Daily Archives: June 4, 2007

June 4, 2007 — Contents

MONDAY JUNE 4 CONTENTS


(1) Nashi, Laid Bare

(2) Our Recent Milestones

(3) Annals of Book Burning

(4) Goble on Russia’s “Lost Generation”

(5) Lucas on Lugovoi

(6) The Mailbag: A Reader on Lugovoi

Nashi, Laid Bare

In a photo taken from the Nashi (“us Slavic Russians”) youth cult
website, a young child, decked out in Nashi’s colors and wearing a
protest whistle hung from a Russian-flag ribbon, prepares to take his
first Komsomol-like steps into the folds of youth cult oblivion.

Once again, the good offices of La Russophobe‘s heroic original translator open a window in to neo-Soviet Russia that would otherwise be closed to the non-Russian speaking world. This time, it’s the unabridged Nashi manifesto direct from Nashi’s website. You can see the unabridged version in Russian, the juicy bits from which are translated below, here, and the shortened, brochure-like screed in Russian is here (a comic book version of the manifesto has been published and distributed by Nashi as a propaganda leaflet; it was translated into English here, but then the translation was mysteriously withdrawn — you can view the leaflet here, in German translation); the Nashi website itself was blocked for a time from Western browswer access, but at least for now is available; LR’s commentary about the leaflet version is here and here).

Just for instance, Nashi claims that the USSR simply “decided” to give up the arms race because of its own enlightenment, and likewise “decided” to allow German reunification on the same basis (and note too its obsessive focus on the idea of counterrevolution, now styled as “colored revolution,” and the demonization of the U.S., linking Russia’s “liberals” to foreign spies looking to subvert Russian independence). As you see Vladimir Putin channel the ideology of Vladimir “Lenin” Ulyanov, creating a brand-new “Komsomol” organization for youth indoctrination in ideology, you see the final nail struck into the Neo-Soviet coffin of Russia. Some have misled us, claiming that the new Russian dicatatorship lacks the ideological underpinnings of the old USSR. Nobody can read this translation and still think so. How long before this ideology makes its way into text books, how long before a “party” requires indoctrination in this ideology before assuming the mantle of power? How long before it becomes a crime, punishable by gulag, to publicly criticize this ideology or those who espouse it?

NOTE: If you are interested in reading translations straight from the pages of the Russian press, check out LR Translations, La Russophobe‘s translations library, which contains nearly two dozen articles from the Russian press that you will find nowhere else. If any Russian-speaking reader is aware of Russian material that is a good candidate for translation, please let us know.


“Nashi” Organization’s “Manifesto with Commentaries

Summary and Commentary

General Comments

— This is a long document, about 80 pages as I printed it out. It definitely does not merit full translation. It is, however, a great deal more interesting than the basic Nashi Manifesto (without “commentaries”, available on the same website), which is very vaguely worded and does not identify the ideological underpinnings and concrete objectives of the Nashi organization.

— The Manifesto lists as its only “main sources” four articles/speeches by Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov, a former GRU officer, currently Putin’s Deputy Chief of Staff, and widely viewed as the Kremlin’s main ideologist. In other words, this appears to be purely Surkov’s “movement”.

— At the outset, the Manifesto gives the appearance of being much more moderate in tone than some of the leaflets that have been handed out by Nashi members at recent demonstrations. Toward the middle, however, it becomes increasingly caustic and anti-Western, and more openly reveals the main purpose of the Nashi movement, which is to help the authorities suppress mass pro-democracy demonstrations.

— Reflecting Soviet ideas about the unity of physical and social sciences, the overall tone of the Manifesto is ponderously pseudo-academic and at times pseudo-scientific, though in its opening paragraphs it also carries a disclaimer, to the effect that “a manifesto is not an analysis or an article, but a call to action”—perhaps hoping to insulate itself from criticism that as an article it is short on facts, and as analysis it is not at all objective.

— On the other hand, the Manifesto also hopes to find usefulness as an “ideological weapon in the hands of political soldiers”, so we might expect to see a lot of its ideas being repeated on various RuNet forums, blogs, etc. The serious Russia watcher may therefore be interested in a quick survey of its major themes, in order to track their re-appearance elsewhere (and thereby, so some extent, the rise or fall of Surkov’s star), as well as predict the activities of the organization.

Some Key Quotes:

“Today the U.S. on one side, and international terrorism on the other, are trying to take control of Eurasia and the entire world. Their sights are set on Russia. The task of our generation is to defend the sovereignty of our country the way our grandfathers did 60 years ago.”

“The ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine and the ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia occurred due to internal reasons, but under critically important influence from outside. External forces in large part prepared these revolutions and organized their progress. For this reason one can say that the countries that underwent ‘colored revolutions’ organized from abroad in large measure lost their sovereignty.”

