Open Thread: Is Putin Not As Omniscient As He (We) Would Like to Pretend?

Hope this clip plays correctly, because (Russian expat & smart journalist) Julia Ioffe’s theories about Russia are… not quite the same as those we usually tell ourselves. She says Russia’s success at interfering in America’s last election has led to “a certain amount of buyer’s remorse”; that Putin is “really a short-term thinker”, and that the Russia government’s penchant for “three-dimensional chess” most closely resembles the social mechanisms of a bunch of teenage boys. Cutting corners because you feel you *have* to cheat is not how a powerful, secure oligarch / nation behaves…

Here’s an August Icarus backgrounder NYMag just reposted — “How Bryan Fogel Accidentally Documented the Russian Olympic Doping Scandal”:

When director Bryan Fogel set out to make his jaw-dropping, absolutely insane doping documentary, Icarus, he didn’t know that he’d walk away with exclusive footage of what may go down as the biggest scandal in the history of sport. He was an amateur cyclist and second-time filmmaker in Los Angeles with a harebrained idea to try out doping himself, and do it on camera — kind of like Super Size Me of performance-enhancing drugs. He got his PEDs from an American doctor (they’re the same drugs used in controversial men’s anti-aging regimens), but had to look elsewhere for a scientist with a questionable moral compass who’d coach him in how to dope and get away with it. Fate brought him to a jolly, mustachioed guy in Russia with a penchant for shirtless Skype sessions. A guy who happened to be Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. What Fogel didn’t know when he went to Moscow to trail his new friend around with a camera was that he’d wind up inside Russia’s national “anti-doping” laboratory, which was really a front for Russia’s state-run program to juice its Olympic athletes — with alleged ties to Vladimir Putin — of which Rodchenkov happened to be the chief architect.

Fogel’s realization that Rodchenkov isn’t just a guy in a Russian sports lab, but the guy (and possibly Putin’s fall guy), didn’t come till much later on. He also didn’t know that his footage from that day would become evidence of a criminal operation and an institutional conspiracy. Or that he’d be the one to buy Rodchenkov the plane ticket that got him to safe harbor in Los Angeles, just after two of his associates had dropped dead under suspicious circumstances and as Putin was denouncing Rodchenkov as an enemy of the state in the press. Or that he’d then take Rodchenkov’s mound of evidence to the New York Times, exposing Russia’s “dark-of-night” doping operation at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games — which involved Rodchencov’s working with the FSB (a Russian intelligence service, one of the successors to the KGB) to switch dirty urine samples for clean urine collected months earlier. All of this under the noses of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inspectors, and as Russia was winning the most medals of any country…

79 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    So how will Putin have Trump punish all for this offense.

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  2. 2
    gene108 says:

    I wonder, if the Russian hockey players in the NHL can play for Team USA or Team Canada, as they play here or in Canada already.

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  3. 3
    clay says:

    It shouldn’t really shock anyone at this point that Putin will: a) cheat, b) deny it, c) murder to cover it up, d) when caught, whine that he’s being persecuted. Other than the murder, he and Trump are perfect for each other. (I think Trump is too cowardly to try it.)

    I wonder if Glenn Greenwald will think the IOC is simply another Deep State actor pursuing a McCarthy-ist witch hunt?

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  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    and that the Russia government’s penchant for “three-dimensional chess” most closely resembles the social mechanisms of a bunch of teenage boys.

    Three -dimensional chess is quite easy, if a large number of the pieces that you’re playing with are White Supremacy, the true religion of America. There isn’t nothing that Vlad did – in greasing the skids with outside groups, that didn’t have an undergirding of White Supremacy.

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  5. 5
    different-church-lady says:

    A rare instance of the IOC exhibiting higher standards than the U.S. Government.

    Probably not so rare going forward, since the elevator cable for our standards seems to have snapped.

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  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    Clip didn’t work for me but also trying on shitty work browser.

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  7. 7
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @gene108: You have to have a passport from the country you’re playing for.

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    Mnemosyne says:

    Oh, I totally believe that Putin is a short-term thinker. He’s trying to grab everything he can in the chaos like the smash-and-grab man he is. That’s what he has in common with the conservatives and white supremacists and why it’s so easy for him to ally with them.

