My piece on Open Democracy

In lieu of an entry today, I give you my debut piece on Open Democracy, entitled “The American credibility trap.”

bearclapping

Advertisements

36 thoughts on “My piece on Open Democracy

  1. Chukuriuk

    I was with you until this part:

    What if, instead of McCain standing on a stage with radical nationalists like Oleh Tyanhibok, Western leaders reminded the Ukrainian people that they have a diverse nation, which must preserve its pluralism if it is to survive? … Western leaders should have warned protesters and their leaders that alienating large parts of the country would play into the hands of Moscow…

    Wouldn’t this have been merely the paternalistic reverse of McCain and Co.? Rather, shouldn’t opinion-makers in the west have paid attention to the really revolutionary moments that seemed to vanish beneath the photo-porn of smoke and fire on Hrushevskoho: shouts of “East and West together” in Dnipropetrovsk; activists using Russian for a day in Lviv and Ukrainian in Eastern Ukraine; the translation of the Ukrainian anthem into Russian by some kids, by which time “Ukrainian” came to mean something like “free person” and “Maidan” — “agora,” as one (Russian) commentator put it at the time?

    In other words, these manifestations of faith in the revolutionary event (and the “subtraction” of the differences between, say, Russian and Ukrainian speakers) could have been represented as manifestations of liberal multiculturalism by the west (and “returned” to the Russian media-sphere in the way you’re suggesting) without compromising their content at home; it might have even encouraged them; and Strelkov and Co. might not have had such an easy time blowing the place to hell.

    (Posted this comment on ODR as well)

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Well the main problem was McCain putting his foot into something he didn’t understand, basically because he has long had this hate-boner for Russia. It’s weird because McCain uses the same PR firm as Viktor Yanukovych(there’s something for the conspiracy theorists to figure out). The point is that him going there was seen by both sides as an official US endorsement, and an endorsement of those people he shook hands with, including Tyangibok.

      Another thing to remember, though it’s mostly hindsight now, is that the EU and US seemed to fan unrealistic hopes among Ukrainians. Now we see how little they are willing to do to help Ukraine; even without the war there’s a good chance they would have been just as unwilling and corruption of course still remains a major problem in the country.

      Reply
      1. Chukuriuk

        Sure. My point is that the vast majority of opinion-makers in the west focused on the “divide between Russian(-speaker)s and Ukrainian(-speaker)s” to such a degree that I almost believe that Putin cribbed his “Novorossia” map from some graphic that showed up a hundred times on the Guardian or the BBC. The western media, along with western politicians, submerged the revolutionary responses and, in all likelihood, helped promote the nationalist narrative (on both sides). Yes, I know that’s the stuff that western liberalism trades in; but they could have sold it as “liberal multiculturalism,” even though it wasn’t that in its origin, and helped nurture it.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Ah yes, I know exactly what you mean. They did the same thing during the Orange Revolution. Yes, that East-West narrative definitely helped the Kremlin, whose propaganda machine still portrays Ukrainian nationalists and pro-government forces as Western Galicians when in fact many of the nationalists are in fact Russian-speakers from the East. I had a Russian study on that question but unfortunately I don’t think I’d be able to dig it up any time in the near future.

    2. YouAreACrank

      “Skhid i Zakhid razom” is a nationalist slogan that means, nationalists from Lvov, and from Kharkov together, the rest can burn.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        So? Russia has plenty of nationalists and the government does nothing about them. I do not distinguish between two brands of shit. All I know is that in Ukraine, nobody has a lock on power(and the nationalists have no state power), unlike Russia.

      2. YouAreACrank

        In Russia, the government jails nazis, I don’t know what you are talking about. The nazis in Russia moan all bout restrictive laws that favour the non-whites. Ukraine has nazi volunteer battalions that exterminate the vatniks in Donbass.

      3. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Not true. Only the most extreme Nazis like BORN are arrested and jailed, or those who take the Ukrainian side these days. Other than that you can openly throw up Roman salutes and scream 14/88 at the annual approved Russian March on 4 November. You can also publish all kinds of shit claiming that Ukraine is run by Jews on Anti-Maidan groups on VK.

