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September 12, 2008


Once again, not a very balanced perspective. I will give you one thing though, he is out of his mind to say that the Georgian military actions in South Ossetia were equivalent to 9/11. Totally off his rocker on that one. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

As for Russians and alcoholism, well, Bush makes just about as many slips of the tongue as Yeltsin did, and theoretically Bush has been sober for years. So maybe some of that brain damage is permanent?

The situation in Georgia is not entirely clear to us, there are two predominantly Russian speaking, ethnically Russian regions in Georgia that have broken away. Georgia sent their military in to subdue them, and Russia sent their military in to counter Georgia and then further into Georgia to disrupt Georgia's ability to reinvade those regions by tearing up their military bases and looting some of their towns.

I think we'd have to imagine it like this:

Let's say that Coahuilla, Mexico (here is a map: http://www.milebymile.com/kmimages/mexico_map_500.gif )had an 80% American population, and that they all spoke English and wanted to join the U.S. but we hadn't let them because they're part of Mexico and that border has been there for years. They're part of Mexico, but really, in spirit, and in heart, they're American (that 80%) but the 20% that are Mexican have their government's backing and are in all the positions of power. Then, when some of this 80% English speaking American population objects to English no longer being taught in schools, and that Spanish is the only allowable official language in the courts, etc, the Mexican government sends troops in to suppress that 80% of the population and whip them back into line.

Does the U.S., right across the border in Texas, lend a hand? Probably.

So we go there and whoop it up, and chase the Mexican forces out, and assure that region of it's autonomacy again. Then we hear that Mexico is going to join the Warsaw Pact (remember that? Pretend it still exists) which is run by our old Cold War enemy who live way far away on the other side of the world. What the heck are they doing in Mexico? What's the deal here? Would the United States be mad? You bet your last dollar they would.

I think Russia's reactions here are understandable. We got mad when they were putting missiles in Cuba remember, and we made them back down. Just like they can't have missiles in Cuba, we shouldn't have missiles in Poland, Georgia, or their backyard.

Dear Mr. DemocracyRules,

Have you a degree in medicine, to put diagnoses? Are you a psychiatrist or a psychologist? [From DR -- I know what I'm writing about -- but don't hesitate to check my statements. If I fact-check yours, I must be ready to have you fact-check mine!]


In fact, there is no big need to read speeches of Bush (especially), Condi or Cheney; just out of curiosity, if one has enough time... Their speeches add nothing to mastering language skills, are often full of absurdities, historical nonsense, let alone lack of logic.

Who can doubt that at large, our counterattack on Georgia will definitely have no or very small affect on our relations with the West? Just wait till your election is over, and there will be much less need in patriotic demagogy.

Be careful about ignorance; nether Putin nor Medvedev never ever have allowed to speak out ignorant things; It is Western establishment leaded by the USA, that looks sometimes blind, bravely sending soldiers to Asia, but having no or little understanding how to handle with other civilizations.

Well, and what a fun have you said about alcoholism!!! This is a nice legend about Russians, though as for me, personally, at 38 I am still able to drink a half-liter bottle vodka and keep walking relatively straight.

[Vladimir, consuming 500 ml of vodka in one sitting would be a lethal dose for most people. Heavy drinkers and alcoholics sometimes do it and survive because they have acquired massive tolerance. However, they still suffer progressive organ damage, including the brain and liver. Therefore (1) don't do it, it's nothing to be proud of, and (2) see your doctor, you may have liver damage.]

But the USA compete Russia with a great success in this field! This is data for your Big Brother, Mr. DR:

[Vladimir then cites US alcoholism statistics, which are irrelevant to his argument. It is comparisons between the US and Russia that might be more useful. If one compares Russian and US drinking patterns one sees substantial differences. Alcohol consumption per capita, rates of alcoholism, rates of lover disease, all show differences.]

I appreciate the clear opinion of Andrew Boylston, though cannot accept all his points. But remember, one of conditions for withdrawal of the Soviet Army from the Eastern Europe (former Warsaw Pact) was non-expansion of the NATO eastwards. Many times it was promised to Gorbachev and Eltsin [Yeltsin in English], hell be upon him forever.

[The Soviet army withdrew from Eastern Europe because those areas declared autonomy from from the Soviet Union. Since the Soviet Union itself was collapsing, it withdrew. No pact or agreement was relevant to that reality.]

The time has confirmed: the West has been acting in regard to Russia just like Muslims act to (Western) Christians: no need to keep your word dealing with the 'unfaithful'.

