Our Real Russia Problem

 

Steven Hayward, writing over at Power Line, offers a concise, incisive explanation of our real Russia problem. A month ago, I wrote about Vladimir Putin’s vision of history and argued that he is not properly understood when we sling terms around like “thug.” Instead, I argued that we can only really understand Putin and his Russia properly if we understand him to be in the long line of Russian tzars (czars). I consider myself in good company with Steven Hayward extending the point to our chattering and governing elite.

As I wrote:

Vladimir Putin is a Russian leader, in the long line of the czars and their nominally communist successors. Calling him a KGB thug or using “tzar” as an epithet obscures the reality. Czar or tzar, a Russian ruler is a ruler in the context of Russian history and culture. Any czar worth his salt would respond, when he could, to the loss of imperial territory Russia experienced on December 25, 1991, when the USSR was formally dissolved, the Soviet flag hauled down in Moscow and replaced by the Russian tricolor.

Yes, Putin was a KGB agent, who started inside Russia (a counterpart to the Stazi). Yes, Putin then went to Dresden, East Germany as part of the security service, keeping a nominally independent client state under Moscow’s thumb with less visibility than the tank units in barracks down the road from the local KGB headquarters. Yes, Yeltsin recruited him as the FSB leader, the successor to the KGB. Yes, he has people killed inside and outside his nation’s borders.

AND.

If you read the history of any successful Russian czar, you will find a killer. Crossing a tzar, or tzarina (Catherine the Great), gets you imprisoned or dead. It is fair to style Stalin, a Georgian thug who changed his name from Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili to Joseph Stalin, the Red Tzar.

Now, Steven Hayward tells us our elites have no clue of the deeper problem of Russian beliefs, such that even a magic bullet removing Putin will change little in geopolitics.

PUTIN AND THE AMERICAN RIGHT

Let’s start with a bold proposition: if the American right had had the same attitude toward our foreign policy establishment back around 1963 that it has today, we might never have allowed the Vietnam War to have become a decade-long quagmire.

[. . .]

There isn’t the slightest perception among our foreign policy elite that Putin isn’t simply trying to restore the old Soviet Empire: he’s trying to revive the 19th century idea of Russia as the “Third Rome” set against the West and Western liberal democratic principles (emphasis on the “liberal” part of that formula). This anti-Western strain has burrowed deep into Russian thought, and almost no one in Europe or America has taken it seriously. See especially Walter Newell’s perceptive article in Tablet on this point.

[…]
The main point here is not to conceive any possible justification for the Russian invasion of Ukraine or to suggest in any way that the conflict is “our fault,” but to begin considering the idea that the problem is much worse than simply thinking Putin’s supposed madness or megalomania is the source of the trouble. In other words, if some Russian officer put a bullet in Putin’s head today, the problem of an aggressive and anti-Western Russia would remain. This requires some much larger strategic thinking than merely whether NATO should be expanded.

I previously published extensive excerpts from official Kremlin translations of other Putin speeches that confirm Hayward’s assessment of Putin’s view of Russia and the world. Here are the direct links to the 2021 article in which Putin describes his view of Russian and Ukrainian history, and Putin’s recent justification for invading Ukraine:

  1. Article by Vladimir Putin “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians
  2. Address by the President of the Russian Federation

I earlier extensively quoted important earlier statements by Putin, whitewashing Stalin’s crimes against humanity and his role in starting World War II as an aggressor. Those two posts, also linked to the official Kremlin transcripts, are worth your attention, if you had not previously read them. Putin’s February 2021 speech is consistent with these earlier positions, as he has been building a case for Greater Russia, a revived Russian empire, while insisting Russia has always been in the right and must not be criticized.

  1. The Time When Life Changed: 25 December 1991
  2. Fragments on Ukraine

UPDATE:

PowerLine podcast — “Taking Tyrants (Like Putin) Seriously, with Waller Newell

From Newell’s recent article, “Vladimir Putin, Tyrant:”

Although Putin’s ambition is to restore Russian control over its former Warsaw Pact captive states, he in no way wishes to restore the Soviet regime itself. Russian history has long been riven by a cultural conflict between those who look to Europe, the West, and the Enlightenment as the path that Russia should follow and those who are loyal to Slavic nationalism, which is deeply religious and not interested in economic prosperity. In literature, this divide was typified by the different outlooks of Turgenev and Dostoyevsky, which Tolstoy crystallized as the difference between St. Petersburg and Moscow. During the era of anti-Soviet dissidence, this split was typified by Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn. Putin is in the Slavophile camp. A devotee of Berdyaev, a Slavophile critic of Marxism-Leninism, Putin believes that Soviet communism was an import of European rationalism that poisoned the authentic Russian soul, which has nourished the country’s national and artistic greatness.

