2008 January 27 Sunday
Tsar Vladimir Sidelines Kasyanov From Managed Election
The Tsar of Russia has decided that a Mikhail Kasyanov candidacy for the to-be-ceremonial Russian Presidency would only confuse the loyal masses.
MOSCOW, Jan. 27 -- Former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, a political opponent of President Vladimir Putin, was barred Sunday from running for president after the Central Election Commission said it had found tens of thousands of forged signatures among the 2 million gathered by his campaign to get his name on the ballot.
Opinion polls indicated that Kasyanov posed no political threat to Putin's chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev, the overwhelming favorite in the March 2 vote, and his disqualification will immediately raise questions about the Kremlin's willingness to face any competition or debate. As a candidate, Kasyanov would have enjoyed some access to state-controlled national television stations, which rarely mention him and only then to attack him as corrupt or declare him irrelevant.
The Tsar is knowing and wise. Surely as a good Tsar he is doing what is best for the Rodina and the Russian people. No patriot can question his decision in good conscience. Russia has democracy just like the West and the West is therefore no better. Russia even has a better form of democracy that eliminates the damage caused by divisive candidates who do not place the interests of the people first.
By Randall Parker at 2008 January 27 10:18 AM
Well, considering the quality of our own current and prospective leaders...maybe a delegation of prominent American citizens should travel to Russia to offer the throne of America to Wise Czar Vladimir I...
When I was studying the Russian language in college (this was more than a few years ago, during the depths of the Cold War), my teacher, a native Russian woman, told me that the history of Russia could be discussed as a continuum without ever mentioning communism. Stalin, you see, was just another cruel (but rather effective) tsar. She said that communism couldn't work and would one day come crashing down but that Russia wouldn't change very much when it did. I visited Russia again just a few months ago, and it was obvious that Putin was very popular. Most Russians don't care at all about the lack of democracy, which they view with suspicion. They want prosperity, international respect, order and a strong leader. Putin's popularity is probably twice that of Bush II. None of this should matter very much to us westerners. Russia is doing OK now with the high oil and gas revenues, but that isn't going to last forever. The long-term demographics are horrible, and the infrastructure is still pretty bad after almost 75 years of communism. Also, with a rising dragon oh her eastern border and a real problem with Muslim insurgents in the south, Russia will need all the military and economic strength she can muster. So the West shouldn't spend too much time agonizing over Russia.
> maybe a delegation of prominent American citizens should travel to Russia to offer the throne of America to Wise Czar Vladimir I...
How exactly a KGB man is better than a scion of CIA family currently enjoying the US presidency?
Both amply deserve a rope and a tree branch - as it would be enough to atone for their mass murders.
> it was obvious that Putin was very popular
That's what you get when the four generations of the best are systematically killed and driven to exile - the smartest, the noblest, the honest. Modern Russians are a disgusting nation of stupid brownnosers, wrecked by total alcoholism, rife with superstition, and the firmly held belief that one should steal if he can get away with it. In 100 years there won't be any Russia to speak of, Russians are dying off and are increasingly replaced by hordes of even worse barbarians from the Central Asia.
This is a sad fate for the nation which in the 19th century became the rising star of the Western culture. Before the french disease of leftism took the hold.
Like it or not, US is the last refuge of the Western civilization, with a significant portion of population still remembering what the freedom is about. Hopefully, they will finally wake up and put the end to the people's democracy in Washington, DC.
Leftism didn't give the Russians their national character. Communism ended in other nations and they responded in radically different ways. Look at China for example. Steve Sailer just quoted Black Sea by Neal Ascherson
The transition to a market economy in the lower Don requires more than laws made in Moscow. It needs nothing less than a cultural revolution, an overthrowing of inherited moral codes no less complete than the transformation which St Cyril intended.
Once in a hotel room at Anapa, I argued late into the night with a Cossack who had decided to start a tourism business. He was eating Azov herrings as he sat on his bed, pulling off their heads and splitting their bodies with a horny expert thumbnail. His idea was to invite rich foreigners down to the Don country for holidays. "You could bring them from Moscow on charter flights," I suggested. "And you could build a dude ranch out in the steppe beyond Novocherkassk, with comfortable chalets with running water, and offer them a Cossack Heritage Experience."
He shook his head. "That would cost money. To bring them by train would be far cheaper. They could stay with local people who have apartments, and would rent them a room for dollars."
But surely, I said, you had to make some sort of investment first to attract foreign customers, so that you could recoup the start-up costs and make a profit by charging high prices. "No, no," returned the Cossack entrepreneur. "The foreigners will pay very high fees, and we will spend as little on them as possible, and in this way we will make more money."
There were two other people in the room. One was a young archaeologist from Tanais, herself of Cossack ancestry. She had been listening to this conversation with rising disgust. Now she said, "We are talking about the sharing of our culture with guests from other lands. For that we do not need this vile commercialism!"
The other person was an Armenian, a Rostov worker who used his car as an unofficial cab. He said nothing. But he caught my eye. A gold tooth glinted. He rolled his gaze upward, and very gently shook his head from side to side in disbelief. Russians!
The Armenians think differently. The Georgians have their own ways. Ditto other former Soviet empire members. Granted, some got pulled into the USSR a couple of decades later. But not all.
Randall -- we have different points of view, since you know Russia from the books of authors who themselves had no insider knowledge of the culture.
I'm Russian (a real Russian - not one of ex-Soviet Jews typically called "Russians" in US). Grew up there.
I also have had a chance to compare current Russian culture (if it could be called that) with the time capsule of pre-Bolshevik Russian culture preserved in Russian diaspora. These are totally different. Even the language shifted from the melodic and expressive language one can still find in the pre-revolutionary literature to the ugly mix of illiterate, semi-obscene argot, and endless borrowed words for the concepts the Soviet culture couldn't produce on its own (I myself is guilty to contributing to this phenomena - having to "invent" more than a few words in the course of my professional and social life). Did you know that the modern Russian still has no word for "privacy"?
People who decry the "vile commercialism" are merely mindlessly repeating the Soviet propaganda. Very few people in Russia have any clue about market economy, indeed, way too many of them keep denouncing it even after it saved them from starvation during the late perestroyka.
The pre-revolutionary Russia was prosperous, rapidly industrializing, very lively commerce-oriented society. It succumbed to the combination of weakness of monarchy, disastrous involvement in WWI (which Russia didn't have any reason to go to) and the massive influx of illiterate former serfs and their children from the villages to the cities - which Bolsheviks were cunning enough to transform into a violent political force.
(China... well, Chinese have old Confucian traditions, which the Cultural Revolution wasn't able to erase. They had lost fewer generations to the communism than Russians did; the PRC is 32 years younger than RSFSR/USSR.)
Armenians and Georgians do not really have their own ways; they were subjects of Russian empire for a long time - since early 1800s. Stalin was Georgian, by the way. Nowadays their governments are merely hold-outs of old Soviet apparatchiks.