Monthly Archives: May 2015

Conservative perversion update

Remember our frank little chat about the perverse practices of the “traditional values” crowd? Well here’s a little update for you. It seems that a conservative homeschooling advocate has thrown in their vigorous defense of child molester Josh Duggar onto the ever-growing pile.

So let’s see, what do we have now?

-Russia’s family values warriors approve and defend bigamous marriage between underage girl and middle-aged man

-Anne Applebaum and her husband’s infamous defense of child rapist Roman Polanski

-Josh Duggar and his defenders

Obviously the purview of this blog limits us to the most prominent famous cases, but anyone who wants to dig deeper will finds dozens of cases of tough-talking conservatives going easy on rapists and child abusers.

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In case you weren’t sure

Today I saw this tweet from Hromadske.tv, featuring Anne Applebaum’s comment about Ukraine’s “decommunization” laws.

If you needed any more proof that these people are just as much ideologically-motivated as Russia’s propagandists, or that they are just as willing to let facts slide for the sake of ideological or political goals, there it is.

Russia’s post-modern fantasy world will not be conquered by an alternative fantasy world, whether in Ukraine or the world as a whole.

RT’s “alternative” pickup lines

Sick of mainstream, neo-liberal, neocon pick up lines that don’t get you anywhere except Denny’s alone at 4 in the morning? Face it, all the Axe body spray in the world isn’t going to change the fact that today’s hottest babes want a man who will question more. That’s why RT has gone the extra mile for the intelligent, red-pill-taking, geopolitical analysts out there and created Russia Today Pickup Lines!

“‘Hey there baby! How do you want your night to end? Unipolar or multipolar?”

“I’m not a Putin supporter. I’ve got many complaints about him. He needs to be harder…like my dick right now.”

“Not into casual sex? That’s so mainstream. Don’t believe the propaganda. You are just puppet. Do you want to know the truth? The truth is my dick.”

“How about I take you home and…politically analyze you even though I’m totally unqualified to do so?”

“The music in this place is so lame I want to bug out like Liz Wahl. Wanna come with?”

“Baby, you sponsored a coup that overthrew my heart, and installed a fascist junta…in my pants.”

“I’ve got a Topol-M missile…in my pants.”

“Okay, okay, it was a Proton-M. I’m sorry, this never happens. Just give me a minute.”

“Hey Nyash Myash! Why don’t you act like Putin and annex the Crimea, by which I mean grab my junk?”

“Baby, I’m just like Graham Phillips. I wanna pay you to have sex with me.”

“I’ve got a Ukrainian Buk in my pants for you. Or it’s a Ukrainian SU-25. No…It’s a Buk again. Hold on, it’s a Buk and a SU-25, but the important thing is that they’re both Ukrainian and not Russian at all. Also there are absolutely no Russians in my pants.”

Damn girl! Dat ass is bigger than America’s national debt!”

“Girl, you look so good you make me want to go down faster than the dollar will in four, no…six months.”

“Baby, if you walk away from me my heart will break into six different pieces just like the United States was supposed to do back in 2010!”

“Let’s ditch this place and go back to my pad so I can tell you all about how the Anglo-American-Zionist Atlantic Axis is running by the neocon playbook of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard whereby Russia is to be surrounded by NATO allies and US puppet regimes until such time that a color revolution can be successfully implemented in Moscow so as to dismantle the Russian Federation and take all its resources.”

“Baby…BUY GOLD! BUY GOLD! ONLY GOLD HAS VALUE! YOUR SO-CALLED ‘MONEY’ IS NOTHING BUT WORTHLESS PAPER! GOLD! GOLD, BITCH!”

Oh god please just come home with me! We don’t even have to do anything, I’ll sleep on the floor! I just need my friends to think I went home with a woman because everybody is starting to think I’m gay. I’m a nice guy! I’m intelligent!” 

Try these lines next time you’re at the club and you’re sure to go home with a sexy lady, only to totally screw everything up by telling her about the Ukrainian junta, the Charlie Hebdo false flag operation, and how Putin is standing up to the West by strengthening the BRICS alliance as an alternative to the Anglo-American Atlantic hegemony.*

If it doesn’t work, check out our website for Robert Bridge’s Guide to Russian Women, where he’ll explain how you can just come to Russia and find a woman who will exchange sex for food, drinks, and gestures of common courtesy such as opening doors and pulling out chairs.**

They may not work for mainstream sheeple who just lap up the neocon propaganda, but when a POLITICAL ANALYST sprays himself down, the ladies can't control themselves.