Does the Russian soul really matter to Putin? As I wrote in Tyrants, modern tyrants and conquerors since Robespierre have been bolstered by an ideology. Slavophile thought is crucial to Putin’s worldview, including both Berdyaev and also the modern writer Aleksandr Dugin’s ideology of “Eurasianist National Bolshevism.” Dugin, an academic and popular pundit, tried to rescue what he saw as the authentically Russian agrarian populist impulse behind the original Bolshevik Revolution from its betrayal by Lenin’s “scientific” socialism imported from European thought, calling instead for a “revolution of archaic values” based on the blood and soil traditions of family, rural life, and religious faith. Putin commissioned Dugin to overhaul the Russian education system to remove all traces of Gorbachev-era glasnost and perestroika, which both believed were signs of creeping Enlightenment rationalism and materialism corrupting the Motherland.

Yes, if you read my linked posts, Putin has celebrated Russian participation in the Enlightenment. So, there is an apparent internal conflict in his views. However, this may be part of historic Russian ambiguity over the West and Russia’s nature.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. No Caesar Thatcher
    No Caesar
    @NoCaesar

    Good piece.  It’s important to properly understand our adversaries with cold-eyed realism.  Our intellectually lazy chattering class slings around words, like “thug” and “crazy” too readily.  That carelessness is now showing itself to be dangerous.  The irresponsible “Russia, Russia, Russia <-> bad Orange Man” cry led by the Dems as well as received thinking, and pretending to think that anyone on the right who acknowledges Putin’s strengths is a Putin-stooge, are part of the reason for our inept response to him.

    • #1
  2. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    What Hayward and you are presenting is definitely one strain of Russian thought. But it is only one. There were also Kadets who were were at one time between 1861 and 1905 important in the provinces running provincial governments and being professionals such as lawyers, doctors, etc. From 1905 to 1914 they were important in the Duma. They were liberal democrats. Their descendants are still around today.

    • #2
  3. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Czar or tzar, a Russian ruler is a ruler in the context of Russian history and culture

    Exactly.

    • #3
  4. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    When I was very interested in Russian history as a young man, it was a common belief that Soviet foreign policy was best understood as an extension of Russian imperial history.  The Soviet absorption of the non Russian SSR’s was the fulfillment of Russian ambition at least as far back as a Peter the Great and truly much further.  I had a professor who treated that view point as trite and overdone, but it’s still the most accurate take on what drives the Russian nation.  The search for a tsar is almost basic Russian nature.  

    • #4
  5. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What Hayward and you are presenting is definitely one strain of Russian thought. But it is only one. There were also Kadets who were were at one time between 1861 and 1905 important in the provinces running provincial governments and being professionals such as lawyers, doctors, etc. From 1905 to 1914 they were important in the Duma. They were liberal democrats. Their descendants are still around today.

    That assessment of the Kadets is a fantasy. Gary Saul Morson probably has it right:

    Though Kadets advocated democratic, constitutional procedures, and did not themselves engage in ­terrorism, they aided the terrorists in any way they could. Kadets collected money for terrorists, turned their homes into safe houses, and called for total amnesty for arrested terrorists who pledged to continue the mayhem. Kadet Party central committee member N. N. Shchepkin declared that the party did not regard terrorists as criminals at all, but as saints and martyrs. The official Kadet paper, Herald of the Party of People’s Freedom, never published an article condemning political assassination. The party leader, Paul Milyukov, declared that “all means are now legitimate . . . and all means should be tried.” When asked to condemn terrorism, another liberal leader in the Duma, Ivan Petrunkevich, famously replied: “Condemn terror? That would be the moral death of the party!”

    Not just lawyers, teachers, doctors, and engineers, but even industrialists and bank directors raised money for the terrorists. Doing so signaled advanced opinion and good manners. A quote attributed to Lenin—“When we are ready to kill the capitalists, they will sell us the rope”—would have been more accurately rendered as: “They will buy us the rope and hire us to use it on them.” True to their word, when the Bolsheviks gained control, their organ of terror, the Cheka, “liquidated” members of all opposing parties, beginning with the Kadets.

