Monday, September 08, 2008

Footing the bill

In Yezhednevny zhurnal, Boris Suvarin calculates the bill that Russia will have to pay for its seizure of South Ossetia - a bill that is largely for the creation of "platinum passports". Excerpt (my tr.):

For 10 years’ expenditure on maintaining Kokoity (and the rest of the South Ossetian population)

- 1 billion US

The war itself, + reconstruction - 1 billion

But the most expensive item is the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia (or rather, the recognition of Russia’s right to grant this independence to whomever it likes) by Nicaragua, and in the longer term by such leaders of world public opinion as Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan… Well, all that will come to around 4 billion.

The total comes to around 6 billion.

The population of South Ossetia is, I repeat – 60,000.

All told, if the "recognition plans" come to fruition, then for the right to issue one (1) passport, the Russian Federation will be paying approximately 100,000 US dollars.

There is no cloud that does not have a silver lining! From this it follows that Russia will at least not seize Crimea. The Russian Federation simply doesn’t have enough cash in its budget to hand out its passports to residents of the Crimea on the same terms. Indeed, the population of Crimea is 2 million. And they won’t want to take a Russian passport any more cheaply – it wouldn't be worth their while. After all, everyone now knows what the market rate is.

The only people who will take and use Russian passports that are free of charge are people who were born in Russia. The rest won’t give themselves to Russia so cheaply.

But ordinary Russian taxpayers have no reason to feel envious: the budget money "for South Ossetian passports" can be sought, after all, not in the pockets of the South Ossetians themselves but in the bank accounts of Ortega, the Moscow generals and the owners of the construction companies that are building the haciendas in the environs of Moscow'for Kokoity and his relatives..

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