Reading on Russia Roundup #13

J.T.’s note: I just realized how often it seems I change the format of these Reading on Russia Roundups. I started off paraphrasing the summary of the articles, then inserting a tiny bit of my own opinion into the summaries, then went back to summary alone, then started using boldface, summaries with figures from the articles and my interpretation. Inconsistencies are my consistency! And now I’m going to change the format again.

Russia vs. NATO. The National Interest‘s Ted Galen Carpenter argues that it’s very unwise for Western leaders to increase NATO presence on Russia’s borders without stopping to think how their actions will be received in Moscow.

The announcement that NATO would deploy four battalions of troops to the Baltic republics and Poland is merely the latest evidence that Western officials are utterly tone deaf about how their actions are going to be received in Moscow. The apparent assumption is that such a vigorous display of determination to protect the security of the Alliance’s vulnerable eastern members will cow the Kremlin and prevent any inclination to engage in coercive measures. Those officials seem oblivious to the notion that even reasonable Russians, much less the somewhat paranoid crowd gathered around President Vladimir Putin, might regard NATO’s moves as menacing to Russia’s core security interests.

Browder vs. “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes”. A new documentary blows apart the West’s Russia-bashing narrative about the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, so the response has been to stop the public from seeing the film while calling it Russian “agit-prop,” as Gilbert Doctorow explains.

Despite all the threats of lawsuits and physical intimidation which hedge fund executive William Browder brought to bear over the past couple of months to ensure that a remarkable investigative film about the so-called Magnitsky case would not be screened anywhere, it was shown privately in a museum of journalism in Washington, D.C., last week.

The failure of the intimidation may give heart to others. There is talk that the film may be shown publicly in Norway, where its production company is located, but where an attempt several weeks ago to enter it into a local festival for documentaries was rejected by the hosts for fear of lawsuits. Moreover, a Norwegian court has in the past week declined to hear the libel charges which Browder’s attorneys were seeking to bring against the film’s director and producers…

Patriotism in Russia. This VCIOM survey indicates that the level of patriotism in the country is high. More than half of Russians are ready to send their relatives to defend Russia in the case of war.

Чувство долга перед Отчизной в нашей стране очень сильно: 65% поддержали бы решение своих близких пойти на войну в случае необходимости (в т.ч. 49% посоветовали бы им отправиться прямо на линию фронта).

More on Orlando shooting. Apparently, on the same night that the shooting occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a shooting occurred at a gay club in Yekaterinburg. In Kater, nobody died even when the police refused to respond to the call. With a well-run police force with federal support in Orlando, 49 did.

Because the soccer hooligans who attacked were using air guns with rubber bullets.

Harry Leeds at the NYU Jordan Center writes a LGBT rights/plea for gun control/Russia piece here.

In the wake of Orlando, gun-control advocates are looking for parallels in other countries with stricter gun control laws. Russia is not exactly known for its tolerance of gays, and many Russians would probably consider America to be full of “tolerasts.” Yet within the very same day, two analogous events have occurred about what twenty angry men and what one angry man could do with the weapons available to them. Russia’s gun control laws made sure that the Yekaterinburg shooting wasn’t a Yekaterinburg massacre.

The road from 1996. Carnegie Center’s Andrei Kolesnikov writes about Russia’s failure of democracy, post-Yeltsin. Read [for eyerolls?]

The country now lives with strategic failure and a totally uncertain future. Does anyone—from the armchair politicians in provincial towns to the cynical “wise men” in their Moscow offices—know what will happen to Russia after 2018? The answer is a decisive “no.”

Russia’s net exports. Mark Adomanis examines recent Rosstat data that shows a decline in Russia’s net exports.

In 2015 it appeared that the country was adjusting to the “new normal” of cheap oil and a weak ruble with surprising quickness: the country was earning less from its exports and was therefore weaning itself off of imports. Imports actually fell more sharply than exports. In 2016 the picture looks rather different: Russia is earning even less from its exports, but it isn’t adjusting as quickly on the import side. If that continues for much longer, there will be problems.

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One comment

  1. Okay. Okay. I will answer for what I’ve wrote previously, no attempt to dodge the issue here. Besides, that’s my native Kater we are talking about.

    I’ve went on the record just last week with stating that “Orlando-style” shooting can’t possibly happened in Russia. I cited the most vigorous measures at night clubs in Russia to which I was personally a witness.

    The article cited here has rather different point of view. Will I eat my words?

    Of course not! Let’s dwell into the matter a little bit further before resorting to screeching and name –calling.

    I’m only half-surprised that NYU of all places decided to pick up this story. In end, it’s not about Russia – it’s about the current “gun-debate” in the USA. Russia here serves just as an example, an exhibit A if you like, for the ignorant masses to look up and agree with authors message which is, unsurprisingly, is totally handshakable.

    I won’t go petty and vengeful on this so-called “staple of the Western Journalism” (like saying that, no, no matter you think about Putin’s Regime, you shouldn’t write the “red square” with lowercase letters – especially in such Capital Letters Obsessive Language as English). No, the article is full of shit by its own merit.