      4. YouAreACrank

        It is not so much an understatement to say that Jews are overrepresented in the government in Ukraine. And I do not think anyone can be arrested for that. But unlike Ukraine, Russia has strict laws that get Nazis arrested. Don’t know who BORN is, but see, the like likes of this BORN seek asylum in Ukraine, and join volunteer battalions there.

        Ukraine is a grotesque place where rich Jews pay nazis to beat up their political opponents, and you complain about Putin not building roads?

      5. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “It is not so much an understatement to say that Jews are overrepresented in the government in Ukraine. And I do not think anyone can be arrested for that. ”

        And HERE we go. Jews are “overrepresented.” Guess what- check Russia’s power structure and you might find a few ethnic groups overrepresented as well.
        Overrepresentation in itself means nothing, especially because Jews are not some kind of hive-mind collective with one self-serving purpose. Thanks for revealing your anti-semitism.

        The thing is that your anti-semitism is aimed at Ukraine, ergo it gets a free pass in Russia.

        How can you know about Nazis getting arrested and not know about the biggest neo-Nazi case in Russia?

        See this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQs8rn9q_7c

        It happens every year, with the government’s blessing. They don’t get arrested.

      6. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Also I noticed that to help build your case for “overrepresentation” of Jews in the Ukrainian government, your creative Kremlin fascists have invented phony “real” surnames for numerous Ukrainian politicians.

        The irony of this is that the same claim is made about the Soviet government, and the Russian government, by neo-Nazis and Ukrainian nationalists alike.

        This is why there is no difference between you and them and you’re all a blight on this whole part of the world.

      7. YouAreACrank

        I don’t know what anti-semitism you are talking about. I’m part Jewish myself. The truth is not anti-semitic. Same if you said that Jews are overrepresented in officialdom in Russia, there would be no consequences for that. I don’t know who invented what, I don’t refer to Poroshenko as Valtsman, so cut the crap.

        There is are entire websites with lists of idiots that were arrested under Russian law. Google узники 282. Ukraine could not even outlaw naziism.

      8. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Yes, and I still see anti-semitic crap on Russia’s anti-Maidan sites every day, just like I see Nazi symbols on stickers in the metro almost every day.

        Don’t pull this “I’m part Jewish myself” nonsense. There is no reason to point out the overrepresenation of Jews or any other ethnic group in the Ukrainian leadership unless you mean to imply something sinister about that. Do you mean to tell me these anti-Maidan people who DO talk about “Waltzmann” aren’t anti-semites? I know what dog whistle tactics are.

        Also I noticed you conveniently failed to mention that Ukraine’s actual nationalists and neo-Nazis have threatened and attacked members of their own government from time to time. You can understand why, since the people rejected them at the polls.

        As for laws- the US has no laws against Nazism, and yet there are far fewer neo-Nazis or people with neo-Nazi-like beliefs in the US because those beliefs are socially unacceptable. As opposed to Russia where they are illegal but socially accepted as long as you don’t cross certain lines.

  2. Chukuriuk

    Clarification: western liberalism trades in identity politics (= nationalism); but it could have sold the revolutionary dissolving of differences, which really did happen in Ukraine, as if it were liberal multiculturalism.

    Reply
  3. YouAreACrank

    “Whether it’s McCain’s solid record of uncritically supporting anyone anti-Moscow, Mitt Romney’s claim that Russia was America’s ‘No. 1 geopolitical foe,’ or Obama’s talk of reducing the Russian economy to tatters, American leaders have an annoying habit of bumbling right into the Kremlin’s own game.”

    All these gentlemen are reflecting the American opinion on Russia. They get their talking points supplied by a whole network of think tanks. I invite you to read the garbage at Freedom House or Atlantic Council.

    I simply cannot understand how Russian Americans such as yourself do not accept that America is hostile towards Russia. Get over it dude, nobody in the American establishment is interested in engaging Russia in your smart way. America will use all coercive methods in her arsenal to punish Russia. Short of invasion and nuclear strike that is, that would be the end of us all. But then again, who knows about those cranks in Washington.

