Moderation, nuance, balance

I have updated my blogroll, deleting one redundant link to a site which doesn’t seem to have posted anything new for months, and adding a couple of new links: to Meduza and The Duran. The fact that I’m connecting to both those sites, despite their very different politics, is indicative of my desire to listen to a broad variety of viewpoints concerning Russia. To that end, I have long since listed on my blogroll a bunch of websites whose content I almost always vehemently disagree with. I doubt, for instance, that ‘The Power Vertical’ has ever said anything I could remotely endorse. But it’s important that we don’t live in a ‘filter bubble’ in which we block out people whose views don’t coincide with our own.  Truth comes through dialogue, engagement, and discussion, not censorship.

That said, there are limits. Being on my blogroll isn’t an endorsement, but it is a recognition that the site in question is at least not entirely un-respectable. There are websites which discuss Russia and international affairs, which I’m not prepared to link to. I have, for instance, never put The Saker on my blogroll due to its incessant talk of ‘Anglo-Zionist’ conspiracies. That is not something I wish to be associated with.

With this in mind, I have removed the connection to Russia Insider as a response to Charles Bausmann’s ill-judged recent article about Jews. I don’t think that I can stop Russia Insider reprinting my articles if it wishes, but henceforth I will no longer encourage people to visit that site.

Countering the widespread nonsense being spoken and printed about Russia is hard enough as it is. It becomes harder when those wishing  to do so make extremist statements and thereby taint others engaged in similar activity by association. Moderation; nuance; balance – those are the values which we need to bring to the discussion, and those are the values which I hope this blog succeeds in promoting.

12 thoughts on “Moderation, nuance, balance”

  1. Not trying to turn this into a purge, but this post motivated me to look at the blogroll, and I noticed that Anatoly Karlin is on there as well. Just recently Karlin made a post about the Russia Insider article, concluding by saying of the author, “However, he is correct at a broad level.” He is also so kind as to repost an attack he made on Jewish female journalists in a “classic” (Karlin’s description) post he wrote 6 years ago (Which I won’t quote here, to avoid putting that kind of content on this blog). It seems to me that the objectionable Russia Insider article and Karlin’s blog are peas in a pod.


  2. Paul, I very much agree with the need to be open to contrary views. The failure of many name experts to do this is a big reason why Russian Studies fail these days. I would, however, hesitate to cast out either Russian Insider or the Saker. Bad ideas do exist in all realms. But isn’t it tolerable? And still things to learn?


  3. Russia Reviewed is not entirely un-respectable! Woohoo!

    Exposing oneself to opposing views is relatively easy. It’s actually *listening* to them that can prove difficult. But yeah, it’s 100% worth trying.


    1. Whenever I try to read Paul Goble I just cant get past the headline.

      As far as the saker is concerned, his anglo-zionist conspiracy stuff is useful for one reason: The likelihood of something he predicts actually coming to pass is directly antiproportional to the number of times he writes anglo zionist in the predictive post.


      1. Ha ha, good point, Schmelzer!
        Now, if the saker just said what was going on like a normal person, geo-political alliance between U.S. and Israel, yada yada, then it would be okay and factual.
        But he has to endow this mundane fact with the frissons of terror, like it’s something completely out of the ordinary and leaps out of the darkness to attack small children….


  4. After seeing this Meduza interview with Beata Bubenec on her documentary about the Aidar battalion in eastern Ukraine – in which she admits she was all but embedded with these people and the Meduza interviewer seems completely unaware of these fighters’ ideological allegiances – I’m not really sure that Meduza is a fit replacement for Russia Insider.


  5. I would note that Russia Insider has published two pieces critical of Bausman’s article:

    And here’s another bitter attack on Bausman from the Duran/Russiafeed side to add to the fire:

    Of course Anatoly Karlin has a more nuanced perspective:


  6. I’m far more cynical about Bausmann’s motives. I think it is simply to generate traffic through his site and the maxim is ‘No PR is bad PR.’ What better than to elevate a hot button issue to get people reacting first rather than thinking? He’s certainly no dummy. I didn’t trust him day one, and I have never done since. I don’t expect RI to last a moment longer than is necessary.


    1. I agree with your assessment of what was behind The Russia Insider article.
      Scapegoating a whole religious group for money is pretty disgusting


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