Daily Archives: August 18, 2008

August 20, 2008 — Contents


(1) EDITORIAL: Русский пофигизм

(2) EDITORIAL: On Being “Russian”

(3) Russia Promotes Organized Crime in Ossetia

(4) Русский пофигизм: Ah, the Glories of the Russian Language

(5) Georgia and the Battered Wife Syndrome

(6) Bolton Blasts Neo-Soviet Russia

(7) Blaming the Victim in Georgia

NOTE: Today’s issue offers multiple opportunities for understanding the Russian mind. First, our editorial (#1) and post #4 explore the strange concept of of “Русский пофигизм.” Then, two other items, #5 and #7, do a wonderful job of examining the psychological underpinnings of the need of some cowardly folks to blame the victim where the Georgia-Russia conflict is concerned, and are required reading for those of us who wish to avoid the mistakes of the past. Finally, our second editorial (#2) delves into the hypocritical depths of Russian racism.

EDITORIAL: Русский пофигизм


Русский пофигизм

Today we report on Русский пофигизм (ROO-skee pa-FIG-eezm), or the Russian national attitude that “I couldn’t care less.” It’s a useful explanation of how Russians can do something so utterly insane as to install ballistic missiles in Ossetia, SS-21 “scarabs,” which can be fitted with AA60 nuclear warheads (we reported this last week, and this week confirmation is breaking across the world’s media in shock; last week, though, some said Russia would never do anything so crazy). And also of why Russian “president” Dimitri Medvedev could conduct himself in such a manner as to cause the U.S. Secretary of State to call him a liar (she declared on Sunday’s Meet the Press in regard to Medvedev’s prior promise of a ceasefire: “Well, I just know that the Russian president said several days ago Russian military operations would stop. They didn’t. This time I hope he means it. You know the word of the Russian president needs to be upheld by his forces.”)

Russia has already destroyed its positive relations with virtually every country on earth, and now it is seeking to make things even worse, potentially leading to a nuclear apocalypse, just to further its crass imperialistic designs. Exactly, in other words, what happened in Soviet times.

How can Russians do such things, and how can other Russians let them get away with it? At least one part of the answer is Русский пофигизм.

If you are a Russian living in Russia aged 37 years, it’s quite likely that your father is dead. If he had you two years after graduating college at 24, that would make him 61 years old at present — and most Russian men don’t live that long.

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EDITORIAL: On Being “Russian”


On Being “Russian”

We have a challenge for you. Go to Moscow, sidle up to the first Russian you see, and ask them whether the following names are “Russian” — Nazyr, Islam-Beka and Aslanbek.

You won’t need to hear an answer. The quizzical “what kind of moron am I talking to” stare you will get should be sufficient. People with names like Nazyr, Islam-Beka and Aslanbek are subject to being lynched on sight in the Moscow city subway system or being cut to ribbons by machine gun fire in places like Chechnya and Georgia.

Yet, as the first week of the Olympic games drew to a close, Russia had won only seven gold medals, a puny total exceeded or matched by seven other countries, and six of them had been won by Nazyr, Islam-Beka and Aslanbek — two each in the sport of Greco-Roman wrestling. The only athlete with a “Russian” name who had won a gold medal was Valeriy Borchin in race walking (20 km).

How is it that folks like Nazyr, Islam-Beka and Aslanbek get to be suddently “Russian” when the are capable of winning medals at the Olympics, but then immediately lose that status everywhere else in Russia? How is it that, having divested them of that status, Russians can still lay claim to the territories they live in as being “part of Russia”?

These are the questions we are asking.

Russia Promotes Organized Crime in Ossetia

If you have the stomach for it, YouTube has security camera video of marauding Russian soldiers in Georgia robbing a bank. Michael Bronner, an investigative journalist and filmmaker, writing in the New York Times, provides more detail on how Russia is promoting crime in Georgia (note his use of quotation marks around the word “peacekeepers” when applied to Russia; these crop up more and more where Russia is concerned these days, as in “prime minister” Vladimir Putin and “president” Dmitri Medvedev) :

EVEN as Russia and Georgia continue their on-again, off-again struggle over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a frenzied tea-leaf reading about the war’s global political ramifications has broken out across airwaves and think-tank forums. But as the situation on the ground recedes inevitably to some new form of the pernicious “frozen conflict” that has plagued the region since Georgia’s civil wars of the early 1990s, few are paying attention to a less portentous but equally critical international threat: an increase in the longstanding, rampant criminality in the conflict zones that is likely to further destabilize the entire Caucasus region and at worst provide terrorist groups with the nuclear material they have long craved.

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Русский пофигизм: Ah, the Glories of the Russian Language!

Michael Bohm, the opinion page editor of the Moscow Times, writing in his own paper (we’ve added rough phonetic transcriptions of the Russian words so that, if so inclined, non-Russian speakers can say them — staff addition, corrections welcome):

I have often heard Russians say, Русский пофигизм неизлечим {ROO-skee pa-FEEK-izm} (The Russian attitude of “I couldn’t care less” is incurable). But from drivers to professors to prime ministers, no one really seems to care much about this.

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Georgia and the Battered Wife Syndrome

Here’s a first — we republish something from Pajamas Media by a female writer about Russia and it’s not Kim Zigfeld! Instead, a terrific essay by Melissa Clark, who blogs at MelissaClouthier.com and Right Wing News, explaining the scary nexus between battered wife syndrome and the attempt of some to blame Georgia for being invaded by Russia.

The trend of blaming the victim was there before Russia invaded Georgia; this current conflict was just the latest and most obvious example. Yes, it may seem absurd, but in the case of the Caucasus war, some are indeed blaming the victim — and anyone who supports the victim.

Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate, does an excellent job of demonstrating the morally backwards thinking :

Regardless of what happens next, it is worth asking what the Bush people were thinking when they egged on Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s young, Western-educated president, to apply for NATO membership, send 2,000 of his troops to Iraq as a full-fledged U.S. ally, and receive tactical training and weapons from our military. Did they really think Putin would sit by and see another border state (and former province of the Russian empire) slip away to the West? If they thought that Putin might not, what did they plan to do about it, and how firmly did they warn Saakashvili not to get too brash or provoke an outburst?

Let me see if I understand here. An independent country such as Georgia, such as Tibet, such as say, Taiwan, has no right to autonomy. Because of their proximity to abusive bullies intent on owning them, they must shun freedom, shun democracy, and be a virtual puppet.

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Bolton Blasts Neo-Soviet Russia (and Barack Obama)

The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal lead the way on covering the truth about Russia on this side of the Atlantic, and the Telegraph surely does so across The Pond. Writing on it’s pages former U.N. Ambassador Joshua Bolton tells it like it is on neo-Soviet Russia:

Russia’s invasion across an internationally recognised border, its thrashing of the Georgian military, and its smug satisfaction in humbling one of its former fiefdoms represents only the visible damage.

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Blaming the Victim in Georgia

Writing in the Weekly Standard Matthew Continetti writes an editorial on behalf of the magazine denouncing those who would blame the victim concerning Russia’s attack on Georgia:

Blaming the victim is nothing new. But, in the days since Russian tanks first rolled into democratic Georgia, we have been rather surprised at the alacrity with which some–on both the left and right–have blamed that tiny country for the onslaught, and the West for encouraging Georgia’s liberalization. That encouragement, it has been argued, led Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili to believe he could use military force to quell insurgents in the breakaway province of South Ossetia, thereby all but guaranteeing Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s retaliatory assault. This is not just a foolish argument, it is a pernicious one. It masks the true nature of the conflict and assumes that all the actors in this drama are moral equals. They are not.

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