20 thoughts on “Unrest in the FSU”

  1. I think I’d agree with what Lytt said somewhere earlier: the main problem is their ethnocentric nature.

    The USSR broke up along the ethnic lines. The catalyst was the emergence (or surfacing) and domination of ethnocentric elites, ethnocentric ideology, with ethnic victimhood myths, and all the usual unpleasantries. The rest is all natural consequences.

    Iow, in my opinion it’s not that they “lacked clearly defined and well-established national identities“, but that in fact their national identities are defined too clearly, too well-established, and not in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In terms of ethnic demography, the USSR didn’t have exclusively homogeneous republics, as evidenced by such scenarios as Nagorno-Karabakh, Pridnestrovie (Transnistria and closely related spelling) and Crimea.

      In the USSR, something like (if memory serves correct) 1 of 5 to 1 of 6 Soviet citizens lived outside their ethnic republic. There’s also the matter of many Soviet citizens having a multiethnic background, while choosing one ethnic group on the census over the other. Hence, such ethnic Russians (as well as those non-ethnic Russian citizens/residents of Russia) can come in conflict each other – a point related to the reported fights in Russia between people of Azeri and Armenian backgrounds.

      Somewhat related to the above aforementioned RT piece:

      Bryan MacDonald has bite. He was great on the Moderate Rebels YouTube show. Dunno why he’s not on RT TV.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “USSR didn’t have exclusively homogeneous republics”

        Right, but that’s trivial; no state is exclusively homogeneous, ethnically.

        What I mean is that if, say, Armenia emerged as a ‘political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory‘ (or some similar definition, this one is a quote from wikipedia), everything would be fine.

        What’s important here is the emphasis on territory. The state should represent the community residing on its territory. And your ethnic identity (if you have one) is your personal business. Ideally, the state shouldn’t even be aware of ethnic identities of its citizens, even statistically (I believe this is how the French government operates).

        Instead, Armenia defines itself, similar to the Soviet concept of its republics, as a political entity representing ethnic Armenians. And that’s a problem, imo.

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      2. An entity that’s 90% one given group is much different from situations involving any breakdown in the 60% and less, combined with ethnic groups which have had noticeable differences of opinions.

        Armenia/Israel and Armenians and Jews seem to have a good deal in common, despite Israel’s support for Azerbaijan.

        Will have to check this:

        “Armenia defines itself, similar to the Soviet concept of its republics, as a political entity representing ethnic Armenians. And that’s a problem, imo.”

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      3. I Ideally, the state shouldn’t even be aware of ethnic identities of its citizens, even statistically (I believe this is how the French government operates).

        Ideally. Les citoyen. That no doubt engraved itself into our larger minds.

        What could a closer look historically at the American Melting Pot vs. Russian Empire or for that matter likely adopted socialist nationality labels tell us? No matter how and why they were used and misused in historical space and time? Complicated?

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      4. “the American Melting Pot ”

        Hmm, maybe it was once a melting pot, though I doubt it. These days it’s the opposite: multiculturalism, and certainly not in a good way.

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      5. Hmm, maybe it was once a melting pot, though I doubt it. These days it’s the opposite: multiculturalism, and certainly not in a good way.

        You feel inside the melting pot there could still be a ‘good way’ along the religion and culture axis: Live and let life? Never mind the two recent decades?

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      6. Well, the expression “melting pot” has the meaning. As I understand it, it’s roughly synonymous with ‘assimilation’. One common culture; ‘American’, in the case of the US.

        Liberal identity politics is the opposite of that. A negation of it, the antithesis. And identity politics has won, at least at the upper level: mass-media, education system, government bureaucracy, celebrities, HR policies of large corporations.

        If you think the answer is somewhere in the middle, it sounds reasonable, but then it won’t be the “melting pot”.

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  2. “The republics that gained independence in 1991/92 in many cases lacked clearly defined and well-established national identities, or contained large ethnic minorities. They also lacked both a tradition of statehood and strong institutions – the primary institution that had previously held them together was the Communist Party, which no longer existed.”

