EDITORIAL: Russia — What kind of Country?

EDITORIAL

Russia — What kind of Country?

After 2 pm on New Year’s eve, those whose hobby is following the activity of the Russian stock market will have to find a new way to amuse themselves for a while.  The markets will shut down at that time and they will not reopen, per Kremlin order, until Sunday — yes, Sunday — January 11th.

Just what kind of crazy “country” are we dealing with here, anyway?

You might think that ten days is an absurdly long time to shut down the national economy, but in fact for Russians it’s not nearly enough.  Last Wednesday the Moscow Times reported:

With investors preparing for the holidays and many international funds closed until January, Russia’s equity markets look set for a quiet last two weeks. But the state may also seek to use the Christmas lull to buy up domestic equities as a consolation boost to finish out 2008.  The state’s main bailout vehicle, Vneshekonombank, or VEB, will likely take advantage of the low trading volume on the MICEX and RTS exchanges in the coming days to prop up prices, analysts said, which could mitigate — if briefly — what has been a particularly dismal year for Russian stocks.

So the Russians need two weeks to prepare for ten days of binge drinking and doing even less than usual, and the Kremlin is planning to take advantage of this pre-lull miasma to invade and manipulate the stock market, driving its prices up artificially so as to create the illusion of an end-of–year uptick.  Ironically, even the MT itself is affected, and won’t publish another issue during Russia’s national orgy of drinking.  Its next outing will not come until January 12th.

There’s only one word for all of this, and that words is:  Yikes!

On Christmas Eve oil prices hit a four-year low in London, slipping under $38/barrel for the first time since 2004.   The price of crude oil is down 78% since July, and the Russian stock market has followed it jot for jot.  Finally unmasked, the world can now see that Russophile insistence that there was more to the Putin economy than the accident of world oil prices were nothing but hot air, smoke and mirrors.

In his decade in power, Vladimir Putin has built nothing, stood for nothing, and creating nothing.  He has just been lucky to have reached power at the moment when oil prices took off, and he has squandered the opportunity those windfall revenues gave him to develop Russian infrastructure.  Instead, Putin embarked upon a reckless course of provocation against the West, instituting a new cold war and arms race Russia can ill afford.

The result is that now the only “policy” available to Putin is to build Potemkin villages, desperately seeking to conceal the truth about his failure from the people of the country.

But the falling ruble does not lie, and Putin does not have the resources to keep the ruble inflated.  After squandering more than a third of Russia’s cash reserves in a futile effort to defend the national currency, he has been forced to devalue, and the currency too has been unmasked as the helpless slave of oil prices.  He has been forced to admit that his government lied shamelessly about civilian casualities in Georgia,  overstating them by more than factor of ten (!).  He has talked big about hanging the President of Georgia up by his privates, yet been forced to leave him in power after being repudiated as the aggressor in Georgia by every civilized nation on the planet.  He has made ridiculous noises about joining OPEC and then been forced to eat his words.  He has attacked the U.S. relentlessly, failing to realize that U.S. consumption was the only thing keeping his own nation out of the poor house.

He is a failure.  But that is not surprising in Russia, which seems to want to be ruled by failures.  What kind of nation are we dealing with here?

And more important, how long can we expect such a nation to survive.  We have already seen Tsarist Russia and the USSR destroy themselves, both in the space of less than a century.  How long before Russia follows right along?

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25 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia — What kind of Country?

  1. Russians don’t think the same way. Putin has at leaset one advantage not mentioned in this piece – brilliantly written as all today’s editorials are – he brutally crushed Chechnya. It was nothing like precision strikes performed by IAF today, his was pure barbarism of WW2 type assaults and reprisals. Unlike Israeli attacks on Gaza Putin’s incomparable more brutal action didn’t meet much international disapproval. It was the war and stability after the chaos of Yeltsin times that made him who he is, not economic successes.

    But naturally he needs strong economy now to continue to be popular. Or maybe, strong economy absent, he can substitute with a little successful war?

  2. I would say China’s voracious appetite for raw commodities and Europe’s need for their fuel are what propped up the Russian economy rather than US consumption, a minor point in an overall good assessment.

