- Factory workers, miners, shop assistants and schoolchildren
in every region across Russia will be rewarded for their productivity in
President Putin,s revival of the Stalinist cult of the dedicated Russian
- In a populist return to the potent value system of the
Soviet era, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development announced that
the country,s most industrious workers would have their photographs pinned
on special boards of honour in every state institution and feature in television
programmes and on websites trumpeting their dedication to Russia,s glorious
- The revival of the cult of the industrious worker, which
reached its peak in Stalin,s era, will bring back horrific memories of
slave-labour working conditions and frequent punishments for alleged misdemeanours
that often led to a spell in the gulag. Stalin told his people that they
must imitate Stakhanov, a miner who hewed more coal in a day than anyone
- Nevertheless many will welcome the measures, which could
bring a little happiness to the nation not known for its joie de vivre
and give people an illusion of living in the old Communist nanny state.
"I see this as an attempt to return to those values which are familiar
and understandable to the Russian people, Andrei Biryukov, a political
- In Moscow, a national All-Russian Board of Honour will
be restored to oversee the programme and the ministry has asked factory
bosses and farm managers throughout Russia to set up regional branches.
- In terms redolent of the Soviet era, a ministry spokesman
said that "the revival of the values of conscientious labour is acquiring
particular significance as the source of all the material and spiritual
blessings which people enjoy.
- That is unlikely to encourage cheerful productivity in
Russia,s collective farms, havens of drunkenness and lethargy, or in state-owned
supermarkets, where assistants are notorious for their unwillingness to
move from the smoking-room to the till.
- Most Russian workers would find a healthy pay packet
the biggest incentive to get to work: the millions struggling on two or
three jobs because their state salary is typically between £10 and
£50 a month are already working hard enough.