“On the eve of the 2007-2008 elections, the party of oligarch revenge is again raising its head. It is betting on an orange revolution in Russia, a “Berzovskiy revolution”. We, NASHI, will not allow the party of oligarch revenge to return to power in Russia. We will not allow them to steal Russia’s future. Oligarch capitalism is our main enemy in Russia. We will uproot it and ensure progress, freedom and justice in Russia.”

“NASHI is firmly determined not to allow Russia to suffer a geopolitical coup d’etat and the introduction of external control under the guise of a ‘colored revolution’. At the decisive hour we are prepared to send hundreds of thousands of young people into the streets of Russia under the banner of ‘Sovereignty and Independence for Russia’. We are prepared to fight for Russian democracy.”

“Our opponents claim that NASHI is a Kremlin-sponsored scheme against an ‘orange revolution’….And indeed, we are opposed to an ‘orange revolution’ of the Ukrainian type, because this is a geopolitical scheme for the establishment of external control over the country.” [TN: No attempt whatsoever is made anywhere in the Manifesto to rebut the accusation that NASHI receives its financing from the Kremlin – even after the Manifesto itself brings it up.]

“We will help the members of the Movement to become high-ranking professionals and … prove their right to lead Russia, in government organizations, businesses, social structures and mass media.”

“Every oligarch or bureaucrat, street rabble or member of a totalitarian organization who raises a hand against a member of our movement should clearly understand that tomorrow he will face the movement as a whole.”

“It was Russia that defeated Hitler in the Second World War… Other countries…helped us in this war. They sold us arms, raw materials, manufactured products, etc. They even conducted their own wars on the periphery… (But) only on June 6, 1944 – less than a year before the end of the war – did the U.S. and U.K. open a second front in Europe.”

“Russia itself unified Germany, thereby creating the most powerful government in Europe, the center of European integration and power.”

“The victory of Russia in the Second World War created the basis for a world order which until recently guaranteed the world would be defended against global hegemony by any one country (whether Nazi Germany or the USA) and a repeat of a new (sic) world war.”

Major Points/Themes (in approximately the order presented)

1. Frequent and mostly approving references to Communist/Soviet ideology.

“The most famous manifesto in history was the ‘Communist Manifesto’ of Marx and Engels, which turned the world on its head. With it, people went to the barricades, to prison and even to their death. They went, risking everything, because they believed in the ideas set forth in that Manifesto…”

Very telling detail: Apparently taking pride in its notoriety, the Nashi website also uses the old “.su” domain name designated for the Soviet Union. This is an example of what the Manifesto later calls “historical optimism.” [LR: In a similar way, pop star Oleg Gazmanov croons about being “made in the USSR“]

2. Heavy appeals to generational vanity, reminiscent of the old “Komsomol” Communist youth movement, but trenchantly critical of the last generation of Soviet and first generation of post-Soviet leaders. Several pages are devoted to detailing past “great generations” in Russian history. A poll is cited, supposedly showing that the younger generation of Russians is much more optimistic than older generations:

“Do you expect that in the near future the country will undergo change, and if so, then for the better or for the worse? (“FOM”/Public Opinion Foundation, Aug 2005)”

—————Generations

———–Youth—- Older

Better —–53% —–35%

Worse —— 9% —– 18%

(Interestingly, according to the above, 38% of young Russians and 47% of older Russians apparently thought there would be no change, or refused to respond.)

The Manifesto quotes another survey, by the British polling company BBDO, indicating that Russian youth are more optimistic about their future than their counterparts in the West, with 80% vs. 46% believing they will live better than their parents. (Of course, this is probably because the Russians are starting from such a low base compared to their Western peers, but no mention is made of this possibility.)

Young Russians are also supposedly more work-loving as well, since only 13% of young Russians plan to retire as early as they can, versus 48% in the West. (The real reason for this difference will surely be obvious to anyone familiar with Russian pensions and investment schemes.)

Also more patriotic: “The percentage of potential defenders of the Fatherland is twice as high in Russia as in Western Europe – 64% vs. 34%.” (The question that evoked these responses is not given; it is also not clear whether this was from the same poll as the one previously cited.)

And more thirsting for opportunity, professional success, entertainment, social responsibility, etc. (No figures/explanation/sources given for this assertion.)

3. Repeated emphasis on “competition” and “competitiveness,” starting with several definitions, including this one:

“Competition – in biology: Antagonistic relations, defined by the effort of the best and fastest to achieve some objective compared to other members of the community. Competition arises for space, food, light, shelter, mates, etc. Competition is a manifestation of the struggle for existence”

This sets the stage for the extremely zero-sum conception of economic competition and other forms of engagement with the outside world that follows.

Two examples of the results of “globalization” are given, both of them completely negative:

— Brazilian automobile manufacturing: Brazil is now the 10th largest manufacturer of cars in the world, but all of them are of foreign design.

