by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated and captioned by Leo.

The invisible hand of the market, which liberals like to praise so much, was unable to clean up the outsourcing services purchased by the Russian Army. This system has not justified itself, said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

 

 

One of the innovations that the predecessor of the current head of department, Anatoly Serdyukov, introduced in the Russian Armed Forces was outsourcing. Back then, they declared that the military should be engaged in their direct business, and the household part should be entrusted to civilians, whose work will be paid.

Basically, the talks were exactly about what the beloved market will decide, and somehow everything would come in order by itself. Although in the beginning of 2012, specialized portals wrote about the problems that this outsourcing was carrying to the military.

“Registration of firms engaged in outsourcing services for military units is not always positively evaluated by both the military and the public. On the subject of food alone, the commander of several military units of the Eastern Military District “got caught” in a scandal. Wherein, the local supervisory authorities often found out that outsourcing companies that were supposed to provide servicemen with high-quality ready-made food, turned out to be strangely registered for close relatives of the commanders of these military units.”

Of course, they fought against this phenomenon, but when the corrupt officials managed to survive, another side effect quickly emerged – the poor quality of services. Here is what Sergei Shoigu said about this regard. In 2014, after the events of the Crimean Spring, in general, showed the effectiveness of the military reforms.

“Outsourcing has not become a universal means of meeting the logistical requirements of the Russian Army. First of all, this is due to the low quality of the services provided, the dissatisfaction of the final consumer and the opacity of the companies involved. Therefore, it became necessary to reform the existing system that provides for the Armed Forces.”

At the same time, the minister nevertheless recognized that, yes, from the resources of outsourcing, it was possible to free 65,000 servicemen from doing economic work. Only here the price of solving this issue did not suit the army. And now came the predictable finale, which Shoigu reported.

“The system of outsourcing that had already been established by 2012, as if to put it mildly, did not justify itself in everything. There was no one to feed the servicemen, equipment was not being repaired, fuel and lubricants were not delivered to the field outlets. In fact, outsourcing developed only where it brought a good income, and there were no obligations.”

Oh. Wait a minute, but the invisible hand is supposed to be from the market… It had to throw out of business the inefficient firms, replacing them with truly effective ones. Is it really right for the malicious troll Ruslan Karmanov, who formulated the diamond sutra of corporate governance, in order to minimize personal responsibility while maximizing profits?

It turned out that yes. Shoigu bluntly said that businessmen very zealously took up those areas of military outsourcing, where they could make a good profit. For example – for the maintenance of public utilities and electrical networks. Only here the invisible hand worked well within the framework of the described diamond sutra: businessmen fiercely exploited the infrastructure and communications, and did not make repairs. Even the current ones. The result was the emergence of a set of emergency situations. And the invisible hand produced bloated labour force.

“Only the cleaners and janitors of the Ministry of Defense contained 124,000 people. And if we add to this more than 100,000 workers in the factories, then this number can be compared with the number of servicemen serving in conscription.”

The art of the invisible hand ended with the fact that the impatient military re-established the work of full-time military repair agencies. And they have already saved about 1 billion rubles ($15.4 million) a year for the Ministry of Defense.

*Clip plays*

2000 comedy film “Demobbed” | Director: Roman Kachanov

“Army” is not just a kind word. But a very fast action.

*Clip ends*

The power control systems installed in the canteens, which supervise the invisible hand, saved about ₽3 billion rubles ($46.2 million) more, and the metering devices for utility resources in military camps – ₽5.3 billion rubles ($81.7 million). More impressive amounts appear.

“In the current year, restoration in repair shops of arsenals have returned 550,000 missiles and ammunition to the system. The purchase of these very same things would have cost the budget ₽63 billion rubles ($971.8 million).”

That is, the outsourcers generated by the invisible hand were partially replaced by soulless devices, partially by people in uniform, and those few who remained were pressed to the nail. And things immediately went smoothly.

I would very much like to hear what the libertarians that have read books by Ayn Rand would have to say. The ones who have everything self-regulated around and aspire to the heights of efficiency without state participation. Are they themselves ready to become objects of interest to a business that wants to extract maximum profit and not respond to anything?

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