Our aim here at The Russia Debate is to provide a central hub for Russia watchers from all over the political spectrum to engage in intelligent and mutually civil discussions about Russia today, its past, and its future prospects.
All too frequently, we have seen how online discourse on Russia can turn into mud-slinging matches between warring factions of "CIA jackals" and "Kremlin bots" that are as pruriently entertaining as they are ultimately vapid and meaningless.
We do not expect, or even desire, all our readers to come to agreement here, for variety is the spice of life. What a neutral, well-moderated forum can do, however, is provide a platform for representatives from the whole gamut of Russia watching opinion to make and publicize their arguments, thus contributing to a wider dialog more rooted in facts and data as opposed to rhetoric and emotion.
We hope that this, in turn, could lead to each side gaining a greater appreciation of other arguments and worldviews, thus helping dispel ignorance, promote civility, and even foster respect for one's opponents at a personal and individual - if not political - level.
If you wish to start posting straight away, go ahead - although we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Forum Rules, you're basically safe so long as you don't post nonsense or act like a jerk. Power summary: Don't troll; don't spam; be civil to other users and the moderators; don't post racist comments; don't advertise commercial products or other forums; don't advocate genocide, terrorism, or pedophilia; grammar is your friend; observe standard forum etiquette.
If someone personally attacks you, don't break the rules yourself and respond in kind - instead, report it to the moderators. If you feel that you were unfairly censored or sanctioned, please read the Moderation Policy for guidelines on what to do next. We are committed to fair and unprejudiced resolution of any and all disputes.
Quick Introduction to the Forums
The Russia Debate is broken up into the following nine major sections.
Administrativia: Listen to site announcements at Lobnoye Mesto, say "Hi" to other Russia watchers at the Lobby, suggest improvements to the site at The Veche, and report Forum Rules violations to your friendly Commissars at the Lubyanka.
The Red Button: Discuss daily events at Breaking News, both Russia and global. You can also check out the special Experts Panel forum, in which you can read weekly responses to topical current affairs questions from some of the world's leading Russia experts and join in the conversation yourself.
The Russia Debate: This is the crux of the forum. Discuss everything Russia: Politics, foreign policy, Kremlinology, economics, society, demography, education, religion, crime, laws, police reform, and the Russian military.
Tales of Bygone Years: Russian history from Rurik to Putin... or more unconventional ways of looking at Russian history, such as cliodynamics (a recent branch of "mathematized history" largely developed by Russians).
Pushkin's Library: Russian/Soviet literature, films, music, art, and culture.
On the Eurasian Steppes: Discuss developments in the "Near Abroad," that is, the post-Soviet space generally.
The Global Debate: Discuss global politics, economics, society, technology, futurism, culture, history, and so forth.
Regional Discussions: Discuss developments in specific regions of the world.
General Discussion: Talk about why Russians like black tea with lemon at the Samovar Teahouse, moan about your attempts to learn (or teach) the Russian language, and tell us about your cool trip to the Putorana Plateau.
For commonly asked question, consult the Forum FAQ.
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