— Russian aerospace industry: “Not only our foreign partners, but even the leadership of the largest Russian aviation companies are demanding that the Russian government lift tariffs on the import of aviation technology. If this happens, civil aviation manufacturing in Russia will cease to exist.” (Emphasis in the original.)

Conclusion: “Globalization is a project for reinforcing the hegemony of the USA in the modern world.” Nevertheless, “Our task is to make Russia a leader in globalization.”

4. A thinly-disguised bribe/threat is made for young people to join the Nashi movement:

“We will help members of the Movement to become high-ranking professionals and in open competition with others succeed and prove their right to lead Russia, in government organizations, businesses, social structures and mass media.”

(Considering that Nashi is more-or-less openly funded by the Russian government, and such a large percentage of major businesses, social organizations and media outlets are also owned/operated by the government, it is highly doubtful how “free” this competition will be; this is an “offer” that many young people in Russia will probably find hard to refuse.)

5. Dark predictions of another collapse of Russia. The Manifesto takes a long digression through an interpretation of history provided by the English historical philosopher Arnold Toynbee, reflecting darkly on the fates of the Roman, Byzantine and Austro-Hungarian empires, and concluding with the odd claim that the center of world finance passed from London to New York City as a result of England becoming a debtor to the U.S. after World War I (rather than the sharp increase in America’s share of world GDP around the same time – combined with America having inherited most of the English legal and accounting traditions). A long excerpt is given from a speech by Putin about the collapse of the Russian economy in the early-1990s. The conclusion: “If Russia loses (this) competition, it may disappear like the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Some, perhaps, may rejoice in this, hoping to profit from it. But we love our Motherland, and will not allow this to happen.”

6. Miscellaneous assertions, digressions loosely connected to “competitiveness”:

— The U.S. makes up and changes the rules of the global economy while the game is being played (no examples given).

— A long review of the historic military threat from the West, recounting all the many invasions Russia has suffered throughout its history (while failing to mention a single one of Russia’s many invasions and annexations of neighboring countries).

— Back to the generational theme, with empty rhetoric: “Our generation is not satisfied with the status of geopolitical loser… We have set for ourselves the goal not only of pulling Russia from crisis, but of ensuring its leadership in the modern world.”

— Promise to promote a strong, technologically advanced army, and cultural leadership, so that “the life of the average citizen in Russia will be such that we will be envied by people of other countries.”

— Notes that “the U.S. Department of State will spend $328 million in 2006 for external propaganda and improving the image of the U.S.” (No analogous figures are given for other countries, much less on a per-capita or income-adjusted basis. A cynic might point out that this would be especially difficult to compare in the case of Russia, where virtually all mass media are state-operated, to say nothing of publications by Kremlin-funded “movements” like Nashi.)

7. Grandiose assertions about Russia and the Soviet Union’s central role in world history, “setting the political agenda” of the “modern world order”, etc.:

— “In terms of the potential of the future leadership of Russia, we view Russia as the historical and geographical center of the modern world…”

— “The 20th Century was the Russian Century. Three times in the course of this century Russia set the format for world history. The October Revolution (1917) was the historic call that in the end set the political agenda for the 20th century.”

— The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is given credit for:

– the 8-hour workday

– free public education

– unemployment insurance

– workman’s compensation

– worker participation in the management of companies

– universal suffrage

– rights of women.

All of these measures, the Manifesto claims, were adopted by other countries only after they were instituted in Russia by the Bolsheviks.

It was Russia that defeated Hitler in the Second World War… Other countries…helped us in this war. They sold us arms, raw materials, manufactured goods, etc. They even conducted their own wars on the periphery… (But) only on June 6, 1944 – less than a year before the end of the war – did the U.S. and U.K. open a second front in Europe.”

For Nashi, it’s “fascism” for Estonians to dare to move a monument
involving Russian soldiers in their own country. Here, a brigade of Nashi’s
wait at the airport to attack an Estonian diplomat, urging her to
“go back to fascist Estonia.” But Nashi doesn’t have any problem with
Russia moving the monuments of other countries within Russia, and it
does nothing to protect Russian memorials
from being denigrated by the Russian people themselves.

— Claims that Russia’s singular victory over fascism validated the “new world order” of the Yalta agreement.

— “Russia unilaterally ended its participation in the ‘Cold War’ because it came to realize the pointlessness of military confrontation… Russia itself unified Germany, thereby creating the most powerful government in Europe, the center of European integration and power.”

— Presents a long digression into the achievements of the Socialist world. (This appears to have been uncritically lifted from a Soviet history textbook, with only a small change in how the story ends.)

