Strangers Among Us
April 13, 2014 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Xenophobic Chill Descends Upon Moscow [NYTimes] “...For now, we have not encountered real aliens. However, the ‘fifth column’ of national traitors in Russia has unfortunately become an incontestable reality.”
posted by the young rope-rider (80 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also note the references to US sabotage of the Russian economy and the warning that the US government is "hunting" for Russian expats in non-US countries. Old-school Soviet-style pre-spin.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:58 AM on April 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


"Unique state-government civilisation"
posted by acb at 6:02 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Shit's just getting scarier everywhere. Russia, the US, Japan… bad times we're coming into, I'm afraid.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 AM on April 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Interesting piece. I liked the juxtaposition of nationalism and consumerism. (Full disclosure: I'm on team global capitalism.)

My thoughts about Russia would take a long, bleak novel to fully elucidate, but I see parallels with China; increasing jingoism and threats to their neighbors, meanwhile, Pacific Rim is a blockbuster hit in theaters.

If only I were really that confident that American pop cinema could single-handedly engineer world peace. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty much by far the best hope we have going (KPop has probably done more for peace in Asia than a lot of political meetings ever have) but people thought global trade was too interconnected for war to break out pre-WW1 too, and boy were they ever wrong.

It's the damn governments, of course (the 15 year old anarchist in me screams) and the hope if any is with the people and their ability to resist state propaganda.
posted by quincunx at 6:10 AM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


And they were so welcoming before.
posted by jpe at 6:11 AM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Note to self: stop complaining so much about our own (i.e. the U.S.'s) righties...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 6:12 AM on April 13, 2014


Every so often, I need a reminder that not everyone views everything through the same optics as I do. During the Cold War I thought it was horrifying, growing up under the threat of nuclear annihilation, but no, here we have a TV host thrilling in the idea of nuking the US. This situation scares me.

I'm still going to complain about American right wing extremism though, just because Russian is a bigger mess, doesn't mean we can't work on issues cost to home.
posted by arcticseal at 6:21 AM on April 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


If only we had something like a net in the sky to unify us against a common enemy.
posted by localroger at 6:29 AM on April 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


A lot of this rhetoric seems to mimic anti-semitic rhetoric, but I can't quite get a handle on it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:33 AM on April 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


stop complaining so much about our own (i.e. the U.S.'s) righties

The ones who want to turn the US into a paranoid kleptocracy like Russia?
posted by sneebler at 6:36 AM on April 13, 2014 [17 favorites]


It's especially telling that all this Kremlin-sponsored rage against "fifth columnists" is happening just as the Kremlin is ramping up efforts to create more active and dangerous fifth columnists in Eastern Ukraine.

Anyone know who the "two Soviet-era musicians" were in the banners? I'd guess Boris Grebenshikov and... Who? Probably not Viktor Tsoi.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:46 AM on April 13, 2014


A lot of this rhetoric seems to mimic anti-semitic rhetoric, but I can't quite get a handle on it.

This rhetoric is all very, very reminiscent of Nazi rhetoric against Jews in the 30s. Basically, taking a group inside the country and casting them as dangerous, subversive outsiders, working in secret against the national good. It's pretty much the fascist play book.

What's happening in Russia is terrifying, and comparing it to the US or Japan seems like a false equivalency. Yes, we have our Tea Partiers and our Minutemen, but there's a real difference between rhetoric coming from groups that are acknowledged to be fairly extreme and rhetoric that comes from a nation's leader. For instance, the latter has the military behind it.
posted by lunasol at 6:54 AM on April 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is worrying but really scares is me is what comes after Putin.
posted by srboisvert at 6:58 AM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


A lot of this rhetoric seems to mimic anti-semitic rhetoric, but I can't quite get a handle on it.

"Rootless cosmopolitans" may be the phrase you're looking for.
posted by acb at 7:03 AM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


A lot of this rhetoric seems to mimic anti-semitic rhetoric, but I can't quite get a handle on it.

It sounds very Hutu Power to me, which is ironic, considering how the Rwandan Genocide has been in the news for the last week.

"Watch your neighbors."
posted by valkane at 7:11 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


What it feels like to me is just that the Cold War was too convenient to give up. That's what has struck me again and again about US and Soviet politics since the nineties. During the nineties, all was flux, but then everyone figured out that while full-on neoliberalism was great, you needed an official enemy to justify state power. So we get the War on Terror and they get this stuff. We're richer and the state is more entrenched, so it doesn't have to be as extreme; they're poorer, the state is weaker, so the drum has to beat louder and there have to be more enemies.

