EDITORIAL: Biden gets Russia Right

EDITORIAL

Biden Gets Russia Right

I think we vastly underestimate the hand that we hold.  [The Russians have] a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they’re in a situation where the world is changing before them and they’re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.

–  U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal

Those words might just as easily have been written by this blog, but they were said by the Vice President of the United States instead — and that’s encouraging.

Biden has yet to follow up his insights with any specific proposals for policy action, but that is obviously the fault of his boss, Barack Obama.  Biden can’t force Obama to adopt concrete policies, it’s Obama’s job to create them.  The U.S. has rejected Georgia’s plea for defensive weapons to repel another Russian invasion, and it is still considering Georgia’s request to station observers along the disputed border with Russia, something that would be far more valuable than weapons.  No tangible policy response has been suggested by the Obama White House regarding Georgian security, and this amiguity places Georgia at risk.

Biden delivered a firey speech before the Georgian parliament, Biden shocked the Russians by demanding that they withdraw from Ossetia and Abkhazia.  At the level of rhetoric, Biden’s comments seem to go a good way towards balancing the damage done by Barack Obama himself when he was in Moscow.  But words are only a prelude to actions, not a substitute for them, and the lack of policy steps by the Obama administration can only give encouragement to those in Russia who plan aggression in former Soviet space.  And as if to emphasize the chronic confusion and inconsistency of the Obama government on Russia, Hillary Clinton made a bizarre comment about Russia being a “great power” soon after Biden exposed the country’s fundamental weakness.

Biden himself admits that though Russians are once again busily destroying their economy, they are still capable of short-term actions that could seriously undermine international secuity.

66 responses to “EDITORIAL: Biden gets Russia Right

  1. Biden goes around blurting out the truth. He cannot help himself.

    Obama is seriously mentally ill. You never know what is will do next. He could start a war and within 48 hours blame someone else.

    • Oh yes. All aggressions in the aggression-rich American history were started by Obama. Unfortunately most Americans, outside your own insane assylim, don’t know this. Why? Because Obama successfully “blamed someone else” for all of them, from the Spanish-American War to Viet Nam to Iraq. Especially Iraq.

  2. Having once taken advantage of Russia’s weakness, don’t hope to get dividends forever. Russians always come to collect their money. And when they do, don’t rely on Jesuitic agreements justifying you. They would not be worth the paper on which they were written. Therefore, with Russians one should play honestly, or not at all.

    Russia is invincible because of its unlimited expanse and limited wants of its population.

    Even the most favorable outcome of a war will never bring about the dissipation of the mainstay of Russia testing upon millions of Russians. Even if you divide them by international treaties they will rejoin each other as quickly as drops of quicksilver.

    Russia does not have any objects the seizure whereof would force her to capitulate.

    (c) Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, a much wiser politician than Joe Biden (although being wiser than Joe Biden is by no means a great feat.

    • Wise? He unified Germany so it could butcher 20 million Russians in World War II then lose that war after losing World War I a few years earlier. Your definition of wisdom is typically Russian — i.e., cosmically ignorant.

      Russians are wiping themselves out, no need for any foreigner to do so. Don’t rank in top 150 world nations for adult lifespan, losing 1 million from population every year.

      “Invincible”? Lay off the vodka, crazy person.

      • LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

        Your comment has been deleted because you made factual claims without linking to source material, a rude violation of our clearly posted rules. Do it again and you’ll be banned as commenter.

        • My apologies: in 2008, the population of Russia decreased by 104,859 people.

          Prooflink: http://www.gks.ru/bgd/regl/b09_107/IssWWW.exe/Stg//%3Cextid%3E/%3Cstoragepath%3E::|tab1-03.xls

          • Gosh, Eugene, you mean the Russian government itself, run by a proud KGB spy who spent his whole life learning how to lie, says that Russia’s population loss is negligible?

            And therefore the reports of several world-renown Western demographers are nothing but propagandistic lies?

