Here is the list of US citizens publicly barred from Russia in response to the US Magnitsky List. Are you familiar with any of them?
Individuals alleged to be involved in the use and legalization of torture and indefinite confinement of prisoners – the “Guantanamo list”:
1. David Spears Addington – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney (2005-2009);
2. John Choon Yoo – Legal adviser at the U.S. Department of Justice (2001-2003);
3. Geoffrey D. Miller – Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which administers the U.S. military detention centers at the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base on Cuba (2002-2003)
4. Jeffrey Harbeson – Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo (2010-2012)
Individuals alleged to be involved in abuse of Russian citizens’ human rights abroad:
5. Jed Saul Rakoff – U.S. District Judge for Southern District of New York;
6. Preetinder S. Bharara – U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
7. Michael J. Garcia – Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
8. Brendan R. McGuire – Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
9. Anjan S. Sahni – Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
10. Christian R. Everdell – Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
11. Jenna Minicucci Dabbs – Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
12. Christopher L. Lavigne – Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
13. Michael Max Rosensaft – Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York;
14. Louis J. Milione – Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration;
15. Sam Gaye – Senior special Agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration;
16. Robert F. Zachariasiewicz – Special Agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration;
17. Derek S. Odney – Special Agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration;
18. Gregory A. Coleman – Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
I’m familiar with two of them.
John Yoo, of course – the guy who provided much of the “legal” basis for both Guantanamo and the Iraq War. I don’t view him as a war criminal or anything like some of the liberal leftists do. Nonetheless, if Russia is providing a “symmetrical” response to the Magnitsky List, it couldn’t bar a more appropriate person. Yoo himself seems to be taking it in good stride.
The other guy I’m familiar with (too familiar with) is Preet Bharara who was just now the subject of a gushing hagiography from Mark Galeotti. In reality he is a thug who thinks who thinks that going after online poker players’ money is a good use of US investigative resources. Oh, I know full well that he was really blacklisted for his actions against Viktor Bout – a legitimate arms trader who the US only took a disliking to after he started selling weapons to the wrong people. But while I may not care much about Bout, I do care about my money, especially that which was frozen after Black Friday, and the hit to my expected earnings once the biggest online poker vendors pulled out of the US in its aftermath. (How else do you think I blog and write books without a regular day job?). So for this reason I am extremely happy to see Bharara on that list in the knowledge that maybe, just maybe it will cause him some spot of inconvenience one day.
Russia Voices is good because it powerfully hints at what the project is all about: Giving the Anglo-sphere some sense of what Russians from all sides of the political spectrum are saying. But downside is it’s similar to Voice of Russia (a radio station), and besides, the more “intuitive” RussianVoices.com has already been taken.
RossPress is succinct and powerful; my innumerable thanks to the glorious Craig J. Willy for suggesting it. Only downside is that many Westerners don’t know that Russia, in Russian, is Rossiya.
I can’t say I’m 100% happy with either choice but c’est la vie. This issue should be gotten out of the way sooner rather than later.
|Russia Voices (RussiaVoices.com)||17|
Only vote “Other” if you really hate both of them (preferably provide an alternative in that case). Thank you all for your participation.
Finally, I’d like to note that today I have translated the first two articles ever specifically for RV/RP. They are:
- Please Answer, Gérard!… (An Open Letter To Depardieu) by Gleb Razdolnov writing for Echo of Moscow.
- Oligarchs, A Comparative Analysis by Yulia Latynina.
I have chosen to translate liberals because to date I have mostly only translated “patriots”, conservatives, and Putin supporters. This is to demonstrate and affirm that the site will be a non-partisan affair to the maximum feasible extent possible.
Edit 2013/2/2: As there is strong support for both options, I will test them out via Google Adwords and come to a decision by next week (which is when I plan to launch the site anyway).
As long-term readers will be aware, I am working on two big projects: A book on myths about Russia, and a website specializing in translating articles from the Russian press into English.
(The idea being that even if it does nothing else, Western institutions will no longer be able to credibly say Russia’s level of media freedoms are on par with Zimbabwe’s).
While the preliminary name I’m going with before the site is unveiled is “Russia Voices”, this is far from set in stone. First, it would sound better as “Russian Voices.” Second, a Voice of Russia already exists. Maybe there is a better alternative? I would appreciate it if you could vote on and provide feedback on other possible names for this site.
Update: Guess there’s no longer a need to keep the poll running. It’s already clear that Russia Voices is the only one of the original suggestions with any support. The majority of you think that it needs to be something else.
|Russia Voices (russiavoices.com)||4|
|Russian Points of View (russpovs.com)||2|
|Press of Russian Federation (pressrf.com)||1|
Please feel free to make your own suggestions. Note that the .com hyperlink has to be available for a name to be seriously considered. Thanks.
I have recently been cleaning up my old posts.
