Reading on Russia Roundup #34

Putin Derangement Syndrome December 2016-January 2017 (Patrick Armstrong)

In which I collect all the examples of this strange mental defect that have caught my attention in the last month of the seventeenth and first month of the eighteenth years of The New American Century.

The 2017 National Bestseller Award Longlist (Lizok’s Bookshelf)

This year’s National Bestseller Award longlist was announcedlast week and, as always, it’s fun to look through the list and see who nominated what. This year, 56 nominators nominated a total of 54 books. (I think I counted correctly… this isn’t so difficult, but I do have occasional trouble with these matters…) With so many books, it would be tough to list even half of them, so I’ll pick out a few that sound particularly interesting (to me) and add some titles by authors I’m not familiar with, focusing on books available in printed book form.

Февральские косули в Чухраях [image]

A Genealogy of American Russophobia (InRussia)

Throughout U.S. history, Russia has held an ambiguous and contradictory place in the American mind. We asked one Russian historian and one U.S. historian for an account of their homeland’s grappling with foreign influence, be it political, moral, cultural or imaginary.

U.S. writer and journalist Sean Guillory hosts Sean’s Russia Blog Podcast, a weekly podcast on Eurasian politics, history and culture. Here, he gives a historical rundown of Russophobia in the United States.

Seeking a New Metanarrative (Political Critique)

Sean Guillory reviews two books about contemporary Russia: “Putin Country: A Journey Into the Real Russia” by Anne Garrels and “Nothing is True Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia” by Peter Pomerantsev.

Can a Trump Sino-Russian Rift Strategy Work? (Gordon Hahn)

Some analysts are suggesting that the Donald Trump administration may be looking at a strategy of splitting the Sino-Russian strategic partnership. The partnership is a de facto or at least nascent alliance intended to defend the two countries’ interests in Eurasia writ large, specifically from the US-led democracy-promotion, regime change, revolutionism, and humanitarian interventionist. There is some reason to believe that the Trump administration might pursue such a strategy.

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5 comments

  1. I didn’t comment on the previous Russia Roundup, not because I didn’t read it, but because, really, I had nothing to say. But I’m gladdened that Sean’s Guillory’s interlocutor from his interview decided to visit and comment. Maybe he will engage us mere Anonymouses?

    1) Re: A Genealogy of American Russophobia (InRussia)

    I didn’t expect any new revelations here. Sadly, I’ve learned the history of the American Russophobia ages ago. I’d note that the article didn’t mention at all as the example of the “good PR” and positive relations to Russia Sam Clemens aka Mark Twain and his journey to Crimea, plus this:

    I guess, mentioning Crimea in any positive way is taboo in the Free West nowadays.

    Another instance of (very short lived) Russophilia coming from the US not mentioned by the author coincided with the February revolution of 1917:

    http://lib.rus.ec/i/61/456261/Autogen_eBook_id15

    It appears these days that any knowledge of that had been successfully purged. More so – the general narrative mutated in the West so far, that they talk about some “Russian Revolution of 1917” and most of the people are unaware of the Provisional Government (and its screups), thinking instead that Lenin and the Bolsheviks toppled the Czar.

    “It’s perhaps no accident that stories that extolled the universal desire for U.S. democracy occurred precisely when the United States launched its own imperial project abroad and labor unrest and racial violence escalated at home.”

    Bingo!

    Next the article talks about how even now Cold War fossils still call Russia the Soviet Union. No, what is more peculiar was that during the Cold War they kept calling the USSR “Russia”, sometimes even not bothering to add “Soviet”. And these people then criticize Russian leadership for promoting the idea of the continuous, hereditary “Russian State”?

    [Yes, Jordan Fecking Center, I’m looking right into your shameless lying eyes right now!]

    To all Russophobes my advise remains the same no matter what time of the year or the year my calendar shows now: follow your leader – i.e. Secretary Forestall!

    P.S. Many thanks for J.T. for finding such valuable resource as inrussia.com!

    2) Re: Seeking a New Metanarrative (Political Critique)

    “For many European travelers, past and present, the “real” stands for the “Russian people” as opposed to the repressive Russian state and its corrupt officialdom.”