    The party is over for Putin. But, I’m betting on the Russians missing another historic opportunity to emerge from this crisis with the vertical thuggery they’ve always lived under dismantled. They’d have to accept the premise that they would be irrelevant for a few decades which doesn’t fit with grandiose Russian myths about themselves. They’d have to confront their cruel and squalid Communist past which isn’t going to happen. They’d have to wake up some morning and refuse the state’s rations and put their kids future first which isn’t going to happen.

    The best the US and Europeans can do is to isolate Russia and let time and attrition takes its toll.

  3. I would say that Russian opposition needs an alternative vision for a country. I think formation of Solidarity this month is the first baby step in the right direction. It unites both liberals and non-nazi/non-chauvinistic nationalists and social-democrats into one group aimed at dismantling Putin regime and providing a framework for transitioning to a new form of government. One of the founders of the Russian Solidarity, chess grand master Kasparov, summarized very well that we need a variety of opinions to work together on alternative to Putin regime, so Solidarity would not become a “liberal ghetto”. You can read Kasparov ideas here (in Russian).

    http://www.ej.ru/?a=note&id=8704

    As I said before, Russia does not have to be a democracy. After all, democracy is only an ideal that in pure form does not exist anywhere. In nominally democratic countries, its a combination of democratic institutions (i.e. elections to branches of the government) with non-democratic ones (i.e. Supreme Court in the US whose judges appointed for life by the President and who can reverse decisions by the Congress) to achieve tranquility and social, political and economic stability.

    If I were living in Russia, I would prefer that Russia become constitutional monarchy. Monarch would be constitutionally bounded to respect the rights of citizens for free and peaceful assembly and recognize rights of liberty and property of every Russian citizen. Monarch would also be a symbol of Russia uniting its diverse people and serving other important roles assigned by constitution. In other words, I suggest to a certain extent return to the process that was brutally interrupted by 1917 Bolshevik coup of turning Russia from absolutist into constitutional monarchy.

  4. Sergey, please, a constitutional monarchy is meaningless except for tourists if you’ve got a nice palace like the Brits. Half of the population in Britain, especially the Scots and the Welsh would like to cut off the monarchy’s funding and mothball them. They are hardly a uniting symbol for ethnic groups, just ask the Irish and Scots. Or, perhaps your model in mind was the Saudi monarchy?

    It seems to me as the Putin noose tightens that the days of opposition “baby steps” in Russia are a day late and a dollar short at this point. How about using the tools found in every country with cellphones and the internet, some real organized taking-it-to-the-streets acts of civil disobedience. It worked in the eastern bloc countries.

    And, describing the US as “nominally” democratic is a laugh at best. The press is uncensored, the branches of gov’t are autonomous, elections are open, tanks don’t accompany changing administrations on Inauguration Day in the big picture. 200 years plus, it seems to be working to the satisfation of the vast majority. Get real.

  5. Sergey, Penny is right.

    Plus – why would you want roosha to go backwards?

    The tsar at that time refused to give up an absolutist monarchy, because of the “divine right of kings,” and because it supposedly would have been a “sin,” under the convoluted rooshan orthodox “thinking,” for the king to give up any power to a Duma.

    So, the tsar did the “next best thing” – he killed a bunch of people, including the Decembrists.

    The Bolsheviks didn’t interrupt anything “brutally” – they merely CONTINUED the brutality, the stupidity, that has always been roosha when it comes to government.

    roosha even invited foreigners, such as Catherine and Stalin, to take part in the killing.

    Will rooshans ever, ever learn?

  6. Sergey, with all due respect, represents what is wrong with Russia for over 150 years. And I really mean respect – unlike the idiots Tower Bolshevik and Eugene.

