The Body Is Funny.

Lev Oborin posted a poem on Facebook that I liked so much I wanted to repost it here and make an attempt to translate it; he gave me the go-ahead and explained a couple of difficult bits, so without further ado:

смешно уму с телом
то течёт красным
то стреляет белым

то к делам опасным
само себя клонит
то курсом напрасным

само себя гонит;
то снова здорово;
то от боли стонет
то от иного

смешно, право слово

оно треугольник
и над ним кружочек:
мяч прыгнул на столик

сел на клиночек;
пухни, тело, пухни,
лезь из сорочек,

пульсируй на кухне,
выжимайся в сушке;
потом все рухнет —
шлам, хлам, кольца, дужки,

крючки, завитушки

смешно уму с телом
устарелой картой
хоть ножом как мелом

по доске шаркай
хоть наклонись над
исписанной партой

все одно виснет
ум, понять силясь:
как признаки жизни
спеклись помутились

во что превратились?

ум раскинул сети —
монашеским плачем,
бодрым междометьем,

воем собачьим,
внутри себя вечем,
счётом неудачам:

улов не замечен,
ожиданье зряшно,
рыбарь не вечен,
ворону брашно.

смешно уму, страшно.

My version:

the body is funny
it flows red
it shoots white

of its own accord
it gets into a fight,
on a vain course

it rushes ahead;
again finds itself able;
it groans from pain
or from some other foible;

it’s funny, no fooling

it’s a triangle made
with a circle on top:
a ball jumped on a table,

sat on a blade;
swell, body, swell,
burst out of shirts,

pulse in the kitchen,
diet till it hurts;
then it all collapses —
slime, trash, rings, arches,

hooks, curls

the body’s funny
like an out-of-date atlas;
use a knife as chalk

on the blackboard in class
or bend over
a scribbled-on desk

all the same the mind
hangs, it tries
to grasp how life’s signs
curdle and dim

what have they become?

the mind has spread nets
with monkish laments,
hale interjections,

the howl of a dog,
an assembly within,
for failures a log:

the catch is unseen,
expectation in vain,
the fisher is doomed,
food for ravens.

it’s funny and fearsome.

As always, it’s a struggle to deal with the rich rhymes of Russian in the less lush environment of English; I’ve gestured toward the pattern without trying to reproduce it, and have depended on assonance and rhythm to pick up some of the slack. My main priority is to capture the sound and feel of the original, which in this case means a refusal to pad out lines: the opening line (repeated later), смешно уму с телом, is literally “it’s funny for the mind with a body,” but there’s no way to cram all that in without bloating, so I settled for “the body is funny” (the mind is the only entity that can find something funny, after all). The original has an archaic ring in Russian; one of Lev’s commenters compared it to the 17th-century poet Simeon Polotsky, and that makes sense to me (if you read Russian, there’s a selection of his verse here).

Also, this poem taught me the word брашно ‘food, viand,’ a Church Slavic doublet of Russian борошно ‘rye flour’; Proto-Slavic *boršьno is derived from Proto-Indo-European *bʰars- and is thus cognate with Latin far and fārīna ‘flour,’ English barley, Old Norse barr ‘grain,’ and Old Irish bairgen ‘bread, loaf,’ among others. I love that kind of thing.

Comments

  1. January First-of-May says

    I think I got more of a Kharms vibe myself, but that’s because I wasn’t familiar with Simeon Polotsky’s works; they do look much more similar.

  2. Yeah, I think Kharms was drawing on the same old tradition.

  3. It is strange to see снова здорово in its literal sense rather than as ” here we go again”…

    Mind laughs at its body, would probably work metrically. English isn’t too pliable a medium for poetry, but without case endings, one can pack quite densely in it…

  4. Mind laughs at its body, would probably work metrically.

    That could work, and then the last line would be “mind laughs and fears.”

  5. And now I learn there’s a village Сново-Здорово!

  6. I don’t know Russian, but I applaud your English version – it’s a great poem.

  7. I wonder if a more conventional English meter would do this better justice given that English “wastes” precious syllables on things like articles, copulas, and personal pronouns.

    You always have to give up something in translation, so I would probably give up the meter and keep more of the meaning. It seems to me that the mind-body juxtaposition is crucial to the original – and the implication doesn’t do it justice.

    The first words that sprang to mind on reading the first few stanzas were something like:

    The body is a funny thing
    to the mind it streams in red
    now spurting out with white

    now rushing forth instead
    its own dangers to invite
    reasons in its own head

    It chases its own tails
    now it bursts out in rude health
    now on pain its self impales
    now complains of something else

    It’s funny! Other words fail!

    It certainly loses a lot of it’s compactness and a little bit of the feeling of the form of being off kilter as a parallel to what it says about the body. But for me it resonated better with the overall feel as I experienced it in the original (mind you, my Russian is beyond rusty and my English poetic skills questionable).

  8. AJP Crown says

    Mind the body.

    It’s too bad Jim Morrison & co. missed the opportunity to make an album

    Mind
    The Doors

  9. @AJP Crown: They never would have anyway, not being British.

  10. It does remind me of syllabic masters – Simeon Polotsky (1629-80), yes, but also Dimitry Rostovsky (1651-1709) and Antiokh Kantemir (1708-1744). One of Kantemir’s best-known poems is subtitled “To my own mind” (K umu svoemu) and begins like this:

    O underripe mind, fruit of brief learning!
    Stay idle, do not impel my hands to labor…

    To writing, that is. Oborin is playing a bit loose with the number of syllables – most of his lines have six but some, only five, which was would have been OK for popular and/or humorous verse but not for the more serious, moral poetry. However, he’s sticking to feminine rhymes faithfully, as any syllabic versifier is supposed to.

  11. You always have to give up something in translation, so I would probably give up the meter and keep more of the meaning.

    Ah, well, that’s where we differ. As I’ve said elsewhere, for me the whole point of poetry is the sound of it; if you want to send a message (in the immortal alleged words of Sam Goldwyn), use Western Union.

  12. Beautiful translation — I have a minor criticism: in the line “то от иного”, in the Russian version my mind went to sex, doesn’t work if you specify “trouble”

  13. Excellent point — I’ll change it to “foible.” Thanks!

  14. I would like to join the applause.

    But not knowing any Russian, I didn’t know what sort of `log’ was being referred to. You compared the body to an atlas earlier so I thought it might be `log’ in the sense of a book of record but it could also have been `log’ in the sense of a lump of wood. I guess that ambiguity is not there in the original.

  15. No, it was meant in the “ship’s log” sense. I worried about possible ambiguity, and now I see I was right to worry. I’ll have to mull that over and see if I can do better.

  16. John Cowan says

    for me the whole point of poetry is the sound of it

    An extreme version of this position would claim that the following (in a non-rhotic accent) is the most beautiful poem in English:

    Cellar-door cellar-door cellar-door,
    Cellar-door cellar-door cellar-door,
    Cellar-door cellar-door,
    Cellar-door cellar-door,
    Cellar-door cellar-door cellar-door.

    In any case, when dealing with poetry in translation, it’s a matter of trade-offs: by the same token, you wouldn’t want to read a version of the Iliad in perfect English quantitative hexameters which is about “incestuous dukes in Tierra del Fuego” (h/t Philip Toynbee), would you?

