Andrey Karaulov: For Russia the 90’s Were Worse Than WWII

Following is a telling reply to a reader question, published in Russian in newspaper Argumenty i Fakty:

Deputies are trying to demand a compensation from Germany for the losses suffered by Russian in the Great Patriotic War. But why don’t they take care of the cases that happened 20 years ago and hold accountable those who bankrupted factories, ruined farms?

Reply by Andrey Karaulov, journalist:

– What has been done to the country in the era of perestroika by “young reformers” is unimaginable. Yes, the Germans during the War destroyed the factories on the occupied territories, they blew them up. But during World War II, to save plants, Stalin evacuate them to Central Asia, Siberia.

While during the 90s, 262 largest plants that fed the entire country were culled. These were primarily metallurgical plants, plants that produced the world’s best ball-bearings, and so on. Machine tool construction suffered the biggest blow. 187 of 262 factories were brought back to life by Putin. But some, such as the Ukhtomskij Plant in Lyubertsy is impossible to revive. To understand what the 90s cost Russia, go to Lyubertsy, walk around the wasteland, where once there was a chain of several companies with more than 8,000 jobs. Previously, there was the production of the different machines for agriculture. And now, all’s empty. I remember when in Krasnoyarsk I went with the camera around a plant, which produced tires. Only horror movies could be shot in those workshops nowadays. We have transcripts of Gaidar Cabinet. Unique plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur producing our SUs (today they are considered the best in the world) was proposed to be re-profiled into the production of Chinese bicycles. They said back then, they will be in high demand.

Today we pay for those mistakes (translator: I would call them crimes!). The best scientific schools are destroyed. I once asked Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov: could we in the 90s, after Gaidar, Chubais and Nechayev ploughed through our industry, build a nuclear bomb? He categorically said, “No, we wouldn’t be able to.” Because all that was needed for its production, had been destroyed… Why those reformers are not held accountable today? Firstly, because all decisions that were taken back then, were approved by Boris Yeltsin. The fact of the matter is that there was no one single saboteur, but a lot of people in power. So should we judge the whole former government? Some are not among us, and others far away. Dead are Boris Fyodorov, Yegor Gaidar. We do not, after all, think of judging the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, because of what they made in 1917.

3 thoughts on “Andrey Karaulov: For Russia the 90’s Were Worse Than WWII

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