    In classical Russian literature it’s called Oblomovschina – sweat dreams of some Utopian environment that (dreams, not environment) lead to stagnation and apathy.
    I have high hopes for Solidarnost, but so far it’s just that – hopes. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. And while constitutional monarchy experiment worked out OK in Spain – it didn’t work out in Bulgaria. Why does Russia need to try advance backwards? Maybe it is peculiar Russian feature – noticed by Tyutchev also 150 years ago…

  7. Actually guys, the most stable countries in Europe & the west, including UK, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium(ok Belgium is not so stable at the moment, but the only thing holding it together is respect for the King), Sweden,New Zealand,Canada,etc etc, are constitutional monarchies. By the way, most Scots love the Queen, they are just not so fond of the neighbors (sassanachs). However I think that the Russian government would only allow the absolutist form of Tsarism. In my country of New Zealand we have a broad ethnic diversity, similar to that found in the USA, and what holds us together is respect for the Crown (80% in favour by last opinion poll).
    As for Stalin, well he was 1/2 Georgian & 1/2 Ossetian (Jugulashvili is just a “Georgianised” Ossetian name Jugula being an Ossetian name with the “Son of” suffix “shvili”. A bit like calling V.Putin V. Fitzputin) and trying REALLY hard to be a Russian. Just like Hitler vis the whole Germany/Austria thing.
    Russia will never give up it’s imperial ambitions in the Caucasus either. It wants to beggar europe by occupying Georgia & controlling the only non Russian energy corridor. I am currently in Tbilisi, and talk with the EU & OSCE untill they start leaving in Jan thanks to Russian dirty games at OSCE) monitors fairly frequently, they all blame the Reds, I mean Russians for the August war, and say they are SEVERELY concerned that the Russians will attack again next year.
    History shows that most failing empires lash out in order to try and distract their population from domestic collapse by “short victorious wars”, hopefully the next one will go the way of the Russo-Japanese war.
    By the way, I am of Irish & Scots extraction.

  8. Penny, the British monarchy is highly supported and was never disapproved by “half the population” or anything near that percentage even after August 1997, unless you think that the Irish and Scottish “population make up half the population of Britain”. The cost of the monarchy amounts to about $1 a year. As for your views onthe value of the British monarchy as a symbol of unity or a tourist attraction, I will decline to pass comment considering them totally lacking in seriousness, a typical trait of russophobic ignorance.

  9. Yes, I have some sympathy w ith Sergey regarding constitutional monarchies and Russia. The trick, of course would be to prevent the Tsar of the day from actually ever using his ceremonial powers (as then we’d be back where we started in 1917), and keep the Duma from being the supine joke they are now.

    Andrew – you’re a New Zealander? Where did you study slavic?

  10. I like the British monarchy, please let me make that clear. I think the Queen is a classy lady, a symbol of Britain’s rich history which includes English Common Law which all of us in the Anglosphere are so lucky to have in our heritage . She isn’t and never will be a substitution for a one man, one vote democracy which was basically my point to Sergey.

    Other than a ceremonial symbol what’s the point of a Czar returning to Russia. And, just who would that Czar be? The Romanovs were all murdered.

    It seems the obvious that Russians need to get get their apathetic heads out of the sand, treat each other with some respect, take a hard cold look at their horrific history and start making choices that aren’t so stupid.

  11. Hi Penny, no offense taken. I agree with you about the Queens (and in the future the Kings) role, I guess what I am trying to point out that is the “Commonwealth” style of constitutional monarchy is one with one man one vote for representation in Parliament.

    Imagine that the Queen is a living flag. You in the USA swear allegiance to your country & flag, we swear allegiance to our country and our monarch ie to “The Crown”. She is a politically neutral head of state and a living protection against unconstitutional behaviour by the politicians.

    This aside, constitutional Monarchy requires a STRONG DEMOCRACY as its foundation, and for this reason I agree that it will not work in todays Russia.
    Any constitutional Monarchy introduced to Russia at this stage would collapse back into absolutism & autocracy due to the venally corrupt Russian political system. Does anyone really think Putin & co would allow someone politically neutral on the throne?

    As for your comments about what the Russians need to do. I agree entirely, but would also like to add that they need to start treating their neighbours (Geeorgia, Ukraine & the Baltics) with respect too. Russian racisim is unbelievable, and I have witnessed the cancer of their behaviour towards Georgians 1st hand.