They may not work for mainstream sheeple who just lap up the neocon propaganda, but when a POLITICAL ANALYST sprays himself down, the ladies can’t control themselves.

*Neither the author, nor Russia Without BS bear any responsibility for whatever consequences may derive from the use of these lines, including but not limited to: bodily harm, criminal prosecution, or restraining orders.

**This will not happen. Don’t come to Russia expecting this.

Space politics

As the subheading of the blog says, this is a blog about Star Wars. At least that’s what it has become in order to comply with the recent legislation passed by the Duma “On the regulation of English Language Blog in the Russian Federation.” This article states that at least 30% of the content on all English-language blogs in Russia must be Star Wars related. I am not really in the mood to become a martyr at the moment, therefore I am working to maintain this blog’s status within the law.

With this in mind, I’d like to express a somewhat unpopular opinion about on aspect of the prequels which I think a lot of people hated unjustly. I am speaking about the so-called “space politics,” which were most prominent in Episode I, and to a lesser extent Episode II. People hated the long discussions in the Republican senate, the talk about no confidence votes, taxation of trade routes, etc. The common argument I’ve heard for years is something like this: “This is Star WARS! Why is there all this political talk? They didn’t have this in Empire!” 

This is my counter-argument: Space politics in Star Wars was not inherently bad; it was the content and delivery. For one thing, space politics were a part of the original trilogy, specifically in Episode IV. Every fan no doubt remembers the conference in the Death Star when Vader had to choke a guy for making fun of his religion. I always thought that the political make-up of the Star Wars universe could have been an interesting angle for the prequels, most importantly the transformation of the Republic into an Empire. Extrapolating from that, it would have been nice if the prequels had not only shown us that transformation, but also showed us the rise of the rebellion.

Getting back to the way politics were handled in the prequels, the problem is that all the political discussion is nothing but boring filler. I’m not sure there was a more exciting way to bring up a no-confidence vote in the senate against the chancellor, but there could have been real intrigue instead of C-SPAN discussion about resolutions and fact-finding missions to find out what was happening on Naboo. And speaking of Naboo…

The Trade Federation. What do they trade? So they’re blockading Naboo over an issue involving taxation of trade routes. I’ve heard many people say that was incredibly boring and not Star-Warsy, but did it have to be? Maybe if we knew what the Trade Federation actually did and who is pissed at whom over taxation of trade routes, this could have been more interesting. Was the Trade Federation unfairly raising taxes on poor Naboo? Naboo doesn’t look poor. It has massive palaces and an apparent population of twenty-five. Why would they be raising taxes on Naboo? Perhaps it would have been better if we were told that the Trade Federation had become so large and powerful that it was starting to turn into a quasi-empire operating outside of space law. Raising taxes on Naboo could have been part of their recent campaign to start throwing their weight around and challenging the Republic’s authority. If only there was some way to introduce these facts to the audience, like for example in a short text that would…crawl…if you will, up the screen in the beginning of the film.

And speaking of clunky, boring space politics, what’s with people’s titles in the prequels, specifically Count Dooku? Here’s a basic rundown of noble titles for you:

Baron > holds a barony

Count > holds a county

Duke > Duchy

Kingdom > Seriously, do I need to tell you this one?

Emperor > This one too?

Dmytro Yarosh > A Ukraine

Okay so if Dooku is a count, what is his county? Seriously, king I can sort of understand. King of a planet, for example. Or maybe you can be the king of a planet and you have a duke that rules one of the moons or something, but what exactly would a space county entail? That’s a pretty small holding. Yes, I know Dune has a Duke and even a Baron (a barony being even smaller than a county), but I feel that we can give Frank Herbert a pass because he dedicated so much work to constructing the political system of his universe. At least I think he did. I never finished the book. I just watched that David Lynch film a bunch of times for laughs and that low-budget Sci-Fi channel version. The point is I’m not nitpicking here; nobody put a gun to George’s head and made him give someone the title of count.