— Explicitly compares the U.S. to Nazi Germany: “The victory of Russia in the Second World War created the basis for a world order which until recently guaranteed the world would be defended against global hegemony by one country (whether Nazi Germany or the USA) and a repeat of a new (sic) world war.”

8. Russian nationalism, couched in the language of multiculturalism:

— Goes on at some length about Russia’s unique geopolitical position, spanning several continents and many time zones. Brief, pointless critique of “isolationism”, giving 19th century Japan as example (while managing to avoid mention of Russia’s role that story’s denouement, in 1905). Pointless review of various religious groupings of the world.

— Comes to two very contradictory conclusions: 1) “It must be clearly understood that multiculturalism is an important advantage for Russia in the modern world”; and 2) “At the same time, Russians are the government-forming and most populous people of Russia, and for this reason the fate of Russia will depend in large measure on well-being of and position occupied by Russians.”

— Condemns “aggressive nationalism, separatism, religious intolerance.” Belittles the imporatance of linguistic identity as a factor in creating national identity, using as evidence the fact that here are 10,000 languages in the world, but only about 200 independent countries. Blames “separatism” for the breakup of Yugoslavia. Long review of separatist movements in India, China and Europe. Claims Sikhism is “separatist” (very dated information, especially considering the current PM of India is a devout Sikh).

— Another long interlude about Russia being the “heartland” of Eurasia, concluding: “Today the U.S. on the one side, and international terrorism on the other, are trying to control Eurasia and the entire world. Their sights are set on Russia. The task of our generation is to defend the sovereignty of our country the way our grandfathers did 60 years ago.”

9. Obsession with “sovereignty”, vigorous defense of the term “sovereign democracy”. The term “Sovereign Democracy” in reference to Russia was, of course, invente by Surkov himself. The Manifesto starts with a long-winded discussion of “sovereignty”, followed by a list of countries that have supposedly given up parts of their sovereignty:

– Georgia, due a status of forces agreement with the U.S. that excludes prosecution of U.S. troops on Georgian soil by Georgian courts.

– Czech Republic and Hungary, due to 70% of their banks being controlled by foreign capital.

– Argentina, due to use of the U.S. dollar reserves as a benchmark for limiting issuance of new pesos.

– All the countries of NATO.

– Countries with common tariff agreements, intelligence-sharing agreements (presumably refers to the EU, but gives the weird example of Egypt in the period 1875-1952, when it was largely governed by Britain).

– Government economic policies dictated by foreigners (Russia 1992-1998).

Then a list of other ways sovereignty can be surrendered:

– Mass media ownership (Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic)

– Infrastructure ownership (Chinese railroads, until 1949)

– Foreign ownership of key tax revenue suppliers (oil extraction in the countries of the middle east, until nationalized in the early 1970’s)

– Foreign influence in “the political system as a whole. A nation should determine its own president, parliament and judicial system. A nation has no right to tolerate outside forces exerting a strong influence on its political system, least of all at key moments in history.”

A few pages later, the term “Sovereign Democracy” is introduced, defined and fiercely defended:

“Sovereign Democracy is a new term, born in Russia at the beginning of the 21 century. It emphasizes the problem that in the modern world every country is confronted with attempts to limit its sovereignty.” (Note Surkov’s modesty in not identifying himself as the father of this newborn term.)

“Sovereign Democracy means that Russia does not intend to develop democracy under the external instruction of anyone. It does not intend to take a test on democracy administered by foreign professors and build democracy according to a foreign mold. Russia will walk the path of democracy and do this in accordance with its own national interests and traditions, and will not sacrifice to abstract principles the genuine interests of its people – interests in security, stability and a high standard of living.”

10. “Colored Revolutions” as loss of sovereignty. The need to defend against “colored revolutions” is a key point in the Manifesto, probably the main point, and is tied strongly to the Manifesto’s notion of “sovereignty” as being pure of any outside influences:

“The ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine and the ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia occurred due to internal reasons, but under critically important influence from outside. External forces in large part prepared these revolutions and organized their progress. For this reason one can say that the countries that underwent ‘colored revolutions’ organized from abroad in large measure lost their sovereignty.”

“Many countries, formally remaining independent, are in fact not sovereign. For example, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, have surrendered their foreign and defense policies to NATO and the leader of NATO – the USA; their economic policies, to the EU; and they have sold off key elements of their economies to European – for the most part German –corporations, which have located in these countries only low-technology manufacturing.”

“Several of the countries of the former USSR also surrendered their sovereignty. For example, Georgia surrendered a large part of its defense policy to American advisors. The plan adopted after the ‘Orange Revolution’ for the integration of Ukraine into NATO and the system for Ukrainian-American consultations are mechanisms for controlling Ukraine’s foreign policy by the USA. The plan for “Europeanization”, developed for Ukraine by the EU, is a mechanism for the control of Ukraine’s internal policies by the EU.”