    One should not forget that it was the desire of the majority of the citizens of the former USSR wanted to maintain: “the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any ethnicity will be fully guaranteed?” and that this referendum was supported by 70% of the citizens of the republics at the ballots Sunday, 17 March 1991.
    There was little desire by the citizens for a dissolution of the federation, just the goal creating federation, the the members having more autonomy than before, even likely creating a network of mutual security which also fell apart, thus the possibility later that NATO filled the space voided by the falling apart of the Warsaw Pact.

    Had the putsch not happened in August of that year it was likely that a new federation could have been created, stabilizing the Nations by supplying a network of cooperation, avoiding much of the bloodshed that happened after declaring outright independence after the coup attempt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Majority of USSR citizens wanted to maintain the Union. But the illegal Greater Russian Putschists had other intentions. For them, it was all about splitting off Russia, creating a bourgeois class from the Nomenklatura, then fleecing the rest of the unwitting population. As a result of which, the other nations were cast adrift, each unto their own hell.

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  3. to add – it was therefore likely only the ruling elites of the former federation states that pushed for a complete status of independence disregarding the wishes of the populace, enhancing their power and possibility to enrich themselves on the backs of the rest of the citizens.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That happened with Czechoslovakia. Not so sure Slovakia would’ve voted to leave. Some Czechs viewed Slovakia as an economic burden. Conversely, some Slovak politicos liked the idea of having more clout in a separate entity.

      At the time of the Soviet breakup, it was rather popular to believe that Ukraine’s socioeconomic standing would dramatically improve. Some Russians saw some of the other Soviet republics as a burden for Russia. Like in Slovakia, some of the Soviet higher ups outside Russia saw an opportunity to have greater clout thru separation.

      These points don’t deny the varying element of a separatist nationalist agenda, not directly linked to the aforementioned power for power sake and economic beliefs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There has intermittently been unrest in countries formerly in the USSR.

    Ukraine at least 3 coups
    Armenia versus Azerbaijan how many decades ?
    Kyrgyzstan at least 3 coups
    Georgia’s 2 coups
    Moldova has had its ups and downs
    Belarus attempted coup

    What will be will be

    Why the special attention on this now ?
    Another thing to blame on Russia as if Russia should be responsible for these countries internal welfare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we are all a bit puzzled … upside down feeling ever since the Great War on Terrorism. Bringing Freedom and ‘democracy’ to the larger world at the point of military superiority based on economic power to the world?

      If you go back to “Cups of tea and bottles of water
      September 17, 2020 65 comments” on Paul’s blog, you may be interested in a case of both of an assassin on trial and a victim apparently having two names and/or identities?

      https://www.dw.com/en/berlin-russia-murder-chechen-dissident/a-55165044

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      1. Why are Germany hosting terrorists ?

        Just proves that the west was involved in the weaponisation of radical Islam.

        Using ethnic / Religous identities is a key skill of the west.
        Cause division hatred war

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      2. Why are Germany hosting terrorists ?

        I doubt he told that to the appropriate German authorities while applying for asylum:Look, Russia considers me a terrorist not a freedom fighter, but that is exactly what I am. Wouldn’t have been wise? No?
        You would have said that? Anyway: Considering the colorful tales around him, unlikely? Streetwise? Moving in circles?

        Besides, press reports label him as an asylum seeker since 2016. Interesting year. … But where would this get us, trials must end. And this one is supposed to end in late January 2021.

        That said: I unfortunately cannot follow the trial, maybe I would, but would like to read the indictment, anyway. Of its 67 pages with 247 (if I recall correctly) footnotes,70 are provided by a protected member of the Bellingcat group: Witness G, thus labelled by a prominent Bavarian paper.

        ********
        Apart from that the itinerary of the accused coupled with the rather spectacular publicly witnessed daylight assassination of the suspect somehow does not suggest “secret circles”, GRU or FSB fancy or whatever bears. But I guess we’ve been there before.

