Note to Russians – Tear Your Clothes and Scream More on CNN

Uncle Volodya says, "Hey, Doku; I love your hat - is it a James Lock? Listen, can we just, like, be friends?"

Maybe it’s true that the world has become cynical and detached, and that nothing much moves us any more. Maybe it’s true that journalists have to dig a little harder, cut a little deeper, assume a little more controversial stance in order to rouse us from our stupor. But, boy howdy, here’s one that roused me. By the time I read through the first three paragraphs, I wanted to see the author carried aloft by flying monkeys and dropped in a pit of bubbling-hot snot, and as I continued to the end I began to regret my premature spasm of generosity. Suffice it to say I hope she’s not an alcoholic, because drinking buddies might be a little hard to come by in Moscow after this.

I honestly don’t know why I ever read anything on Open Democracy, because it plainly caters to a western audience, and panders to the most overt prejudices of that. It’s notable for introducing articles that sometimes make you shake your head slowly in wonder, like the one that featured an author who had worked up a detailed psychoanalytic profile of Putin from a newspaper article about him, not even written by Putin himself. It rarely fails to make me spitting mad, which I doubt is the desired effect; it’s supposed to make you thank your lucky stars that you live in the west, under democracy’s gleaming golden umbrella, instead of among the savages who dwell between the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Black Sea. If you actually live in Russia (you poor slob) and can read English, it’s supposed to make you semi-suicidal with anguish because you live in such a backward, despotic chamber of horrors, the very asshole of misery, and straightaway place the nearest foreign consulate under siege until you get your exit visa.

Sorry; I had to take a little break, because I was starting to hammer on the keyboard so hard that it sounded a bit like an Alex Van Halen drum solo. Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean; breathe deeply, think of soft, fuzzy puppies….Okay, I’m better now. Let’s take a look at it.

Oh, hold on a minute – I wanted to play a little guessing game first: let me give you the first few lines, and you see if you can guess the author’s profession. No peeking, now, this is a scientific experiment. Ready? Okay; here goes. ” The Domodedovo terrorist attack brings to light a whole series of issues: the negligence of the airport security services; the inability of the secret services to infiltrate terrorist networks; Russian policy in the North Caucasus generally; the international and local nature of terrorism…the good Medvedev, who promised to investigate the attack; the bad Putin, who promised that he would crack down on terrorists, and yet failed to do so.”

Okay, what’d you get? Terrorism expert/consultant? Foreign policy analyst? Political journalist? Liberal opposition figure? Ha!! She’s none of those, she’s a poet!! A pretty good one, apparently, a “laureate of the prestigious Bely Award”. But still. Come on. Would you go to a mechanic for advice on how to make bread? What in the land of hopping Jesus does a poet know about infiltrating terrorist networks? Russian policy in the North Caucasus, generally? Where are her previously published articles on the subjects? I’ll give you a tip; don’t look on Open Democracy. I did, and she has published one previous article, on poet Andrei Voznesensky. Who was apparently neither a terrorist or a North Caucasus policy expert before he was dead, which he is.

I don’t mean to suggest that poets, or anyone else, should not be allowed to state their opinions; even in print – far from it. But it should be clear from the outset that it is just an opinion; I think as we read on you will agree that this professes to go well beyond opinion and into doctrinal twaddle. Without further delay, let’s get to it.

All right, we’ve already looked at the first paragraph, although I’m sure I’ll want to return to it. The second is largely a throwaway, because it is a consolidation of popular opinions from the web, and not necessarily those of Ms. Fanailova.

Let’s start at the third paragraph, then. No, wait, wait; I can’t do it, God damn it; what in the hell does a poet know about whether or not the secret services have been able to infiltrate terrorist groups? I mean, is that the sort of thing the secret services regularly brief to the Security Council of Moscow Poets, or something? Perhaps she expects to hear it on “Utro” ; “Prime Minister Putin’s secret services report they have been successful in infiltrating North Caucasian terrorist groups at the operational planning level, despite the fact most of them do not look like Chechens or speak the language fluently: now to sports, where Spartak…” How is Ms. Fanailova able to draw a direct parallel between this supposed failure and the attack on Domodedovo, when investigators haven’t even figured out who did it yet and nobody has claimed responsibility? Does she not realize there is more than one terrorist group operating in the North Caucasus? Would infiltrating one successfully prevent all the rest from carrying out an attack? Whenever Russian forces kill a terrorist leader, his followers spread the story that Russians once again brutally slaughtered innocent civilians, and the western press happily picks it up….

Sorry. Paragraph three. According to Ms. Fanailova, the attack on Domodevo will be forgotten in a week, at the outside – couple of days, probably. Darling, who was that Ukrainian playwright who got blown to pieces at Domodevo? Where, dear? Hey, pass the blini, would you? Is there any more honey?

How could such a disaster be forgotten so quickly? Why, because Russians have no strong feelings. How fortuitous that Alexander Sokurov wrote a play that exactly describes this who-gives-a-shit attitude, thereby giving Ms. Fanailova an opportunity to showcase her performing arts chops. Not one to be confined to a single field of expertise, though, she quickly moves on to metaphysics, informing us of the commonality that exists between Islamic terror and Kremlin terror from the viewpoint of the average stoic Russian, who has learned to repress his/her fear, and display an outward appearance of unconcern. Mournful unconcern, though.

And then, somehow, in an incredible handspring of gymnastic hackery, we hear that it is this very unconcern which allowed Khodorkovsky to get sent down the river for a third time. Khodorkovsky – Mother of God, if I don’t have a stroke, it’ll be a miracle. Let me ask you this; do you think it might be possible for bootlickers to the liberal opposition to do something as simple as a shampoo commercial without tying in Mikhail Khodorkovsky the Boy Wonder, fiscal freedom fighter and wronged prisoner of conscience? Is that too much to ask?

Lest we forget, Khodorkovsky was sentenced one day short of a month ago. For the second time. Pretrial detention is not a sentence, and time served was incorporated in his initial sentencing. Assuming the largest window of mournful Russian unconcern, Khodorkovsky’s incredible travesty of justice apparently is just about exactly four times more important than the blast at Domodedovo, since we’re supposed to still remember him. Anyone who questions how Khodorkovsky made his billions, the author confides, is “collaborating with the authorities to protect their own interests”.

Khimki Forest? The decision was announced December 9th, making it about seven times as important as the terrorist bombing that killed 35 people. I’m not a fan of the destruction it has caused and will cause, but is it really supposed to leave a more lasting impression than a terrorist attack?

I thought there could be no more surprises left in this for me, but I was wrong. In an impromptu history lesson from Ms. Fanailova, I learned that “empires that build themselves on violence have to go”. Good thing Britain doesn’t have an empire any more – otherwise, they’d be very disappointed to hear that. How does she think the British Empire came about? Decided  by secret ballot? Surprise! You’ve just won seventy years of colonial subjugation, let’s have a round of applause for India, folks!! Perhaps Ms. Fanailova could give me an example of an empire that was not built on violence.

I also enjoyed the little vignettes at the end. Putin, who promised to crack down on terrorists, but went squishy later and failed to be tough enough, is too hard on Islamic radicals – you can’t just go around shooting people. Besides, since Wahabbism is just as attractive as Communism, it’s attractive to potential suicide bombers. Putin must find a proactively and visibly tough way to stop radical Islamic terror immediately, while displaying understanding and respect for the merits of Islam and not killing anybody. Got it. Sounds easy enough.

Many of the radical Islamic groups in the Northern Caucasus are not native to the area, and arrived there from other countries with the aim of creating an Islamic emirate on Russia’s doorstep, a fact which appears to have eluded Ms. Fanailova. I wonder if the rest of the world is stoked at the concept of an Islamic emirate that spans 10 time zones.

Well, I don’t have answers to most of those problems, and I’m glad they aren’t mine to solve, because the situation sounds complex. Boris Nemtsov could solve it overnight, I bet, but I’m not Boris Nemtsov. Still, I’d like to help, in my own small way. Accordingly, I have a suggestion – conspicuous grief.

You should cry more. Really let the world see your anguish. Displays of unrestrained emotion are hot right now in the west. Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner blubbers at the drop of a hat – does anyone accuse him of unconcern? Hardly; the voters of his home state think it makes him look strong. Mentally defective former rodeo clown Glenn Beck weeps as if his heart would break on the slightest excuse, and nobody suggests he’s repressing his fears. People on western news programs regularly give way to emotion, and the audience loves it. Get with the times, Russia!!

Of course, no change comes without cost. If the cold, unfeeling government and public-safety officials who had Domodedovo running again in a very short time had instead shrieked in grief and agony, shown how shook up they were for reporters, and perhaps gone for the bonus of screaming “this is Putin’s fault!!!”, they would have gotten much more sympathy from western-oriented mouthpieces like Ms. Fanailova. The terrorists would have been handed a much greater and more visible victory thereby, but one must take the bitter with the sweet.

If you learned to act a little more like every terrorist act had torn the heart right out of the country, you might even get your own reality show.

This entry was posted in Government, Law and Order, Russia, Terrorism, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

117 Responses to Note to Russians – Tear Your Clothes and Scream More on CNN

  1. peter says:

    Okay, what’d you get?

    She’s a journalist with Радио Свобода.

    • marknesop says:

      Okay, fair enough. It’s odd that Open Democracy didn’t mention it. I still didn’t see any articles on counterterrorist infiltration or state policy in the North Caucasus, though. She also apparently covered – or at least researched – Beslan. I didn’t see much mournful unconcern there.

  2. Misha says:

    Careful not to oD Mark.

    Another recent one from that venue:

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/roman-kabachiy/ukrainian-nationalism-are-russian-strategies-at-work.

    An example of a paranoid non-Russian nationalist mindset criticizing another form.

    Two private views from some individuals who I’m glad to know:

    “Muddled and convoluted, but the same old BS…”

    &

    “Typical misguided use of a conspiracy theory.”

    ****

    Yushchenko and his wife are committed Bandera supporters.

    Yushchenko has a pattern of seeking unreasonable goals like putting Ukraine in NATO, ASAP and seeking just one Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) independent of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP). On the latter, he would’ve been practically better off with a free to choose stance regarding the UOC-KP (Kiev Patriarchate), UOC-MP, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

    Note the mischievous Russia behind the scene line in the above linked oD article.