    Anyway, I wish you a happy new year! May it bring us the downfall of Putinism

  12. Hi Adrian, yes I am a Kiwi.

    Didn’t study slavic, but I do speak Georgian.
    I can tell you now that you should never, Never, NEVER call Georgians slavic!! They are Caucasian and closely related to the Basques, Welsh, Picts, & Black Irish (all groups that the Romans called Iberians). Their languages were all closely related. Their language “kartulad” is very enjoyable, one interesting thing is the lack of gender in the language, unlike Russian, German, French etc. Fairly unique alphabet too.

    I also studied the “Russian Revolutions” at Uni.
    The subject is enough to make a grown man cry really. I am worried that the silly Russian buggers will never learn.

    One big problem with Russian “culture” (such as it is) is that it is very young, and insanely jealous of older cultures, such as Georgians, western Europeans etc. Bit like a very big, very drunk teenager wanting to vandalise the works of old artists.

  13. Dear all,

    Your vision of Russia really makes me sorry, although I’m far from idealizing my country and see lots of problems in it. But, alas, I’m not much of a ‘rusophobe’, and all i want from my country is to be successful enough, to be among, say, Top10 countries influencing the world.

    Why do I want it? Definitely not because of any nationalistic dreams. In the time before the collapse of the USSR, we really dreamt about integration of our country into the global world, about its actual participance in world democratic institutions. These dreams were badly injured at Balkans and murdered in Iraq, however. Unfortunately, all important issues in the world are still decided by force, as the events in those parts of the world have showed us. If so, we have no other choice but to be strong – if we are going to survive. AND YOU DON’T WANT US TO BE STRONG. That’s why you have created the Rusophobe journal, instead of, say, Uzbekphobe, Kazakhphobe etc., although problems with democracy in those countries are much more serious than in Russia. Similar problems exist in Georgia, by the way. But all those countries either are subordinate to the West/US or are simply irrelevant for them, therefore – no journals like this one are called for.

    As far as the actual situation in today’s Russia is concerned, there is just one point to mention: 8% GDP annual growth was not only the result of high oil prices. There are quite a few businessmen among friends of mine, and from their experience I can conclude that Russia in its present state gives best opportunities than it ever did before to strong, well-working people to develop their business, to advance, to become winners rather than losers in this life.

    Finally, about Russian “horrific” history. You all like to mention Ivan the Terrible as an example of a despotic Russian Tsar. Sorry, but did Henry VIII killed less people? But h wasn’t called Terrible, but Ivan was, to show that Russians didn’t perceive him as a normal Tsar!

  14. Ah Konstantin, in the Balkans your country was supporting ethnic cleansing & genocide. Thats why they were ignored.

    As for any democratic problems in Georgia, it has some problems yes, most of them relate to having been oppresses by scumbag Russians for 200 years or so, but they are working to fix them. There is a vibrant opposition (Saakashvili only won 52% of the vote). Free media, at least in Radio & print, and even the TV channels frequently have a go at the President if he does something wrong.

    To even compare Georgia’s problems with the horrors of the Russian system shows what an uneducated Putinophile serf you really are!!
    Russia has a KGB mafia as it’s government. It invades a smaller neighbor in order to try and arrest its drive to become a free western style democracy. Russia commits mass murder, ethnic cleansing & genocide against Caucasians and other ethnic groups. Nice people are you not?

    By the way, your comments about how great Russia’s business environment is truly beggar belief. Unless you mean the opportunities to pay bribes are wonderful.

    Henry VIII killed far less people than Ivan Grozny old boy. If you had a decent education you would know that.

  15. Well, there it is – Konstantin.

    Proof that rooshans will never, never learn.

    There have been fierce discussion previously here, on this blog, about what the true meaning of Ivan “Grozny” is – with all sorts of rooshans arguing that it does NOT mean “terrible.”

    Now, along comes Konstantin to tell us that, yes, it means “terrible,” and the people even recognize that – but he doesn’t explain why rooshans carry icons of Stalin, why the oily orthodox rooshan church made a saint out of a murdering tsar (it was a deal made to “re-unite” the rooshan orthodox outside of roosha with maskva), or why people vote for Stalin as the all-time great guy in roosha.