    • #5
  6. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    • #6
  7. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What Hayward and you are presenting is definitely one strain of Russian thought. But it is only one. There were also Kadets who were were at one time between 1861 and 1905 important in the provinces running provincial governments and being professionals such as lawyers, doctors, etc. From 1905 to 1914 they were important in the Duma. They were liberal democrats. Their descendants are still around today.

    If the descendants of the Kadets are still around today it is only due to a failure on the part of the Bolsheviks to be thorough in their extermination.   The Kadets were the first party outlawed after the Bolsheviks took power.       

    • #7
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What Hayward and you are presenting is definitely one strain of Russian thought. But it is only one. There were also Kadets who were were at one time between 1861 and 1905 important in the provinces running provincial governments and being professionals such as lawyers, doctors, etc. From 1905 to 1914 they were important in the Duma. They were liberal democrats. Their descendants are still around today.

    If the descendants of the Kadets are still around today it is only due to a failure on the part of the Bolsheviks to be thorough in their extermination. The Kadets were the first party outlawed after the Bolsheviks took power.

    I didn’t mean biological descendants. There are those advocating this position who are not great grandchildren of the original kadets.

    • #8
  9. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What Hayward and you are presenting is definitely one strain of Russian thought. But it is only one. There were also Kadets who were were at one time between 1861 and 1905 important in the provinces running provincial governments and being professionals such as lawyers, doctors, etc. From 1905 to 1914 they were important in the Duma. They were liberal democrats. Their descendants are still around today.

    That assessment of the Kadets is a fantasy. Gary Saul Morson probably has it right:

    Though Kadets advocated democratic, constitutional procedures, and did not themselves engage in ­terrorism, they aided the terrorists in any way they could. Kadets collected money for terrorists, turned their homes into safe houses, and called for total amnesty for arrested terrorists who pledged to continue the mayhem. Kadet Party central committee member N. N. Shchepkin declared that the party did not regard terrorists as criminals at all, but as saints and martyrs. The official Kadet paper, Herald of the Party of People’s Freedom, never published an article condemning political assassination. The party leader, Paul Milyukov, declared that “all means are now legitimate . . . and all means should be tried.” When asked to condemn terrorism, another liberal leader in the Duma, Ivan Petrunkevich, famously replied: “Condemn terror? That would be the moral death of the party!”

    Not just lawyers, teachers, doctors, and engineers, but even industrialists and bank directors raised money for the terrorists. Doing so signaled advanced opinion and good manners. A quote attributed to Lenin—“When we are ready to kill the capitalists, they will sell us the rope”—would have been more accurately rendered as: “They will buy us the rope and hire us to use it on them.” True to their word, when the Bolsheviks gained control, their organ of terror, the Cheka, “liquidated” members of all opposing parties, beginning with the Kadets.

    Enemy of my enemy calculation that turned out wrong. 

    • #9
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What Hayward and you are presenting is definitely one strain of Russian thought. But it is only one. There were also Kadets who were were at one time between 1861 and 1905 important in the provinces running provincial governments and being professionals such as lawyers, doctors, etc. From 1905 to 1914 they were important in the Duma. They were liberal democrats. Their descendants are still around today.

    And.

    They have never mattered nationally. They talked and talked in the Duma while hard men acted.

    I do not discount the enormous courage of men and women who wrote and spoke against the regime, then or now. I do not see a viable political movement.

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Hmm.

    Almost as reducing Putin to just a “bad guy” is missing a bigger picture. 

    I have long seen Putin with a Czarist view.

     

    • #11
  12. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    • #12
  13. Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch Inactive
    Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch
    @Pseudodionysius

    https://souloftheeast.org/2015/09/04/dostoevsky-demonic-rationalism/

    In his work Dostoevsky and the Metaphysics of Crime, sociologist Dr. Vladislav Arkadyevich Bachinin analyzes the only seemingly contradictory correlation between Enlightenment rationalism and the rise of infernal forces in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s work Demons. Translated by Mark Hackard.