A few pages later, the Manifesto repeats the above paragraph almost word-for-word, with the following new introduction: “The so-called ‘colored revolutions’ that took place in Georgia and Ukraine and planned in other countries represented the formation of a system for external control of the country.”

The Manifesto then cuts to the chase about the true purpose of the Nashi movement:

“NASHI is firmly determined not to allow Russia to suffer a geopolitical coup d’etat and the introduction of external control under the guise of a “colored revolution”. At the decisive hour we are prepared to send hundreds of thousands of young people into the streets of Russia under the banner of ‘Sovereignty and Independence for Russia’. We are prepared to fight for Russian democracy.”

11. Rejection of “Assimilation” (outside of Russia):

“…the policies of assimilation, of suppressing the Russian language and Russian culture, have been systematically pursued by the countries of the Baltics for the past 15 years with the silent approval of European and world public opinion, which in relation to Russia professes a double standard. What Russia cannot do in relation to one or another national minority, other countries can do to Russians.”

The Manifesto goes on to point out that many non-Russians (Georgians, Ukrainians, Kazaks, Jews) also use Russian as an “international language” while living in third countries, and says the Russian government should defend their “right” to do this as well.

12. Presentation of the Nashi movement as a force of moderation, standing between the extremes of Nationalism/Fascism and Liberalism:

“Liberals are prepared to sacrifice the country’s independence for the sake of personal freedom. Communists and fascists are prepared to sacrifice the personal freedoms of citizens to achieve a great state. For us the two sides of freedom are inseparable… Personal freedom and national sovereignty are two sides of the same coin.”

And later in the Manifesto: “Today before our very eyes an unnatural union is being formed between Liberals and Fascists, westernizers and ultranationalists, international organizations and international terrorists. It is held together by only one thing – hatred of Putin.”

13. Presentation of Russia and the Soviet Union as peace-loving countries, in harsh contrast to the United States. After a rambling and pointless cataloging of various forms of democracy observed around the world, the Manifesto suddenly and without explanation reverts back to its “independence” theme:

“Russia in 1917 became the first country in the world to proclaim as a founding principle the right of nations to self-determination. Russia recognized the independence of all countries whose governments announced – often despite the will of the people of these countries – the desire to become sovereign. Russia gave the gift of independence to many countries that did not fight for it. Russia does not desire to subjugate any peoples, but neither will it allow its national interests to be harmed, nor will it allow anything to be imposed on Russia which is opposed by our people.

“The USA, by contrast, does not recognize the right of the world’s people to free development…” With this, the Manifesto launches into a long review of U.S. military interventions in Latin America and Iraq, followed by a claim that Russia is a “just country” (again, no mention whatsoever of Russian/Soviet interventions/annexations). This is followed by a gratuitous, vague and suspiciously Marxist-sounding definition of justice, which concludes (with emphasis): “The concept of justice always has an historical character, dependent on the living conditions of the people”. The Manifesto then trails off into a very communist-sounding celebration of Russians’ supposed special solidarity as a society, “where the fate of one person is inextricably tied to the fate of others, where assistance and support of fellow citizens is the norm…” etc.

14. Disgust with recent generations of Russian/Soviet leadership. At this point, the Manifesto abruptly announces a “change in format”, and embarks on a long condemnation of the late/post-Communist and pre-Putin leadership of Russia: “The generation that led the country beginning in the 1980s lost faith in the country and its future. Some of its representatives look to the West and wait for examples and orders… The entrenched mentality of defeat does not allow even consideration of the question of leadership of Russia.”

The Manifesto continues for several pages railing against the “offshore aristocracy”, “defeatist generation” (pokoleniye porazhentsev), “elite of disintigration” (elita raspada), etc. This is followed by a glowing review of China’s modernization program, then a long and approving excerpt from the Putin speech in which he asserted that “the breakup of the Soviet Union was the worst geopolitical catastrophe of the century”.

15. Blame of the “Oligarchs” for all of Russia’s current problems. The Manifesto spends about five pages lambasting Russian oligarchs for the state of the country, claiming that “oligarch capitalism” is the “main obstacle to development of the country”, represents “privatization of the government”, “destroys democracy”, etc., then warns:

“On the eve of the 2007-2008 elections, the party of oligarch revenge is again raising its head. It is betting on an orange revolution in Russia, a “Berzovskiy revolution”. We, NASHI, will not allow the party of oligarch revenge to return to power in Russia. We will not allow them to steal Russia’s future. Oligarch capitalism is our main enemy in Russia. We will uproot it and ensure progress, freedom and justice in Russia.”

(Hatred of the business elite is a common theme for the siloviki elite, and harkens back to old Communist propaganda encouraging class envy and mistrust of capitalist markets. No distinction is made in the Manifesto between “oligarchs” and other wealthy Russian businessmen. One can safely assume that any politician not financed by the Kremlin or someone friendly to Putin will be considered by Nashi to be backed by an “oligarch”.)