  17. An extreme version of this position

    That’s not an “extreme version,” it’s a polemical caricature which has nothing to do with the position being caricatured. See the post I linked to in this comment for an example of what I mean.

  18. Too repetitious. Maybe:

    Seller – sell her cellar door!
    Sell ardor!

    Are door sellers cellar-door sellers?

    Sailor dough or cellar door or sell herd, or?

    Cell.

    Her door.

  19. Goddammit, I learn that Oborin has been arrested (along with a bunch of other people, of course):

    В Москве среди задержанных, в частности, оказались литературный критик и переводчик, редактор проекта «Полка» Варвара Бабицкая и поэт, переводчик и литературный критик Лев Оборин. Они находятся в ОВД Кунцево, к ним не пускают адвоката.

    In Moscow, among the detainees were Varvara Babitskaya, literary critic and translator as well as an editor at “Polka,” and poet, translator and literary critic Lev Oborin. They are being held by the Ministry of Internal Affairs police at Kuntsevo and not allowed to see a lawyer.

    Fuck these authoritarian assholes. May their end come soon, without too much blood being shed.

  20. Hearty Amen, and wishing Wannabe Mini-Stalin a long, long life in a small, small cell.

  21. Варвара Бабицкая is a sister of my oldest freind (but I am afraid, quite a number of them was arrested today). Actually, the situation here has been changing for a couple of years. We are a way more authoritarian now. That Moscow was never as authoritarian* as it was imagined (that is, having oppositional views here was safe – much unlike say Chechnya, so it is important to distinguish between cities) is a different story.

    * not the right word, actually, but here it stands for “degree of danger for opposition”.

  22. I have had my phone switched off for more than a month now. A friend of mine worked at the Spanish embassy in Kyiv for a while, and met Zelensky. I’m in Bulgaria, but who knows what the future will bring. Who knows what that psychopatic asshole (Putin) might get angry about — that we have Spanish military aircraft based here?

  23. Варвара Бабицкая is a sister of my oldest freind

    Wow, not many degrees of separation. I’m sorry about your friend’s sister, but glad she’s speaking out despite the danger. I hope they all get released soon…

  24. And V, I hope your phone service gets restored and your future looks brighter.

  25. Yes. I assume “friend’s sister” is a genre: I do not know her very well, but I saw her million times one millenium ago. I do not think she’s anyhow involved in politics (apart of being what she is and saying what she thinks). It is familial, though: her grandfather was on the red square in 68 and grandmother was arrested later (for ХТС I think).

  26. You misunderstand me, I deliberately shut down my telephone, because the very sound of a call (even vibrating) makes me go into panic.

    Oh! Sorry for the misunderstanding. Boy, these are hard times.

  27. No, sorry, I really don’t want to talk about this.

  28. Police make more than 1,700 arrests as protesters take to the streets in cities across country [Russia]

    (Must be from a Russian source with that anarthrous “country”.)

  29. I just saw a photo of a large protest in SPb. It’s heartening that so many people are willing to take risks to oppose the war.

  30. While it is wonderful that there are hundreds of protesters, are they typical? I would not be surprised (from my little contact with Russians) if the mass of the population were highly supportive of Putin’s war and little interested in the travails of those who are not. I might be wrong, of course, but I don’t think I’m over cynical.

  31. Who cares whether they’re “typical” (whatever that means)? It’s extraordinarily important for whatever portion of the population opposes official brutality to make that known. When I protested against the Vietnam War, it wasn’t “typical” — most Americans supported the war — but I’m glad I did it. The mass of most populations always supports their leader.

  32. Bathrobe: I’m not sure what you’re trying to say?

    > “if the mass of the population were highly supportive of Putin’s war and little interested in the travails of those who are not.”

    What are you trying to say that has an even remote touch with reality?

  33. I am suggesting that most people in most countries disappointingly get very jingoistic when wars are on. “Military madness”. As I said, it’s wonderful that thousands are out protesting, but I suspect they form a small minority. And I don’t think this is confined to Russia. If China invaded Taiwan, I think you would find almost unanimous support amongst ordinary Chinese. Yes, it’s very disappointing and disillusioning but (from my point of view) that’s just how it is.

    (Perhaps I have jaundiced views because of my experience in China, where many people, ordinary people, hold views that are quite repugnant to me.)

  34. Bathrobe:
    > If China invaded Taiwan, I think you would find almost unanimous support amongst ordinary Chinese.

    What are “ordinary Chinese”?

  35. Basically, everybody. Perhaps there would be a few who didn’t agree but from my experience (and I didn’t move in dissident circles) they would be highly atypical. I think Hat experienced similar chauvinistic attitudes in Taiwan (not about a Mainland invasion but about similar notions with irredentist hues like “Vietnam used to be part of China”, as though it were some kind of missing limb…).

  36. FWIW, the linked Guardian article quotes a survey which shows 45% of Russians support the war on Ukraine.

  37. Thanks, Y. That’s interesting. Maybe not quite as resolutely chauvinist and irredentist as the Chinese after all.

    (The one Russian I ever had a conversation about the Ukraine with, a multilingual cosmopolitan lady with (IIRR) a foreign passport who worked for several foreign companies, turned out to be a raving nationalist on national and territorial issues, which may have coloured my attitude.)

  38. Bathrobe: I’ve had a lot of conversations with Ukrainians, Unkrainian-identifying Russians, Russian-identifying Ukrainians, and just plain Russian (and a Russian from NIzhni Novgorod is not the same as one from Moscow, and is not the same from Peter. And so and so forth.

    They don’t wan’t to be ruled by Putin. They want to live in a free country. They don’t want to be ruled by a fucking dictator. Why are we even discussing that? A psychopath just invaded a country for no discenable reason beside his mania of empire.

  39. Why are we even discussing that?

    Maybe because history and countries are often guided and created by psychopaths.

    And no, I dislike Putin (and Xi Jinping) intensely.

  40. Bathrobe: I think you’re pretty ::biased:: but I guess you can’t help it. I’m trying to reach out to you.

  41. Is cynicism a bias? If you think it is then I’m biased. I certainly don’t support inhumane, racist, or oppressive regimes, but I’m cynical about the extent to which people are actually opposed to them, especially when patriotism/jingoism kicks in.

  42. What I imagine (and I hope someone who knows better will correct me if I’m off) is that Putin wishes he had a personality cult, where he could do no wrong. Stalin had it, even Trump. But Putin does not. He has right-wingers and nationalisats on his side because of his politics, not because they admire him, and if he fails he’ll be blamed (not that that would necessarily endanger his considerable power).

  43. Bathrobe: That’s not cynicism, that’s Putin’s worldview. It has nothing to do with cynicism.

    Also, I agree with Y.

  44. So do I.

  45. That’s not cynicism, that’s Putin’s worldview.

    Not true. Putin revels in his worldview. I, on the other hand, am saddened and sickened by it.

    Some people find cynicism comforting. I find it distressing but can’t see any other way of viewing the reality that confronts us.

    At any rate, I’m glad there are lots of Russians opposed to Putin’s war.

  46. David Eddyshaw says

    The trick is to have realistic expectations of people, so you won’t set yourself up to be disappointed.

    I endeavour to do this, but my efforts are continually thwarted by people gratuitously behaving much better than I could reasonably have ever expected.

