Resurrection of Monster born of revolution and war

(«Russia — Ukraine: War or Peace», part 3)

Until 2008, it seemed that the system of «matryoshka» created in Russia by Vladimir Putin in early 2000-s, was doing what it was expected.

Putin didn’t bring down the system created under Boris Yeltsin, though that system showed its inability to survive. Inside the system of 1990-s, Putin created a new internal subsystem, “deep state”, which developed and functioned independently of the external system. That new subsystem developed using the resources and reserves of the whole country, slowly transforming from inside and creating a new Russia.                  

The external “matryoshka” that Putin inherited from Yeltsin was left in the hands and under control of the groups and clans that ruled Russia in 1990s, of those who agreed to Vladimir Putin’s term: «Do what you want, but do not create problems for the Kremlin.» This meant that the “external matryoshka” had to step aside from big politics and leave it for the clan of Vladimir Putin. From now, the old clans had to do what the Kremlin ordered, and to not interfere in the affairs of the Moscow Kremlin and its “deep state”.

Those, who disagreed and tried to actively resist, had to end up in prison, leave Russia and disappear in the West.

Photo: The grave of Boris Berezovsky, most famous oligarch of the 1990s. Brookwood Cemetery, UK

The top priority task assigned to the «deep state» was to create a fundamentally new military-industrial complex and to lay foundation for a new economy and political system.

The task turned out to be difficult. The economic collapse of the 1990s was worse than after the 1941-1945 war.

The military losses of the USSR amounted to 11,900,000 soldiers killed.  7,420,379 civilians were killed under shelling and bombing by Hitler’s troops, 2,164,313 people died in labour and concentration camps in Germany, and 4,100,000 civilians died during occupation by the Germans troops of the Soviet territory. The total losses of the USSR in WWII amounted to 26.7 million people.

In 1941-1945, 1710 Soviet cities and towns were destroyed completely, most of them were the oldest and most developed centers of industries, science and education.

Photo: Removing of the ruins. A common picture in the Western and Sothern parts of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belorussia, 1945

31,850 factories and plants and 65,000 kilometers of railways were lost in the war. Totally, in the WWII the Soviet Union lost 30% of wealth.

And yet, from 1991 to 2000, Russia’s losses exceeded those in WWII. Due to mortality by unnatural causes, the population decreased by 25 million people, GDP fell by 35%, and the number of lost plants, factories, industries, state and collective farms exceeded the number of facilities destroyed in the war.

The enemy did not capture a single meter of Russian land, but Russia was in a state that was worse than after the occupation of the vast and most economically developed territory of the USSR by Hitler’s troops. The country had to be rebuilt …

In 2000, the statesmen who could be compared to Beria, Voznesensky, Kosygin, those were only few, and they were mentally damaged by ten years waiting for “somebody who needs them” to come into the Moscow Kremlin, and they became too old to quickly resurrect and modernise military industrial complex, as it was done by the Stalin team. They had to bring up a new generation to help them to complete the task.

By 2008, during two terms of Putin’s presidency, only the foundations of this new military-industrial complex had been created, but it was important that it was built on the very ideas for which the «oasis» of Andropov, the Primakov group and managers of the Soviet military-industrial complex and their curators in the Central Committee of the Communist party had supported Gorbachev’s “perestroika” and later agreed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The late military-industrial complex of the USSR was almost infinitely powerful and ready for war, but in peacetime, especially during the period of detente, it became ineffective and unnecessary monster, a «white elephant» that was expensive and useless, but dangerous. To win the competition with the West it was necessary to get rid of the old military-industrial complex, but it was impossible to get rid of it without destroying the entire Soviet system …

              A monster born of revolution and wars

From the moment of its emergence after the October Revolution in 1917, the Soviet system was aimed and subordinated to one goal: victory in war with capitalist countries surrounding it.

There were few reasons for this:

— militarization of consciousness in Europe and the Russian Empire as a result of the First World War and two revolutions in Russia, in February and October 1917;

— decision by the Bolsheviks to sign a peace treaty with Germany, that created conflict between Soviet Russia and the Entente countries, which considered themselves betrayed by the Lenin government at the moment when their victory in the First World War was predetermined. The withdrawal of the Russian Army from the war led to additional hundreds of thousands killed in the armies of both sides who continued to fight;

— extreme confrontation that covered the entire political spectrum in post-revolutionary Russia. All sides were not ready to seek peace and compromises, but wanted to resolve contradictions and conflicts through “victory” and destruction of the enemy. That confrontation was also generated by the militarization of consciousness.

