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Monday, September 25, 2006

Back in the USSR

I'm continuing to read David Satter's book Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union. Here's a selection from page 100:
Romansheva grew up in Gorky and moved to Moscow in 1979 after agreeing to work in Psychiatric Clinic 27, a mental hospital for persons abandoned by their relatives. In order to live in Moscow, she had agreed to become a "limitchik," a person who is registered temporarily in the capital in return for working in a labor-short industry. Limitchiks are very vulnerable because although they can be given a permanent registration, or propiska, after three to five years, a permanent residency permit is not guaranteed. It depends on the approval of the head of the collective.
Compare and contrast:
I propose a new temporary worker program that will match willing foreign workers with willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. This program will offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States, and to those in foreign countries who seek to participate in the program and have been offered employment here. This new system should be clear and efficient, so employers are able to find workers quickly and simply.

All who participate in the temporary worker program must have a job, or, if not living in the United States, a job offer. The legal status granted by this program will last three years and will be renewable -- but it will have an end. Participants who do not remain employed, who do not follow the rules of the program, or who break the law will not be eligible for continued participation and will be required to return to their home.
-- George W. Bush, January 7, 2004

Of course, the Soviets also had a fondness for "aggressive interrogation techniques" and sending their military to Afghanistan to fight "terrorists." They bankrupted their country spending insane amounts of money on weaponry.