Reading on Russia Roundup #17

National pride. After asking Russians about their pride in their country, the Levada Center pollster has discovered a growth of militant attitudes in society and a readiness among citizens to assign civil rights and freedom secondary value. via RBTH.

The top reasons for pride are Russian history (44 percent), the abundance of natural resources (38 percent) and the armed forces (36 percent). Economy, education, the health system and their fellow citizens are not as important for the majority of Russians. […] The idea of what constitutes a great power has changed in the last year. Many citizens have started prioritizing military strength (48 percent).

Although in 2015 respondents believed Russia to be a great power primarily because of the population’s wellbeing and the country’s economic potential, a year later the importance of these factors fell from 58 percent in 2015 to 39 percent in 2016.

Superstition. According to statistics, more and more Russians believe in UFOs, sorcery and clairvoyance. Such trends result in stagnation both in society and in the economy, experts believe. via RBTH, again.

The growth of magical consciousness was noticed in Russia in the 1990s. Lev Gudkov says that the reason was the collapse of the idea of the self, society and the world and of the value system caused by the fall of the USSR. Masses of people were disoriented and after 70 years of a totalitarian regime their dependence on their surroundings was very high.

In the 1990s the feeling of helplessness increased: “This was compensated by the growth in the demand for miracles, a leader and the transference of responsibility onto that leader,” said Gudkov.

In his opinion, today most Russians expect help from external powers – governmental, chthonic or occult. This is why people do not trust anyone except the president.

 New political stars? According to Andrey Pertsev, the Russian electorate has regressed in its demands and gullibility to where it was in the early 1990s, when firebrand politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky had his first success. Russian society has a soft spot for wisecracking politicians who give populist speeches and bash the government, even if they tend to contradict themselves.

The public, disappointed with the government, doesn’t want to hear the truth. It wants to hear established problems discussed using familiar language, and if this criticism mimics the witty sound bites of stand-up comedians, better still.

Russian Harassment and Other Fables. By Philip Giraldi at the American Conservative.

In 1991, Russia was a superpower. Today it is a convenience, a straw man fortuitously produced whenever someone in power wants to justify weapons expenditures or the initiation of new military interventions in faraway places. Much of the negative interaction between Washington and Moscow is driven by the consensus among policymakers, the Western media, and the inside-the-beltway crowd that Russia is again—or perhaps is still and always will be—the enemy du jour. But frequently forgotten or ignored is the fact that Moscow, even in its much-reduced state, continues to control the only military resource on the planet that can destroy the United States, suggesting caution should be in order when one goes about goading the bear.

The New Cold War’s frontline in Crimea. The following piece was written by retired Col. Ann Wright, a participant on the CCI June 2016 trip to Russia. It’s based in part on her observations during the Crimea portion of that trip.

Some with the Crimeans with whom we spoke regretted the loss of contact with the United States and its programs, particularly its exchange programs. One educator lamented the difficulty in finding exchange programs for high school and college students in the Crimea to live and learn in the United States.  Graduates of universities in Crimea are finding that some educational institutions outside of Russia are no longer recognizing their diplomas and certificates because of the sanctions.


Really Stupid Thing Said About Russia This Week

The only “leap forward” that can be attributed to Russia is made by its beautiful women who leave the country for Western men.


See you next week.



  1. “Peace Corps volunteers were removed and school construction projects by U.S. military units ended. U.S.-funded professional exchange programs stopped as did U.S. agricultural and law enforcement projects.”

    That is a lot of more US presence than I expected.
    It seems the people who were worried about Crimea being prepared for becoming a NATO base were right.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On Levada Center.

    Darlings of the West and so-called Russian Liberals. “Independent” polling agency, that tend to push the most handshakable agenda possible. Leading members of Levada Center have become a constant feature in such “events”, like Foundation Liberal Mission, Moscow’s Carnegie Center, Gorvachev-Fund, the Memorial society (still unsuccessfully trying to prove that its not a foreign agent), Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (a hotbed of liberastia), Sakharov’s Center and Khodorkovsky’s Readings (rus. “Ходорковские чтения”). The last one is especially facepalmy.

    A little bit of commonly known (and easily available in the net) history. Levada Center was established in late 1990s by liberal “dissenters” from the official VTSIOM polling agency. It’s founder, after which it was named, Yuri Alexandrovitch Levada was born in Vynnitsa, in the UkrSSR (I wonder, was he a neighbour of another famous son of Vynnitsa – Petro Poroshenko?). He came from intilligentzia family – his mother was Natalya Lvovna Mereynis, a journalist in local paper “Bolsheviks’ Pravda”, his father – historian medievalist Moses Alexandrovich Kogan. His grandfather on mother’s side was also an intelligent and member of the party of the “Socialist Revolutionaries” (aka eSeRs). And, no – despite the fact that his year of death is 1937 he wasn’t repressed by the Bloody Regime, but died of natural causes.

    And now this bastion of handshakablity might (finally!) face some serious legal problems. Antimaydan movement filed an official paper to the Ministry of Justice of Russia asking to recognize Levada Center as a “foreign agent” (accord to the law №121 “On foreign agents”), because Levada Center received in past and continues to receive funding from foreign organisation – the US government in this case. Here is the text of this document:

    It’s an excellent things, that the US government holds a plank of transparency so high – it’s thanks to it Antimaydan’s activists learned about the US gov grants to Levada in the first place. Turns out, Levada was sucking grants since at least 2012, and, officially, received more than $120 000 so far.

    Russian law is very clear here. All NGOs and NCOs (connected to society and politics) receiving foreign funds must register as “foreign agents”. And they must point out their status as “foreign agents” in all their works and publications, internet or not. In past, Levada Center furiously denied any foreign grants, and it’s current head Lev Gudkov claimed that his fund “depends on no one”, and that they “earn all of their money by their work alone”.

    But, thanks to wonderful American Government’s transparency, we know this is not true. Levada Center was doing paid work for the US government – the Defense Department , to be exactly:

    This kind of stuff, could be characterized as “intelligence gathering” operation on behalf of power waging currently economic and informational war against Russia. Which makes Levada’s actions… very questionable, to be honest.

    Naturally, Levada’s first reaction to these accusations was denial. Unfortunately (for Levada) their chosen line of defense only proved their culpability. Gudkov’s admission of taking money from the “shell” in this transaction (Wisconsin’s Uni), ‘cause “we are commercial organization and that’s not a big deal” buries them deep. Russian legislation makes NO distinction in regards of Law 121 between governmental or non-governmental foreign sponsors. I.e. Levada basically just admitted their guilt.

    I, for one, really hope they will be grabbed by the ass this time.

    Liked by 1 person

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