Tag: Putin

Ваш король голый: The Brilliant Theatre of Alexei Navalny (Borscht Report #8)

 

“They don’t like you to die unless you can die anonymously. If your name is known in the West, it is an embarrassment.” 

This is what Alexander, an imprisoned and unlikely dissident, explains to his son Sacha, when he begins a hunger strike in the Soviet mental hospital in which he is being imprisoned, in Tom Stoppard’s 1977 play Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. And it is clearly a lesson that Alexei Navalny has learned well. 

Join Jim and Greg as they see some glimmers of good news for Putin critic Alexei Navalny but wonder how firm the Biden administration really plans to be when it comes to Russia. They also shudder as prices for fuel, food, and other goods, are clearly on the rise. And they call out Rep. Maxine Waters for suggesting anything less than a guilty verdict for murder in the Derek Chauvin case should result in more confrontation in the streets.

“Ты куда?”: Where has Russia’s Brain Gone? (Borscht Report #6)

 

The утечка мозгов/brain drain has been a concern for Russia since the 1990s, when the collapse of the USSR and the resulting political and economic chaos pushed those with sufficient means and desire to escape to do just that. All told, about 2.5 million Russians of various ethnic and economic backgrounds left the country between 1989 and 1999, heading predominantly for the US, Israel, and the EU, especially Germany. Despite the massive gains which the Russian economy saw in the first decade of the 21st century, a further 1.6-2 million people have fled the country since 2000. It would be easy to posit that this is mostly the result of economic issues in the country brought about by Western sanctions and the fall in hydrocarbon prices, or a lack of high paying jobs for skilled people. And these are issues, but a more interesting, and telling, one is at play when we parse the data before and after 2012. 

Alexei Navalny and His (Real Life) Hollywood Thriller (The Borscht Report #5)

 

Alexei Navalny knows who tried to kill him and he wants you to be entertained. 

On the face of it, this seems quite odd. Since his poisoning in August, Navalny has become undisputedly the most prominent figure in the Russian opposition and has used his already well developed social and alternative media presence to keep supporters, foreign observers, and enemies well appraised of his progress and actions. Like fellow anti-Putinist Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Navalny is an expert in using social media platforms, especially YouTube, to spread his message in a way that is friendly and accessible to young people and supporters, even those residing abroad. (A not insignificant thing, just considering the size of the Russian diaspora in places like London and New York, not to mention the many non-Russians who take an interest in seeing Putin thrown from power). And now, only months from what many suspected would be his deathbed, Navalny has returned to tell his tale and that of his would-be murderers. 

Member Post

 

Maybe quite surprisingly, little has changed since I last wrote about the Rusophone world, in September. Navalny’s poisoning with Novichok has been confirmed, Khabarovsk continues to be embroiled in corruption scandals and demonstrations, and the anti-Lukashenko protests have only grown in Belarus. Oh, and Vladimir Putin is now the hero of Russian democracy leaders. At least […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Merkel in Tiff with Putin

 

merkel in Putin pocketThe Bundeswehr, the German military, has published findings that one of Putin’s domestic critics, Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Russian government created nerve agent. It seems exotic poisons are a favorite of the old KGB colonel, who is not bothered in the least by the notoriety of repeated discoveries of high profile attacks, even on foreign soil. Then again, poison has long been a Russian security tool. This time, German Chancellor Merkel, who has been in bed with Putin for years, is publicly upset.

Alexie Navalny has been seen as the only serious and viable opponent to Putin’s perpetual rule. The Nation, a publication of the left, explains:

For many years, the anti-corruption crusader has offered the only serious challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s 20-year rule. According to the German government, Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, the same deadly nerve agent used in the UK against Russian double agent Sergey Skripal in 2018.

Member Post

 

To say that it has been a busy news month in the Russian speaking world would be an understatement. From the arrest of Sergei Furgal in July, to the protests against Belarussian President Lukashenko, and the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, political instability has been the order of the day. Why, though, […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

ДДТ/DDT is a musical institution in Russia and the former Soviet Union, perhaps second only to Кино/Kino in international fame as a outstanding representation of the Russian language rock scene. New bands and fads (and political regimes), have come and gone, but DDT remains, and has chronicled the last 40 years of Soviet/Russian history with […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

С днем ​​россии: A (Not Very) New Era in Russian Politics

 

Before COVID became the center of international news coverage, much attention was being paid to Vladimir Putin’s sudden reorganization of the Russian government and proposed overhaul of the Constitution, which has seen little change since 1993. Naturally, Vladimir Vladimirovich did not attempt to bring about these changes with a spirit of liberal democracy and healthy regime change in mind (indeed, some would say that it is very unhealthy to even think about regime change in Russia). The spread of the virus, though, which he was unable to halt even after closing the Russian border with China in January, put a wrench in his plans. 