The underlying state purpose of this is to move power and money around in the interest of the elite. The state will make nice with anyone if it serves their financial and political interests. The point is that they can leverage popular homophobia, anti-semitism and nationalism - and the feelings that I'm sure many people have, that everything is completely off the rails - into a state-supporting movement. And they can also channel the climbers from the lower classes - people who want to be someone and whose loyalty must be gained now can be someone, as long as they want to be leaders of homophobic or nationalist movements.

It's very interesting, though - the US and Russia are no longer on opposite sides economically. In the past, it was possible to draw a positive distinction - "here in the workers' paradise everyone gets medical care and an education" and "here in the land of freedom anyone can become a millionaire". But now where's the distinction? It has to be nonsense about "traitors" because "this one rich and corrupt nation is....different....from this other rich and corrupt nation" isn't as strong a story.
posted by Frowner at 7:25 AM on April 13, 2014 [40 favorites]


A lot of this rhetoric seems to mimic anti-semitic rhetoric, but I can't quite get a handle on it.
I've read some stuff that suggests that Putin is the opposite of an anti-semite: he has warm, fuzzy feelings about Jewish people. But antisemitism is pretty deeply ingrained in Russian society, and the standard authoritarian tropes there are the language of antisemitism. So basically, he and his cronies use a lot of standard antisemitic language, but without references to Jews. Sometimes other groups (gays, intellectuals) get substituted where Jews would be. But since words like "intellectual" are often code for Jews, it's likely going to end up stirring up antisemitism anyway.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:26 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


MeFi's very own nasreddin wrote an article for N+1 detailing an episode of Russian state TV news which shows an anti-semitic turn in the Russian government's official rhetoric.
posted by Kattullus at 7:58 AM on April 13, 2014 [18 favorites]


Also note the references to US sabotage of the Russian economy and the warning that the US government is "hunting" for Russian expats in non-US countries. Old-school Soviet-style pre-spin.

It's certainly propaganda, but it would kind of help if the policies of our current techically-from-the-less-evil-end-of-the-political-spectrum government did not actually embrace extensive undeclared military operations across the globe involving hunting people down with a fleet of flying killer robots.

My thoughts about Russia would take a long, bleak novel to fully elucidate, but I see parallels with China; increasing jingoism and threats to their neighbors

I'd think that a major difference is that from the perspective of Russian leadership it may appear that a limited state of war would be a boon to both the economy and political cohesion of the country, whereas it's more obvious that China's economy would be likely to suffer from its government initiating open warfare or conquest.
posted by XMLicious at 8:00 AM on April 13, 2014


[A few comments deleted; Iraq war is a derail here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:02 AM on April 13, 2014




It's certainly propaganda, but it would kind of help if the policies of our current techically-from-the-less-evil-end-of-the-political-spectrum government did not actually embrace extensive undeclared military operations across the globe involving hunting people down with a fleet of flying killer robots.

I imagine that Russia has some information to indicate pending international arrests of Russian nationals. This kind of warning serves multiple purposes, in addition to basic anti-US sentiment, as follows: One, to control the range of expressed opinions on these arrests by giving everyone a party line in advance. Two, to warn Russian nationals against international travel lest they run afoul of the state. Three, to provide implausible deniability wrt the guilt of the arrestees. Four, to indicate to the US that such arrests have been foreseen and their potential effects have been mitigated.

The likelihood of this series of events. happening, as described, at the behest of the US government, is almost beside the point. Its function as a communication is almost completely orthogonal to its plausibility.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:18 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


My first impulse was to pull up that Umberto Eco list of fascists characteristics and start plugging the current Russian regime into it but frankly that would just be depressing.

It should be worth noting that the various international structures and institutions that arose after WWII were to prevent another world war by addressing the economic and political instability of the interwar period, and that those same institutions and structures have been made largely toothless by globalist free-market fundamentalism.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:35 AM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Anyone know who the "two Soviet-era musicians" were in the banners?

Andrey Makarevich (of Mashina Vremeni) and Yuri Shevchuk (of DDT), both of whom have spoken out recently against Putin and his actions in Ukraine.

Here's the banner and its press release.
posted by parudox at 8:50 AM on April 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Putin in Red Square (March 18): "... will do much more .... I am confident that we will overcome everything, resolve everything because we are together. Glory to Russia."
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:55 AM on April 13, 2014


> MeFi's very own nasreddin wrote an article for N+1

Thanks, Katullus. I had missed that.
posted by jfuller at 9:15 AM on April 13, 2014


This is worrying but really scares is me is what comes after Putin.