That being said, I have to say I disagreed with those who said it was lame that Sith had to have “Darth” in their name. I thought the idea that Sith have some kind of title was interesting, but sadly this seems as poorly explored as the origins and motivations of Darth Maul. Those of you who oppose the naming convention of “Darth” for Sith are way off base here.

As is often the case with Star Wars discussion, fans inevitably tend to start talking about how the prequels could have been better. For me, the politics weren’t the problem- boring politics were. I’d rather they cut out that all that pod-racing bullshit to give us some decent exposition on the motives of the Trade Federation, the problems of the Republic and its shaky system of democracy, and perhaps a little backstory on where the Sith came from and why they are out for revenge. In Episode II we are suddenly confronted by this separatist movement, yet it just appears out of nowhere. All we know is that ten years earlier, the Trade Federation lost a battle. Maybe we should have seen the rise of the Trade Federation, how it corrupted some other organizations and systems, and then led to the rise of the separatist confederacy or whatever. The separatists begin to win, Republic starts cracking down on dissent and democratic processes for the sake of winning the war, and then at some point- BAM! A putsch puts Palpatine in charge as emperor.

No good? Okay try this one on for size. The core system of the Republic is becoming more and more corrupt, and Chancellor Palpatine refuses to leave according to the constitution. A smaller system, seeing that their ruler is linked to Palpatine, rises up against their government, and the ruler flees back to Palpatine (we learn later that the ruler is also a Sith). Palpatine, furious that the system won’t submit to his new restructuring of the Republic into an empire, conspires to start a war on the system’s home planet using clones that look like local people. Soon he’s sending the first stormtroopers there, but he’s telling the imperial senate that there are no troops on the planet, claiming that the locals have ample resources with which to construct the white plastic armor which looks suspiciously identical to that of his new stormtroopers.

Then all these other systems and their representatives are like, “Hey Palpatine, you’re the reason there’s a war on that planet!” But Palpatine is like “No! No! It’s not my fault! There are no stormtroopers on that planet! Your minds are being clouded by the Sith! They organized a coup to take that vital system out of the empire! That planet’s new government is run by Sith lords, and they want to kill all residents who support the empire! They crucified younglings!

On second thought, scratch that last idea. That’s too ridiculous. Who would believe that the empire could have stormtroopers and vehicles on a tiny planet and actually try to deny it? Palpatine is evil but he isn’t a moron.

The ugly reality of “traditional values”

Having been abroad since early 2006, I became disconnected with American pop culture, falling behind the curve and only learning about things via the internet, often late. For example, I looked up Duck Dynasty only after it kept coming up in news just because I was confused by the name. At first I jokingly thought it was some kind of animated show set ancient China but with ducks instead of people, but when I learned the truth, it was more horrifying than I could ever imagine. I think that was the moment I realized how fortunate it is that I am so disconnected from the world of American television.

The Duggar family was another thing I had the misfortune of learning about thanks to the internet, and it only confirmed my convictions about American TV. When I first heard about them I could not for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to watch a show about Christian fundamentalists with too many kids. They barely crossed my mind again until recently, when a totally unsurprising child molestation scandal brought the family into the news.

I find it hard to believe that this family has produced only one pedophile. I think it's time we call Chris Hansen.

I find it hard to believe that this family has produced only one pedophile. I think it’s time we call Chris Hansen.

What is key to remember about this case, wherein one of the sons was found to have been molesting underage girls including some of his sisters, is not so much what he did but the family’s response- i.e. they covered it up for over a year and had the perpetrator talk through his problem with a man who is now serving prison time for possession of child pornography. Takes one to know one, I guess.

If it just ended there, I’d say the whole thing is typical and move on, but of course various conservatives have been putting their feet in their mouths, calling the Duggar boy’s sick crimes “mistakes,” and admonishing the press for airing the family’s dirty laundry. To me this just serves as another perfect example of what “traditional family values” actually means. Allow me to explain.

Conservatives, in almost any country, love to talk tough about punishing people, especially for sexual crimes. “We should just shoot the rapists and the pedophiles! Then the others’ll learn!” Chances are you probably have heard something along those lines. Personally I think it would be better to, you know, stop those rapes or molestation incidents from happening in the first place, because you can’t undo crime, but I guess I’m just a limp-wristed, bleeding heart liberal or something. Anyway, the point is, Mr. Traditional Values knows how they dealt with this in the “good old days,” and he thinks we need to return to that.

