Reading on Russia Roundup (holiday)

It’s Christmas Eve. Hooray! Although I know not all of my readers celebrate Christmas, I still want to give you guys a Russia-related gift of some sort. Originally, I planned to publish the Senility of Vladimir P. review, complete with hand-drawn illustrations, today. However, reviewing this stinker is taking far longer than expected and I’m pushing the release date back to New Year’s. Plus, my only means of scanning drawings into .jpg or .gif format decided it would (quite literally) go on holiday break, rendering my pen crosshatching as ugly black smears in the virtual images. So, no review and no pictures in the review when I post it.

I decided instead to momentarily bring back Reading on Russia Roundup. Apparently, quite a few of you all miss the Roundups. I’ll address this issue along with the other survey results in an upcoming New Year’s resolutions post. In the meantime enjoy (or debate, or mock) the following news articles from across the Russia-centric web.

(There’s a mix of old and new stuff here – I started collecting on Dec. 17th)

Россия – страна умирающих деревень (ЦЭПР)

Проблема вымирания российской деревни является одной из острых социально-экономических проблем современной России. Центр экономических и политических реформ изучил этот вопрос, опираясь на статистические данные, результаты социологических исследований, а также работы исследователей-демографов. Мы попытались ответить на вопрос: как и почему происходит вымирание российских деревень?

The Perils of Donbass Fatigue (Sean’s Russia Blog)

Brian Milakovsky has been living in Ukraine and Russia since 2009. He has worked on both ecological and humanitarian issues. Today he lives in Luhansk Oblast in the Donbass region, where he works in an aid organization. He occasionally writes about his impressions in the Donbas.

Khodorkovsky continues to bide his time abroad (Russia Direct)

The Church: Caught Between Ukraine and Russia (Fair Observer)

In Eastern Ukraine, the Orthodox Church finds itself in the crossfire of an ideological conflict.

VIDEO: Tucker Carlson Debates Guest Over Russia’s Role In The Election (ACEWA)

Tucker Carlson interviewed Prof. Robert McElvaine, a history professor at Millsaps College in Jackson, who wrote in the Huffington Post said that Russia influenced the election.

Cyber Panic (n+1)

On Wednesday, the New York Times ran a front-page article on the DNC hack. Despite the implications of its lurid headline (“The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.”), the article is, for the most part, a tale of American incompetence and negligence. It reveals that the DNC took a full seven months to respond to FBI warnings that its email system had been hacked, sometimes through rather obvious phishing attempts, and that DNC executives took nine months to schedule a formal meeting with senior FBI officials.

The scores of articles written about the hacking of the Democratic campaign emails have presented no conclusive evidence of the Russian government’s involvement; the public hasn’t been offered any. Instead, we’ve been asked to trust the “intelligence community”—despite its long track record of deception—along with that of cyberdefense consultants hired by the Democrats.

Don’t Fear the Terror in Turkey (The American Conservative)

Relations between Ankara and Moscow will likely continue to improve, despite the assassination of a Russian diplomat.

Hybris and the Politics of Condemnation (IRRUSSIANALITY)

Somebody complained recently that I never condemn the Russian Federation for its actions, even when it’s obviously in the wrong. This isn’t entirely true. I have on occasion made critical comments. But it isn’t entirely incorrect either – I’m not a fan of the current fad of condemning foreign countries for all sorts of alleged sins.

And a friendly reminder from J.T.: The Russia Reviewed End-of-Year survey closes in 8 days! If you haven’t taken the survey already, please do so!



One comment

  1. From “Khodorkovsky continues to bide his time abroad” or “Why the liberast media keeps sucking”

    First of all – don’t expect any honesty from them. Why? Khodorkovsky is designated Saint, “dissident” and the Icon of Liberalism. He can’t do anything wrong.