All that resulted in the intervention of 14 states and the civil war in Russia, and that made the development of military-industrial complex and the control by the Communist Party over the entire population by using special services as top priorities for the young Soviet State.

        Unexpected advantage of capitalism over socialism                            

The most important feature of the situation that developed in relations between the USSR and the capitalist world was that the capitalist world did not consider the destruction of the Soviet Union as its main and sole goal.

Life in Europe and the USA was not subordinated to the goal of destroying Soviet Russia. For the opponents of Russia, it was more important to create and multiply their capitals, to make profits, to take over and conquer markets for the goods produced, to maintain balance between political parties, groups, clans, to contain radical communist groups and control the labour movement.

The task of destroying the first socialist state was one on the list, but it was not the overwhelming and dominant goal, and that gave huge advantage to the capitalist world over the Soviet Union, because in contrast to the surrounding world, the economy and political life of the Soviet Union was subordinated to a single task: victory over the capitalist world. No decisions that would contradict the interests of the military-industrial complex could be made.

The most important stage in the development of the Soviet military-industrial complex began after the rejection of the new economic policy (NEP). In 1921, Vladimir Lenin supported the initiative of Leonid Krasin, Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin and some other leaders of the Soviet Russia, who demanded to end the policy of “war communism” and to provide equal opportunities for all forms and sectors of economy and all types of ownership and property, including private businesses in industry and agriculture, cooperatives and share holding companies, and to open economy to foreign capital and business.

Thus, the first system of “Russian matryoshka” was created. Within one economic system that was granted freedom of action, a new subsystem developed. That inside subsystem was much smaller, but it had priority and unconditional support of the ruling communist party and the government.

NEP made it possible to get rid of «persistent constipation», as Leonid Krasin called the system of “war communism”. Krasin was responsible for ensuring that the Red Army was able to receive everything that was necessary to fight the intervention of 14 leading capitalist states and win the civil war.

After the victory and the start of NEP, Krasin, who was respected and trusted by Western business, moved to Paris and later to London and began organizing the supply of equipment and technologies from the developed countries of the capitalist world to Soviet Russia for the recovery and modernisation of the economy, primarily the “internal matryoshka”, — the military industrial complex of the Soviet Union.

In the late 1920s, the Soviet leadership abandoned NEP, which allowed to restore the economy after the civil war and raise the living standards of the people. However, NEP could not provide the necessary level of industrialization and prepare Russia for a new world war, the inevitability of which became obvious.

Before the start of the war, Soviet Russia had to create an advanced military-industrial complex, army and industry. In 1931, Josef Stalin said: «We have to cover this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us.»

All the efforts of the Soviet leadership before World War II were concentrated on the development of the military-industrial complex, and that led to the creation of the Soviet system of total state planning.

                   The way “deep matryoshka” worked

Before the war, in terms of production, the Soviet military-industrial complex soared to a level that exceeded the military-industrial complex of Nazi Germany, excluding the occupied European countries and German allies, and in terms of the quantitative composition and weapons, the Red Army was almost not inferior to the German.

Nevertheless, the Armed Forces of the USSR, neither in readiness, nor in training, nor in personnel, were ready for war with the Hitler Army, which was the most prepared and trained army in the world and subjugated almost all of Europe. The number of soldiers of other European states, who invaded the USSR in 1941, as part of the Hitler army exceeded 1.5 million.

In that situation, the leadership of the USSR in the pre-war years prepared a plan for evacuation and relocation of the entire defence industry from the European part of the USSR to the Urals, Siberia and Central Asia in the event of an attack by the German army and its allies and occupation of the western European part of the USSR.

This plan included 2,500 industrial enterprises, which accounted for 14% of world military-industrial production.

It was not the destruction of communism, but precisely the capture of the Soviet military-industrial complex, as well as oil fields in the Caucasus, coal mines in Ukraine and iron ore reserves in the central and southern regions of the USSR that were the main aim of the aggression by Nazi Germany.

Photo: Plan «Barbarossa»

If the German army had managed to seize the military-industrial complex and natural resources in the European part of the USSR, Hitler would have gained control over the military-industrial complex three times superior to the military-industrial complex of Great Britain and exceeding the military-industrial complex of the United States. This would ensure the superiority of Germany in Eurasia and Hitler’s absolute control of the continent, and therefore in the world for decades to come.