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  9. 9
    randy khan says:

    @gene108:

    As G&T points out, you need to be a citizen of the country you’re representing. Also, in this particular case, the NHL has said none of its players can participate and its schedule does not have a gap to accommodate the Olympics. So no NHL players are going to the games.

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  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: “But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.”

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    different-church-lady says:

    @randy khan: One wonders what would happen if a player decided, “I’m going to the games anyway.”

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    randy khan says:

    Part of Putin’s problem is that Russia has become a second-rate power because its economy looks more like an African gold-mining country’s than an industrialized Western country. Russia is dependent on oil and mining industries for a huge percentage of its GDP, and the decline in oil prices a couple of years ago was more trouble for Russia than for the big Middle East producers. So, in a very real way, it’s hard to plan long term for Russia to become a world leader the way the U.S. or China might be. Short-term thinking, and tearing down rivals might actually be the best play he has.

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  13. 13
    gene108 says:

    @randy khan:

    That sucks.

    It was cool to see the NHL players playing in the Olympics. Made Olympic hockey the best of the best playing against each other. Kind of like the Wold Cup is to soccer. It won’t be the same, as it has been for the last several Olympics.

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  14. 14
    randy khan says:

    @different-church-lady:

    A very long suspension from the NHL, at a minimum. Apparently Alex Ovechkin considered it – or at least he said he wanted to go anyway when the NHL announced it wasn’t going to let players go – but he’s staying in the U.S.

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  15. 15
    Fair Economist says:

    @different-church-lady:

    One wonders what would happen if a player decided, “I’m going to the games anyway.”

    I think they are allowed to go as independents, but they won’t be allowed to represent their country. I don’t know how they handle # of competitors for independents.

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  16. 16
    Fair Economist says:

    @randy khan:

    Russia is dependent on oil and mining industries for a huge percentage of its GDP, and the decline in oil prices a couple of years ago was more trouble for Russia than for the big Middle East producers.

    Yes, and now we are looking at a serious possibility that a shift to electric vehicles will collapse the demand for oil in the next decade or two. That makes it hard to get investment money.

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  17. 17

    @different-church-lady: Unfortunate fall from a window or a stumble on the stairs.

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  18. 18
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    You have to have a passport from the country you’re playing for.

    Not quite. Each sport’s federation sets the standard for that sport.

    Example of 2 people who are legally identical (dual citizens of the US and their birth nation): my kid came from the same orphanage as Jordan Windle, US diver, who was mentored by Greg Louganis. Jordan will be on the platform at Tokyo, and if you missed the Lifetime series ‘Gold Medal Families’, catch more about him.

    He cannot dive for Cambodia because FINA (the FISA of swimming and diving) requires not just citizenship but 6 consecutive months of residency before the international event.

    In my kid’s sport, she registers which of her nationalities she is competing under at each competition…not even each year, which is a requirement in some sports.

    So, broad range of standards. But I’m charmed that so many of you all are thinking first of the athletes who have (honestly and legit) worked for decades in a corrupt system, and how they might be able to get their only shot at their dreams.

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  19. 19
    SenyorDave says:

    @gene108: As others have mentioned NHL players will not be in the Olympics. As a side note, the two wop Russian NHL players, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, are both big supporters of Putin. Ovechkin even started a social media website to promote Putin, something like “Team Putin”.

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  20. 20
    SenyorDave says:

    That should be TWO TOP

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  21. 21

    Holy crap. I went to B&N to write and missed like 5 threads. I’ll never catch up.

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  22. 22

    Is the R President going to order the US national team to boycott the games to show solidarity with our new overlords.

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  23. 23
    germy says:

    BREAKING: Mike Pence is preparing to be called for an interview with Robert Mueller
    Keep in mind Pence was chosen by Manafort to be VP. They’ve known each other for years. Also, Pence has his own Russian ties & had multiple Putin-linked meetings after inauguration. #PenceResign— Scott Dworkin (@funder) December 6, 2017

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @randy khan:

    Short-term thinking, and tearing down rivals might actually be the best play he has.

    But not so great for the long term stability and prosperity of humanity. What a fucking asshole.

