Russia’s secret war by Time Forward! project and Evgeny Super
Translated by Scott Humor and captioned by Leo.
We have discovered that Russia has been waging a secret, carefully concealed war for the past 7 years. It is a war against corruption and unfair income distribution. You find this hard to believe? We will tell you in detail immediately after the selection of positive news of the week.
In Lipetsk, a factory for manufacturing industrial safety systems was opened. The investments are 1 billion rubles ($15.2 million).
Modernization of production worth 500 million rubles ($7.6 million) is completed at the Serov mechanical manufacturer.
In the Stavropol Krai (territory) Russia’s first lactose production was launched with investments of 400 million rubles ($6.1 million).
In Moscow – new production of cable systems.
In the Nizhny Novgorod region was launched a new workshop for the production of special vehicles.
The first industrial park was opened in the Novgorod region.
The first assembly production of milking robots in Russia was opened in Bashkiria with investment of over 400 million rubles ($6.1 million).
In Veliky Novgorod – a new production of mixed fertilizers.
The key stage of testing the Poseidon unmanned multi-purpose strategic underwater combat weapon has been successfully completed.
The Russian Army has adopted the new combat robotic complex “Uran-9”.
A modern mobile radar complex “Resonance-N” with elements of artificial intelligence has been deployed in the Arctic.
Russian schools specializing in physics and mathematics will now receive federal funding under the national Education project. This will allow them to upgrade their infrastructure and take more students on a budget basis.
This past week front pages of the largest mass media outlets decry the subject of corruption. One of the reasons for their interest was the publication of the Corruption Perceptions Index by the Transparency International, according to which Russia has worsened its position to the 138th place next to Papua New Guinea, Lebanon and Mexico.
Of course, there is corruption in Russia, but the objectivity of this rating is questionable. It is compiled by the international organization Transparency International on the basis of “expert assessments,” which in turn are based on questioning the citizens regarding their personal perception of corruption. That is it. They do not reflect the level of corruption itself, but its perception – hence its name.
It’s true. Russian society really considers corruption to be one of the main problems, and sees the fight against it as being insufficient. But is this really the case? Let’s take a look at this graph.
These are statistics of criminal cases opened against high-ranking officials. You see that since 2012 the purge of corrupt bureaucrats had actually begun. The second graph shows that it is not ostentatious and that the convicts receive real jail terms of 5 years and more.
If we ignore the comparison of Stalin’s purge, then nothing like this has ever happened in the history of our state.
2019 is likely to become even more harsh towards the corrupt government officials. Just this week only we witnessed the arrests of a Senator, a Lieutenant Governor, a chief of staff of the Interior Ministry, a Mayor, the first Deputy of the Mayor, the head of the regional Cadastral Chamber, the chief of regional Department of the Ministry of Interior and others.
*Video clip plays*
Well I swear to you, I didn’t take the bribe!
Here, I have this…
– Everything’s alright. Sit down, drink some water.
*Starts crying* I didn’t take anything!
*Video clip ends*
Why don’t most citizens know anything about this? Because the government doesn’t make a show out of it, but acts quietly and carefully, almost secretly. Meanwhile, all sorts of populists only talk about the problem and ignore to report on systematic efforts to combat it. Therefore, citizens perceive corruption as an invincible evil, so the Transparency rating may well reflect real sentiments, but not reality as such.
As an illustration, this week’s proposal to introduce the concept of “forced corruption” was discussed by everyone in the media, but only a few mentioned the presidential bill to allow the Prosecutor General office to check on the ownership of foreign accounts and foreign holdings by civil servants. The first concept will have very minimal consequences and a rare application with very specific exceptions, and the second law will bring the purge of corrupt government officials to a fundamentally new level.
Now the main question – how does all this struggle affect the citizens of Russia?
An interesting study of world inequality was published by experts of the Paris School of Economics. Unlike Transparency International, this study is based on transparent statistics and is trustworthy. Now, inequality in income distribution remains a universal problem – the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. However, Russia is not a world leader, and the level of inequality in Russia is lower than in the US, Canada and other regions. Additionally, it is obvious that the situation with income inequality in Russia is improving.
Take a good look at this chart. It shows how the level of wealth of the Russian 10% super-rich, 50% of the middle class and 40% of the least wealthy citizens changed. The huge rise of the super-rich in the 90s and the impoverishment of the rest are obvious.
Since about 2010, the trends reversed themselves, the super-rich began to lose and the rest started to gain. Another source that analyzes the income of the very top-1% of Russian rich people shows exactly the same picture.
Let’s compare this data with the anti-corruption crackdown on the elite and see that they almost coincide in time. This is how the income of the super-rich is gradually being redistributed. Of course, the income equality process isn’t just fueled by the fight against corruption. But it certainly contributes to the restoration of what we call social justice.
It is very important to understand that this delicate law enforcement work cannot be done in one swoop, otherwise tomorrow not only corrupt officials, but the law abiding business would flee the country frightened by what is happening. What was possible in the last century can do more harm than good today. Therefore, the war against corruption, cleaning the top, and reconfiguring the distribution of federal funds is going on very carefuly without much public talk about this.
View from the outside
On February 2nd, Russia celebrates the day of military glory on the 76th anniversary of the victory in the Battle for Stalingrad – one of the key battles of the Great Patriotic War. Commemorative events were held in Russian cities and in some countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). But here, the modern German press (DW News) did not miss the opportunity to write that the Battle of Stalingrad had only a psychological and propaganda significance.
Twitter image – “DW in the Russian language: 76 years ago, on 2 Febraury 1943, was the day that one of the biggest battles of World War 2 ended – the Battle of Stalingrad. A German historian believes that the meaning of Stalingrad was more psychological. The battle had a great significance in the point of view of propaganda.”
We would like to respond by quoting the publication in the American newspaper New York Times of February 7, 1943. The author wrote: “Last week ended the defeat of the remnants of the German Army at Stalingrad and summed up the battle, whose chronicle will be passed down from generation to generation. The fierce power of the attackers and the unyielding resistance of the defenders were unmatched in comparison, there was no other such siege in this war, even near Leningrad.
When the conclusion drew closer, German propaganda tried to surround the dying Nazi army with a halo of heroism, which rightfully belongs to Russia. Without a doubt, some of the German divisions fought bravely. But, the German soldiers also surrendered en masse. After the last call to surrender on January 10th, the army began to break up rapidly. This defeat will affect the further course of the war.”
Extremely voracious and accurate article. Read the full translation on our website, Time-Forward!.rus.
We wish you a cheerful and good week! You can find the text of the issue and links on our website. Join the Club “Time-forward!” and take a part in the development of our project!
Translator’s notes: The New York Times is hiding this article behind the paid subscription wall, but here are some other free sources that reference it.
- On Feb. 2, 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.
- 2, 1943 | Nazi Forces Surrender at Stalingrad
Russians Liquidate Last Stalingrad Pocket. Nazi Army Beaten. More Generals Captured in Final Assault on Axis Survivors. Siege Cost 500,000 Men. 2,500 Officers Among 91,000 Prisoners — Soviet Units Freed for Offensives