Social Reality
April 11, 2015 10:40 AM   Subscribe

What Russians really think - "Many in the west see Russia as aggressive and brainwashed. But its citizens have a different view." Meanwhile,[1,2] in Moscow and Lviv...
posted by kliuless (52 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Main link is paywalled...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:51 AM on April 11, 2015


From the FT link:
Putin changed things. Since he came to power 15 years ago, Moscow has closed historical archives, narrowed the spectrum of debate and moved to unify history textbooks. Since the start of his third presidential term in 2012, Putin has identified patriotism and a hero cult as the necessary glue for his disoriented nation. “There is a great work under way now for the patriotic education of the youth,” says Nadezhda Malinina, granddaughter of General Mikhail Malinin, Marshall Zhukov’s chief of staff, and part of Yerokhin’s circle of friends.
Which may help explain why Russia just made a ton of Internet memes illegal [WaPo] (previously).
posted by Little Dawn at 10:55 AM on April 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Main link is paywalled...

I'm not getting any paywall. Links works for me.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:11 AM on April 11, 2015


Re the FT paywall: you can register for a free account with FT that gives you access to 3 stories a month. I have an account and I can see it. Thorzdad, are you sure that you don't have one of those free accounts?
posted by maudlin at 11:25 AM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I browse with javascript turned off and for some reason the Financial Times site always renders as a blank page even though all the HTML is there. I go into the source, grab the div with the id "storyContent", and paste it into its own file to read.
posted by XMLicious at 11:26 AM on April 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love POV shifting in news, especially when the other side is genuinely making an effort to understand something they perceive as alien, maybe even bad.

My main takeaway is that the average Russian randombody is just as lost and confused as their American, European or Asian counterparts. We can't make sense of the world because we're ignorant, stupid and petty.

Some words of wisdom and solace from our Incoherent Savior: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:29 AM on April 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


That Kathrin Hille piece (mention the author, people!) is excellent; I'm already e-mailing it to people. She got perfect quotes that do a great job of laying out various points of view. Russian confused but well-intentioned:
“It was a nationalistic film, and it was entirely from the Lithuanian perspective,” says Kirill Shamiev, 20, a political science student in St Petersburg. “I didn’t feel very comfortable watching. Rationally I think the Lithuanians have the right to establish their own identity and have their own views on this, but I wanted to say: ‘No, no, don’t talk so bad about the Soviet Union!’”
Russian assholish:
Alexandra Kondusova, an economics student in St Petersburg, argues that the Baltic States enjoyed privileges in Soviet times, and says they are ungrateful. “The Baltics had very little industry before the Soviet Union — we gave them everything. But now they are throwing it away.”
Thoughtful foreigner:
“Of course, memory is always pluralistic, and there are always some things we remember and other things we’re leaving to oblivion,” says Mariusz Sielski, a Polish sociologist in Moscow who specialises in memory studies. “But there is a moment where we need to pay enough attention and have enough respect to listen to someone else’s memory.”
Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 11:48 AM on April 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's weird and disorienting how much they sound like Americans I've talked to- a bunch of these people are an accident of birth from wearing flag pins and whining about Obama.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:54 AM on April 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


well i've seen all the russian dashcam videos, the forklift fail videos, and the giant trucks fording the river videos, so i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that russians are drunk all the time. and when not drunk they are insane.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:59 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's weird and disorienting how much they sound like Americans

For the big powers especially, everything that happens in the world is in some way about them, and they cannot conceive of other nations or ethnicities having their own stories and trajectories that are independent of big power influence. The "well-intentioned" person languagehat mentions is confused by the notion of a Lithuanian perspective that makes Lithuania as important to its own people as Russia is to the Russians. China, Russia, and America seem to have an understanding of themselves as special and unique. Everyone else is just a bit player.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:04 PM on April 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


For the big powers especially, everything that happens in the world is in some way about them, and they cannot conceive of other nations or ethnicities having their own stories and trajectories that are independent of big power influence.

