[ by Charles Cameron — Kasparov’s summation, Russia, chess ]
Kasparov‘s comment is succinct, insightful, elegant — and a perfect fit with McIntyre‘s theoretical formulation.
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August 31st, 2012 at 3:32 am
There is an Angletonian hall of mirrors aspect to the Russian opposition, one of whose prominent members had $2 mil in cash in her home safe (Xenia Sobchak whose father Anatoly was Putin’s boss in the early 1990s St. Petersburg said she didn’t trust banks) when Russian police raided her apartment. The raid however was after a ‘demonstration’ Western media didn’t report last May led to more cops being injured by bottles and Molotov cocktail burns than protesters. Imagine the police response had some Occupy kids over here used those type of weapons, they would’ve been mowed down along with many bystanders ala the NYPD not being able to shoot well in a recent Manhattan attack.
$2 mil even in today’s Moscow buys a lot of thugs to provocateur at protests. Who’s to say it was Sobchak’s cash or it wasn’t? Xenia is a smart girl who’s played all sides but even she is in over her head. The nationalist/skinhead element has been gaining clout in the oppo and Demintern-grant trained Alexey Navalny has not been above appealing to that sort, for instance by denouncing the NATO refueling hub at Ulyanovsk (which McCain and the Romney people will never mention) and saying the Kremlin must stop subsizing the Caucases, which could be viewed as a recipe for Promethean (Zen can look that up, Paul Goble: Promethean Propagandist) promotion of separatism in Russia’s Muslim-majority far south. AKA the American Committee for Peace in the Caucases crowd which would be mirror imaged if there were a Shanghai Cooperation Organization NGO in Moscow for a ‘Free Texas’ or ‘Free Alaska’. One could imagine what Clifford Kincaid or the other increasingly pro-Big Sis/anti-alt media Rightists ‘kept’ on retainer in D.C. would make of that if the shoe were on the other foot! All I know is cash is being handed out to troll activists on the Libertarian, anti-DHS/TSA Right and smear Ron Paul and his supporters at every turn.
Back to Russia….I’ve noticed some folks who used to know one gal in Moscow who once prominently displayed Anya Chapman on her VKontakte page photos. Then suddenly pre-parliamentary election 2011 those were scrubbed and replaced with photos hanging out with Ilya Pomomarov (who’s one of the Skolkovo aka Russia’s Silicon Valley/Wadi tusovka guys and happens to caucus with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation). And of course…Alexey Navalny.
I don’t deny that Russia seems to have publically ramped up its surveillance capabilities nor that there may be a cozy relationship between the Russian social media and the State. I believe much of that is mirror imaging of what is being done in our faces here in the West, now that Gov-oogle is more or less admitted as a In-Q-Tel product and the Solar Wind/’turnkey police state’ that whistleblower William Binney described is here. I find it hilarious that Wired is trying to get us excited about Kaspersky while Google has been getting away with petty slaps on the wrist fines for massive illegal data collection for years. Many of the same types I used to clash with in comments threads (don’t waste much time on that anymore), including U of H Professor Craig Pirrong, have become curiously quiet about foreign policy lately after squawking that the U.S. needed to go into Syria to crush a Russian and Iranian ally. Gee I wonder why, couldn’t have anything to do with the black shahida flags proudly flying in the FSA ranks and their admitted murders of Shi’a, Allawite and Christian civilians!
There appear to be entire blogs (@BrownMoses) and Twitter feeds devoted to ‘debunking’ the slightest news that makes FSA look like a collection dominated by Wahhabi-funded jihadi thugs. They even pretend the black shahida flag Zarqawi and co. used to use in their snuff beheading films in Iraq is just an inocuous activist symbol throughout the Middle East, that ‘Allaha Akbar’ shouts just mean ‘cool’ and gunmen running around with priestly vestments posing with AK-47s in front of bombed out churches were merely borrowing the vestments not stealing them from Christians they were persecuting.
This Cointelproing is just pathetic, but they’ve infiltrated both the Left and Right and will be the EXACT type of people that if Islamophobic Tea Partyers are accused of allying with Al-Qaeda will spread the Goebbels-sized LIE hook, line and sinker. In fact, it is Russian media that are openly reporting that technologies exist to create automatic, instant response. In other words, all these little two legged drones tweeting and blogging right now against the top enemies (aka Ron Paul, libertarian bitter clinger types) will be replaced by John Robb’s info equivalents of the switchblade drones. They won’t need human propagandists for long, they’ll fire them all and move on to fully automated propaganda. I think I’ve already seen the beta tests whereby anyone suggesting Fast and Furious was a false flag by the Obama Administration gets trolled by an immediate ‘LOL, bet you also wear a tin foil hat’ etc etc etc which are probably bots not even humans.
