BS highlights

Last week has produced too much BS for me to handle with my current projects, so I’m giving you another highlights reel. Yeah, I know, it’s the clip show of blog posts, but it is practical and I have to devote most of my time to pursuits which earn money.

NATOphobia

As we all know, the go-to excuse for why Russia needs a corrupt dictatorship is always: “NATO encirclement!”  For some reason, countries like Finland and Sweden don’t seem to be too concerned about NATO encirclement, in spite of their small military forces and lack of nuclear weapons. But of course if you listen to vatniks tell it- that’s because Finland and Sweden are just whorish slaves of the US, unlike independent Russia, whose living standards are laughably poor compared to those states and most other “American colonies” in Europe.

But how real was the threat of NATO encirclement, particularly considering the fact that at no time has the alliance considered invading Russia, nor did it ever raise territorial claims against the country? Turns out that as usual, Putin and his crew were bullshitting. See for yourself.

The truth is that the increase in NATO activity was deliberately provoked by Putin, and he was probably counting on it. He needs it because he could see storm clouds on the horizon possibly before Maidan. And yet in spite of all Putin’s pathetic sabre-rattling which only leads to more plane crashes, the US is still downsizing its military and closing bases in Europe. The US army alone still plans to cut 40,000 personnel in the next two years. This doesn’t bode well for Operation: Barbarossa II.

Russia’s elite loves the West

One of the most infuriating thing about the foodstuffs import ban, is that submissive vatniks love to make posts, videos, etc. attacking their fellow citizens, laughing at them and saying: “You’ll just have to do without your jamon, Camembert, and Parmesan!” The implication is that the only people who buy these things are liberals and “creative class types” who have a better life than the salt-of-the-earth, working class Russian. Russia was actually importing something like 40% of its food when these idiotic “counter-sanctions” were announced, meaning that a lot of the banned imports were more or less ordinary goods, not expensive cheese, jamon, etc.

The other thing that makes this so infuriating, however, is that these submissive dipshits are attacking their own fellow citizens while the masters they support do not abide by their asceticism. Rest assured, Russia’s elite has plenty of access to the products they so gleefully order to be destroyed at the border. If they don’t have their channels to import it, they simply go there.

What better recent example than the honeymoon of Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov? After receiving a watch worth over half a million dollars, Peskov rented an incredibly expensive yacht to travel along the coast of “degenerate gayropa.” Not the Crimea, which needs tourism, not Sochi, which is practically abandoned, no- Europe.

And that’s what this all comes down to really. Whenever you hear a Russian politician or their cowardly, submissive supporters babbling on about “sovereignty,” understand that it doesn’t mean the same thing that it does for the rest of the world. Sovereignty in Russian parlance means that the elite should have a blank check to continually and constantly rob their own people, siphoning off money from vast natural resources, so that they can go ahead and turn it over to the West which they love so much.

Yes, the Russian elite loves the West.  They love it so much they’d steal from their nation, leaving millions impoverished and deprived of basic civil rights just to make sure that they and only they are allowed to taste the finest the West has to offer. If you are an ordinary Russian, you should shut up and be happy with austerity, import bans, censorship, and churches, lots of churches. But for the elite? Never!

You see, when they send their children to live abroad in those degenerate countries, and when they spend Russian taxpayer money on Western luxury, it’s to protect the masses from the dangers of consumerism. These brave  souls are essentially sacrificing for the sake of others! They are the patriots!

Volodymyr Viatrovych – Bullshit artist

Jared McBride exposes Viatrovych, a pseudo-historian and Holocaust denier behind Ukraine’s anti-free speech laws. And yes, I said Holocaust denier and meant it. This is the appropriate term for someone who dismisses and ignores scores of Jewish eyewitness testimonies and attributes all contrary evidence to a massive KGB conspiracy. If you want a good example, look at this excerpt, showing how Viatrovych ducks the question of collaborator atrocities in Poland and Belarus.

When confronted with the fact that the head of UPA, Roman Shukhevych, served the Nazis until 1943 as commander of a mobile police battalion that murdered thousands of civilians in Belarus, Viatrovych responded: “Is it possible to consider Poles or Belarusians a peaceful population, if, during the day, they work as ordinary villagers, only to arm themselves in the evening and attack the village?” In other words, civilians are fair targets, especially for “heroes” of Ukraine in the service of Nazis.

Viatrovych’s answer here is basically word-for-word the kind of thing you’ll hear from Holocaust deniers when it comes to Nazi atrocities on the Eastern Front. Believe me- I know. And yet for some reason nobody will explain, this kind of excuse making is tolerated right now when it concerns Ukrainian collaborators, but not for regular German forces or other pro-Axis organizations such as the Croatian Ustashe. If there’s a good reason for endorsing Holocaust denial in certain situations, I’d really love to hear it.

