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View Diary: So. What to do with Russia? (271 comments)

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  •  So . . . if you think about the long-term (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soonergrunt, papicek

    history of Russia, all I have to ask is this:
    what's changed?
    The Russians are worse now because at least, as Soviets, they had some kind of communitarian ideology and idealism to temper their brutality.
    Now with the faith in the future gone, and just a grasping imperialism and sense of superiority, I see nothing but a nihilist, totalitarian state.  
    They are more fearsome now than before.  

    •  this is actually exactly to the point... (0+ / 0-)

      and though I agree that they have greater scope for indulging in a paranoid fantasy now than ever before, explaining that there's less cause for alarm takes a longer answer than I could give here. Suffice it to say that Russian pride and nationalism is centered on having fought to create a civilization, without help from anyone, in lands that are the traditional invasion routes for other cultures. Everybody, both east and west; the great and lesser khans, the Swedes, Poles, Lithuanians, Ottomans, French and Germans have all, by force or guile, tried to rule Russia. Moscow has been sacked at least three times, burnt to the ground twice, and threatened countless times throught its history. Constantinople fell, leaving Moscow the center of Orthodox faith and scholarship—the "Third Rome". For centuries, Russia has felt humiliated for having to depend on Europeans living in Russia for commerce, advanced technologies, and culture (as they do today). Yet Russia remains. In fact Russia has prevailed.

      This is Putin's message, and he knows his people. The Russian nationalist is sensitive, difficult, and remembers every slight. Regardless of having almost total control over the media and the electoral process, Medvedev and the United Russia party didn't win a 70% plurality in the last elections for nothing. Putin is a hard case, no doubt about it, but considering the chaos of Yeltsin's regime, most Russians would prefer Putin anyway. He's a devil they know well.

      "The cure for bullshit is fieldwork."
      --Robert Bates, Department of Government; Harvard University

      by papicek on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 06:14:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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