August 31st, 2012 at 3:33 am
In other words, Zen, John Robb et al will soon have to enhance their Von Neumann testing software to make sure they are not being swarmed with Banker/Fed/BigSis worshipping bots, not mere paid hacks.
August 31st, 2012 at 3:43 am
I’ve also had my issues with the Leninist bent of those who support Russia’s opposition from abroad whereby the worse things allegedly get the better for the revolution that they imagine will topple Putin. They can’t imagine Putin might be vastly preferable to many alternatives slouching waiting to be born. He might even be softer on the West than his most likely successor Dmitry Olegevich Rogozin. The Bolshevik attitude extended to the Pussy Riot case, though of course some Tweeters in Moscow are claiming the chopped down crosses and FEMEN actions are ‘false flags’. It’s funny how false flag theories are a-ok when they involve apartment blocs in 1999 but not in the U.S.
What I’m trying to say in a long rambling comment is that the ‘Problem, Reaction, Solution’ paradigm concerns me in both the U.S. and Russia. But especially the U.S. this autumn with all the rumblings websites like the Ulsterman Report have been picking up regarding an ‘October surprise’.
August 31st, 2012 at 4:53 am
The Europeans would like an independent greater transcaucasia through which to route gas pipes from Central Asia without having to run through Russia proper. Oil concessions would also be sought, taking us back to Baku in 1913. However I don’t see Daghestan and the micronationalities immediately to the North as a basis for any kind of a state – a state was imposed on them only after the Tsarist crushing of Imam Shamyl’s revolt and the soviet experience was all to the worse. My guess is the area if independent would slowly slide into semi-anarchy because no effective local governance would step up and attempts to to do so would be resisted.
Could I be wrong, sure. I have not followed recent scholarship like I did 20 years ago but I am skeptical that small to tiny ethnic enclaves in Russia ( Long live Mordvinia! Free the Karachays!) have any economic or political viability to sustain independence. Ukranians, Kazakhs and Balts were a different story
August 31st, 2012 at 4:32 pm
Thanks for the reply Zen. I’ll be curious about you and Charles’ take on Assange’s claims about ‘totalitarian transnationalism’. Is this just a more polite, European lefty’s way of saying ‘the New World Order’ or John Fonte’s ‘Transnational Progressivism’ or Samantha Power’s RTP?
August 31st, 2012 at 10:24 pm
One more link:
The Putinization of American ‘monograds’ or the Romney-ization of Russian politics in 2011? You decide. And for those who say the two situations are not remotely comparable, I would agree with the link’s author that Russia has many more ‘company towns’ than the U.S. though there are many precincts if not entire cities where the only company in town is government of Government Motors (see Detroit) where Obama won with 99-100% tallies not unlike those enjoyed by Putin the Caucases in the recent presidential election.
The larger story is that whereas in the past some of the criticisms of democracy being destroyed in Russia were flagrantly bogus and being peddled by corrupt oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky who ruled the country in the Nineties, now some of the critiques in fact do have some validity — yet they’re being made at a time when Russia is simply copying authoritarian steps being made in the West.
In the past few years I had thought that Russia as experiencing unprecedented freedoms and prosperity, and it still is for the most part, while the West was losing both. Now I think the authoritarian twist of the West and its cornicopia of surveillance technologies/drones combined with an EU financial/economic implosion is going to drag Russia backward. Ironic, no?
August 31st, 2012 at 11:58 pm
ECHR Articles 9 & 17 – Right to worship and prohibition on abuse of rights
A complaint to the European Court of Human Rights based on Article 10 anyway faces the further difficulty that it ultimately criticises Russia for not privileging Pussy Riot’s right to protest over the right of Russian Orthodox Christians to perform worship undisturbed in their own church.
Western commentary has ignored this point though it has been touched on by N.N. Petro one of the commentators to my previous post. The right to perform worship is a human right just as the right to free expression is a human right. Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights sets it out:
“Worship” is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “reverence or veneration paid to a being or power regarded as supernatural or divine; the action or practice of displaying this by appropriate acts, rites or ceremonies”.
