Debate - Opinion in English, Russia and Baltic States

Search for article or name

Back to Toni Schönfelders homepage

Toni Schönfelder A lifetime of innovation

Web library-Bookmarks, My favorites

Debate - Opinion in English
Russia and Baltic States

Tillbaka till Tonis hemsida

Mina favoritlänkar, kolla in

Debattartiklar Ryssland

TaxFree handelns vara och icke vara

Tillägnad bussbranschen av Toni Schönfelder oberoende och fri debattör

Debatt artiklar av Harald Rosén (Det gäller flyg)

Artiklar som du bara måste läsa,Vakna upp i Sverige!

Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

Verschiedenes in Deutsch

Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

"Gazprom reached with Ukraine, but most of it only proves that no one has the slightest idea what really happened"  
A lot has been written about the recent gas deal that Gazprom reached with Ukraine, but most of it only proves that no one has the slightest idea what really happened. Everyone arrives at different numbers, and everyone has a different estimate of how much money will be siphoned off under the deal. No one has the slightest doubt that huge sums will disappear, however.  
To the outside observer, public reaction to the deal in Russia must have seemed highly peculiar. If an agreement this murky, dubious and nontransparent had been reached in a country with freedom of speech and at least a minimal system of checks and balances among the branches of government, it would have resulted in an enormous scandal, a huge public outcry, a parliamentary inquiry and, most likely, high-level resignations and high-profile court cases. But not here.  
It came as no surprise that the State Duma kept quiet about the deal. The current Duma always keeps its nose clean in such situations. The opposition also found nothing objectionable in the deal that it could turn against the Kremlin in order to make a little political hay.  
Some in the press did point out the exceedingly strange terms of the deal, but in this country reports like these have a negligible impact on public opinion. This passivity, which pervades Russian society, has come to be taken for granted to such an extent that it almost feels indecent to write about it. Almost.  
Practically no one votes in local elections any more, and soon theyll stop voting in federal elections too.  
People boast about their lack of interest in politics. They dont read the papers. Television programs dealing with politics and social issues have been pulled because of low ratings.  
It should be noted that the governments clampdown on freedom of the press is only partly responsible for the cancellation of these programs.  
After all, even the large conservative sector of the population that might be expected to tune into programs with a pro-government slant has shown no particular interest in political programming.  
What we have as a result is a social paradox. On the one hand, when sociologists ask people what concerns them about life in this country and what they think is hindering Russias development, the overwhelming majority cite corruption, especially in the government, and the bureaucracy. Yet on the other hand, when Gazprom brazenly cuts a shady deal with Ukraine, the public couldnt care less.  
Quite the opposite, people are quietly pleased, as indicated by the rapid spread of jokes about sticking it to the gas-hungry Ukrainians. By the way, these jokes are also popular on the Internet, which is generally considered the domain of the more progressive elements in Russian society.  
The point is that the public, which never tires of criticizing the bureaucrats and high-ranking corrupt officials in the government, has itself grown so accustomed to permanent, everyday corruption that it now feels most comfortable living in these conditions. Having lost track of the moral and ethical principles that once guided his actions, the average Russian long ago got used to wheeling and dealing over the most insignificant things in order to get around the law.  
In their defense, people commonly observe that its impossible to play by the rules in this country. The average Ivan has no choice but to shuck and jive, grease a few palms and dodge taxes by insisting that he really does live on the miniscule above-board income that he reports to the government.  
Theres a lot to this explanation, of course. Many Russian laws, rules and regulations seem to have been designed with the express purpose of lining the pockets of our public servants. But we all know perfectly well that people will prefer to bend the rules even when theres no compelling reason to do so.  
The kickbacks and straight-out theft of taxpayer money that we all assume will occur when Gazproms deal with Ukraine goes into effect are simply the norm in Russian business. And the discrepancy between laws on paper and in practice is a hard-and-fast rule in every aspect of Russian life.  
Russian folk sayings are often revealing, and there is one of real wisdom for us today: "The fish rots from the head." Indeed, the head of Russian society rotted a long time ago. What were reluctant to admit at this stage in our development is that the whole fish is now rotten, right down to the tail.  

Advertising about Spain
All kind of information about Spain in my own web page

Fair use notice

The Toni Schönfelder Newsletter and website contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. The material is being made available for purposes of education and discussion in order to better understand the complex nature of corruption in today's world. I believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in relevant national laws.

The material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Toni Schönfelder cannot guarantee that the information contained in the Corruption News service is complete and correct or be liable for any loss incurred as a result of its use. Nor can Toni Schönfelder be responsible for any subsequent use of the material.

Denna sida är producerad av Toni Schönfelder. Avsändaren har inget ansvar för innehållet i sidor som är länkade -- allt material som finns i egen producerade sidorna får användas fritt och utan kostnad.

Esta página ha sido realizada por el Sr. D. Toni Schönfelder.Los realizadores de la página no se hacen responsables del contenido de las páginas enlazadas a la presente. Toda la información existente en las páginas de realización propia pueden ser utilizadas libremente y sin ningún tipo de coste.

This page has been produced by Mr Toni Schönfelder. The sender does not take any responsibility for the contents of the linked pages. The whole material in the own produced page can be used free of charge.