For the relocation of enterprises to the East in the event of a threat of occupation, the Soviet government developed a detailed action plan that included creation of spare production sites and premises for industries to be relocated, including warehouses, transportation and communication facilities, energy supplies and other necessary infrastructure.

That unique operation of relocation of 2500 industrial enterprises was thought out in detail, starting with dismantling, loading and transporting equipment and materials, guarding and security control, as well as blowing up and destroying old buildings of enterprises and factories so that the Germans would not get only ruins. The plan included process for tracking transportation of equipment and materials by rail, camouflaging, preventing the loss of equipment and materials, as well as relocation of management, engineering and labour personnel, as well as their families, to new places of work.

No state in the world, even the richest, could afford to do and would not do something like that a few years before the war, and even more so after signing a peace treaty with the alleged aggressor. It is not surprising that the West, including Germany itself, did not pay attention to these measures and did not believe in possibility of this plan being implemented.

There were two structures responsible for preparation of this operation and for its execution in case of war, and those were the state structures that controlled the military-industrial complex: People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD), the Soviet secret service led by Lavrentiy Beria, and the State Planning Commission headed by Nikolay Voznesensky.

In 1940, Beria and Voznesensky were joined by Nikolay Kosygin, who was appointed as deputy of Josef Stalin, Chairman of the Soviet Government, On June 23, 1941, the next day Stalin created the Council for evacuation, and Kosygin was appointed deputy chairman of that Council, responsible for coordination of the operation.

It was this troika — Beria, Voznesensky, Kosygin — who carried out the rescue of the Soviet military-industrial complex and its relocation to the East. They were not even forty years old in those years.

Photo: Lavrenty Beria, Commissar of Internal Affairs. He was responsible for safety of the relocated production facilities, avoiding losses and delays, as well as for the liquidation of factories on the territory occupied by Germans

Photo: Nikolay Voznesensky, Stalin’s favorite, one of the founders of the USSR State Planning Committee and the planning system for the provision of the army and the country’s population during the preparation for war, during the WWII and the most acute phase of the Cold War. He was arrested and shot in 1950 in the «Leningrad», or so-called “Russian”, or «State Planning» criminal cases. In fact, he was accused for participating in an attempt to create a «deep state» and turn the USSR on the path that the country eventually took in the 1980s.

Photo: Nikolay Kosygin before the war, and he is still smiling. It was he who was personally responsible for the coordination of redeployment of defence industry enterprises to the East. It was he, who as the Soviet Prime-Minister in the 1970s, tried to carry out reforms that could save the USSR and modernise the socialist system. However, those were the time of Leonid Brezhnev, not Josef Stalin, and the communist bureaucracy gave Kosygin no chance

During the Great Patriotic War, the victory over Germany and its allies became the only goal for years, and the military-industrial complex turned from the basis and priority of the economy, which it was in the 1930s, into an absolute dominant.

After the war, the military-industrial complex only slightly retreated, providing an opportunity for the development of peaceful industries that ensured restoration of the country and increase in the living standards of the population, but it did not give up its organizing role and dominant positions.

Moreover, during the Cold War, the military-industrial complex dominated in science and technology, developing nuclear and space industries, electronics and computer technologies, new materials and energy production.

                            The death of the monster

The possibility and necessity of a peaceful existence between the socialist and capitalist camps entered the consciousness of Soviet people for a short time during the Second World War, but it was shattered by the outburst of the cold war in 1946.

Only at the end of the cold war in 1960s, the idea of the need for peaceful coexistence came back and entered the consciousness of politicians. Ideas of convergence and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism gradually swept the world, and this peaceful transformation of consciousness was largely the result of the military-industrial complex’s dominance in the opposing camps and the threat it created to destroy humanity and life on Earth in the form we know it.

In the USSR, while retaining the external attributes of communist ideology, the ideas of convergence and peaceful transition into a new society were accepted by influential groups of the party elite with enthusiasm and readiness for implementation. Behind the readiness to change ideology and the search for ways to converge with the West laid the desires and hopes to enter a common world that combined the best features and advantages of socialism and capitalism.  

That ideological turn happened in a country that was created on the idea of ​​the irreconcilability of the class struggle and the inevitability of the victory of the working class over the capitalist class and transition to communism. Thus, communist bureaucrats abandoned the fundamental idea of ​​communism…

The degeneration of communist bureaucracy had good reasons, among these reasons were:

— Absence of ideology and theory that explained forms and ways of further development of socialism and transition from capitalism to communism in conditions of confrontation with the world of capital, but without military conflict that threatened to destroy the mankind.