    -100 points for employing clichés. Next – no, for the most Western travelers and pundits “real” Russia equates to Russia intelligentsia and foreign language speaking urbanites, with whom they, said Western Travelers, feel strata solidarity due to their ingrate alienation from the “people” of their own countries. Thus we have the narratives that “Russians are waiting for the Downfall of the Regime and the Return of Jamon” from them.

    How people who, seemingly, failed the lessons of the Trump’s election and, instead, chose to double down in their handshakable efforts, can present “real” Russia of Russian People, and not Russia of hipsteriat and kreakls?

    “More recently the “real” Russia is garbled by a postmodern veneer, absent of grand narratives, and where life is “surreal.””

    -500 points for this and previous sentence. You know, this whole premise remind me the tale about “7 Blind Bats and Elephant”. The 7th Bat missed the beast entirely and claimed, therefore, that the Elephant does not exist.

    “Garrels wants to give her reader a ground floor view to excavate the origins and operation of Russian daily life under Putinism.”

    -1000 points for repeated use of “Putinism”. What is “Putinism” anyway? Are we expecting that every single reader knows the definition of the term? If we ask said readership to define, what will we get – besides a convoluted garbled mess of “Uhms…” and “Well, ahs…”?

    For those who missed it entirely – Anne Garrels travel to Chelyabinsk in mid 90s… She keeps visiting it till mid to late 2000s, but, still, we are told that she describes ONLY “Putin country”.

    “In those heady days, Western Man could still pry open Asiatic vaults by virtue of his civilization.”

    -100500 points. They didn’t even bother with quote marks – tells you everything.

    “Not only did the Soviet economic and political system vanish, but so did the ethnical foundation of Soviet society.”

    A typo? Maybe “ethical”?

    “It’s an odd orientation for a period where so many aspects of the Soviet system are vilified.”

    In the West and among our liberasts.

    “Postmodernity obliged with an endless stream of consumables: cars, fashion, Mercedes, workout routines, dance clubs, drugs, gangsta rap, and television glitz.”

    So… they are describing the lifestyles of 2-3% and try to pass this as “the Russia”?

    “This begs the question of what to do with Putin.”

    And who are you to do anything with Putin?

    3) Re: Can a Trump Sino-Russian Rift Strategy Work? (Gordon Hahn)

    No. US presidents come and go. China remains.

    Russia possess the raw military power to obliterate the whole world – US including – but lacks China’s industrial might.

    China has become the 1st economy of the world – whether the Western rating agencies are loath to admit it or not – but lacks the military projection power to confront the US.

    It’s no use to butt heads here. Should one throw another under the bus the US will make sure the remaining one soon will follow. Besides, the US – Trump or not – simply lacks any bargaining chips to offer Russia. Because Russian diplomacy is conducted not in the “business-like” manner, and most so-called “experts” still fail to recognize it.

    “Even with continued NATO expansion policies and their related crises, an increasingly divided NATO and a weakened Europe poses no existential threat to Russia.”

    Are you taking us, Russians, for idiots, Mr. Hahn? I will believe in that when I see it firsthand. So far, American forces conducted demonstrating provocative maneuvers in Narva, Estonia – just a short distance from Russian Ivangorod.

    I wonder, did their cultural program include the visit to the military graveyard, where the Nazis were buried in 1944?

    “Since Europe without the US cannot contain or threaten Russia, Moscow’s only real potential existential threat comes from China.”

    Western BS, spread since 90s in order to force Russia into Western subservience. As always – very thin on proof and substance when it come to it.

    “The US cannot do enough quickly enough at this point to draw a suspicious Moscow far enough into the Western camp to win at as an ally in containing China.”

    That’s your chief mistake. You take Russia for another would-be-vassal in the great Western Coalition of Unwilling – a definitively subservient role. Do you really think Russia will agree to this?

    Both fear these could be used to undermine their regimes’ respective political stability and territorial integrity.

    Mr. Hahn, why do you use the term “regime” while talking about China and Russia, but not when you talk about the US? Why do you use the term at all?

    “A better strategy for Washington would be to seek a rapprochement with both Moscow and Beijing, while at the same time both polishing up the American ‘shining city on the hill’ as a model democracy and international benefactor and limiting the promotion of our values and our critique of theirs to behind-the-scenes’ discussions and only their most egregious and proven violations of civil rights and international law.”

    Nice admission that the so-called Free World is engaged in brazen over the top Agitation and Propaganda (aka agitprop) campaign which can go On/Off on the whim. Bravo!