    The point of this game is to neutralise Russia, not to make it behave as America would like. Ultimately, America does not care about the fate of crappy countries like Georgia, Ukraine, or even Estonia.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      “All these gentlemen are reflecting the American opinion on Russia. They get their talking points supplied by a whole network of think tanks. I invite you to read the garbage at Freedom House or Atlantic Council. ”

      Apparently you think that a significant portion of the American population consists of Think Tanks.

      ” simply cannot understand how Russian Americans such as yourself do not accept that America is hostile towards Russia. ”

      Let’s just clear one thing up- I’m not Russian. That being said, I’m sorry but no, America generally didn’t have a hostile attitude toward Russia until recently, because this idiot president provoked the West.

      If America was so hell-bent on destroying Russia as you say, why didn’t it act when it had the best opportunity, in the 90’s? Why did America and other Western countries pour billions upon billions of dollars into Russia in the mid-2000’s, up till about 2013?

      “The point of this game is to neutralise Russia, not to make it behave as America would like. ”

      There is one way America would most like Russia to behave- As a stable, developing market for American goods and services, period. There is nothing to be gained from the destruction of the Russian Federation, a position which was popular in Washington even back in 1991. This would lead to nothing but chaos over a massive region and China, the US, and the EU would be forced to deal with that aftermath.

      “Ultimately, America does not care about the fate of crappy countries like Georgia, Ukraine, or even Estonia.”

      Indeed- Just as Russia doesn’t care about Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc. It’s also funny that you call those crappy countries. Gee, I wonder why Russia doesn’t attract more friends. Maybe all that talk about how they belong in your empire has something to do with it.

      Also since the US never got any credit for improving the lives of millions of Russians via direct investment in the 2000’s, it’s unlikely that Russian attitudes would change no matter what the US does. America is an approved target that people are allowed to publicly vent their hate on.

      Reply
      1. YouAreACrank

        You have Ukrainian surname, and Ukrainians are Russians to me.

        American population is irrelevant, we are talking about politicians and policy makers. As you say in your article, most Americans do not care about Russia, but concerned individuals do. Who cares what some American Vasiliy Pupkin thinks?

        Ukraine and Georgia are not attracted to Russia because they sold out to America and Brussels for Nuland’s cookies. That’s why they are crappy. Estonia has a larger population drop than Russia even. It looks like her future is depopulated base for US Air Force. Which will surely show how America loves Russia. Some countries around Russia voluntarily, and sometimes with Western assistance, chose to inculcate Russophobia in their populations to assert their independence. An unfortunate way. Smart way would be to cooperate with Russia, because the latter does not care about their independence, and never did, unless that independence becomes a liability like in Ukraine and Georgia, and the Baltic States.

        I don’t know whom America gave money to in Russia, but Russia owes America nothing. America also gave money to people who in the name of democracy cause instability in the FSU.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Your post here shows why so many countries hate Russia. Let me break it down to you:

        “You have Ukrainian surname, and Ukrainians are Russians to me. ”

        Well guess what- Many Ukrainians don’t see it that way. The more rational among them realize that many of these differences are trivial, but they still matter.

        “American population is irrelevant, we are talking about politicians and policy makers. As you say in your article, most Americans do not care about Russia, but concerned individuals do. Who cares what some American Vasiliy Pupkin thinks? ”

        Bad comparison. In America public opinion actually is important because it makes or breaks candidates. In Russia public opinion doesn’t matter because Putin is basically president for life.

        “Ukraine and Georgia are not attracted to Russia because they sold out to America and Brussels for Nuland’s cookies. That’s why they are crappy. ”

        Aaaaand this is why people hate you. You assume that any country that isn’t thrilled to be part of Russia’s empire so they can be told that they’re really just Russians or otherwise made fun of must be bought off by the US or EU. It’s not that they look at the US and European countries and see success, at least far more success than in Russia. It’s not that they notice how American leaders change regularly while Russia’s do not. It’s not that they notice America continues to accomplish things instead of constantly talking about WWII. No- it’s just because they’re all filthy whores!