     

    • #13
  14. Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch Inactive
    Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch
    @Pseudodionysius

    Dostoevsky has the philosophy of the machine-man applicable first and foremost to characters who represent practical businessmen smacking of commercial types of the Western model, i.e., to such men as Luzhin, Rakitin, Epanchin, Totsky, Ferdyshchenko, etc. Indifferent to metaphysical reality, they subscribe to Rousseau’s “Geneva ideals” allowing the possibility of “virtue without Christ.” Immersed in the vanity of a graceless, prosaic-pragmatic existence, “having ears, they do not hear, and having eyes, they do not see.” All that comes from on high, from the spheres of metaphysical reality, does not reach their souls, and therefore they are immersed in the darkness of ignorance and incomprehension of the most important meanings of life. The thoughts and feelings of these “Bernards” carry an earthly character and are not directed toward the beyond. They do not like abstract reasoning, considering it an idle pastime. For them as for Lametrie, God and the soul are false moral magnitudes. For them the entire world dwells in the “disenchanted” state of a gigantic conglomerate of soulless elements. Not in one of them does God’s spark gleam. All these men are spiritually impoverished living machines, wound up, however, by a mysterious hand, but as Lev Shestov would say about them, they are not conscious that their life is not life, but death.

     

    • #14
  15. Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch Inactive
    Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch
    @Pseudodionysius

    It is not accidental that Shatov’s murder in Demons bears the marks of a ritual sacrifice. Along with that it takes the form of a monstrous parody of ancient ritual: instead of the solemnity of a holy rite, there is the filthy lowness of the whole scene; instead of open officiality, there is the cowardly, concealed secret act; instead of calling upon the favor of higher forces, there is a wager on the dark elements of evil, a commiseration of all the participants of the murder through the spilled blood of the victim and mutual fear before one another.

     

    • #15
  16. Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch Inactive
    Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch
    @Pseudodionysius

    Dostoevsky saw one of the sources of this chaos in the philosophical mindsets of rationalistic, materialistic, and atheistic content that penetrated from the West. Falling on Russian soil, the doctrines of Darwin, Mill, Strauss, and other representatives of European “progressive” thought, as a rule were taken in the Slavic consciousness, untried by many centuries of philosophical schooling, as adamantine philosophical axioms. Moreover, practical conclusions were often drawn from them, conclusions the possibility of which Western teachers had not suspected.

     

    • #16
  17. She Member
    She
    @She

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago.  Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon).  Make of that what you will.

    • #17
  18. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    She (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago. Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon). Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that Eastern Europeans might be, on average, shorter than North Europeans. 

    • #18
  19. Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch Inactive
    Hans Gruber Prussian Oligarch
    @Pseudodionysius

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago. Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon). Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that Eastern Europeans might be, on average, shorter than North Europeans.

    Makes them harder to hit by drone.

    • #19
  20. Washington Square Member
    Washington Square
    @WashingtonSquare

    Putin has to be viewed from the perspective of traditional Russian history and the Russian’s belief in their moral and mystic superiority over the West.  The concept of Pan-slavism was very much a factor in the actual working of diplomacy of Imperial Russia before World War I.  Serbia was (is) a Slavic nation with no common border with Russia.  When it was threatened with invasion by Austria-Hungary in July 1914, the Tsar’s government mobilized against both Imperial Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire resulting in WWI.  How much more important is modern Ukraine (Little Russia) to current Mother Russia than was distant Serbia in 1914?

    • #20
  21. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I’m wondering who measured Napoleon’s height. It would seem to have taken a very brave man. Maybe he was measured posthumously?

    • #21
  22. She Member
    She
    @She

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago. Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon). Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that Eastern Europeans might be, on average, shorter than North Europeans.

    And if evidentiary—umm–evidence supports your theory, I tip my hat to you.

    Although (TBPC, I don’t think Napoleon was an “Eastern European,” and I don’t think he’d have appreciated being called out as one.

    And yet:  Here’s the Wikipedia link for “average human height by country.”  I don’t guess that some people have anything else to do.

    Somewhere in the next 96 hours, if no-one else takes up the challenge, and when I’ve finished the more important things I have to do, perhaps I’ll take a look at this.

    • #22
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    She (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago. Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon). Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that Eastern Europeans might be, on average, shorter than North Europeans.

    And if evidentiary—umm–evidence supports your theory, I tip my hat to you.

    Although (TBPC), I don’t think Napoleon was an “Eastern European,” and I don’t think he’d have appreciated being called out as one.

    And yet: Here’s the Wikipedia link for “average human height by country.” I don’t guess that some people have anything else to do.

    Somewhere in the next 96 hours, if no-one else takes up the challenge, and when I’ve finished the more important things I have to do, perhaps I’ll take a look at this.