Viatrovych, try as he might, is essentially a vatnik mentally. In essence, there is no difference between him and a Russian “patriot” like Dugin or pseudo-historian Yuri Mukhin. If he were a real historian, he would not push so hard to get the state to enforce his historical narrative on the country, thus making it far easier for him to defend his revisionist claims. Just like in Putin’s Russia, Ukraine has people like Viatrovych whose claims cannot stand scrutiny and open debate, and thus they must be forced on people. This is why, again just like Russia, these people have a double approach to defending their claims. Outside their own borders, where they cannot control debate and use the state to suppress dissent, they resort to hysterical whataboutery and conspiracy theories. Inside their borders, they simply use the state to censor and crush dissent, effectively ending the debate before it begins. A vatnik and a vishivatnik are the same- only the packaging differs.

In short, fuck this guy. If he wants to be such a patriot, someone hand him a Kalashnikov and send his ass to the front. If he’s anything like his OUN/UPA predecessors, he’ll most likely desert to the separatists’ side.

What’s next

I’m fairly busy this week making various arrangements, but I’ll try to release some more original content before heading back to Ukraine for roughly two weeks. Stay tuned.

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16 thoughts on “BS highlights

  1. henk

    You seem to be saying that the USA has a moral high ground over everybody in the world,you are talking about whataboutisme but you don’t seem to realize you are doing exactly the same thing,its maybe unbelievable for you but there are many things wrong with the USA,You believe in freedom of speech but you are saying that any Russian that criticises the USA or the West is a stupid Vatnik or a Putin loving idiot,Russia is not perfect but the Russian people can think for themself and you are belittling the Russian people.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      And incidentally, the Russian elite believes that the Russian people can’t think for themselves, and thus they need to be inundated with propaganda and censorship.

      Reply
      1. Tom

        Jim said nothing even remotely like that, but why let the fact that he didn’t say it get in the way of getting (fake?) offended by something he didn’t say.

  2. Estragon

    Having a house, job, investment or child in Pindostan or Gayropa is practically a requirement if you want to be “elite” in Russia.

    Reply
  3. Tom

    Jim what do you make of educated Russian expats living the West who buy into Russian propaganda?

    I have heard seemingly intelligent and cultured Russians bring out the old “Western media is full of lies, RT gives an alternative point of view” trope.

    Patriotism overwhelming their critical faculties?

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      That’s a tough question, because such a phenomenon seems unheard of prior to 2013 at the earliest. I remember reading about Russian expats who were offended at the very idea of a Russian community in Britain, for example. Some tried to cover up their accents.

      I think part of the problem is that in the Western media and its pop culture, there was very little room for modern, cosmopolitan, progressive Russians. Skinheads, nationalists, and homophobes always managed to steal the spotlight, to the point where those things became “Russian,” much to the delight of those in power.

      But again, I’ve never met such Russians abroad so it’s hard for me to say. In some cases it could be due to their job or family members back home.

      Reply
      1. Callum Carmichael

        Just guessing here (I actually encounter these people a lot) it’s probably a combination of things. One factor might be that they haven’t lived in Russia in a while, and now they’re suddenly seeing a bunch of Western media stories about Russia that don’t sound like the Russia they knew before they left.

        For example, I talked to a guy who lives in Toronto who left Russia six or seven years ago. He kept going on about how Putin had dragged Russia out of the western-imposed chaos of the ’90s, and that standards of living were higher than ever under him. He also insisted that there was no meaningful repression and that Russia had free internet, nobody believed the propaganda, etc. True in 2006 maybe, not so much now.

        I’ll caveat this by saying that, while every Russian vatnik is essentially the same, every pro-Putin ex-pat is different. They are educated, they know that people in the West don’t spend much time thinking about Russia, and they know that life here isn’t a string of endless Gay pride parades, so they avoid some of the classic vatnik pitfalls. On the other hand, they have often partly assimilated Western ideological tenents, including those of the right or the radical left.

        So ex-pats are a mix. Some of their ideas sound like Vatnost, some like Western team-Russia fans, and some like the domestic right or left.

        One thing I can say with great confidence about most ex-pats (the exceptions are mostly academics) is that they seem to buy into the idea that Putin is Russia. Those that still like Russia think they have to also defend Putin. Those that don’t like Putin tent to be vitriolic about every other part of Russia too.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        That’s a good point. If I had left Russia after a couple years, say in 2008, I might find some of the more hysterical press(Vox, for example) to be really bizarre. For many years the dictatorship really didn’t touch ordinary citizens. The problem was usually local, so you could say the major beef with Putin wasn’t what he was doing, but what he wasn’t doing.

        It’s very easy for some people, Russian or otherwise, to admire Putin and Russia from afar.

  4. Asehpe

    I have the impression that some expats buy into the “the West thinks Russians are children who need to be taught how to behave” trope and feel offended by it, offended enough to defend things they themselves don’t like or admire, like Putin and his regime, because ‘the West also exaggerates in its depiction of Russians’. You know, a little like young Muslims in Europe could get angry at the ‘big infidels’ because they felt some anti-Islamic prejudice and therefore felt like reacting to it by embracing everything about their original culture and homelands–even the things they themselves would have criticized a couple of years earlier. Putin once famously said in a Time Magazine interview that the West thought Russians were “barbarians”. Some expants who may have had to deal with some vague echo of this prejudice might end up defensive about the Motherland as a reaction against it.