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/03/AR2008100301976.html

            Well, all we can say is thank goodness for Eugene and the Russian government, the sole respositories of truth where Russia is concerned!

            Truly, you’re one of the stupidest and most dishonest individuals who ever commented on this blog. Do you actually believe anyone could be fooled by your childish antics?

            • In the past, world-renowned Western experts erred in their forecasts about Russia so many times that one shouldn’t take them too seriously. :-)

              Coming back to Bismarck: I don’t think he should be held responsible for the misdeeds of his successors who ignored his warnings.

              • Are you saying the Russian government itself has erred less, dimwit?

                Are you saying the Russian government wouldn’t lie about statistical data that makes it look bad, monkey?

                You read your own text quite badly. He didn’t say not to kill millions of Russians, he just said don’t hope to divide the country up after war. You’re an illiterate savage and, if you believe Russia is invincible, a drunken savage to boot.

                • Is it hysterics, Miss? I recommend you should take some tranquiliser. If you’re rolling on the floor, I hope it’s been swept clean. :-)

                  And I’ve read my own text well enough to see Bismarck’s words “Russia is invincible” in the beginning of its second paragraph. BTW, sorry for the typo: the word “testing” should be read “resting”.\

                  LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

                  Are you so afraid to answer our questions that you can’t even try? That’s rather pathetic.

                  • Bismark was clearly talking in the context of a war or invasion of Russia. Let’s say he was right. But who is going to attack Russia and why? I don’t see anybody interested in that except China.

                    Perhaps it is indeed very difficut or even impossible to conquer Russia militarily, but why bother, when Russians are simply dying off anyhow. You would not be in favor of permitting immigration of people from third world countries (even if they wanted to come), would you? Considering your country’s racism, I am sure Russia will not let this happen. That would be bad for pride and Russian messianic ideology.

                    And China is going slowly colonize Siberia anyway, even though you and them are such good friends these days. There is nothing your national pride can do about it

                    • If China didn’t colonize Siberia 5000 years ago, why should it do it now? The climate there is not very suitable for growing rice, you know.

                      LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

                      The Chinese industrial economy is far larger than Russia’s, which now is nothing more than a gas pump for China. Your ignorance (and racism) is quite typical of Russian internet goons and makes your country look like a nation of apes.

                    • What Eugene forgets is that Bismark was writing in a time when Russia had, compared to Europe, unlimited population reserves.

                      The 19th century was a time when mass was considered to be the deciding force on the battlefield a la Napoleonic tactics.

                      However, nowdays in relation to even the EU, Russia is a pygmy in terms of population, it cannot sustain economically or by manpower and technology a protracted war with the west.

                      However, people like Eugene and his hero Putin have not woken up to this fact. They still dream sick little dreams of empire and conquest, and are capable of doing immense damage to their immediate (and far smaller) neighbours.

                      But invinceable? Don’t make me laugh, the Japanese dispelled that notion in the Russo Japanese war (where they won every battle land and sea), and the Germans defeated Russia in the first world war (the Revolution was facilitated by the humiliating series of defeats suffered by the Russians).

  3. Everyone has their Kryptonite!

  4. Bismarck also thought the Kaiser would stay. He didn’t. In fact, you probably could write a whole book with what Bismarck was wrong about. Is he wiser than Biden? I frankly don’t see why. What he built fell apart after he died, the last link to that tradition — von Hindenburg — ended up being ousted by a talentless Austrian artist who Hindenburg himself despised…

    Bismarck also thought Austria (by which he meant the old Habsburg monarchy or Austria-Hungary) was a Great Power. Remember his “you forget the importance of being in a party of three on the European chessboard”? Remember the Dreikaiserbund — yet another one of his failed endeavors?

    Now, where’s Austria-Hungary now? Haven’t the Habsburgs joined the Kaiser as political non-entities these days?…

    If Russia had to count on Bismarck’s genius, it would really be hopeless. Happily, Russia has more going for her than the ideas of a dead white German. Unfortunately, what she has going for her is not her current government, which is simply a source of shame.