— Desire to divide and then to secure and inherit the power and the material wealth that was in management, use and therefore in possession of communist bureaucracy;

— Confidence of the Soviet top bureaucracy in its ability to control process of changing the system and to avoid personal risks. This confidence was based on the experience of managing and controlling economic and social processes in the Soviet planned economy through centralized management system. The bureaucrats could not imagine that they will fall down in dark waters of unknown…

— Need to abandon the Soviet hypertrophied military-industrial complex, inability to reduce and modernize it without unacceptable losses for the Soviet economy and collapse of the standard of living of the population that could lead to a social explosion and change of power.

Of these reasons, the last one, inability to reform military-industrial complex, was the most important in taking decision by the communist elite to «restructure» the USSR.

Yaroslavl, Russia, versus York, Pennsylvania, USA

Back in 1991, before its collapse, the Soviet Union produced more milk than any other country in the world. However, 52% of milk produced was lost due to the fact that remote farms did not have efficient milk coolers, and milk became spoiled before it could be transported from farms to cooling and storage centres or processing plants. The USSR imported US $ 4 billion worth of milk powder a year.

The next year after the collapse of the USSR, in 1992, the first President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin arrived to the United States. Speaking to the US Congress, Yeltsin, a communist bureaucrat who had worked in the party apparatus all his life, said:

“The world can breathe calmly: the communist idol, which sowed social discord, enmity and unparalleled cruelty everywhere on earth, which inspired fear in the human community, collapsed. Collapsed forever. And I am here to assure you: on our land, we will not let him rise again! … «

During this visit an agreement was signed on allocation of a loan of 750 million dollars to the Russian Federation by the US Eximbank for the purchase of technology and the production of milk coolers developed by Reco company, which was a part of York Corporation. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Russian Federation by the Minister of Agriculture Viktor Khlystun.

The «Reco» milk cooler was very small, of a size of motorcycle. It had unique performance and efficiency: milk was cooled from a cow in 4 seconds to 4 degrees Celsius, which allowed to keep the milk fresh and all its beneficial properties for 7 days. This time was enough to deliver milk without loss to a processing plant from any distant farm in Russia. This was the efficiency that was provided by the new Reco ceramic compressor, the first ceramic compressor produced ever.  

This milk cooler compressor was so unique and efficient that there was no market for it in the USA and Europe, where there were no problems with milk delivery to production plants. The problem was that the Reco milk cooler with new compressor was more expensive than standard milk coolers, which were in millions produced every year at existing factories throughout the world.

The idea came to provide a loan to Russia, to transfer the Reco technology, build production and supply Russian farmers with exactly the milk cooler they needed. By creating new plant of milk coolers in Russia, York Corporation could get a huge market, and the Russian Federation could save $ 4 billion annually on the purchase of powdered milk.

At that time, I worked as General Director of the Information and Consulting Centre “Novosti-Inkomm”, the only remaining piece of the Novosti Press Agency, which was scrapped by the decree of President Yeltsin as “a monster of the cold war”, on the initiative and with the active participation of KGB General Oleg Kalugin.

At the same time, I was invited by my friend Nikolay Popov, General Director of the Association of Russian Farmers and Cooperatives (AKKOR), to join AKKOR and to take up the relations with foreign companies and corporations. There were no farmers in Russia who had any experience in dealing with foreign companies and corporations that started invading AKKOR with different offers.

It was in my capacity as the General Director of AKKOR for Foreign Economic Relations that I got involved in the project of production of Reco milk coolers in Russia.

As soon as the agreement with Eximbank was signed, we started to look for a place and a partner for York Corporation to produce the Reco milk coolers. We selected three options that were recommended to us from the Administration of President Yeltsin. At that stage, Oleg Lobov, longstanding personal friend of Boris Yeltsin and Chairman of the Expert Council under the President of the Russian Federation, supervised the project on behalf of the Administration. Later Lobov was appointed first deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Economy of the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Petrovich Strekhnin, who worked in the Administration of the President, was directly involved in the project. As soon as Yeltsin returned from the US, Strekhnin called me on phone, introduced himself, and we agreed to meet. On the same day he came to my office in the building of the Ministry of Agriculture, where AKKOR’s offices were located. We discussed options for cooperation between AKKOR and York, then talked about the situation in the country.

Strekhnin said that before the ban of the Communist party by the Decree of President Yeltsin, he worked in the apparatus of the Central Committee …

-What did you do? — I asked.

