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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Neo-Soviet True Crime

La Russophobe was always amused when tuning in to Google and reading on its home page about the fact that it was "searching X billion web pages."

What Google never cared to tell users was how many web pages were in existence. In other words, searching 10 billion web pages is impressive if there are only 12 billion in existence. Then you are doing 83% B- work. But what if there are 1 trillion web pages? Then you're a ridiculous disaster.

La Russophobe notes that Google isn't making those absurd claims any more, but Russia still is. For example, take a recent report on the Neo-Soviet Itar-Tass wire service:

The Russian police solved 772,000 crimes and detained about 580,000 suspects in these crimes since the beginning of this year, a source in the Russian Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Wednesday. However, 782,000 crimes remain unsolved, one third of them are grave and heinous crimes. According to the statistics, more than 1.5 million crimes or 22 percent more than for the same period in 2005 were registered from January to May 2006. “About half of all crimes make property stealing. As many as 625,000 thefts, 152,000 robberies and 25,000 armed attacks were committed for five months in 2006,” the source said. The Interior Ministry continues the active fight with economic crimes. The police exposed more than 240,000 offences in this field in 2006. The material damages from economic crimes amounted to 35 billion roubles. The police are seriously concerned over the continued growth of street crimes. As many as 277,000 street crimes or 60 percent more than for the same period last year wereregistered in public places from January to May 2006
Does the darling reader notice what is missing?

Granted, what we are told is quite horrifying and distracting. We are told that crime rose 22% in the first six months of 2006 -- a totally disastrous performance for the Kremlin, especially given that the president is a proud KGB spy, yet the public continues to favor Putin with 70%+ approval ratings.

We are told that the police solved less than 50% of all reported crimes -- obviously a major factor in encouraging the growth of crime.

But what aren't we told? We aren't told how many crimes actually took place, that is an estimate of how many crimes went unreported because people, knowing that less than 50% are solved, simply didn't take the effort.

Ironically, crime is one of those win-win propositions for the Kremlin. If crime goes down, it takes the credit. If it goes up, it uses that fact to justify more totalitarian measures. In fact, one could easily speculate that since the consolidatation of totalitarianism in Russia is far from complete, the Kremlin doesn't even want crime to go down right now, and is very pleased with its wretched performance.

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