Russia is still, right now, the third most affected country in the world with at least half a million cases (this is data compiled and released by Putin’s government, after all), and a health system that is not up to the challenge in a multitude of ways. Putin was well aware of this, which is why he closed the border so early and implemented a strict lockdown when the situation started to deteriorate. But now, more important concerns are at hand. The President has pressured the Moscow government into lifting restrictions, and, after a holiday celebration today, has planned a concert for tonight in Red Square. These moves come in plenty of time to get people comfortable with going outside and attending rallies ahead of a July 1 vote on the changes. 

Как дела Мистер Пу?: The Politics of Coronavirus in Russia

 

This should be a weekend of parades and celebrations all over Russia, especially in Moscow and the former Leningrad, as citizens rush to celebrate their nation’s part in the Великая Отечественная война (the generally used Russian term for WWII, which marks the dates 1941-45, and is usually translated into English as The Great Patriotic War, although The Great War for the Fatherland is an equally valid interpretation, closer to the meaning of the adjective). It should especially be a time of celebration for one Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who for the last 20 years has never missed a chance to parade the streets of Petersburg with a framed photo of his veteran father, along with tens of thousands of other Russians. There will be no ceremonies this weekend, and Mr. Putin has fewer and fewer causes to celebrate. 

The situation in Russia has received relatively shallow coverage in the West. Vladimir Putin is a man who built his claim to legitimate authority on his strength, on reasserting the power of Russia in the world as the eyes of most security analysts and Western leaders, which had for the past half-century been focused so heavily on Russia, turned towards the Middle East and Asia as the main centers of coming conflict and rising greatness. Putin, by symbolically rooting out the corruption that has plagued post-Soviet politics (and replacing it with cronies of his own) and making advances into ‘rightfully’ Russian territory in places like Crimea, has attempted to recapture the pride of the Great Patriotic War, which remains one of the few largely uncontroversial focuses of Russian patriotism in the 21st century. But a global pandemic does not have recognizable border divides or command tanks and ground forces, and in a state which has thrown the bulk of its resources behind military expenditure and industry, Vladimir Putin is beginning to struggle. 

Member Post

 

As coronavirus continues to dominate news around the world, Russia, until quite recently, has received relatively little attention. Before reported cases of the disease within President Vladimir Putin’s own administration and a lockdown of Moscow, the infamous ex KGB agent and his government were being praised by many in the western media for an effective […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

Either Poles are too dumb to understand what’s ridiculous about a pornographic butter-churning contest, or they’re not. I’d bet they’re not, and they know a parody of eroticism when they see it. Too bad The Imaginative Conservative doesn’t. Apparently, there’s at least one writer out there lacking the imagination to recognize a parody when he […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

…and it is the mass resignation of the entire Russian government under President Medvedev. Details right now are thin but apparently it was in response to a speech Putin gave in which he proposed strengthening the national parliament and raising the requirements for presidential candidacies. Does anyone else out there have any more details? Preview […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Corrupt Politicians Drawn to Corrupt Country? Ukraine an Attractive Nuisance?

 

Reportedly, Ukraine has been one of the most corrupt countries on the face of the Earth. This is likely not a matter of some sort of defective national character, but rather a consequence of their geography and the past century of politics. Today, Putin, Democrats, and the US Deep State leverage Ukraine’s vulnerability to their own ends.

Anne Applebaum has done the real research and written the hard truths to power about evil perpetrated by the Soviet Union, including in Ukraine. Consider this MacClean’s interview of Applebaum on publication of her latest book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine.

Q: Part of the history is that the Holodomor didn’t come out of the blue. There has been a long continuity of attitude in Moscow—a contempt for Ukrainian nationalism—running through the Czarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras. One of the more striking instances of continuity was Lenin sending in Russian troops in Ukrainian disguise during the Civil War, which almost a century later became a Putin tactic.

