European Diary

Order No311

The document I am reading is public.  It is an official directive of the Russian government to the ministries responsible for directing the country’s electronic industry, dated August 7, 2007, identified as “Government of the Russian Federation Order No311,” and entitled “Strategic Development of Electronics in Russia 2007-2025.”

Last February, totalitarian power in the person of Russia’s president authorized the Ministry of Economic Development “to launch production of the universal electronic card, which is to become the main means of identification for Russian citizens,” even if the “chip installed in the card has not been manufactured domestically and must be imported.”  The president realizes that, by the time the card becomes mandatory, distinctions between “foreign” and “domestic” will be even more meaningless than they are today.

Why are they in such a hurry?  Order No311, a document of some 35 pages, specifies three phases in the industry’s development: first, 2007-2011; second, 2012-2015; and third, 2016-2025.  When the order was published, 2011 had already been identified as the year of transition when production of the universal electronic card was to be launched.

The entire course of industry development during this entire 18-year period is resting on one fixed idea: to tag electronically every citizen,...

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