    So, when talking about real facts, even if you are forced to say something true – do it as little as possible. Lying by omission is always your friend! Mikhail Borsovich Kh had been pardoned by Putin 3 years ago. Now shy and conscientious democratic journalists like to forget it, or pretend thatit never happened, but back then he promised to never engage in politics again. And what was he allegedly doing since? Bringing “democracy” and “rule of law” to Russia? Or:

    “Khodorkovsky said Open Russia would provide logistical backing to 230 candidates running from various opposition parties or on independent tickets in September. Currently, the Duma is dominated by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, with three other “loyal opposition” parties also represented.

    It is highly unlikely that any of the independent candidates will make it into the Duma, but the goal is at least to discredit the elections and show their alleged unfairness.

    Yeah, what smashing success it was… not!

    Since his release he had been fleeced repeatedly by young trash talking so-called Russian liberals, offering him to invest his money into their hare-brained schemes with no chance to success. And that what he did – a person, who back in 90s could buy State Duma deputies for foreign cars and several hundreds of thousands of USDs now is milked for his remaining money by former kids, who grew up without really knowing or caring about once powerful and dreadful MBK.

    “In Russia, the consensus opinion is that Khodorkovsky was made a scapegoat as he served terms for all the corrupt oligarchs who had became fabulously wealthy in the 1990s. It is no secret that in that period, the oligarchs were at the country’s helm.”

    That’s a surprise for me – and I’m Russian! The consensus (word, forever marred with unfortunate implications in Russia, due to being the favorite word of Gorbachov) is that not enough oligarchs were jailed. People are not crying because Khodor was jailed “unjustly” – they are angry that only he was jailed. Not due to the state not trying though – what, do you think all these “dissident” oligarchs just ran away from Russia for no reason?

    “In 2016, Khodorkovsky, who now lives in London and promotes the social-political movement Open Russia, again appeared on the Forbes list of Russia’s 200 richest business people. The publication estimated his wealth at $500 million. Meanwhile, the attitude towards Khodorkovsky in Russia remains controversial, at least because of his views on the annexation of Crimea.”

    Dear author has no idea what the word “controversial” means. He is a political dead man not taken seriously neither by the vast majority of Russian, nor by the so-called Russian liberals, who diss him openly due to his backward 90s mentality and approach to the politics.

    “Public opinion in Russia seems to be divided over the question of Crimea: there are those who believe that it is a Russian territory and there are others who believe that is Ukrainian (or Russian de facto but Ukrainian de jure). Those who support the latter position are seen as unpatriotic outsiders. This is what alienated many voters from the opposition — for example, the electorate in the regions from Yabloko. That’s why Khodorkovsky and the opposition have little opportunity to win people’s support, says Makarkin.”


    Like – for real? You are paid to write a crap like this? Okay, let me try:

    “Public opinion in Russia seems to be divided over the question of cannibalism: there are those who believe that it is an absolutely abhorrent and irredeemably evil practice and there are others who believe that it’s okay (or that because it tastes like a chicken, it couldn’t be really worse than eating a chicken). Those who support the latter position are seen as sick barely human biological constructs without any traces of human dignity. This is what alienated many normal people from maniac serial killers — for example, from the great Ukrainian patriot and anti-Soviet dissident Chikatillo. That’s why Hannibal Lector and his real-life epigones have little opportunity to win normal people’s support, says Lyttenburgh”

    By reading this little piece you might come to think, that, yes – there is a lively debate dominating the political discourse in Russia about pro and cons of applied cannibalism, that there are indeed two equal in number, respect and moral grounding parts of society holding two absolutely different opinions but both of which has the right to exist.

    That’s what one “Russia seems to be divided over the question of [X]” does to entire paragraph.

    In reality, there is no such division – both on the question of cannibalism and Crimea. Our shy and conscientious durnalists are so shy, that they don’t want to spoil a rigidly ideological article with some statistical data. That won’t be kosher while talking about Khodorkovsky, right? Well, let’s spoil this feast of handshakability with some ugly facts: Levada CENTr (organization recognized as a foreign agent acting on the territory of Russian Federation) had to admit this year, that 87% of Russians consider Crimea a part of Russia – up from just 64% in 2014. 83% is negative in their response to whether Crimea should be “given back” to the Ukraine, with 12% for this, and the rest are undecided.