    Konstantin – you had it half right. Europe has had its moments of terrible history.

    The difference is that Europe had not hid its history, AND has come to terms with it.

    roosha, especially through the sovoks, has not only hidden its history, it created a fantasy history.

    And roosha has still not come to terms with its history. So, roosha glorifying Stalin – no big deal in roosha, eh?

    Will rooshan ever, ever learn?

    I don’t think so.

  16. Basic problem in Russia and in West is that neither really have no clue how Russia became.

    Once upon a time there was shining jewel of democracy (by the standards of her time) called Novgorod Republic. She was loosely connected to much larger trading system of Kiew.

    Ruling class of Novgorod were family of Rus, they extended their power to Kiew. Money they originally got from capturing “slavs” and selling them to Volga Bulgaria or to Byzant. Volga Bulgaria is ofcource modern day South Russia and Byzant is.. well you know.

    Russi family, early powerdome beeing at Lake Ladoga, later expanded to Kiew. Kiew became known as Russia, land of the Rus’. Rus’ was the rulers, not the people. Family run business if you may. Novgorod Republic remained as their connection to more northern homelands (what is now Finland and Karelia).

    Novgorodian spoke about going to Russia when they went to Kiew. This ruling family, the Rus’ (also known as Rurikids) considered local population as their merchandise, or objects, not as humans.

    One of the Rurikid princes was set to govern city of Moscow, his name was Feodor. It also happened that this Feodor was last male Rurikid in what is now Russia and Ukraine.

    After his death there was period of “False Dimitri’s” which led to total chaos and fighting (collapse of USSR is sunday picnic).

    After Feodor, new ruler became from family of Suiski (Veps’ family, like Putin btw). He is consired as founder of Romanov dynasty. They didnt care about common man either.

    Local population, mostly slavs, were kept in control and send to cannon fodder what ever war is at hand.

    Suiski’s are true founders of Russia, their empire was not Russia (which still at that time was in Kiew) but Moscovite lands. They continued the ruling traditions of Tatar-Mongolian horde, whom earlier had supressed the Moscovia and took tribute from them.

    Even the tittle Czar comes from Tatar-Mongolian rulers.

    Moscovia attacked the Novgorod Republic (where even the lower classes knew how to read and write!).

    Later Moscovia takes name; Russia. Ethnicity of Velikorossyi (Great Russians) is directly connected to advancement of Moscovian Empire. There was no ethnicity of “Russians” before. Rus’ were the ruling class, not the folk.

    Moscovia and their Mongol ruling traditions then turns into Soviet Union and even later to Russian Federation.

    Russia should rather look at Novgorod and her Veche’ ruling system than with Moscovia and her tradition of Mongol horde and all her troubles would go away.

  17. Dear Elmer and the others,

    unfortunately, we have learnt much. First and foremost, we have learnt that when we give up, we do not gain anything. In the early nineties, we were eager to demonstrate our readiness to fulfill all demands of our partners. Our foreign minister of those times was nicknamed “Mister ‘Yes’” abroad. In the democratic world, we could expect some gratitude for this. Instead, we were deceived several times. E.g. it was promised that after Soviet army withdraws from the countries of Eastern Europe, they do not join NATO – but soon they were taken there. Also, those countries who promised us ‘partnership’ started to invest into the building of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline which was not in our interests (fortunately, it does not have much oil to transmit). Then, in the bilateral conflict at the Balcans, with BOTH SIDES committing ethnocide, the super-ultra-democratic NATO granted military support to one of those sides. They didn’t even care to explain why they were ready to talk and cooperate with Bosnian Muslim leaders, whose territory used to be a back-office for Islamic extremists for years! At that point, every honest Russian could not help to arrive to the conclusion that we cannot count on anybody’s good will, but have to be strong ourselves. In August 2008, the US commanded Georgia to check whether Russia is still as weak as it was in 1999. The experiment has shown that it is not.

