From Russia with Hate

If you haven’t yet, take 10 minutes and view “From Russia with Hate“, an interesting report about the growing neo-nazi/skinhead movement in Russia.

While I’m sure there are a large range of emotions at play here, those who were interviewed consistently pointed to economic issues for their hate, rather than genetic inferiority, which separates these skinheads or from Hitlers own views. Of course, the interviews could have been edited to emphasize this particular view. I personally find it difficult to believe that any Russian would have tattoos of Hitler if they only embraced their nationalistic views.

It’s mentioned that one of the reasons for the violence is foreigners encroaching on their jobs. They claim that someone will come in and do a job for $1/hr that normally a Russian would be paid $10/hr to do. They claim the government won’t do anything about this, so they have to take matters into their own hands.

Now, maybe this is just an excuse, or maybe there’re some specific regional issues at work here, but Russian Unemployment is actually pretty low. 6% as of Sept 2007. Also, average real wages have been increasing year over year as labor costs have gone up due to shortages.

So if there’s a shortage of labor, why can’t these guys find jobs at living wages? It may be that they are indeed losing jobs to people who will work for less money, and somehow as a result are dropping off of whatever methodology is being used to gather the statistics. It’s mentioned that Russia has a highly mobile labor force, which might just be code for, “we can’t find these people anymore” But if they were really being replaced for less money, labor costs should be going down, not up. Both foreign investment and GDP are also up, so somebody is making money here.

But either way, this really strikes me as classic class warfare kind of stuff.

If that worker is earning $1/hr there’s a good chance they’re being exploited, living in abject poverty, and sending money back home to improve the quality of life for their families in countries where they can’t earn $1/hr. None of the foreigners in that video were driving a Benz, or living in luxury.

But instead of teaming up with those low wage earners to demand fair wages from employers, i.e. unionizing, or demanding labor laws that restrict exploitation of foreign labor (you have to hire them at the same pay rate, with the same benefits, pay the same taxes, etc.) They instead choose a solution (chase off foreigners) that is least likely to actually solve the problem they claim to have.

Although I would say that young Russian males have very little to bargain with. Education took a big hit in the 90s, and a lot of their better professors left after earning no money. It seems like most of the labor force lacks specialized knowledge that would give them an advantage over foreign labor pressure.

So is this just a problem being driven by regional unemployment? or just an excuse to be an angry young man?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *