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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

INSIDE RUSSIA: Russia Keeps Putting Guns Before Butter




And so it has been accomplished: Russia's senators officially voted for sending Russian peacekeepers to Kosovo. This mission will cost Russia not $65 million, as the official figures say, but a minimum of $150 million, as the experts say. This is what it costs to build a factory to produce insulin, which Russian officials spend $1.5 billion a year to purchase.


But it is clear even to a hedgehog that a military contingent is something much more profitable than an insulin factory. A military contingent means the possibility to get rich on military deliveries. The construction of a factory, on the contrary, means the impossibility of receiving bribes in return for raising prices on imported insulin.


True, it is not altogether clear where our destitute budget will find this $150 million. The government maintains that the Russian generals' Kosovo tour will be financed from "extra-budgetary sources." How is this to be understood? Will they create an "Aid to Kosovo" extra-budgetary fund and force every enterprise to contribute to it? Russia is constantly giving its unique twist to the concepts of finance. We already have bandits who pay off back wages to miners, and mayors of closed nuclear cities who use municipal funds to finance the construction of nuclear weapons. Now we have peacekeepers financed from "extra-budgetary" funds.


But, there is one small hitch. The generals and army being sent to Kosovo are the same ones which turned Chechnya into a desert where the only growing sector of the economy is kidnapping. And against the backdrop of our Chechen shame, the longing to make the Serbs happy looks rather strange. It is as if your garden plot was overgrown with weeds and you invited yourself to your neighbor's house to consult on how to build the Alps.


The author of these lines is not only not unpatriotic, but is ashamed that only the Americans will profit as a result of Russia's participation in the peacekeeping mission. Because the Americans, having endured a series of strategic setbacks in Kosovo, will now be able to blame all of the inevitable chaos in Kosovo on the presence of Russian troops.


The main reason for Russia's defeat in the Cold War was the desire to win no matter what, not taking the economy, logic and geography into account. The Russian gross domestic product, having shrunk two times since the Soviet period, is today 40 times smaller than the American GDP. In the 1960s, the gap was also huge, but despite such a monstrous difference, Russia tried to maintain military parity, spending 20 to 50 percent of its GDP on the military. All of Russia's factories produced military equipment; some also produced civilian goods at the same time. Russia sold the West oil and used the money to supply weapons to Angola, Cuba and Nicaragua f just as it is now trying to borrow money from the West and simultaneously spend money for a war with the West. It is impossible to have a budget like Nigeria's and an appetite like Genghis Khan's.


If someone who is malnourished really wants to participate in an international athletic contest, with the goal of becoming a world champion, he should not simply get out on the field and start running. He should first start eating well.


Yulia Latynina is a staff writer for Segodnya.