    About the historical remarks. Seriously speaking, I’m not sure that it is vital for every nation to ‘come to terms’ with its history. The history of every big, active nation is always contradictory, and on-going discussion of it is what makes a nation develop and understand itself better, instead of saying once and forever that this is white and that is black. There is no much debate about Ivan, I must say, as most people agree he was an abnormal Tsar (in whatever way the term ‘Grozny’ is translated). But Stalin is still disputed, what I can easily understand. On the one hand, he did commit many crimes (although much more people were murdered by Bolsheviks in the twenties, when Stalin was not their only leader, and when the Bolsheviks were mainly attempting to build a new country following the Utopias of some marginal WESTERN scholars). On the other hand, under Stalin’s leadership Russia saved the world from Nazism. So there is something to discuss about this guy. I’ve never seen his icons, by the way, although I attend the church quite often – but I can imagine that they exist, because for many people now Stalin is just the antonym for the collapse of the nineties.

    The other thing we learnt is that no democracy is possible in a weak country. At best, the only democratic procedure in such a country could be a congress of field commanders…

    Nobody has answered my question ‘Why rusophobia, not other ethnophobias?’ But probably I was naïve when I asked it, and when I took the whole discussion so seriously. I’m sure that the anti-Russian hysteria appears on one of the following reasons:

    1. Some businessmen who failed to come to terms with some Russian companies of government sponsor it to take kind of a moral revenge.

    2. Some PR-technologists develop it in order to show the Russian government that ‘rusophobia’ is advancing, in their hope that the government gives money to fight against it.

    Nothing worth a discussion.

    All the best.

  18. Andrew, the theory of the Basques and the Georgians and all others Iberians ranges from unproven to wrong. It is fairly certain that Basque is a language isolate (one of the few worldwide) while Welsh is in all probability Indo-European. They are not closely related: Georgian is largely an agglutinative language, Welsh and Basque are more so nflectional. Please provide some evidence (phonological, lexical, derivational or inflectional morphological) from historical linguistics or linguistic typology that would support this claim.

  19. If your views on the Georgian language are anything to go by then one should also be very skptical about your views towards Russian history and its people as ignorant or pure fantasy.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    If your inability to identify the target of your remarks, spell the word “skeptical” or avoid personally abusive comments are anything to go by, then there is no reason to do anything other than simply ignore your meaningless gibberish.

  20. Кошмарные статейки. Как приятно осознавать, что несмотря на то что русские живут в плохом климате и неразвитой политичесокй системе, количество здоровых людей у нас все таки больше чем в т.н. Западе. Чтобы не произошло с Россией в будущем, я думаю что не найдется много людей, готовых в трудные времена бежать из России в поисках лучшей доли и жить среди столь циничных и кровожадных людей, давно не получавших оргазма естественным путем, а не с помощью русофобии. В России сейчас обратная реакция и развивается Еврофобия и этому способствует не правители России, а западная пресса, не научившаяся разбираться даже в географических картах. Вы нас не любите, так в чем проблема? Мы тоже от вас тоже не в восторге.

  21. Actually “linguist”, if your command of the english language is anything to go by you are not much of a linguist at all. I think we can safely ignore anything you have to say. There are quite a few good sources about the link between the Georgian language and those of the Basques, Picts, & Black Irish (fir-bolg), a good starter is understanding the Roman view of the world. Non Romans were named by their linguistic group. Secondly, the legends of the Picts & Black Irish both state that they migrated from the eastern side of the black sea, and all 3 languages have a large number of common words (the idea that Basque is “unique” is a result of Basque nationalist propaganda, and is not based in reality), for a good examination of this matter I suggest you read some classics, or maybe the books by D M Lang “The Georgians” & W E D Allen “”A History of the Georgian People”. For examlple I know several Basques & Georgians, and they can understand 50%+ of each others language at 1st meeting. Georgian Pictish/BI words that match Tba (engl-lake), Dana (engl-sword/dagger), Parry (engl-to block a blow/sheild) etc, etc, etc. I dont really have room here to give you a list of all of them. There is also the matter of architectural & artistic styles, and the similarity in musical styles & myriad similarities in culture etc. By the way, in your post you have admitted that the relationship is proposed by serious scholars (some of them even Russia) but the problem of “proof” lies in the fact that the relevant migrations occurred over 3000 years ago, at a time when Russians still lived in caves, whereas nowdays Russians still live in mental caves.

