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Old Yesterday, 04:50 PM
Status: "Trump Resistance - The (establishment) Empire Strikes Back" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
17,485 posts, read 6,839,321 times
Reputation: 13459

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I just finished reading Putinism: Russia and Its Future with the West, by Walter Laqueur.

I submit that Russia's main "contribution" to the West and civilization was the export of its best people and genes to other places that didn't want to stifle them at best, kill them at worst.

I'll admit to more than a passing interest in the subject, because myself, and a substantial portion of U.S. Jews, including some of my closest friends and business colleagues have ancestry from the Czarist Russian empire, as it existed in 1914. 1914 was when the Guns of August erupted, bringing an end to La Belle Epoque. As a result of the total destructiveness of Czarist culture, the best and brightest of Russia are here in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Russia, never rich in culture and intellect, had what little it possessed seriously diminished in one of the great "brain drains" in history.

The book is a fascinating exploration of the reasons that Russia, whether under the Czars, the former Soviet Union or post-Soviet iterations has never been “able to get its act together.” Russia's default mode is towards entropy or chaos of one kind or another, with a rich history of alcohol abuse, xenophobia, and zapadophobia (fear of the West). This has resulted in an ability to form alliances or relationships with other countries that are not contentious; unless they are in a dominating or controlling mode.

This malevolent history harks back at least to such Czarist era author and poets as Nikolay Danilevsky (1822-1885), Alexander Pushkin (author of, among other poems, To the Slanderers of Russia) and Georgy Fedotov. The core belief is of Russia being a “great” country, an empire. Russia is not content to be a country with a comfortable standard of living, but not much dominant power. Russia has an unjustifiably high opinion of itself and what it is entitled to.

Around 1990-1, there was great expectation for Russia to democratize, to become a “normal” country, a member of the community of nations. Laquer makes a great case that this was a triumph of hope over experience, much like a third marriage after a succession of divorces.

Among other shortcomings, Russia lacks a real economy. Instead it is a gas station, a petrostate. Laquer expresses little hope for its economy if oil prices remained in the $50 per barrel area.

More or less accidentally I fell into reading a lot about Russia. During the early summer I read The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life by Tom Reiss. This book was ostensibly about a deliberately obscure author, Lev Nussenbaum, writing under other names including Mohammed Essad Bey, who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and as the antebellum World War I falls apart, flees to Constantinople, then Berlin, and after a short period in New York City, to Vienna and after the Anschluss to Positano, Italy, where he dies as age 35. Reading that book motivated me to read Stalin: The Career Of A Fanatic by Mohammed Essad Bey. Bey (Nussenbaum), writing in1931, makes observations about Russia eerily similar to those of Walter Laquer concerning Russia’s imperviousness to Western ideas of liberalization.

Some international theorists have postulated that the West lost a historic opportunity by not integrating Russia into NATO, and expanding NATO’s reach to the Baltic states. Walter Laquer dismissing these as wishful thinking.

Nowadays, just as in the Czarist and Communist era, a good portion of the young people want to leave. The upshot of this cannot be good. One of the largest countries of the world, in terms of land mass, continues to sink into the abyss.

Does anyone see any hope for any of this to change?
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Old Yesterday, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Preussen
403 posts, read 112,903 times
Reputation: 307
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
I just finished reading Putinism: Russia and Its Future with the West, by Walter Laqueur.

I submit that Russia's main "contribution" to the West and civilization was the export of its best people and genes to other places that didn't want to stifle them at best, kill them at worst.

I'll admit to more than a passing interest in the subject, because myself, and a substantial portion of U.S. Jews, including some of my closest friends and business colleagues have ancestry from the Czarist Russian empire, as it existed in 1914. 1914 was when the Guns of August erupted, bringing an end to La Belle Epoque. As a result of the total destructiveness of Czarist culture, the best and brightest of Russia are here in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Russia, never rich in culture and intellect, had what little it possessed seriously diminished in one of the great "brain drains" in history.