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    • “What is “Putinism” anyway? Are we expecting that every single reader knows the definition of the term? If we ask said readership to define, what will we get – besides a convoluted garbled mess of “Uhms…” and “Well, ahs…”? “

      I don’t like the term “Putinism” either. It gives too much ideological credit to the Putin administration, which IMHO hasn’t bothered much with a real intellectual architecture for either United Russia or the “vertical of power”.
      But let’s face it – if a leader’s been in power for a long time and/or we hate them, we’re giving them an -ism.

      Like

      • “But let’s face it – if a leader’s been in power for a long time and/or we hate them, we’re giving them an -ism.”

        Ok. When shall we expect the articles in all leading Free and Independant ™ Western Medias denouncing the evils of the Merkelreich? Mutti Angela just recently had ran (and won) unapposed the leader of her party for… what’s it?… 5th or 6th time? She’s also nominated as the forerunner of her Party in the upcoming elections that might see her securing the power herself once again. Angela Merkel had been a head of the FRG since 2005 (11 years straight) with no respite for her or the world.

        But she is totally hanshakable. No danger for her to be lambasted by the Free and Independent Media (except Charlie Hebdo wankers). Besides – if you critisize dear Frau “Chancellor of the Free World you are working for Putin and Deplorables.

        So the proper term would be “if a leader whome the Western Establishment HATES was in power… at all” there ought to appear some made up term to lable it and squash any thinking and analysis of the country and the people.

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        • That’s the power of the -or.

          Also, relatively OT to this post but in your reply to Dr. Morris on 2 more books you mentioned you weren’t a nice person several times. If you’re such a horrible person, then why are you nice to me?

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          • “If you’re such a horrible person, then why are you nice to me?”

            […]

            I’m… nice? *Me*?

            […]

            […]

            I’ve never thought about that. I’m not much given to self analysis. Now I’m as dumbfolded as the protagonist of Moliere’s “The Bourgeois Gentleman” who was shocked to find out that he’s been speaking all of his life in prose.

            I have many flaws and drawbacks of the character. Among the most glaring to me is apparent inability to shut up and don’t talk back – be it IRL or on the Net. By experience I know that my views and opinions *are* deemed scandalous and inappropriate to a significant majority of users and commenters in the Anglophonic segment of the Internet (two guess how did I find out that).

            Nevertheless, I remain outspoken and unapologetic. Especially the unapologetic part. Understanding full well that simply stating my views and arguments could be a traumatic experience for some readers (especially the one’s not given to much brain activity, preferring instead a tasty diet of slogans, stereotypes, clichés and buzzwords) I, due to my upbringing (core programming, if you like) operate on the principle of reciprocity. Even if I disagree with a person bitterly on something, I, still, will conduct the debate as civil as possible with only an occasional snark and irony (see my “behavior” on Irrusionality)… till the “first blood” is drawn. After that – no barter, no banter, no quarter.

            Yes, a polite conversation is my preferred mode of conduct, but I do not consider it an absolute and only one permissible to me. I can be absolutely awful – there examples of that a plenty. And because I *can*, i.e. that I posses the capability to be a horrible person should I choose so, this rules me out from the ranks of “nice” people by default. I’ve been “trained” my debating techniques in the RuNet back in mid-to-late 2000s. Back then only profanity aimed at particular users was explicitly forbidden.

            On your blog, J.T., I “get” the unofficial rules and abide to them. You yourself in your writings set out the standards that others should follow while commenting here even if you don’t write it all down in an exhaustive hair-splitting multi-page long “Rules” section. For example, you do not use profanity – you even write “P***y Riot” instead of You Know What! Me not doing the same, probably, appears as coarse, base and just simply inappropriate to you – but I can’t really help it. In my mind it just doesn’t register as something rude – only as the band’s name in foreign language. See? How can you call me “nice” after that? 😉

            So, in short – I’m not “nice”. Being “nice”, IMO, is a 24/7 effort and a true expression of person’s qualities that no matter what won’t stoop so law as to commit something not really nice. I can hardly recall a dozen or so of such people IRL. On the Net – even less so. The best I (or, probably, most of the people) can manage to do is not being unnecessary “nasty” to each other. Says a lot about our already low standards, doesn’t it?

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