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    gene108 says:

    @randy khan:

    Part of Putin’s problem is that Russia has become a second-rate power because its economy looks more like an African gold-mining country’s than an industrialized Western country. Russia is dependent on oil and mining industries for a huge percentage of its GDP, and the decline in oil prices a couple of years ago was more trouble for Russia than for the big Middle East producers.

    I think a lot of that is due to Putin and Co. not doing a good job of managing things beyond lining their pockets.

    I don’t pretend to understand Russia or Russians. Their history is just very different than that of Western countries or even many Asian countries. I really don’t know what drives a country to have authoritarian rulers, almost continuously for centuries.

    Asian countries had kingdoms, then colonialism, and then either some sort of dictatorship or democracy and the dictatorships have largely transitioned to democracies.

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    jeffreyw says:

    Trump – Doper, or Dope?

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @gene108:
    I’ve read that some out there right wingers believe Russia is the future of the West. To that I say, “Holy shit, I hope not!”. What a joke.

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  28. 28
    Yutsano says:

    @PhoenixRising: Name drop (and way OT): I met Greg Louganis when I was in college. What I didn’t know was how TINY he was. You can’t even believe he’s Pacific Islander. He was also very sweet and gracious.

    @jeffreyw:

    Trump – Doper, or Dope?

    ¿Porque no los dos?

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  29. 29
    WaterGirl says:

    @Fair Economist: Yeah, but what happens to them in Russia if they try to play anyway?

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  30. 30
    NotMax says:

    Cummings is not one to make casual assertions.

    Michael Flynn sent a text to a business partner as President Donald Trump was delivering his inaugural address last January that a joint plan between Russia and Flynn’s business allies to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East was “good to go.”

    That’s the account a whistleblower told Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has been investigating Flynn’s role in the project. Cummings described the account in a letter Wednesday to the panel’s Republican chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

    Cummings also said the whistleblower quoted a business associate of Flynn as saying the economic sanctions against Russia imposed by former President Barack Obama would be “ripped up” as Flynn’s first order of business as Trump’s national security adviser.

    The Maryland Democrat said he considered “credible” the allegations that Flynn “sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners.” Source

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  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    I really don’t know what drives a country to have authoritarian rulers, almost continuously for centuries.

    I blame their winters, though I don’t have a logical reason why.

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  32. 32
    The Lodger says:

    @SenyorDave: Molte grazie, tovarisch.

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  33. 33
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Mnemosyne: I dated a geographer for a time, and she said you’re right. Whatever weird cultural or political outlier you can name, her explanation was ‘Location, location, and location’.

    So climate, as a cultural development factor, is key. Harsh conditions for winter require a certain set of group mores to be compatible with human survival.

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  34. 34
    Yarrow says:

    @germy: Wonder if Pence is going to see the Trump bus before he’s under it.

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  35. 35
    ruemara says:

    The good thing is, our enemies are quite human. The bad thing is, so are our friends and so are we. We just have to be a bit better and more steadfast.

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  36. 36
    Mike in DC says:

    Hitler thought he was a great strategist as well. Except for two instances, he really wasn’t.

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  37. 37
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Hello, 28 year-old former hotel marketing executive and pants-steamer and speculated buffer between a conman and an email trail, meet the humorless former director of the FBI who was granted an extra term post 9/11 by special vote of Congress, and his associates with about two centuries of combined experience in criminal prosecution of mobster, money launderers, terrorists and frauds. Shall we begin?

    Jeremy Herb‏Verified account @ jeremyherb
    From mkraju and me on Don Jr. testimony: Trump’s son said he spoke with Hope Hicks, not his father, about the statement to respond to reports of June 2016 Trump Tower meeting

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  38. 38
    kindness says:

    Oh come on now. Vlad has to know everything is Hillary’s fault. Bernie told me so.

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  40. 40
    Hoodie says:

    @Mnemosyne: more generally, isolation and lack of trade and other forms of diversity. Weather contributes to that, but so does distance. Less opportunity for cross-pollination and comparative advantage, more ignorance and more cynicism. It’s what Trump wants for the US, dumb us down so he feels less inadequate.