The book is a fascinating exploration of the reasons that Russia, whether under the Czars, the former Soviet Union or post-Soviet iterations has never been “able to get its act together.” Russia's default mode is towards entropy or chaos of one kind or another, with a rich history of alcohol abuse, xenophobia, and zapadophobia (fear of the West). This has resulted in an ability to form alliances or relationships with other countries that are not contentious; unless they are in a dominating or controlling mode.

This malevolent history harks back at least to such Czarist era author and poets as Nikolay Danilevsky (1822-1885), Alexander Pushkin (author of, among other poems, To the Slanderers of Russia) and Georgy Fedotov. The core belief is of Russia being a “great” country, an empire. Russia is not content to be a country with a comfortable standard of living, but not much dominant power. Russia has an unjustifiably high opinion of itself and what it is entitled to.

Around 1990-1, there was great expectation for Russia to democratize, to become a “normal” country, a member of the community of nations. Laquer makes a great case that this was a triumph of hope over experience, much like a third marriage after a succession of divorces.

Among other shortcomings, Russia lacks a real economy. Instead it is a gas station, a petrostate. Laquer expresses little hope for its economy if oil prices remained in the $50 per barrel area.

More or less accidentally I fell into reading a lot about Russia. During the early summer I read The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life by Tom Reiss. This book was ostensibly about a deliberately obscure author, Lev Nussenbaum, writing under other names including Mohammed Essad Bey, who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and as the antebellum World War I falls apart, flees to Constantinople, then Berlin, and after a short period in New York City, to Vienna and after the Anschluss to Positano, Italy, where he dies as age 35. Reading that book motivated me to read Stalin: The Career Of A Fanatic by Mohammed Essad Bey. Bey (Nussenbaum), writing in1931, makes observations about Russia eerily similar to those of Walter Laquer concerning Russia’s imperviousness to Western ideas of liberalization.

Some international theorists have postulated that the West lost a historic opportunity by not integrating Russia into NATO, and expanding NATO’s reach to the Baltic states. Walter Laquer dismissing these as wishful thinking.

Nowadays, just as in the Czarist and Communist era, a good portion of the young people want to leave. The upshot of this cannot be good. One of the largest countries of the world, in terms of land mass, continues to sink into the abyss.

Does anyone see any hope for any of this to change?
There is not any hope and never will be. Those people have always excuses for their state of being and it never have anything to do with their own actions. Most people are poor and meanwhile Putin is one of the richest people in the world and Moscow has 68 billionaires. People are happy because they hear that others fear Russia. It does not matter that wages are low, that average people cannot afford lots things that are obvious in the west, and alcoholism is considered normal thing. What matters is that someone somewhere might fear Russia. That is absolutely not excusable how country with so much resources and potential is so poor. Even though they are the most populous. country in Europe, their economy as a whole is even behind Italy, much smaller, not even that rich country by european standarts.
It does not matter what system it is that mentality will always stay. It will definitely not change in our lifetime. When someone is smart and educated it is only natural to him that he would want to leave that country. Every german scientist after war wanted to land in America and not in Russia. To change that mentality would require accepting the fact that western life is a better life and that would be unacceptable for most russians. On the other hand, the propaganda is immense there so it is easy for us from democratic countries to say but we can't imagine how we would behave if we were under constant influence of propaganda from young age. But still after so many years of being clearly robbed by your own governing band people should clearly see through this charade.

Last edited by WestPreussen; Yesterday at 07:10 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 07:07 PM
Status: "Trump Resistance - The (establishment) Empire Strikes Back" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
17,485 posts, read 6,839,321 times
Reputation: 13459
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestPreussen View Post
There is not any hope and never will be. Those people have always excuses for their state of being and it never have anything to do with their own actions. Most people are poor and meanwhile Putin is one of the richest people in the world and Moscow has 68 billionaires. People are happy because they hear that others fear Russia. It does not matter that wages are low, that average people cannot afford lots things that are obvious in the west, and alcoholism is considered normal thing. What matters is that someone somewhere might fear Russia. That is absolutely not excusable how country with so much resources and potential is so poor. Even though they are the most popolous country in Europe, their economy as a whole is even behind Italy, much smaller, not even that rich country by european standarts.
It does not matter what system it is that mentality will always stay. It will definitely not change in our lifetime.
All quite true! You said it better than I did.
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Old Yesterday, 07:41 PM
 
15,573 posts, read 14,099,410 times
Reputation: 7071
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
All quite true! You said it better than I did.