Sonder, n., the realization that everyone has a story.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:26 PM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


China, Russia, and America seem to have an understanding of themselves as special and unique. Everyone else is just a bit player.

I often think of American attitudes toward the world as being very Roman.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:29 PM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's quite interesting -- one of my friends here in town is a naturalized Russian immigrant, and a very progressive, political person. He has Russian family and friends on Facebook who were probably every last one of them in the anti-Putin camp around the time of the big protests a couple of years back, but as soon as the Ukraine crisis emerged, all seemed to wholly believe that Kiev was in the hands of neo-fascists and American puppets who wanted to humiliate Russia, rid Ukraine of its Russian minority, and sweep back rights and social benefits. My friend, meanwhile, was very supportive of the Euromaidan movement and the new Ukrainian government, while all his (our) lefty American friends were suspicious. Very odd dynamic on both sides.
posted by dhartung at 12:59 PM on April 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


> My main takeaway is that the average Russian randombody is just as lost and confused as their American, European or Asian counterparts. We can't make sense of the world because we're ignorant, stupid and petty.

It's easy to forget that our knowledge about the world is almost entirely crowdsourced. All of us here are especially lucky to be in one of the most expansive and well-informed crowds. Most aren't so lucky.
posted by archagon at 1:00 PM on April 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Great, the inhabitants of the other great nuclear power are as clueless as the inhabitants of this one.

It makes me particularly sad that they hate Gorbachev so very much, because I believe that he will go down in history as one of the very greatest men of our era. Imagine if the Soviet Union had collapsed instead of having a soft landing. How many would have died? Would the missiles have gone off?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:57 PM on April 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


We truly are in a second cold war, if there's such shock and amazement that people living on the other side of a geopolitical divide are people just like us.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:38 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


>Sonder, n., the realization that everyone has a story.
Yes, because let's all just let John Koenig decide which words are real.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 3:08 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


i've seen all the russian dashcam videos,[...]

Don't forget the hanging from the top of a skyscraper by one hand while wearing winter gloves videos... truly a metaphor for our times.
posted by smidgen at 3:14 PM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


We truly are in a second cold war

And the propaganda machine is working harder than ever
posted by ymgve at 3:19 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


> It makes me particularly sad that they hate Gorbachev so very much

That's because you're not Russian and have the luxury of seeing him from a global, war-and-peace perspective. In terms of the lives of most Russians, he was a terrible leader and really screwed things up as a result of trying to add certain kinds of liberalization while maintaining the control of the Communist Party.
posted by languagehat at 3:41 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Looking forward to seeing what 2017 celebrations, anniversaries, or remembrances will mean in Russia, and everyone else frankly...
posted by brainimplant at 3:56 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]




In terms of the lives of most Russians, [Gorbachev] was a terrible leader and really screwed things up as a result of trying to add certain kinds of liberalization while maintaining the control of the Communist Party.

Not to take this too far afield, and not to say that Russians' opinions of Gorbachev aren't precisely what one would expect them to be, given their own lived experiences, but I've always wondered what, precisely, critics of Gorbachev would have preferred him to do; as it was, even his lukewarm attempts at reform prompted a coup against him to return hardliners to power.

In that sense, Gorbachev's situation was quite different from Putin's today; Gorbachev likely could have been replaced by someone more bellicose and more opposed to democratic reforms, while Putin's political adversaries generally seem (to my Western eyes) to be competent, realist, and democracy-supporting. Putin could probably abdicate his power tomorrow and the Russian state would shift towards democratization.
posted by thegears at 8:04 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


"even his lukewarm attempts at reform prompted a coup against him to return hardliners to power."