Russian Orthodox Christians have a right to worship in their own church in accordance with their “acts, rites or ceremonies” and to do so in peace without interference or disruption and without having their “acts, rites or ceremonies” parodied obscenely in their presence in their church whilst they worship. Like all other articles of the European Convention on Human Rights Article 9 does not create a cause of action against private individuals. However as a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, Russia is bound by it and is therefore under a legal duty to protect the right of religious believers to worship in their own places of worship in peace.
Even the defendants themselves now admit the “punk prayer” was an unlawful act. If Russia were to permit unlawful acts like the “punk prayer” which interfere with and disrupt worship Russia would find itself in breach of its responsibility to protect worship under Article 9. The point was well made by an organisation known as The World Russian People’s Council:
September 1st, 2012 at 12:08 am
It looks as though I shall be reviewing Patriarch Kirill of Moscow‘s Freedom and Responsibility on the Books and Culture: A Christian Review website — B&C is Christianity Today‘s book review and cultural magazine — and expect to repost my review here once it has been posted there.
In doing so, I expect to bear the tension between liturgy and liberty very much in mind.
September 1st, 2012 at 3:58 am
Thanks Charles, including for the formatting. Although I consider the claims that the Patriarch was a KGB ‘operative’ to be completely unsubstantiated, I do think the young and energetic Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev has become the most articulate spokesperson for Orthodox Christianity in the West — when he was at the First Presbyterian Church in Dallas (invited by H. Ross Perot Jr.’s father in law oilman Jerome Fullenwider) he drew several thousand people to a concert and speech. I listen to his St. Matthew Passion Chorale quite frequently.
Nonetheless there have been many witnesses to Holy Orthodoxy to the World, from Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory (whose work on UFOs is widely cited by Evangelicals and Roman Catholics on that subject) to Kallistos Ware in the UK.
At such times as these I try to recall St. Seraphim of Sarov’s admonition to cultivate the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved. How often I have fallen short of that maxim.
September 1st, 2012 at 5:48 am
You are most welcome.
I am downloading the Metropolitan’s Matthew Passion — Bach’s Passion being a work that I love dearly — as we speak, and will listen to it carefully.
Before I “went up” to Oxford, I worked for a brief while in the Library of Pusey House, and came to know AM (Donald) Allchin who had rooms there at the time. I wouldn’t say he was a major influence on me, but he was certainly one of the priests whose thought I respected and whose company I enjoyed from time to time. It was almost certainly through him that I came to know of Kallistos Ware, and read his book The Orthodox Church in Penguin — this would have been in the early 1960s — and was at least somewhat aware of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, and of the journal Sobornost.
Not that I would presently consider myself a Christian — and certainly not orthodox in either sense of the word — but I have always had an appreciation for the apophatic strand in Orthodoxy, and the Fathers Gregory of Nyssa and Nazianzus.
I am constantly amazed at how the varied strands of my life, some of them forgotten for longish stretches, are nonetheless woven throughout it as though in a tapestry or fugue…
I appreciate your quotation from St. Seraphim of Sarov.
September 1st, 2012 at 6:02 am
I have not read Assange’s views on this subject. Of R2P, I have read too much and see as a danger to democracy at home as well as a fountainhead of truly bad and ill-considered policy. See below:
R2P is the New COIN
R2P is the New COIN: Slaughter’s Premises
R2P is the New COIN: Slaughter on Authority and International Law
More on R2P, Second Thoughts by Slaughter? Plus, Drezner on Networks
Kesler on R2P Hypocrisy
The Anti-Strategy Board Cometh
Putin and Syria: Siloviki Realism in Geopolitical Strategy
September 3rd, 2012 at 1:58 am
“Before I “went up” to Oxford, I worked for a brief while in the Library of Pusey House, and came to know AM (Donald) Allchin who had rooms there at the time. I wouldn’t say he was a major influence on me, but he was certainly one of the priests whose thought I respected and whose company I enjoyed from time to time. It was almost certainly through him that I came to know of Kallistos Ware, and read his book The Orthodox Church in Penguin — this would have been in the early 1960s — and was at least somewhat aware of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, and of the journal Sobornost.”
Forgive me Charles perhaps I didn’t read your bio didn’t know you’d been around the block that long.