    Yes, Russia’s population is shrinking. You prefer to heed the official values? No problem. They still agree with the basic hypothesis: the population is decreasing and ageing. If nothing changes, Russia, like other ageing countries, will end up having to depend on foreigners to keep the country going.

    That’s not a healthy prospect. Yet, Russia might still survive — she did, after all, under arguably much worse circumstances in the past. But it certainly won’t be thanks to her government. As far as I can see, the current government is simply interested in protecting the status quo, their own pockets, and their oligarch friends — throwing in a “foreign scare” every now and then for good measure. They have of course been very successful in keeping the Russian people convinced that they are necessary — in a way reminiscent of the words of Emmanuel Goldstein’s The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism: “The sole potential threats [against the government’s status quo] are therefore the splitting-off of a new group of able, under-employed, power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and scepticism in their own ranks.”

  5. LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS to Eugene: “Your comment has been deleted because you made factual claims without linking to source material, a rude violation of our clearly posted rules. Do it again and you’ll be banned as commenter.”

    Interesting. Would you like me to show you 100 instances where LES, Andrew and Robert not only made “factual claims without linking to source material” but actually posted lies without any sources whatsoever? Why is it OK for to do so for russophobes but not for russophiles?

    • It’s time we get used to Western double standards, colleague. :-)

      • Well, let’s not generalise. There are many Western blogs that allow dissent. But it would be quite unreasonable to expect tolerance for free speech from people suffering from russophobia or any other phobia for that matter, especially xenophobia.

        Intolerance can be found in Russian blogs too. When I posted to the NATO loving Valeria Novodvorskaya’s blog/forum complaining about her publicly expressed demand that the Russian President must ban The Other Russia leader Eduard Limonov and his party (whom she and Putin call “fascist extremists”, and who form the backbone of The Other Russia) – she almost immediately removed my post.

        • Indeed La Russophobe tends to be more emotional than necessary, and often angry words are used instead of arguments.

          But if you look up, you’ll see just as many cases of similar emotional arguments coming from Eugene. He is also pretty extremist on many issues — I remember him even attacking freedom of speech once — “you can’t eat it” or something like that.

          • > you’ll see just as many cases of similar emotional arguments coming from Eugene

            Does Eugene delete LR’s posts or threaten to ban those who disagree with him, like LR does?

            • Something tells me he would, if he were the owner of the blog here…

              But why do I have to rely on gut feelings? Eugene has declared himself to be authoritarian and stalinist, and has made many an anti-Semite remark here.

              In fact, here’s what I don’t understand: he’s always claiming authoritarian dictators are better than democratic ones, that freedom of speech doesn’t fill your belly, etc. He admires strong leaders who take what they want regardless of right.

              But if he’s so convinced that might is right, he should applaud LR for deleting him. After all, because she’s the blog owner, she has the power to delete whatever she wants and she is ready to wield it, fairly or not. To a fan of authoritarian regimes like Eugene, this should be great! He should be on his feet applauding LR every time she does anything that can be seen as an authoritarian decision…

  6. > Wise? He unified Germany

    Is unifying a nation now a crime?

    > so it could butcher 20 million Russians in World War II

    Are you are saying that when Bismark unified Germany, he knew that 70 years later this unified Germany would start WW2 and did so for that purpose? Then maybe it was wrong of Grobachev to allow the re-unification of Germany? Who knows, maybe 50 years from now, unified Germany will do something terrible again, and it will be all Gorbachev’s fault.

    And why not blame Garibaldi for unifying Italy, which also later committed heinous crimes in WW2?

    In fact, just to be on the safe side, let us dismember all countries in the World into tiny pieces. Otherwise, if 70 years from now some large country does something bad – it will be our fault for not foreseeing it.

