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I spend a perverse amount of time dragging the BBC over the coals for its Russia coverage.  I should probably be nice and point out when they say something intelligent:

The Putin circle calls the new Russia a sovereign democracy - a democracy defended against hostile foreign meddling.
But the odd - and very Russian - paradox is this: that this retreat from the democratic experiment in the 1990s seems genuinely popular.

Russians have voted to endorse it, and so it carries a democratic - or at least a popular - legitimacy of its own. And so the big question "Is Russia a democracy?" remains open.

More than half a century ago, America's greatest Soviet analyst, George Kennan, wrote a letter to the US state department from Moscow.

In it, he said that ever since the Bolshevik revolution, American diplomats had been trying to answer the question: "How has Bolshevism changed Russia?"

It was, he had concluded, the wrong question. It was more important to consider how Russia had changed Bolshevism.

Perhaps we should similarly invert today's question and ask not how democracy has changed Russia, but how Russia - eternal, enduring, long-suffering - is changing democracy.




"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Mar 4th, 2008 at 12:08:48 PM EST
Still, it's BBC writing about Russia, so in the rest of the piece they can not restrain themselves from stupid and false frames, the usual BS on backsliding on democracy, number of factually false statements, and all this peppered with trademark insecurity and paranoia of British elites shining through the piece.

Statements like this one


But Moscow - with its architecture of defensive seclusion from the world, its remoteness from the European mainstream - makes it better suited to today's Russia, too.

makes me wonder, if he is indeed in Moscow, does he even suspect that there is whole another world outside of his alcohol-soaked apartment?

by blackhawk on Tue Mar 4th, 2008 at 03:53:25 PM EST
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I know, I know...  But overall, he doesn't seem quite as mad as Rupert Wingfield-Hayes or dear Edward Lucas...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Mar 4th, 2008 at 04:06:03 PM EST
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Oh, looks like he indeed does get out, just unable not to tow the party line.
by blackhawk on Tue Mar 4th, 2008 at 04:40:56 PM EST
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