Suggestions for Russia
Russia has gone a long way since the mafia state of 1990s; but there is a lot further to go. My past as someone who's both been inside Russia and outside of Russia for significant lengths of time allows me a fuller perspective: As someone who (from outside of Russia) sees the external effects of Russia's choices and as someone who (from inside of Russia) has seen the internal experience. This perspective allows me to make informed suggestions as to what needs to happen in Russia.
The following is the summary of what I see as needing to be done in Russia.
1. Keep what has worked before. Education, science, arts, sports, space industry, metro, military technology, and children's after-school activities during the Soviet system worked, and they should continue to be adequately funded now. Lenin kept the achievements of the Tsarist system, such as the Kremlin and the Hermitage, even though he dispensed with the Tsarist system. There is no reason why Russians now should be less intelligent than Lenin.
2. Allow both American-style corporations and Swedish-style cooperatives. That way, the people who want to live like they do in America can live like they do in America, and the people who want to live like they do in Europe can live like they do in Europe.
3. Change the legal system to make it more humane and more transparent. A legal system that convicts 99% of the accused and puts them away in horrendous conditions is not an honest legal system. France, America, England and any number of other countries in the West all provide working models for how Russia's legal system can be improved.
4. Do away with dedovschina in the military. It is a vast source of brain drain to Russia, and it is also a major source of national embarrassment. Thousands of Russia's best minds die every year from dedovschina, and thousands of others flee the country. It is a burden that Russia simply cannot afford.
5. Have a medical system similar to that of Australia, where a public health care system exists side by side with a private health care system. That way everyone gets taken care of, and those who want choice or quality can pay for it themselves.
6. Confront seriously the culture of brutality against women. 14,000 women a year die in Russia from domestic violence. This is an outrage, and like dedovschina it is a source of national embarrassment. More women will stay in Russia instead of going to places such as America if Russian men stop being brutal to their wives.
7. Build a first-rate national infrastructure. There should be a seamless highway system from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok to make possible national commerce and ongoing economic growth.
8. Allow more regional autonomy, so that each region gets to have its own character. At the same time, allow people to move about freely within the country. This will allow freedom at both regional and individual level, with each place having a right to its own character and each person being free to choose where he or she wants to live.
9. Let Chechnya go, and let South Ossetia join Russia. That way Russia will have as a part of itself a region that wants to be part of Russia, and not a region that hates Russia and constantly makes expensive and deadly trouble for the country.
10. Teach business and economics at high school level, so that more people in Russia understand these subjects and can succeed in the market economy.
11. Trim the bureaucracy and reduce regulatory burden. If Russia is to be globally competitive, it cannot afford to have a system that suffocates business activity or limits it to those who have connections.
12. Absorb mafia-dependent industries into legitimate enterprise. Provide amnesty for the people who had to work with mafia in 1990s, when everyone had to work with the mafia, while demanding of them compliance with the law in their present and future activities.