    That site has run two recent articles from someone else, who along with the above linked piece suggests that Russian leaning elements (Yanukovych’s PoR referenced as such) might be backing the nationalist Svoboda movement. The author of the aforementioned two other oD articles on Svoboda expresses concern of that org’s xenophobia towards the West. He has nothing to say of Svoboda’s anti-Russian stances.

    Concerning who has recently decided to appear with Svoboda:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/95379

    • cartman says:

      Here is another one from Newsweek:
      In Russia, Putin’s Policies Are a Disaster

      Interesting the cases they choose. Salafism (often called Wahhabism) is an weapon of Saudi Arabian imperialism. Probably 100% of terrorist attacks in Russia, Egypt, Pakistan, and other countries last year were committed by its adherents. It is weird to call them persecuted anymore than say communists, nihilists, and anarchists were persecuted. The native variant of Islam in the Caucasus is Sufism, which is one branch they consider themselves at war with.

      It will be interesting to see what effects Middle East instability will have on global terrorism. I personally think that it will be a blow to fundamentalists if the Saudi regime fell now. They will suddenly be tasked with governing, while left with resource shortages, hostile neighbors, and worthless currencies.

  3. Yalensis says:

    I saw this in the New York Times today:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/29/world/europe/29russia.html?src=twrhp

    If you skip to the last 3 paragraphs, if the info is accurate, it seems to clear up the issue of whether the bomber was a male or female. According to this, airport video shows one male, who stood in the crowd waiting for 15 minutes, then detonated his bomb.
    Apparently, for a couple of days the police had gotten on the (wrong) trail of a man named Vitaly Razobudko, an ethnic Russian resident of Piatigork, who had gone missing about a year ago. They believed he was the bomber. However, when they took DNA samples from his relatives, they realized there was no match.
    This news shows a couple of things: first that the police are actively working the case; second, that they have a DNA sample from the deceased terrorist.
    In my view, these developments, and treating this like a crime that needs to be solved, are way more important than any bullshit propaganda from liberasti hirelings claiming that Russians are so stoic that they don’t care that innocent people were killed. That’s just a tired old slander, not even worth refuting.
    On more important issues: does anyone have an opinion about this new color-coded terrorist alert system introduced by Medvedev? The United States just got rid of their color-alert system, feeling that it wasn’t effective. People used to make fun of it, but I always thought there was some sense behind it (at least for police, army, first respondes, etc., so they know what they’re supposed to do at any given level).

    • Yalensis says:

      P.S. Mark: The horrific photo you show of the wounded children is, I believe, from Beslan and not from Domodedovo. You should probably clarify that, in case people get confused.

      • marknesop says:

        Nope, I know it’s from Beslan, and it intentionally bears on terrorism from the North Caucasus. It wasn’t meant to represent Domodedovo. If there were any children among the casualties, either dead or wounded – and I suppose by the law of averages there must be – I didn’t read about it.

    • marknesop says:

      I wouldn’t have gotten so lit up about it if I realized it was a tired and well-used insult – I’d never read it anywhere else, and it really made me mad. I read shortly after the bombing that they had the head of the bomber, but confusion still persists – at least in the news sources – and some say there was a woman with the man and that the bomb exploded when she opened her bag. This led to speculation that the bomb might have been meant for somewhere else, perhaps the concourse, and that the man was with the woman to make sure she didn’t lose her nerve. Anyway, initial reports said the head was a man’s.

      The colour alerts weren’t dropped in the USA because they weren’t effective, or at least not directly, but because people had grown accustomed to them being manipulated for political purposes – hiked just before an election, or accompanying the announcement of new and potentially unpopular antiterror legislation, that sort of thing – and no longer paid them any real attention. If they’re not manipulated for such purposes or plagued with constant false alarms, I don’t see why they wouldn’t work. You’re right that they take advantage of preplanned responses, and many things that might be forgotten if they relied on memory in a pressure situation are largely automatic.

      • Yalensis says:

        @Mark: I understand why you are so upset. I am angry also, although I attempt to remain stoic. This so-called “poet” is obviously just a hired Western propagandist working for Radio Liberty. I have read several “Western” responses to Domodedovo, and they all pretty much harp on the same tired tropes: this proves Putin’s government has failed; it shows rottenness and decay of Russia; that Russians basically deserve this violence and suffering, etc. CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria even is so brazen at to claim that Russia itself created Islamist terrorism (which then came back at it like a boomerang), which is not only an easily refutable lie, but also a misdirection (of what America actually did, not Russia). Even Saakashvili chimed in with same song and dance: that Domodedovo was payback for Russia’s “unfair” treatment of Gruzia, yada yada yada. All these enemies, who possess no ounce of shame, gloat at Russia’s misfortune, and pose self-righteously on innocent corpses, and moralize. So, what else is new?

        • marknesop says:

          Oh, I believe she’s a poet, and her work appears to be broadly recognized as well as highly appreciated – they don’t give those awards away for nothing (incidentally, that Ukrainian playwright, Anna something, was in Moscow to receive an award). And she might well be getting paid for her opinions, although I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume not, since I hate it when I register a comment somewhere like the Kyiv Post and get a string of insults about how I must be on the Kremlin payroll. I even understand why she seems to hate Russia so much, but she won’t move to the west; she just hates the government. But why? It appears to be successful beyond what anyone else using any other government model could have done, from near-collapse. I don’t know that, of course, but it seems significant that the model the west liked best was Yeltsin, selling off state assets for pennies on the dollar and putting the state in the hands of less than a dozen incredibly rich people. Ordinary Russians weren’t getting anything out of that, and everything they worked hard for was being sold out from under them. I can see why that’d be good times for the west, because Russia was the enemy.

          Those people deserve to have Boris Nemtsov in power for a couple of years, so they could see what a mess he’d make of things. And he would, because he hasn’t the slightest idea how to get to his Utopian dreams; he just keeps harping on how the present government is a failure, and how Russia must modernize. No argument about the last part, Boris; let’s hear your plan. What? You haven’t got one?

          I imagine Ms. Fanailova is sincere, and just wants peace and prosperity; who doesn’t? But she seems to think that’s easy to achieve – just give everybody lots and lots of freedom, stop hurting the Islamic radicals and engage in negotiations with them with a view to Chechen independence, and open up to western businesses and let them run things. Then everybody will have lots of money and be happy. Not too different from Nemtsov’s plan, really, to the extent it’s a plan at all. It might even work, in a world where there was no such thing as human nature, where everybody would be satisfied with what they got and not push for more and where accommodation was not seen as weakness, inviting complete conquest. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.

        • Misha says:

          http://therussiamonitor.com/2011/01/27/fareed-zakaria-doesnt-know-anything-about-chechnya/

          Haven’t watched GPS. However, I’ve known Zakaria to spin a neolib Sorosian foreign policy line for a number of years. He was briefly involved with a PBS show reflecting such a slant. A sample after he left that show – which nevertheless reflects his kind of bias:

          http://www.serbianna.com/columns/averko/008.shtml

          Regarding the first link in this set of comments:

          Excerpt –

          “According to Zakaria, ‘Russia created its own Islamic Terrorism problem’ basically because Russians have brutalized the Chechen population since the days of the Russian Empire. No argument there.”

          ****

          Western mass media types like Zakaria have a way of being more frank about Russia when compared to some other situations. Is it accurate to say that the pre-Soviet Chechen side isn’t without any historical fault? Rhetorically put, why isn’t Tatarstan ripe with an “Islamic terrorism problem?”

          Zakaria wouldn’t write something like: Israel and its main supporter the US have created their own Islamic terrorism problems, basically because they’ve been involved with policies that have brutalized many Muslims. IMO, the two characterizations have fault pertaining to over-generalization, which omit other particulars.

          As for the rest of linked Russia Monitor piece:

          – In the lead up to the first Chechen war of the 1990s, there were signs of growing turmoil in Chechnya, as the Russian government refrained from intervention for a noticeable period. At the time, the Russian government in place was faced with other problems and a seeming desire to show the West a different and more passive Russia.

          – With suggested negativity, it’s said that Zakaria supported the second American led attack on Iraq. Zakaria also has gone along with the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Don’t expect him to do an upcoming show on the flawed conditions in Kosovo.

          Following up on the reference to Saakashvili:

          Russian Songs Banned in Georgian Restaurants
          http://www.georgiatimes.info/en/news/50169.html

          • Misha says:

            A politically incorrect Chechen view:

            http://rt.com/news/kadyrov-chechen-negative-image/

            The neolib/neocon leaning comeback will find flaws with the referenced Chechen. On the surface, it’s within perfect reason to do such. However, neocon/neolib leaning foreign policy elites (include Zakaria) do so in a selective way that often go unchallenged at their high profile venues.

            American mass media TV foreign policy shows favor a neolib slant. In addition to Zakaria – Charlie Rose and Christiane Amanpour immediately come to mind. Rose is noticeably more hard hitting when someone like Amy Goodman comes on his show, when compared to others like Tom Friedman and the late Richard Holbrooke. The latter grouping get the greater invites.

            In one way or another, some Russian media folks have uncritically gone along with this kind of slant. On the PBS aired Foreign Exchange show that Zakaria was involved with, Andrei Zolotov of Russian “state news agency” RIA Novosti gave a Lucas like answer on why Russia shouldn’t have recognized South Ossetian and Abkhaz independence because it (supposedly) encourages separatism in Russia itself. The evidence of that doesn’t appear strong. Not mentioned on such shows is the comparative thought of how recognition of Kosovo’s independence enhances the potential of the UK breaking up. I recall Scottish separatists using Kosovo as a supporting talking point. Not the the UK appears on the verge of a breakup anytime soon. Ditto Russia. There’re other arguably more valid reasons from Russia’s best interests to not have recognized Abkhaz and South Ossetian independence. (These particulars were earlier discussed at length at this blog.) The thing is that neocon to neolib leaning venues don’t always have Russia’s best interests as a primary concern.