Except he doesn’t know. See when things like child sex abuse and rape actually happen in conservative, patriarchal societies, if often goes entirely unreported and unpunished. Far from taking the pedophiles out back and shooting them, the typical historical response seems to be quietly sneaking them out the back door and never discussing the issue again. Remember the scandals that rocked the Catholic church? People forget that the issue wasn’t the priests in question, but the fact that the church knowingly and willingly covered for the perpetrators, shielding them from justice. That’s a far cry from burning somebody alive, isn’t it? Take a look at the conservative reaction within the Duggar family. Where are the calls for street justice a la the Toby Keith song “Beer for my Horses?” All we see are apologetics and defenses, including one claim from a Duggar family member who says we’re really all child molesters at heart. Speak for yourself there, buddy.

Conservatives, both in the US and in Russia, love portraying progressive societies as degenerate, and they point to things like sex abuse scandals or rape cases as being proof. The technique is totally dishonest, because first, the media exaggerates crime all the time, focusing on sensational crime usually involving strangers when in fact the most likely rapist, kidnapper, killer, etc. is usually going to be someone close to the victim. Second, and more importantly, conservatives are basically “cheating” by taking advantage of the “availability heuristic.” In a more progressive society, things like rape and child molestation are big news. Reactionaries will use this to “prove” that modern or urban societies are somehow more degenerate, implying that in their own “traditional” societies this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.

The problem is that it does happen, frequently, and the perpetrators often get away with it. All these horrible crimes happened just as often and usually more so in the past, but they weren’t reported because the more conservative values of those times encouraged people to cover them up. “Was little Johnny molested by an older cousin? Let’s make sure those two are never alone and never speak of this again. Mary says she was raped by the neighbor?! Could she have led him on? What was she doing over there alone, at that hour?” Truth be told a lot of these attitudes, especially in regards to rape, are still quite common today. But which side of the political spectrum is pushing to help rape victims report crimes and fighting the tradition of victim blaming, and which side is terribly interested in what the victim was wearing, whether she had been drinking, and more concerned about not ruining a fine young athlete’s bright future as opposed to seeing justice done?

Russia, which about two years ago suddenly discovered it was a bastion of “traditional morality” to the surprise of many, is another perfect example of this phenomenon. While Russian politicians talk tough against consenting homosexuals, they defended the potentially-forced, polygamous marriage of a 17-year old girl to a man who’s nearly in his 50’s. The kind of sexual escapades that go on in Russia wouldn’t just make a normal person blush, it should make them red with rage. I’m talking massive sexual abuse in the group home system, prostitution exploiting orphan girls, etc. Yet the Russian government has never been too keen on doing anything about that. Far from it- they’re more concerned about repressing consenting LGBT adults and making sure children stay in those group homes instead of being adopted by countries which tolerate said LGBT people. “Russian girls being forced into sexual slavery? You know those are just naive, stupid girls with no education. They probably got involved in that willingly for the money.” Those words pretty much encapsulate what I heard dozens of times, from Russian women no less, when this topic came up. Incidentally, throughout all his Ukraine crisis I have never seen Russian or Ukrainian nationalists ever address this problem. If the topic ever comes up, each side insists that it’s the other side’s women who are prostitutes, and that are totally willing at that.

One would think Islamic societies actually put their money where their mouths are, but even then you’d be wrong. Rape and forms of prostitution are common in these societies, only it’s even worse because there the victim is pretty much assumed guilty and liable to the severest forms of punishment. It’s almost as if the more conservative you get, the worse it gets.