16. Tacit admission to being Kremlin-financed. In a burst of frankness, the Manifesto notes: “Our opponents claim that NASHI is a Kremlin-sponsored scheme against an ‘orange revolution’….And indeed, we are opposed to an ‘orange revolution’ of the Ukrainian type, because this is a geopolitical scheme for the establishment of external control over the country.” (Note: No attempt whatsoever is made anywhere in the Manifesto to refute the accusation that NASHI is Kremlin-financed – even after the Manifesto itself brings up the question.)

17. Review of “Objectives”:

1) Preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia. Starts out with a quick mention of the war in Chechnya, but almost immediately lapses into a long discussion of the threat posed by “Fascism”, with a few pages spent trying to link it to Liberalism (and finding some unlikely support in a few out-of-context quotes from Zbignew Brzezinski). Oddly, the Manifesto then suddenly changes its mind and concludes that fascism is not nearly as much of a threat in Russia as it is in other countries, due to Russia’s “fiercely anti-fascist ideology”, and characterizes the threat as consisting only of “a multitude of ‘minor fascist organizations’.”

2) Modernization of the country. A laudable goal, to be sure, but among eight items listed as necessary for achieving it (patriotism, historical optimism, strategic thinking, social responsibility, openness to the new, constructiveness/cooperation, leadership qualities, and a “high level of professionalism in one’s field of activity”), there is no mention whatsoever of support for free markets, promotion of good corporate governance, protection of investors rights or the rule of law in general. Making this omission the more striking, the Manifesto then spends several paragraphs lauding China’s recent economic achievements.

3) Formation of a functioning civil society. The Manifesto acknowledges the growing importance of NGOs in the modern world, but then seems to imply that “Nashi” is the only legitimate one in Russia: “Government bureaucracy is fundamentally incapable of moving (civil society) forward. This can be done only by our movement… Enough talk about defending human rights. The blather of current Liberals is the worst advertisement for democracy…”

The Manifesto goes on to eulogize Putin as a “man of action”, and recounts in detail the founding of the Nashi movement (again, not a word about the sources of its funding). An account is also given of how one of its members was beaten up by self-proclaimed Bolshevik thugs, and Nashi’s first mass rally in response.

This leads to an example of the sort of “civil society” Nashi has in mind: “We should serve as an example of social solidarity. Every oligarch or bureaucrat, street rabble or member of a totalitarian organization who raises a hand against a member of our movement should clearly understand that tomorrow he will need to deal with the movement as a whole.”

The Manifesto concludes with a repeat of its earlier appeal to “replace the generation of defeatism with the generation of NASHI, the elite of disintegration with the elite of development”, and promise to “create a new generation of managers… and bring this generation to power.” (Again, since this is a government-backed organization, such an offer of “career assistance” can hardly be viewed as anything but a veiled threat that those who fail to join Nashi – like its predecessor Komsomol – will be systematically excluded from positions of power. As the Russian writer Matvey Ganapolskiy recently pointed out, this “offer” is just another part of the Big Lie now being re-assembled in the Neo-Soviet Union.)

Recent Milestones

La Russophobe is pleased to announce the following milestones in the history of our blog:

  • On May 27th, we recorded profile view # 5,000
  • On May 31st, we received visit #100,000

Upcoming milestones we anticipate occurring in the near future:

  • Our 150th Technorati linking blog
  • Our 2,000th post and our 2,000th link to a post from a blog
  • Our 75,000th Google hit
  • Our 200,000th page view

We’ve said before and we’ll say again: These are as much the accomplishments of you the reader as they are of those who publish and contribute to this blog, so you should take pride in your accomplishment!

As shown in the SiteMeter graphic below (SiteMeter’s counter is displayed at the bottom of our home page), May was La Russophobe‘s best month ever in terms of visitation. For the first time, we recorded over 15,000 visits in one month, and for the second time we recorded over 14,000 visits (and 25,000 page views) in one month. SiteMeter said we had 15,001 visits and 27,173 page views in May, averaging 484 visits and 877 page views per day.

As shown in the StatCounter graph below (StatCounter’s counter is invisible), our performance in the month of May was even stronger than what SiteMeter registered. According to StatCounter, we had 17,053 unique visits in the month of May, averaging 550 per day, and 28,596 page views during that time, averaging 922 per day.

If the StatCounter data is to be believed, then the counter at the bottom of our page should currently read over 115,000 visits and we have already passed the 200,000 page view milestone.

Our performance would have been even stronger, but remember that we closed the blog in observance of Memorial Day for four days, and our traffic visibly dipped during that time when new content was not available.