— Supervised nuclear programs, — he said. — Before joining the Central Committee, I worked in Sarov nuclear centre… Now I am doing what I am told to do…

I was surprised a little that a top official from the Administration of the President, a nuclear engineer by education and previous experience, who supervised nuclear plants and weapons in the Central Committee of the Communist party, now was dealing with York and AKKOR, but at that time everything got mixed up, and I myself, who understood nothing about agriculture, was sitting in the office of the Ministry of Agriculture, and not in the former APN building, where I still had a small office. The APN building was occupied by newly born RIA “Novosti”, and strangers ruled in it…

Probably there are plans to use part of the loan to save nuclear centres, I thought and did not discuss this topic further.

At the end of 1992, York Corporation opened in Moscow the representation office and the company “York Russia”, which was responsible for business on the territory of the former USSR. The management of the corporation in the US offered me to join York as the head of representative office in Moscow and to become the CEO of York Russia.

By this time, Strekhnin and me had already become friends. Through his own channels, he found out that I had agreed to York’s offer and immediately appeared in my office in AKKOR.

-Valery Pavlovich, I’m tired of working in the Administration. It is a complete mess, — he said. — Take me as your deputy. I promise you that I will never let you down or do anything against you personally… I can take over the technical side, construction work, maintenance of equipment … I want to see from the inside how an American corporation operates…

I agreed. Taking into account that I understood nothing not only in agriculture, but also in air conditioners, chillers, compressors and in all those technologies, which I sincerely warned the Americans about, Strekhnin was the person I needed to raise the company from scratch…

       Russia and Ukraine at the fork in the road

My friends in Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, having learned about my appointment as CEO of an American company responsible for business in their countries, asked me about possibility of starting milk coolers production not only in Russia, but in their countries also. I knew that there were no chances, but promised to discuss their request with the management of the corporation in the United States.

On the arrival of Harold Sher, General Director of York International for the FUS, I asked him about that possibility.

“Valery, I don’t think we need to discuss this now,” he said. “Maybe someday in distant future you will be able to come back to this idea, but I doubt it. Russia will survive and will recover and become a great power. It remains a great power even now, although not everyone understands this, even in the US. The other former Soviet states are not viable. They can’t survive alone. The chaos there will only grow … No one will seriously bet on them … Open branches of York of Russia there and sell them equipment …

Harold Sher was a unique person, and he was one of those people that I met in my life and with whom in my relationship I had not the slightest bit of mistrust or misunderstanding.

He was a staunch supporter of Russia and knew its history better than any American or European I had met before. Even for me, a historian by education, it was interesting to listen to his stories, for example, about what Americans wrote about Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Harold was a native Texan, and he divided Americans into Texans and the rest. He went to school in the same class and sat at the same desk with Robert Strauss, who worked in the FBI in his youth and, in his own words, «was watching communists.» Later, Strauss went into politics and became a prominent figure in the Democratic Party. He was the head of the election campaign of Jimmy Carter, who was elected President of the United States. In 1991-1992, Strauss was the US ambassador to the USSR and then to the Russian Federation. He met Harold Sher in his office, sitting at a table without a jacket, in suspenders, with the words:

— Harold, you son of a bitch, how did you get to Moscow?

Photo: Robert S. Strauss

During World War II, Harold served as a military pilot and bombed Japan. Then he restored Japan, actively helping Japanese corporations to get on their feet. He considered this period in his life the biggest mistake. The Japanese got on their feet and kicked American business out of their territory.

-Valery, never trust Asians, especially Japanese, — once he told me, with regret and annoyance in his voice. — They will do whatever you tell them while they are weak, but when they get to their feet, they will kick you out…

-Well, I think that not all Asians are like that, — I answered, smiling. — I am an Indologist and have lived in India for six years. Indians are not like that. They remember good things better than many Europeans.

-Indians maybe. You know better. – Harold Sher replied, laughing. — But it makes no sense to compare Indians with the Europeans. They are worse than Asians. Soon you will find out … You can trust the Americans and the Russians … Not all Americans … Not all Russians too …

Harold Sher was right. After our conversation, for another eight years, Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former USSR continued to destroy the most powerful part of their Soviet legacy, the military-industrial complex, but even then, the seeds of revival of the military-industrial monster remained in the depths of Russia, and there were people and forces that preserved these seeds.