  7. Andrew wrote: “Bismarck was wrong. What he built fell apart after he died”

    Really? How does that square with what LR wrote: “He unified Germany”

    And Germany is unified the last time I checked. And that’s Bismark’s greatest achievement.

    • No I didn’t moron, that was Asehpe, get your facts right.

      • Sorry. Wrong number… :-)

        • Indeed that was wrong number. As for me… You think of Bismarck’s task as simply unifying Germany, but he didn’t want just any Germany — no, Austria should be out of it, and this Germany should be an empire right in the hands of the big Kaiser.

          Yes, Germany is still united. Is there anything else that Bismarck did, and that wasn’t undone by that little talentless Austrian artist, and later on by the USSR? Even Prussia — Prussia, Bismarck’s first fatherland, which he always saw as the leading force behind the Reich — has been wiped out of the map forever; it’s not even a Bundesland.

          Yes, if Bismarck were still alive, he’d have a lot of reasons to weep.

  8. 2Andrew: Russia had revenge for the defeats of the Russo-Japanese war 40 years later, when she regained control over the Kurile Islands and the Southern Sakhalin. In the same way, Russia’s defeats in the WW1 were revenged during the WW2 when the Red Army took Berlin. That’s what Bismarck meant when he said that “Russians always come to collect their money”. As to present-day Russia’s population reserves, she is going to replenish them by regaining control over Eastern Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan and the Baltic states – in full conformity with Bismarck’s prophesy that “even if you divide Russians with international treaties, they will rejoin each other as quickly as drops of quicksilver”.

    • It still won’t be enough, even with those areas the EU alone will outnumber you over 2 to 1, along with the US 4 to 1.

      You have a rapidly ageing population, the average age of Russian women is moving past 41 years (2008) and getting outside the range for reproduction.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Russia

      By the way, don’t you think that given the problems you have in the north Caucasus that trying to subdue far larger populations such as the Khazaks (who don’t like you very much) might be a terribly bad idea.

      • It’s not the quantity that matters in the population, dearie, it’s the quality. :-)

        • Yes, the Estonians certainly prove your point!

        • As for Russia replenishing her population with areas that are also undergoing sharp decreases in their own population, and which Russia is in no position to annex… that would make you Jester of the Year! :-)

    • Andrew wrote: “EU alone will outnumber you over 2 to 1, along with the US 4 to 1”

      So, the US population is 2 time slarger than the EU population? I know that you are a great expert, Andrew, but the population of EU is 500 million, as opposed to 307 million in USA. LOL.

  9. actually ON topic, I believe it was Churchill who said “If you can’t convince them, confuse them”

    not sure if the Obama team is confusing on purpose though. One can hope…

  10. The link pasted in below is to an analysis done by Stratfor – it is excellent.

    It points out Russia’s failing demographics – there are more people over 50 than teen-agers.

    It points out how the sovok union was failing, and the attempt to shift from technology transfer through espionage to technology transfer through legitimate means.

    It points out how Russia has been an economic wreck throughout most of its history.

    And how Russia used political power to divert all resources to the military – and to suppress any dissent –

    whether called the Okhraina, Cheka, NKVD, MGB or KGB.

    And how noone can be a major power without people.

    http://blog.kievukraine.info/2009/07/russian-economy-and-russian-power.html

  11. And here is a link which explains the Russian authoritarian mentality – “why would one ever miss freedom if one does not want freedom in the first place”?

    Or, as the writers in the movie “Moscow on the Hudson” put it, through the excellent acting of Robin Williams: “In Russia, I had my misery – I could hold it, I could love it, it made me happy. Here (in the US) I have freedom – and I am miserable.”

    http://www.annaershova.com/blog/

    This reminded me of the way Russians who study abroad often feel: they have too much freedom, and they often don’t like it.

    Freedom of choice can be daunting. When you — all of a sudden — have to make your own decisions, how do you do it? In Russia, students often enter college when they are 17 or 18, and many do not have distinct academic interests yet, so their parents choose their major and school and more for them.

