As regards Russian politics, I make no secret that I’m a pro-Putin conservative. That said, my views are moderate – while Western media coverage of Russia may be woefully biased and frequently malicious, there are certainly plenty of things to criticize about Russia and Russians.
However, they must be grounded in in statistics, an appreciation of the viewpoints of ordinary Russians, and a judicious comparative perspective (which is NOT equivalent to “moral relativism” or “whataboutism” as many of the more hardcore Russophobe propagandists claim).
I think that the Western MSM fails on all three counts. Their journalists tend to obfuscate facts and concrete numbers with rumors and assumptions; they share their biases with those of the liberal opposition who are their most frequent interlocutors, and reflect an ignorance of the broad ideological diversity across Russian politics and media; and they frequently condemn Russia for things that just as prevalent or even more so in countries considered Western and democratic.
This blog concerns with calling them out on their lies. As the one-time Guardian chief editor C.P. Scott once said, “Comment is free but facts are sacred.” While his newspaper has retreated from this vision in practice, I maintain that it’s the most elegant encapsulation of what real journalism (and punditry, blogging, etc) should all be about.
Current Russian commentators I channel include Maksim Kononenko, Sergey Zhuravlev, Andranik Migranyan. Newspapers: Vzglyad, Izvestia, and Kommersant. In broader terms, I sympathize with historical Russian conservatism as embodied in the lives and works of unfortunately little-known (in the West) figures such as Ivan Ilyin, Stolypin, Pobedonostsev, and the Vekhi authors, with a soft spot for Russian Cosmism and Eurasianism. The English language book on Russian politics that I recommend most highly is The Return by Daniel Treisman; Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives by Stephen Cohen; and Putin by Chris Hutchins and Alexander Korobko.
He who does not love his mother more than other mothers and his country more than other countries, loves neither his mother nor his country. - Paul Déroulède, quoted by Charles de Gaulle.
When will Russia get an idea for which one can live for and create for? Galina Dmitrievna, – for our children, our grandchildren, for our Motherland, Russia, it always was, is, and will be worth living for and creating for. What else is there? However we might try to come up with a national idea, it has to be said directly: There is nothing closer to someone than his family, his close ones, and his own country. - Vladimir Putin, responding to a citizen’s suggestion that Russia needs a national idea.
After communists, most of all I hate anti-communists. - Sergei Dovlatov.
More on my bio at the other site.