In fact that’s basically the truth. Conservatism is about trying to preserve the past, though typically an ideal past that never existed. American conservatives dream of the 1950’s they saw on Leave it to Beaver, i.e. a fantasy, totally unaware that teen pregnancy in those days was actually higher than it is today. Child abuse was hushed up because it was a “private family matter” and nobody wanted to “air dirty laundry.” If we go back further, to the 19th century, we see that while society was indisputably more religious, things like alcoholism and prostitution (including underage prostitution) were rife. Cities like New York, London, Manchester, and yes, Moscow, were home to hundreds of brothels, operating openly in various states of legality or de facto legality. In fact, at the opening of the American Civil War, Washington DC entertained gathering US armies with no less than 400 brothels, so many that local newspapers published reviews, recommendations, and warnings about them. Middle and upper-class women might have been chaste, but their future husbands got their practice with prostitutes long beforehand. Hey if that sounds bad for you fans of “traditional values” out there, I’m going easy on you. In the Middle Ages people got into some really kinky shit.

When we compare progressive societies to “traditional” ones, insofar as the latter are actually traditional at all, we see that in terms of justice being served and crime being prevented, a progressive society will come out on top. Obviously if society encourages rape victims to speak out and press charges, it’s going to look like we have more incidences of rape, if only because it’s being widely reported. But if we encourage this, and rape victims start getting justice more often, over time potential rapists might think twice about committing the deed, with the knowledge that they are far less likely to get away with it. By contrast, conservative societies that shame victims of abuse and prefer to keep things “in the family” enable and favor perpetrators, be they they pedophiles or rapists.

With that in mind it is hard not to have deep pity for the victims of Josh Duggar and the poor teenage bride in Chechnya. No doubt while the parents were covering up their son’s deeds, they probably interrogated his victims and possibly made them feel responsible for the crime that was committed against them. Likewise that bride was probably being told how lucky she was to be married to a man of such a high position, position being very important to survival in today’s Chechnya. She has no doubt been instructed on her “duty” as a woman. As infuriating as these things ought to be to any 21st century human being, we must never forget this ugly reality whenever we hear the hypocritical blather about “traditional values.”

“Tradition.”

Countering Russian propaganda: Part 7,281

Hardly a day goes by in the Russia-watching world when you don’t hear someone talking about efforts to counter Russian propaganda. Thus far I haven’t seen anything particularly impressive coming from any quarter, and worst of all, a lot of the writing on this material often doesn’t clarify exactly who the audience of this counter-propaganda should be. The two possible audiences, which are sometimes mentioned almost interchangeably, are Russian-speaking communities in European countries and non-Russian-speaking citizens of European and Western countries. Obviously the approach you take toward both must necessarily be vastly different, and not solely because of language.

The latest column I read on this idea was by Ben Nimmo, and is available here. In general the author makes some interesting points, such as highlighting the predictability of Russian propaganda. I too have noticed how Kremlin talking points are sometimes so predictable that you can almost “control” a person who is using them.

He also diagrams the techniques of Russian propaganda into a sort of template consisting of dismiss, distort, distract, dismay. Does his formula work? Well the author provides ample examples, but in repeating his “experiment” I would say that yes, I have seen similar examples myself. Here’s a brief run-down off the top of my head.

DismissThe most recent example of this was the reaction to RFERL’s article about Stephen Cohen. Russia Insider provided a response that looked like it was written by 16-year-olds, while Paul Craig Roberts provided an eerily similar version that sounds like it was written by a much older man with the mind of a 19 year old college student who goes on about 9/11 conspiracies. Immediately RFERL is dismissed as CIA propaganda in spite of the fact that the article actually quotes Cohen at length, and fails to challenge him on one of his most important statements, i.e. his own claim that he is not pro-Putin. Any “hit piece” wouldn’t have let that slide uncontested.

But what is even more hilarious is how both articles attack the author of the piece, alleging that they supposedly don’t know anything about Russia. If any of these morons understood how media works, they’d understand why that isn’t even important. It is an undisputed fact that Stephen Cohen is seen by some to be a Kremlin supporter. At the same time, they “let him speak for himself” by providing direct quotes from Cohen, including his denial of being a Kremlin supporter. Then they provide some comments from people who think he is. And for this rather routine news story, Paul Craig Roberts likens RFERL to the Gestapo. Yes, because that’s what the Gestapo did. They wrote articles in which they directly quoted the subject and then featured some counter-opinions. And the Waffen SS used to produce Garfield cartoons.

