High security IKEA: Russian colonies promise us goods “better and cheaper” than Western companies

You can be sarcastic here for a long time, but the words of the prison commanders are partly true.  Prisoners produce many different products

You can be sarcastic here for a long time, but the words of the prison commanders are partly true. Prisoners produce many different products

A photo: Alexey BULATOV

According to the law of the genre, there should be some kind of joke here. For example, this: “I have one friend – also a scientist, he has three classes of education – so he will assemble a stool in half an hour like that – you can’t distinguish it from IKEA!”

Yes, but there’s no time for jokes from such news: the Federal Penitentiary Service (GUFSIN) decided take a decision problems of import substitution in their hands. Here are two phrases that sounded at the annual All-Russian exhibition of products GUFSIN, which was held in Yekaterinburg.

Alexander Fedorov, head of the GUFSIN of Russia for the Sverdlovsk region:

– We produce a large number of consumer goods. At the same time, our price-quality ratio is higher than that of foreign analogues. I have no doubt that in a number of segments our institutions may well be replaced by foreign companies.

Colonel Ivan Sharkov, head of the department of labor adaptation of convicts of the GUFSIN of Russia in the Sverdlovsk region:

– Colonies may well take place IKEA. If we compare furniture – we have better quality and lower prices. We are not businessmen.

Everything is clear, in a military way! And then all sorts of businessmen go around begging: give subsidies, reduce taxes and get rid of inspections … Here it is, the recipe for import substitution, leading to prosperity!

And how many problems can be solved in one fell swoop. Our colonies are pantries of talents that can cut not only backgammon! How many smart entrepreneurs, experienced managers are sitting there – they can organize production, keep accounts, and arrange sales. Sideltsy – IT specialists will come up with a new Windows and Office for us. Prisoners with technical education will invent Russian Mercedes and Tesla. All the rest, whose hands grow from where they should, will sew clothes to replace Zara and H&M (they will be called Nara and Z&K). Well, furniture, of course, as without it. And at the same time they will learn how to sew IKEA sharks – only not blue, like the Swedes, but in black and white stripes.

You can be sarcastic here for a long time, but you can’t help but notice: the words of the prison commanders are partly true. In Russian prisons, they really produce a lot – from furniture to food, from toys to clothes. The inmates receive money for this, and for hard work they have a chance for parole. Many here will also remember the USSR, where a huge share of logging, construction in remote areas, furniture making, sewing, and much more lay on the shoulders of convicts.

Yes, but the task of the country now is not to release more of all sorts of things by the hands of prisoners, otherwise we will have nothing to wear and nothing to sit on (in a good sense of the word). The task is not to drop the bar too much and produce truly competitive products in the current difficult conditions by any means and resources. And in the modern world, only merchants can create a quality product, and only under conditions of competition, not coercion. That’s how the economy works on this side of the barbed wire.

It is clear that in many respects the statements of the Ural Ufsinovites are nothing more than a tribute to the strange fashion of recent months. When bureaucratic hooting rushes after the departing companies from all sides: get down, we will do better, cheaper, more beautiful! And under these cries, we are moving the whole country from the twenty-first century to the twentieth. Because of the sanctions, we change to cars without airbags and anti-lock brakes. We are getting ready to fly the Il-96 and Tu-214, which 20-30 years ago lost the competition to more modern aircraft.

Of course, no one questions the need for corrective labor. It is important to keep the convicts busy with something, so that they are in business, and not just on social security. But if we want to deploy our import-substituting aircraft flying into the past, then let everyone mind their own business. To replace IKEA and other leaders of capitalist production should certainly not be colonies, but free (in every sense of the word) business.

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