41% of Russians say they do not have enough money to buy food and clothing, only 50% of water is potable and large parts of the food chain are tainted — and there is no accountability to be found anywhere.
The portrayal of education in Russia that one reads in university brochures or propaganda websites can be impressive. The reality is something else again. As in Russian society at large, Russian higher education is rotten through and through.
… between 20 percent and 30 percent of all dissertations that have been completed at Russian universities since the fall of the Soviet Union were purchased on the black market.
… “A lot of people are ‘exposed’ in Russia,” [liberal journalist and Dissernet member Serguei] Parkhomenko said. “The Russian public says, ‘So what? So he stole. Everyone steals. In the end, why would someone be a boss, if he is not stealing?’ So reputation means nothing. The threat—we will ruin your reputation, we will tell everyone you stole—does not produce any effect.” __ Slate.com
The article linked above describes a brave group of Russian activists, Dissernet, who are trying to “bring Russia into the light” by restoring trust and reputation to a badly tarnished brand. It is a steep uphill effort, a thankless task that sometimes brings unwanted attention from an inner circle that does not want to make Russia better, but merely wants to suck its blood.
… as Russia seeks to build its reputation as an academic and research powerhouse, it must first get a handle on its problem with academic fraud. Not only is it doing a great disservice to the brilliant minds doing legitimate research in the country, but it’s making life much more difficult for Russian scientists and journals to have their work become impactful internationally.
… 40% of all of the fake dissertations were in the field of economics, though pedagogics, law, medical sciences, political sciences, engineering, and social sciences all also had high levels of fake dissertations. Natural sciences, however, had a very low percentage. ___ ithenticate
The Russian people understand that their government and their leaders are corrupt, that they are being lied to at every turn, that to get ahead in Russia Today one must cheat and steal. That is all they have known their entire lives — cheats, thieves, liars. People who will never be called to account because the people above them are the same way.
I am Russian. And when I used to live in Russia, it was widely understood that no one in any position of power got there through merit. This was not—and still isn’t—a secret, nor is it something that people are the least bit ashamed of. People you just met speak bluntly about bribing their way into MSU, the country’s most prestigious university, or of getting a cushy gig as a lawyer because they had the right connections.
___ Diana Bruk
Every university in Russia has departments where fake dissertations can be defended, where faux degrees can be bought. Putin himself took advantage of this process to get a PhD in economics. Perhaps that is why he must turn to his political opponents — liberals such as Kudrin — to save Russia’s economy from his own bad decisions and from his kleptocratic inner circle.
… the connection between plagiarism and overall corruption in society can be clearly made, and increasingly, it is the wealthy and well-connected who benefit while the middle class and poor feel as if they are left behind.
… ___ TriplePundit
The corruption within Russia’s system of education reverberates throughout all of Russian society. One is merely a microcosm of the other — although it feeds Russia’s future leaders into the larger system.
Why is it so hard to reform the corrupt system of education? Because you cannot separate the parts from the whole, when dishonest and criminal mindsets, elites, and component systems tie the whole thing together.
Four Reasons Why Russia Will Find it Difficult to Halt its Decline
First, for a society to modernize, both its elite and its people should acknowledge its backwardness and understand that they must turn their backs on the past and embrace the future. In today’s Russia, quite the opposite might be seen: Both the government and the governed praise the Soviet experience and the glory of the past, insisting that the country “rise up from its knees,” thereby taking failure for success and rejecting any need for change (i.e. putting an end to decline).
Second, the Russian elite actually owns the country, but formally cannot turn it into its property; therefore, its major aim is to plunder the national wealth rather than to increase it. In such a kleptocratic society any attempt to build something new seems counterproductive; for example, the modern highway between Moscow and Saint Petersburg is still under construction after twenty years of efforts, with no new railways built since the Soviet collapse.
Third, the political class understands quite well that industrial modernization can create a new middle class not dependent on oil revenues and state-managed wealth redistribution, which would therefore be more sensitive to democracy and the rule of law. The instinct for self-preservation would not allow this, but rather tells Kremlin insiders that they should prefer the old commodity economy to a new industrial one to maintain their grip on society forever.
Fourth, and the final point I would like to make, is that any modernizing country used to have a counterpart, or ally, which supplied it with technology and capital and absorbed much of the industrial goods it produced (the United States and Japan played such a role for many Southeast Asian nations). Russia today has voluntarily cut its ties with Europe and the US and allied itself with China, by itself an industrial powerhouse, which is by no means interested in a modern, industrialized Russia—preferring to treat it only as a kind of commodity supplier. ___ Vladislav Inozemtsev
People who paint over the deep and fatal faults within Putin’s Russia are doing no favours to Russia or her people. They are helping to make a bad situation worse — insolubly worse.
Russian girls need to be saved from this culture of corruption, deception, and larceny. The best short-term way of achieving this will involve the wholesale immigration of these impressionable young girls into western societies, particularly Europe and the Anglosphere. Once removed from the atmosphere of decay, they will be more empowered to achieve happiness and fulfillment as wives and mothers, as should be the case. Please do your part to achieve this end, today.
Russia is overdependent on energy and natural resource exports:
Half of the Russian GDP and 70% of revenues come from exports of oil and natural gas. The price of oil is the single most important factor for Russia’s economy, as is any potential loss of markets to competition. And oil revenues are needed to fund expensive foreign adventurism, whether in the Ukraine or Syria.
__ Russia’s Deadly Dependency on Energy Exports
Putin was caught flat-footed in the middle of an Eastern European putsch by the abrupt drop in global oil & gas prices in 2014. Since then, state monetary reserves have been in decline, the rouble has struggled, good food is becoming scarce and expensive, infrastructure is crumbling even faster than before, and the Kremlin bribery and propaganda machines have been in overdrive.
Putin is lucky that a weak Obama is US president, with two consecutive weasels as secretaries of state. The outcome of the coming US election is far from certain, but Putin is hoping for another weak and pliable US president to step into the Oval Office. His very survival may depend upon it. Hillary is certainly bought and paid for.
Obscure underpinnnings of Russia’s last hurrah. Demography is destiny.
Putin’s greatest achievement:
Putin appeals to Russians’ sense of historical loss and former glory, openly praising irredentism and militarization. Victory Day celebrations commemorating the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany now surpass the bombast of the Soviet period; and state propaganda constantly fuels anti-Western sentiment with claims that parts of “historical Russia” were illegally seized – hence the need to “reclaim” Crimea by force in March 2014.
In fact, Russia’s propaganda machine is its most profound proto-fascist achievement. Putin can surround ordinary Russians with the uninterrupted message that theirs is a modern economy on par with leading global powers. And each year, populist rhetoric about a “national renaissance” and a “showdown with the enemies” grows stronger. __ Propaganda Juggernaut
The snowballing decline of Russia opens the way for China to step in and assert control. Xi to Putin: “Thanks, sucker!”
Corruption at the Cosmodrome: This sad story is illustrative of problems Russia is having with all aspect of its industry and technology.