            This last point explains why oD would select an article which hyperlinks Alexander Nevsky’s name to a La Russophobe hack job on the Russian historical figure, who happens to be a saint in the ROC-MP. That article in question erroneously suggests that Russians are unaware of Nevsky’s stance of not militarily opposing the Mongol occupation. In point of fact, Nevsky’s legacy in Russia includes that portrayal of a realist, who sought a rebuilt Russia, which would reach a point of strength to successfully oppose foreign aggression. (I know this via exchanges with Russian academics and others alike).

            I understand Zolotov to be ROC with an MP affiliation. (Pardon if wrong.) Yet, he was quite at ease when he referred to openDemocracy as a respectable London based internet magazine on the RIA Novosti show he has hosted. Like Zolotov, the author of that oD article on Nevsky is Russian. This underscores the stupidity of Russian bigots putting the blame solely on non-Russians for biased coverage against Russia. A related issue concerns the understanding a number of Russians have on what kind of Russian views seem to be more preferred at certain venues. Of course, this observation works in two ways that includes Russian mass media having a general slant. At the same time, it’s not unreasonable to expect Russian mass media to be slanted in favor of Russia.

          • Yalensis says:

            Just a day or two after Domodedovo, INOSMI published the Saakashvili quote about how this act was “payback” (месть) for Russia’s treatment of Gruzia. Several Forumchane made the same comment, asking in bewilderment, “Did Saakashvili just claim responsibility for Domodevo?” Having said that, it is doubtful that he really did have anything to do with it. Nobody should speculate until the Russian police can make an identification of the terrorist corpse and start to crack the case. The point is that Russia’s ideological enemies gloat and cheer at every act of terrorist violence against Russia. They even defended perpetrators of Beslan, possibly the most egregious terrorist act of all time, followed in egregiousness by that slaughter of innocent Israeli athletes in Munich (1972). I am politically opposed to America’s government and foreign policy, but I did NOT cheer when 9/11 happened. On contrary, I was shocked and upset for a long time. I had visited NYC many times and thought the twin towers were beautiful architecture and symbol of world commerce. Was traumatized by reality that anything humans can create, through creativity and labor, can be torn down by criminals who have no conscience. The world needs buildings and airports and schools; it does not need monsters who destroy these things, nor the ideological hacks who cheer them on.

            • Misha says:

              Took time for many New Yorkers to take a liking of the Twin Towers architecture. They remind me of the cookie cutter multi-purpose stadiums built in the 1960s and 1970s. Prefer the likes of the Empire State Building and Yankee Stadium.

              Regarding 9/11 and Munich 1972, after one of the terror attacks in Russia, Stephen Cohen went from one TV network to another saying (without protest) how the Chechens say the Russians kill their people.

              Imagine the outcry if some analyst said something like that immediately following the Munich 1972 and and 9/11 incidents.

              • Yalensis says:

                Are you sure that was Stephen Cohen? I met him once, I always thought he was good guy and honest analyst. Was not Russophobe. Maybe he has changed? That would be sad, because I liked him.

                • Misha says:

                  Yes it was him.
                  I’m not at all misrepresenting this particular matter.

                • Misha says:

                  So there’s no misunderstanding, I don’t liken him to the so-called “Russophobes.” I don’t rule out someone sincerely making such remarks.

                  I also sense scenarios relating to an unofficially understood preference of what mass media prefers of the more frequently invited of analysts and the willingness of some to throw a bone.

                  This gets back to my valid comparision of what would happen in the event of an analyst saying without noticeable reservation that the Palestinians highlight the Israeli killing of Palestinians, in the immediate aftermath of the Munich 1972 incident. Likewise with suggesting that 9/11 constitutes a similar kind of payback.

            • marknesop says:

              Well said, Yalensis. I’m sure that’s not what Saakashvili meant, and the version I saw included a warning to Georgia that increased security must be observed; more like God had punished Russia. But I didn’t hear anything about being sorry or condolences, as you’d expect even from a hypocrite.

              • peter says:

                I didn’t hear anything about being sorry…

                He [Saakashvili] said “I do not know who carried out this bombing but I totally condemn this kind of terrorism. The Georgian people have nothing but sympathy for those who have suffered losses in this attack. We must be very careful and try to stop this type of violence. It is certainly not in our interest for the region to be destabilised and all responsible powers must try to avoid policies which could lead to such things.”

                • marknesop says:

                  Oops! My apologies, you’re absolutely right, and I do remember reading it now. Perhaps my dislike of Saakashvili is affecting my impartiality. In any case, this statement was certainly as sympathetic as one could reasonably expect. With your permission, I withdraw my earlier incorrect assertion.

                • peter says:

                  No problem, just delete it. I’ll reply to your other comment later.

                • marknesop says:

                  No, I’ll leave it to remind myself I was wrong, and to think before I speak. I seem to have to learn that over and over, and I tend to have a bit of a blind spot where Saakashvili is concerned because the more I see him, the less I like him. In any case, your courtesy is appreciated.

          • marknesop says:

            Yes, Jesse did a nice smackdown of Zakaria there that makes good reading. Particularly good comment there also from “erasure” (with whom I seem seldom to agree) regarding a hypothetical (for context) separation from the USA on the part of Mississippi, to form a “black” nation-state. What resonated for me was the suggestion that if this met no resistance, it would not likely be long before Mississippi was thinking about invading Alabama, to “liberate” its black brothers living there. I didn’t see it, and certainly don’t intend it as a statement about blacks as a race – it’s merely a random example of an identifiable group that does live in Mississipi and in Alabama. Considering Islam is widespread in Russia, it’s not difficult to imagine that if Russia were to let the Caucasus go, it would not be long before the new Islamic state would seek to expand its borders in the name of liberation.

        • Tim Newman says:

          Athat Domodedovo was payback for Russia’s “unfair” treatment of Gruzia, yada yada yada. All these enemies, who possess no ounce of shame, gloat at Russia’s misfortune, and pose self-righteously on innocent corpses, and moralize. So, what else is new?

          This is hardly unexpected, they say pretty much the same with respect to Israel on a daily basis. At least, the left-wing papers in the UK do.

    • peter says:

      … they have a DNA sample from the deceased terrorist.

      Кирилл Мартынов, Не быть жертвой: … В романе Роберта Музиля «Человек без свойств» есть сцена, в которой буржуазная супружеская пара наблюдает, как на улице человек был сбит автомобилем. Какое-то время оба супруга молчат, а затем мужчина изрекает: «У грузовиков все-таки очень длинный тормозной путь». Его спутница не понимает смысла сказанного, но ей становится легче, ведь произошедшее было введено в какие-то рамки разумного. Больше о погибшем ей можно не волноваться. Спустя несколько дней после теракта в «Домодедово» мы читаем в газетах о том, что бомба была сделана из пластида. Ну, теперь-то понятно, вздыхаем мы с облегчением. Специалисты даром времени не теряли.

      • Yalensis says:

        @peter: Once again you are speaking in parables, so one can only try to guess what it is you are trying to say. I read your meaning as thus: “It doesn’t matter what material the bomb was made of, or even the identity of the bomber, it’s all meaningless.”
        Are you, by any chance, a proponent of existential nihilism (or perhaps a disciple of Sartre and Camus?)
        I could quote Chekhov or Dostoevsky to refute your nihilist views, but I’d rather just come out and state my opinion: That the crime technician and police efforts are the most important things going on right now. There is the horrible possibility that the police will not be able to solve this crime. Not all crimes are solved. But if they can solve it and find the perpetrators, that will be a very good thing, for many different reasons.
        I suspect that you do not want them to solve the crime, because you are sympathizing with the bomber?

        • peter says:

          Once again you are speaking in parables, so one can only try to guess what it is you are trying to say…

          Did you read the rest of Martynov’s column? Does he come across as a “liberasti hireling”? No? Then why do you think he’s saying virtually the same thing as Fanailova: государство не справляется с террором, а населению теперь уже всё похуй? Sure, he proposes a different cure, but at least it seems that охранители and несогласные finally more or less agree on the diagnosis. Why do you think is that?

          • kovane says:

            peter, you’re a really rare kind of idiot. What does that means that the state can’t handle terrorism? it is impossible to prevent terrorism completely, the right policy is to limit its potential damage. A terror act on a nuclear or hydro plant would be an utter disaster, or, in this case, if the bomber have blown up a plane, Look how Israel cope with suicide bombers, and they sure know what terrorism is.

            Yes, you and Fanailova are absolutely right, a couple of tantrums will do wonders, it’s such an effective strategy. Jesus, how do people live to your age and remain such naive teenagers?

            • peter says:

              What does that means that the state can’t handle terrorism?

              In case you haven’t noticed, the words “государство не справляется с террором” are a quote from this article by the conservative commentator Kirill Martynov. It’s quite clear from the text what he means by that.

              • marknesop says:

                The USA crows that its anti-terror measures have been wonderfully effective because there have been no further attacks, and the couple of half-hearted efforts by domestics have been intercepted (by solid traditional police work, I might add). But any number of reports on the sloppiness of TSA screeners and the vulnerability of American ports suggest a major attack would not be exceptionally difficult. Yet there have been none. What do you think that means?

                Or is that whataboutism?

                • Misha says:

                  That last question brings to mind this clip I just received and previous comments (at this blog) on when Bush II talked about seeking greater freedom in Russia:

                • Roobit says:

                  I think that means that the US is lucky not to share any borders with anyone of any significance; it is free to wage either wars of annihilation like terror bombing of German cities accompanied mass murder of civilians or today’s colonial wars with impunity. America hard to get to. In physical sense. On the other hand Russia not just shares a border with what is pretty much amounts to Iraq on steroid, but has its territory inside itself as its constituent part (I wonder how many terrorist acts would there be in the USA if Iraq was somewhere where Connecticut is, was a war zone and had no guarded borders with America and its inhabitants had constitutional right to move freely anywhere and to live wherever they please. The solution for Russian Federation is to abolish Russian Federation, to abolish ethnic autonomies and to do what separatists want, to separate three most rabid North Caucasus republics into a special quarantine zone, with protected borders and no freedom of movement. Of course their “citizens” would have to go back. That will put an end to the terrorism problem, however this is the sort of step Russian junta would never take because that would mean the end of it, not of Russia itself of course but of ruling (and very much pro-American) junta. On the other note, I never understood the vehemence with which the Economist or the OpenDemocracy attack abstract Russia, it is a pro-American state, almost a colony, corrupt like Egypt, loyal, culturally dependent, why beat such an obedient (though lousy) dog?