    Reply
    1. Chukuriuk

      You are onto something here. Your analysis helps explain a great deal about the behavior of G. i G-zha Professora-Lingvisty that you describe below.

      But you may be missing a moment beyond resentment of the Western image of the Russian-as-barbarian and defense/embrace of the home-culture: this is the embrace and performance of precisely the image of Russian-as-barbarian, i.e., the Western prejudice. I have experienced Russians (and, to be fair, other Slavs, mostly Orthodox) — and not only younger ones either — saying the most ridiculous things in the company of non-Russians, behaving in the most irresponsible way, consuming the most god-awful amounts of alcohol. I am sure that in other situations they do not believe, behave, or drink in such a “Russian” way. It is a performance of “authenticity” that is entirely inauthentic (like all such “authenticity”). Hell, I’ve done my share of it, and I only grew up in a Slavic family before entering the larger world.

      The problem is that it is becoming too widespread of a hobby, and it is time that they gave it up. I’ve noticed that a few are doing so, but these still feel shame: they are very ashamed of Putin. (This is another aspect of the problem altogether: the global disappearance of shame.)

      Reply
  5. Asehpe

    Actually, I have a parallel experience, but not with expats: with actual Russians living in Moscow. We have now two visitors here, a married couple of professors who teach linguistics in Moscow — two delightful people, very open to new experiences (it’s their first time here in Brazil, they speak no Portuguese, and yet they have found amusingly original ways of communicating with the local people) and with a lot of experience abroad (over 10 years studying and doing research in America, in several places, from New York to Alaska).

    Yet… when the topic turns to Putin and the war in Ukraine, they suddenly repeat the official view. Putin is ‘basically a good guy who just wants to protect his people’ (the lady linguist, who also has a degree in psychology, claims she did a psychological profile of him based on his speeches and actions and came up with the label ‘protector’), the West is ‘very interested’ in ‘defeating Russia’ (a quote from the gentleman in the couple: ‘they (= Americans) only liked us in two occasions: during the war, when we were under attack by the Germans, and in 1989-1991, when the Soviet Union was falling apart. Both cases of national catastrophes. At all other times, we were “bad”.’) So they think it’s possible that the separatists shot down MH17, “but there are other possibilities that the West is dismissing too quickly — why?”. They fully agree that Russian TV has an agenda and is full of propaganda, “but the West isn’t lagging very far behind–everything I read there about us is deeply negative, which bespeaks of a hidden agenda.” There probably are Russian soldiers in the Donbass, perhaps even under secret orders from the Kremlin, “but there is no real “invasion” (вторжение), and besides most of the separatists are local people who simply ‘had enough’ with being oppressed by the Ukrainocentric government in Kyiv — yes, we agree “junta” is an exaggeration, but come on, they are clearly anti-Russian and the Donbass people feel that, which is what motivates them in their struggle.” He also added that he had some Ukrainian blood, and he felt that, if he wasn’t already committed to so many things in the area of linguistics (he’s helping publish the “Языки Мира”), he might join the separatists himself: “I can’t really fight in combat, but maybe I could help them with computer stuff, etc.”.

    Hm. And what do I say to that? If I cited information from a Western source, they would claim it was biased. (An example: the incidents with Russian jets violating, or almost violating, the airspace of neighboring countries, especially in the Baltic. Provocation? Prof. Kibrik here says: “oh, this is a good example of how NATO is becoming more aggressive. See, nothing new is happening: the same kinds of exercises were being carried out years ago, except nobody complained back then. Now, without there having been any changes in the pattern of military exercises and jet pilot missions, suddenly NATO and the Baltic countries are “afraid”. Do you see how hypocritical (“лицемерные” ) they are?…”)

    How can you talk intelligently with them? And, remember, these are intelligent, well-educated people with a lot of contacts, friends, and experience abroad, already in their early fifties (so no starry-eyed young people) and very reasonable with all topics you could think of, except this one. What the heck is going on in Russia, to make these things happen? My guess is that it has to be that people buy into the idea of Western anti-Russian prejudice as a very important feature of the whole situation, so the West simply can’t be taken at face value — just like you should distrust KKK leaders’ speeches about believing in racial equality.

    Reply
    1. Callum Carmichael

      I’ve found that age often makes it worse… I’ve had better luck with young Russians than old ones. I have one particular contact who will try to argue with nearly everything I say about Russian policy. However, after trying either some ridiculously weak argument (“Kiev is massacring people in the Donbass. We know this because 3,000 civilians died there and the rebels would never shell their fellow countrymen) or else he’ll try to misrepresent me (par for the course), but either way after a very brief “argument” he basically resorts to lecturing me on my personal shortcomings and telling me how little I know about Russia (he hasn’t lived there or spent more than a month there at a time since 2001). Being older then me, he often resorts to the “I’m older than you so I’m right” thing. It’s like the older they are the more invested they feel in defending the Kremlin no matter what.

      Reply

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