        Arbitrarily as introduction:
        https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/possible-russian-state-involvement-in-berlin-murder-a-1289747.html

        By the way: In the Spiegel reports on the Hamburg cell, almost two decades ago, there was this matter that struck me, a tiny little side note, they initially wanted to go join the fight in Chechnya. Maybe the Balkan wars were a bit too early?

        But yes we had homegrown terrorists too, an extreme expression of my and earlier generations to the fact that the Cold War provided convenient cover for too many for our taste. Much too easy for my hard core communists friends with their sloganeering too, by the way. If that is not too difficult.

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  5. It’s very heartening to see yet another piece by Mr. Robinson published (obligatory labeling) by the Kremlin-controlled RT. At the very least it means that everything is fine and his children won’t meet him with deep hollow gaze and ask “Daddy, what we gonna eat?”

    Now, because RT is Russian, and because in the West the Russians became not just allowed, but strictly recommended group to express your politically correct anger at, let me give you a reason or two for making this easier for yourself.

    At the first glance, this particular piece by our gracious Host aptly demonstrates, that he perfected the style and form of the writing, which the French call “à propos de tout et de rien” and the Ukrainians “взагали по взагалям”. The beauty and utility of this particular style lies in undeniable fact, that resorting to it requires only minimal use of one’s brainpower, commits the author to absolutely nothing concrete, while, simultaneously, proclaims to the whole wide world “Look how Smart and Erudite I am”. Second and consequent glances, as well as deep and thorough reading not only confirms this first impression, but also unearths precious gems of the hard won wisdom, like this one:

    “The republics that gained independence in 1991/92… also lacked both a tradition of statehood and strong institutions

    First of all – LOL. Second, what we have here is a shining example of the trademark liberal-speak. Note – “liberal”, not “liberast”. For the latter it’s too complicated a trick, meaning, that they are less sophisticated and, therefore, more honest in their propaganda slogans. But this keyword… If you gonna ask any particular dye in the wool liberal to provide us, uneducated rubes with the precise definition of it, you’ll get repetition of the “civil society” situation. Liberal will furnish you with a meaningless textbook definition of the word, at the same time implying something else entirely, while the term, in fact, means something third – something what dear liberals would loath to admit.

    If you cut through gratuitous commie-bashing so dear to the heart of Professor right to the essence of the core “message”, then the meaning becomes apparent. Mr. Robinson laments the fact, that the history of the capitalism in the FSU is so short. He under no circumstance will ever study let alone discuss it as well as various “fruits” it bore in the wake of its “flourishing”. After all, the liberalism is an ideology of the capitalism, ready to go an extra mile to justify itself no matter how unappealing it still is for the target audience. Deep down, them liberals are totally okay with accepting capitalism as it is – with the oligarchs, rabid nationalism… and extra miles, when you take the development of the capitalism to its logical conclusion.

    As a person can’t live in a society and be independent from it, our Professor projects in one article after another views of his particular strata, affected by the general trend of the official Western propaganda. In that lies his undeniable value for everyone, and especially for us, Russians.

    Still, there are a few, ah, “quibbles”, that I find with this particular article.

    Let’s start with some basic premises. Generally, two chief components of the strategy (any strategy) are:

    – Imposition of your will on the target;

    – Limiting target’s ability to maneuver.

    Let it hang here for a while, Chekhov’s gun-style. Now let’s move to other issues.

    Shy and conscientious liberals all across the world don’t like to discuss at length the process and circumstances of how the countries that made up the so-called “FSU” became capitalist. A process, that very charitably could be called “neo-colonial plunder and rapine”. No, it triggers them and causes panic attacks, let alone gives a bad name to the system they are required to love more than life or God. Hey, lets indulge them by using yet another liberal buzzword (which Professor also resorts to) – “legitimacy”. For their benefit, capitalism comes prepackaged with a universal legitimizing tool, aka the nationalism. The more you steal, embezzle, cut the social spending while pandering to the West, the more you have to rely on it.