                • Roobit says:

                  Sorry had to write that – saw how many words I missed while typing. I type faster than I think, I wish it were the other way around. I think that means that the US is lucky not to share any borders with anyone of any significance; it is free to wage either wars of annihilation like terror bombing of German cities accompanied by mass murder of civilians or today’s colonial wars with impunity. America is hard to get to. In a physical sense. On the other hand Russia does not just share a border with what pretty much amounts to Iraq on steroids, but has that territory inside its own (I wonder how many terrorist acts would there be in the USA if Iraq was somewhere where Connecticut is today, was a war zone and had no guarded borders with America while its inhabitants had constitutional right to move freely anywhere and to live wherever they pleased. The only long term solution to save Russian Federation is to abolish Russian Federation, to abolish ethnic autonomies within it and to do what separatists want, meaning to separate three most rabid North Caucasus republics into a special quarantine zone, with protected borders and no freedom of movement for their denizens. Of course their “citizens” would have to go back from Russia proper. That will put an end to the terrorism problem, and may even allow Russian state to wage new colonial wars with relative impunity as America does, however this is the sort of step Russian junta would never take because that would mean the end of it, not of Russia itself of course but of the ruling (and very much pro-American) junta. BTW, I never understood the vehemence with which the Economist or the OpenDemocracy attack abstract Russia and Russians in plural, the Russian Federation is a pro-American state, almost a colony, is corrupt like Egypt, loyal, culturally dependent, so why beat such an obedient (though disgustingly lousy) dog?

                • marknesop says:

                  I’ve become convinced that the Islamic militants would not be content with the Caucasus, if Russia were to yield it. The front line against Islamic militancy would simply move forward incrementally. But the insurgency could not continue without support. Where’s it coming from? That’s what I’d like to know, because it serves a variety of interests to keep Russia destabilized and fighting a counterinsurgency in its backyard.

                • peter says:

                  What do you think that means?

                  No idea.

                • marknesop says:

                  Well, you didn’t really ask, but I’ll tell you what I think it means. I think it means the terrorists have mostly secured their objectives in the U.S., and there’s no reason for further attacks. Just the threat of one every now and again is enough for the present; it causes a panic and makes the U.S. spend a lot of money. But meanwhile the continued encroachment on privacy and personal freedoms goes on apace, without any prodding at all.

                • Misha says:

                  Roobit, your thought provoking comments address key issues to consider. Russia letting loose of the north Caucasus in the way you describe will not IMO lead to better security. Russia withdrawing from the north Caucasus altogether can serve to give the neolibs and neocons a greater in.

                  Controlling such matters isn’t so easy. Look at the US-Mexico border and how Yugoslavia had difficulties policing its border with Albania. North Koreans have gone to China against the wishes of the Chinese and North Korean governments. Syria has stated problems in policing its border with Iraq.

                  The Egyptian government was essentially bribed with billions of dollars to leave an anti-Israeli rejectionist front that threatened the Jewish state. Without Egypt, an Arab conventional military attack on Israel has significantly greater limits.

                  While having issues open to legitimate criticism, I don’t think that the Russian government is a lackey of the West.

                  On spinning governments and heads of state, I recall Israel’s then UN ambassador quoting Sadat’s stated admiration for Hitler. This was before Sadat agreed to Camp David. In the lead up shortly before Camp David, Walter Cronkite (who has been give credit for encouraging Camp David) asked Sadat (in a CBS TV interview) to further address his comments on Hitler. Sadat said that he was young at the time and was only expressing awe at how Germany was able to rebuild itself after the devastation of being on the losing side in WW I. Sadat added his opposition to Nazi racial policies.

                  I stress how this follow-up from Sadat wasn’t sought after by the aforementioned Israeli UN ambassador, at a time when Sadat wasn’t being wooed and seen as an adverse figure.

                  In present times, consider how the US government appears more at ease with Thaci than Lukashenko.

                • peter says:

                  I think it means the terrorists have mostly secured their objectives in the U.S., and there’s no reason for further attacks.

                  That’s a plausible explanation, but a difficult one to quantify, let alone verify at this point. Kind of reminds me of our earlier argument over the nature of Russia’s recent economic growth.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, it would be a stretch to say that’s the reason, because it could be partly that and partly a host of other factors. But for me the point is that while it’s theoretically achievable for a state to make a terrorist attack impossible, by the time it has done so the society has become so militarized and the degree of personal freedom so eroded that the terorists have no need to attack. Their objectives are met, and the target society has sacrificed all in the name of security. The USA is by no means there yet, and there’s still room for a considerable exercise of personal freedom. However, proponents of tightening security are fond of saying, “The world changed forever on 9-11”, and there’s no arguing they have given up a good deal of privacy and individuality since. One of the biggest problems is that the government is perhaps the sloppiest possible custodian of personal information; it also cannot resist the temptation to keep and use it for its own ends to increase its power over its constituents.

            • Yalensis says:

              kovane is 100% correct. There is no way terrorist acts can be completely prevented. Government should increase security, try to prevent as much as possible. Then, after attack occurs, limit damage and try to get back to “normal” as quickly as possible. Israelis are pretty good at this: after terrorist act, they rush victims to hospital and clean up area pretty quickly. Russian government should allocate more $$$ to first responders, fire, ambulance, police, etc. Population at large should not give in to fatalism, should be alert and help authorities. Americans are starting to get good at this: at least two terror attacks on American airplanes were thwarted by alert passengers, who tackled terrorist. People like Fanailova try to crush will of people by inculcating fatalism and nihilism. She has political axe to grind, and we all know what it is. Okay, maybe she is a real poet. I never heard of her, and I’m a former literature major. My bad, I should have kept up with modern literature. Now that I have heard of her, I doubt if I would want to read her poems, because I am so angry with her attitude. What she should have said was: “Oh my god, one of my colleagues was killed by these monsters, and I hope my government can catch them and punish them! What can I do to help?”

              • marknesop says:

                This is the very foundation of asymmetric warfare – force the enemy to take expensive security measures and curtail the freedom of his citizens, in exchange for a couple of hundred dollars worth of Semtex. The state comes off looking like a tyrant, and can’t stop all the attacks anyway.

              • peter says:

                There is no way terrorist acts can be completely prevented. Government should increase security…

                Я нихуя не понял. You said you don’t understand parables — fine, I asked you some direct questions instead. Do you not understand direct questions too? Is there anyone apart from the straw man in kovane’s head who is saying that “terrorist acts can be completely prevented”? What’s the point in posting banalities like “Government should increase this and improve that”? Can you please try again?

                • Yalensis says:

                  What direct questions? All I saw was indirection and insinuations.
                  Re. banalities: well, sometimes reality is banal. A man’s home is burglarized. The next day he installs a home security system. It’s too late to prevent the first burglary, he should have been more proactive. However, he figures, maybe this will prevent a second burglary. It’s banal, but it’s what happens in normal life. Americans have problems with terrorists continuously targeting their airplanes. As a result, they install all these invasive X-ray scanners. Maybe it’s not particularly effective, maybe it’s even silly, I don’t know. But they felt like they had to do something. It’s better than just giving up, which is what you have appeared to do.

                • peter says:

                  What direct questions?

                  Okay, once again, one at a time. The first question was: Did you read the rest of Martynov’s column?

  4. Yalensis says:

    @peter: Yes, I read Martynov’s column. So what? He didn’t really say anything. I do like of his idea of having street watch patrols looking out for terrorists. That sounds like a plan. (Even if they don’t find any terrorists, they might help prevent other crimes.) Other than that, just a lot of empty words.

  5. Alexei Cemirtan says:

    Mark, may I ask how do you select the articles to comment on? Open Democracy crew are extremely brazen and openly Russophobic, that is true, but their impact is minimal. What they write is such a load of crap, that hardly anyone bothers to read them. Times’s article “How Russia Created Its Own Islamic Terrorism Problem” is more nuanced by comparison, but still deeply flawed. It is written by a much more influential (though hardly more knowledgeable) journalist and published in a much more influential magazine. These are the people who form the public opinion in the West, not the clowns in Open Democracy and other similar outfits, though the do play a role by providing the cover for more “respected” mainstreem media to publish Russophobic crap.

    • Yalensis says:

      Good point, Alexei. I hope Mark decides to take on “Time” magazine and also Fareed Zakaria. These are the types who actually do form Western public opinion, and they all seem to be singing the same song now. If Putin decides to run for prez, then western propaganda will get ever more feverish. Western demands (blackmail?) for Russia to pull out of North Caucasus will increase with every terrorist or insurgent attack. So, from pro-Russian point of view, this propaganda must be countered and refuted.

    • marknesop says:

      Hi. Alexei; there’s really no science to it. I started the blog to rebut La Russophobe’s horrid nonsense. But it likely wouldn’t have grown much if I’d stuck only to that, as it’s a niche market. I allowed myself to be persuaded to take on other Russophobic sources, as recommended. I get quite a few from Misha, and sometimes others, but I get a sense there’s a fairly big body of material out there that I’m unaware of.

      This obviously isn’t my regular job, and I have to do it when I can find time. Usually after I post a new article, I divide my time between watching it to respond to comments, and reading others’ blogs to support them. Consequently, I haven’t really looked for other Russophobic stuff until it’s time to post something new. When I originally intended to confine myself to dealing with La Russophobe, I intended to follow her posting schedule, and rebut everything. That proved impossible, because a lot of her stuff is just copy-and-paste, and takes her no time at all. Anyway, when it’s time for something new, that’s when I start looking, instead of keeping up with the traffic on Russophobic sites every day as I should.

      Feel free to send me suggestions for challenges; I’d be grateful.

  6. Roobit says:

    Misha, sorry can’t respond with “repy to” button as they seem to have disappared.
    Mike,

    That’s what I am saying all along, when American or British democracy professing Nazis face any stress test of their shallow beliefs, or of whatever they preach publicly such as freedom of expression or freedom from censorship, in all cases that I happened to observe, the Anglo-American Nazis resort to censorship far more thorough and mindless that the kind practiced by most deprived authoritarian regimes. As far as I know Opendemocracy (or English Wikipedia, that bastion of free speech) blanket erases everything that does not suit its editors.