Finally, we’d like to point out that anyone judging our traffic should also bear in mind that we place a good deal of our content on the Publius Pundit blog, and none of that traffic is reflected in the data shown above. We are not aware that any other Russia blogger does something like this, it’s a testament to our work ethic and prolific output in the service of Russian democracy (if we do say so ourselves).

Annals of Book Burning

Last week we reported on an attempt by the Kremlin to ban the books of critic Andrei Pionotovsky. It doesn’t stop there. The Associated Press reports:

Russian journalist said Friday that law enforcement officials searched his apartment and carted off computers that contained draft chapters of two books he was writing about President Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Pribylovsky said he was told the seizures were part of an investigation into the unsolved slaying of a former senior official of the main successor agency to the KGB. But Pribylovsky, who runs a Web site critical of the Kremlin, said he suspects officials were really interested in finding out what he planned to publish about Putin. “I believe that they wanted to read what I was writing,” he told The Associated Press. The Moscow prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

Pribylovsky said he had previously written about the killing of Col.- Gen. Anatoly Trofimov, a former deputy head of the Federal Security Service shot in 2005 by a masked gunman outside his Moscow home. The author said that he agreed to remove some materials relating to the case from his Web site three months ago at the request of officials. The working titles for the books are “Putin’s Comrades,” and “Operation Successor,” said Pribylovsky, who was working on the latter with Yuri Felshtinsky, a historian and author living in the United States. Felshtinsky told the AP that his co-author’s computers contained “a huge volume of information” on ranking government officials.

“There is a lot of very interesting and important information, which might be lost because they could drag on the investigation, any investigation, for some years now, and the idea was to publish the book before the election,” Felshtinsky said. Felshtinsky co-authored a book, “Blowing Up Russia,” with Alexander Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital in November after being poisoned with radioactive polonium-210. The book alleged that Russian security forces had played a role in a series of mysterious bombings of apartment buildings in Russia in 1999 that killed more than 300 people. The explosions were blamed on Chechen rebels and served as a key reason for the Kremlin to launch the second war in Chechnya. After Litvinenko’s death, Felshtinsky said, he and Pribylovsky continued to collaborate on “Operation Successor,” parts of which have been published in various periodicals. But the two authors halted all direct contacts out of concern for Pribylovsky’s safety.

“Pribylovsky is in a much more dangerous position than I am because I am in the United States and he is in Russia,” Felshtinsky said. British prosecutors have named Andrei Lugovoi, a Moscow businessman and former FSB agent, as their chief suspect in Litvinenko’s murder. The search of Pribylovsky’s apartment took place the same day that Lugovoi held a news conference to protest his innocence, and to claim there was evidence the British secret services were involved in the slaying.

On Russia’s Lost Generation

Blogger Paul Goble writes about Russia’s “lost generation” and the nightmare posed by the prospect of its coming to power:

Many Russians born between 1978 and 1985 form “a lost generation,” one “that has lost out” in the course of the enormous social, economic and political changes that have swept the country over the last 20 years, according to a commentary in “Novaya Politika.” And its national “nihilism,” Mikhail Diunov writes, could threaten Russia’s future because unlike the attitudes of those just slightly older who have found places for themselves and of those slightly younger who came of age after the worst traumas were over, this generation is not loyal to the country or its residents. “For them,” Diunov continues, “state thinking does not exist; they grew up in a period when instead of conversations about honor and responsibility were more common conversations about who was able to grab how much. … Consequently, they would bury the country to achieve what they want.”

That attitude, combined with their contempt for the earlier weakness of the state that could not prevent the collapse of the USSR or create the conditions for their integration and rise, means that for Russia and the Russians, “the coming to power of these people would be a catastrophe.” In his essay, Diunov that many members of this age cohort received poor educations both because of the sense of collapse that hovered over Soviet society in the 1980s and because of the weaknesses of the Russian schools and universities after the USSR came apart. Members of this generation, he continues, were too young either to take advantage of the division of property that made some of those just older than they rich or to go abroad. Indeed, when they tried to find jobs outside Russia, they discovered that slightly older Russians already had occupied the key positions available.

Such “lost generations” have appeared before both in Russia and abroad, the “Novaya politika” writer notes. After the great reforms of the 1860s, a new generation that could not find its place became the populist-terrorists. And the cataclysmic changes started by World War I and the Great Depression produced equally lost groups. In most countries, including Russia in the past, the government and society were able to make the kind of progress that reintegrated most members of such generations, but doing so now may prove more difficult, although Diunov suggests that one should not exaggerate the possibility that this will not happen.

“Only the development of our country, the growth of the economy, the rise in the level of life, and the overcoming of depressing factors will be able to influence the generation that has lost out and to return them to the common task of all citizens of Russia,” Diunov argues. But if there is a good chance that Russia will do so again, he concludes, the stakes are nonetheless very high: This generation, now aged 22 to 29, is “precisely” the group that, it it is integrated, would be the basis of “a new middle class – the foundation of Russia’s national and state stability.”