After? You assume he doesn't have a plan to somehow ensconce himself as leader-for-life.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:23 AM on April 13, 2014


Not only is this going on in Russia, but Kremlin is now expanding its invasion to the rest of Ukraine, beyond Crimea, and who knows where it ends. I am sick of this, and I'm looking for ways to organize support in our respective countries for policies to help Ukraine fight back. And as disoriented as I feel now, I trust I can prepare and do my bit.
posted by Anything at 9:38 AM on April 13, 2014


...just because Russian is a bigger mess, doesn't mean we can't work on issues cost to home.


Never suggested that it did mean that.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 9:42 AM on April 13, 2014


After? You assume he doesn't have a plan to somehow ensconce himself as leader-for-life.

One assumes that he'll die. If not, perhaps we have bigger problems.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:56 AM on April 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bad stuff but this is "call your ombudsman" territory. "Sinister vibe" sounds like the New York Times outsourcing its national affairs reporting to Jez, the rave musician from "Peep Show." The business about a "fifth column" does remind me of the post-9/11 days of Andrew Sullivan, billboards going up in L.A. telling Hollywood celebrities to shut up about criticizing the war, David Horowitz setting up a website to designate Roger Ebert and the Blind Sheik dangerous internal threats.
posted by johngoren at 11:32 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


List of countries by military expenditures per capita

Russia is # 25. Don't they have to get at least into the top 10 to qualify as fascist?
posted by bukvich at 11:45 AM on April 13, 2014


I've read some stuff that suggests that Putin is the opposite of an anti-semite: he has warm, fuzzy feelings about Jewish people.

It's not that much of a contradiction, actually. Nixon famously combined anti-Semitism with an often-expressed and apparently genuine admiration for Israeli "tough-mindedness" in military and political affairs.

And yeah, that nasreddin aricle is terrifying and well worth the read.
posted by AdamCSnider at 12:11 PM on April 13, 2014


So, we're not talking about the various frictions over the past 20 years, including the US supported "Color Revolutions", how the Russian leadership sees itself as on the target list for regime change, the fear that the US wants a repeat of the looting of the 90's that Russia still hasn't fully recovered from, Russian fears over NATO expansion, particularly into Ukraine, or the ongoing conflict in Syria where the US is working to overthrow a Russian ally/client state?

The narrative is that Vladimir Putin just woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and decided he was going to be Ivan Grozny?
posted by Grimgrin at 12:47 PM on April 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


List of countries by military expenditures per capita. Russia is # 25.

Military expenditure isn't really so useful of a metric when comparing countries that are too economically distinct. Wages and prices are much higher in the UK than Russia or China for example. If looking for some abstract measure of capability then adjusting for PPP would work better. Of course high spending isn't a guarantee of effectiveness especially since so much military spending ends becoming more like a public works program or industrial subsidy than an actual defense program.

Looking at spending as a % of GDP might be a reasonable way of reading the importance of the military to a country. With the Russian Federation at 4.5% it's quite high on the 2012 list. It looks like this is increasing as well from the trend.
posted by Winnemac at 1:15 PM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


The per-capita figure tends to push small countries to the top of the list. I mean, Bhutan (with a standing army of 1,600) is #1. Many people would have difficulty finding Bhutan on a map of Bhutan. It also downplays poor countries with highly militarised societies, like North Korea.

Russia's nationalist renaissance is worrying, but it's not because of the amount spent on its (chronically underfunded) army. To the extent that the army comes into it, it's because armies signify a binary idea of national identity: soldiers are either loyal or disloyal; and the same goes for civilians in an army-focused society. Putin's rhetoric about the army protecting ethnic Russians may amount to saying that it has a supra-national role. Such a role would implicitly place the army above any merely national, civilian government, and in my opinion would definitively mean that Russia had lost its place among democratic nations.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:28 PM on April 13, 2014


Article in the Guardian about Russian military spending claims they spend more relative to GDP than the US. Right on time for the Russia/fascism argument--came out today, in fact.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:52 PM on April 13, 2014


By historic comparison the NAZI war machine consumed 17% of GDP by 1938 and 23% in 1939. Also worth noting that there were protests in Moscow today against intervention in Ukraine. Russia is experiencing significant capital flight following the action in Crimea.
posted by humanfont at 4:54 PM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]






The real question is what will the LNG export windfall mean for the US economy.
posted by humanfont at 7:29 PM on April 13, 2014