    What “division” here? There is an absolute majority – and then there are marginals. This is not a “division”. Calling it such is giving too much credit to some hopeless freaks and losers.

    Oh, and finally – the author says that this attitude “alienated many voters… in the regions from Yabloko”. This is funny! This imply that such attitude helped them to gain new votes elsewhere. Or even win elsewhere but “in the regions”. Gee, I’d like to hear when and where!

    [crickets chirping]

    Oooooooh. That bad? Oh, well – at least the author is a true wordsmith! I.e. – a liar.

    ““There is yet another argument, and one can find it in history. In 1982, the public opinion about scientist Andrei Sakharov and other dissidents would have been unfavorable. The situation was very similar at that time: one could not criticize the war in Afghanistan or play up to then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan — that was unpatriotic. Just a few years later, things changed completely. Thus, Khodorkovsky can hope that he is investing in the future,” Makarkin summarizes.”

    You know when an article about Russia sucks greatly if you the author resorting to false historical equivalency. Because for people ignorant of history and its laws history is something mystical – and totally bound to happen 1:1 in the future. Anything but to actually study it – better draw false parallels.

    It works especially fine with Russia – people are apriori ignorant and won’t call your bullshit. You can always mask your repeated failure to really predict anything about Russia by mumbling about “unpredictable” and “mysterious country”, then going into counter-offensive by claiming that of you can’t do it, than no one can. The very same Russia Direct and other rags like it ran stories prior to Russian Duma elections this year that, yeah, liberals have slim chances to win, Putin’s party is more popular, but… anything can happen! And this general explanation about Russia (“anything can happen!”) amounts not to analytics or one’s cognitive capabilities, but to praying to the God of Liberals, whom they ask to make so and so bad happen to wicked, illiberal Russia. That’s the only explanation.

    The author seems to be completely ignorant of the events leading to Perestroika and the events during it. Sakharov and other dissidents were never popular. Just because for a short period of time their ideas managed to become acceptable by a sliver of ruling elite (and propagated high and wide by shy and conscientious intelligentzia) didn’t make them less unpatriotic and more popular. Go ahead and ask modern Russians what they think about the traitors who ruined the Soviet Union and about rotten kreakls who spearheaded that.

    Why not compare Khodorkosky instead to other has-beens, fleeing the Soviet Union after Red’s victory of the Civil War? In Paris, Berlin and Prague they, former old Duma deputies, officers, “philosophers” and “thinkers” also pretended that it’s all just a temporary setback. Soon the Civilized World and Entente will bring them back to power. Soon the Soviet Union will collapse and the people will ask them to lead the country again. They published books, newspapers, created parties and military organizations – and they sent spies and saboteurs. They didn’t even tried to think over why they lost and what to do now, with their Motherland rejecting them in the most violent way possible. No – they were nor preoccupied with such immediate debate, as to what to do with rebellious rabble upon the return from the emigration and enacting the restitution – execute on massive scale, or show some truly European mercy and humanism and only whip everyone (women, children and elderly including)?

    Sad clowns attending all handshakable get-togethers and engaging in the liberast circle-jerk ritual and propaganda outlets carrying on their mantra that “Downfall of the Regime Is Imminent” (c) resemble more these White émigrés from the Roaring 1920s. Only with more crack, alcohol and insanity. And Khodorkovsky is just one of them, who is still of any interest to the revolutionary vanguard of the kreakleriat only because of his money.

    P.S. This is dissident businesman, liberal, urbanist, metrosexual, self-emplyed sommelier (saying he’s and alcoholiic is such mauvais ton!) and revolutionary (he personally promised to carry out it “like Lenin”) Evgany Chichvarkin, now Londoner:

    Khodor’s staunch supporter. Sorry, but I have no other oppos for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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