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Thread: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

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    CarbEast's Avatar Senator
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    Default Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Would the world be a better place without Vladimir Putin? Perhaps. I personally think that if Russia were to have totally open and competitive elections tomorrow, the resulting government would not be an bunch of obsequious Western-looking ass kissers (like the gang who led the late and unlamented “Orange Revolution”), but a substantially less open and liberal, and substantially more anti-Western, bunch of nationalists, a group that would make the current gang in the Kremlin appear positively enlightened by comparison. However this (who would replace Putin if elections were held tomorrow??) is a pointless and stupid discussion to have because, as anyone with a passing engagement with reality can see, Putin and the current power structure aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    It took some serious effort for me to repress my sense of revulsion upon reading the latest claptrap from Time magazine which, distilled down to its most basic formulation, is: “Sure we’ve been predicting the immanent downfall of Vladimir Putin for the past decade…but this time we’re right! Boris Nemtsov told us so!”

    Even on its own terms, the article is an absurd farce. Indeed after finishing it I found myself wondering if it was actually some sort of black PR meant to show Westerners what a ridiculous bunch of fools Russia’s liberal “opposition” really is and how, since it is opposed by such a feeble-minded batch of second-rate egotists and charlatans, the Kremlin’s hold on power is completely and entirely secure. Below (and apologies for the size of the quote, I thought it was worth presenting in full) is what seems to be the article’s main point:

    The pivotal point came on Jan. 30, when an opposition rally in the western city of Kaliningrad attracted 10,000 people, an incredibly high turnout for Russia’s docile political culture, and likely the biggest protest for at least five years…For the opposition, this presents a great opportunity. Opposition leaders flew down from Moscow to have their turn at the podium during the late January protest. Alongside local activists, they called not only for lower taxes, more jobs and a new governor, but for an end to Putin’s reign. Nemtsov was the most prominent figure to speak. A popular governor of Nizhny Novgorod in the 1990s and a deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin, he took the stage in a bomber jacket and jeans. “Moscow is sucking the money from the regions as if they were its colonies,” he said. “Until we oust this corrupt police state, we will never achieve a thing.” There was a swell of applause, and he finished his speech with a famous quote from Alexander Pushkin, the nation’s greatest poet. “Russia will waken from its slumber,” he shouted. “And on the ruins of despotism, our names shall be inscribed!” The crowd went wild. The government became the enemy.

    A few weeks later at his office in a Stalin-era high-rise in Moscow, Nemtsov is still beaming. A new strategy had come out of Kaliningrad, he says, and he seems restless to enact it. “We have to monitor the overall environment very carefully. We have to spot where protests are flaring up, and we have to act on that,” he tells TIME. “At first it will be a mosaic. It will be fragmented…But eventually the whole country will catch on.”

    The ultimate goal, Nemtsov says, is to organize a rally ten times the size of Kaliningrad in the center of the capital. And then what? “Well, after that we’ll have elections, and then we’ll see who wins and who loses. But the point is we have to get rid of Putin. He is dangerous,” Nemtsov says. “I think this year is going to be the year of anti-Putin protests.”


    Completely eliding the fact that Boris Nemtsov is one of the least accurate political prognosticators in the entire planet, he would give Bill Kristol a real run for his money in a “Who can be wrong the most often?” contest and his prediction that “this year is going to be the year of anti-Putin protests” should cause nothing but calm in the halls of the Kremlin, in what fantastical dreamworld would a march of 100,000 people in the center of Moscow magically force the government to hold elections? And in what alternate reality would these elections, if for whatever reason the Kremlin actually agreed to hold them, magically become open and fair and free of all of the blatant fraud and ballot rigging that have characterized Russian elections for at least the past decade? Through what mechanisms, institutional or otherwise, does Nemtsov think that such a democratic revolution would play out? Would the protesters in Moscow emanate some magical “freedom aura” that would make the entire authoritarian, unwieldy, and corrupt state apparatus function in perfect unison as force for democracy? Or would they wish really hard that the ranks of the bureaucracy, who are largely beholden to Putin and who support him almost without reservation, would sit on their hands for several months while their fate was being decided? What about the police forces, what would happen to them, would they simply wilt in the face of a the shining moral example set by a few thousand teenagers and a bunch of glastnost’ retreads?

