Naive Russian girls and innocent nuclear scientists

August 19, 2006

This story has repeated itself over and over again since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A young, pretty, innocent girl reads an ad that offers employment in the West. The salary is astronomical by the Russian standards; the employment conditions are wonderful; and there is a great opportunity to move to one of the most well-to-do countries of the world.

The girl’s parents, though saddened at the thought of parting, cannot but be thrilled by this golden opportunity for their beloved daughter. With sighs, tears, and promises to write every day, she takes leave of them and boards a plane that is to take her to the land of dreams.

The agency’s representative, a polite, good-looking and athletic young man, meets her at the airport and takes her to her room – but what a sudden, cruel, and utterly unexpected turn of events! He beats her, rapes her, takes away her passport and locks her up in a brothel!

What a reversal of fate! What a terrible loss of innocence, with no way out! After that, how can one believe in promises?

Easily, as it turns out – when the promised reward is sufficiently high. That girl’s story is well known in Russia – yet such ads keep popping up, and the young and pretty and innocent girls keep answering them. The promise shines so bright, that it blinds one to the fact that the prize may will be placed in a trap. The opportunity is so great, that it is unthinkable to let go of it.

Naļve Russian girls are not the only ones thinking this way. The grave men in the Russian government are as susceptible to the tempting offers as the young girls. Can the minister of nuclear energy decline an offer of $800,000,000 to build a nuclear reactor in Iran? Perish the thought! A lurking suspicion that Iranians may be trying to build a nuclear bomb – with calamitous consequences for the world – is quickly drowned in the blissful prospect of keeping the industry afloat.

Admittedly, it takes more to tempt a Russian nuclear minister than a Russian girl. But ultimately – and most unfortunately – each does have a price.

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