December 4th, 2011


Ариелькин рукопожатный цирк

Putin’s external agenda is no less grandiose. He has declared that he intends to push for a Eurasian Union, which would stretch from the Polish border to the Pamir mountains. It would include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, bringing Russian soldiers back to the Afghan border, and Moscow will undoubtedly try to bring Armenia and Ukraine into the bloc. The man who called the collapse of the U.S.S.R. “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” seems intent on correcting that alleged wrong.

Twenty years after the Soviet dissolution, Russian leaders are using intriguing rhetoric. Gryzlov insists on calling the expansion project “bolshaya strana,” or “large country” a calque of “Grossraum” as promoted by Carl Schmitt and other German ideologues in the first part of the last century.

Russian nationalism is growing stronger. In public opinion polls, the slogan “Russia for (ethnic) Russians” is gaining popularity. Stalin, a hero for the Communist Party (still the second largest political force in the country), consistently ranks among the nation’s favorite historical leaders. And nasty nationalists keep gaining followers.

At the same time, senior officials and tycoons vacation, bank and educate their offspring in Europe rather than Eurasia. As the nationalists say, “The Chinese and the Muslims can come and take our territory, but they cannot take our souls — the Westerners can.”

At the United Russia Party congress where he received his nomination, Putin attacked the “Judases” in non-government organizations who dare to take Western money to promote democracy. Immediately, three Duma members wrote an article demanding tax and prosecutorial investigations into Golos, the only independent election-monitoring organization left in Russia. This bodes ill for liberties of the Russians.

Some U.S. democracy activists and government officials claim that the advent of new information technology and social networks can bring democracy to places like Russia, Central Asia or the Middle East. They talk in terms of the “TV Party” — people who watch state-controlled TV — and the Internet Party — those who are more critical and worldly.

But technology is value-neutral, and content is king. In Eurasia, cyberspace reflects the society — just as it does in the Middle East, where Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood get more hits and page views than liberals. All manner of Kremlin “trolls” and Slavic ultra-nationalists are tremendously effective at using cyberspace for propaganda and worse. In Russia, cyberspace also reflects growing ethnic and religious tensions and the rise of anti-Americanism.

Twenty years after the Soviet collapse, challenges to democracy, free markets and the rule of law still abound. The ghosts haunting post-Soviet space make it more difficult for the U.S. and the West to deal with those who rule the largest country on earth and the neighborhood it controls.

Глаза боятся, а ручонки гадят. Или это не ручонки, а какой-то другой, чисто советологический орган?
Гнать таких надо. Даже из советологов.

Без зависти о "Зависти"

Тут Ксения Собчак и Александр Лебедев, помимо прочего, нахваливают "Зависть" Юрия Олеши.

А по-моему, гениальность этой повести - чистая басня. Ещё в большей мере, чем гениальность "Доктора Живаго", коего, по крайности, читать хоть и трудно, зато не противно. Вымученное сочинение злого и опустошённого человека, прикинувшегося правильным (по меркам изуродованного общества), о том, как дурно быть злым, опустошённым и неправильным. Метафоры - да. Но эти внешние эффекты - прибыльное балаганное уродство, которым торговало всё поколение злых и бесчестных талантов, метивших в гении. Пожалуй, "Зависть" - ещё в большей мере пузырь (надутый злыми и неправильными в отместку правильным уродам), чем творчество Бабеля. Гадкий, но талантливый Бабель куда мельче, нежели его слава. "Зависть" просто гадка. Зато у Юрия Олеши есть "Три толстяка" и прекрасные куски в ворохе посредственного и графоманского, составляющего "Последнюю книгу".