    As we have seen in Tehran over the past six months, as long as the government remains willing to use force, large crowds of young people gathered in the street do absolutely nothing to force political change. Guns beat slogans, every time. What protest marches are very good at is creating political theater, good TV footage and an endless succession of Pulitzer-nominated photographs, and getting a lot of young people bludgeoned into bloody pulps. They are exceedingly bad at changing the nature of an authoritarian regime. It would be a much more pleasant world if “people power” and morality could always overcome violence. Alas, we do not live in such a world, and anyone who thinks that Putin and his regime would peacefully and quietly melt away after some paltry number of protesters (100,000 people in Moscow, a city of some 10.5 million people is not exactly an impressive figure) stood around in Triumfalnaya Ploshad is a raving lunatic. At the moment, Putin has a base of support in society that absolutely dwarfs the tiny and ill-organized ranks of liberals. Perhaps this will change in the near future, more likely it will not. But what is absolutely obvious to any objective observer is that a few small and scattered protests overwhelmingly centered on local economic issues are not going to overturn the Russian state.

    The Time article is an especially silly exercise in day dreaming. Most of the time such wishful thinking is harmless and even enjoyable, but when the subject is a state with which we have to deal constructively in order to manage profoundly difficult international issues (Iran, nuclear proliferation, etc.) it is profoundly irresponsible and dangerous. Even now I can hear the calls emanating from the Weekly Standard’s editorial offices of “Don’t deal with Putin, his people will overthrow him! Any cooperation we offer will merely strengthen the hand of a collapsing regime!’ In fact, this will probably be the headline of Gary Kasparov’s next op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Regardless of who makes such an argument, it is nonsense. Regardless of what you think of them, Putin and his regime aren’t going anywhere for a very long time. Is this good or bad? It doesn’t matter, it just is. Maybe some day we can all stop acting like children and deal with Russia, and the world, as it is, and not sit around with our heads in the clouds fondly dreaming of a Russia where the only thing preventing a takeover by Western-oriented liberals is moral turpitude of the Kremlin.


    In short, there are two ways 'West' can deal with Russia: talk to Putin or don't talk to Putin. If you choose the later you can (if you lucky) try to tackle the current regime. But unless you can manage to install some sort of pro-West dictatorship instead, what you'll get is the ultra-nationalistic nutjob as a president, this time for real.

    So now, make your choice: Putin or Hitler(ov).

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    YuriVII's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Nemtsov and Kasparov are walking jokes. Aritlce hit it right on the head.

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    Il-Principe's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    No, Kasparov is an amazing genius.

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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isnít going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Kasparov is half Armenian, half Jewish. But that's beside the point. Russian political climate is/will operate similar to how it operated during USSR. Thus a very concentrated power in the executive and a large secret police which does the dirty work (KGB). Putin is going to be around for a while, Russians in general like how's he handled the country (e.g. he pretty much solved the Chechen problem, has stood tough (Georgian invasion of S. Ossetia), has in general a strong presence).
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isnít going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by CarbEast View Post
    So now, make your choice: Putin or Hitler(ov).
    Wow your country sucks then if the choice is between Putin and a genocidal maniac type...sheesh. There is always option C wait and watch as Russians drink themselves to death thanks to low population growth and then divide up Russian terrority between china and europe...

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    Il-Principe's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Mov View Post
    Kasparov is half Armenian, half Jewish.
    Just to complete the genealogy: He was born in Azerbaijan and played under the flag of the Soviet Union. His nationality is Russian.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isnít going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by Il-Principe View Post
    Just to complete the genealogy: He was born in Azerbaijan and played under the flag of the Soviet Union. His nationality is Russian.
    His mother was Armenian, and Kasparov actually comes from the Armenian last name Kasparian. He added to -ov in order to fit in, I guess. Nationality wise, yes he's Russian.
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    Il-Principe's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Mov View Post
    His mother was Armenian, and Kasparov actually comes from the Armenian last name Kasparian. He added to -ov in order to fit in, I guess. Nationality wise, yes he's Russian.
    the -ov was probably added to make the name sound more Russian. That he didn't choose his father's name shows, how unpopular Jews were in the SU. He's the greatest chess player of all times. Well, the americans will probably claim that this title goes to Fischer.