So no surprise that Russia carries out now a more self-oriented policy. And you'd better take it into account when supporting all crazy, stupid or stoned leaders (like Saakashvili) just because they are anti-Russian.

[I APOLOGIZE for saying that Russia's leaders behave like crocodiles with speech capability. That was over the top!]

Mr. Samarin,

I am curious to know which points of mine you disagree with. I would like to hear your perspective on them.

Also, I am curious about what your personal opinion of Putin is in general.

Also, your thoughts on Gary Kasparov.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dear Mr. Boylston,

First, Mr. DR and you make your opinion on Medvedev's sentence, which was torn from the context. Full idea expressed was (in my translation, not an official one):

"...The world changed practically immediately after those (9/11) events. And it came on my mind, that 8/8 2008 for Russia is almost like 9/11 2001 for the USA. This comparison has become actively used now... I think it is absolutely precise, at least regarding the Russian circumstances.
The USA and all mankind learned many useful lessons from the events of 9/11. I'd like the world to learn some lessons also from the events started on 8/8 this year."

As you can see, there is no "=" sign; instead, an approximation, from our inside-Rusiian viewpoint, which can definitely differ from yours, from far away.

As for your comparison, Andrew, it is not quite correct; Georgia was a part of the Russian Empire/Soviet Union for almost 200 years; Mexico never was a part of the USA. To make your example viable, we should suppose, say, that Texas would become independent, or, better, just Grand Canyon...

As for Gary Kasparov, he is a great chess-player. He is an ingenious chess-player.
Whatever else he tries to do, he looks like clown or stupid idiot. Either politically, or supporting the so-called "new chronology" of his friend Academician Fomenko.
He'd better play chess further...

Well, as for Putin... He tried to save things that Gorbachev and Eltsin broke for more than 10 years.

Not Socialism; I mean, system of state government, governing regions, autonomous regions and everything. Restructuring of industry instead of destroying it. And maybe not less important, rebuilding of internal ethnical policy - there are many different ethnicities in Russia, belonging to Orthodox Chrisitanity, Islam, Buddhism, paganity, and we still have many Jews. The Russian Empire had a pretty effective internal policy regarding various ethnicities; It waqs not bad when the USSR was in full power, but as soon as the central government started to loose its power, local nationalistic elites raised their heads, which led to many bloody local conflicts.

Our country is huge, though historically it was even much greater. There are local circumstances - geographic, ethnic, historical - that demand for special forms of governing.

Democracy should be put aside; just like the Soviet Socialism was far from ideal Communism envisioned by Marx (and Lenin), the contemporary democracy is far from its ideal form. When politicos call countries "democracies', it is demagogy. Big business, big money, oil and petroleum rule the world. Even here, in this very website, they talked McCain had not too much money to feel safer during the pre-elections run.
However, today Russia is considerably more democratic than the USSR was, say, 25 years ago. At the same time there is much less anarchy in the country than it was, say, 15 years ago.

And Putin... Well, maybe he was the best thing Eltsin did for Russia. It would be a great mistake to think a KGB colonel is a skilled butcher. Nope; he is supposed to have a very versatile education, skills in giving orders, making plans for several moves ahead, using chess terms, analyse information from various sources, etc.
Maybe, just like a CIA or No-Such-Agency colonel.

Mr. Samarin,

Thank you for your clarifications and statements.

I'm afraid I still have to disagree with you as to Medvedev's statement. I think he was badly mistaken to even mention 9/11 in relation to the situation in Georgia.

For me, if Russia is going to mention something that is similar to 9/11, perhaps it would have to be 9/3/2004 and the Beslan School Hostage Crisis in Chechnya where all the school children were tragically killed. It is the sort of extreme war and strike against a civilian population (especially children) that is so shocking and horrific that one at first simply can't believe it has happened.

The South Ossetia and Abkhazia and Georgia conflict is a long simmering feud between armed separatists and Georgian military, and while there are many innocent civilian casualties, I don't think that it is equivalent to a sudden and destructive terrorist act, which is why 9/11 is not a good analogy for it. (As a further note, Georgia was forced into both the Russian empire in 1800, then declared it's independence in 1917, but was forced into the Soviet Union in 1921. It has clearly never been completely comfortable with it's northern neighbor.)

I agree with you about Kasparov. A great chess player, truly tremendous. However, his histrionics are poorly suited for politics and he looks rather foolish.