    What you are saying about borders, Misha, alas proves that you don’t know much about them. No offense intended. You live in the US and the only thing you hear often about is the Mexican border which is of course a gigantic joke. There were a few thousand attempts to cross Soviet Finnish border (and Russian Finnish border) illegally, and I think only four or six (four or six attempts, not four thousand attempts) or whatever, a few, succeeded during 50 years. An acquaintance of mine escaped over the border in 1984 and and Radio Free Europe made a radio program about him, that’s how notable it was. Never mind that Finns turned the escapees over to their Soviet henchmen right away and the only hope people had was to escape to Sweden through Finland (as my friend had). Russian borders are essentially Soviet and are impenetrable, It is like 50 km wide concentration camp terrain along with multiple checks and other nonsense along entire Finnish border, just look at the map how long it is, it is amazing but also telling of criminal Medveputin’s regime (by the way I registered medveputin.com domain so drop me a note if you have an idea how can we use it for public good) has the only border with a more or less civilized and generally not hostile state, Republic of Finland, which presents no immigration hazard, exports no heroine, asylum seekers, thieves, prostitutes or militants (in fact Medveputin’s Russia exports all those things), a real EU member that poses no threat whatsoever and this is perhaps the most guarded border in the world. It is the face Russia showing to the rest of Europe, or at least to Scandinavia, and it ain’t pretty. On the other hand, Chechnya and whatever Ingushetia are just terrorist preserves, unguarded, attached to Russia, with their rabid denizens enjoying freedom of movement of the kind even mainland Chinese don’t have and can’t dream about. Just take your explosives and hop on the train.

    So if you transpose the today’s system of policing Finnish border on three North Caucasus republics, then what you get would be a short easily defensible, impenetrable stretch of land. You don’t even have to give anyone any independence, a Hong Kong style autonomy would suffice, it is a rare case that you can have its cake and eat it too. No mouse would slip through.

    Russian government or more correctly the ruling junta is not a lackey to an abstract West but is an obedient American dog. Russia does totally nothing to protect Russian speakers in former Soviet Republics where the USA asks it to stay out, an incredible stance really, unprecedented by world standards, even Austria has more influence on South Tyrol than Russia in its Baltic provinces; Russia feeds all American regional puppets as if they were starvng and Russia subsidizes US industry or what’s left of it. Russian military and presidential administration dot not buy Peugeot or Citroen cars, they buy Ford vehicles (the only ones in Europe) and indirectly pay money for killing of Russian (and Iraqi, Palestinian) children, aid to Israel and Egypt, continuous or should I say continual GM bail out (Russia is the fastest growing market for GM despite the fact that Russia was told to screw off when attempting to get some Opel shares, it is amazing to me unfathomable, i that enemy-operated US-government owned GM, even allowed to operate in Russia but it is, after Ford it is also the largest recipient of Russian government automotive procurement funds, go figure that), suppression of Russian language, and expansion of NATO. Medvedev junta just placed an order for 120 Boeing aircraft, perhaps one of the largest or the largest transaction in aviation history instead of buying own airplanes (this amount of cash would have resurrected any industry) or even Airbus made by civilized normal species of homo sapiens sapiens. I am unaware of any instance when enemy’s (the US) interests, be they commercial or political, from Amway to Ford Motor Company, from medium size energy firms to Procter and Gamble or Coca Cola, were in anyway hampered or obstructed in Russia, on contrary Russian junta and the Thieving Classes (those who drive mercedeses and SUVs in Moscow and Putinburg) habitually prefer American stuff. Russia joined with US on Iran sanctions which is a madness, Iran is far lesser threat to the world than are US or Israel. Russia allows NATO scum to take its stuff through Russia’s territory for their dirty colonial war in Afghanistan (instead of supplying surface to air missiles and other goodies to Taliban which would be the logical thing to do under circumstances). But this slavishness only shows off with Russia junta’s relations with its American master and does to extend to normal people. When French Alsthom, a company from Russia’s historic ally nation and a close relative in civilizational sense (unlike the US which is civilizational enemy, on the other hand the Moscow based “elite”,the Thieving classes are culturally rootless, hence their fondness for American fakes) just tried to buy a shares in prehistoric Transmashholding (note the typical combination of Soviet and American in corporate names, very Soviet and pseudo American at the same time, the best definition for Russian junta and the thieving classes there is), Alsthom faced all sorts of troubles although the only secret they could hope to find there was that of fabled armored rail car in which Lenin was shipped from Germany. So while I won’t call Russia (or Russian Federation which is not exactly “Russia”) a lackey of the West, I think the term “obedient dog” would better suit both imagery and realty as proper definition. That said I cannot figure out the motivation behind obviously centrally coordinated Russophobia industry, with the Opendemocracy, Radio Liberty (can’t deny those CIA guys have a cool sense of humor), the Economist with that rabid Lucas creature, Washington Post, etc. what is the use of kicking a faithful dog that is licking American boot?

    marknesop says:
    January 30, 2011 at 2:52 am
    “I’ve become convinced that the Islamic militants would not be content with the Caucasus, if Russia were to yield it.”

    So what can they take? Islamists operate in territories with Muslim populations. They don’t operate among Buddhists or Anabaptists (any left out there?) . If you territorially isolate the militancy and repatriate all their countrymen from Russian cities and countryside, then you’ve solved the problem. Besides Russia has no problem with Islam itself, in historic perspective the Muslim world and Russian people are allies as they face common enemy.

    • Yalensis says:

      @Roobit: You make convincing point that Russia is able to totally control a border when it wants to, as proved by impenetrable border with Finland. There is only one small problem with your idea: If Russia were to pull out of Caucacus and re-draw border of Russia (no longer Russian Federation), then that very southern border now becomes border with NATO. All of Caucacus then becomes giant Kosovo. Next thing you know, American nukes stationed in Grozny and pointing north. Would also be gross betrayal of Ossetians. What are they supposed to do? Abandon their homeland and flee north into Russia proper? Not just Ossetians – if there were honest referendums conducted, I am convinced at least 50% even of Muslim population in these provinces would choose Federation citizenship over being subject of NATO-allied Wahhabist emirate. Bad as Russia is, it is surely better than emirate.

      • Yalensis says:

        P.S. Sidebar on Finnish border: I think impenetrability of border reflects grudging Russian respect for Finnish military potential. Last war between Russia and Finland was 70 years ago, and fought to a stalemate, due to impressive Finnish infantry and marksmanship. Stalin then adopted advice of American poet Robert Frost: “Good fence makes good neighbors.” Two countries have now lived in peace for several generations. Although I do recall hearing many legendary stories from Soviet times about Finns sneaking into Leningrad on weekends because vodka cheaper there than in Helsinki. According to these possibly urban legends, Leningrad police would scrape drunken Finns from sidewalks early Monday morning, throw them in drunk tank for a couple of days until sober, then kick them out back to homeland!🙂

        • Roobit says:

          Actually Finland was utterly destroyed and Soviet bases places all over country including Helsinki and Alan islands closer to Sweden. Soviet forces withdrew from Finland in the 1950s – it is the only country after Austria from where Soviet Union withdrew under pledge of neutrality and a bunch of other promises (like ban on submarines and guided weapons). Finland was dependent on Soviet Union and even now Russia replaced Sweden and Germany as Finland’s main trading partners. Russian tourists also outnumber other Scandinavians and everyone else in Finland. The Soviet – Finnish border is the only border Soviet Union had with a non-socialist more or less developed country. The only reason why it was so fortified was to prevent Soviet citizens from fleeing. Soviet borders do not serve the cause of protecting against invaders but are designed to prevent Soviets from escaping. The entire system was and is designed “inward”. Soviet Polish, Soviet Hungarian and Soviet Czech borders were less guarded (though still formidable) as the only country you go to from Poland was East Germany, not the easiest place to escape from to begin with. Even now when you leave accursed Russian Federation by car you’d get your passport checked five (!) times and you’d have to pass six control points. This is by far the most extensive protected border in the world designed exclusively to harass own population. The point I made that under Putin’s regime border zones were expanded in defiance of common sense with countries that pose no threat of any kind whatsoever while busloads of terrorists moved freely around. Most people in Russia want a physical separation of three Northern Caucasus republics, deportation (we should call it repatriation) of migrants, and different citizenship criteria – no single equal citizenship for all. I made a point that as Soviet Union proved with policing its borders and capturing and murdering hundreds of people who tried to escape that a border can be defended easily, in fact even one that stretches for thousands of kilometers, policing a border with Chechnya and Ingushetia would not be a difficult task, might even be fun if there is enough ammo.

          • Yalensis says:

            Ah! You just lost me there, Roobit! I am distressed by your implication that you would enjoy shooting Chechens and Ingush. I will not engage in conversation with you any more, sorry.

        • Misha says:

          Yalensis, regarding the Soviet-Finnish war, I think another aspect might be at play. Initially, the Finns were perhaps not militarily taken as seriously as they should’ve been. I’ve been given the impression of many Soviet raw recruits suddenly drafted and sent in with the idea of a cake walk. At around the same time period, the Red Army was noticeably successful in militarily confronting the Japanese.

          • grafomanka says:

            I thought the failure of Soviet-Finnish war due to Stalin murdering all those Red Army officers…

            • kovane says:

              Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever live to see these myths vanish. Apparently not. You really should read this.

            • Misha says:

              Grafomanka

              Suspect the ones further away from Moscow weren’t as likely to have been purged. Zhukov for one was in the fareast.

              There’s also the matter of overall degree of the purges which has been contested.

              On the initial comments at this thread I made concerning the Soviet-Finnish War: within pretty much the same time period, contrast the better Red Army performance against a more highly regarded military foe in Japan, versus the comparative problems against Finland.

              In sports, it has been said that a lowly regarded team can periodically win on account of its opposition not taking as serious an approach when compared to facing a highly regarded squad.

      • Roobit says:

        Yalensis, the first point I want to bring up is that our discussion is purely hypothetic because I don’t just believe but I know for a fact that Russian junta meaning the people who usurped power in the country are incapable of doing anything save saving status quo. The idea of Putin being an American spy is probably far closer to the truth than most people think.

