Staunton, Jan. 27 – Speaking in Kaliningrad, Vladimir Putin said demographers “don’t know anything” and thus he has to figure out what to do, a manifestation of “a militant dilettantism” that is extremely dangerous when the person infected with it has power and can act without constraints, Andrey Nesmiyan who blogs under the screen name El Murid says.
As reported by the Kremlin, Putin declared: “Nobody knows what’s at the core of demographic processes. Now I that I’ve said this publicly … demographers will attack me and say that ‘you don’t know but we do.’ In fact, they don’t know anything, as it’s very difficult to figure out what’s happening” in that sphere (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73303
That outright “rejection of a scientific approach” inevitably means “an amateurish and voluntaristic one,” one that is based on ill-informed judgments not only about the causes of problems but about what the consequences of policies chosen on the basis of such amateurish judgments will be, the blogger says.
Putin is not alone in this. He has surrounded himself with other “dull” amateurs who are sure they “know everything better than any specialist” and that they can act on that basis. That is obvious across the board but nowhere more clearly than in the regime’s discussions about birthrates.
Putin’s people “do not realize that an urban society is fundamentally different from a traditional society.” The first aims at survival and therefore bets on having enough children to ensure that, while the second “aims at improving he quality of its life” and therefore has fewer children.
That is what demographers understand but that Putin doesn’t, El Murid continues. It cals for increasing the birthrate to “completely unimaginable levels” not recognizing that no modern urban society anywhere has a rate that high. But for the regime, this is irrelevant as “they don’t understand either the problem or the consequences of their actions.”
This group of amateur-rulers has survived on the basis of what its predecessors built up earlier, but such reserves are not without limit – and the Putin regime, El Murid concludes, is daily testing what those limits are.