October 23, 2022

The New Military Economy


The New Military Economy
"Parasites and loafers keep others from working." Vasily Nikolaevich Kostianitsyn, 1920 (NY Public Library)

Two days after declaring martial law in four Ukrainian regions, Vladimir Putin quietly put the Russian economy on a military footing.

As reported by Maxim Tovkaylo and Farida Rustamova, in their new blog "Explanatory Note" [Russian | English with google translate], Putin decreed the establishment of a Government Council for Supply of the Army:

"The Kremlin is moving from market principles of economic management toward state planning. This is clearly illustrated in the powers Putin has given to the Council and in the wording of the decree. This new body will essentially replace the Russian government, and will gradually transfer life in the country to a military footing."

The council will be headed up by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and include 18 other senior government officials. As Tovkaylo and Rustamova note:

"The key task of the Council is to coordinate all state authorities and resolve all issues related to the supply of the army. These are the supply of weapons, military equipment, uniforms, transport, fuel, food, medicines, etc. That is, the new council will have to arm, feed, clothe and treat the Russians who are at war with Ukraine. The decisions of the council will be binding not only for state, but also for municipal authorities. In addition, 'other bodies and organizations' are obliged to obey them, which means that the directives of the council will be binding on [private] business as well."

In effect, it is a recreation of a powerful economic management body along the lines of the Soviet-era Gosplan (or Stalin's WWI State Defense Committee), but with even more sweeping executive powers, particularly in the martial-law-lite conditions which have been imposed across all of Russia.

 

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