On Russia’s Lost Generation

Blogger Paul Goble writes about Russia’s “lost generation” and the nightmare posed by the prospect of its coming to power:

Many Russians born between 1978 and 1985 form “a lost generation,” one “that has lost out” in the course of the enormous social, economic and political changes that have swept the country over the last 20 years, according to a commentary in “Novaya Politika.” And its national “nihilism,” Mikhail Diunov writes, could threaten Russia’s future because unlike the attitudes of those just slightly older who have found places for themselves and of those slightly younger who came of age after the worst traumas were over, this generation is not loyal to the country or its residents. “For them,” Diunov continues, “state thinking does not exist; they grew up in a period when instead of conversations about honor and responsibility were more common conversations about who was able to grab how much. … Consequently, they would bury the country to achieve what they want.”

That attitude, combined with their contempt for the earlier weakness of the state that could not prevent the collapse of the USSR or create the conditions for their integration and rise, means that for Russia and the Russians, “the coming to power of these people would be a catastrophe.” In his essay, Diunov that many members of this age cohort received poor educations both because of the sense of collapse that hovered over Soviet society in the 1980s and because of the weaknesses of the Russian schools and universities after the USSR came apart. Members of this generation, he continues, were too young either to take advantage of the division of property that made some of those just older than they rich or to go abroad. Indeed, when they tried to find jobs outside Russia, they discovered that slightly older Russians already had occupied the key positions available.

Such “lost generations” have appeared before both in Russia and abroad, the “Novaya politika” writer notes. After the great reforms of the 1860s, a new generation that could not find its place became the populist-terrorists. And the cataclysmic changes started by World War I and the Great Depression produced equally lost groups. In most countries, including Russia in the past, the government and society were able to make the kind of progress that reintegrated most members of such generations, but doing so now may prove more difficult, although Diunov suggests that one should not exaggerate the possibility that this will not happen.

“Only the development of our country, the growth of the economy, the rise in the level of life, and the overcoming of depressing factors will be able to influence the generation that has lost out and to return them to the common task of all citizens of Russia,” Diunov argues. But if there is a good chance that Russia will do so again, he concludes, the stakes are nonetheless very high: This generation, now aged 22 to 29, is “precisely” the group that, it it is integrated, would be the basis of “a new middle class – the foundation of Russia’s national and state stability.”

On Russia’s Lost Generation

Blogger Paul Goble writes about Russia’s “lost generation” and the nightmare posed by the prospect of its coming to power:

Many Russians born between 1978 and 1985 form “a lost generation,” one “that has lost out” in the course of the enormous social, economic and political changes that have swept the country over the last 20 years, according to a commentary in “Novaya Politika.” And its national “nihilism,” Mikhail Diunov writes, could threaten Russia’s future because unlike the attitudes of those just slightly older who have found places for themselves and of those slightly younger who came of age after the worst traumas were over, this generation is not loyal to the country or its residents. “For them,” Diunov continues, “state thinking does not exist; they grew up in a period when instead of conversations about honor and responsibility were more common conversations about who was able to grab how much. … Consequently, they would bury the country to achieve what they want.”

That attitude, combined with their contempt for the earlier weakness of the state that could not prevent the collapse of the USSR or create the conditions for their integration and rise, means that for Russia and the Russians, “the coming to power of these people would be a catastrophe.” In his essay, Diunov that many members of this age cohort received poor educations both because of the sense of collapse that hovered over Soviet society in the 1980s and because of the weaknesses of the Russian schools and universities after the USSR came apart. Members of this generation, he continues, were too young either to take advantage of the division of property that made some of those just older than they rich or to go abroad. Indeed, when they tried to find jobs outside Russia, they discovered that slightly older Russians already had occupied the key positions available.

Such “lost generations” have appeared before both in Russia and abroad, the “Novaya politika” writer notes. After the great reforms of the 1860s, a new generation that could not find its place became the populist-terrorists. And the cataclysmic changes started by World War I and the Great Depression produced equally lost groups. In most countries, including Russia in the past, the government and society were able to make the kind of progress that reintegrated most members of such generations, but doing so now may prove more difficult, although Diunov suggests that one should not exaggerate the possibility that this will not happen.

“Only the development of our country, the growth of the economy, the rise in the level of life, and the overcoming of depressing factors will be able to influence the generation that has lost out and to return them to the common task of all citizens of Russia,” Diunov argues. But if there is a good chance that Russia will do so again, he concludes, the stakes are nonetheless very high: This generation, now aged 22 to 29, is “precisely” the group that, it it is integrated, would be the basis of “a new middle class – the foundation of Russia’s national and state stability.”