        “Some countries around Russia voluntarily, and sometimes with Western assistance, chose to inculcate Russophobia in their populations to assert their independence. An unfortunate way. Smart way would be to cooperate with Russia, because the latter does not care about their independence, and never did, unless that independence becomes a liability like in Ukraine and Georgia, and the Baltic States. ”

        I find this argument hilarious because first you’re suggesting that countries shouldn’t have “sold out” to the EU and US for economic reasons- yet the reason they should have stuck with Russia was…economic reasons! Sure.

        What you fail to realize is that these countries, whether shortsighted or not, no longer believed that the union best suited their interests. This happened because your ancestors derailed the USSR from its socialist ideology and opted instead for a sort of restored Russian empire.

        Have you ever noticed, for example, that in countries like Kazakhstan, the Baltic nations, Ukraine, etc. You find that all the locals can speak Russian fluently, while Russians who lived their can’t speak a single sentence of the local language? This is why people hate you. You show no respect for them, and when they want to get away from you, you throw a tantrum and call them whores and sell-outs.

        “I don’t know whom America gave money to in Russia, but Russia owes America nothing. ”

        Wrong. That large middle class they talk about in the past few years? Those rising living standards? Russia’s standing as a BRICS nation? That’s from foreign direct investment. That’s how economics works. American investment led to jobs, more products, and generally higher standards of living. Of course that meant people starting to acquire dignity and making more demands, so Putin put a stop to that.

        And please don’t give me this nonsense about America being responsible for the downfall of the FSU. That was due to the corrupt, revisionist leadership of the various Communist parties who couldn’t tell the difference between Marxist theory and their own asses.

        Time to grow up and take responsibility for once.

      3. YouAreACrank

        Nobody is saying Georgia needs to become part of some Russian Empire, Georgia needs to build normal relationship with Russia in order to prosper. It is an economy on the level of Swaziland now. Instead what we see in countries like Georgia and Ukraine is the promotion of rather vile Russophobia. Russia did not ask for this hostility, these countries did it out of their own will.

        I did not these countries sold out to US for economic reasons, their elites sold out to US for their own personal reasons. Economically, Ukraine or Georgia got very little from selling out. I also look at America and see success. But Georgia is not even on the American continent, it shares space with Russia, so of what benefit is not cooperating with Russia and sucking up to America?

        I did not say America is responsible for the downfall of the FSU. Ukrainians turned their country into a failed state mostly by themselves, but America supported this idiocy. Nuland said America gave these poor sods $5 billions.

        The problem with your American investment is that for some reason a country like Russia that has resources, and even the technology to extract them depends on green papers from Washington. It is pretty ridiculous, and the legacy of Yeltsin’s system. It needed to be stopped.

    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I might also add that a new generation of Russia-experts is rising, one with real experience rather than academic study of Cold War relics. So while John McCain might be too old to take notice, other upcoming leaders will heed the advice of people like me because they realize that their current crop of experts have failed spectacularly.

      In the West, there are performance metrics.

      Reply
      1. YouAreACrank

        Your advice makes no sense. The quality of like of Russians is Russia’s internal problem. Americans gave alibi to Putin’s government with their sanctions. Now all economic problems can be blamed on America and her European lackeys. Do you understand that if there were 0 restrictions for Russians, and Russian companies to do business in the West, the likes of Putin wouldn’t have anyone to blame? But at any point in time, as far as I can remember, there were restrictions against Russia. Americans also play rather dirty against Russians in business, no honest competition there.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        First of all, the US and Europe can’t just stand by while Putin annexes part of a country and starts a war in the other part. That being said, I believe that it is way past the time when things could easily be repaired, and this happened because of the wrong-headed attitude Western leaders took toward Putin before. They started feeding his narrative long before this Ukraine business. The way they handled Maidan was incredibly short-sighted as well.

      3. YouAreACrank

        Putin did not start no war, Ukraine is officially not at war with anyone, even Donbas rebels that is. If Putin did not take Crimea, that place would look like a cross between Odessa 2 May and Donbas now. Ukraine is run by genocidal maniacs that use goon squads and nazis to repress political opponents. Putin could not allow carnage in Crimea under the auspices of the black sea fleet, that would be the end of him, or any Russian leader for that matter. The annexation of Crimea bars Ukraine’s way into NATO. Russia by the way cannot be part of NATO, it was denied membership.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        ” If Putin did not take Crimea, that place would look like a cross between Odessa 2 May and Donbas now.”