Truth and Lies About Ukraine

 

Ukraine in context mapWe were repeatedly treated to lies about Ukraine during the first week of the Democrats’ congressional clown show “impeachment inquiry.” The central lie was that Ukraine was a key security partner against Russia for many years. It is a lie that Ukraine has ever been a key security partner and it is a further lie that Ukraine has been the focus of US policy intended to check Russian re-expansion. Everyone knows this, you know this, at least in your gut. Here are the facts, which do not care about anyone’s feelings:

1991: Ukraine votes for and declares independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist States. Ukraine has over 1,000 nuclear warheads, allegedly without the control and arming codes, but with significant technical knowledge in-house. Weeks before the independence vote, President George H.W. Bush delivers an infamous speech in Kiev, written by Russia and Eastern Europe expert Condoleezza Rice, in which he warned about “suicidal nationalism.” William Safire branded this the “Chicken Kiev speech.” Bush feared that small states declaring their independence would provoke the Russian population, destabilizing the supposedly democratizing new Russia.

The elder President Bush’s most memorable foreign-policy blunder took place in Kiev in 1991, then under Communist rule. With the Soviet Union coming apart, the U.S. president — badly advised by the stability-obsessed “realist” Brent Scowcroft — made a speech urging Ukrainians yearning for independence to beware of “suicidal nationalism.” His speech, which he now insists meant only “not so fast,” was widely taken as advice to remain loyal to Moscow’s empire.

Member Post

 

Daniel Silva has managed two very difficult things: he keeps producing page-turners you want to pick up as soon as they fly off the presses, and he has managed to avoid [Republican president’s name] Derangement Syndrome. Producing quality spy fiction, setting stories in (part of) the current international context, is a major accomplishment and a […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

A Nixon-to-China Moment for Our Time, Squandered

 

It is a bipartisan article of faith within the American foreign affairs establishment that Vladimir Putin is our implacable foe, and that the Russia-China axis is a natural alliance of two powerful, like-minded despotisms set on global domination. This axiom, a toxic byproduct of our recent domestic political meltdown,  is as unquestionable as it is wrongheaded and short-sighted.

In the American imagination, still laboring under a post-Cold War hangover, Russia looms large as a font of hostility, anti-Americanism and illiberal ideology. And indeed, there is little question that the Putin regime is authoritarian and hostile or indifferent to Western values like human rights, individual liberty, and law-bound, accountable government. There is also little question that Russia’s intelligence services have been spectacularly successful in exploiting our political divisions and sowing havoc and discord in our domestic politics. And, Putin continues to poke Uncle Sam in the eye, witness for example, Russia’s most recent meddling in Venezuela.

My Fellow Americans, We Begin Bombing in 5 Minutes

 

The words absolutely scream from the printed pages and the computer screens: An Act of War.

It has come from both Democrats and Republicans, including members of the current Administration. But it is especially popular with those that are consumed with hatred for Donald Trump as they wish to paint him as a traitor to his country and unwilling to confront the Russians over their activities during the 2016 Presidential election cycle.

If we had a serious media, they wouldn’t be parroting these lines but questioning them. No one is asking even the most obvious ones: Do you really believe what you’re saying or is it just convenient rhetoric for the moment? And if you do truly believe, how far are you willing to take it? Are those peddling this narrative willing to accept the reality that the saber-rattling may escalate to a point that one of these two nuclear powers may do something tragically stupid because they may feel that the publicity surrounding an event demands an extraordinary response?

Member Post

 

We could end this silly probe with the testimony of one key witness. Actually, I think Putin would lie and say he did plot with Trump to get him elected.  After all, the US Democrat Party is Russia’s best friend and ally, so getting rid of Trump would boost the Dems’ chances in 2020 and […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Hello there, HLC mavens! Welcome to the HLC podcast for January 15, 2019 (this is Todd Feinburg’s birthday week podcast) with your hosts, the aforementioned Todd Feinburg, radio guy, and Mike Stopa the as yet to be mentioned west coast AI guy. We are here every week etc. etc. as you well know.

This week, we discuss toxic masculinity as seen through the eyes of everyday guys who are shaving their ugly masculine faces and thinking deep inside about the sexual harassment that they are planning for the day…or something. Has Gillette blown away a significant part of their patronage by insulting men for being men?