    I’d start giving examples, but I think I’d get maudlin, and in any case this margin is too narrow.

  47. Some autocrats’ attempts to create a cult of personality work, but some—probably most, really—don’t. Putin has certainly made, over the years, some attempts to construct one for himself, but the results seem (to me as a total outsider, at least) very limited. I am reminded of a dry comment some historian wrote about his predecessor Brezhnev’s attempt to build a cult of personality—that the cult dissipated almost instantly upon Brezhnev’s death, since there “had never been much enthusiasm” for it to begin with.

  48. Actually, if you succeed in convincing a person that something is the majority view/consensus, it is quite likely that it will become this person’s view and this person will join the consensus.

    (and before reacting at this, imagine yourself reading in WP that the scientific consensus about something is […]. How likely you are to share it, if this “something” is complicated enough so that scientists can’t be really sure and familiar enough so that you could have your own opinion?)

    Humans are capable of reflecting on a similar recursive phenomenon, namely the concept of a “leader” (but are not quite capable of noticing it with opinions).

  49. And this is why taking over the Synchronizer (TV, that is) is important.

  50. “Personality”

    You are not allowed to appear in TV or politics unless you behave as if Putin is infallible. But no golden statues rotating with the sun as in Turkmenistan. He could have them if he wanted.
    And of coruse what is happening is not just Putin.

  51. I am relived to report that Lev Oborin has been released. I hope lots of others have too.

  52. Yes, V. B too. The guy I worry the most about was arrested a day before (for singing anti-war songs):)

  53. FFS! The algorithm has just coughed up an interview with Chomsky (recorded Jan 11). The Ukraine (starting about 11:00) crisis is America’s fault apparently, starting with George W Bush.

    Meanwhile Trump, Fox News and large parts of the Republican Party are gung-ho for Putin and then for Xi Jinping to take over Taiwan similarly. Is this the Party of “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!”?

    A bunch of protestors are marching in New Zealand, to complain about vaccination mandates (there is no mandate, voluntary vaccination rates are around 94%), mask mandates and lockdowns — carrying ‘Trump 2024’ banners. (They seem unaware they’ll be unable to vote for him, on account of NZ not being a colony of the U.S.A.) Swastikas have been daubed on our War Memorial at their Canadian-truckers style encampment outside the Parliament.

  54. That is the party of “War! Whooo! Party!”

  55. FFS! The algorithm has just coughed up an interview with Chomsky (recorded Jan 11). The Ukraine (starting about 11:00) crisis is America’s fault apparently, starting with George W Bush.

    Yes, a lot of lefties have gone off the deep end — or, to put it another way, revealed what has all along been the pathetic inadequacy of their analysis. People are wired to love simplistic on/off, black/white views of the world, lefties as much as anyone else. This is why it helps to be an anarchist: you’re insulated against thinking “my country’s leaders do bad things, so I’ll root for that other country’s leaders, they must be the good guys!” I still haven’t forgotten or forgiven Chomsky’s defense of the Khmer Rouge.

  56. Did Ch. back then have enough information to distinguish between Khmer Rouge, and, say, pre-Pinochet Chile?

  57. I still do not understand how one can substract propaganda against a regime without turning into its defender.

    I was misunderstood as a defender of Meinhof because I was irritated by false accusations. But M. seems unremarkable to me, I do not know if he was a good or bad person, I was irritated because it took too much time to figure out what happened. False accusations annoy me because they have nothign to do with reality.
    Still everyone assumed that I like the guy. But what if I were emotionally involved? What if I were not indifferent but wanted him to be a good guy? I am not fond of any regimes, I guess. Ask a modern, intelligent, educated and generally nice Serb about war crimes in Bosnia, she will say: “and how do I know that it is not lies?”

    Yes, someone who does care about people in Cambodia likely would have noticed that somethign very wrong is happening. But this “we or them, if you defend them, you are with them, if you object to lies about them you are supporting them” mentality is pervasive and media publish bullshit. Dealing with it is hard.

  58. David Eddyshaw says

    Yes, a lot of lefties have gone off the deep end

    I’m not sure that Chomsky is what you might call representative of left-wing opinion …
    (There is actually a common thread between his poiltics and his linguistics: inconvenient facts are simply ignored.)

    I can’t say that I’m seeing much support for Putin among left-wingers here.

    (It’s not supporting Putin to suggest that poilicy mistakes on the part of the West may have played into his hands, though it strikes me as being wise in hindsight at best.)

  59. A friend of mine was in Donbass in 2014 with the rebels (as a journalist). He sent his article to an “independent” Russian site where he worked. They did not publish it. He asked WTF, they sent a link to him and said “we did”. The piece was censored and only visible to people who have the link. He sent it to an independent Ukrainian site, they refused to publish it too, Then he wrote in FB and then both sites published it accusing each other in censorship.

  60. I was misunderstood as a defender of Meinhof because I was irritated by false accusations.

    I’m still not seeing what you mean by false accusations. He was said to be a Nazi and a racist, which he was. You were going into elaborate explorations of what exactly he said about various African groups, which seems pointless unless you’re denying the basic and obvious facts, which is why you seemed to be defending him.

    I’m not sure that Chomsky is what you might call representative of left-wing opinion

    Of course he’s not (thank God); I mentioned him as an example of what I objected to. I’m not sure whether by “I can’t say that I’m seeing much support for Putin among left-wingers here” you mean you’re not seeing any (in which case good for you, you move in the best circles) or just that you’re not seeing much support; in any case, there are definitely useful idiots who have been cluttering up Facebook (and doubtless other social media I don’t frequent) with increasingly tortured justifications of his behavior. Alex Foreman reposted a particularly hilarious tweet from an anguished woman who had just seen a clip of a Putin speech and wrote “Wtf is he talking about? He is wrong. He called Stalins [sic] regime totalitarin [sic]. Jesus… I thought he was smarter than this” and an apology from a guy who’d been defending Putin right up until the troops crossed the border and then said “What Putin is doing right now seemed genuinely unthinkable to me until this very moment. It is completely irrational from any standpoint and of course it is insanely criminal. Apologies for getting it wrong.” Apologies accepted, you twit!

    And Craig Murray tweeted a guarantee that Putin would not invade, adding “If you can ignore the false frenzies whipped up by the toadies and sheep who make up the entire mainstream media, you will perceive the world much more clearly.” This is the loony left I’m talking about, the ones who drink their own Kool-Aid and perceive the New York Times as “fascist” (yes, I’ve seen that said).

  61. I’m still not seeing what you mean by false accusations. He was said to be a Nazi and a racist, which he was. “

    Well, it is not a Meinhof thread. And I really do not give a shit about him.

  62. Then we’re all in agreement!

  63. Fair notice: no linguistic content, current events blathering.

    There is a small group of Russians who didn’t believe in the full-scale invasion as well and thought that the whole run up to the war was orchestrated by Biden and Putin to force Ukrainian concessions. They hate Putin, hate Minsk agreements and all that. Idiocy can be a part of every ideology. I propose idiology as a name for ideologically driven idiocy.

  64. Works for me.

  65. David Marjanović says

    Is this the Party of “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!”?

    Yes, why?

    What Putin claims to be is exactly what they wish to be; what he claims to want for Russia is exactly what they want for themselves.