Here, looking at you - the roots of today's "Putinism in Russia."


You are welcome.


P.S. Today's situation with Ukraine is a deja vu all over again.
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Old Yesterday, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Preussen
403 posts, read 112,903 times
Reputation: 307
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
All quite true! You said it better than I did.
Thanks. Nice to hear : )
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Old Yesterday, 08:27 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
7,477 posts, read 4,087,054 times
Reputation: 14153
Literature, music, ballet have been cultural contributions. Talent and people have been exported. It has served as a bad example, sometimes helpful. Borscht.
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Old Yesterday, 08:51 PM
 
15,573 posts, read 14,099,410 times
Reputation: 7071
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Literature, music, ballet have been cultural contributions. Talent and people have been exported. It has served as a bad example, sometimes helpful. Borscht.

But-but-but...
Ballet came to Russia from France.

"Music" (provided we are talking about Chaikovsky and such) as representation of "Romantism" era - yet again came after "Baroque," that was developed ( yet again) in "Western civilization."

So the flow of "contributions" goes from WEST to East, as I stated earlier.
When Russians contribute - they don't contribute to "Western civilization," really.
They contribute to common "European culture," that unites the "East" and the "West."
And this includes "borsht," yes.
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Old Yesterday, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,636 posts, read 55,574,737 times
Reputation: 32608
Be careful not to be entranced by good writing and a decent plot.

Russia wanted to be a premier European country, and under other circumstances might have been. It managed to defeat Germany. Arguably many of the deaths in that campaign were not the best and brightest, leaving a country more nationalistic and willing to fight. Duplicating the atomic bomb and Concorde and space shuttle out of bailing wire and duct tape is no mean feat.

Wars today are won by intellect and deceit. Gee, I wonder who...

It might not seem it, but IMO Russia has more to worry about from the Chinese than the west. Give it time.
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Old Yesterday, 09:11 PM
 
15,573 posts, read 14,099,410 times
Reputation: 7071
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Be careful not to be entranced by good writing and a decent plot.

Russia wanted to be a premier European country, and under other circumstances might have been. It managed to defeat Germany. Arguably many of the deaths in that campaign were not the best and brightest, leaving a country more nationalistic and willing to fight. Duplicating the atomic bomb and Concorde and space shuttle out of bailing wire and duct tape is no mean feat.

Wars today are won by intellect and deceit. Gee, I wonder who...

It might not seem it, but IMO Russia has more to worry about from the Chinese than the west. Give it time.

Not exactly.
Peter the Great wanted it.

Some other Russian political leaders and cultural icons desired it.
But some - did not. Not at all, considering "Europe" to be "decadent" and heading to the "dead end," while Russia has its own unique way of development, that shouldn't be "derailed."
And this philosophical split within the society, this endless argument between "Slavophiles" and "Westerners" goes back deep in history, probably even to pre-Peter's times.
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Old Yesterday, 09:14 PM
Status: "Trump Resistance - The (establishment) Empire Strikes Back" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
17,485 posts, read 6,839,321 times
Reputation: 13459
Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
So the flow of "contributions" goes from WEST to East, as I stated earlier.
When Russians contribute - they don't contribute to "Western civilization," really.
The main east to west contribution was a flow of well-educated, talented emigrants. For example my maternal great-grandparents from modern Poland and Kyiv. Or my friend, who has double my IQ's great-grandfather, in 1914 when a new round of conscription for the Czar's army became inevitable and imminent. Or Igor Stravinsky.

Russia shed its best and brightest. The Communists tried to stanch the flow by illegalizing emigration. The ones who were trapped were sullen and/or imprisoned rather than contributing to society. And quite a few succeeded in defecting. Not all were murdered.
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