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  41. 41
    Captain C says:

    @gene108: I think the NHL is not letting its players play in the Olympics this year. Otherwise, I’m not sure how that would go; maybe something like the 1992 Unified Team?

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  42. 42
    germy says:

    @Yarrow:

    Wonder if Pence is going to see the Trump bus before he’s under it.

    If it’s rolling coal he might smell it.

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  43. 43
    GregB says:

    Has Glenn Greenwald asked about the credible allegations of doping against the Jamaican bob-sled team yet?

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  44. 44
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mnemosyne: Authoritarian rulers were the norm until fairly recently (though their power might be limited by what was technically possible). Some places just never managed to acquire a liberal-democratic tradition. The US acquired it for some people and not others, which is our problem.

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  45. 45
    gVOR08 says:

    I’ve occasionally gotten the impresion that wrt/ hacking the election for Trump Russia is like a dog that caught a car. They don’t know what to do with it and are afraid they may get whacked.

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  46. 46
    Chip Daniels says:

    Putin is a KGB man.
    During the Cold War, we thought the KGB was some invincible force with superhuman powers, that could manipulate every sparrow that fell from a tree anywhere in the world. They had files and infirmation on every single man woman and child in the East Bloc, and could tell you the last book read or record purchased by any one of them.

    And yet, when the Wall fell, no one was more surprised than the KGB.

    All these great powers have blind spots, and repressive regimes biggest blind spot is that they favor political correctness, toadying and yes-men over accurate information.

    As exhibit A, I present the Trump Administration.

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  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Yeah, that was my (small) anti-Masha Gessen argument yesterday. I think she doesn’t realize how difficult it would be to just cancel elections in the US. Not only are there too many of them, they’re administered by the states per the US Constitution, and I’m not sure that even Republican governors would be willing to cancel all elections — including city council elections — just on Trump’s say-so.

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  48. 48
    ruemara says:

    @MJS: I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS MAN IS PRESIDENT.

    Sorry, at this point it’s like a tic.

    @GregB: To this Jamaican, I would presume some level of dope to have to be freezing for such a large amount of time.

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  49. 49
    Radiumgirl says:

    @PhoenixRising: Then how do you explain Finland?

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  50. 50
    Captain C says:

    @gene108:

    I think a lot of that is due to Putin and Co. not doing a good job of managing things beyond lining their pockets

    That about sums it up.

    I don’t pretend to understand Russia or Russians. Their history is just very different than that of Western countries or even many Asian countries. I really don’t know what drives a country to have authoritarian rulers, almost continuously for centuries.

    It’s long and complicated, but here’s the elevator pitch:

    Basically, since the Dukes of Muscovy kicked out the Mongols and established the state which would become Modern Russia*, Russia has swerved back and forth between strong authoritarians who kept order, and weak rulers who allowed things to become chaotic. USSR->Yeltsin->Putin is only the most recent manifestation of this; one of the first was Ivan the Terrible’s rule being followed by the Time of Troubles, during which the Poles managed to occupy Moscow for a few years in the early 17th Century. Combined with a total lack of democracy in their history (the Duma only gained substantive powers around 1905, and that was soon followed by the war and the chaos of the revolution), and you have a country which has no positive experience with democracy at all.

    Also consider that the Renaissance and Enlightenment never really hit Russia; they were expelling the Mongols and establishing their empire at the time and just after.

    Interestingly enough, the Novgorod Republic, which existed from around the 12th through the 15th centuries, could be considered a sort of proto-democracy; had they triumphed over Muscovy, the last 500 years would have been quite different.

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  51. 51
    Captain C says:

    @Captain C: Oops, forgot the explanation for the asterisk:

    *For various reasons, Russia claims descent from the original Kievan Rus, but there’s no direct line between the two. This is roughly if Italy were to claim unbroken descent from the Roman Empire.

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  52. 52
    Mike in DC says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Yeah, that kinda stuff leads to governors de-federalizing the national guard, citizens preparing for violent resistance, etc. A very ugly scenario.

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  53. 53
    different-church-lady says:

    @Fair Economist: I meant what would happen if an NHL player decided to go to the games, not what would happen if a clean Russian national wanted to.

