Sunday, March 24, 2024

Moscow ‘Benefits from Mass Unemployment in North Caucasus,’ Lipshits Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 19 – The sources of mass unemployment in the North Caucasus are multiple and often cited: a high birthrate, widespread corruption, a large shadow economy, and instability; but in addition, Marina Liptshits says, there is another: Moscow benefits from this situation and isn’t doing anything to change it.

            The Moscow economist says that despite the Kremlin’s frequent promises to address unemployment in the North Caucasus, it is not doing anything effective about it because the situation allows it to buy the loyalty of the elites there and provides an additional influx of workers into central Russia (

            The outflow of workers from the North Caucasus will continues “at least for the foreseeable future,” Lipshits continues, even as birthrates and the relative size of the workforce there decline, something that despite denials all around both Moscow and the elites in the North Caucasus republics benefit from.

            Indeed, she argues, “the authorities in the regions of the North Caucasus Federal District have no incentive to encourage entrepreneurship” and the growth of employment.” They are quite happy to divert money from Moscow into their own hands and that of their supporters and Moscow is comfortable with this situation because it keeps them loyal.

            There is no possibility of correcting the problem of mass unemployment in the North Caucasus “without correcting it in the country as a whole,” Lipshits says; and that can’t happen without the kind of changes that the Russian powers that be are doing everything they can to prevent.

      In this article at least, Lipshits does not address another result of Moscow’s policies. If the Kremlin can’t or won’t address mass unemployment in the North Caucasus, the center in effect is guaranteeing the influx of ever more people from that region into the cities of central Russia, whose residents are already angry about the arrival of such culturally different people.

            Consequently, the strategy the Kremlin has adopted to ensure that it has the loyalty or at least passivity of the elites in the North Caucasus is in fact ensuring that it is sparking ever more xenophobia and ethnic conflict in the cities, developments that corrode what authority the powers that be have. 

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