As for Putin, I agree that he is a very intelligent man, however, I worry that the way he has consolidated power, and indeed the way he continues to be involved with that power, now as Prime Minister, and controlling his party, is somewhat worrisome.

The rise of the Russian oil barons is also worrisome, as it is indicative of the first large step in creating a powerful elite who seperate themselves from the working man.

I also find it troubling that the prosecution of some of the oligarchs seems to run along political lines. Khodorkovsky was imprisoned, and yet Abramovich is free. Vavilov, due to his strong political ties is not investigated, but Gusinsky and Nevzlin are forced into exile. The murders of a number of investigative journalists in Moscow is also very disheartening and does not bode well.

I thank you for sharing your views here. It adds another perspective for us on a country we rarely get a lot of insight into.

Dear Mr. Boylston,

You're also right; but you speak of being equal (or close) in the way action was performed; Medvedev evidently meant significance of the events for the world. Though, the way Saakashvili decided to use his army in the opening day of the Olympics, is pretty terroristic, in my opinion.

Beslan is a town in North Ossetia, not in Chechnya.

And, quite ironically, Georgia was never forced into the Russian Empire! Instead, they virtually forced our Emperors to incorporate their kingdoms (surely, out of understandable desire to survive and be protected from Persia and Turkey). For the first time a Georgian delegation asked the Russian Tsar Feodor Ioannovich "to take their people under his power, and save their lives and souls" in 1586. But at that time Russia could not afford it.
A small part of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti kingdom) was incorporated in Russian Empire by strong and clearly expressed will of dying king George XII. To 1810 Imereti and Abkhazia followed, in some Russia-Turkey wars Russia took over Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe (1829), Adzharia (1878).
Protecting the region, Russia lost in 19 century about 130000 soldiers; 30000 in battles with turks, and the rest died from various diseases in that bad civilized region.
Things went so bad, at a certain time St.-Petersburg waqs thinking of giving Abkhazia back to Turkey, 'cause it was too expensive to operate the region.

Our oil barons are children in comparison with the Western patryarchs. In general, they have no problems if do just business. Khodorkovsky, Gusinsky, Berezovsky tried themselves in politics; they were not supposed to do so.

Thank you for correcting me on the location of Beslan. It was a terrible crime, and an incredible tragedy.

The timing of the Georgia conflict during the Olympics is extremely regrettable. It is supposed to be a time when the nations of the world come together in a friendly and competitive spirit, but unfortunately the Olympics no longer mean what they used to mean (and haven't for some 80+ years), and have often been used for political purposes.

As for Georgia, it was always my understanding that the nobles and certain small kingdoms within Georgia were against being part of the Russian Empire and had to be subdued, but I will admit I have only a superficial knowledge of that region, and so will yield to your more detailed knowledge on the region.

In fact, the Russian imperial policy was to bribe local nobles and never to oppress them. In this way the Russian Empire differs greatly from other colonial powers; they used colonies to feed and enrich metropolies, Russia added, incorporated lands to strengthen herself.

As soon as a certain region was icorporated, local nobles were granted with equal rights with the Russian, and Georgian kingdoms were not an exception. There was a saying that every second Georgian was a prince; so the old Russian princes started to look for count and baron titles, due to kind of devaluation of prince title ;-)

The Georgians had an only option - to stick to a superpower; alternative was to be totally defeated by Turks (which had just completely destroyed Tbilisi, in 1795).

Go to the LOC website, look for Prokudin-Gorski's Empire that was Russia exhibition; there is a portrait of Amir of Bukhara; a perfect sample of such local king on duty of the Russian crown. If you look closer, you'll see his dressing gown has shoulder-boards (of Infantry General of Russian Army); he also was an Ataman(captain)-by-order of Terskoy Cossack district: quite an unexpected cossack warrior for the Westerners, isn't he?

Dear Mr. DemocracyRules;

It looks like the rules of local conduct are a bit difficult for me to understand.

Thank you for the job you undertook to censor -- or edit, if you wish -- my 2nd comment. But there are questions...

Yeltsin (thank you for correction; in fact, Russian names are so often misspelled and even more often mispronounced, besides, there are different systems of transliteration; I am happy that nevertheless we understand each other) was a definite alcohol addict, though I have never seen his medical papers.