    @schrodingers_cat: C’mon, this isn’t the NFL we’re talking about…

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  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike in DC:

    Trump would have to gin up a national emergency bad enough to justify suspending elections, and it would have to be worse than 9/11 since 9/11 did not cause elections to be canceled or even postponed.

    Sweet dreams! 😈

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  55. 55
    different-church-lady says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    I’ve read that some out there right wingers believe Russia is the future of the West.

    This is the kind of result typical of a Cult of Personality.

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  56. 56
    Barbara says:

    @PhoenixRising: Japan has a harsh climate. So does Mongolia and Korea, but they all have different paths of development, including in the area of governance. In the aftermath of WWI, in which the international war basically became a series of civil wars, Russia was the only country in which Bolshevism succeeded. Among other reasons, there was no popular support for any force that opposed Boshevism. There was no acceptable counterweight. Why would ordinary Russians in a number sufficient to win against Bolshevism risk their lives so that elites could continue to own everything and treat them like slaves? Scandinavian countries used to be authoritarian too, but eventually they were swayed by the Enlightenment and became part of the West in spirit as well as fact.

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  57. 57
    Mike in DC says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Well, he could attack NK, NK could respond by nuking an American city, the PRC could come to the defense of their ally, and then…

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  59. 59
    jay says:

    How long before Sessions starts using the DOJ like they did in the good ol’ days, if they aren’t already using whatever means are available to them to ratfk Democrats and any opposition for that matter? Think that’s not coming?
    My God, did we grow so soft over here that we never thought we’d have our backs against the wall again? Because they have abandoned pluralism altogether. “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.” I kinda feel like we’re finally there.

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  60. 60
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Mnemosyne: Difficult to be outdoors for long enuuf periods to demonstrate or fight?!? But then Bolshevick revolution… /snark

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  61. 61
    geg6 says:

    @gene108:

    Study some Russian history. In college, I studied quite a bit of it (Pitt has an excellent department of Eastern European studies) and their history is unique compared to almost any country in the world. Much of it, IMHO, is because of how isolated they have been throughout their entire history, whether because of the climate and geography or the vast distances or simply a character trait that proliferated because they didn’t mix much with others, and so they had fewer influences from their neighbors, whether those in Europe or Asia. It’s really fascinating stuff and more alien to us in many ways than any Asian, African or Native American or whatever civilization. Hell, they still have serf system hundreds of years after all other countries with such systems had moved on. Most Russians were living in the Middle Ages while everyone else had been living in Modern Times for a century or two. It’s a subject I have never lost a fascination with.

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  62. 62
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Mnemosyne: It would have to be worse than the Civil War. Elections, both state and federal continued during the Civil War without interruption. In fact, both sides encouraged soldiers to vote.

    Also, America has fixed terms that run out on a certain date. Cancelling elections means empty seats and nobody in charge. Parliamentary systems can flex terms and dates, but not us. If nobody else is elected, there’s no or very limited mechanisms for officials to continue in their job. In addition, we have so many positions that have to be voted on and we also vote on budgets too. Nobody gets paid if there are no appropriations.

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  63. 63
    SRW1 says:

    @Radiumgirl:

    Finland was Swedish until 1812. Helsinki has pretty much the same geographical longitude as Stockholm. In many ways Finland is like Sweden with somewhat less nice front gardens.

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  64. 64
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    9/11 did not cause elections to be canceled or even postponed.

    Although Rudy G did his damnedest to postpone the NYC Mayoral election, IIRC.

    ETA: I believe he also pushed to waive the term limits so he could be elected to a third term. Or something. It’s mercifully vague at this point.

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  65. 65
    SRW1 says:

    @SRW1:

    BTW: Today is the centenary of Finland declaring independence from Russia.

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  66. 66
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Mnemosyne: Difficult to be outdoors for long enuuf periods to demonstrate or fight?!? But then Bolshevick revolution… /snark@different-church-lady: Religious right thinks Putin will save US and West from LGBT ‘demons’ and re-establish permanentt white supremacy, which for many seems to be THE message of ‘christianity.’

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  67. 67
    Captain C says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Both, as I recall.