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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isnít going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by Il-Principe View Post
    the -ov was probably added to make the name sound more Russian. That he didn't choose his father's name shows, how unpopular Jews were in the SU. He's the greatest chess player of all times. Well, the americans will probably claim that this title goes to Fischer.
    I think he was a truly representing the Caucuses because Azeris, Armenians, and I believe Georgians as well often rooted for him.
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    CarbEast's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by danzig View Post
    Wow your country sucks then if the choice is between Putin and a genocidal maniac type...sheesh.
    In fact there's no choice, but knowing the potential alternative you learn to appreciate this fact. And it's not like it affects a simple person's life in any way. Even if you go into politics you'll be just pushed aside very gently and that's all.

    Quote Originally Posted by danzig View Post
    There is always option C wait and watch as Russians drink themselves to death thanks to low population growth and then divide up Russian terrority between china and europe...
    There's a thing about Russia - it always looks like it just about to crumble. Still if you wait a couple of hundred years you'll find it... still just about to crumble. And so after another hundred years, and another...

    Quote Originally Posted by YuriVII View Post
    Nemtsov and Kasparov are walking jokes. Aritlce hit it right on the head.
    The most successful comedian pair in Russian history (which is only a half-joke; I'd expect the "analysis" they provide to be a roaring commercial success, since everyone wants one in his newspaper; plus all those "freedom" funds...)
    Last edited by CarbEast; March 11, 2010 at 07:52 AM.

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    cegorach's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isnít going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    No suprise here.
    Kremlin's 'power vertical' annihilated opposition grabbing the entire political scene and the entire state to itself so almost nothing was left as a reasonable alternative.

    Perhaps some faction in Kremlin will become strong enough to at least partially change something. Maybe some sort of Romanian scenario, but without blood is possible.
    Grassroot movements in several parts of the Russian federation are promising, but too weak to challenge the authorities.

    People were promised reasonably competent and stable government which appealed to many after 1990s.
    Now they are stuck with people who treat the society as little more than a source of income. At best.
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    Pavlik the Rus's Avatar Civitate
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Kremlin's 'power vertical' annihilated opposition
    Noone can be compared in oposition destruction with oposition itself.

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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    It is the fault of opposition itself, that people would rather support oligarchs than them. People like Kaspraov discredit anybody who opposes Putin. Many members of real opposition (communists, nationalists, libertarians) often refuse to participate in any demonstrations or other organizations if they involve Kaspraov or other nutjobs on Berezovsky's paycheck.
    By means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms -- elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest -- will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial [...]. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
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    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

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    CarbEast's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by CarbEast View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by danzig
    There is always option C wait and watch as Russians drink themselves to death thanks to low population growth and then divide up Russian terrority between china and europe...
    There's a thing about Russia - it always looks like it just about to crumble. Still if you wait a couple of hundred years you'll find it... still just about to crumble. And so after another hundred years, and another...
    A bit of follow-up:

    Russia on the rebound

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Russia on the rebound

    A decade ago, Russia was considered to be in near terminal decline. In 1999, It had recently defaulted on its debt and GDP was only $196 billion, less than in Sweden or New York City. Meanwhile, the population was in steep decline with only 1.27 million births (1.25 million if you exclude infants that died before their first birthday) in 2000 a nation of 147 million, while the number of deaths was 2.23 million, meaning that the population declined by almost a million per year.

    Apart from the permanent seat in the U.N Security Council and the large nuclear weapons arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union, there seemed to be no basis for considering Russia to be a great power, much less a super power like the Soviet Union.

    The general feeling in Russia at the time was one of great humiliation as the former super power had seemingly been transformed into a dying and impoverished "has been" nation.

    Since then, a lot of things have changed. The Russian government has run surpluses and paid back its foreign debts and despite a set back in 2009 due to the global crisis, growth has been generally very high during the 2000s, and GDP rose to 39 trillion rubles, or roughly $1.3 trillion at current exchange rates. That is still smaller than for example Spain or California, but it is a lot more than Sweden or New York City.

    The main cause of the rebound in the Russian economy has been the strong increase in commodity prices, especially oil. By contrast, in the late 1990s commodity prices were unusually low, something that contributed to the crisis at that time. Another key reason for the boom is the low flat tax instituted in 2001.