    Now, there is something about Russian culture that lends itself to a similar situation. I still can’t put my finger on it, but Russians are very comfortable with having a strong, paternal figure leading the nation — and essentially telling them what to do and what to think. It seems to go against all the teachings of Western political philosophers, so when I am in the US, I am always baffled to comprehend it, since the Western liberal arts tradition affects my thinking, but when I am in Russia, that question disappears. The situation and the way people accept it seems to be very natural. Russians feel comfortable having a leader who has a strong opinion on what needs to be done; and to have a lot of freedom — in the Western, democratic sense of the world — means stepping out of that comfort zone. This is why Russians do not understand why the rest of the world criticizes their government for being authoritarian. If one doesn’t want freedom, why complain about lacking it?

  12. Elmer: you asked, if one doesn’t want freedom, why complain about lacking it?

    The answer is this. One has a right to be a voluntary slave if he wants it. If the Russians don’t want freedom, fine, it’s their right. But then they should stop pretending that they do want it and stop lying about it. They also have to stop demanding respect. This message board is full of sanctimonious statements from many Russians saying that they are no different from the West, they they are rich and prosperous and value human rights etc. They seem to be baffled why the best they could get from the West is fear but not respect.

    The hallmark of the Western and otherwise developed societies is freedom and in the end only free peoples can be prosperous. If the Russians want to remain lazy serfs just to remain in their “comfort zone” — nobody can stop them; but then you understand why they will never have our respect (that they really crave to have)

    • We are not “baffled” by lack of your respect and we don’t need it, that hope is long past. I’ve already quoted Caligula in this blog – let them hate me, as long as they fear me. As to your “freedom” – please tell me what is the real difference between, say, the ideologies of the Republican and the Democratic parties?

      > in the end only free peoples can be prosperous.

      Is Saudi Arabia free? and is the present-day Ukraine or Afghanistan prosperous?

      • I don’t know what the political ideologies of the Republican and Democratic Parties have to do with the topic at hand, but since you asked, here it is.

        Republicans: conservative ideas, e.g., low taxes, small government (as small as possible), strong national defense, strong security (such as police), personal responsibility, and traditional values.

        Democrats: liberal (some call it progressive) ideas, e.g., more government intrusion into the economy, progressive taxation (and not necessarily low taxes), more benefits to the public through government action, affirmative action, more conciliatory foreign policy, emphasis on human rights.

        Of course, there are many shades of politicians in both parties, and often the picture is blurred. The principal difference, as I see it is this. Republicans preach non-interference (or less interference) of the government in the economic life, but actively get involved in the social issues, such as religion, guns, and homosexual rights. Democrats are more vice versa.

        So, what does this have to do with the assertion that Russians don’t care about freedom?

        • > I don’t know what the political ideologies of the Republican and Democratic Parties have to do with the topic at hand

          IMHO, before reproaching other for the lack of freedom, you should first think whether you have enough freedom yourself. The differences between two ruling parties described by you are, in the great picture, just nuances – some analysts say that the USA is actually ruled by a single “Demo-Publican” party with a liberal and a conservative wing, and radical opinions are marginalized. When did an independent candidate become U.S. president last time?

          • We don’t have enough freedom and we want more, that’s right. It is also true that radical opinions in the U.S. are not taken seriously, for the most part (the current President may be an exception). We do think that the government of the middle is the best. We have been having never ending debates about this because we want to improve our country and our lives.

            We also cognizant of the fact that while our country is the best that ever existed, it is not perfect or ideal and we need to make it better. One of those improvements would be to create a third party. It’s correct, no candidate of a new party has won the presidency since President Lincoln (who was at the time only a second candidate of his new party, Republican). That’s how we see the United States, but why are you trying to switch the topic, which is Russia, not the U.S?