    As for Konstantin, a typical serf type rant from you old bean. Russians alway whinge on about some mystical agreement not to extend NATO, but forget a couple of things.

    1. NO such agreement was ever signed (or probably even verbally stated except in the Russian propaganda imagination).

    2. The eastern European states that joined NATO, and those that wish to join, have good reason to fear Russian agression, which for your information never stopped, even during the period of Russian “weakness” see Chechnya for a good example.

    3. NATO is a DEFENSIVE alliance, and only a threat to Russia if Russia attacks one of it’s members.

    As for the tired old cliche about “Russia saving the world from the Nazi’s”. A few facts.

    1. Russia under Stalin helped to CREATE the Nazi state & it’s war machine.

    2. Russia & Nazi Germany cooperated in the invasion & patition of Poland even going so far as to hold joint victory parades.

    3. Without US & UK military aid, delivered at great cost, the Russian military would have been without:
    A. Food (most Soviet soldiers ate western supplied rations)
    B. Tactical mobility (supplies of fuel, food, ammunition, reinforcements were all moved in US supplied GMC trucks)
    C. The huge supply of high grade armor plate sent from the UK & US enabled the production of the T-34, JS-2 & JS-3 to proceed (Russian armor plate was so bad it would have been rejected for use by any other state)
    D. Large numbers of tanks & aircraft from USA & UK that helped turn the tide (Maltida, Valentine, & Churchill tanks from the UK, Grant & Sherman tanks from the USA, Hurricanes & Spitfires from the UK, B25’s, P39’s, P47’s, & P51’s from the USA) which were often far more popular with Russian crews than home grown equipment. Not to mention RADAR & modern communications systems etc.

    4. Allied (US & UK) strategic bombing destroyed German war industry, tied up over a million men & hundereds of thousands of large calibre guns that would have been much better used by the Germans on the eastern front.

    5. The price paid by all former Soviet states in manpower losses was DIRECTLY attributable to the appallingly poor tactical doctrine of the Russian commanders of the Red Army. All noise & frontal assaults. The huge wasteage of men was traditional “Russian steamroller” tactics. Machineguns that should have been used to provide suppressive/enfilade fire on German positions during assaults were instead used to machingun their own men when forced to pull back from suicidal, unsupported, and uncoordinated piecemeal attacks on heavily dug in & well coordinated German defences.

    6. Russian occupation of eastern Europe was just as bad, if not worse, than the occupation by the Nazis. One sends you to Dachau, the other to Siberia. There was no difference between Nazi & Communist opression to those unfortunate enough to suffer both.

    Your comments about the Balkans show your slavic bias. Serbian atrocities were many times worse that those committed by other combatants, and were (surprise, surprise) supported by Russia. The seige of Sarajevo springs to mind as a particularly unplesant example. The shelling of the civillian markets by the Serbs was probably inspired by the Russian massacre of Chechen civillians in Grozny using artillery strikes on markets, or the Russian massacre of Georgian civillians in Sukhumi (Abkhazia). During its “time of weakness” Russia was still more than capable of, and did commit, horrible crimes against humanity in the Chechen, Ingush, & Dagesh regions of the north Caucasus, and also comitted ethnic cleansing bordering on Genocide in Georgia in support of separatist MINORITIES (Abkhazia 1991-94, South Ossetia 1992-93), Nagorno-Karabach in Azerbaijahn in support of Amenian separatists. Plus its actions in support of Russian ethnics in Crimea against the native Crimean Tartars etc.

    As for your assinine comments about the BTC pipeline, this is a project involving Soveriegn states, why would Russian permission be required?

    I suggest Konstantin, that you stop reading Nashi & other Putinist propaganda. Then you might see why so many nations distrust, and in many cases hate, Russia.

  22. Димочка,
    Since this blog is in English, I’ll keep my comments in English as well. But if you want a response in Russian – I can’t say better than your namesake said here. The heading, 2008 as hangover says it all.