I think that's a secondary consideration compared to a reduction in appeasement of some awful regimes just because we want their hydrocarbons.
posted by arcticseal at 7:41 PM on April 13, 2014


Joe, homunculus, those articles are... jesus. Terrifying.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:32 PM on April 13, 2014




It's now been confirmed that CIA Director Brenner visited Kyiv last weekend. Not sure who thought that was a good idea. Did the US think that the Russian propaganda machine was running out of stories, or what?
posted by Kabanos at 10:52 AM on April 14, 2014




Seems like we here in the United States need to increase our military spending. Right now we only spend 40% of the world total. Surely we can get that up above 50% if we set our minds to it. EXCELSIOR.
posted by Justinian at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2014




It's now been confirmed that CIA Director Brenner visited Kyiv last weekend. Not sure who thought that was a good idea. Did the US think that the Russian propaganda machine was running out of stories, or what?

At this point, Ukraine is probably less worried about what Russia Today will say, and more concerned about how they're going to get the troops to keep Putin from rolling across their border.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:37 PM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Agents of Western Influence" on display in Crimea. Uncle Sam also unwelcome.
posted by Kabanos at 12:09 PM on April 15, 2014




U.N. Cites Abuses in Crimea Before Russia Annexation Vote
Amid fears of escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, the United Nations called on Tuesday for action to counter misinformation and hate speech used as propaganda and urged the authorities in Crimea to account for killings, torture and arbitrary arrests in the buildup to the March referendum that led to its annexation by Russia.

“Facts on the ground need to be established to help reduce the risk of radically different narratives being exploited for political ends,” the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement released with a report on human rights in Ukraine and Crimea, which until last month was an autonomous region of Ukraine.

“People need a reliable point of view to counter what has been widespread misinformation and also speech that aims to incite hatred on national, religious or racial grounds,” she added.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2014


Nixon famously combined anti-Semitism with an often-expressed and apparently genuine admiration for Israeli "tough-mindedness" in military and political affairs.

With him, it was football all the way down.
posted by telstar at 9:47 PM on April 15, 2014


No, I have no idea: Military column 'seized' in Kramatorsk
Pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine have seized six Ukrainian armoured vehicles, the defence ministry in Kiev says. [...] The military vehicles were then taken to Sloviansk where they are being held by "people in uniforms who have no relation to Ukraine's armed forces," the ministry said.

The Ukrainian troops appear to have been disarmed before being fed by pro-Russian militants at a cafe in Sloviansk and then put on a bus back to their home city of Dnipropetrovsk.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:08 PM on April 16, 2014


If the Ukrainian military can't even defend their own armored vehicles I'm not sure Ukraine can be said to be anything but a failed state. The ability to maintain order within your borders is the absolute minimum a government should be able to provide.
posted by Justinian at 4:18 PM on April 16, 2014


More and more when it comes to overthrowing a democratically elected government (ie Egypt, Ukraine, etc) I'm coming to the conclusion that you should be careful what you wish for because you might just get it. If you overthrow a democratic government don't be surprised if suddenly it's open season on your replacement government.
posted by Justinian at 4:55 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


My family has lived through more revolutions than anyone could reasonably want. My view is that it's really good to be a long way away from revolutionaries, no matter how good their cause is. In the case of Ukraine, I think we need to keep reminding ourselves that this is actually a slow-motion invasion, and anything done by Ukraine, Ukrainians, or Ukraine's neighbours was merely an excuse.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:02 PM on April 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Report: Separatists in east Ukraine town of Donetsk order Jews to register
According to the report, the notice was distributed by "three unidentified men wearing balaclavas and carrying the flag of the Russian Federation." The notice was reported by members of the Jewish community of Donetsk.
...
It orders all Jews over the age of 16 to register at the government building, which has been occupied by pro-Russian insurgents in defiance of Kiev rule. Jews would also have to pay a registration fee of $50 before May 3 and list all real estate and vehicles owned.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:29 PM on April 16, 2014


Maybe they could also wear some sort of easily identifiable badge for their own protection.
posted by Justinian at 12:55 AM on April 17, 2014


I'm sure that there are many anti-Semites among both Ukrainian and Russian nationalists, but this incident looks like an artificial attempt to create outrage. Even if rounding up Jews were actually at the forefront of separatists' minds - which I very much doubt - you don't have anonymous people sticking up broadsides if you've actually got any local control.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:41 AM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


If the Ukrainian military can't even defend their own armored vehicles I'm not sure Ukraine can be said to be anything but a failed state. The ability to maintain order within your borders is the absolute minimum a government should be able to provide.