        In any case, I dot advocate separation of entire Northern Caucasus but only of three Soviet autonomous Republics within Russian Federation – Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, perhaps also Kabardino-Balkaria or what’s the name of it, but that’s it. Not 99% but 100% of terrorism originates from there. Secondly I do not advocate any sort of abdication of authority but a change in status which is only possible with dissolution of the current Russian Federation (to save Russia Russian Federation, a Soviet entity, has to go). If the Russian Federation as such is eliminated or reformed then we can get rid off the premise of equality (of given republics, territories, oblasts, people whatever, a silly pretext to begin with). Note that China has territories of different status – Chinese cannot travel freely or work anywhere they please. Likewise most European countries had different rules for different territories, the UK is a good example which has multiple forms of citizenship (I guess there are dozen of different British citizenships. Russia has one). Nominally, in practical terms what is needed is Chinese style abolition of freedom of movement and imposition of defended internal borders. Now, NATO in Grozny won’t mean nukes. NATO is already in Russian province of Estonia, 80 or so miles from St. Petersburg. Grozny is far far away. Furthermore trapping a large number of NATO scumballs in Grozny would be fun. Generally, solution to the problem of NATO in Caucasus or Kosovo and to NATO’s main problem (Shakespearean To Be or Not To Be) lies somewhere else. For Russia (hypothetical Russia not the corrupt junta that only cares about personal consumption and Moscow-based Thieving Classes) the solution to strategic dilemma lies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, generally it is important that the occupation there will drag as long as possible, will cost as much as possible and cost should grow to unbearable levels, and end with absolute unquestionable military defeat and disaster (like blocking of all retreat routes through Pakistan). It would be bad to trap NATO in a few other places, preferably nasty and remote.

    • Misha says:

      Roobit

      Offhand, your Finland-Russia border example concerns two comparatively well off and socioeconomically secure areas to the three examples I gave. Besides the Finland-Russia reference that you present are the instances of Yugoslavia (when it existed)-Albania, North Korea-China and Syria-Iraq.

      On the matter of trying to control a difficult situation, I sense that the north Caucasus is a tough nut to crack along the lines of the examples I gave. Like I said, a Russian distancing from its northern Caucasus territories can serve to further encourage neolib and neocon involvement there.

      Regarding your Hong Kong autonomy point, hasn’t Chechnya had a somewhat similar predicament? Hong Kong-China involves a strongly positioned China and socioeconomically well off Hong Kong. The issue are more difficult socioeconomic conditions influencing extremism, unlike the situations regarding Hong Kong-China and Finland-the Russian land it borders on.

      Concerning another point of yours, over the years, there’ve been periodic and noticeable differences between Russia and some predominately Muslim countries. Thankfully, the situation in Crimea hasn’t exploded. However, the degree of tension there relates in part to prior history going back to pre-Czarist Russian and Soviet history. With recent improvements in Russo-Turkish ties, there’s an underlying thought evident in Russia and Turkey on the limits of better relations between the two countries.

      I agree that Russia’s experience with Muslims is different than that of some other predominately non-Muslim countries. In the Balkans, there’s a good deal more “Islamophobia,” in predominately Christian countries – which seems best explained by the legacy of Ottoman Turkish domination. In more recent times, there’s the Muslim nationalist rhetoric of Alija Izetbegovic and the support Bosnian Muslim nationalists received from Muslim countries abroad.

      Unlike the predominately Christian countries in the Balkans, Russia was strong enough to not become dominated by Turkey. When used and not used appropriately, strength can benefit a nation’s security.

      Historically, Russia and the leading Western nations have been on periodic and noticeably good terms. At times, there’ve been noticeable differences among the leading Western nations. In short, I’m not sold on the idea of a Russia-West alliance against Islam at large or Russia-Islam at large against the West, or the West-Islam at large against Russia.

      Regarding openDemocracy (oD), some of its contributors are pretty influential among academic politicos with ties to neolib to neocon leaning foreign policy pursuits. The oD contributors who aren’t as well known/influential typically slant in the same direction. At oD, there’s a limited letting the air out of the tires with periodic selections from people not sharing the same slant.

      Make no mistake about it, oD gets around – especially within English language Russia watching circles in the West – unlike some other sources. At this thread, I noted what Andrei Zolotov positively said about that venue on the RIA Novosti show he has hosted. Articles appearing at oD are picked up by some others venues – some of them which are relatively high profile. Among the seemingly more well known of English language Russia blogs, Mark Chapman and Leos Tomicek appear to be the lone individuals offering pointed criticisms of that venue. Please let me know if this last assessment is wrong. (It could very well be. In recent months, I’ve withdrawn from reading some venues. There’s plenty out there to read.)

      • Roobit says:

        Lieber Misha! I guess it is not Russia-West against Islam but Islam plus West (Russia, Germany France) against America. For Europe to return to its roots and proper place what we need is a removal of the USA from the continent (from entire continent of Eurasia that is). If you look at the issue from a different perspective, if you classify thee USA not as being synonymous with West but merely as rapacious colonial monster offshoot of the most non-Western and most-non-European excuse of a state off the western coast of Eurasia and keep remembering that the words West and the USA are not exactly synonymous, far from it, then things would appear differently.

        I have some Turkish Armenian and Greek background (or rather have ancestors on maternal line who came from that part of the Russian empire, fleeing Turkish massacres to Russia and France in 1915) which is now in Turkey but was in Russia from 1860s until 1915-1916. That branch of my family, though I don’t keep many contacts, have been of course extremely anti-Muslim. The best solution to problem of Northern Caucasus is genocide (which may be true in intermediate as well as long run). However if we detach ourselves from history of the 19th century or from rise of Islam in the 6th century which has a lot in common with the rise of Communism, there is light out there.

        As the example of modern Turkey shows we can get along very well. It is also important to realize that interests of the West (by which I mean Europe including Russia) and the Evil Empire (the USA) are diametrically opposed. It is Europe’s interest to have stable and prosperous Middle East perhaps clustered around EU-style Arab union with single Arab currency and common foreign policy. This is a nightmarish scenario for the USA because it would put an end to any influence America has over the region as well as its control over Middle Eastern oil. It will also likely mean an end or rather the end to Israel. Elimination of Israel in its present role of the region’s principal troublemaker is Europe’s long term interest because it would bring stability to the region and neutralize the cause of Muslim discontent worldwide. Sanctions against Iran are not in Europe’s interests, but trade and engagement with Iran are. Iranian nuclear weapons are also something to be welcomed Iran is surely a lesser threat to humanity than is the USA.

        Finally, although we get along well – I mean Christian and Muslims, I think European influence is far greater on the Middle East than Islamic influence is on Europe. Yesterday a friend brought me some Egyptian beer to try (strong though nothing to write home about). A few days ago I attended a Turkish wine tasting – not cheap stuff though not bad either, but then just think about it – beer from modern Egyptian brewers (beer was probably invented in Egypt but that was a different Egypt) and Turkish vintners. I would myself of course not buy Turkish wine as I won’t buy American wine (and I buy and sell thousands of liters of wine all the time) but I like the fact that there is now Turkish wine available.

        What all Middle Eastern and generally Muslim countries suffer from (Chechnya and Ingushetia are special cases that have to be dealt with once and for all and then be forgotten. Do future generations a favor) is overpopulation, if they can bring population growth under control there could be bright future together with the West, meaning Europe, but without USA which does not belong to this continent.

        OpenDemocracy – again I am not much into bathing in CIA generated propagandist effluent and obviously OpenDemocracy or RFE or the Economist are not the sort of literature I would read. I also think you make a mistake (similar to equating West with the US) of equating Moscow-based human scum, a special treasonous subculture, rooted in Soviet nomenclature and Soviet intelligentsia, with Russia. You don’t get to hear what Russians think but that doesn’t mean they are Americans meaning they don’t think at all (though I guess a large share of the populace doesn’t. They watch television).

        Here is an example (though you don’t speak Russian you can still watch the clip), here is Russian preaches advantages of Judaism to the hapless public with a human (unsuspecting volunteer pulled from the audience) illustration of male circumcision on a female.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch

        • Misha says:

          Roobit, I’m aware that a certain set of propped Russian views by some leading Western venues don’t reflect the views of most Russians.

          This situation is on par with the kind of Ukrainian views getting the nod as well. This situtaion is pertinent to address because a good number in the West aren’t so aware of the actual situation – as some other themes like that of a censored Russian media situation gets considerable play.

          Concerning “the West,” being critical of neocon to neolib leaning foreign policy stances isn’t necessarily anti-West. This point has been downplayed. For example, Vojislav Kostunica isn’t an “anti-Western Serb nationalist.” Kostunica, a lawyer, translated the Federalist Papers into Serbo-Croat. Yet he’s more likely to be tagged a “nationalist,” over Alija Izetbegovic, whose 1970 Islamic Declaration has clear and threatening Muslim nationalist views.

          “The West” shouldn’t be given up on. From a point of view the West’s best interests, there’s ample reason to seek other alternatives to a good deal of neocon to neolib influenced agendas.

          Israel is faced with some obstacles to its stated existence. That said, I don’t see it leaving the scene anytime soon. Practically, the best solution (IMO) for Israel is to seek ways to bridge the gap between itself and the other nations in its region.

          • Roobit says:

            Hi Misha, I think you are still missing the point, that the West is not the United States, and the interests of Austria and Brazil (which has no lesser claim to being Western than the US, another colonial offshoot) are diametrically opposed from those of US establishment. I think the mistake being made is to substitute West with America and its nasty British puppet. As far as Israel is concerned I believe that the only reason why it still exists is the United States. Without America it won’t survive for even a few years. On the part of Israelis reliance on the USA (like on the part of the current Georgian dictator or Baltic ethno-Nazis) and the belief that the daddy would come at the right moment in time of any crisis and bail them out is at least foolish. It’s not a way to plan for long term nation survival.

            • Misha says:

              Roobit, checking back on what I said, it’s clear that I note how over the course of time, “the West” has differences of opinion, in a way that doesn’t (at least in a number of instances) make it so monolithic.

              Yes, Israel has relied on considerable support from the US. Israel has become fairly well established and IMO not likely to crumble anytime soon.