        Actually he did, and pretty much admitted it. And no, it wouldn’t look like the Donbass because countries don’t wage war on people who don’t rise up in arms against them and occupy government buildings.

        Your claim is laughable. You’re using something that happened after the annexation to justify the annexation.

        “Ukraine is run by genocidal maniacs that use goon squads and nazis to repress political opponents.”

        Not really. Outside of the war that the rebels started, there’s been little violence. In fact the interim government actually killed one of the most militant anti-Russian nationalists in the country- the one guy who was actually threatening Russians. I’m talking about Sashko Biyli.

        I’m not at all happy with some of the Ukrainian government’s policies, but to say they are run by Nazis is demonstrably false.

        “Putin could not allow carnage in Crimea under the auspices of the black sea fleet, that would be the end of him, or any Russian leader for that matter. ”

        So he annexed the Crimea after all, to prevent something that happened after annexing the Crimea. Some clairvoyance that man has.

        “The annexation of Crimea bars Ukraine’s way into NATO. ”

        Why is it okay for Russia to intervene in the affairs of other countries but not NATO?

        “Russia by the way cannot be part of NATO, it was denied membership.”

        There was never any serious negotiation for Russia to join NATO. Putin indeed brought this up, and NATO leaders probably should have been a lot more receptive, but it probably never would have happened. I’ve heard talk that Russia asked for unilateral veto powers, which isn’t allowed in NATO. That’s why NATO didn’t have an Iraq mission, for example.

        But of course if Russia joined NATO, that would mean it’s a total sell-out whore anyway, right?

      5. YouAreACrank

        Yanukovych did not use force against Ukrainian citizens that have occupied government buildings. I think he should have, it cost him his presidency and brought the country into a civil war.

        Why should I not be using something that happened after annexation? The situation in Odessa and Donbas was the same as in Crimea, with the exception that there was no direct Russian intervention. Russian intervention in Crimea had the effect of Ukrainian goons, and war bands not daring to attack that place.

        If Ukrainian government is able to use goon squads in Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhye and bomb cities of the Donbas, then clearly it would have done the same in Crimea if given a chance. Ukrainian government was actually the main cause of the war that rages right now, it decided to quell largely peaceful protesters and small armed groups with APCs and helicopters, and failed.

        I never said Ukrainian government is run by nazis, that’s for Kisilev, I’m too smart for that. Nazi goons however do harass and beat up opponents of the current Kiev government with the blessing of the authorities. They also form a sizeable part of the force in Eastern Ukraine because nobody sane is willing to die for Poroshenko and Kolomoysky.

        My point was that Russia was pretty much rebuffed with her NATO proposal, no effort was ever made by the West to invite Russia into NATO or promote the idea of NATO in Russia. If Russia was part of NATO, Russia would not perceive NATO as a threat. Like this, NATO is essentially an anti-Russian alliance, and the countries caught in between this stand off suffer.

        NATO ripped Kosovo from Serbia, established it as de facto American protectorate and land for a huge American base. Obviously, I sympathise with the Serbs, but I also think Russians failed to protect them, and hence this happened. I do not think it was legally right, and Russian annexation of Crimea was not either. It is however unfortunate that it needed to come to that. If Ukraine was a normal country without pro-Western maidans, a country that knows where her place is, Russia would not need to take these measures.

        I rally do not understand the necessity for America to expand its might globally as in the case of Kosovo. I’m sure the Russians looked at it, and were taking notes.

      6. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “The situation in Odessa and Donbas was the same as in Crimea, ”

        Not really. What happened in Odessa was a riot between rival groups of hooligans.

        It’s clear from your whataboutism that you apparently believe two wrongs make a right.

        ” If Ukraine was a normal country without pro-Western maidans, a country that knows where her place is, Russia would not need to take these measures.”

        And THIS is why people hate you.

      7. Asehpe

        See, Crank, what you’re failing to notice in Jim’s arguments here is a simple fact: you make claims without supporting evidence (like ‘Crimea would have been like the Donbass without Russian annexation’ without realizing that the Donbass is as it is because of Russian support… No Russian support, no white trucks full of military supplies, no Russian soldiers fighting proxy wars == no war in the Donbass == no war in Crimea).