    You worry about bloodthirsty russophobes? Sober up, dear – and smell the coffee (English), or have a pickle (Russian).

    You don’t like the west? You and Kim Chen Ir and Hugo Chavez… good company. But frankly, I don’t believe you. Do you have a cell phone? Do you have a TV? So, you are more like Somali pirates, who like the Western loot, but doesn’t like Western marines.

    By the way, что бы пишется раздельно, а вместо не произошло – надо писать ни, Mr Geography teacher!

  23. Andrew

    if relying on a typographic error is cause to question my English, that I am not a linguist and that hence to assume that one can safely ignore what I have to say then it is clear you are quite unaware of what linguistics is and would be hence better if you abstained from similar claims.

    1) Linguists analyze languages both individually and on a clearly theoretical level. Linguists often know a number of languages but the fact that one makes a mistake can hardly discredit one’s knowledge of a particular language or linguistics in general. Even native speakers make mistakes (slips of the tongue for example). In fact even calling my mis-typing of a word a mistake and using it to infer a faulty command of English is an allegation that under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even comment on.
    2) The books you are referring to were published in 1966 and 1932 if I am not mistaken. Hasn’t there been any more recent research since then. Do you even have any idea what linguistic theory was like in 1932? And you expect to be taken seriously?
    3) Your argumentation is interesting but I’m afraid it has more to do with anthropology, cultural studies, ethnography and little if anything to do with linguistics. In fact architecture and artistic styles, myths and all things relevant have little to do with language relatedness. By the way no linguist proper would write a book titled the X people or the x-ians (I mean the name of any nationality.
    4)Your reference to the Romans is also problematic as linguistics as we now it today simply didn’t exist at the time. Their categorizations of peoples is to be questioned. Linguistics as something remotely systematic starts in the 19th century and becomes linguistics proper in the 20th century (Saussure).
    5) Your preoccupation with words is interesting but typical of amateur linguistics. You don’t have to site a whole list of words that are similar in both languages. I can tell you now that to my knowledge there are about 6,000 words that are common to both Basque and Georgian. But this is not enough to establish a connection between two languages.
    a)English has far more loan words from Latin but these are loans. Loans can be found between genetically unrelated languages due to historical influences not relatedness.
    b)You might not know this but mati means eye in both Greek and some Polynesian language but this does not establish a connection between the two unless you believe in some conspiracy theory. Some things are just random.I am guessing most of your words are at most bisyllabic which would increase the possibility of randomness.
    c)However linguists, those that are interested in language relations are normally historical linguists or linguistic typologists. They focus more on structures (Georgian is agglutinative and ergative, the other languages are not)not on individual words.
    6) If we were to engage in linguistics proper we could start by searching the World Atlas of Language Structures (wals.info) which was brought out in 2005 by the MAX-Plank Institute in collaboration with some other universities and a number of linguists. Go there and look for Georgian, Basque or any other language. Their categorization can be found there. Check it out and tell us if linguists nowadays consider Georgian or Basque related! While you’re at it you might want to look at the 120 or so features analyzed for each language and pray tell us which ones are common for any of the languages you claim are related.
    But wait you don’t have to go into something so complicated. Just go to wikipedia and you’ll find that they claim that “the Georgian hypothesis, linking Basque to South Caucasian or Kartvelian languages, seems now widely DISCREDITED” .
    Why don’t you offer us some data from Georgian and Basque to demonstrate their uncanny similarity?
    7)You say that I acknowledge that the relationship has been proposed by serious scholars. I said there was a theory and nothing about serious scholars. But even if it has been proposed by serious scholars (which is of little importance) this does not mean a theory can’t be wrong and that one cannot prove this.
    8) (some of them even Russia) What’s that you were saying about my command of English? Should I apply the same argument as you did? Sorry I don”t do that kind of thing.

  24. BRICs is the word coined to show the countries which are outperforming the developed world despite the recession and Russia figures in this list. Similarily Indian share market is a market which has been outperforming its peers and one can be a part of elite 5% who make money from stock market by following Indian share market tips which are producing 100% sure shot profit every day.

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