     

    • #23
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    She (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago. Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon). Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that Eastern Europeans might be, on average, shorter than North Europeans.

    And if evidentiary—umm–evidence supports your theory, I tip my hat to you.

    Although (TBPC, I don’t think Napoleon was an “Eastern European,” and I don’t think he’d have appreciated being called out as one.

    And yet: Here’s the Wikipedia link for “average human height by country.” I don’t guess that some people have anything else to do.

    Somewhere in the next 96 hours, if no-one else takes up the challenge, and when I’ve finished the more important things I have to do, perhaps I’ll take a look at this.

    But it does apply to the other two. 

    French are sort of shorter too. Southern and Med types are shorter

    • #24
  25. She Member
    She
    @She

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago. Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon). Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that Eastern Europeans might be, on average, shorter than North Europeans.

    And if evidentiary—umm–evidence supports your theory, I tip my hat to you.

    Although (TBPC, I don’t think Napoleon was an “Eastern European,” and I don’t think he’d have appreciated being called out as one.

    And yet: Here’s the Wikipedia link for “average human height by country.” I don’t guess that some people have anything else to do.

    Somewhere in the next 96 hours, if no-one else takes up the challenge, and when I’ve finished the more important things I have to do, perhaps I’ll take a look at this.

    But it does apply to the other two.

    French are sort of shorter too. Southern and Med types are shorter

    I guess I’m still looking for facts.  This post on “average human height by country:” from Wikipedia doesn’t really seem to bear that out.

    • #25
  26. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    She (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I almost went down this road with a post about a week ago. Then regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, and because I do what I can to make sure I’ve covered my bases before I post here, I discovered that Zelenskyy is the same height as Putin (and–apparently–Napoleon). Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that Eastern Europeans might be, on average, shorter than North Europeans.

    And if evidentiary—umm–evidence supports your theory, I tip my hat to you.

    Although (TBPC, I don’t think Napoleon was an “Eastern European,” and I don’t think he’d have appreciated being called out as one.

    And yet: Here’s the Wikipedia link for “average human height by country.” I don’t guess that some people have anything else to do.

    Somewhere in the next 96 hours, if no-one else takes up the challenge, and when I’ve finished the more important things I have to do, perhaps I’ll take a look at this.

    But it does apply to the other two.

    French are sort of shorter too. Southern and Med types are shorter

    I guess I’m still looking for facts. This post on “average human height by country:” from Wikipedia doesn’t really seem to bear that out.

    OK, let me be less oblique: A Man’s height does not really mean anything. There is no real “short man’s syndrome”

    • #26
  27. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Wikipedia:

    The title tsar (Cyrillic: царь) is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.[2]

    Or, in German, kaiser:

    Like the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian word Tsar, Kaiser is directly derived from the Roman emperors‘ title of Caesar,

    I’m wondering who measured Napoleon’s height. It would seem to have taken a very brave man. Maybe he was measured posthumously?

    A haberdasher knows every measurement.

    • #27
  28. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    The main point here is not to conceive any possible justification for the Russian invasion of Ukraine or to suggest in any way that the conflict is “our fault,” but to begin considering the idea that the problem is much worse than simply thinking Putin’s supposed madness or megalomania is the source of the trouble. In other words, if some Russian officer put a bullet in Putin’s head today, the problem of an aggressive and anti-Western Russia would remain. This requires some much larger strategic thinking than merely whether NATO should be expanded.

    In other words, the problem with Russians isn’t that they were communists or are led by crazy people. The problem with Russians is that they’re Russians. 

    • #28
  29. She Member
    She
    @She

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    OK, let me be less oblique: A Man’s height does not really mean anything. There is no real “short man’s syndrome”

    Bravo!  You win!

    W Bob (View Comment):
    In other words, the problem with Russians isn’t that they were communists or are led by crazy people. The problem with Russians is that they’re Russians. 

    Yep.  See, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game.

    • #29
  30. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    She (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    OK, let me be less oblique: A Man’s height does not really mean anything. There is no real “short man’s syndrome”

    Bravo! You win!

    W Bob (View Comment):
    In other words, the problem with Russians isn’t that they were communists or are led by crazy people. The problem with Russians is that they’re Russians.

    Yep. See, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game.

    In which Russia and the British Empire contend for domination of the Middle East and the Stans.

    • #30
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