        There isn’t a single ex-Warsaw Pact member who decided to stay with Russia. Even if you think they were bribed, you have to admit it was damn easy — none of them wanted to stay under Russia’s aegis. And with good reason — Russia has never treated a “brotherly” country well. All countries it annexed to its empire felt that NATO was a more humane choice. Now, even parts of the old Soviet Union want to enter NATO and the EU — again, because Russians never treated their “brothers” well. Hell, even Lukashenka, who is not a sweet ol’ democrat, criticizes Putin’s invasion of the Donbass and the annexation of Crimea — and if there was anyone who Russia could perhaps cite as a “real ally”, it was Lukashenka.

        You may believe America’s pockets are so deep, they can accomplish all that. But that is really just a strange kind of blindness. You look at all the crap the Russian press throws on any country who says something they don’t like — and you’re surprised that these countries feel their suspicion confirmed that Russians never cared for anybody except Russians? That all they ever wanted was an empire full of people they can look down on? I mean, you’re basically making their point for them, giving them cabal demonstrations of their points on a silver platter.

      8. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Indeed, there was a time when America did practically run various puppet governments around the world, but that time has long since passed. Many of those countries are now rising economic powers in their own right, such as South Korea, Turkey, and the Philippines.

        The fact is that if you’re on the NATO/EU side, you’re pretty much allowed to believe whatever you want. You don’t have to listen to Americans constantly telling you about how much they allegedly done for you.

        The Glorious Leader showed how inept he is at making friends in Budapest yesterday when he laid a wreath at a memorial to Soviet troops who died DURING THE 1956 UPRISING. This is his ONE “ally” in Europe, and that ally is in fact that fascist, antisemitic Jobbik party, and he does something that would make a far more moderate Hungarian’s blood boil.

        That’s what being a “brother people” is like. And that’s why most people say no thanks.

        But of course it’s really because they’re all whores and America pays them. Never mind the fact that America has one of the lowest foreign aid budgets in the world, and never mind the question as to why Putin’s glorious new Russian empire can’t pay more Ukrainians to rally to their side, etc. etc.

  4. YouAreACrank

    The narrative in Russian press indeed is “the West hates Russia”. But the Russian press translates Western press to demonstrate this hate, because the West really hates Russia. Read Western papers from Washington to Warsaw, and enjoy the hate. If you think anyone in the West is interested in pointing out the mismanagement of Russia by her elites, think again. Everyone in the West loves Russia with high abortion rates, high domestic violence rates, high drug abuse and alcoholism rates. They loved Yeltsin’s Russia which was absolute hell. All these corrupt officials like storing their money in the West by the way. The West loves this system, Yeltsin and Putin are sides of the same coin really, presiding over the same system created in 1991. A system in which Russia is a resource appendage of the West, McCain’s gas station. What McCain failed to say is that he likes Russia like that. Why the West doesn’t like Putin as much a Yeltsin is because he tried to undo at least some of its most toxic parts.

    So I can only assume that anyone trying to make Russia into a functioning country would be met with even more hostility.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Let’s break this down a bit:

      ” But the Russian press translates Western press to demonstrate this hate, because the West really hates Russia.”

      The Russian press translates mostly what is useful to them. For example, when Obama makes an idiotic statement like the one mention in the article. The Russian public never gets a remotely accurate view of America’s real opinions or its political system. To be fair, part of that is the language barrier.

      “If you think anyone in the West is interested in pointing out the mismanagement of Russia by her elites, think again.”

      Apparently we are reading totally different press. Are you seriously claiming that Western journalists don’t write about corruption in Russia and its consequences? This is practically all they write about. Those who don’t write about nuclear war and sensational bullshit but they aren’t considered experts- nor do they claim to be.

      As for the rest of what you wrote, that’s basically true and I would say that I agree with most of that except the last part about Putin and your conclusion.

      Right now much of the US’ largest industries are geared towards the international market rather than the domestic one. The most obvious example of this is Hollywood. The US has a seriously high stake in the prosperity of the Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, Brazilians, etc. But now we’re supposed to believe when it comes to Russia, their money isn’t good enough? Of course not.