    The article eats not one, but two big, enormous piles of shit by claiming not once, but twice that “police did not respond” and “did nothing”. That’s not true. And they even helpfully provided links to the original reports that show that it’s not a case. That police indeed arrived at the site and conducted all appropriate actions required from it. Then they departed. After angry (and possibly drunken) football fans returned to wreak more havoc the police dutifully registered the complaints and opened the criminal case on grounds of “hooliganism”. Also – am I the only one who sees the conflicting stories here? According to “unnamed client” these fans opened fire from their air-guns right away at the very beginning… yet they were beating one not so quick club’s patron with heir fists and feet. While the account from the club’s administration says nothing about any guns, till the fellas decided to return after police’s departure, when they indeed “invaded” the club and left 2 patrons wounded from their shooting.

    As a person personally familiar with and actually shooting the proverbial travmat pistols referenced in the article I’m not surprised that there were no casualties there. Like – at all. You must try really hard to kill anyone with the. Sure, such things happened in the past. But, as the proverb goes, “even a wooden stick can shoot like a rifle once in a while”.

    Next – all linked articles can’t just agree on the number of attackers. One claims there were 20 of them. Another one – just 9.

    There is another subliminal message coming from dear author, Harry Leads, besides that “guns are evil”. The second message is the following: “Russian state is ultimately responsible for that massacre… which actually didn’t happened”. After all, it was Russian incompetent/maligned police force which didn’t react in the proper fashion which allowed the whole situation to deteriorate, right?

    Ugh, did I say that his whole was taking place in my native Yekaterinburg? Sure I did. And due to that fact – I actually know a thing or two about Kater’s current affairs. Yeah, I’, living in exile far away from my penates, my home city supplanted with the liberast stinking Royzmanstan, with the dreadful Yeltsin’s Center edifice defacing the face of my native city and country. But I have great hopes. Especially now, after Nikita Belykh’s (finally!) getting into prison for a bribe-taking. And given the fact that Belykh was chummy with equally handshakable libersat Royzman, well… Time will tell!

    And still, this icon of Russian political handshakabilty (who resorted to several human rights violations in his crusade known as the “City without drugs”), the person, who worked tirelessly to bring the Yeltsin’s Center to life, the person which not only allows the foreign spies diplomats to collude with the most conscientious and active part of intelligentsia and creative class in his part of This Country, who silently applauds and encourages the UK diplomats pro LGBT parties that will have Sit Ian Mckellen (aka Gandalph/Magneto/Richard III) as a guest of honor. The whole affair, unsurprisingly, proved to be one big disappointment. But the fact remains – it is such handshakable mayor who otherwise can deliver something to his fellow brethren and foreign sponsors, who can’t provide the most comfortable living and functioning to the vanguard of the liberastia – the LGBT activists?! Yeah, when all else fails blame Putin – and accuse all disagreeing with you of being Krenlenite labpdogs. Works like a charm.

    The security firm behaved the most atrociously in this regard. There is no excuse here. On the other hand – and what you really expected here? That’s the Holy Invisible Hand of the Market, providing the most appropriate security for the most agreeable price at work! It was not state-employed cops who stood by when the football fans decided to return with their pnevmat shooting pieces and redecorate both the club and its clientele – that the private enterprise we are talking about. #Capitalism4TheWin.

    But if you are to dig a little bit more at this article, a little bit further at the message pushed so vigorously by it, you might see quite a different picture. As the barely masking his personal Russophobia author makes us believe, should Orland-style massacre happened in Russia it would be even more bloody. Why, all this homophobia, incompetent guards, complacent police, and angry football fans. Now, multiply this by the Putin’s factor, which is as sinister and constantly present as the Eye of Sauron. Boom, blam – and you have a self congratulating newspiece that explains that the US, which had this month 49 people killed during the terrorist attack/hate crime are actually pretty fucking good compared to such memetically enforced shit-hole for the “sacred-cows-of-the-day” like Russia where this didn’t happened… But could! And what a disaster that would be!

    When talking about any “what if?” scenarios it’s always advisable to get sober and familiarize oneself with the ages old and internationally known concept of “for a want of the nail…”. Russia has no US equivalents of gun ownership, gay “liberation” or ignoring mental conditions when people clearly belonging to the mental ward are allowed to not only be at large but also work in security firms. There were other people (i.e. Saker) elsewhere who compared the dissolution of Dubrovka’s theatre hostage crisis in Russia’s favored when compared to Orlando’s massacre. And you know what – the “Nord Ost” was a fucking mess with lots of innocents dying. Bt I have to agree here with Saker’s points. If Russia was indeed such country as the USA in these 3 issues I’ve mentioned earlier – then Russian security agencies (on all levels) would be quite different as well. Here we are talking about a country that experienced terrorist attacks for a long times and who retaliated with extreme prejudice – and full support of the majority of the citizens. I simply can’t imagine a bunch of drunken football fans getting home to grab their all-too-real guns to shoot up some gays and neither the police nor the private security firm doing anything to stop this given all the supposed background of such scenario.

    All in all, this newspiece failed in its attempt to make me feel ashamed to be Russian and long for a work and universal peace which is not worth a single teardrop from a gay. What a basterd am I!

    Liked by 1 person

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