The resurrection of the monster began in 2000, However, it started only in Russia. Other countries, including Ukraine, continued to follow the path they took after the collapse of the USSR. They divided, privatized and sold the legacy to those who were willing to pay something. If there was nobody who wanted to pay, they abandon and destroyed it.

From the moment when the restoration of the military-industrial complex began in Russia, the fate of the former Soviet republics took different paths …

However, at the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993, we did not know that the industrial recovery would begin many years later. We hoped that we would be able to create something new and needed by Russia, and we were ready to do it all quickly …

With approval by the Administration of the President, Strekhnin presented three variants for location of the future York’s production of milk coolers.

First was the compressor plant in Yaroslavl that produced compressors for refrigerators, similar to those developed by «Reco». Second was the Aviation Plant in Perm near the Ural Mountains, which produced engines for passenger and transport TU and IL aircrafts, MIG fighters and MI helicopters. The third option was the empty industrial hulls near Yekaterinburg, former Sverdlovsk, the birth place of Yeltsin. The hulls were built to produce space shuttle «Buran».

General managers of York branches in the UK and Austria, who were responsible for Europe and Eastern Europe including the former Soviet states, came to Russia, and we travelled to see the selected factories and to conduct negotiations.

The buildings built for the production of «Buran» turned out to be new, huge, almost empty. Only powerful girder cranes were installed there, which were not needed for the production of compressors.

We had to immediately abandon the Perm Aviation Plant, because the equipment of the plant for the production of modern aircraft engines could not be used for the production of compressors. It was much more sophisticated, expensive and so unique that the York managers could not even imagine that they would be involved in the destruction of such a unique production.

-I will not dare to present this project to the Board of Directors, if it involves the destruction of this wonderful plant, — said Bill Smith, the CEO of York UK to the frustrated CEO of the Perm aircraft plant. — I will not be able to get involved in the destruction of such a complex and unique production.

Several years later, I learned that the Perm aircraft plant was able to survive and save its production by signing few years after our visit contracts with Gazprom on production of turbine engines for pumping natural gas.

After Perm, we had one more option left for us, and that was the compressor plant in Yaroslavl, but our hopes there also vanished in vain.

The plant management looked at us as at a messiah. The plant has not had orders for two years. It stood idle. Here, they came from Europe to buy the plant, and all the specialists and managers would become employees of the American corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of compressors … The director, his deputies and the chief engineer were on the verge of quiet joyful madness.

We walked around the plant, looked at the equipment and workshops. There were no workers, all stood idle, but all shops were kept clean and tidy. For several hours we walked around, and they told us about the plant. The guests listened attentively.

— How many compressors do you produce per year? — asked the guests.

— 120 thousand, — the director answered, following closely the reaction of the guests. The York managers looked at each other, but said nothing. To me, who had never dealt with compressors and their production before, the number of compressors produced did not say anything.

We returned from Yaroslavl to Moscow in two cars. At the border of the Moscow region, at a road sign marking the border of the regions, we stopped, got out of the cars, walked a few meters from the highway to the forest, laid out snacks and drinks, and celebrated our return home. Well, almost a return… In Russia, 100 kilometres is not a distance.

“We won’t be able to buy the plant in Yaroslavl,” Norbert Weber, CEO of York-Austria, told me. — It makes no sense to pay for equipment that we cannot use …

— In terms of the area of ​​factory premises and territory, the plant in Yaroslavl corresponds to the York plant in Pennsylvania, — Bill Smith remarked, — the number of workers is the same, the factories were built at about the same time, but our plant in America produces three million compressors per year, not 120 thousand… We have different equipment and a different approach to production …

— Why? — I asked knowing that there had to be a reason and explanation for such a difference.

— Our plant in America cannot produce anything except compressors, but it produces almost thirty times more of them than the plant in Yaroslavl … But, your plant can produce compressors and not only compressors, if you need other products … In case of war, for example, this plant will produce, I think, Kalashnikov assault rifles, or maybe some other weapons. In case of war, our plant will simply be stopped, dead … You have more expensive and sophisticated equipment in Yaroslavl that can be readjusted for another production, but it is inferior in performance in peacetime, and we do not count on war …

This is how the military-industrial monster, crushing and subjugating the Soviet economy, concealed the development of peaceful industries.

What could be said about specialized military factories? They worked at full capacity, providing tens of millions of workers with salaries and filling clutches and warehouses with tanks, combat vehicles and shells that no one needed …

Photo: A cemetery of tanks in Siberia, 1980s

(To be continued)

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