I would expect them to be under instructions not to respond to pro-Russian attacks except under extreme situations (e.g. lives under threat). The Ukrainian military is being very, very careful about this right now since they understand the stakes are very high indeed. I believe the lack of defence offered to be a policy decision rather than a simple failure on the part of Ukrainian military forces. A little bit of humiliation and a bus ride home is better than thousands dead and raging battles in the streets.
posted by longbaugh at 3:14 AM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the Ukrainian military can't even defend their own armored vehicles ...

Russia Has Basically Invaded Ukraine Again. Here's Why Kiev Isn't Shooting Back.

That being said, the situation that let to those APC's being lost was a real f-up.
posted by Kabanos at 9:54 AM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


A little more info on what Brenner and the CIA were up to in Ukraine. According to this, the Ukrainian security forces were thoroughly infiltrated by pro-Moscow agents through the last decade, so they have no way of knowing what Russian agents are up to, or how many of their own people are feeding information to the Russians. Hence the desire for the CIA to provide intelligence. Make of it what you will.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:08 AM on April 17, 2014


Away From Show of Diplomacy in Geneva, Putin Puts On a Show of His Own
“The question is to ensure the rights and interests of the Russian southeast. It’s New Russia. Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa were not part of Ukraine in czarist times, they were transferred in 1920. Why? God knows.” (Putin)
Wikipedia: Novorossiya

I suspect Putin will run the same script throughout "New Russia" - Overthrow the local government and hold farcical elections for independence and then annexation into Russia. I don't think Kyev can do much to stop it; the local populations must stand against the "pro-Russian protestors" from the start if it really matters to them. Not the police or army, but regular citizens.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:02 PM on April 17, 2014


the local populations must stand against the "pro-Russian protestors" from the start if it really matters to them. Not the police or army, but regular citizens.

Luhansk, Donetsk, Odessa.
posted by Anything at 11:31 PM on April 17, 2014


Gonna be the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War in a few months. Putin really does seem to be getting a jump on some sort of historical re-enactment thing.
posted by Justinian at 12:17 AM on April 19, 2014


@dougf24 via reddit:
#Slovyansk mayor confirms US journalist Ostrovsky is being held by Ukrainian security forces under his control. Tells parents not to worry.
@SimonOstrovsky of Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Vice Magazine)
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:09 AM on April 22, 2014


Simon Ostrovsky is now free and safe in a CBC car en route to Donetsk.

PUBLIC BROADCASTING TO THE RESCUE!
posted by Kabanos at 9:49 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Scary reading from The Forward: The Real Truth About Those Anti-Semitic Flyers in Donetsk
[...] In a nutshell: the Kremlin’s attempt, back in late February and March, to paint the new Ukrainian regime as Nazi and anti-Semitic has failed. It didn’t pick up much traction in world public opinion. So now the Kremlin is spreading the line that the Ukrainian leaders are Jews. Or at the very least, servants and lackeys of Jews. The intended audience is no longer international; it is domestic.

posted by Joe in Australia at 4:36 PM on April 24, 2014


Vladimir Putin warns of 'consequences' after Slavyansk skirmish
Russian troops manoeuvre on the border after Kiev government attempts to wrest back control of city

posted by Joe in Australia at 11:08 PM on April 24, 2014




Dugin Says Putin Being Undermined by Insiders Who Don’t Back Him All the Way
... Consequently, Dugin says, he believes there is a need to introduce into the Russian political lexicon a new term: “the sixth column,” to designate those within the regime who are weakening it by not supporting Putin fully.

The fifth and sixth columns have the same principles, but they manifest these in different ways. Unlike the fifth, Dugin says, “the sixth column does not consist of the enemies of Putin but of his supporters. If they are traitors, then this is not at the level of a country but at that of a civilization. They do not attack Putin” at every step; instead, “they hold him back.”
...

According to Dugin, “the West is inside of [Russians] in all senses, including consciousness, analysis, relations, meanings and values. Present-day civilization is still not completely Russia; it is not a Russian world; it is only something that can become a Russian world,” but only if the sixth column is defeated along with the fifth.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:11 AM on April 30, 2014


Another perspective on Russia and anti-Semitism. It's worth reading, and not as one-sided as the pull-quote implies.

