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, called “bio-object” in the text, by 2015 and to implant him with the electronic tag by 2025 (in particular, “nanoelectronic components within bio-objects will control their life support mechanisms to improve their quality of living”).  As space exploration was an idée fixe for both the Russians and the Americans during the Cold War, so, in today’s KGB world in which totalitarian power in Russia moves and has its being, an equivalent idée fixe is the tag implant.  An implant containing the citizen’s dossier from cradle to grave—as well as, possibly, some basic means of physical influence over his behavior—is viewed as the booster that will propel the relevant industries past China and the United States.  Thus, “the electronic passport is regarded as the main catalyst for boosting Russia’s microelectronic industry.”

China is a greater source of worry for the authors of Order No311 than the United States, and it soon becomes clear that the “implant race” is against Beijing.

China has now completed its governmental Program 909, valued at $10 billion, which has propelled it into the first tier of ECB (electronic-component base) producers. . . . A further allocation of $37-45 billion will allow China to create 5 electronic construction bureaus, 10 electronics companies specializing in materials and 15 silicon treatment plants.  By the close of its 11th five-year-plan, China will no longer be dependent on any high technology imports.

It is not clear whether China’s way to world domination is more secure than Russia’s, but it certainly seems shorter.   A quarter-century ago, China refused to follow Russia up the Andropov-Gorba­chev-Putin garden path, which promised eventual control over the “common European home from the Atlantic to the Urals.”  This meant that China’s ruling elite would have only its own populace to control, whereas Russia’s rulers would have all the old problems of the Soviet Union.  Consequently, Russia’s police-state appetite for electronic control over the hundreds of millions of these bio-objects is much keener than her Chinese counterpart’s.  A newly imperial Russia is desperate to have them, because she needs to tag not only the lazy Russians but the thievish Rumanians and the quarrelsome Chechens and the lecherous Frenchmen and the arrogant Brits.  Her desperate need, further fueled by envy for China’s success, comes over in the pages of Order No311 as well as in the wording of February’s presidential instruction to the effect that production of the electronic passport is to begin forthwith at whatever cost.

I had supposed that phrases like “international terrorism,” “war on terror,” and “global security” would hover over the various subheadings of Order No311 like the ghost of a recently deceased husband directing the widow to share her inheritance with the medium.  Only a threat that is in every sense supranational would justify the Orwellian scope of the social changes prescribed by the document.  Indeed, a hint of that argument was used more than a decade ago by totalitarian power in Russia to convince the West that only totalitarian power in Russia could protect the West from a threat so inchoate.

I had supposed wrong.  Terrorism is hardly mentioned in the document, so secure are its authors in the belief that their long-term project of turning all of Eurasia into a concentration camp for electronically tagged bio-objects is, bio-objectively speaking, a smashing idea.