Funny that, I wikied the gang of eight and low and behold.
posted by clavdivs at 9:25 AM on April 12, 2015


fwiw, here's a google cache of the article that should be 'freely' available (except that they're tracking you ;) and some more dispatches from kathrin hille including this one from karelia, with this letter to the editor (still 'sir'?) in response:
Clearly, excessive concentration of economic activity on extraction of natural resources contributes to the sorry state of Karelia’s economy, making it a microcosm of Russia. But economic concentration reflects excessive concentration of political power. Decentralising political power from Moscow and from the control of a single political party is necessary to solve Karelia’s economic problems...

Finnish Karelia was transferred to the USSR in 1944 after the Russian attack on Finland in 1941 and its population of approximately 400,000 people fled to Finland... The once prosperous Finnish Karelia now impresses the visitor as a vast wasteland. Viipuri, once the second largest town in Finland, is largely in ruins. That part of Karelia is essentially occupied territory explains many of its current problems.

The systemic nature of Karelia’s problems is apparent if one considers neighbouring Estonia. Less than 25 years ago, it cast off the central planning and political control of the Communist party and opted for democracy, market economy and membership in the EU. Today, Estonia has a thriving economy.
which brings to mind this boston globe interview with loren graham...
Russian science is amazing. So why hasn’t it taken over the world? "We should all worry about a great power’s failure to convert on its knowledge"

or this bloomberg interview with max levchin...

and then, if you want, re: POV shifting, consider!
-This is the biggest problem we need to solve on Earth in this century
-15 before-and-after images that show how we're transforming the planet
-Elizabeth Warren explains the real way corruption in Washington works
-Fixed mindsets
posted by kliuless at 11:42 AM on April 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do Russians actually hate Gorbachev? Out of most of the Russian people I know — parents, friends of parents, relatives — nobody seems to have particularly strong opinions about Gorbachev. Maybe it's because most of us emigrated during the 90's?
posted by archagon at 3:21 PM on April 12, 2015


> Do Russians actually hate Gorbachev?

Yes, that's been consistent since the fall of the Soviet Union.

> Maybe it's because most of us emigrated during the 90's?

Yup. Why would you hate him?
posted by languagehat at 3:28 PM on April 12, 2015


I'll have to follow up with my aunt and my grandparents, who were in Russia during the 90's. I don't think I've ever heard them say anything negative about him, though. I think they were a lot more angry with Yeltsin.
posted by archagon at 3:32 PM on April 12, 2015


Actually, I've been thinking about things to ask my grandmother for an audio interview (she's 90) and this would be a good topic to explore!
posted by archagon at 3:34 PM on April 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


"It's weird and disorienting how much they sound like Americans I've talked to- a bunch of these people are an accident of birth from wearing flag pins and whining about Obama."

Well, yeah, it's nationalistic chauvinism. Without any, countries "balkanize." Too much and you're fucking Nazis.

"I often think of American attitudes toward the world as being very Roman."

One of the articles I read in my Russian politics class some half-decade ago was explicitly about a strain of Russian identity based on the narrative of being the true heirs to the Roman empire, specifically through the Eastern Orthodox byzantine continuity — tzar is Caesar, innit? Wish I could remember who it was by. But yeah, the American narrative is substantially based on the Roman Republic, and hell, we're effectively an oligarchy.

"Not to take this too far afield, and not to say that Russians' opinions of Gorbachev aren't precisely what one would expect them to be, given their own lived experiences, but I've always wondered what, precisely, critics of Gorbachev would have preferred him to do; as it was, even his lukewarm attempts at reform prompted a coup against him to return hardliners to power."

I mean, the ideal outcome is probably something closer to Germany's social democracy, maybe a Russian confederacy since I don't think that maintaining the Soviet Union would have been possible without unsustainable levels of authoritarianism.

"Yes, that's been consistent since the fall of the Soviet Union."

"The Good Ol' Days When Times Were Bad."
posted by klangklangston at 9:06 PM on April 12, 2015


As a rule of thumb, if you were somebody at some point in time during or after the Roman empire and you have heard about the Roman empire, you were the true heir to the Roman empire, too.