When I moved from Sublime Oblivion to here, the pictures remained hosted at the old site (there were too many of them to auto-import). So I’ve been going through ancient posts, manually reattaching pictures (so that they are now hosted at wordpress.com) and making the categories and tags system more comprehensive.
This allowed me the opportunity to reread (or rather, skim) many of my older posts. I summarize the experience here.
In short, the original Da Russophile at blogger was… too Russophile. Unreasonably so.
The Sublime Oblivion of 2009-2010 in its Russia coverage was characterized by a “bizarre fusion” of eco-leftism, Stratforian realism, and Spenglerian mysticism. As in 2008 there were many good articles, but overall it was patchy and frequently ideologized… and falling far short of the punchy, trope-breaking spirit that characterizes it today, and which it should have always aspired to.
In 2011 I moderated, the Russian coverage at S/O reached its peak, and I got into journalism. The pharma hack of early 2012 that crippled S/O was, in retrospect, a blessing in disguise: It allowed me to finally partition the Russia stuff and the everything else stuff into different domains.
Since I started in January 9, 2008, Da Russophile (first in blogger; then as part of Sublime Oblivion; and finally, as now, as its own WordPress.com site) has been visited a total of nearly one million times. Thank you all for reading.
I feel that my blogging in terms of influencing the discourse on Russia has leveled off into something resembling a plateau. I now write the occasional op-ed; appear every so often in magazines, research articles, and even books; and the blog itself attracts about 500 daily visitors. But truth is I am barely making a dint relative to the likes of Harding or Lucas.
To this end I am embarking on two big projects that will consume the bulk of my creative efforts for at least the next year.
(1) I am writing a book with the preliminary title PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: How Western Journalists Are Fueling A New Cold War Against Russia. (I’m not 100% happy with it and will welcome alternate suggestions).
As I have argued for close to 5 years now, Western media coverage of Russia tends to be woefully biased, frequently malicious, and – most unforgivably - factually wrong. This does not mean there is nothing to criticize about Russia and Russians and I will not refrain from doing so in the book. However, said criticisms must be grounded in statistical data, an appreciation of the viewpoints of ordinary Russians, and a judicious comparative perspective (which is NOT equivalent to “moral relativism” or “whataboutism” as many hardcore Russophobes claim).
In 1926, Will Rogers said, “Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it’s true.” It is high time to make this way of thinking obsolete.
The book will be divided into about a dozen chapters, covering all aspects of Russia which are either heavily misrepresented, or around which there exist powerful misconceptions. Here is a short sample list of such “Russia tropes”:
- “Dying Russia”
- The Manichean view of Russian politics
- “If This Happened in Russia”
- Putin the fascist, Stalinist, neo-Tsarist, kleptocratic mafia thug
- Pariah state
- The strange obsession with “Kremlin TV”, i.e. Russia Today
- How big bad Russia raped plucky democratic Georgia
In addition to my own original work, the book will also feature guest articles from various political and legal experts, as well as original translations from the “unfree” Russian media. By revealing the lies and misrepresentations on which so much Western commentary on Russia is rooted, the book will hopefully serve as a catalyst for rethinking and concrete change. Ведь так больше жить нельзя.
(2) As blog readers will recall, back in May I attended a Washington conference, chaired by Edward Lozansky, devoted to brainstorming ways to improve Russia’s dismal image abroad. Several fruitful suggestions came out of the meeting, one of which has already been brought into being: The site US-Russia.org.
My own modest contribution was a site devoted to translating the Russian media into English, a reverse-Inosmi if you will. Its preliminary name is RUSSIA VOICES.
There are several core structural features that make Western coverage of Russia as bad as it is. One of these is that there are more questions than can be answered; as argued by Patrick Armstrong, it takes 10x longer to write a rebuttal to a lying article, than the lying article itself (and claims of Kremlin-paid bloggers to the contrary, – I wish! – we don’t have a hundredth of either the resources or the media exposure of the Lucas and Harding types). Other such features include the “propaganda model” and exiled oligarch funding of anti-Putin kompromat. These are systemic forces that need a systemic response.
Should it become a significant feature of the media landscape, RUSSIA VOICES will accomplish three major things:
- Improve perceptions of Russian media in general (i.e., not Zimbabwe).
- Improve perceptions of Russia in general (i.e., complex array of liberal, Kremlin, statist, patriot, nationalist, & leftist forces; NOT a Manichean struggle between Padawan Navalny and Darth Putler).
- Publicize Russian voices on global affairs (e.g. Syria).
After all, what would YOU, as a media consumer, rather read about: Top Russian sci-fi novelist Sergey Lukyanenko’s thoughts on the Russian elections, or Miriam Elder on how Putin stole her dry-cleaning ticket?
