Wednesday’s Child: The Technicolor Dreamcoat (Free)
Truth may be stranger than fiction, especially in places where the writers ain’t all they’re cracked up to be, but these days, I swear, even apparently random facts seem to be running away with themselves in the land of Gogol.
I have made two posts, one in April and one in October, highlighting the creation in Russia of the equivalent of Himmler’s Schutzstaffel (SS), called the National Guard (Rosgvardia), and speculating on the likely function of this 350,000-strong presidential private army. Recent developments bear out my speculation. Last week a senior Rosgvardia commander, Aleksandr Maul, made a statement that swept the internet and was quickly deleted, confirming that the role of the new leviathan is “to deal with the Fifth Column” and “to suppress civil unrest.” Subsequently another senior officer of Rosgvardia, Sergei Melikov, went on record saying that “extremism arising from intolerance of government policy” was the principal foe that Rosgvardia had been formed to overpower.
The occurrence of “civil unrest” and “extremism arising from intolerance of government policy,” as I suggested in my post of October 12, is likely to be occasioned by the planned compulsory dactyloscopy of the entire Russian population, itself a prelude to the implanting of electronic chips containing dactylographic and all other identity information in the body of every citizen by 2025. Rosgvardia’s armed forces, within which a signals corps was created last month, are responsible for this post-Orwellian program.
And now the funny part. The program needs to be tested before launch, but where to begin? A mobile telephone contains an electronic chip, as does a laptop, but users accept this as essential to their communication functions. Most passports already have chips in them, but few people live clutching their passports. Some pets have had owner identification implanted, but hardly with the pandemic ubiquity that the program envisions. Prisoners have been electronically tagged, but a prisoner is by definition an object under a magnifying glass, so inmate data is not relevant. At the focus of the test would have to be something in everyday use throughout all social classes of the population. In America, that would be a car, but even here motorists do not cohabit with their vehicles or bring them into their homes, which the parameters of the test require.
So, guess what? Government Order No. 787, dated August 11, 2016 and in full effect as of December 5, requires all articles of clothing that contain natural fur sold anywhere on the territory of Russia after that date to be tagged with electronic RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) elements. A special article of the Penal Code, Article 171.1, gives the order teeth, with criminal penalties for violation by the vendor.
Russia is cold in wintertime, and a fur coat is the statistical equivalent of the motorcar in the West. This way, special services can monitor a citizen’s behavior with regard to the electronic tag from the moment he or she brings the coat home from the shop. Thus the chip enters the household, and will perhaps become one of many in this totalitarian version of the Internet of Things, accustoming the population to the notion that eventual electronic tagging of it by the government is an inevitable necessity.
“Gosh, that’s a lot of coats, a lot of monitoring, and a whole lot of bother,” I hear the reader murmur. Well, there are three and a half million salaried individuals employed in the secret police apparatus in Russia. In my childhood, when the KGB was considerably smaller, they nonetheless managed to operate a listening station attached to every telephone exchange in every large city in the country. After all, there are no pains too great to be taken when you are working toward the laudable goal of a well regulated modern state.
In closing, perhaps I ought to I wish my readers a Happy New “Centenary of the Russian Revolution” Year. As for me, I have but a single wish for 2017. May my forecasts of the events it augurs turn out to be wrong, so wrong that I become a laughingstock for those who read them.