25 thoughts on “Crosstalking Russian Liberalism”

    1. I discovered that RT is actually quite interesting since I spend more time there. Ditto RT Germany, I have just discovered. Admittedly I was a bit wary concerning their selection of authors, issues and topics over the years. While curiously enough a fan of the very, very few dissenters on both Russia and Syria that made it into my attention. The so-called “Russia lovers” and “Assad lovers” to frame it in the reigning usage.


      1. You’ve a lot to learn. Latest Meduza antics:

        I realized that Meduza surely writes “colorful narratives”, while first stumbling across it at the same time Lytt caught my attention. I still use Kaspersky. Surfaced in context negatively. Left traces on US legislative ground too, as far as I remember.

        We learn within our own basic mental universe as long as we live. You seem to want to teach me something specific. You would need to attract me as author first to do so.


  1. Interesting figures like Yulia Latynina got a mention. A woman who doesn’t believe in universal suffrage, lambasts human rights NGOs for criticising the War on Terror, blindly supports Israel and downplays the impact of global warming would not be treated kindly by the Guardian readers who long for a Russian liberal future.


    1. That’s one noteworthy thing about Russian social/political scene. Western commenters would often think, “this person supports X, therefore, they must support Y and/or be against Z”. Doesn’t work for Russia. There is little to no “attitude continuity” between Russia and the West.

      Truth be told, the US used to have all sorts of characters with “interesting” views, but lately, non-conformists have become an endangered species. Russia is a lot more diverse.

      Watch the iconic Russian liberal Venediktov (Echo Moskvy) explaining that sex between high school girls and their teachers is perfectly normal: https://youtu.be/TdZsuHCsbVA


      1. I have to emphasize that in Russia, high school graduation age is 16-17, not 18 like in the US. So when he says “старшеклассницы” (high school girls), it reallt refers to girls aged 14 to 16.


      2. Lola, I have to heavily resist a longer comment. He may have picked this up via a tip of the larger subject in France.

        I actually hate posting this link, because I am defensive of the French academic postwar tradition (structuralist and some post-structuralist), I am aware of the American critique to some extent, and I am absolutely averse to the popular political misuse of the label Cultural Marxist. Which must have a basic in the American critique.

        Judith Butler is occasionally labeled as post-structuralist too. I doubt that she when she wrote Gender Troubles envisioned the ever expanding gender roles, or for that matter the close to hysterical craziness you can witness in the shared sensibilities of mothers that wonder if their girl doesn’t really want to become a boy or the other way round. That feels like child abuse to me too.

        … OK; this isn’t even half of what’s revolting inside me. One glimpse into the much larger and wider field of child abuse in post-war Germany:


        Otherwise? A neoliberal conservative hard-core reactionary?


      3. Yeah Moon I’ve heard of those. I don’t want to get involved into an argument about consent here, all I wanted to say was that jumping to conclusions about a person or a group of people based on some (usually incomplete) information about their political views is very silly – especially when those people belong to a different culture.


      4. With a 1993 Der Spiegel essay, “Anschwellender Bocksgesang” (“Swelling He-Goat Song”[N 1]),[2] a critical examination of modern civilisation, he triggered a major political controversy as his conservative politics was anathema to many.

        The Spiegel essay was an abbreviated version, the complete essay apparently could only be published in a collection of conservative to right essays.

        My encounter with the man happened a decade earlier.

        The essay was about hypocrisies around late 80’s Spiegel “Full boot” titles while Germany burned.

        Translation: The Onslaught of the Poor:


      5. Ok, yalensis indirectly reminded me today that maybe I better should have used “180 degree” below instead of “full circle.” Actually I thought I did. So far I wasn’t sure if I was able to face up to my last interior-monologue-babble-attack in print on the internet.

        But as is the case most of the time. Curiously enough. 🙂 I am fine with it.

        I wish I could read whatever automatic translation of the other article Paul referred to at that point in time though.


    2. Lola, this helped me, curiously enough, to turn full circle on Konstantin Bogomolov. Read it again. Upside down or same as ever?

      Suddenly ihis essay reminds me of a rather unfortunate encounter with a careerist student (in hindsight)* on the German theater scene. Who tried to prove that the author was right wing.


      I had joined the staging because I was studying staging as interpretation, had seen several others before, thus immediately grasped the chance to experience it close up, when I realized my local theater was going to stage it too. My opponent had joined it for whatever intentions as director of a student theater company. Anyway he attacked me any way possible, worst case scenario: forcing me into any type topic central in the play in the director’s office. He had all type of special help by female students on matters of death or whatever. I forget. But basically he tried to prove that Strauss was an undercover Right Wing Ideologue:


      With a 1993 Der Spiegel essay, “Anschwellender Bocksgesang” (“Swelling He-Goat Song”[N 1]),[2] a critical examination of modern civilisation, he triggered a major political controversy as his conservative politics was anathema to many.

      In his theoretical work, Strauß showed the influence of the ancient classics, Nietzsche, Heidegger as well as Adorno, but his outlook was also radically anti-bourgeois.


  2. I looked up Glenn Diesen and discovered that he, too, just published a book titled “Russian conservatism”! Isn’t it ironic that everybody wants to talk about Russian liberals instead.

    Diesen’s upcoming book (Great Power Politics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution) sounds kinda interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Paul, I would like to hear your take on what appears to be the abrupt finale of the Navalny slapstick. I mean the AI announcement, and Navalny-induced righteous indignation disappearing from western rhetoric.

    To the perennial question – was it planned by incompetent idiots or evil geniuses? – my intuition usually tends to answer: evil geniuses, we just don’t know all the details. But in this case, it’s getting hard to maintain this attitude.

    …or was that whole story just a promotional campaign for a youtube video? Seems like an overkill…


    1. Mao, what is the latest scoop about Navalny? I haven’t read anything for a while… Did Amnesty Intl say something new, I thought they had him pegged as a “prisoner of conscience” – LOL.


      1. I have written a piece on Amnesty’s decision re. Navalny. It should appear on RT today or tomorrow. My basic point is that A) Navalny has said obnoxious things, but b) saying obnoxious things doesn’t make him not a prisoner of conscience when those things are not why he’s in prison. It also makes no sense for Amnesty to say that he’s not a prisoner of conscience but his imprisonment is political.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “saying obnoxious things doesn’t make him not a prisoner of conscience”

        Selective cancelling, eh? Cancelling George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but keeping Navalny? Sure, why not. The further the funnier.


      3. I fully agree with Paul. Amnesty justified its decision by claiming that prisoners of conscience are exclusively non-violent whereas Navalny had previously incited violence against migrant workers. But Navalny’s comments – disgusting and incendiary as they were – had nothing whatsoever to do with the reasons behind his imprisonment.

        Amnesty has said that these distinctions have little practical significance, but they mean a great deal in the court of public opinion and information warfare.


      4. Got it. Is it possible for both sides to be completely wrong and stupid — both Amnesty and Navalny — but for totally different reasons?
        Or is that too mind-bending, LOL.


  4. “Got it. Is it possible for both sides to be completely wrong and stupid — both Amnesty and Navalny — but for totally different reasons?”


    Nazarov and Panarin as well.


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