But statement of "Substance Abuse Disorder" still neeeds to be proved.
Besides, you evidently play with logic, saying about alcoholism, drunkennes and brain damage, the Cerebral cortex,the vegetative and reflexive neurological systems, etc., in context of the Russian leaders. Judicially you are correct, because you do not put it straight, using "as if", "in the sense" and the like constructions. But in general the paragraph concerned sounds as an exercise in Eric Frank Russell's "Diabologic".

As for ignorance, you have just deleted some words of my sentence. Well, here are the words of the US President George W. Bush:
"I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfast partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India, and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world." (New Delhi, 3.3.2006). Pakistan is doubtfully prosperous and democratic; besides, it's not a part of the Arab world...
"My trip to Asia begins here in Japan for an important reason. It begins here because for a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times. From that alliance has come an era of peace in the Pacific." (Japan, 2.18.2002) Too good to be true, isn't it?
"Border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better." (Washington, 9.27.2001) Being in Canada, you could know that better, but looking from Russia, we see something in between...

Medice, cura te ipsum!

My liver still goes strong; when I say what I can do, I say just that; it doesn't mean I practise it on a daily basis. My tolerance is based upon general health, though I am a bit overweighted (well, this problem is also not an exclusive US domain ;-)

I strongly disagree with your opinion of Soviet/Russian army withdrawal from Eastern Europe. It just could not be because of some country declared something. No army is a thing that moves all by itself; it obeys orders. There were military bases all around, and all the movements and withdrawals were subject to corresponding agreements. Cuba is not an ally of the USA, but there is an agreeement, and there's Guantanamo.

I wish you ever visit Russia, with open heart and open mind; I am sure your prejudices and misconceptions would disappear, substituted by understanding (though understanding does not always mean consent).


I am sorry that DemocracyRules has censored you. I read your post before it was censored, and I thought it a tough but fair retort to the rather extreme statements ("stoned") which DemocracyRules sometimes makes.

DemocracyRules likes to dish it out, but can't take it, and censors and edits peoples comments to lessen their impact against the original blog post.

Despite DemocracyRules name, he/she does not play by one of the founding democratic principles of the United States.

Andrew - and everybody;

In fact, I am not against censorship; it's a rule of the game. Freedoms and rights are impossible without laws and obligations.

What I stand for, is same rules for all players - fair play.

Well, unless it's downright pornographic or excessively profane, I am against censorship.

Free speech is one of the cornerstones of our Democracy here in the U.S.

Andrew, can you still call it a democracy after all the freedoms that Bush has taken away from the US citizens (without very few of them knowing?).

I find it interesting that it worries you about happenings in Russia. I really believe that the US people should be very worried about their freedoms.

When the war in Iraq started, I remember there was a few bands (was one the Dixie Chicks?), who spoke out against the war and got censured from radio stations all over the US...

That reminds me of the stories of old USSR - when anyone who spoke out against the union dissappeared. I really get the feeling that people in the US imagine that their freedoms today are just as they were long years ago. It's not the case...

Surely that is not democracy ...

Andrew - I agree with a lot of what you say too!

I have to second your comment on DR. I can only call what he has written about Russia as totally disrespectfull and arrogant. As you say - he can't take what he dishes out.

I am certainly concerned about some of the actions which the current administration has taken.

I am interested in Russia, and I think that the situation, as with any global power, must always be constantly analyzed and assessed.

However, I believe that one of our first priorities needs to be at home. Our economy is in tatters, and unless we fix it, we'll have done the terrorists jobs for them.

For example, would any terrorist need to blow up a bridge here in the United States? FHA grades 33% of our roads in poor condition, and 26% of our bridges as structurally deficient. And yet, tax breaks continue to be given to corporations who are shipping jobs overseas, and we draw no revenue to address these critical systems. On my way to work there's been a washout on one side of the Interstate where you can see the highway crumbling. I've called in to report it, but it hasn't been addressed yet.

Of course, if we continue to let oil speculators run rampant (Florida has now launched an investigation into 13 different oil companies on suspicion of price gouging during the recent tropical storm and hurricanes - one gas station changed it's price upwards 4 times in a single day.) pretty soon none of us will be able to afford to drive anyway, so the condition of our roads won't matter.

And don't even get me started about how poorly we're doing in terms of funding for Education these days.

The Hungarian uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous rebellion by a nation against the rule from Moscow - against the faceless, indifferent, incompetent functionaries (the 'funkies' David Irving calls them, adapting the Hungarian word funkcionáriusok) who in little more than a decade had turned their country into a pit of Marxist misery. It's time to fight.


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