Back in the USSR?
‘Putin is recreating the Soviet Union as he thinks it should have been,’ says Natan Sharansky’s former Hebrew teacher, ‘without the anti-Semitism.’ ‘I don’t know where Russia would be without him,’ says the Chabad chief rabbi. ‘For the Jews, it’s a miracle’
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:32 PM on April 30, 2014






Russia or West: Armenia on verge of deep confrontation (Azernews)
The initiative group "We are against the Customs Union with Russia" announced holding a rally in the Freedom Square. The group intends to support "No Putinism" protest actions, which will be held in large Russian cities on the same day.
...

"The Armenian people associate Azerbaijan's and Georgia's development with their ties to the West," Turkish expert Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu told AzerNews. "Georgia's development has given rise to many questions in the Armenian society about their complicated situation. The Armenians hold a positive attitude toward the EU, but Yerevan is far away from the West due to the threat created by the authoritarian regime."

He predicts a rise in the anti-Russian mood and new developments in Armenia under the new PM.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:10 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]




That last one is a really great article and is extremely vivid and poignant but I don't think it's actually arguing that Putin will be unable to harness the veneration of the Great Patriotic War to promote nationalism and societal cohesion in support of his policies and actions, the way all of the previous governments have been able to. Might be the case of the author of the piece not being the same person who writes the clickbaity headline.
posted by XMLicious at 9:33 AM on May 10, 2014


The expansionist behind Putin
According to Dugin, Russia and Germany would between them divide Central and Eastern Europe into spheres of influence, with the Germans dominating Central and Eastern Europe while Russia controlled Finland, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, along with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, as well the north part of the Balkans from Serbia to Bulgaria.

Naturally, Russia would be the superior part in this de facto update on the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that saw the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany effectively carve up Eastern Europe before the Second World War. Moreover, the arrangement would only be temporary since, as Dugin says, “the maximum task (for Russia’s future) is the ‘Finlandization’ of all of Europe.”
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:22 AM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Battle in Ukraine Means Everything - Fascism returns to the continent it once destroyed (TNR: Timothy Snyder)
People who criticize only the Ukrainian right often fail to notice two very important things. The first is that the revolution in Ukraine came from the left. It was a mass movement of the kind Europeans and Americans now know only from the history books. Its enemy was an authoritarian kleptocrat, and its central program was social justice and the rule of law. It was initiated by a journalist of Afghan background, its first two mortal casualties were an Armenian and a Belarusian, and it was supported by the Muslim Crimean Tatar community as well as many Ukrainian Jews.
...

This is the second thing that goes unnoticed: The authoritarian right in Russia is infinitely more dangerous than the authoritarian right in Ukraine. It is in power, for one thing. It has no meaningful rivals, for another. It does not have to accommodate itself to domestic elections or international expectations, for a third. And it is now pursuing a foreign policy that is based openly upon the ethnicization of the world. It does not matter who an individual is according to law or his own preferences: The fact that he speaks Russian makes him a Volksgenosse requiring Russian protection, which is to say invasion. ... On popular Russian television, Jews are blamed for the Holocaust; in the major newspaper Izvestiia, Hitler is rehabilitated as a reasonable statesman responding to unfair Western pressure; on May Day, Russian neo-Nazis march.
...

The main Eurasian ideologist, Alexander Dugin, who once called for a fascism “as red as our blood,” receives more attention now than ever before. His three basic political ideas—the need to colonize Ukraine, the decadence of the European Union, and the desirability of an alternative Eurasian project from Lisbon to Vladivostok—are now all officially enunciated, in less wild forms than his to be sure, as Russian foreign policy. Dugin now provides radical advice to separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine.

Putin now presents himself as the leader of the far right in Europe, and the leaders of Europe’s right-wing parties pledge their allegiance. There is an obvious contradiction here: Russian propaganda insists to Westerners that the problem with Ukraine is that its government is too far to the right, even as Russia builds a coalition with the European far right. Extremist, populist, and neo-Nazi party members went to Crimea and praised the electoral farce as a model for Europe. As Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher of the European far right, has pointed out, the leader of the Bulgarian extreme right launched his party’s campaign for the European parliament in Moscow. The Italian Fronte Nazionale praises Putin for his “courageous position against the powerful gay lobby.” The neo-Nazis of the Greek Golden Dawn see Russia as Ukraine’s defender against “the ravens of international usury.” Heinz-Christian Strache of the Austrian FPÖ chimes in, surreally, that Putin is a “pure democrat.” Even Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, recently shared Putin’s propaganda on Ukraine with millions of British viewers in a televised debate, claiming absurdly that the European Union has “blood on its hands” in Ukraine.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2014


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