Distort: When I think of distortion, I think of the time-bending antics in regards to Crimea. At first, Russia didn’t annex the Crimea… “Oh okay, yes there were Russian troops there, but they were only outside their bases. Okay, they were outside their bases but they were allowed to be by law! They had to go around disarming those Ukrainian army units because they had to protect the people! Protect them from what? Protect them from what happened in the Donbass, of course! I know that happened after the Crimean annexation, but it was going to happen in the Crimea! Russia prevented that! Now the junta is murdering people in the Donbass, and Russia must stop them! No! There are no Russian troops in the Donbass! This is a lie! Russia isn’t supporting the rebels!” Ad infinitum.

Distract: This one’s easy: “What about… Fergusonkosovolibyairaqsyriavietnamdetroitguatemalairancubapalestine?!”

Dismay: This is a weird little tactic that a lot of media seems to forget about, which is a shame because it’s probably the only subtle method Russia has for getting its message out there. Indeed, sometimes it’s not subtle at all, but it is often used by “concern troll” types whose message is basically: “Russia is a dangerous unpredictable nuclear power so we’d better just give them everything they want!” Another variant of this is: “Putin is terrible indeed, but there are much worse figures out there and he is keeping them in line.” The latter may be true, but it’s true by design and it’s also not an excuse for supporting Putin.

Unfortunately Nimmo’s article has some glaring weaknesses. For example take a look at this line:

“The West should respond by emphasizing its own narrative of the freedom of choice and democracy, values which are threatened by the Russian regime and seen by it as a threat.”

First of all you have to ask who this message is aimed at. If aimed at Western populations, it will be dismissed as propaganda. As the saying goes, “If you could ask fish what it’s like living under the sea, they’d probably forget to tell you that it’s wet.” The American, for example, does not know what living under open tyranny is like. Americans will scream bloody murder over having to wear seatbelts or pay taxes. This approach actually ignores some of the very real problems and forms of oppression Americans do experience. In the case of the US, tyranny comes less from the government and more in the workplace.

The problem of narratives also reappears in the author’s proposed solutions:

First, the West needs a visceral, captivating storyline that appeals to the senses more than to common-sense. Such a narrative can be written, based on the West’s long-held values of individual freedom, democracy and the rule of law, and the efforts of many people over the years to defend them – efforts of which the Maidan demonstrations are a part.  

This is also a great recipe for lying and abuse by politicians. Once upon a time my country’s media concocted a visceral, captivating storyline about an evil dictator who had killed his own people and who was plotting an attack on the US. Do I really need to explain how that turned out? It is because of the rampant overuse of that black-and-white, emotional storyline that Americans are reluctant as a people to support any military campaign in regards to Ukraine. For over a decade the government and media cynically manipulated people and squandered America’s idealism. Before I address that Maidan point, however, read the rest of that quote:

This is an area in which the states of Central and Eastern Europe should play a leading role. Because of their history, they have a unique perspective on the clash of values which underpins the Ukraine conflict: the desire of the Ukrainian people for European integration, and the determination of the Russian elite to prevent it. They can articulate the narrative of democracy and freedom as a true, immediate and personal story, and contrast it with their own experience of its antithesis. This is far more powerful than any nuanced political declaration.

That narrative may be compelling but it is also wrong. The more I talk to people who were involved in Maidan, the more I began to realize that this narrative, whereby the Ukrainian people supposedly rose up to pay for European integration with their own blood, was nothing but a lie. A lie, incidentally, that was no less propaganda than the Russian narrative. What is equally damning is the fact that Russian propaganda never disputed this narrative of Maidan being all about joining Europe; in fact they embraced it and it was the foundation for their own false narrative. In reality, people came out to Maidan for a number of reasons and many of those people were not there for European integration at all. Some were outraged at the police brutality displayed at the original Euromaidan. Others were anarchists and leftists rallying for better wages and against cuts in social spending. Some were far right nationalists who despise the European Union as much as, and for the same reasons as Russia’s imperialists.

Lastly, given Ukraine’s recent laws against free-speech and which legislate a revisionist narrative of history no less ridiculous than some of the Kremlin’s highly-publicized theories (on the alleged illegality of German reunification, for example), no honest person can call Ukraine a successful democracy that is sufficiently different from Russia. Even if they managed to have a more or less free and fair election, the fact that these elected officials would so readily pass such legislation without debate or public discussion strips them of democratic credentials. For Ukraine to “win” in this conflict, it must be essentially different from Russia, and not in superficial terms either.