It seems likely that the 'insert your name here' field in the Roman last will was a practical joke. A testament to the wonderful Roman sense of humor that my people inherited.
posted by Ashenmote at 11:08 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, the ideal outcome is probably something closer to Germany's social democracy, maybe a Russian confederacy since I don't think that maintaining the Soviet Union would have been possible without unsustainable levels of authoritarianism.

I don't think you've understood what I was asking: the best outcome, we can probably all agree, doesn't look much like what happened. But that's probably more the responsibility of politics after the coup of 1991, which Gorbachev really had no say in. My question was what actions Gorbachev could have personally taken that would have improved the chances of a democratic outcome, without just resulting in hard-line elements within the CPSU deposing him (but successfully, not like what really happened).
posted by thegears at 4:08 AM on April 13, 2015


"politics after the coup of 1991, which Gorbachev really had no say in."
Are you sure about this, that he did nothing to prevent this or is it his doing nothing concerning further reforms.
posted by clavdivs at 6:08 PM on April 13, 2015


"...question was what actions Gorbachev could have personally taken that would have improved the chances of a democratic outcome, without just resulting in hard-line elements within the CPSU deposing him"

I have a specfic answer from wiki as the question is intertwined with the '91 Coup.

"The treaty (New Union) would make the Soviet Union a federation of independent republics with a common president, foreign policy, and military. The Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan were to sign the Treaty in Moscow on 20 August 1991."
[...]
"On 23 July 1991, a number of party functionaries and literati published in the hardline newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya as a prime factor to an anti-Perestroika manifesto entitled A Word to the People.

Six days later, Gorbachev, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed the possibility of replacing such hardliners as Pavlov, Yazov, Kryuchkov and Pugo with more liberal figures. Kryuchkov, who had placed Gorbachev under close surveillance as Subject 110 several months earlier, eventually got wind of the conversation."

A few days later Gorb went on vacation. Now he was an old Andropov supporter and this loss of control did not sit well with the hard line. Andropov was right, once Soviet control is challenged internally and fought against on a large front, the game is over.
IMO, Gorby should have replaced those elements. And that does say something, that all these leaders are alive today for the most part.
posted by clavdivs at 9:51 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


" But that's probably more the responsibility of politics after the coup of 1991, which Gorbachev really had no say in. My question was what actions Gorbachev could have personally taken that would have improved the chances of a democratic outcome, without just resulting in hard-line elements within the CPSU deposing him (but successfully, not like what really happened)."

Since it was the coup that publicly ruined him, and defying it made Yeltsin's career, just not capitulating would have been a good start. Aside from that, developing a coherent Soviet supremacy and moving earlier to co-opt the emerging nationalist movements would have probably gone a long way toward slowing down the collapse while giving him more political room to maneuver. But reducing censorship without previously establishing post-nationalist political institutions basically meant that while reducing restrictions on speech can happen really quickly, economic reforms take a long time and he both had a significantly diminished power base and a newly empowered opposition.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 AM on April 14, 2015


"But reducing censorship without previously establishing post-nationalist political institutions basically meant that while reducing restrictions on speech can happen really quickly, economic reforms take a long time"

Precisely why Gorby and Chernenko, both AGITPROPs, could not fully relize free speech as a part of the new system and not a state shaped version based on old model of informing the people. IOW, not fully allowing the people to relize truth and fee speech for themselves, most likley these dudes feared fractured politics within the old republics and no central means to contain a large uprising on several fronts. This is why Andropov sought to fracture and diffuse dissidents. Even to the extent of watching for crowds gathering when John Lennon was shot.

He was putting fig leaves on statues.
posted by clavdivs at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


How the world looks from Russia. It’s a picture the US media don’t show.

One of the articles I read in my Russian politics class some half-decade ago was explicitly about a strain of Russian identity based on the narrative of being the true heirs to the Roman empire, specifically through the Eastern Orthodox byzantine continuity — tzar is Caesar, innit?

