It is the last summer before the Russian election. So it’s time for your favorite, most unfair Russia observer to reflect on life in “The Biggest Country.” Just like in the days of yore.
You’re probably expecting a chat about the hurricane that tried to flatten Moscow—likely an answer to Mike Pence’s prayers. But no. The hurricane is straightforward. If you want to talk about that, take it up with a god of your choice, or the municipal services. (You’ll have more luck with the deity, I warn you).
No, let’s talk about 7.3 billion rubles ($130 million). This is the extra paycheck that Russia’s top cops will get in 2017-9. Rank-and-file police won’t be as lucky—they’re in line for a cumulative $85-million pay cut. The same review gave education $23 million extra, which is less than one-fifth of what the cops are getting.
It is no coincidence that the pay rises were announced on the same day that the president saw fit to proclaim a new “Decade of Childhood” from 2018. Russian demographics are on the wane again—put another way, Russia is slowly dying. And the poor police suffer harshly at the hands of pesky politically active voters.
The Kremlin has not forgotten about the opposition rally in central Moscow back in March, where some youths showed up and hit back at riot police rounding up the protesters. And then there was the 10-year-old who recited Shakespeare in the streets of Moscow last week — it took a whole police patrol to neutralize him. There was also a curious incident in Chelyabinsk in the Urals, where teens violently attacked a police car while chanting a criminal mafia slogan “AUE.” In what looked like mute embarrassment, police tried to downplay the incident—unlike its tussle with the opposition.