SO... HAS THE RUSSIA MOMENT PASSED?

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Patrick Armstrong, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    Did we all start this debate too late? I notice it has fallen off of late.

    Russia has been a major bogeyman for some time and that fire has been stoked by Berezovskiy (now departed this mortal coil) and by Washington-directed N"G"Os (now scrambling to pretend that Obama really intended all along that Putin would save his ass on Syria).
    Two big wind machines have been turned off.

    As is evinced by Greenpeace. An incident that in former times would have been trumpeted to the heavens attracts almost no interest in this new atmosphere.
    Part of that, to be sure, is the fact the GP is just another rip-off org (give me your money and feel better -- check out the comments in this puff piece http://www.independent.co.uk/news/p...tive-way-to-get-our-story-across-8892789.html ) but you have to admit that, if BAB and the US State Dept apparatchiks who pretend to be independent human rights advocates (see Suzanne Nossel) were still on the job, it would be 24/7 on the TVs of the world.

    And that doesn't include the weird Putin-worship that is starting to appear among people who would otherwise hate him..

    Discuss.
  2. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Well, I don't think the west has actually given up, it's just a matter of them overplaying their hand - as they've been doing by PURPOSELY misrepresenting law 6.1.13 and their harassment of Netrebko, Gergiev & other Russian celebrities as if they have something to do with it (when was the last time anyone saw George Clooney being harassed to drop his blind support for Barack Obama?). I think witnessing Russia grant Snowden Asylum and derailing US attempts to bomb Syria has caused many (who normally wouldn't) to question all of the horror stories they've heard about Russia/Putin and attempt to place all of the hot air coming from these news stories in context. I still see daily hit pieces in the western media on Russia, but I simply think they're starting to lose their efficacy since people are now starting to question them due to the diplomatic triumphs Russia has scored over the past several months. The Greenpeace story is dead in the water because the public overwhelmingly think they brought it upon themselves and know that all the hypocritical calls to immediately release the GP30 ring hollow when you consider that had it happened in the Gulf of Mexico on a US oil platform, they might've been hit with terrorism charges. No one feels Russia should be singled out for this nor should they be singled out for having a law limiting homosexual promotion when 80 other countries (many of them US allies) have records FAR worse than Russia's.
  3. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Regretfully, I agree.

    My hope was always that some combination of the JRL people, Lozansky's people, and @MarkPavelovich people - not to mention DR readers - would come together here and make this place self-sustaining with some discussions everyday. Over time I would delegate moderation functions.

    Now I don't know. As was the case a few months ago, the numbers of spam comments have overtaken real comments again; several days can go by without action.

    If this place doesn't revive to at least some kind of minimal level in a few months, I'm afraid I'll have to go through with what I allowed myself to be talked out of on a previous occassion - closing it down.
  4. José Moreira

    José Moreira High Commissar Staff Member

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    I think there is a temporary lull on the visibility of the anti-russian message. I expect the fireworks to go off by the end of the month when the Vilnius summit takes place. Russia's adversaries have been busy, maybe poorly led. There is a strong anti-russian feeling in the USA. This may be receding in the general population, but they are not the ones who control the media.

    This is from a few days ago:

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/poland-nato-the-return-history-9336

    Maybe you should invite She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named ? One of the problems here is that we mostly agree with each other, so the value of the forum is more in the exchange of information than in the debate.
  5. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Speaking for myself, I have been very busy these last few weeks, which has undoubtedly affected my contributions. However I think that there has been a marked change in the political temperature over the last few months. Briefly, the fire seems to have gone out of political protest in Russia itself whilst western media commentary on Russia has become rather less strident. Possible explanations?

    1. A grudging acceptance that Putin is here to stay and that he is firmly in control and purposely following his own agenda;

    2. The failure of the liberal opposition to mount a sustained or convincing challenge or even to remain united for any length of time or to produce leaders that are remotely credible to the wider population;

    3. The strength of Russian diplomacy as shown in the Snowden and Syrian affairs, which has drawn respect even from those who disagree with it.

    In some ways I think the most remarkable indication of the shift at least in domestic opinion over the last few months was the gay law affair. It was striking how the Russian LGBT community refused to join in the anti Russia campaign much to the irritation of its western sponsors. The fact that the supporters of the anti Russia campaign in the west have had to look to Masha Gessen of all people to supply their "gay Russian dissident" voice in some ways says a great deal. Though she happens to be gay she is first and foremost a longstanding anti government activist and not a gay rights activist and this is well known in Russia.

    Having said this, I don't think attitudes have shifted either in the west or Russia. There remains both a need and a role for a site like this.
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  6. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

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    I wholeheartedly concur.

    Also, don't forget things like the upcoming Olympics. Things are a bit slow at the moment but I'm confident that we'll soon get to see some action that sorely requires more nuanced discussion and other perspectives than the usually conveyed. This forum has a role as you said, and I think that will become apparent soon enough.
  7. royotoyo

    royotoyo Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    So do I. It's definitely something of a disappointment that this forum has not been more actively utilized. Personally, I'd love to see Mark's, AK's (on Ukraine, AK even directed a poster over to DaRussophile) and others' blogs consolidated somehow on this site even though I know it won't happen. The format is much more conducive to rolling debates. I check it regularly, but don't see a whole lot of replies to my posts. Also, there is a lot of content on here, maybe fewer categories would help?
  8. Hero of Crappy Town

    Hero of Crappy Town Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Obviously all the spam messages do not help.