    It’s basic talking points are really very simple and could be applied everywhere:

    1) You blame everything on the commies. You see, it’s their “disastrous mismanagement” to blame, not the current plain sight robbery of the national assets by very much capitalist oligarchs. The fact that this “mismanagement” created the second economy of the world and all the assets, that said oligarchs still plunder 30 years later are dismissed as commie propaganda.

    2) Making the populace swallow this “truth” (the fact that the FSU is, indeed “F”, and no longer “SU” testifies for that), they take the next step: now all “commies” are proclaimed to be “the Russians”. Therefore, it is Russians who were blood-suckers and ghouls ruthlessly oppressing plucky locals. That is “eternal sin”, from which both Russia and its “the Russians” will never absolve themselves, not matter the amount of paying and repenting, repenting and paying (but the “paying” part is appreciated).

    3) Finally, having established that (rather successfully – the number of examples is too big to list here), they take the final step: they proclaim that all enemies of Russia are a priori their best friends. Traditionally, it’s been the West, as the self proclaimed victor of the Cold War and the global Hegemon. AKA the Big Brother to watch you over and give valuable advices. Oh, and you will do as the Big Brother says – and like it! “You don’t understand. It’s different” (c) is the universal retort when you point out that now they “enjoy” real colonial status, incomparable to the status of one of the SSRs.

    Follow these rules, and the crutch of the nationalism will turn into a handy cudgel to deal with enemies within and without. And it works! It assures the survival of the “Regime” all across the FSU. Despite various maidan-like shenanigans, these changes amount to coups, instead of genuine revolutions (no change in the socio-economic and political formation). But to work for the new states with their fragile egos and insecurities, the nationalism must be truly rabid with the brainwashed crowd constantly demanding “to do something” to flout it around and for entire world to see – We Are the Great, We Are the Free. But how to achieve that?

    There are exactly two (2) ways to accomplish that. One is to find a Big Brother, who will protect you from any consequences. The textbook examples are the Baltic sprats “tigers”. They are free to express their “freedom” and “greatness” by aggressively attacking Russia and the Russians. The more they become de-industrialized and de-populated, the younger become the participants of the SS-veterans marches.

    The other way is politely called “multi-vector foreign policy”, or, more correctly, “to sit with one ass on two chairs”. Trying to be nice with the West, but without lasting commitment, while trying to induce Russia’s jealousy and consequent concessions – what else could proclaim to the entire world your value, status, freedom and greatness? Just look how two Big Brothers are trying to woo you, while you are leaving them, ah, “unsatisfied” time and again! People forgot it now, but it was in fact the Ukraine which pioneered this approach and carried it out up till fairly recently.

    [You, gentle commenters, might notice that among the options mentioned there is no “side with Russia”. Well, d’uh! Re-read tenets of the nationalism that I wrote earlier. “Siding with Russia” is dangerous to the legitimacy not only of the local potentates, but also of the whole “Regime”. It’s no wonder, that the Western published (un)think-tankers routinely accuse Putin of “trying to re-create the Soviet Union” when Russia does anything in the FSU that the West does not like. Verily, the Holy Truth speaks through these idiots!]

    I think that the year 2020 will go down in history when Russia finally said “Fuck this shit”.

    Another topic that triggers liberal anxiety, that no shrink will ever cure – the economic cost of the coronavirus. TL;DR – the size of the pie already shrunk, and might go even smaller. For the entire capitalist world (and newly independent countries are capitalist) its time for soul searching and reevaluation, plus bouts of inventive austerity and heightened competition for remaining resources. For a lot of reasons, it’s a fight for survival. And there could be no bystanders in the fight for survival. The smart-alecky “multi-vector foreign policy” has to go.

    A person no less august than Vitaliy Shklyarov (election manager for Ksenia Sobchak, Bernie Sanders and Barak Obama) was the most visible, ah, “face” to lobby for luring Belorussia away from Russia. He (and a few other Big Names) presciently warned the EU et al not to sanction Lukashenko over the election results, lest he’d forced to turn to Moscow. Their hopes thwarted, the Western liberal hive-mind tried then to peddle “the Armenian scenario” for Belorussia, so that Moscow agreed to tolerate a pro-Western puppet installed in Minsk.