    They were never against Russia. They were against everything to their left, foreign or domestic. That just happened to include the Soviet Union as the most obvious example.

    It is completely irrational from any standpoint

    Well, yes.

    I was convinced Putin’s goal was to keep threatening war indefinitely, because that would serve his interests of 1) distracting the Russians from their dismal COVID situation by promising to Make Russia Great Again and 2) raising the price of oil above 90 $ and keeping it there, so that, along with the usual gas exports whose price rose alongside that of oil, Russia would still have an economy and not plunge into poverty. After all, if he ever gets too unpopular to stay in power despite the propaganda apparatus and the poisonings and the show trials and everything, he can’t just retire to his illegal palace: once he can’t do anything for the rest of the mafia anymore, he’s a huge liability because he knows way too much, so he’ll be found dead the next day under extremely, extremely mysterious circumstances. Staying in power is a matter of life and death for him; he must stay in power, and that’s best accomplished by threatening war forever without ever actually triggering it. Of course that requires occasional gestures to the effect of “I really mean it this time”, like very publicly and pretty slowly moving ever more troops to the border.

    It was obvious the whole time that actually starting the war would be precisely counterproductive: it would trigger a long list of sanctions and cripple Russia’s ability to export oil & gas, and the patriotic fervor would burn up all at once instead of being stretched out over years and years.

    And then he started the war anyway.

    It looks like he’s really been surrounded by nothing but yes-men in his bunker behind the disinfection tunnels for a long time. It looks like he really believes enough of the idiologies (thanks for that word!) of Dugin, Gumilev and the like to have gone completely bonkers, measurable on the Timecube scale. Maybe dementia from Parkinson’s or from Long COVID plays a role, who knows. In any case, “[i]t is completely irrational from any standpoint.”

    Plus, I was wrong about the patriotic fervor burning up all at once! It isn’t burning at all, it seems. Instead, we’re seeing thousands of people protesting all over Russia even though street protests are currently illegal altogether. On the first day, the most common slogan was simply “нет войне”; on the second day of the war, yesterday, “нет войне и нам свободу” started to appear. If this goes on, the war is backfiring spectacularly.

    Concerning NATO, I still don’t understand what kind of fear kept it from simply being dissolved, honorably discharged, in 1991 as having fulfilled its task and outlived its usefulness. But Putin made NATO necessary again in 2008 at the very latest. Everything since then is on him.

  66. the most common slogan was simply “нет войне”

    I’ve also seen the нецензурный вариант “ХУЙ ВОЙНЕ.”

  67. David Marjanović says

    I’m reminded of the joke that explains the history & politics of Congo/Zaire since independence. The Congo is flooding. A scorpion is trapped and asks various larger animals to carry him to safety. One after another declines for fear of getting stung. Eventually, a hippo agrees after reminding him once again that if he stings, they’ll both die. In the middle of the river, the hippo suddenly feels a burning pain. In agony the hippo screams about how unbelievably stupid that was. The scorpion replies: “Mais c’est le Congo…”

  68. On the first day, the most common slogan was simply “нет войне”; on the second day of the war, yesterday, “нет войне и нам свободу” started to appear. If this goes on, the war is backfiring spectacularly
    It would be quite ironic if that sentiment would lead to Putin being overthrown, but I’m not that optimistic. At the start of WW II, Hitler complained about the total lack of enthusiasm for the war on the street (that was quite different to the flag-waving and outpourings of patriotism at the start of WW I), but he nevertheless wasn’t brought down by a popular revolution or an army coup, but had to be forced into suicide by losing the war and having allied soldiers on his doorstep.

  69. It has occurred to me that Putin might be brought down by his associates who grow tired of his driving the country into the ditch. That is, after all, how autocrats often end up. (Cf. the fate of the would-be autocrat Beria in The Death of Stalin.)

  70. @David Marjanović: I would have thought that part of what made that funny was that the hippopotamus, unlike the canonical frog, would not actually be killed by a scorpion’s sting, merely severely pained.

  71. David Eddyshaw says

    Leopoldo Galtieri could have testified that for dictators to start wars to boost their popularity is not always a successful strategy.

    Sadly, the parallel is not otherwise very strong. And Galtieri damaged the UK greatly in the longer term by rescuing Margaret Thatcher’s popularity …

  72. But even for Galtieri the problem wasn’t starting the war, it was losing it. No offence meant to the Ukrainian fighters, but I don’t think they’ll be able to defeat Putin’s army – they may hold out against them in some areas and turn Ukraine into a quagmire for Russia, but I doubt they will be able to beat back Putin’s army and chase it out of the country. As for the sanctions*) – an unpopular regime that is ready to shoot at its own people can survive them for a long time, as Iran shows. So, I’m not optimistic at all.
    *) The entire absurd theater of Russian diplomacy in the last few weeks makes sense in hindsight – Putin wanted to gauge the response, and when he was sure that his troops would only face Ukraine on the battlefield, and the West would only impose sanctions, he decided to strike.

  73. David Marjanović says

    I’m sure Congolese scorpions are worse than Greek ones… but then, hippos need a lot of effort to swim at the surface; they usually walk on the bottom.

    Putin wanted to gauge the response

    And it’s not even his fault he got it wrong. To its own surprise, the EU is now doing things it would not have considered possible 3 days ago. Several Russian banks are being excluded from SWIFT, Germany is sending anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles…

    an unpopular regime that is ready to shoot at its own people can survive them for a long time, as Iran shows

    Iran is ruled by religious nuts, not by a mafia that needs its gigabucks. And it’s not at war while running out of weapons and ammo along with the capability to produce more.

  74. Apologies for continuing the no linguistic content, current events blathering., but I’m confused.

    … Chomsky …
    @Hat Yes, a lot of lefties have gone off the deep end …
    … This is why it helps to be an anarchist: …

    In what sense was Chomsky ever a ‘leftie’?

    I appreciate American measures of ‘left’ are screwy: public-funded healthcare is somehow an idea that will lead to wild-eyed loonies running everybody’s lives.

    Chomsky is anti-big government, anti-capitalism, anti-Democratic Socialism of the European mode.

    I rather thought that made him … anarchist. (And wikipedia tends to agree with me: ‘anarcho-syndicalist’.)

    In what way is his flavour of anarchist helping anything?

    [Galtieri] rescuing Margaret Thatcher’s popularity …

    Um no, common myth. The Tory Party got fewer % votes (on a smaller turnout) after the Falklands War than the election before. There were some people waving Union Jacks in the streets, but most were totally pissed off and ashamed — even without Tam Dalyell’s acerbic commentary. What happened was that the wet Socialist/Liberals had split the counter-Thatcher vote before her tub-thumping began. And in a First-Past-the-Post electoral system, that left the Tory vote as the largest in many constituencies.

    If you want to help the parlous politics of America or Britain, change the electoral system, so it stops delivering the majority of Politicians from a party that didn’t get a majority of votes. We did that in NZ in 1995; there were a very painful couple of election cycles before the Politicians figured out that what gets them re-elected is collaborating and listening to the electorate.

    Anarchists are just a pain in the butt.

  75. David Marjanović says

    I rather thought that made him … anarchist. (And wikipedia tends to agree with me: ‘anarcho-syndicalist’.)