Another troubling thing in the article was this line about “speakers” for Kremlin propaganda:

Third come those commentators who may not support Russia’s narrative, but whose words can be quoted in a way which appears to show that they do.

It is a sad fact that Kremlin media does happily use the words of neutral or even anti-Kremlin figures to serve its own ends. Scholars of the Holocaust who study the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) and UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) need to be especially wary of this when speaking to unknown media sources. In such cases they should stress that these organizations represented only a tiny minority of Ukrainians during the war, and that the vast majority of Ukrainians served in the Red Army for the Allied cause. The fact that Russian propaganda seeks to exploit these fields of study shouldn’t scare people away from making statements about them. It means people need to be more vigilant, but it shouldn’t lead to self-censorship or false accusations of Kremlin shilling just because someone has a difference of opinion. Almost anything can be twisted to fit someone’s narrative.

All in all, I’d say it’s a valuable article even if I find the solutions to be a little flawed. Personally I stick by my proposed solutions: Cataloging phony news stories and claims in an encyclopedia format, and more importantly- mockery.

Russia prepared to recognize upcoming Tatarstan referendum

Tatarstan_flag_Kazan

MOSCOW- Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Tuesday that his government was prepared to recognize an independent Tatar state in the event of a yes vote in that territory’s upcoming referendum. The referendum on independence was announced on Monday after armed men calling themselves the “People’s Liberation Army of Tatarstan” seized key government buildings and police arsenals in and around the regional capital of Kazan.

“Obviously we believe in self-determination and the preservation of language, which are two of the demands the rebels have mentioned,” Lavrov told reporters at a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“It would be ridiculous for us to support measures such as the referendum in the Crimea or the federalization of Ukraine while denying those same ideas in our own country,” the minister added.

The uprising in the Russian Federal subject of Tatarstan started one week ago in Kazan and quickly spread to other cities. Local Tatar TV stations showed videos of cossacks and Russian nationalists holding rallies in Moscow, claiming that they would soon be on the way to Tatarstan to “Russify” its institutions and population. In response, the Tatar-speaking population formed “self-defense” groups and started raiding police and military depots in the region. Some Russian sources have repeatedly alleged that Turkish special forces personnel have been arming and training the rebels, a claim which Ankara has repeatedly denied. Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying that it was satisfied with Ankara’s explanation.

Tatar rebel in Kazan.

Tatar rebel in Kazan.

President Putin has yet to comment on the uprising, but Dmitry Peskov did field reporters’ questions at an impromptu press conference held on Monday.

When asked about the possibility of a Russian military campaign to put down the rebellion, Peskov called the idea “preposterous.”

“You must be confusing us with the Ukrainian government,” Peskov said. “We are not going to mount some kind of punitive military campaign against our own people even if they start an armed uprising with the help of foreign military forces and outside funding, all for the purposes of separating part of our country or at best, radically changing our constitution.”

Meanwhile in Kazan, the self-proclaimed “Khan” of the provisional government, Marat Abdullaev, announced that the referendum on independence would be held in three weeks.

“Soon we will make our voice known as one people,” Abdullaev told reporters while holding a Turkish license built G3 rifle. “We shall decide whether we wish to become a part of the Turkish Republic, or if we want full independence with the option of joining Turkey at a later date.”

Some sources have alleged that these are actually Turkish special forces troops rather than local militias. Both Ankara and Moscow agree that there are no Turkish troops in Tatarstan, and that the armed men in this photo bought their uniforms from local surplus stores.

Some sources have alleged that these are actually Turkish special forces troops rather than local militias. Both Ankara and Moscow agree that there are no Turkish troops in Tatarstan, and that the armed men in this photo bought their uniforms from local surplus stores.

Meanwhile spokespeople from the US State Department could not be reached for comment, but a receptionist told our correspondent that upon hearing the news numerous US diplomatic officials began drinking heavily, having “existential crises,” and “generally questioning the very concept of reality itself.”

When asked to comment on the State Department’s strange response to Russia’s reaction, Lavrov told reporters that he was surprised by it.

“What is so strange about our response to this crisis in Kazan? It’s almost as if they are shocked that Russia’s position could be so consistent, and I find that personally offensive.”