    Ho-hum. You know what? Vitaliy Shklyarov is in Belorussian prison since July. His fate have solicited from the usually very militant and highly opinionated people less commentary and support, than Jeffrey Epstein’s and Harvey Weinstein’s treatment by the Most Just Court in the World. Totally ignored by the general press and so-called “analytics” were Lukashenko’s, hmm, let’s call it “new cadre policy”, that resulted in new governor of the westernmost Gomel oblast, for several KGB higher ups getting the boot and a new cabinet of ministers. Oh, and the sanctions, and this entire fucking circus with this counterfeit female version of Juan Guaido.

    Equally ignored was this small “event”, that happened just two days ago – president of Armenia Sarkisyan (not the PM Pashinyan) fired head of the National Security Service Argishti Karamyan (b. 1991). If you are slightly surprised, how such young man can attain such important rank – well, even so-called “revolutions” can do wonders to your career… especially if you are a faithful “sorosyonok”, who begins his reign by purging the ranks of the Service of the officers, who’ve been trained in either USSR or Russia.

    Here’s a “Russian reversal” for you – Armenia might very well get its own “Belorussian scenario”, not the other way round!

    [BTW, Azerbaijan is also good. It found out how to break this ages-old mold in a creative way – becoming Turkey’s satellite, not the West’s]

    Now, the text of Russia brokered ceasefire contains the following provisions:

    p. 3. “The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs [i.e. Russia, France and the US], launch substantive negotiations for the soonest peaceful settlement of the conflict on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement“

    p. 4. “The parties confirm the immutability of the negotiation format.”

    France dutifully shot itself in the foot, aiming to get after Turkey after recent spat near Libya. This forced it finally see and admit Erdogan’s use of “moderate islamists” as mercs. Macron, trying to sound like an adult, actually said: “I say to Armenia and to the Armenians, France will play its role”. That eradicated all of French political capital vis-à-vis Azerbaijan. Aliyev, defending his patron’s honour (in the interview to the pro-Erdogan Turkish media), retorted with: “France is already excluding itself from this equal trio [the Minsk Group], and we cannot remain silent about it”. France’s out.

    The US currently resembles Barnum’s freak-show (on fire). So you can count them out as well.

    To quote a true intellectual heavyweight of the Democratic party, “All roads lead to Putin”.

    New Kirgizian PM Zhaparov announced that “Moscow is and will remain our chief strategic partner. A lot of things unite us, including in the geopolitical aspect”. Bishkek is under a curfew. The naughty time for local maydowns is over.

    [Boom!]

    Hear that? That’s our Chekhov’s gun shot one of its muzzles. As you can see here, Russia succeeded in limiting its wishy-washy “friends” ability to maneuver at our expense. Now let’s wait and see if/when for the second muzzle’s retort.

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  6. Russia is finally going to show the finger to the EU:

    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/10/lavrov-we-may-end-it.html

    “Those people in the West who are responsible for foreign policy and do not understand the necessity of mutually respectable conversation–well, we must simply stop for a while communicate with them. Especially since Ursula von der Leyen states that geopolitical partnership with current Russia’s leadership is impossible. If this is the way they want it, so be it.”
    And the commentator says it a bit more clearly:
    “Western “elites” and “intellectuals” are simply on a different, much lower level, than said Lavrov. You do not negotiate with monkeys, you treat them nicely, you make sure that they are not abused, but you don’t negotiate with them, same as you don’t negotiate with toddlers. They want to have their Navalny as their toy–let them. I call on Russia to start wrapping economic activity up with EU for a long time.”

    And I would add their toy airplane disaster MH 17, their toy Skripal poisoning and Litvinenko and their magnificent Magnitsky scam to op it off…

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    1. Thanks. I met Smoothie on SST, he as a lot of other interesting voices seems to have gone there by now. … Curious, but also sad to watch. It was an interesting meeting place once upon a time.

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