    …Yeah, that’s left, pretty far to the left of Social Democratic parties. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a definition of “left” that excluded that.

  76. David Eddyshaw says

    Um no, common myth

    I was there at the time … (as presumably you were.) I remember the public mood very well indeed.

    Thatcher’s government was very unpopular indeed before the Falklands war. She was sufficiently less unpopular as a consequence that she didn’t lose the next election; helped by FTP (as you say) and by an extremely cack-handed response to the invasion on the part of the then Labour leadership, which was all too easily misrepresented as selling out the Falklanders.

    In what sense was Chomsky ever a ‘leftie’?

    I would, as an unequivocal leftist myself (for you Americans, that’s “extreme radical socialist”), certainly describe Chomsky as left. He’d fit in fine in certain sections of the Labour party*. I’ve encountered people just like him at meetings**, and plotted to outmanoeuvre them …

    * A broad church, comrades. (Yes, we do call each other “comrade.” Just goes to show that Tucker Carlson is right about us, doesn’t it?)
    ** Especially the steamrollering approach to debate.

  77. David Eddyshaw says

    [Or even helped by FPTP. It may have been too early for her to be helped by HTTP, as happens at the present day …]

  78. AntC: I have enjoyed having this as a refuge from the ugly outside world, even through the Trump years, but what to do? It was nice sitting by the fire and chatting about ancient wars, and here one drops right in our midst (especially in the midst of the Eastern Europeans here). So even I can’t avoid this. The elephant is not just in the room; it’s tearing up the furniture.

    “The Left” in the U.S., to my mind, represents two different things. One is a collective noun for what you might call liberals, people who are drawn to certain political leanings. The other is more of a faction, in the sense of defining themselves through closing ranks and distancing themselves from Those Other People, the Right. I think of Chomsky as a representative of the second Left, which makes him automatically view everything through doctrinaire eyes and question the U.S.’s motives in everything it is against, including the current war, and, Lest We Forget, the Khmer Rouge.

    As you can tell, in this dichotomy I like and associate myself with the first kind of “leftists”, not the second.

  79. David Eddyshaw says

    @Y:

    You, too, would be welcome in the Labour Party. You could help in plotting against Chomsky.

    The “Broad Church” self-characterisation is actually a thing in the party, and, yes, it is a conscious echo of the Church of England. A lot of it is the realisation that division on the left just perpetuates Tory power, not least because of the way the electoral system works. Unfortunately not-Tories are divided politically anyhow, which does indeed have the consequences that AntC points to. I spend some time with Plaid Cymru friends trying to convince them of this.

  80. In what way is his flavour of anarchist helping anything?

    Not at all. If he’s an anarchist, he’s one of the many asshole anarchists who give anarchism a bad name.

    Anarchists are just a pain in the butt.

    What the fuck? Do I come into your house and insult you?

  81. I’d hate to belong to any party (except the type with balloons and singing or such.) Non-factional leftists can be as far left as the factional ones, they are just not tribal about it.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “non-Tories”. It makes me think of the current anybody-but-Netanyahu coalition in Israel, which in theory brought together nearly the entire political spectrum of the country to dislodge the previous government. In practice the government veered to the right, with the leftist members of the coalition shorn of significant power and compelled to glue the thing together under the threat of “Surely none of you wishes to see Jones Netanyahu back?” A comparable scenario may be in the works in Hungary.

  82. One of John Erickson’s military histories of the Red Army in WWII was titled “Soviet liberation, Soviet conquest, 1944”.

    That describes current war on Ukraine perfectly.

    Russian public supports war for liberation of Eastern Ukraine where Russian population is oppressed, but they are not at all persuaded about necessity of conquering the rest of Ukraine.

    I don’t think Putin made a good case for that for the Russian people.

    I think the goal of invasion was a negotiated settlement where the Eastern Ukraine is out of Kiev’s control forever and the remainder of Ukraine is neutralized and demilitarized.

    But this requires Western support for such kind of diplomatic settlement and I don’t see it at the moment. On the opposite, the West appears to want a long protracted war in the Ukraine, a kind of Iraq and Afghanistan which would seriously undermine Russian military power.

    We’ll see what happens.

  83. David Eddyshaw says

    I’d hate to belong to any party (except the type with balloons and singing or such.)

    Well, that just means you’re normal. All but a few of my friends and relations share your opinion.

    But disengagement, in a functioning democracy, means letting the Trumps and the Johnsons rule. As I have the good fortune to live in a country where opposition to bad government doesn’t land you in prison, it seems to me a civic duty to participate actively. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t. I understand well enough that most people do not share this view. I think they should, but I wouldn’t break a friendship over it.

    Also, we have balloons and singing. Are you sure I can’t persuade you?

  84. SFReader, I am sorry, but it seems we are well past the stage of “liberating oppressed Russians of Eastern Ukraine”. And honestly, most people learn some time before the official age of emancipation that whenever they want something, it doesn’t obligate other people to give it to them. Starting a major war because others are mean to you is a very dangerous approach.

  85. Anarchists are just a pain in the butt.

    I mean: one writes a load of fairy-tale claptrap in the Manifesto about the withering-away of the state, just to keep them on side. Then they go throwing bombs drawing the attention of the authorities at inconvenient times — tactically naïve but at least one thinks they’ve got the message. Then when putsch comes to shove, they go all idealistic and bleeding-heart for the noble souls of the Serfs and Proletariat. Pain in the butt.

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, comrade.

    Do I come into your house and insult you?

    Yes (electronically); I accept it as part of the cut-and-thrust. I thought that remark would be more anarchistic and more humane than kicking the cat. Cats not being known as Anarchists or Socialists, probably are up with my point already.

  86. I think the goal of invasion was a negotiated settlement where the Eastern Ukraine is out of Kiev’s control forever and the remainder of Ukraine is neutralized and demilitarized.

    Yes. Militarily relatively cheaply pin down most of Ukraine’s forces defending Kiev; easy to hop back across the border with ByeloRus. Meanwhile consolidate control in the East: Kharkiv is the main prize; and extending the seaboard as far towards Crimea as possible.

  87. it seems to me a civic duty to participate actively.

    And I did, back when there were Socialists to participate with, and Neil Kinnock was a Welshman. I even held my nose and campaigned for my local candidate, although his views were indistinguishable from the Tory. (Michael Barney Hayhoe I called him/them.)

    I was rent-a-mob on the picket-lines at Grunwicks; I was backing the miners and steelworkers in the North.

    But for sons-of-Thatcher [*]? I’d rather leave the country — which I did.

    [*] Excellent political history by Simon Jenkins.

  88. Concerning NATO, I still don’t understand what kind of fear kept it from simply being dissolved, honorably discharged, in 1991 as having fulfilled its task and outlived its usefulness. But Putin made NATO necessary again in 2008 at the very latest. Everything since then is on him.

    @DM, the ICG report of 2004.

    The conflict began when Ossetia was an Autonomous Region in Georgian SSR. Georgian nationalists wanted independence. Sensing this, Ossetians wanted to change their status in Georgia (so they could stay within USSR). “And the battle began” as they say in Warcraft. The region never was in independent Georgia since 1801. It remained so on paper – and largely because Moscow wanted so. Same with Karabach.