    You're right there's too many categories. It makes orientation harder, I use new/recent posts feature to follow topics exclusively, don't go into separate sub-forums at all.
  9. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    I only have so much time in a day to devote to spam cleanup. Nor am I the only moderator with the ability to do so.

    (I think what I will eventually do is make registration stricter, and require new members to post something within the first month to avoid being automatically removed).

    There might be too many of them now, but they are just about right for a normally functioning forum (which would be the only type worth maintaining long-term).
  10. Hero of Crappy Town

    Hero of Crappy Town Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Perhaps it's an issue with the forum software.

    The associated feeling of emptines could be a drag on growth. Some forums I've been on started out small with just a few categories, when there were still only a few members, then added additional categories as they began to make sense.
  11. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    Well, I haven't been very active lately either. Not sure why, certainly there have been a number of purely domestic concerns but also a touch of Russia fatigue. IMO Russia is becoming more "normal"; which is to say, more routine, more boring, more same old, same old. Which is less interesting.


    But, given the fact that one of this group’s prime motivations is countering lies and exaggerations about Russia, we to a degree are dependent for our raw material on others. And there isn’t all that much outrage about Russia at the moment.

    William Dunkerley has some persuasive polling data to show that, in the absence of anti-Russia campaigns, US feelings towards it aren’t too bad. Not as good feelings as they have to Canada or UK, but not necessarily hostile. But, when there’s a campaign on (Politkovskaya, Pussy Riot whatever) feelings turn hostile.


    At the moment there is no big campaign on -- some burbling in the background that PR whatshername has “disappeared” or been “tortured”, the anti-gay stuff -- but not all that much. And there are opportunities out there for campaigns – the Greenpeacers, gas wars with Ukraine, the anti-gay stuff could be ramped up, Navalniy’s legal problems. But these are not happening.

    That’s interesting. In former times these events would have been blown up into the full deployment of the “gas weapon”, “crushing opposition”, “brutal treatment” memes.


    Which leads me to another question. We all seem to agree that Russia has a very bad reputation in the world. (Perhaps English-speaking world, to be more accurate). There is some disagreement on whose fault this is: some say Russia behaves badly and defends its positions poorly, other say small things are pumped up into huge scandals by interested parties.


    Are we at a juncture at which we can falsify one of these theories?


    The events that, in the past, had huge anti-Russia campaigns erected on them are present but they are attracting little attention. Is that because there is no wind machine to blow them up?


    Too early to say, but something to watch.
  12. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Another issue that could be played up in coming weeks is the Ukraine/EU issue.

    Anyway, I've resumed work on Dark Lord of the Kremlin. It's been in limbo for too long. Incidentally, after I publish the book, I'm thinking of finishing up with Da Russophile (the blog). TBH the topic just doesn't interest me as much as it used to.

    Maybe the forum would get a new lease on life after that as DR readers emigrate.
  13. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Yeah, you have the Russia blog there, and the Russia forum here, and people can comment in both places. Might be best to centralize everything in one place.
  14. Vostok

    Vostok Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    You could always merge darussophile with Russiadebate. I know a website that has blog posts integrated with their forum. Basically a new 'article' posted will automatically appear on the forum as a new thread. When users comment on the article it appears both below the article and on the new thread discussing that article.
  15. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion @SWSpires and @Vostok. I have to reject it, though.

    (1) I don't want to associate a blog with an undeniable political leaning to a neutral forum (at least in theory if not - of necessity - in practice).

    (2) In any case, it is currently technically impossible under my current hosting arrangements. The blog is hosted at WordPress.com which controls all the back-end. Even if I were to go fully self-hosted for the blog/forum combo, the software platforms are different; integrating WordPress with XenForo will require some hardcore PHP/MySQL work which I am simply not proficient at or have the time for.
  16. Vostok

    Vostok Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    With the shit storm that is coming for Sochi, I hope you keep it around :)
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  17. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Sochi yesterday was reported to be on schedule.

    That was in the Russian media, of course.

    You would never guess that from the Western media, though.

    And here's the latest on the Sochi games - "the product of backbreaking labor and corruption" - from that propaganda organ, the Moscow Times: A Tale of Two Olympic Cities: Moscow 1980 and Sochi 2014.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  18. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    It's worth staying open for Sochi. There may well be events that generate a flood of new members as in Peter's Google Group. Is Patrick's sitrep the only thing in that town now? The green agenda requires Russian gas to Europe. The UK is getting much less gas than expected from Qatar and Malaysia because Japan is buying it all. So Ukraine's hand has improved. There may be more to come in that arena too. On the other hand, Russia's growth has moderated. It is not going to be an economic rival to the US, far less the EU. So, who cares about Russia? The cold warriors are McCain's generation and are retiring or dying. The security industry is being questioned, especially after Syria. Iran is cooling off.
  19. Vostok

    Vostok Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Yeah I know Sochi not behind schedule. A couple colleagues of mine created a few projects there.

    My point is more about the gay rights shit storm lol.
  20. North Asian

    North Asian Office Registrar (13th class)

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    for one people are just getting used to this massive propaganda that if they hear something bad about russia its getting normal like if they hear something from china they view it as a different region not being part of europe. There is simple no standard below anymore and the russians leaders act that way too, of course it wasnt necessary to jail greenpeace activist but if the western propaganda machine can make little brads who vandalized a church to some kind of heros against a regime than there is no point more for russian authorities to hold to some rules anymore since no matter what they are always blamed, they might just as well jail 45 foreigners for months like they just did.

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