Courtesy Reuters

Have They Forgotten How to Work?

OPTIMISTS LOOK to the market and democratic pluralism as the motors for driving Russia, the great outsider, back into the fold of "normal" economic and political development. Seeking aid and investment from the West, President Boris Yeltsin and his economists point to Russia's vast natural resources as collateral for loans and capital. Little is said, however, of another critical factor: the Russian labor force. While the technology can be imported, the essential human element cannot.

In city and country alike workers exhibit a long-suffering passivity and what the labor newspaper Trud called "a psychology of permanent dependence." With little pride in their inadequately remunerated work, and for years aware that they were anything but masters of their own proletarian country, the resignation of Russia's workers leaves them ill-prepared for the rough-and-tumble free market. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said at this year's World Economic

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