Russian Path

Every morning, billions of people wake up in their beds, still on autopilot proceed to the kitchen, put a kettle on and go to work in about an hour and a half. As a rule, the route is so familiar that they can do it even blindfolded. 

If you recognize yourself in the description above, there is a reason to congratulate you: according to some psychologists, you are in a comfort zone and, if nothing changes, you will be on this path until the end of your life. True, psychologists believe that this is not very good, because he who does not risk will never drink champagne (Russian Proverb, -Ed.). And you, in their opinion, doom yourself to a life of consuming low-fat kefir. However, everyone has a chance to leave a comfortable zone and rush into the raging sea of ​​life.
However, don’t you think that Internet psychologists have completely forgotten that all men are created unequal? Coco Chanel, for example, was so afraid of comfort zone that she almost perceived her early orphanhood as luck. Otherwise, she writes in her memoirs, “she would hardly have avoided the fate of being married “and having children and dreaming of freedom all her life.”
Henry Ford tried more than one path, which, despite initial rejection, were welcomed by his business colleagues. He said that many of the entrepreneurs he knew would be much happier and healthier, if they had followed the path of comfort zone of hired managers or accountants.
But it’s not simple to be on this path! Sometimes it could be a synonym for pure, unalloyed evil, and at times is you cannot avoid it. According to military historians, the width of the Soviet, or rather, the Russian railway track played considerable role in the outcome of the Great Patriotic War. In the heat of the offensive, the Wehrmacht did not take care in time to change the tracks (The Russian ones were traditionally made wider than the European) and when they realized it, it was too late. As a result, Army Group Centre, the main striking force of the invasion, on better days received half the trains with weapons, ammunition and troops than was required for success.


But the Soviet General Staff took the enemy’s mistakes into account and as early as in January 1942 created a special department that was engaged in the restoration and construction of railways. First, on the territory of the USSR, and then on the liberated lands, the offensives of the Soviet army were much more successful. 

However, let's return from this historical detour to the present. In modern times, our country is on a path of depopulation. According to the forecast published by Rosstat last December, by 2036 the population of Russia will be 150 million at best and about 134 million at worst. It is not difficult to calculate that, at best, our population will increase by only three and a half million, and at worst, Russia will lose 12 million populations.
Our country is losing in both scenarios. According to the estimates of some experts, we must have at least 300 million for successful economic development. And how do we get out of this path?
Let's look at the root of the problem. A population of 300 million people is needed by the Russian economy to successfully compete in the international market, doing the same thing as today: increasing exports of oil, grain, weapons and nuclear energy technology. People in this scheme are important not as creators and producers, but as consumers. Moreover, it is assumed a priori that with the growth of the economy they will consume more and more. That’s the path: eat and be happy.
But what if we approach this task from the other angle? Shall we try to focus not on gross indicators but on improving the quality of life? On the development of people living in our country?
Only a new generation can lead the country out of a rut that leads to a dead end. Those who will offer new technologies and create new materials in the future will write new books and make new films. But now we must help them, in time, sending them to the right track.
To change the current development paradigm, we need new-minded creators, geniuses. We need new Lomonosovs and Mendeleevs, Repins and Tolstoys. They are already here, among us, it remains only to find them and provide conditions for the development of talents.
But it must be an active search. Children, as you know, do not choose their parents. The new Cherenkov or Kurchatov can be born anywhere, in any family. It is good if this happens in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan or Yekaterinburg. It is wonderful if he has loving, and besides, sufficiently wealthy parents. But such a birth can happen somewhere in the remote district centre of the chronically depressed region. Even if the parents wanted to develop their child’s abilities, they may have neither the means nor the opportunities. Therefore, the search for gifted children should be the concern of the state and society, and society in the first place.
True, there is a problem: well-informed people say that today there is no way to reliably determine the degree of giftedness, to recognize the future genius. But, in my opinion, this is not a reason to give up. If there is no reliable way, you need to explore all those that are. Hold contests and competitions, listen to teachers and parents’ opinions. In the end, create teams of specialists, who will travel through villages and towns in the most remote corners where gifted children can live.
But that is not all. One might be endowed with giftedness, but, as you know, one cannot rely on it alone. It is necessary to create special conditions for study and life for such children, and, of course, special education programmes in the best educational institutions with the best teachers. It will be expensive and difficult, but our country needs a breakthrough, which, unfortunately, current generation is not able to provide.
Remember the role of railroad tracks in the outcome of the last war. Its width of 1,524 mm came to us from the United States, but throughout the world, this standard is called the Russian gauge. This, of course, happened by chance, but the result of using such a standard ultimately saved the country.
So why don’t we start creating a new reliable path of confidently developing our children now? It would be great to start another national project. By the way, one of the synonyms of “track” is “path”. “Russian Path” is a good name for a national project that will help the country out in the future, just as the Russian track did during the war.