Date: Wed, 3 Apr 1996 18:44:33 +1000
From: Mikhail Alexandrov <Mikhail.Alexandrov@ANU.EDU.AU>
Subject: Uzbekistan; Technology
Abdulrakhim Aitbayev comments on Uzbekistan are interesting from the point of view, that they imply that in the Soviet times Russians lived at the expense of Uzbeks. Interesting point of view, but not widely shared in the academic community, though. In Australia among serious academics I did not hear at least once that Uzbekistan subsided Russia.
If Mr Aitbayev cares to look through the old Soviet newspapers, where budgets of the USSR and Uzbekistan were published he will see how much subsidies Uzbekistan received. I do not complain about this though. I think it was the right policy to help the least developed parts of the Union, and of course it would have been silly to expect any sort of gratitude for this aid.
As far as statement on payments for cotton is concerned, it is highly inaccurate. The irony is that Uzbeks managed to receive not only the money for the cotton they actually produced, but also for the cotton they never produced. It is a well known fact that Rashidov systematically inflated the figures for cotton production and received money not for actual production but for these inflated figures. The state was swindled on billions of roubles. When the swindle was uncovered in 1983 by Andropov Rashidov committed suicide.
But I can agree with Abdulrakhim Aitbayev, that "poor dehans were paid for their work as slaves". Unfortunatly, it was always like that in Uzbekistan: bais, khans, sultans got everything dehans nothing. Rashidov and his mafia, naturally, kept all the stolen money for themselves and nothing went to ordinary Uzbeks. The same situation exists in Uzbekistan now. Former communist bureaucrats are still firmly in control and continue to fool their own nation by various means, including nationalist propaganda. They are all adherents of national independence now. The difficulty, of course, is that now it is more difficult to blame Russians for the suffering of the Uzbek people. But do not warry, they will invent something, that is for sure.
Russell Zanca wrote
"Why is it that superior Russian technology has so far failed to construct a decent telephone system, or has so far failed to master the deeply technologically complex flush toilet? I am patiently awaiting your reply".
The author is evidently very poorly informed about Russian communication technology. He does not know, for example, that during the Second World War Russians had the best in the world telephone system for official use called VH (High Frequency). It allowed prompt communication with government bodies all over the country and with the fronts. German electronic intelligence could not find a way to eavesdrop on it despite all the alleged German technological superiority.
The communication system, developed by the Russians for defence purposes during the Cold War was a match for the American one and more advanced than in any third country. The fact that Russia does not have a decent telephone system is a different matter. This requires investments, but Gorbachev-Yeltsin faction did not care about investments. They cared more about economic reforms and personal ambitions and did not do anything positive for their country.
As far as "complex flash toilet" is concerned, I will agree that Russia is much behind America in this important sphere of high technology. America is definitely leading the world in flush toilet systems.