  7. Tim Newman says:

    I think that means that the US is lucky not to share any borders with anyone of any significance

    Ouch!🙂

    • Roobit says:

      Ouch!
      I meant in the menacing sense though I guess someone must be Mexican around here to notice. True the US invaded Canada on a few occasions and got beaten back and also stole a huge piece of land from Mexico, but Canada with population of 33 million is certainly not China with 1 331 million and neither Canadians are known for being hostile to anyone. A parallel situation would be a Russia that shared borders with Belarus and Uzbekistan and nobody else on the continent. Or a state with Russian empire and kingdom od Denmark on one end and say Mongolia on the other. With nothing else. A country in such a unique strategic position (the US) can either pursue a course of totally peaceful development or become an empire that affords to meddle in other people’s affairs or act with impunity. In any case if I offended any Mexicans or Canadians who are (unlikely) reading this, then I apologize.

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah, that did hurt, but I put it down to context. I would have said “lucky not to share any borders with anyone who is a direct threat”. But maybe he meant significance. I’ll try to get over it.

  8. grafomanka says:

    Few hours after Domodedovo bombing I remember one foreign correspondent remarking
    “London Heathrow would’ve been closed for weeks! As usual Russians just get on with it-both impressive and a bit scary”
    I think this is more or less what Ms Fanailova was pointing at in her very slanted article – Russians are tough, they’re used to danger and living in horrible conditions.
    However there is something very ominous in the fact that life just goes on as normal. Not even a year has passed since the March metro bombings. But people will keep on coming to Moscow because they have no choice, no matter that they can be torn to shreds whenever they’re using metro, airports, shopping centers.

    It seems to me that Caucasus has developed in some kind of Russian West Bank, or Russian Kashmir.
    This Wahhabism, or radical Islam, spreads like a disease, like a virus, Ms Fanailova has a point there comparing it to Marxism. And how can Russian government counter the spread of this ideology if it can’t even assure that the people over there have some different prospects (from Caucasus we constantly hear about close to 50% unemployment, year after year after year).
    I think right now everyone appreciates that it will be very difficult to find a way to deal with Causasus short of building a great wall around the region (which they should have done in 1992).
    Some kind of open public debate with the authorities about government Caucasus policy would be welcome, but all we got so far is Medvedew and Putin firing some people and promising that perpetrators would be punished.
    I think Ms Fanailova is bemoaning that largely Russians are going to accept this and get on with their lives, not demanding more of the government to ensure their safety.

    It struck me in some Wikileaks cables that some (French I think) diplomats had this impression of Russians government as having no long term strategy for their country. Russians just want to see how the next 6 months unfolds and go on from there.
    When it comes to Caucasus problems I share this impression.

  9. Roobit says:

    “Russians government as having no long term strategy for their country.” sure not, as they only have laid out long term strategy for themselves and their children. The so-called Russian elite, mainly Commie apparatchiks and human riffraff that usurped power in the country, the junta, are essentially resource parasites. Absolutely all of them bought foreign property and sent their kids off to study abroad preferably in enemy countries. The administration is done on contingency basis and the only ideology is personal enrichment. Former “mayor” of Moscow (maire) has palaces all over Europe, a castle in Tyrol (where even Austrians are not normally allowed to buy anything), governess of St. Petersburg or rather her retarded billionaire son got an island for himself, off the coast of Estonia and safely under NATO protection. The junta that runs Russia is avaricious, apolitical and is disinterested in any planning because it both does not believe that Russia has any future and doubts that the grip on power can be held indefinitely. Militancy in Caucasus is not on anyone’s priority because it were the problem could have been solved in a month.

    • grafomanka says:

      Largely agree with your views on the Russian elite.

      “Besides Russia has no problem with Islam itself, in historic perspective the Muslim world and Russian people are allies as they face common enemy”

      I don’t know about that. What makes Islam ‘great’ (in my opinion) is how it can be used as a political tool. Turkey could use Islam to undermine Russia’s Influence in Caucasus etc

      • Yalensis says:

        @grafomanka: I mostly agree also about despicable nature of Russian elite. But what upsets me is you calling Marxism a “virus” or “disease”, or whatever. The only thing that Marxism and Wahhabism have in common is that they are both internationalist ideologies. Other than that, they are polar opposites in every respect. I get that many Russians hated Soviet Union and wanted to live in capitalist system. So, presto, they got capitalism, but they are still unhappy. Is there no pleasing these people? The avariciousness of the elite and the plundering of resources: this is precisely what capitalism IS. America is no better: a tiny elite and their idiot progeny own 99% of all American capital and resources. If Russians get fed up with this inequality and political thuggery, then they need to return to more socialistic system. However, if I were to go parading down the street carrying a sign that said: “Take those islands away from the children of oligarchs and give them back to the people!”, or “Expropriate all of Luzhkov’s possessions abroad”, I suspect you would oppose my slogans as too communistic.

        • grafomanka says:

          @Yalensis
          I only called Marxism a virus because there’s this ‘meme theory’, it basically states that ideals or ideologies are transmitted similarly to viruses or genes, I like it and maybe I overused the comparison a little😉
          It makes sense to me that in post-Soviet Russia there is an ideological vacuum, the only ideology seems to be ‘making money’, naturally people less fortunate in money department would turn to look somewhere else, and here enter radical Islam, Orthodoxy or this nationalism bordering on fascism…
          I think Marxism and radical Islam ( which aims to establish sharia state) have some things in common, like they are both revolutionary movements that seek new social order. Of course there are fundamental differences, I’m not an expert on one or the other so I won’t elaborate, just some of the methods, aims, strike me as similar.

          I get that many Russians hated Soviet Union and wanted to live in capitalist system.
          I think what people wanted (at least in the soviet block) was ‘socialism with a human face’ that is more personal freedoms, no one party dictatorship and free enterprise (well and generally they wanted better living conditions, like products being actually in the shops and not having to wait 5 years before you can buy a car).
          I can’t imagine those people wanting to actually get rid of welfare state and change to strict liberal capitalism.

      • cartman says:

        Luzhkov was trying to get into Latvia, though they won’t let him. The elites should take note that most of the elites in early 20C did not make it out alive either. Even Trotsky was killed by an axe in the seemingly perfect safety of Mexico. That is, anyone not satisfied with their lot will happily join the new order and destroy its enemies even if they live abroad.

        • Yalensis says:

          Please note that I was advocating taking the MONEY away from the elites (at least the ill-gotten portion of their money), and giving it back to the people (well, at least back to the government budget). Like with Khodorkovsky. I was NOT advocating violence against elites, as per assassination of Trotsky, which, by the way, was a brazen criminal act on the part of Stalin regime, attempting to silence its most effective critic. Frankly, I am getting sick of people who shit on Soviet (socialist) system then turn around and bitterly criticize current government as too capitalistic. Please pick a side. Is there literally no pleasing you folks? You’re like a bunch of Jewish mothers-in-law!

          • Yalensis says:

            P.S. And please don’t even get me started on Russian tendency to whine and complain about EVERYTHING. This is the one trait that could possibly turn me against my own people. Russian people needs to correct this character flaw and always try to stay upbeat and optimistic. My father used to say: “If you see a problem, don’t complain about it — just fix it!”

            • Misha says:

              Can be a fine line when judging some positive and negative characteristics evident in each culture – relative to what’s evident (in one degree or another) everywhere.

              One particular comes to mind. Whether heads of state or coaches, there’s a tendency for some to give too much credit when things are going good and too much blame when things are going bad. Downplayed in such a mindset are other variables that aren’t always the fault of the given coach and head of state.

        • marknesop says:

          I see Luzhkov as an elite only in terms of his wealth; I don’t think he’s particularly influential politically any more. He seems to be satisfied to just alight somewhere nice and help his wife spend her billions. Plenty would like to kill him for his money, but I can’t think he’d be targeted like Trotsky, for his opposition views. People would say, “Oh, Luzhkov; isn’t he that former mayor who made out like a bandit and then had to be fired because he just wouldn’t take a hint?”

          The Luzhkovs allegedly bought this stately rockpile in London, England, although they may very well not have been granted residency. In that case, they’d probably put it back on the market.

          http://www.propgoluxury.com/EN/PropertyNews/London/236-Witanhurst-Highgate-Yelena-Baturina.html

  10. peter says:

    … To solve or not to solve?

    To solve of course, but that’s not the point, is it? The point you’re stubbornly missing is that, for whatever reason, the Russian people can’t or won’t do anything but whine and complain passively sit and hope that their government will finally rise to the task — and if Russian anti-terror cops are anything like their traffic colleagues, it’s hope against hope. Do you agree, at least partly, with any part of this statement?

    • marknesop says:

      I can only speak from personal experience, which is admittedly limited since I don’t live in Russia. But from my own observation, I find Russians more governed by propriety than westerners. Tearing at your clothing and shrieking in public is improper – but it doesn’t mean they don’t feel anything. There are just things you don’t do unless the circumstance affects you personally. I’d bet if the families of the dead at Domodedovo had been there to see them off, or pick them up or whatever (and, obviously, had not been killed in the explosion themselves), there would have been enough public anguish on show to satisfy even the most voyeuristic western critics. As there was at Beslan, when mothers of children killed by terrorists werre plainly and publicly beside themselves with grief. I didn’t see much in the way of human-interest pieces on them, though – most of the reporters seemed more interested in what motivated the terrorists, thus giving them more publicity.

      Whenever I was in Russia, I was reminded of the necessity for correct behaviour in public. When you were on a bus, walking in the street or in a restaurant, there were things you didn’t do; over-effusive public display of affection such as groping your girlfriend is a good example – I saw much less of that in Russia than I have in North America, and didn’t take it as an indication that Russians are sexually dead.

      However, someone will surely ask, “what about that guy lying on the sidewalk, blind drunk, with the big piss-stain on the front of his pants? Is that propriety enough for you?”. And it’s true I did see that a couple of times, more often than I’ve ever seen it in any western city (or maybe the extremity of it was just more memorable). And I wouldn’t be able to say it didn’t happen, because it did. So I don’t have an unimpeachable absolution.

    • Yalensis says:

      Mark was right about you, you are simply a contrarian who likes to argue for the sake of argument. Debates with you do not yield any synthesis or insights.