Ahh, Third Rome. There's an idea I've been kicking around about landpowers and seapowers historically: political regimes, national perspective, geography. RUssia v. USA fits it nicely.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:48 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heh. What brought it to mind again was actually watching Hetalia.
posted by klangklangston at 1:44 PM on April 17, 2015


Alexandr Dugin (Putin's leading fascist) is way ahead of you guys. Surely you've heard of this?

The Prophet of the New Russian Empire
Dugin also differs from Gumilev in his choice of enemies. In his view, it is not Europe but “Atlantica,” the Anglo-Saxon alliance led by the United States, which opposes Russia and seeks its demise. He believes that this confrontation is rooted in a natural rivalry between the two powers: Eurasian Russia is a land-based society (tellurocratic in Dugin’s terminology), as opposed to Anglo-Saxon Atlantica, which is a sea-based empire (thalassocratic).29 Dugin, following in the footsteps of other geopolitical theorists, claims that the ongoing struggle between continental and maritime civilizations is the driving force, the engine, of world history.30 According to Dugin, land-based empires are inclined to respect cultural differences and variety, whereas sea-based powers aspire to control their surroundings through imposing political, economic, and cultural homogeneity upon them. Atlanticism, Dugin asserts, seeks to subject the entire world to the American model, which it believes to be the greatest achievement of mankind. Dugin, however, sees it as all that is loathsome and contemptible:
There exists today a strong and grave force that stands in our way. It has dismembered our homeland and has overcast the continent with the cobwebs of its dark presence; this is the civilization of the far West at the other end of the ocean—the United States. In that country everything stands on its head—the mirror laws rule there: the weak and the sick are privileged, the distorted and the perverted are at the center of public attention. There, one is allowed to be weak, sickly, contemptible, and cowardly, and power, will, and reason are forbidden. Everything there can be exchanged for money… lies and deceit rule there, fake fast food… everything which originates in America is dipped in poison. Everything that is said there is lies and disease…. This will be the first step in the great war between the continents—Eurasia against America. Our alliance has an absolute enemy: the United States of America. This is the beginning and end of our hatred.31
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:28 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


More from Mr. Dugin:
The Russian bear has undone its shackles, it has ripped off its straitjacket, it has crawled out of its den into the open air, and now, just like a wandering beast, it will move throughout the Eurasian continent. And nobody will stop it now. Not the fifth column, not the agents of influence, not the experts, not the European value system, and not the protectors of human rights. Nothing can stop it now but its willpower. The Russians have arisen, everybody understands this…. Once, we could have reached Paris this way. We could cross over half of Europe, looking over it peacefully, as a territory belonging to us. We may do this once again. I understand that this is an uncomfortable subject. But, on the other hand, what else can be done in the face of the escalating hostilities between the two superpowers?34
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:52 PM on April 17, 2015


Sounds like Zhirinovsky.
posted by clavdivs at 1:42 AM on April 18, 2015


According to Dugin, land-based empires are inclined to respect cultural differences and variety, whereas sea-based powers aspire to control their surroundings through imposing political, economic, and cultural homogeneity upon them.

Nooooooope.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:11 AM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]




Where is Ukraine? (Peter Pomerantsev)
The Nestor Group, a collection of Ukrainian thinktanks and intellectuals, has meanwhile concluded that Ukrainian value systems reject both the Russian model (deification of paternalistic authority) and the language-and-bureaucracy-makes-a-state logic of Central Europe. Instead, Ukrainians lean towards horizontal civil society bonds: the ‘sotni’ who made up the revolution on the Maidan, the volunteers who fund and feed the army, church congregations and small business associations, criminal gangs and football hooligans. According to Yevhen Hlibovitsky, a member of the Nestor Group who was involved in both the Orange Revolution in 2004 and Maidan in 2014, this puts Ukraine in the same bracket as Mediterranean countries such as Italy or Greece.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:27 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




Russia and America: Stumbling to War
COULD A U.S. response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine provoke a confrontation that leads to a U.S.-Russian war? Such a possibility seems almost inconceivable. But when judging something to be “inconceivable,” we should always remind ourselves that this is a statement not about what is possible in the world, but about what we can imagine. As Iraq, Libya and Syria demonstrate, political leaders often have difficulties envisioning events they find uncomfortable, disturbing or inconvenient.