            You, on the other hand, don’t want any freedom, and the terms “freedom” and “democracy” are bad words for you as you have stated many times. I don’t know if it has something to do with the serf mentality of Russians or their troubled history, or culture, or what. But the fact remains that Russia demands respect and a right to be a power to which others would defer, including a power to veto decisions of independent countries such as the Ukraine or Georgia. Russia makes these demands in a very aggressive, nasty, loud and obnoxious manner. This includes even threats to annex some of these countries. You have made such threats many times.

            My point is that such a respect has to be earned and deserved, and it’s not going to happen while you have your dictatorship that you obviously admire.

            • Again, again and again – seeing the countries you “respect” we congratulate ourselves to the fact that we don’t belong to that cabal of jackals and hyenas! I know that it is hard thing for a primitive egocentric every Pindos is to understand – but WE DON’T CARE A HOOT for your f***ing “respect”, leave it for such “great nations” at the Czechs, Poles and Georgians. We only want our legitimate national interests to be taken into account, and if you don’t do that, we’ll resort to force to defend them, the way we did on 08.08.08.

              • Cabal of jackals and hyenas you do belong to; it’s freedom that you lack.

                Hey, if you don’t care a hoot for “respect”, why do you keep demanding it?

                Indeed, respect you won’t get. Better try something else…

          • Eugene, I’m sure you appreciate freedom yourself. Or else, why the heck are you here, freely expressing your opinion, instead of watching Pugachova sing on TV Zvesda? Just imagine how bad you’d feel if some central government office forbade you from ever coming here to write your contributions to ongoing debates ;-)

            But seriously: freedom is a value in itself, quite independent from being rich or poor. I don’t necessarily agree that being free makes you rich. Freedom tends to help development because, as I said above, it removes obstacles to the application and diffusion of new ideas. But I suppose you could come up with some set of circumstances in which lack of freedom wouldn’t prevent development — it might be harder, but not impossible.

            But freedom is an end in and of itself. If Russia doesn’t want it, then it loses in the end — just like Sparta lost to Athens in terms of its historical influence in the world.

  13. RV, you are right – but it wasn’t I who asked the question, it was Anna, a Russian, whose excerpts I pasted in under the link.

    Eugene, you really need to read the Stratfor report, linked to above. Here is an excerpt which is particularly relevant, and which demonstrates that rooshans, as former sovoks, think bass ackwards – in other words, rooshans don’t know how to think logically.
    —————————

    What followed was a decade of economic horror, at least as most Russians viewed it. From the West’s point of view, collapse looked like liberalization. From the Russian point of view, Russia went from a superpower that was poor to an even poorer geopolitical cripple. For the Russians, the experiment was a double failure. Not only did the Russian Empire retreat to the borders of the 18th century, but the economy became even more dysfunctional, except for a handful of oligarchs and some of their Western associates who stole whatever wasn’t nailed down.

    The Russians, and particularly Putin, took away a different lesson than the West did. The West assumed that economic dysfunction caused the Soviet Union to fail. Putin and his colleagues took away the idea that it was the attempt to repair economic dysfunction through wholesale reforms that caused Russia to fail. From Putin’s point of view, economic well-being and national power do not necessarily work in tandem where Russia is concerned.

    • I won’t listen to anyone who uses hate speech against me, thank you. Besides, what the Stratfor analysts think is Putin’s point of view and his actual point of view are not necessarily be the one and the same thing.

      LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

      What language should somebody who hates you use? Love speech?

      You won’t listen, then you listen and respond. Uh, OK.

      Meanwhile, we won’t listen to anyone who decorates his comments with absurdly childish smilely faces. Ironic, isn’t it?

      Everybody in the world is wrong except Putin, the Kremlin and Eugene! Isn’t that special!?

    • Yes Elmer, I get it, it wasn’t your question, but the issue is still important — why wouldn’t people want to live free? Why do they think that being free means being poor?

      • Because we WERE when we were free by your criteria and started growing richer when we approached the problem of “freedom” with less dogmatism. Besides, a lot of our neibors who proclaim themselves to be free (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia…) ARE poor, even compared to us.