    Russian presence there also began earlier. I am not sure if it was continuous (that is: whether Soviet and then Russian forces were ever withdrawn), I have no reason to think it was not. Since 1992 a Russian (alonside with Georgian and “Ossetian”) unit was stationed there as a part of “Joint Peacekeeping Force”.

    Georgian expedition to Ossetia in 2008 was a war of conquest against a hostile population in a situation of an inter-ethnic conflict.

    I do not know if you really want NATO to take part in such things and possibly also to support an invasion from mainland China to ROC or from Taiwan to China or both (because mutual status of ROC and PRC is even worse) or “Western media” are indeed much worse than LH thinks.

  89. Georgian expedition to Ossetia in 2008 was a war of conquest against a hostile population in a situation of an inter-ethnic conflict.

    I won’t edit this line, but it is potentially inaccurate.

    The “war of conquest against a hostile population in a situation of an inter-ethnic conflict.” is what you see in Karabakh. I think the degree of hostility and bitterness in Georgia-Ossetia case is somewhat below that, and my description is not accurate. But still Saakashvili tried to conquer a region that independen Georgia never controlled, and still there was a degree of hostility.

  90. To put it simply: People who stand against the war in Russia today hardly would have supported Saakashvili’s invasion in Ossetia in 2008. Because they are against invasions.

  91. I mean: one writes a load of fairy-tale claptrap in the Manifesto about the withering-away of the state, just to keep them on side. Then they go throwing bombs drawing the attention of the authorities at inconvenient times — tactically naïve but at least one thinks they’ve got the message. Then when putsch comes to shove, they go all idealistic and bleeding-heart for the noble souls of the Serfs and Proletariat. Pain in the butt.

    You talk about anarchists the way right-wingers talk about leftists (or the way anti-Semites talk about Jews); you clearly don’t know any and have absorbed your ideas about anarchism from people who know nothing about it. I suggest you learn something before shooting off your mouth in future.

  92. David Marjanović says

    A comparable scenario may be in the works in Hungary.

    It is; everyone but Fidesz got together and agreed on a single (quite conservative) candidate a few months ago.

    I think the goal of invasion was a negotiated settlement where the Eastern Ukraine is out of Kiev’s control forever and the remainder of Ukraine is neutralized and demilitarized.

    That’s similar to what I’ve been reading: that the “neutralized and demilitarized” part was to be accomplished by replacing the scarily, scarily pro-Western government of Ukraine with a friendly oligarch, and the plan (as distinct from the goal) was to create a panic in Ukraine, swoop in, declare “mission accomplished” and swoop out on the same day or nearly so, creating a fait accompli. No resistance was expected. Peace would have been restored before the West could quite grasp what had happened, let alone agree on sanctions or anything. This would have taken things off the table much like Trump’s sudden movement of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Putin would have created a new status quo overnight, and everyone else would have had to adapt to it somehow.

    This is why the whole adventure was so stunningly badly organized. Most of the soldiers are 19-year-old conscripts who were, according to several independent sources whose realibility I can’t check, not even told what they were doing – they were told this was some kind of exercise. The propaganda machinery was asleep at the wheel – seriously, one day Putin suddenly announces out of the blue that Ukraine needs to be “demilitarized and denazified”, and the next day he invades? He can do better than that. He didn’t believe he needed to.

    It goes on. This tweet is by a MEP from Estonia. It contains a photo of a text in Russian. The text is retyped, I have absolutely no way of telling where it really comes from. However, it contains so many hypotheses we will all test by just waiting a few days longer (if that!) that it would be a very strange thing to just make up.

    It says that Russia is already out of weapons and ammunition, and is physically unable to produce more anytime soon. The raw materials used to come from Slovenia, Finland and Germany – that’s history now.

    The part with the panic didn’t work at all. Not only is there resistance, but it’s actually using the Javelins, N-LAWs and Bayraktar drones Ukraine got over the last few months, which everyone knew because it was all on the TV news. And the Russian tanks that aren’t being blown up have run out of fuel. There is no logistics – no logistics was expected to be necessary.

    We’re past “The stupid! It burns!” here.

    The stupid oxide! It stinks!

    A day or two ago Putin, obviously desperate, asked Kazakhstan for assistance. He had after all just saved the dictator there – who didn’t care and simply declined. That would normally be stunning. Given the above, though, it’s not surprising at all. Today Belarus announced it’s joining the war; it’s not in a position to say no. I’m sure its conscripts have, like, any motivation to fight at all…

    Meanwhile, Putin seems to have been completely unable to grasp the end-of-history idealism that is so widespread in the West in general and in Germany in particular. People like me, or Scholz and his entire three-party coalition government apparently, can’t imagine that someone just starts a war. Scholz is fucking furious that someone dared to start a war like some 20th-century asshole. This time it’s not a crazy American president like in 2003, this time it’s someone Scholz can actually do something about. (…And it helps that the other side isn’t a crazy murderous dictator like in 2003 either.)

    Scholz is SPD. Half the SPD of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was involved with Nord Stream 2 (up to and including a corruption scandal that came out last week). Half a dozen of the most important and influential former officeholders of the SPD are sitting on the boards of Rosneft, Gazprom and the like. Up to February 23rd, lots of people thought Germany would be very hesitant to join sanctions if Putin invaded. When Putin actually did the unthinkable, Germany immediately canceled the recently completed Nord Stream 2 despite all the money and prestige sunk in it, hesitated half a day to join the less spectacular sanctions, a day and a half to cut various Russian banks off of SWIFT, and two days to reverse a decades-long policy that Scholz’s party and especially one of its coalition partners had long fought for: not to allow weapons to be sent into a conflict zone. Yesterday Scholz barely restrained himself from tweeting “fuck you, you fucking fuck” and announced Germany is sending 1000 Panzerfäuste 3 and 500 Stingers to Ukraine.

    Putin’s headspace, in contrast, appears to be stuck in the 1970s. Starting a war is no big deal, there’s always someone starting a war somewhere, isn’t there? And mine will be so short you’ll barely even notice…

    I do not know if you really want NATO to take part in such things

    Uh… no. The point, the single point of NATO is deterrence: to protect the member states by threatening war, potentially thermonuclear war, on anyone who’d attack one of them. Two third parties fighting each other is of no interest to this.

    Indeed, like Ukraine, Georgia has not so far been allowed to join NATO because everyone knows Putin would feel provoked.

    (That might change now that everyone has learned Putin feels provoked anyway. See also: Finland and Sweden suddenly making noises about potentially joining NATO, the exact opposite of one of Putin’s general policy goals.)

    an invasion from mainland China to ROC or from Taiwan to China or both

    The ROC is not a NATO member. If it is attacked, the US alone could well intervene, but NATO would not.

    (I don’t think such an invasion is going to happen. The PRC and the US both have nukes. Nukes are also why there’s not going to be a no-fly zone over Ukraine, for example.)

  93. David Eddyshaw says

    To put it simply: People who stand against the war in Russia today hardly would have supported Saakashvili’s invasion in Ossetia in 2008. Because they are against invasions

    I’m not quite clear whether you’re being ironic here, drasvi, but I for one am exactly such a person. I think that would be the consensus here among those who actually know anything about the background to those events in Georgia, who admittedly may not be present here in huge numbers. That is not to say that the Russian strategy was not also highly opportunistic. The British were good at that “selflessly intervening outside our borders to prevent injustice” thing too, which similarly mysteriously tended to leave the helpees as British client states. (In fact the Romans pioneered this wheeze … there’s nothing like learning from the masters.)

