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Window On Eurasia: Soviet-Style ‘Permitted Humor’ Returns To Russia, Moscow Writer Says

posted by eagle on January, 2011 as Imperialism


Window on Eurasia: Soviet-Style ‘Permitted Humor’ Returns to Russia, Moscow Writer Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, January 15 – Just like their Soviet predecessors, today’s Russian rulers recognize they need "the imitation of a critical attitude toward reality” of the kind humor can often provide, but also just like their predecessors, they have set clear rules for what humor is "permitted” and what is not, at least in the mass media, according to a Moscow commentator.
In an article in "Novaya gazeta” this week, Andrey Arkhangelsky describes how this system came into being, how it operates now in comparison with the Soviet past, and, what is particularly intriguing, the set of rules about what the powers that be will permit and what they won’t in today’s Russia (
"In Russia,” Arkhangelsky argues, "it has always been necessary to get permission for a joke, and this phenomenon has distorted the genetics of our ...

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Window On Eurasia: Russia’s Federal Districts Aren’t Working In Current Form, Daghestani Says

posted by eagle on as Imperialism


Window on Eurasia: Russia’s Federal Districts Aren’t Working in Current Form, Daghestani Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, January 17 – Russia’s system of federal districts, which stand between Moscow and the subjects of the federation, needs to be fundamentally revised if it is to be effective and more than home for politicians who have failed elsewhere or the locus for the further growth of the bureaucracy, according to a Daghestani commentator.
In an article on the first anniversary of the creation of the North Caucasus Federal District, Albert Esedov says that many Daghestanis had great expectations for the new entity all the more so because President Dmitry Medvedev unlike his predecessor Vladimir Putin stressed the economic role of this institution ( 
And in the past year, there have been "several positive moves forward” – of "at the very least, a number of investment programs and plans have been adopted.” But there have ...

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Window On Eurasia: Medvedev’s Words Point Either toward A Russian Federation With Russian Autonomies Or Toward A Russian National State, Analyst Says

posted by eagle on as Imperialism


Window on Eurasia: Medvedev’s Words Point Either toward a Russian Federation with Russian Autonomies or toward a Russian National State, Analyst Says

Paul Goble

Vienna, January 19 – President Dmitry Medvedev’s words about Russians this week recognize the difference between the ethnic and non-ethnic definition of Russians and point toward either the formation of ethnic Russian autonomies within the Russian Federation or the transformation of that country into a Russian national state, according to a Moscow analyst.
But whatever Medvedev’s intentions, Sergey Kornyev argues, his words highlight "a well-known algorithm of contemporary feudal statehood: the rights of each social group are recognized to the degree it manifests force and brutality,” a reference to the Manezh violence but also an indication of what may happen next (
And consequently, Kornyev’s logic suggests, Medvedev and the Russian state will be forced in one or another direction depending on whether there are more radical ...

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Window On Eurasia: Russia Moving toward A ‘Proto-Fascist Regime,’ Moscow Scholar Warns

posted by eagle on as Imperialism


Window on Eurasia: Russia Moving toward a ‘Proto-Fascist Regime,’ Moscow Scholar Warns

Paul Goble

Vienna, January 20 – The Moscow Patriarchate’s advocacy of a dress code for all Russians is at one level simply an absurdity, but at another it is evidence of "a very strong tendency” in Russia "toward the establishment of a proto-fascist regime masked under the name of sovereign democracy,” according to a senior Moscow scholar.
Indeed, Sergey Arutyunov, a specialist on the North Caucasus, argues, Russia is moving toward a system "in essence no less totalitarian than Mussolini’s regime in Italy or with certain qualifications (let us say, without anti-Semitism or perhaps even with a revived anti-Semitism) Hitler’s regime in Germany (
That trend is "natural,” he argues, because "the situation in [Russia] recalls that in the Weimar Republic on the eve of the fascists’ coming to power. The very same factors, the very same attitudes in ...

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Window On Eurasia: Moscow Has Fewer Levers In Post-Soviet Space Than Many Assume, Analyst Says

posted by eagle on as Imperialism


Window on Eurasia: Moscow Has Fewer Levers in Post-Soviet Space than Many Assume, Analyst Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, January 21 – While Russia’s influence as a country on Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova is very large, Moscow as a government has far fewer levers to influence the situation in these countries than many assume, an imbalance that helps to explain the often internally inconsisten pattern of relations between the former imperial center and these new states.
In an analysis of the relations between Moscow and what he calls "Easternmost Europe,” Valery Bondarenko argues that "Russia and the Kremlin are hardly one and the same thing.” Instead, he suggests, Russia write large has great influence, but Moscow lacks many of the levers on the regimes there that others have (
Easternmost Europe, Bondarenko argues, is characterized by a number of special features. Its main distinguishing factor is the "very high degree of dependence” ...

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