Archives for posts with tag: Medvedev

An embassy is a conduit.
It brings information back and forth between the ‘host’ and the ‘sender’.

A spy ring is (intended to be) a ‘one way pipe’. It gathers information about the ‘host’ and transports it to the sender.

They have in common the fact that the bulk of the information is gathered from ‘open’ sources. From the media, that is. Newspapers, TV, radio, internet…

Imagine now the following situation.
There is this planet. Let’s say ours. Inhabited by us, the human people.
And you have some other people. One or more species capable of interplanetary travel. Who have found out about this planet and want to learn more about us before making contact.
Since they haven’t yet conquered us – as per our knowledge, and since there’s no evidence of any galaxy wide conflict raging on we may presume the aliens are fundamentally peaceful. Either naturally ’empathic’ – hence in no need whatsoever of being governed, or having such a ‘natural’ form of government that they’re very happy with it.
In their attempt to learn about us and to understand our situation before engaging in any way with us, the aliens have sent an ‘undercover’ fact-finding mission on Earth.

Right now!
When a country capable of yielding almost half the (self) destructing power available on Earth ‘happens to be’ at loggerheads with a coalition of countries which controls most of the other half of the destruction power already mentioned above.

The local agent employed by the fact-finding mission compiles two news articles which, in his opinion, summarize perfectly what’s going on on the planet.

“Medvedev alleged that some in the West would like to “take advantage of the military conflict in Ukraine to push our country to a new twist of disintegration, do everything to paralyze Russia’s state institutions and deprive the country of efficient controls, as happened in 1991.” “

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ‘planetary divide’,

Among those in the audience was Melissa Sauder, who drove nearly 350 miles from the small western Nebraska town of Grant with her 13-year-old daughter. After years of combing internet sites, listening to podcasts and reading conservative media reports, Sauder wanted to learn more about what she believes are serious problems with the integrity of U.S. elections.
She can’t shake the belief that voting machines are being manipulated even in her home county, where then-President Donald Trump won 85% of the vote in 2020.
“I just don’t know the truth because it’s not open and apparent, and it’s not transparent to us,” said Sauder, 38. “We are trusting people who are trusting the wrong people.”
It’s a sentiment now shared by millions of people in the United States after relentless attacks on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election by Trump and his allies. Nearly two years after that election, no evidence has emerged to suggest widespread fraud or manipulation while reviews in state after state have upheld the results showing President Joe Biden won.
Even so, the attacks and falsehoods have made an impact: An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from 2021 found that about two-thirds of Republicans say they do not think Biden was legitimately elected.

So.
Forget, if you can, about the war in Ukraine and about the US mid-term elections.
Let’s pretend you’re the head of the alien fact-finding mission.
What recommendation would you send back to those calling the shots in your organization after reading the two articles I mentioned above?

Hardly a day passes by without Putin, Russia’s current ruler, being present at the top of every major news channel.

While sometime ago he was lionized on the cover of many glossy magazines nowadays he is the star of a lot gloomier articles.

Happier days (last month). Photographer: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Image

What’s going on there?

About a week ago a prominent Russian journalist addressed an open letterto President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, where he discusses his case and the significance its abandonment has for Russia as a nation,

Oleg Kashin, the author of the open letter, which can be read here in English, had been beaten to a pulp some 5 years ago and Last month, on September 7, 2015, after a surprisingly exhaustive investigation by Russian police, Kashin revealed the names of his alleged attackers. The men appear to be linked to Andrey Turchak, the powerful governor of Pskov, and ex-employees of the security department of “Zaslon,” a company owned by Turchak’s family that designs and produces aircraft electronics and weapons-targeting systems. Though the evidence against Turchak and his entourage has mounted in the press, he remains free and in office. He hasn’t even been questioned.”

Well, Kashin’s case is the perfect illustration for what Adam Michnik has mentioned last August: “Russia non è uno Stato totalitario, ma è un sistema autoritario”  (Russia is not a totalitarian state but an authoritarian system).

This observation solves perfectly an apparent paradox. How come the Russian police discovers, after five years, who had beaten – following orders given by one’s of Putin’s own protegees – a political dissenter?!?
Simply because there is an important difference between an ‘authoritarian system’ and a totalitarian state.

The authoritarian leader cannot act, not yet at least, like a totalitarian one. He is not in full control of everything under the sun in his country.

This apparently small thing is of paramount importance. Sooner or later more and more Russians will figure out for themselves that Putin is bad for them. Bad for Russia’s long term future.
Meanwhile the rest of the world has to thread this situation very carefully. Every time one of us wants to say anything about what’s going on in Ukraine or in Syria we must use “Putin” instead of “Russia”. It wasn’t Russia – but Putin – that annexed Crimea, encourages the Ukrainian separatists and supports the Syrian dictator by bombarding the Syrian moderate opposition.

By mentioning them separately – Putin distinct from Russia – we send a very powerful signal to the Russian people. That we understand they are not personally responsible for Putin’s acts and that we know they are not yet able to change anything.

If we fail to do so we’ll fall into Putin’s trap.

Our failure to understand, and insist upon, the simple fact that Putin is not Russia is the only thing that enables him to portray the rest of the world as nothing but a bunch of callous people who are devilishly conniving against Mother Russia – and himself as the only possible savior of the Russian People.

Adam Michnik, La sfida di Mosca al mondo e sempre piu imprevediblie, La Reppublica, http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2015/08/18/news/p-121206360/
Adam Michnik, While we Praise Ukrainian Restraint, Putin Builds His Neo-Soviet Empire, New Republic, http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117462/adam-michnik-putins-post-soviet-empire-threatens-ukraine
Oleg Kashin, A letter to the Rulers of Russia, Global Voices, https://globalvoices.org/2015/10/04/a-letter-to-the-rulers-of-russia-from-oleg-kashin/Marc Champion, Why Russian Jets are Buzzing Turkey, Bloomberg View, http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-10-08/why-putin-s-russian-jets-in-syria-are-buzzing-turkey,
Better Failling, BBC dropped Clarkson. How much longer till Russia drops Putin?, Nicichiarasa, https://nicichiarasa.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/bbc-dropped-clarkson-how-much-longer-till-russia-drops-putin/
Michael Shaw, Reading the Pictures: Putin &Sochi: Let the FU’s Begin, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-shaw/reading-the-pictures-puti_b_4699356.html

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