    Abkhazia is a pretty similar story, as regards both Georgian and Russian involvement.

  94. And the Russian tanks that aren’t being blown up have run out of fuel.

    This, like so much else in the invasion, is reminiscent of Operation Barbarossa (substituting “German” for “Russian,” of course).

  95. David Marjanović says

    not to allow weapons to be sent into a conflict zone

    Like… imagine a country where idealism is widespread enough that not only do people like this minister actually become ministers, but what he wants in this clip actually becomes official policy. Of course the practical limitations Sir Humphrey points out all remain; of course the implementation remains laughably uneven (define “conflict zone”…); but still.

    Abkhazia is a pretty similar story, as regards both Georgian and Russian involvement.

    Yes.

  96. @DM: Many of your sentiments are what I was thinking at the time when Saddam invaded Kuwait. The outrage felt by many, even opportunistic unfeeling Realpolitik types (like the Bush I administration) came from the sentiment that That’s Just Not Done. You can foment civil wars, install puppet governments, or finance terrorists, if you want to bring down a rival country; that’s how gentlemen do it in this enlightened age. Simply invading a country and absorbing it is unforgivably gauche anymore. Saddam, another powerful but incompetent strongman who thought himself a genius, failed to appreciate that.

  97. On idiot lefties, see the impassioned “letter to the Western Left” by a Ukrainian leftist.

  98. Saddam,
    (1) did not have nukes
    (2) is a hero of many Sunni Muslims.

    When I name Assad, Qaddafi and Saddam people do not understand me. One is an incredible asshole, one is stupid, one is the guy for whom so many people cried. Nothing in common:/ Like, you know, Princess Diana and Merkel. The situation changes, of course, when I speak to Iranians (especially those who lost family members in the war wtih Iraq).

    Oh fuck.

  99. Meanwhile all have a-aa (a-a for Assad) and a geminate.

  100. @David Eddyshaw, this time I was addressing David M:). Yes, I too do not like Russia’s actions…

  101. This, like so much else in the invasion, is reminiscent of Operation Barbarossa (substituting “German” for “Russian,” of course).

    In the utter condescension and petulant anger towards the enemy, slovenliness in preparation and apparent corruption in the officer corps, (as well as the fierce and apparently unexpected resistance from the entire local population) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reminds me quite a bit of Austria’s attack on Serbia in 1914. But the Russians have no German ally to bail them out.

  102. Another good comparison.

  103. Hat: Bilous’s letter is amazing in every respect. Thank you for posting it.

    See, that’s why I wish there were two different words for the concept subsumed by “Left”. I cringe every time I hear myself lumped in a group with these fools, the sort of people who defended Stalin in the 1950s to show McCarthy that he will not be the boss of them, or (more in my direct experience) the people who defend any action of Hamas to show how far they are from Israel’s right-wing policies.

  104. I know, me too.

  105. David Eddyshaw says

    (It’s just occurred to me that in my previous comment I imply that there is widespread ignorance of the background to the Russia-Georgia conflict over South Ossetia among those “here”: I should point out that by “here” I mean “in the UK”, not “among commenters on this site”, a goodly proportion of whom know a lot more about it than I do …)

  106. @DE, let me remind then that Alans are credited by some for installing king Arthur and the round table…:-E

    (though I still do not know who was that Caucasian guy whose offical name in his passport was “King Arthur”. Perhaps a Georgian)

  107. Not only is there resistance, but it’s actually using the Javelins, N-LAWs and Bayraktar drones Ukraine got over the last few months, which everyone knew because it was all on the TV news. And the Russian tanks that aren’t being blown up have run out of fuel. There is no logistics – no logistics was expected to be necessary
    I didn’t have much time to follow the news in detail today, but if that’s the case, suddenly Putin putting the nukes on alert makes terrible sense. If he really feels he is losing his gamble, god knows what he will do …

  108. David Eddyshaw says

    (though I still do not know who was that Caucasian guy whose offical name in his passport was “King Arthur”. Perhaps a Georgian)

    No, no: you’re thinking of the patron saint of the Englishhe was Georgian …

  109. David Marjanović says

    when Saddam invaded Kuwait

    Good point.

    Austria’s attack on Serbia in 1914

    Ah, that I can imagine.

    If he really feels he is losing his gamble, god knows what he will do …

    We’re about to find out.

    Though he also fired the military chief of staff, Gerasimov, who in the video had simply said “есть” less than an hour earlier. Shoygu did not look happy in the video either. Maybe the craziest orders will not be carried out.

  110. I’ve also seen the нецензурный вариант “ХУЙ ВОЙНЕ.”

    Contamination from earlier путин хуй, the motto of protests in 2011 (it soon gave хутин пуй).
    (not necessarily, actually:))

  111. Russian tanks

    And мотолыгаs—aka the MT-LBs—дон. One’s vocabulary is quickly expanding these bloody days.

  112. Я – это Россия, Россия – это я“. (from дон link above) –
    the source of disagreement between him and listeners reminds ana’l-ḥaqq. But he is a Sufi…

    On the other hand there was a joke about a kosmonaut Habibullin who forgot his call sign. “Земля, я Хабибулин, кто я?” “Сокол ты, жопа, сокол!”. (was there a tradition of using жопа in the sense of бля? Because there is also a здравствуй, жопа, новый год)

  113. дон

    Great stuff there; besides the fascinating “don” explanation, I love the first video clip with the parody of his incomprehensible speech.

  114. A minor nitpick re the Ramzanka Dyrov page: it’s луьлла.

  115. It’s also Southern Russian/Ukrainian люлька.

    жопа in that Habibullin joke (first I hear, great joke) is obviously a reference to Habibullin himself. It makes the joke very funny. In the first line H. names himself and then comically asks about his name and in the second he is given his official call and unofficial description.

  116. (For folkloristic precision: I heard it as “Сокел ты, жопа, сокел”)

    @D.O. yes, I always understood it

    (very literally)
    “Earth! Earth! I [am] Habibullin, who [am] I?”
    “Falcon you [are], arse, falcon”.

    …as a paradox based on confusing use of numerous definitions and identifiers, and zhopa as an insult directed at Habibullin. It can be simultaneously heard as “falcon, you are arse!” (which is already crazy) and in many other ways. And even Habibullin (a common Tatar/Bashkir surname) sounds funny to Russian ear.
    And this is why the joke (and the punchline) is retold.

    But now I rememebered здравствуй жопа новый год “hello-arse-new-year”* (New Year is a holiday more popular than Christmas) which is also paradoxal. I do not undertand why it is funny, why it is repeated, and what on Earth this sequence of words is. I think I understand it as “Hello, arse! Christmas.” :-/
    I only use it because it is a paradoxal phrase that others use. Funnily paradoxal. I do not know what the arse is doing here, and what new year is doing here.

    But if there was a tradition of using жопа as блядь (or дон) both lines make sense.
    Or well, “Hello [fuck it!] Christmas” does not make sense, but it makes more sense.


