Daily Archives: December 14, 2009

December 18, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  The World Spurns Russia

(2)  Welcome back to the USSR!

(3)  The Russian Sow’s Ear

(4)  Russia as Screaming, Spoiled Brat

(5)  Revolution by Advertisement?

(6)  Kasparov in Yezhe

EDITORIAL: The World Spurns Russia


The World Spurns Russia

Even though Russia’s territory is far more vast than that of the United States,vastly more foreign tourists arrive in the USA each year than come to Russia.  The USA ranks #2 in the world for international arrivals, while Russia does not even make the top 10.  It ranks #14, with less than half the number of visitors received by the supposedly hated USA.

And Russia’s figures are in fact vast exaggerations.  Russia counts as “international” visitors people from places like Belarus and Ukraine and Kazakhstan that were previously part of the same country.  Take away those visits, and almost nobody from the civilized world is daring to set foot in Putin’s Russia.  By contrast, America’s visitors come from the elite nations of the world, from Japan to France.

And things are getting worse.  Much worse.

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Welcome Back to the USSR

Three years ago, when we began calling Russia the “neo-Soviet Union,” some scoffed. They said Russia could “never go back” to those dark days, even though it had a proud KGB spy as its ruler. Now, our statement is simply conventional wisdom, and Russians themselves openly say so. Bloomburg reports:

Former Soviet dissidents criticized the condition of human rights in Russia under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, saying their work is more dangerous than in the final decades of the communist regime.

“We live in the Soviet Union, only a modernized, improved one,” Sergei Kovalyov, 79, said at a conference in Moscow marking the 20th anniversary of the death of dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov.

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The Russian Sow’s Ear

Ian Pryde, founder and CEO of Eurasia Strategy & Communications (ESC) in Moscow, Adam Fuss, senior vice president of ESC North America, and Laura Mitchell, managing director of ESC North America, writing in the Moscow Times:

Ever since the young and energetic Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev became president, the issue of rebranding Russia has been actively discussed. In a Dec. 10 Moscow Times comment, “Rebranding Russia From Communism to Cool,” Andrej Krickovic and Steven Weber rightly highlighted the country’s totally unsuccessful efforts since 2005 to improve its image and reputation abroad. But even if implemented, their proposal to rebrand Russia based on eco-friendliness, multiculturalism and resilience is wedded to an outdated view of public relations, image and branding.

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Russia as Screaming, Spoiled Brat

Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

With the United States canceling its plans to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic and with the imminent signing of a new nuclear arms control agreement between Moscow and Washington, Russia’s foreign policy is facing something of a dilemma. If U.S.-Russian relations get too warm, the Kremlin might have trouble reconciling its “reset” with the traditional belief that the West is out to get Russia.

The problem is that the main pillar of Russian foreign policy has always been to place the blame for its problems on somebody else. Take, for example, the European Security Treaty, President Dmitry Medvedev’s pet project. The West has been highly indifferent to his proposal, and for Medvedev this is additional evidence of how the West ignores Moscow’s peaceful intentions.

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Revolution by Advertisement?

The Washington Post reports:

What are people Googling in Russia? A group called Ovoscham replaced bus shelter ads on the streets of Moscow with their own subverted Google ads which read more like political commentary. The ads takes the familiar Google ads showing what a celebrity is Googling, and turns it on its head. Umapper founder Adrei Taraschuk provides us with the following translation for search queries in one of the ads, presumably showing what a typical Russian citizen might be looking for:

Police without bribes Government for the people Construction without rollbacks Alternative during elections Fun without alcohol Whistle blowers (or people with active civil position) Television without lies

There are more details on this blog (in Russian). The video embedded above shows two men swapping out the ads in blue jumpsuits. You never quite see their faces. Is that Larry and Sergey?

Kasparov in Yezhe

Olga Gulenok of Yezhedevny Zhurnal interviews Garry Kasparov, as translated by The Other Russia.

The Russian National Assembly, a gathering of political and social forces dedicated to democracy in Russia, recently held its second conference on the future organization of the country, “Russia After Putin.” A series of articles of the same name were published by National Assembly bureau member, United Civil Front leader, and Solidarity co-leader Garry Kasparov.

The thoughts and proposals laid out in these articles elicited a stormy reaction from within the internet community. In an interview with Yezhednevny Zhurnal on November 23 to further explain his positions, Kasparov discussed the goals of Russia’s united political opposition, the importance of Russia’s integration into Europe, and the futility of Medvedev’s plans for modernization.

Garry Kimovich, in your opinion, how successful overall has the opposition been in moving forward in the development of its “way of the future,” given that it has been criticized for lacking one?

The National Assembly is an arena that was created for different ideological forces, united by a rejection of the current system, to discuss an agenda for the future of our country. The inability of the governing regime to make changes adequate for the demands of the 21st century has imposed this necessity upon us. Preserving the status quo has lead to the ruin of our state. An understanding of the doom of this regime and of these other menaces – which invariably lead to an uncontrolled collapse through our rotten government agencies – formed the basis for the unification of the opposition.

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