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    rachel says:

    @geg6: About thirty years ago, a friend of my sister told me “Most of Russian history falls under the rubric of ‘Don’t let this happen to you‘.” I’ve never forgotten that.

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  69. 69
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, Russia never canceled elections. You wouldn’t need to, you’d just make them so crooked that you could dictate the winner, and eventually make it very hard for anyone stupid enough to vote for the wrong guy. And there’s a rich American tradition of this, so it’s not some alien thing. But we also know it’s not irrevocable.

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  70. 70
    SgrAstar says:

    @geg6: I love it too, geg6. The history, the literature, the music…Russia is so fascinating. I should probably take another course on Russia, one that explores the modern, kleptocratic state.

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  71. 71
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Julia Ioffe is not a smart journalist.

    2013: She said Putin played no role in Snowden’s asylum. That Putin isn’t powerful and he had he hands tied on the issue by the Duma.

    Doesn’t anyone think Putin is an empty suit who gets shoved around by bureaucrats?

    2014: She appeared on All In and blamed Obama for Putin invading Crimea. She argued if Obama had Shock and Awed Syria Putin would have been too scared to move in tanks.

    George Bush carpet bombed Iraq and Afghanistan and did that frighten Putin and keep him from invading and seizing parts of Georgia.

    When she was with the liberal New Republic she wrote a glowing cover story on Rand Paul and how he was sincere about supporting immigration reform, that he felt the issues in his bones and it wasn’t a cynical stunt to gain favorable press. Weeks after the issue came out, Paul pulled out of the negotiations and began calling for mass deportation.

    But she’s telegenic, so there’s that.

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    RobNYNY says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Probably the same thing that would happen to any other employee who skipped work for a couple of weeks. A gold medal might mitigate, but maybe not.

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    Anne Laurie says:

    @SRW1:

    In many ways Finland is like Sweden with somewhat less nice front gardens.

    In many ways Ireland is like England, but you won’t make friends from either country by phrasing it like that!

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    stinger says:

    @SenyorDave: I did wonder.

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    randy khan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Actually, one election was postponed – the New York city primary, which was scheduled for 9/12. However, they had a good excuse.

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    J R in WV says:

    @geg6:

    But didn’t Russia have a strong relationship with France and French culture? I seem to recall that in St. Petersburg most upper class people spoke French in the last century of Tsarist rule.

    Of course the serfdom of Tsarist Russia was more horrific than even the slavery of Africans in the US. People were commonly beaten to death with the knout, a whip I won’t describe. For nothing. The serfs were worth less than nothing, they actually cost food which was hard to come by in Tsarist Russia.

    Or am I remembering a novel or something? I don’t care enough to look it up, correct me if I’m wrong and you care to…

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  77. 77
    Original Lee says:

    @J R in WV: From what I remember from my Modern Russian History survey course, Alexander I was the main reason the French had significant influence in Russia during the 1800s. My professor liked to compare the Russian ship of state to continental drift. Pre-Peter the Great, according to him, change was slow and initiated by either the church or the merchants. Mostly this pace of change was controlled by the twin forces of distance and winter. Peter the Great wanted to Make Russia Great by forcing a rapid pace of modernization, but he didn’t have the ability to overcome the huge amount of national inertia. Rulers after him also tried to speed up the rate of progress, but the churn was pretty much restricted to court and the outlying regions only saw ripples. Even the Communist Party couldn’t achieve universal uplift, although they certainly killed enough people to gain some momentum.

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  78. 78
    ProfDamatu says:

    As far as the Russian athletes go, it’s possible that some of the applicable sports federations will do what the IAAF did for the (track and field) World Championships this past summer (from which the Russian team was banned due to the doping scandal): Individual athletes that had not been subject to the tainted Russian testing regime – lots of top international competitors train somewhere other than Russia – and had tested clean were allowed to compete as neutral athletes. Hopefully that will be the case for the Olympics as well.

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  79. 79
    Kurzleg says:

    The Icarus documentary is pretty interesting. It starts off in one direction but then switches once the doctor with whom Vogel is working gets into trouble. I’m still not clear on how the doctor was able to leave Russia when all that stuff went down, but he seems to be credible.

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