Russia Roundup #40

Khodorkovskii Gets It: Russian-Negotited Transition, Not Western-Backed Revolution (Gordon M. Hahn)

Something tells me it might be time to unsubscribe…

Russia, Trump, and a New Detente (Foreign Affairs)

In his first press conference as president of the United States, Donald Trump said no fewer than seven times that it would be “positive,” “good,” even “great” if “we could get along with Russia.” In fact, for all the confusion of his policies toward China, Europe, and the Middle East, Trump has enunciated a clear three-part position on Russia, which contrasts strongly with that of most of the U.S. political elite. First, Trump seeks Moscow’s cooperation on global issues; second, he believes that Washington shares the blame for soured relations; and third, he acknowledges “the right of all nations to put their own interests first,” adding that the United States does “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.”

The last of these is an essentially realist position, and if coherently implemented could prove a tonic. For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesn’t get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does.

The House Intelligence Comittee Hearing on Russia was Political Theater (The Nation)

Gallup found that between 2006 and 2016 the percentage of Americans who expressed confidence in Congress as an institution fell from 19 percent to 9 percent. There is a reason for this.

Каникулы на Байкале (Игорь Шпиленок) [images]

(part II)

Interview: Learning Russian at the DLI (Street Russian)

Imagine dedicating a year of your life to the Russian language.

You must eat, sleep, and breathe Russian.

Could you do it?

Meet my friend Chris, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute and Russian-language enthusiast who also lives right here in Oregon…

Reminder: summer series poll closes in 6 days

Please vote if you haven’t already! As things stand now, I’ll have to hold a run-off election because two themes have received an equal number of votes. I won’t say which themes they are, but I hope that one of them will emerge the clear winner on April 1st…

Language learning update: well, all this reading has definitely paid off

According to Morpheem, my Russian reading vocabulary now stands at 11,700 words. However, my active speaking vocabulary is likely far smaller than that.


  1. I will be brief. Re:Gordon Hahn.

    I understand that he is is not really an independent researcher, but rather a mouthpiece of a forces who fund his think-tank. But this… Oh this….

    To put it mildly – a new Russian word of the week will be “зашквар”. This term has very prison-y connotations, and denotes something so un-kosher/not-halal that after doing that no self respecting person will communicate/shake hands with the person who became “зашкваренный”.

    That’s Mr. Gordon Hahn. And these are everyone of the so-called “Regime Loyalists”, who’s gonna answer Khodor’s invitation.

    A little reminder. After his relief Mikhail Khodorkovsky demonstrated first, that he is always ready to betray a deal with those who let his sorry carcass free. He then demonstrated that his understanding of the politics is still deeply rooted in the 90s (when he, shy and modest “proponent of the democratic Russia”, bough Duma’s deputies wholesale). His “Open Russia’s” candidates (30 in number) did run in elections last year – all of them failed. The non-systemic opposition itself ridiculed Khodor as the moronic dinosaur. And he is suddenly a “New Democratic Dawn” for Russia? He, and Rzhkov, who’s video of, ahem, “pleasuring himself” is still easily searchable on the RuNet? Onanistic twerp is the best hope of the “Democratic Russia”, am I correct?

    Count the the time Hahn uses the term regime. Need I say more?

    I think, that some foreigner “friends of Russia” have their “breaking point”. Oh, they migh say all the right phrases about “giving Russia another chance” and “not judging too harshly”. The thing is – they are doing this in hope of Another Gorby to come in power and Democratize (and Ruin) the country. Ergo the flipping of so many Russia-watchers after Putin’s return in 2012. Another point of bifurcation became Trump’s election. It apperas, that the Powers That Fund behind these think tanks, decided to go full mental against Russia – out of contrarian spirit or I dunno. Something like that.

    Repeat afer me. Russia is a reality given to you in sensations (totally in accordance to one Bearded Dude). You, whatever is you name, is a Westerner Analytic. You are not Russian. You have no say in how Russia will develop. Either accept it as it is, “warts and all”, or shut up. If you do insist on one particular narrative on Russian history/future, then for me, it looks like you are preaching the wishes of those who are paying your salary.

    We are told that the “Downfall of the Regime is Imminent” (c). White emigrants sitting i some cafe in Paris, Berlin or Prague did think so in the year 1923. They thought that Entente will help them. It never occurred to them that the Regime might survive. It never occurred to them that the People might honestly prefer Reds to them,

    Russians honestly prefer Putin and his “Regime” to whatever crap so-called “democrats” might concoct. There were “revelations” about “cirruption” always. Last year foreign agencies ran with them – and who now remembers “Panama papers”? Last year Navalny, a piece of crap who justly got his fucking face punched in Volgograd just recently, tried to “topple” the Attorney General Chaika with his fake – any results? Why mister Hahn takes Russians for easily brainwashed “khohly” who, in the name of the “anti-corruption” destroyed their own country? What, did Mr. Hahn take us, Russia for morons?

    Only an imbecile will call a butthurt bunch of squabbling among themselves yuppies, kreakls, intelligentsia and dissidents a “White Ribbon Revolution”. Mr. Hahn. is mysteriously silent as to what have happened in other cities of Russia in 2011-12 period because he knows – nothing happened. Only a bunch of capitol’s so-called elites was in revolt, the people did not support them. And how can you have a Revolution without it? If anything, their revolt buried Medvedev’s aspiration to have meaningful dialog with them, because it turned out there were nobody to have a dialog with. Those fine names you mention, those “concessions” of Medvedev you and the likes of you were salivating over – where are they now? Also – does it look like that Russia is nearing collapse?

    Or is it a wishful thinking on you part? Does it mean that the West will fund Khodor and his Regime change initiative even more? In that case – you are wasting your money. Mordekhai Khodorkovsky will get his gesgeft, while not delivering a promising result. Oh, don’t worry! It’s not that like your salary is dependant on the accuracy of your predictions, is it?

    P.S. Once again, Mr. Hahn – go and buy a farm. You’re clearly no longer suited for Russia’s analysis


  2. “This week, I began The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin: A Novel by Richard Lourie.

    I’m not reviewing it on this site- far too risky. Just be comforted/troubled/indifferent [delete according to your persuasion] that a fictionalized Stalin does in fact exist.”

    Sure it exists! Another piece thay you will never reviev, J.T.:

    and this:


Comments are closed.