Where does Motherland end?

There is undergoing discussion in the media about possibility of return to Russia the children of officials and deputies, who are currently residing abroad. The discussion was caused by ‘informal’ recommendation allegedly released by the Presidential Administration. This rumour was refuted by the President's spokesman Dmitry Peskov literally on the same day, which caused a strong reaction in society. However, the theme of discussion is really important, and it is worth talking about.

Needless to say, it is ridiculous to seriously believe that someone may order the adult, responsible people where their children should live and learn and, even more so, where their elderly parents should restore health and rest. Such concept is only possible in the myths about modern Russia as an authoritarian country, where Gulag prevails behind the Iron Curtain and intelligence agencies are closely monitoring every word spoken by citizens.
No, thank God, we live in a democracy where individual rights and freedoms are guaranteed by law. After facing with the American legal bureaucracy, I can talk about it with confidence.
Of course, some could argue: as long as officials were banned from having accounts and property abroad in 2012, they might also not be allowed to send their relatives abroad to study and undergo treatment. My answer is: no, it could never have happened. For example, fraud is a criminal offense but cheating one’s wife or husband is not, although it is the same if not the worst evil. Same applies here – all depends on the conscience and patriotism of an official.
This was stated by Vladimir Putin at last year's forum of the All-Russia People’s Front. "The same goes for children's education both here and abroad. This is particularly interesting issue in relation to the persons in senior positions. They need to think about how to improve the health care system and the treatment; develop the education system and provide an opportunity for their children to obtain diplomas in our country," said the President. He added: "This is the moral choice."
It looks like either the elite’s moral qualities are non-existent or their moralities allow to raise their capital in Russia with objective, ‘if anything happens’, to relocate themselves abroad to some safe haven, where the children and parents have already been settled down.

Considering this morality, it is easy to understand why we constantly hear proposals of the economic bloc of the government to cut to the limit the social spending and raise the retirement age: their elderly relatives have been taken care of and they have nothing to worry about. It is easy to understand why schools have become a permanent experimentation platform: the children of those very officials will not be affected by this mess.
Today, Russian education, once considered to be the best in the world, is reduced to a dull rote: children just learn how to properly mark items in exam paper. By the way, fewer graduates cope with this simple task every year. The Ministry of Education, instead of trying to lift up the level of teaching, just simplifies the exam questions and tasks.
You should talk with university professors - they are terrified: young people getting into higher education do not know basic things. Or even worse, they are not able to think logically, cannot learn on their own.
The implementation of FIDE programme "Chess in Schools" would help to improve the situation. It is known that this ancient game disciplines the mind and develops thinking. As a result it improves overall performance of children. It was proved in Kalmykia, where chess was introduced into the school curriculum in 1993. Unfortunately, the introduction of chess, at least as an optional subject, is at the mercy of regional officials. Unfortunately, most of them just brush it aside: there is no time for chess, they say, and no money.
Vladimir Putin expressed interest in the promotion of the programme ‘Chess in Schools’. But the officials in the Ministry of Education don’t need it. What is the point? The offsprings of the elite are mostly educated in foreign schools. We are talking about the children of deputies, governors, senators and the Presidential Administration staff...
Thus, such people, when it comes to themselves, look at the domestic educational system created by them or their colleagues and think: "Uh-uh. No, I will send my child to Europe or the United States." Isn’t it depressive? Extremely!
There is another disturbing issue: for some reason people, who send their children to foreign schools, believe that through them they would be able to join the European, American, and even the world's elite. And that they would be invited to the Royal Ascot and be welcomed with open arms at the oldest aristocratic houses.
It is very naïve thinking. The Russia's new rich will always be readily available for the Western elites’ pasture. This is especially true when it comes to civil servants, whose origin of the capital is not transparent and smacks of corruption. Recall that the Russian investors suffered the most during the partial restrictions on deposit withdrawals in Cyprus in March 2013. However, they sincerely believed that they had hidden the money in ‘safe offshore banks’, where nobody would be able to touch it or even ask about its origin.
There are no quiet financial havens abroad for not only the corrupt, but completely law-abiding businessmen from Russia. Putin openly warned them back in 2002, when he spoke about the danger of blocking the assets of Russian citizens: "You’ll be swallowing dust running exhausted from court to court trying to unfreeze your money."
However, it's only money: easy come, easy go. But why should one send children or parents to distant lands? Do you remember what is said in the Gospel of Matthew: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also?" And what could be more treasured than the loved ones?
The point is not that some foreign intelligence agencies could get a tool to influence officials or that their children could be brought up in a spirit of hatred of the native country. If the need arises, there would always be a tool of influence. The gist of the matter is different.
I do not really like the term ‘nationalization of the elites’, which appeared two or three years ago. It involves coercive measures against civil servants and deputies that literally confine them to the country. After all we are talking about human beings and not personal property, even if belonging to the people. Therefore, as rightly said Putin, this is a matter of moral attitudes.
In my opinion, there is a very effective way to make officials and deputies to reconcile their morality, whatever it is, with the interests of the state and society. To this end, it is only necessary to amend the laws on civil service and the Federal Assembly.
The amendments should provide that everyone who applies for a position in the municipal bodies or public administration and for the presidency of the state corporation or a deputy / senatorial seat must complete and publish the report on the relatives, who are permanent or long-term residents in foreign countries.
Thus, voters would be able to decide for themselves whether they would want to vote for deputies, who already have a safe haven in the United States or Germany; and the heads of ministries and state corporations - whether they would want an employee, who is at risk of pressure by foreign intelligence services.
By the way, there is nothing new about that. Adopted in the summer of 2012, the Amendments to the Legislative Acts of Non-profit organizations and a number of other laws, which are called the ‘Foreign Agent Law’, have been virtually copied from the US ‘Foreign Agents Registration Act’ (FARA) and are similar to some European regulations.
However, FARA applies not only to non-profit organizations but also to individuals, who are required to register as foreign agents if it is likely that they act in the interests of other countries. And the violation of this law is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years.
Four years ago, we have made the first step by adopting a set of amendments relating to the activities of the organizations that are foreign agents. Now it's time to make the second step by obliging officials, who prefer foreign countries, to openly declare themselves as foreign agents. It would be absolutely democratic step since such steps have already been made by the so-called ‘bastion of democratic traditions’ - the United States and some European countries.
In the early 80s the popular Soviet rock band ‘Voskresenie’ wrote a song, in which the author, Alexei Romanov, sang:
"All that was planned has been made and completed,
Throw away everything with no grief at all.
Just somewhere does Motherland end,
If only you have a Motherland."
Right now I would very much like to comprehend where does Motherland end for those in positions of authority, who try to ship their loved ones off to the places that are ’happier and richer, with brighter colours and warmer summer’? And where do their selfish interests begin?