlin policy have imposed and tried to cover up. Unless those new trends are examined closely, there is a great risk that they will continue and harm the country even more in the future.
The state statistical agency, Rosstat, reports that over the last 12 months, some 330,000 Russians died from the coronavirus and its consequences. A consideration of that tragedy, Inozemtsev says, “puts many things in their proper light.”
It becomes obvious that “our country became one of those who most seriously of all suffered from ‘this gift’ which came from out chief ally, China, and that the powers that be now have repeated the tactic of ‘Marshal of Victory’ G. Zhukov who did not spare the life of soldiers for the achievement of this or that task by a necessary date.”
In the pandemic year of 2020, the economist continues, the number of Russian residents declined by half a million people, but the figures for the first quarter of 2021 show that it is on course to lose twice that many in 2021, a disaster from almost any perspective except that of the men in the Kremlin.
Of course, it is difficult to trust Russian statistics. In no other country have coronavirus infections varied so little from day to day, typically two to five percent, while in Europe they often jump around as much as 20 to 40 percent; and nowhere else have 50 percent declines in reported infections not been accompanied by at least a 25 percent decline in deaths.
These are things that the Russian people must focus on; they are not the things that the Kremlin is. As “’a commercial state,’” which has been set up to benefit the rulers by the extraction and export of raw materials, population losses are at most collateral damage. They are not something Putin and company appear to be really concerned about.
His regime has not provided anything like the support to the population that other countries have. That has saved the government money and meant that according to the figures the Kremlin cares about, Russia has come through the coronavirus crisis “much more successfully” than others. But the Russian people have again paid the price.
Indeed, Inozemtsev continues, “if the statistics on death for the largest countries who have suffered are true, then we are in first place among them, surpassing both the US and Brazil” in per capita and quite possibly absolute terms.
Once again, “for the rulers of the Russian state, the individual has been the cheapest of all resources which the powers control” and therefore precisely what the Kremlin is prepared to sacrifice in order to achieve its goals, goals that are at odds with the well-being of the Russian people.
The country’s leaders today as before, are celebrating how well they have managed things; and they have managed them well for themselves but not for the people or the country, Inozemtsev says. But even they will ultimately be confronted by the bill that the losses they have failed to counter will present not just Russia but its rulers as well.