Prevailing views of the current confrontation with Russia over Ukraine fit this pattern. Since removing Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Muammar el-Qaddafi from power had limited direct impact on most Americans, it is perhaps not surprising that most Washington policy makers and analysts assume that challenging Russia over Ukraine and seeking to isolate Moscow internationally and cripple it economically will not come at a significant cost, much less pose real dangers to America. After all, the most common refrain in Washington when the topic of Russia comes up is that “Russia doesn’t matter anymore.” No one in the capital enjoys attempting to humiliate Putin more than President Barack Obama, who repeatedly includes Russia in his list of current scourges alongside the Islamic State and Ebola. And there can be no question that as a petrostate, Russia is vulnerable economically and has very few, if any, genuine allies. Moreover, many among its business and intellectual elites are as enthusiastic as the Washington Post editorial page to see Putin leave office. Ukrainians with the same view of former Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych successfully ousted him with limited Western help, so, it is argued, perhaps Putin is vulnerable, too.

Nevertheless, Russia is very different from the other countries where the United States has supported regime change. First and most important, it has a nuclear arsenal capable of literally erasing the United States from the map. While many Americans have persuaded themselves that nuclear weapons are no longer relevant in international politics, officials and generals in Moscow feel differently. Second, regardless of how Americans view their country, Russians see it as a great power...
cf. Tyler's Conversation with Jeff Sachs - "The anger he still feels from the US treatment of Russia during its reform period is evident."
I blame a lot of it on Dick Cheney, so not just on Russia. Russia itself, by virtue of Russia, 11 time zones of the Eurasian land mass, does not have a fixed focal point, and half of Russian history is how we’re a unique civilization, the Third Rome, and half of Russian history is being part of Europe and being part of European civilization. They’ve never settled that question until now.

But the other difference which I found — (I didn’t understand it then, almost at all, by the way. It took me 20 years to understand it, actually.) — was how weird it was that in 1989, and this is geopolitics, which I didn’t understand as it was happening.

In 1989, I made recommendations for Poland. I said several unusual things, like “Don’t pay your debts, get debt cancellation. You need emergency, a billion dollars on this date,” and so forth. Everything I recommended actually ended up happening with US government support.

Then in Russia two years later I was asked by Gorbachev and then by Yeltsin to help them, because they saw what was happening in Poland. They liked that. They wanted something similar. So I said exactly the same things, and the US government kept saying, “No, no way, no way.” I kept saying, “But that kept working there.”

I didn’t understand it in some deep sense for a long, long time, how weird this was. I knew it wasn’t the difference of economic advice. I understand what a financial crisis is.

TYLER COWEN: Culturally weird, you mean.

JEFFREY SACHS: No, how weird it was in the historical moment that things that had worked extremely well, had shown themselves, where I had had Brent Scowcroft and Bob Dole and others strongly supporting it, all of a sudden just no support from Washington. The IMF saying, “We’re not going to do this.” I said, “But, Richard Urban, you did that two years ago in Poland.” “We’re not going to do it.” “Why?” Flat.

OK. What’s the lesson of this? Quite important, actually. It’s a little bit off-topic, but very important. We didn’t want to help Russia in 1991. We wanted our unipolar world. I didn’t know that at the time. For me, I wanted to help Russia. This is a chance for freedom, democracy, market economy, normalcy. Yeltsin defined, he said December 11, when I met him the first time, 1991, “We want to be a normal country.” I said, “I will help you, Mr. President.”