  11. Yalensis says:

    http://www.utro.ru/peredovica/
    See above link for latest news in Domodevo and possible links to prior terror attacks. Final paragraph:
    “В минувшую субботу представитель Следственного комитета заявил, что личность смертника установлена. Это 20-летний уроженец одной из республик Северного Кавказа. Имя террориста не стали разглашать в интересах следствия.”
    Translation: “On Saturday a representative of the Investigating Committee announced that the identity of the suicide bomber [in Domodedovo attack] has been established. It is a 20-year-old (male) who harkens from one of the republics of the Northern Caucasuses. The name of the terrorist has been withheld in the interests of the investigation.”
    So… hopefully the police are making progress in the investigation….

    • Giuseppe Flavio says:

      Hi Yalensis,
      speaking of terrorism, today (Jan. 31) Doku Umarov’s brother Ruslan has been arrested in Italy on terrorism charges following a cue from the French secret service. But Kadyrov doesn’t seem to have any grudge against him link.
      Is Ruslan Umarov accused of (or sentenced for) terrorism in Russia?

      • marknesop says:

        I couldn’t say offhand without checking, but that’d be irrelevant to me if I was Russian. Doku is, and getting my hands on his brother might be the first step in getting my hands on him.

  12. Yalensis says:

    http://www.rosbalt.ru/2011/01/31/813978.html
    Kadyrov has some complex relationships with various other individuals and families. Who he considers “friend” or “enemy” does not necessarily correspond with Russia’s friends and enemies. Recall that his father started out as an anti-Moscow insurgent, then re-allied with Moscow, then was assassinated by a rival clan who continued the insurgency. So, Kadyrov is partly driven by his need to achieve revenge against the people who murdered his father. That’s one of the things that makes him scary. Some people say that the whole macho “blood feud” Caucasus thing is a myth or cultural stereotype; but I am not so sure: Kadyrov really seems to embody it. Would make an interesting novel, if only we had a Tolstoy of our generation worthy to write it!
    On a different slant, I recommend the above link to Venalainen’s latest posting on ROSBALT.RU. I follow Venalainen and watch for his essays, although he doesn’t post as often as he used to. In this particular post, he makes a pitch for Russia using “soft power” to win Gruzia back. His point is the opposite of those who say “Let the North Caucuses go.” He is saying, on the contrary, bring all the Caucauses back in; but that plan won’t work unless Gruzia is also brought back under the Russian fold. Not militarily, of course, but by turning an independent neighbor state (Gruzia) back into a friend and ally through “soft power”, funding NGO’s, pro-Russian media, etc. Not sure I agree with everything he says, but still Interesting read.

    • peter says:

      I follow Venalainen and watch for his essays…

      Oh no, not again. Haven’t you made enough of a fool of yourself for one day? “Albert Venalainen” is a collective pseudonym — just like “La Russophobe”.

      • marknesop says:

        So? Does that affect its content? To the degree that it’s nonsense, I mean. The Power Vertical was a collective pseudonym, although it’s only Brian Whitmore now. Oriental Review is a collective effort, as is Russia: Other Points of View. To my mind, the latter is superb; although sometimes a little dry and academic – unconcerned, if you will – the contributors comprise some of the best minds in the genre, both from the viewpoint of knowledge and experience.

        I’ve never heard of Venalainen, and obviously don’t follow “him”, but the number of sponsors has little to do with the message – it either resonates with you, or it doesn’t. I’ve never seen any evidence that many of the like-minded together are stupider than one. I don’t see anything glaringly ridiculous about the suggestion that throwing softballs Georgia’s way might pay dividends; do you? I happen to think it won’t work very well with Mikhail “Loose Cannon” Saakashvili at the helm of the ship of state, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t for a moment doubt there are people on both sides of the border who’d like to see it work, for solid business as well as ideological reasons. It makes little sense to rely on a mostly agrarian economy if you’ve aligned yourself with powers 6000 miles away.

        • peter says:

          So?

          One has to be a total fruitcake Russophile to mistake crude, almost comical anti-Georgian propaganda “essays” published under an openly fake name (Venäläinen is Finnish for “a Russian”) for genuine political commentary.

          • marknesop says:

            Oh. Well, maybe you’re right – I couldn’t say, as I’m not familiar with the site. But the idea of using soft power is certainly not an alien concept, and if it stood a chance of improving Russo-Georgian relations, I’d submit it’s worth trying. As I suggested, the Georgian economy is predominantly agrarian, and selling Georgian fruit to the USA doesn’t seem a cost-effective pursuit. The sweet Georgian wines are not favoured by North American consumers, although they are wildly popular in Russia. It’d make much more sense to sell to Russia. I can’t claim to be up on how badly trade relations were damaged by the 2008 war, but I don’t see any signs of the Georgian economy taking off – quite the reverse.

            • Yalensis says:

              @Mark: this wikipedia link gives a list of famous Finnish athletes with the surname Venalainen:

              Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ven%C3%A4l%C3%A4inen
              Venäläinen
              From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
              Jump to: navigation, search
              Venäläinen is a Finnish surname (meaning “a Russian”). People with this surname include:
              • Ilja Venäläinen (born 1980), Finnish football player
              • Jari Venäläinen (born 1967), Finnish runner; husband of Marjo Venäläinen
              • Kari Venäläinen (born 1968), Finnish harness racer
              • Kati Venäläinen (born 1975; née Sundqvist), Finnish cross-country skier
              • Marjo Venäläinen (born 1971); Finnish runner; wife of Jari Venäläinen
              • Robert Venäläinen (born 1969), Swedish handball player
              • Sami Venäläinen (born 1981), Finnish ice hockey player

              The pro-Russian essayist in question, Albert, I believe is related to Sami, the hockey player.

              • peter says:

                The pro-Russian essayist in question, Albert, I believe is related to Sami, the hockey player.

                There is only one “Альберт Веналайнен” known to Google, and all he ever does is write anti-Georgian trash for Rosbalt. However, if you know for a fact he is a real person, then so be it. Stranger things have happened. I retract and apologize.

    • Giuseppe Flavio says:

      Today the Ruslan Umarov news has been refuted. The illegal alien is a Tagik, not Doku Umarov’s brother. Still, I find Kadyrov’s reaction puzzling.
      The idea of letting the Caucasus go was applied to Chechenya in the ’90 and proved to be a bad idea. After all, having an unstable area on the border is something that most countries try to avoid.

  13. Yalensis says:

    http://www.utro.ru/peredovica/
    Here is some latest news on Domodedovo investigation.
    Summary of article (for benefit of those who don’t read Russian): Today FSB head, Alexandr Bortnikov reported to Medvedev that he believes he knows who the organizor was of Domodedovo terror attack, as well as identity of actual perpetrator: a 20-year-old man hailing from a North Caucasus republic, who joined insurgent cell in August 2010. According to Bortnikov, they have the body of the suicide bomber and found evidence of narcotics in his tissues, indicating that he had been massively doped up.
    At the meeting was also Alexandr Bastyrkin, head of the Investigating Committee [of Duma], who reported that the accomplices of the bomber are also known, and are being searched for. Several people have been detained, including relatives of the bomber.
    On Tuesday (2 days ago), a possible name of the suicide bomber was floated in the media: Magomedhabib Daudov, 20-year-old son of Dagestani insurgent leader Ibrahimhalil Daudov. Magomedhabib’s mother was Zaudjat Aminat, also a suicide bomber, who accidentally blew herself up on December 31.
    [Note: I had read about that story earlier in a different paper. Zaudjat had a bomb strapped to her which was wired to be triggered by an incoming call on her cellphone. Unfortunately for her, the cellphone provider sent her an automated “Happy New Year” text message greeting which blew her up before she was supposed to.]
    Ibrahimhalil Daudov is the leader of the Dagestani jihadist cells. So, his wife blew herself up. Then his son, maybe. Daudov himself is still at large.
    The article goes on to say that Medvedev was quite irritated with the investigators and the course of the investigation; on the other hand, on Wednesday (yesterday) Putin had made an off-hand remark that they pretty much now knew who dunnit and how.

    • Giuseppe Flavio says:

      Hi Yalensis,
      thanks for the summary translation. Maybe I’m rot inside, but when I read of Zaudjat Aminat’s fate, I couldn’t hold off a laugh.

      • cartman says:

        That’s funny too. It would put a kink in these terrorists’ plans if cellphone providers randomly sent messages to peoples’ phones.

      • marknesop says:

        Did you laugh? I thought I was the only one who was dead inside. I bet it’s hard to get good life insurance in that line of work.

        • Giuseppe Flavio says:

          I bet it’s hard to get good life insurance in that line of work.
          But you can get an “Happy New Year” with fireworks included.

  14. alterismus says:

    “Khodorkovsky – Mother of God, if I don’t have a stroke, it’ll be a miracle. Let me ask you this; do you think it might be possible for bootlickers to the liberal opposition to do something as simple as a shampoo commercial without tying in Mikhail Khodorkovsky the Boy Wonder, fiscal freedom fighter and wronged prisoner of conscience?”

    Tears, tears, flowing down my face, Mark – tummy aches from laughter! Thank U!

  15. alterismus says:

    Hahahaha, you know, one of my colleagues from our US office thinks I’m a spy too, she says I gotta be KGB because of how calm and steady I always seem to be and how I’m always on top of things. To me that’s just good sense. But actually, I went home!!! Was with my parents for a bit and then flew to Kiev to meet up with a friend and so on and so on, am now back in SH, happy, happy, it’s getting warmer finally. And you know, quite honestly, my patience for this firewall is running out – some days I can use WP just fine, others it feels like torture, I tell you… There is no consistency to it even! I have to get a VPN, like a real one that works.

    • marknesop says:

      Here’s a pretty decent one I used to use to get on to La Russophobe after she banned me. It worked for a while, then she used some other kind of block, by which time I had decided to go into blogging anyway. I’m not sure how it will work against a firewall, and you should consider that it might make the Chinese think you are up to something when you’re not. They have some very good hackers, so they likely put a lot of work into anti-hack software as well. If you still want to go ahead, all you have to do is highlight the default example (google), delete it and type the website you want to access in its place. Then select “Hide My Ass”, the button to the right, and you should be there.

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