Stop saying words

Want to play a drinking game? It’s very simple- Read this article and take a drink every time the commentator  Yevgeniy Ikhlov makes a reference to some kind of -ism.

“Napoleon,” he writes, “fell because having discredited and destroyed the medieval orders, he liberated European nationalism — German, Spanish, and Russian which turned out to be no less powerful than the French a force whose awakening he so successfully based his operations.”

Okay, nationalism. Nothing unusual here. Take a sip of  Jag or a shot of Putinka.

It's dangerous to go alone. Take this.

It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.

“The obvious evil represented by Hitler united both heirs of the Great French Revolution, liberalism and communism which did not allow any chances for a medieval order to be reestablished by the Nazis.”

Two shots there. Still pretty level-headed. Hitler wasn’t trying to restore any “medieval” order, but people have often associated the term with fascism because fascist movements did tend to glorify romanticized versions of the feudal past.

The current Russian president converted himself into a much desired “velvet Pinochet,” and he learned that he could have “the greatest success” with “a totalitarian restoration” based on “market Stalinism.”

Gulp. That’s for Stalinism. Never heard of market Stalinism though. I guess, to use the conventional(but wrong) definition of Stalinism, “market Stalinism” must be about creating a market in one country as opposed to permanent market, and it would favor heavy industry over light or something. Also that comparison to Pinochet is a bit odd. Putin’s regime has promised(and to some extent delivered) to privatize much of Russia’s state-owned property, but this has never really been associated with Putin the way it was with Pinochet. To be fair, Pinochet never privatized the Anaconda mines as far as I know, and he was forced to nationalize Chile’s banks.  Strange analogy, but I suppose I can go with it.

“But since Stalinism itself was “a restoration of Russian archaism” in and of itself, Putin’s “market Stalinism rapidly began to be transformed into a Chekist oprichnik operation,” with the FSB turning out to be a more reliable “party of power” although rapidly degenerating into “a corrupt police machine of the South Asian or South American type.”

Uh…What? How much have I had so far? Am I already getting drunk? I know these words but these sentences don’t make any sense.  Well it’s four more drinks now, “Chekist” counts.

“According to Ikhlov, “Putin instinctively went along the path of least historical resistance – and developed consumer totalitarianism.” That worked for much of his time in office because it condemned protest against him to failure much as the dissident movement had failed in the times of Brezhnev and Andropov.”

Consumer totalitarianism? Did I read that right? Another drink.

“But totalitarianism by definition is a society in the state of mobilization,”

But that’s not the definition, and even the conventional definition was problematic. I don’t feel drunk, but this just isn’t making any sense. Drink again for totalitarianism.

“That was war, and his “appeal to xenophobia, anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism and imperial nationalism almost doubled his social base,” Ikhlov says.”


“Putin’s “Hamas in this case is a designation of a kind for a local, aggressive religiously motivated pseudo-state formation of a totalitarian (political-gangster style) type, which sets for itself utopian goals, uses violence against liberal values and global processes and does not have internal resources for its existence.”

I must be hammered now. Is this guy actually a political scientist as the article says? Is he actually comparing the gang of thugs in the Donbas to Hamas? Say what you will about Hamas, but they’re actually capable of running a state under the most horrendous conditions. You don’t see them demanding that Israel pay pensions to their people.

“While some Russians may find that attractive for a time, “the civilized world will sanction practically any abortion of the Donbass HAMAS,” Ikhlov says”

Okay I have clearly lost it. I’m quitting.

In fact, Ikhlov argues, it may prove to be what Moscow was for Napoleon and El Alamein was for Hitler, the turning point to defeat.

Clearly I am wasted because nobody with even a superficial understanding of the Second World War would call El Alamein the turning point to defeat for Hitler. Most people say Stalingrad, but Moscow is a perfectly good alternative. I must be drunk if that’s what I read.

I don’t have a fancy degree in political science, but words still mean things. You can’t just throw out an alphabet soup of random -isms and bad historical analogies and hope that this will cow your audience into believing you have a coherent point. Is this the state of the Russian opposition intelligenstia? Is this all th– BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAARCH!!!

Oh shit! I’m so sorry, I… I’m okay. I’m alright. I just need to get some fr-BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEARGH!!!!


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