      The only problem Western capitalists had with Russia is concern over the lack of rule of law, particularly property rights. With Putin coming back for a third term in the wake of protests and the economy slowing down, Russia stopped looking like such a great market for investment. That’s why the capital flight began around 2013.

      If Putin were smart he’d step back and try to let real civil society develop so the country can transition to functioning democracy. Unfortunately I don’t see this happening because he’s started to believe his own propaganda.

      In any case, I think this myth of the eternal hostility between Russia and the US needs to be laid to rest, primarily for Russia’s sake. Russia and the US have been allied far longer than they have ever been hostile. Even the USSR was never considered a threat until after 1945.

      Reply
    2. Asehpe

      Basically, Crank, the idea that ‘the West hates Russia’ is self-serving propaganda, that allows Russia’s rulers (Putin’s clique) to strengthen their hold on power. What Western capitalism loves is money, money that comes from big, large markets. It loved Russia–a Russia ready to buy Big Macs, Hollywood movies, and American computers and iPads. Journalists criticized the lack of freedom, but hey, as long as the money was good… and even now, when there are so many good reasons to shut Russia out, it is so difficult to convince Western capitalists to stop accepting Russian money — they don’t say things like “Londongrad” for nothing…

      In fact, this simple fact — that capitalism is much more interested in profit than in democracy — explains why relations with China, where freedom and democracy are also hunted down, are so good. As far as natural resources, and as far as being a ‘different civilization’ goes, China would be a much more ‘natural’ enemy and target for Western hate than Russia — besides being a much more important country than Russia, even in its initial, more impoverished, post-Mao phase. Yet, since China is a wonderful commercial partner that produces a lot of profit — there are no problems. Russia, on the other hand, is a kleptocracy with no rule of law… If Russia became more like China — no corruption, big market, lots of profit — all the ‘hate’ would disappear in a heartbeat.

      But Russia doesn’t want that — it doesn’t want to be a no-corruption developed market with a booming economy. Nooo–it wants power concentrated in the hands of oligarchs and a well-behaved sheeple that doesn’t rock the boat of said oligarchs. It also wants an “empire” consisting of its neighbors, duly respectful of their Russian overlords… Hence the problems, the conflicts, the capital flight, and what you insist on calling ‘hate’.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Here here. Probably the worst thing the West did to Russia was basically ignoring it in the 90’s and early 2000’s, just assuming that it would develop into a functioning democratic society on its own. Beyond that, Russia’s problems rest with the Russians, and their love of material goods with brand names.

        Listen to what His Excellency, the Glorious Leader said in 1999.

  5. accesscrimea

    Crank man – “If Putin did not take Crimea, that place would look like a cross between Odessa 2 May and Donbas now”

    Let me correct that logic fart for you:

    If Putin did not take Crimea, some people wouldn’t have got funny ideas and Donbas would now look like Zaporojiya or Kharkov, or any other Ukrainian city full of Russian speakers/ Russians who are now living in peace.”

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Yes I should also point out that in the case of Kosovo, they declared independence almost a decade after the end of the war with Serbia. That gave everyone plenty of time to decide what to do. In the case of the Crimean referendum, there was almost no time for debate, people were not allowed to campaign against the annexation, and there was no status quo option on the ballot.

      Reply
  6. Estragon

    Re: “Ukrainians are Russians to me” – I always find this argument strange. First, because if a certain people decide they are X, that’s their decision, and it’s not for outside parties to tell them they are non-X. Historically, national consciousness is something that comes into being and often changes. In the 18th century, certain American colonists decided they were not British anymore. That had consequences in the real world.

    Second, if Ukrainians are Russians, shouldn’t Russians show them a little more respect? A Russian who disrespects Ukrainians is, according to this logic, disrespecting Russians. Why would any Russian patriot want to do that?

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Russians are happy to make fun of Ukrainians even when they support them. This is why many of them decided to look West. But no…It’s not Russia’s fault. It’s because they’re all stupid spoiled whores! Just like all those women who can’t appreciate a poor nice guy!!! WAAAAAAH!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s