    Meanwhile, in part as a result of the improved economic conditions and in part because of efforts by the government to encourage births, the number of births has soared, from 1.27 million to 1.72 million in 2008, even as the overall population fell from 147 million to 142 million, meaning that the crude birth rate rose from 8.6 per 1000 inhabitants to 12.1. The number of deaths has by contrast declined from 2.23 million to 2.08 million, with infant deaths falling particularly much, from 19,300 to 14,500.

    During the first 9 months of 2009, births increased an additional 3.7% while deaths dropped an additional 4.2%.

    Because of the steady increase in births and decrease in the number of deaths, the drop in Russia's population might soon start to stop its contraction and start to increase, especially if you consider net immigration (while Russia has net emigration to Western countries, it has a larger net immigration from other parts of the former Soviet Union).

    On the other hand, the increase in births and decrease in deaths will particularly in the short term increase Russia's dependency ratio. But with the number of people in the age of 15-64 being 71.6% of the total, compared to 63.9% in Japan, this problem will be manageable. Furthermore, with the number of children in the age group 0-14 being bigger than in Japan (14.7% versus 13.4%), while the number of people in the age group 50-64 is much smaller (17.8% versus 20.6%), the coming drop in the working age population will be much smaller than in Japan.

    Russia still faces significant certain or potential problems, in the form of a corrupt justice system, limitations in free speech and potential renewal of separatist insurgencies in Chechnya and elsewhere and the dependence on the commodity sector makes the economy vulnerable for another drop in commodity prices. But clearly, the future looks a lot brighter for Russia than it did a decade ago.

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  15. #15

    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Kasparov is a genious, but he can't beat Putin...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    Kasparov is a genious, but he can't beat Putin...
    He may be good at chess, but he is definitely a terrible politician with terrible ideas.
    By means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms -- elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest -- will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial [...]. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
    -
    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

  17. #17

    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isnít going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    when your choice is between Putin and/or /random discredited opponent/ then it shows only one thing: society is very weak.

    CarbEast proves very elegantly how attitude has changed in Russia: from sincere personal cult Putin has become for average Russian simply lesser evil: it is either Putin or chaos.

    Situation must be desperate.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by corpse helvetica View Post
    when your choice is between Putin and/or /random discredited opponent/ then it shows only one thing: society is very weak.

    CarbEast proves very elegantly how attitude has changed in Russia: from sincere personal cult Putin has become for average Russian simply lesser evil: it is either Putin or chaos.

    Situation must be desperate.
    Its not even like that. Most people just don't care. Most people just don't believe politicians anymore.
    What Russia needs is real opposition, which serves interests of Russian people, not oligarchs (like Putin) or West (like Kasparov).
    By means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms -- elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest -- will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial [...]. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
    -
    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

  19. #19
    CarbEast's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by corpse helvetica View Post
    when your choice is between Putin and/or /random discredited opponent/ then it shows only one thing: society is very weak.

    CarbEast proves very elegantly how attitude has changed in Russia: from sincere personal cult Putin has become for average Russian simply lesser evil: it is either Putin or chaos.

    Situation must be desperate.
    It always amuses me greatly how some people from Eastern Europe feel need to imagine Russia "desperate" in order to make their own problems and failures look less acute.

    And the bigger are problems the bigger is the need...

    Edit: by the way, while there are people who really want to hear that Russia is about to collapse, there are also the people like Kasparov who are kind enough to provide a service of saying it. Law of demand and supply in action, even when the product supplied is nothing but illusion. Interesting...
    Last edited by CarbEast; March 12, 2010 at 11:36 AM.

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  20. #20

    Default Re: Vladimir Putin isnít going anywhere, or: Boris Nemtsov is a hack and a moron (in case you didn't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by CarbEast View Post
    It always amuses me greatly how some people from Eastern Europe feel need to imagine Russia "desperate" in order to make their own problems and failures look less acute.

    And the bigger are problems the bigger is the need...

    Edit: by the way, while there are people who really want to hear that Russia is about to collapse, there are also the people like Kasparov who are kind enough to provide a service of saying it. Law of demand and supply in action, even when the product supplied is nothing but illusion. Interesting...
    Why you so desperately try to justify "putinism?" ( choose putin because of others are worse?)

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