        • Moldova is free? That is news to me (and to Voronin).

          Could it be that the price of oil had more to do with the reason why you are now a little less poor than you used to be — rather than freedom?

          It’s worth considering, you know. After all, if less freedom meant more economic success, North Korea should be leading the world…

  14. Elmer wrote:
    > whether called the Okhraina

    Actually, the name is “Ukraina” not “Okhraina”, unless you think that Ukraine’s name comes from the name of a vegetable: ochra, or from the Russian name for “suburbs”: Okraina.

  15. RV, the question is indeed important – why wouldn’t people want to live free?

    And you are right – freedom is the most important thing.

    In Russia, there is a notion that being free means being poor – because during the Yeltsin era, what happened in every post-sovok union state happened in Russia.

    The commie insiders robbed and pillaged everything in sight – with the help of unscrupulous Westerners – thus leading to oligarchy.

    Incredible wealth for a select few, obtained as a result of manipulation of government and ruthless tactics, even including murder.

    So, you see comments posted all over the place about Yeltsin’s “failed democracy.”

    As usual, the Russians can’t think straight or logically.

    The Russians failed to establish the safeguards which democracies put in place to prevent using government to rob everyone and everything blind.

    So the Russians had a broken system to begin with, both in the sovok union, and in their new “failed democracy.”

    Other post-sovok countries have managed to address that problem – Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, even Ukraine.

    Not so in Russia – one doesn’t fix the system, one simply goes back to dictatorship.

    I roosha, one simply throws up one’s hands and says: “time for the czar, commissar, dictator Putvedev to beat me over the head again, please – freedom doesn’t work.”

    The perpetual motto in Russia seems to be “beat me better, please.”

    • > Other post-sovok countries have managed to address that problem … even Ukraine

      UKRAINE?!! The Ukrainian Gastarbeiter (e.g. construction workers) and whores working in “sovok roosha” to make a living might be of a different opinion.

      • But when did you ever listen to them, Eugene?… After all, you don’t like Ukrainians. Hm, if you asked those Gastarbeiter what they think of Russia, you might get a few surprises.

        The problem is, your riches depend on the price of oil. You’re just Saudi-Arabia-on-the-Volga…

  16. Andrew, you are absolutely correct.

    Okhraina, Cheka, NKVD, MGB or KGB.

    The reference was to the secret police.

    But I merely pasted in the exact words from the blog that I linked to.

    Eugene, there is no doubt that in Ukraine there is far more freedom than there is in oily orthodox moother roosha.

    And that Ukrainians have gone all over to try to earn a living, not just to roosha.

    And that rooshans have left roosha, especially women in their 20’s who get married to 70-year old men in the West, just to escape the misery of roosha.

    Everyone needs to put bread on the table, Eugene.

    Even Russians.

    • Hi Elmer,

      The moscow Orthodox Church is still trying to control and further rucify Ukraine.

      According to Zenon Wasyliw, Putin, Medvedev and Kirill are a powerful Russian troika engaged in joint political and religious manipulations.

      This status evolved politically under Russian tsarist expansive imperialism and Soviet control of and collaboration with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. We now live in post-colonial and post-Soviet times that call for an honest acceptance of autocephalous self-governance for Orthodox Christians in Ukraine.

      Patriarch Kirill opposes “political orthodoxy,” yet the Russian Orthodox Church closely collaborates with Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in spreading a Russian nationalist (some say proto-fascist) message in Russia and the “near abroad.”

      Putin, Medvedev and Kirill, a powerful Russian troika, engage in joint political and religious commemorations of the White General Anton Denikin, supporting and echoing Denikin’s denigration of Ukrainians, the political canonization into sainthood of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and five children, in support of a reactionary Russian imperial ideological foundation of Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Russian Nationality with its legacy of chauvinistic policies and pogroms.