Exactly. And I am sure the same goes for many academics, students, expats, businesspeople, and intelligent open-minded laymen. RUSSIA VOICES will translate from all sides of the ideological spectrum, be they pro-Kremlin or anti-Kremlin; Western media consumers will then have the freedom to independently judge exactly how “unfree” is the Russian media (and Russia in general) for themselves.
The only problem is that unlike the book, RUSSIA VOICES will require not insubstantial funding to get off the ground. Translators gotta be paid. I will be working on this issue in the next several months.
Blogging here will not come to a stop, nor at the other site. But intensity probably will fall off a bit.
I was recently honored to be invited to the World Russia Forum 2012, an annual event organized by Edward Lozansky that aims to promote US-Russia cooperation. You can read Eugene Ivanov’s write-up on last year’s forum here. The theme for this year will be ”the role of NGOs, Public Diplomacy, and Media in formulating the agenda for US – Russia cooperation.” Below is a list of round-table participants; some of the names will be familiar to blog readers and sundry Russia watchers.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
10.00 AM – 5.00 PM with Lunch Break: Remarks by Round Table Participants
Patrick Armstrong – Former analyst with Canadian Government
William Dunkerley – Publishing Consultant
Julia Fominova – Gorchakov Foundation
Gordon Hahn – Center for Strategic and International Studies
Eugene Ivanov - Russia Beyond the Headlines, The Ivanov Report
James George Jatras – Squire Sanders Public Advocacy
Anatoly Karlin – Da Russophile Blog
Edward Lozansky – American University in Moscow and Kontinent USA
Sergei Markedonov - Center for Strategic and International Studies
Alexei Pankin – Publishing Strategy and Practice
Nicolai N. Petro – University of Rhode Island
Dimtry Petrov - writer, Petropavlovsk Foundation
Anthony Salvia – American Institute in Ukraine
Martin Sieff – Chief Foreign Correspondent, the Globalist
Darren Spinсk – Global Strategic Communications Group
6.00 – 7.00 PM: Concert dedicated to A.S. Pushkin’s birthday
7.00 – 9.00 PM: Concluding Reception
Although I have my own ideas on how to influence the generally woeful Western media coverage of Russia for the better, I would still appreciate suggestions from readers. The forum is open so you may alternately show up in person to give your two cents.
Today I had the pleasure of meeting up with Nick Eberstadt, an analyst at the AEI who specializes in Korea and Russian demography. He was dropping by SF and we had drinks at the excellent Samovar Tea Lounge.
As readers will know, we do obviously have many disagreements on Russia demography, with Eberstadt representing the “pessimistic” side and myself, the more optimistic one; and his assumptions and methods have at times been objects of criticism at this blog. If I may be so bold, recent data – population growth since 2008, and perhaps even a natural increase this year – has, at least thus far, favored the “optimistic” variants more than the “pessimistic” ones (though one can validly argue that the “echo effect” of the 1990′s baby bust has yet to make its play).
Nonetheless, I should emphasize that he is a deeply knowledgeable and conscientious scholar, who is receptive to new data and convincing counter-arguments, and a very interesting and entertaining conversationalist in person. It would be good for Russia watchers in general to meet up more often, as online interaction just isn’t the same thing. If you’re ever passing by the Bay Area, feel free to drop me a line.
This post is a follow-up to a similar one for the 2011 Duma elections. It contains an extensive list of blogger, pundit and “expert” opinions on the extent of fraud in the 2011 Duma elections. Interspersed among these opinions and analyses are results from federal opinion polls, election monitors, and other evidence.
In general, it seems we can identify three “theses” or “clubs.” The 0% Club holds the idea that falsifications were non-existent or minimal; it is advanced by Kremlin officials and supported by many opinion polls. Its polar opposite is the 15% Club, which is – unlike in the Duma elections – now only claimed by opposition forces and some liberal and Western media outlets. The 5% Club tends to arguee that Putin got a solid majority with some 56%-60% of the vote; almost all evidence converges to this figure. Most of the systemic opposition and arguably most Russians belong to this club.
Despite Olga Kryshtanovskaya’s disapproval, I thought it would be interesting and useful to compile a comprehensive list of blogger, pundit and “expert” opinions on the extent of fraud in the 2011 Duma elections. Interspersed among these opinions and analyses are results from federal opinion polls and other evidence.
In general, it seems we can identify three “theses” or “clubs.” The 0% Club holds the idea that falsifications were non-existent or minimal; it is advanced by Kremlin officials and supported by many opinion polls. Its polar opposite is the 15% Club, which is supported by several statistical analyses; its adherents include the liberal and non-systemic opposition. The 5% Club argues that United Russia should not have gotten a Duma majority, but many of their proponents believe that the elections are legitimate nonetheless. Estimates range from 2% to 10%, with a wealth of opinion polling and statistical analysis in support. Most of the systemic opposition and arguably most Russians belong to this club.