Monday, March 13, 2017

Putin’s ‘Optimization’ Program Points to Massive Layoffs of Officials in North Caucasus

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 13 – The single best predictor of the probability of terrorist actions in any society is the number of unemployed 18-year-old males, and an equally good predictor of the rise of revolutionary movements is the level of unemployment among relatively well-educated strata of the population.

            Vladimir Putin is creating an almost perfect storm in the North Caucasus where the already large number of unemployed young men is about to be joined by unemployed former officials now being let go as part of the Kremlin’s “optimization” – read reduction in force – program (

            In a new article, Kavkazskaya politika journalist Anton Chablin points out that “as a result of the latest ‘optimization’” that budgetary stringencies require, “hundreds of municipal and government employees” in the non-Russian republics of the North Caucasus are about to lose their positions with little prospect of finding equivalent employment.

            The Russian finance ministry is seeking to eliminate what it calls “duplication” among bookkeepers, lawyers, personal specialists and purchasing managers “all in the name of economy.”  There is certain to be resistance as there was when Moscow sought to cut back junior medical personnel in 2014.

            The numbers of people overall who are set to lose their jobs are large, especially in local areas. In Stavropol kray, among bookkeepers alone, the government is set to lay off 300. Some of those may find new jobs. Others may protest. But from Moscow’s point of view, the most serious threat is that some of these will join the opposition and the underground.

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