      Many other examples bring to question whether Patriarch Kirill’s visit is a political mission to re-engage a reactionary past of a revived vision of Russian imperial control over Ukraine.

      The Russian Orthodox Church remains silent on many recent and current human rights abuses by the Russian state, such as the suspicious deaths of journalists critical of the government, the assault upon the human rights group Memorial, the censorship and political control of history, among many others.

      The Russian troika should accept that Ukrainians have their own identities and values in a post-colonial and post-Soviet space.

      Serge Schmemann, son of the famous Orthodox theologian, notes in the April 2009 National Geographic the catastrophically low level of monthly church attendance in Russia, estimated at 10 percent to less than 1 percent.

      The only true realizable path toward self-governance is the return of a Kyivan-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan in union with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as was the case prior to its political assimilation into the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686. Those of Russian nationalist orientations in Ukraine can be served by Russian patriarchal clergy, as is done in the United States. But it is evident that Patriarch Kirill, with the political influence of Putin and Medvedev, will not acknowledge this right.

      Zenon V. Wasyliw is a professor of history at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY.

      [Read rest at:]

      http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op_ed/46190

  17. Les, yes, I saw that article.

    Kirill also called on Ukrainians to practice “Christian asceticism” – while wearing a $36,000 watch to go along with his Halloween costume!

    Pictures of watch here:

    http://vip.glavred.info/?/articles/2009/07/28/181000-0

    Christian asceticism here:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/nation/46109

    I wonder if he’s given that same message to Putler.

  18. Elmer,

    No fault of yours, but this shows the utter ignorance of the blog that you linked to.

    How can one put Czarist Okhranka and bolshevik CheKa/NKVD on the same list? Okhranka was very similar to the secret police of neighbouring countries like Germany and Austro-Hungary.

    How many people on total were killed by Okhranka? Twenty? Fifty? A hundred? Compare that with several million victims of CheKa/NKVD…

  19. Well, the article that I linked to, which was by Stratfor, which was posted on the Kiev News Blog, was making a point – the use of political andn other power through various means, including secret police, to suppress any sort of dissent, throughout Russian history.

    The population of Russia during NKVD times was, of course, greater than during tsarist times.

    But the principle remained the same – suppression of dissent.

    The principle remained the same, regardless of absolute numbers – in relative terms, based on the population of the relevant time period, it was the same.

  20. More on whether Biden got Russia right – and Obama got Russia wrong.

    Obama and Billary Clinton seems to come from the “we’re sorry” school of diplomacy.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/803tfwfc.asp?pg=1

    In their descriptions of current Russia, both Biden and Franco were on the mark. Russia’s economic troubles (the World Bank
    predicts GDP will decline 7.9 percent this year) are compounded by its continued dependence on the export of raw materials (energy, metals), leaving it vulnerable to outside factors beyond its control. Over the past eight years despite the bounty from high oil prices, Russia’s leaders failed to diversify the economy or invest in its declining infrastructure and energy sector, production in which has flattened out and likely to decline in the next several years. At the same time, Russian corporate debt is estimated at $500 billion, $130 billion of which is due this year.

    Meanwhile, Russia’s population has been declining by an average of 700,000 per year and may reach a low, in worst case scenarios, of 100 million by 2050 from roughly 143 million today. This will have enormous implications for Russia’s labor force, its military, and its ability to control restive regions like the North Caucasus, one of the few places where the population is on the rise. Corruption remains a huge problem, while civil society activists, journalists, and opponents of the government deal with regular harassment, attacks, and even murder. Russia, in other words, faces a very difficult future.

  21. New York Times: America hears a gaffe, Russia sees a plot

    Ellen Barry writes: After Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal portraying Russia as a limping and humbled nation, many in Washington responded last week with a helpless shrug: There’s crazy Joe, they said, the guy who once told a wheelchair-bound state senator to stand up for a round of applause. But in Russia, they weren’t shrugging.

    http://www.kyivpost.com/world/46261

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