We didn’t want that in this country. What I didn’t understand was everything I said about Poland was immediately accepted because it was good advice and because Poland was going to be a bulwark of NATO. Everything I said about Russia didn’t matter whether it was good advice or not. Russia was on the other side.
viz. Jeffrey Sachs on the Future of Economic Development
TYLER COWEN: The Export-Import Bank. Overrated or underrated?

JEFFREY SACHS: I’d vote for it.

TYLER COWEN: You’d vote to keep it?

JEFFREY SACHS: I’d vote to keep it.[*]

TYLER COWEN: Even though it’s corporate welfare?

JEFFREY SACHS: Yeah, because it basically sells useful things to places that need useful things. I believe that in general, our international capital markets underperform their role of financing international flows. I think we need institutions to overcome the inherent shortcomings of international finance.
posted by kliuless at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


-"America has a simple ideology": how one of Russia's top US experts tries to explain America
-The New York Times “basically rewrites whatever the Kiev authorities say”: Stephen F. Cohen on the U.S./Russia/Ukraine history the media won’t tell you
-Stranger Things Have Happened
A special mystery is how Victoria Nuland, national security aide to Dick Cheney for the Iraq war, and ambassador to NATO after that, wound end up as assistant secretary for Russia and Eurasia in John Kerry’s State Department. Stent’s next book should be very good as well. She concludes this one by quoting.

[mysteriously left blank :P but presumably it's somewhere in angela stent's last couple pages of The Limits of Partnership (pp.273-274; look inside!) i'd pick out: "Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who has regularly met with President Putin, attributes some of the persistent problems in U.S.-Russia relations to the inability of American officials to appreciate Russia's history or geography and to a tendency to assume that Russia's definitions of its needs are similar to those of the United States... Former national security advisor Stephen Hadley has observed: 'Rather than importing the past into the present Russia needs to get to the point where it imports the future into the present. Otherwise it will remain a prisoner of the past'. Indeed, America and Russia both have to deal with two legacies—those of the Cold War and of the 1990s when the asymmetries in power were most pronounced... Three U.S. presidents have tried to find the golden key that would unlock the door to a qualitatively better U.S.-Russia relationship since the Soviet collapse. So far no one has found the key. But an internal reset is also vital. Both the United States and Russia need to re-examine the way they think about each other and develop approaches that reflect the realities of the twenty-first century world, a more complex world with new global centers of power... The most productive way for the United States to deal with Russia going forward is to recognize that this is a relationship with a large, still important country that has a hybrid political system and faces serious domestic challenges. Russia's worldview is significantly at odds with that of America and will remain so for the foreseeable future."]

And that brings us to the present day, and the prospect of the presidential election in 2016. That leads, in turn, directly to the villain of this piece: the intransigent, no-hold barred tendencies in American politics that have become so pronounced since the Cold War ended in 1989.
-US experts on Russia fear escalation over Ukraine
-EU, NATO try to counter Russian propaganda
-Sanctions, Wars And Falling Oil Prices No Match For Vladimir Putin
posted by kliuless at 11:34 AM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




The What-Not-To-Do List
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:38 AM on May 7, 2015


How Russians Lost the War by MIKHAIL SHISHKIN
For Russians have been called, once again, to fight a war against fascism. The patriotic hysteria on the television is the regime’s miracle weapon. Thanks to the “zombie box,” the population now has a make-believe idea of the world: The West wants to destroy us, so we are compelled, like our fathers and grandfathers, to wage holy war against fascism and we must be prepared to sacrifice everything for victory.

[...]

Once again, the dictatorship is calling on its subjects to defend the homeland, mercilessly exploiting the propaganda of victory in the Great Patriotic War. Russia’s rulers have stolen my people’s oil, stolen their elections, stolen their country. And stolen their victory.

Father, we lost the war.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:41 PM on May 9, 2015




That link sends me to the front page of the Moscow Times, so here's the Guardian's take on the same theme.
posted by languagehat at 8:17 AM on May 10, 2015


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