    *Compare Эфраим Севела, остановите самолёт — я слезу, http://lib.ru/INPROZ/SEVELA/samolet.txt

  117. Many translations here https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pipe (translations, “rigid pipe”) and most of them here https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tobacco_pipe contain labials.

    Like pipe. Or like (for pipes other than smoking) Swahili bomba ( 1. pipe, pipeline 2. pump, < Port. bomba says Wiktionary).
    Or ʾunbūb (they say from Aramaic from Akkadian, but I am not sure they are sources and not cognates).

    This lula
    “لوله • (lule) 1. tube 2. pipe” — I do not know how you distinguish between ‘tube” and “pipe”, are they truba and trubka? — “Probably from Middle Persian lwlk’ (rūrag, “*herb”). Compare Mazanderani لیله‎ (lile, “stalk”) (hence Tehrani لیله‎ (lile, “stalk”)).”

    is anomalous. Liquid-liquid.

    Yet there’re also Polish rura, Czech roura and a large family of Germanic words: Rohr, Icl. rör etc. They are liquid-liquid and clearly onomatopoeic.

    I wonder why pipes (not smoking ones) may attract this liquid-liquid onomatopoeia.
    (The labial is hidden in the root vowel…)

  118. Funnily, it is Slavic languages that have lul- words for smoking pipe

  119. キセル【煙管】 キセル【煙管】 ローマ(kiseru)
    【<カンボジア語 khsier (管の意)】 1 〔喫煙具〕 a traditional Japanese (tobacco) pipe.

    I wonder how the Cambodian word is to be pronounced.

    https://www.jti.co.jp/tobacco/knowledge/variety/oriental_pipe/index.html

  120. David Eddyshaw says

    Kusaal for “pipe” (of the kind you smoke) is tabdʋk, which is a transparent compound of taba “tobacco” (from Hausa in the first instance) and dʋk “pot.”

    However, there is a form tʋrʋg in Naden’s dictionary, which is actually inflected like a compound of dʋk (and the r/d change would be regular if it were); it must be a real word though, as the Toende dialect has tʋrʋk. It has a loanword-like look about it: it could just be a worn-down form of tabdʋk (Mampruli has tadukku “pipe”, again inflected as compound of dukku “pot.”) But Kusaal often adapts loanwords by analogy (e.g lɔmbɔn’ɔg “garden”, which has nothing to do with bɔn’ɔg “ricefield, swamp” historically, but is borrowed from Hausa lambu.) So this doesn’t at all rule out tʋrʋg “pipe” being a loanword. But if so, I don’t have any idea where it’s from.

    Conceivably tʋrʋg could even be the original form, with tabdʋk based on a folk etymology of the same word rather than being an independently created word. The tʋ- component of tʋrʋg doesn’t seem to mean anything in Kusaal.

    [You “drink” tobacco in Kusaal. And Hausa.]

  121. que sorver?
    As I was looking for Cambodia (found it here WP Kiseru) I also found an article trying to connect Siberian smoking pipe-words (Bur. ganza, Yak. xamsa Ky. qanja – Даль, Russian ganza “f. Siberian. Mongol or Chinese smoking pipe-DIM”) that sound like you all know what to what they sound like, that is Sanskrit gañjā.

    (researchgate pdf)

  122. tabduk does sound as a word for pipe for my Russian ear:)

    Perhaps because it is similar to mundštúk (it is tempting to write it mundtštúk – not even hypercorrection, just let’s stumble on this consonant cluster properly:)), čubuq, smoking words, and also Arabisms sunduq, funduq.

  123. I wonder why pipes (not smoking ones) may attract this liquid-liquid onomatopoeia.

    Because liquids flow through them! Making noises like glug, plop, drip, rush, burble, rumble: i.e., liquid-containing onomatopoeias.

    Not a serious suggestion, but not totally un-serious either. The phonetics term “liquid” doesn’t originate from the sounds of physical liquids, but rather, according to Wikipedia:

    The grammarian Dionysius Thrax used the Greek word ὑγρός (hygrós, “moist”) to describe the sonorant consonants (/l, r, m, n/) of classical Greek.[3] Most commentators assume that this referred to their “slippery” effect on meter in classical Greek verse when they occur as the second member of a consonant cluster.[3] This word was calqued into Latin as liquidus, whence it has been retained in the Western European phonetic tradition.

  124. In the midst of reporting that is almost gleeful over what Putin has done to his country, the Guardian has an opinion piece that I heartily agree with:

    Many predicted Nato expansion would lead to war. Those warnings were ignored.

    I hold no brief for Putin (put in whatever expletives you like), but Ukraine was clearly a bridge too far for Russia. And failure to recognise that has brought on this catastrophe.

  125. That’s ridiculous. Only Putin’s megalomania and paranoia “brought on this catastrophe.” Whether the expansion of NATO was a good idea is neither here nor there. That’s like saying France’s taking back Alsace brought on WWII. Dictators can always find an excuse for what they want to do, and Putin had no intention of allowing a democratic, independent Ukraine on his doorstep.

  126. Here, read this letter to the Western Left. It addresses precisely that issue.

  127. I am not a fan of NATO. I know that after the end of the Cold War, the bloc lost its defensive function and led aggressive policies. I know that NATO’s eastward expansion undermined efforts directed at nuclear disarmament and forming a system of joint security. NATO tried to marginalise the role of the UN and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and to discredit them as ‘inefficient organisations’.

    I totally agree.

    Did it ever occur to Leftist critics of NATO that Ukraine is the main victim of the changes brought about by the NATO expansion?

    What I was saying.

    The argument of the Left should be, that in 2003, other governments did not put enough pressure on the United States over Iraq. Not that it is necessary to exert less pressure on Russia over Ukraine now.

    Of course. And there should be continued pressure on Russia.

    an overall reinforcement of the UN’s role in the resolution of armed conflicts would allow the Left to minimise the importance of military-political alliances and reduce the number of victims.

    The main military-political alliance in question being NATO.

    my last words are addressed to the Russian people: hurry up and overthrow the Putin regime. It is in your interests as well as ours.

    Totally agree.

    So what were you saying?

  128. As one sarcastic comment I saw put it (translating from memory), “We strongly condemn all forms of domestic violence. But we must remember that this woman’s friend, the busybody homewrecker, encouraged her to get uppity with her husband, until he couldn’t take it anymore.”

  129. EDIT: while I was writing this angry repost to Bathrobe a number of other comments intervened. Sorry for piling on, but I leave it here for the unlikely case that nobody made the same points.

    Hey, Russians are people too. They are endowed by their Creator (in which we can include evolution) with an ability to make their own decision in agreement with reality and understanding of contemporary norms. And it is completely untenable to think that NATO is the main factor here. Putin doesn’t recognize the right of Ukraine to exist as an independent country. Almost nobody noticed, but he already anschlussed Belarus.

  130. So what were you saying?

    I was saying that whether the expansion of NATO was a good idea is neither here nor there and that it’s like saying France’s taking back Alsace brought on WWII. You’re basically saying “I don’t like Hitler either, but France shouldn’t have taken Alsace.” Do you now think Ukraine shouldn’t be part of NATO? We should just shed a tear and let Putin destroy it?

  131. Do you now think Ukraine shouldn’t be part of NATO? We should just shed a tear and let Putin destroy it?

    No, but I think a better approach might have helped avert this war and still kept Ukraine independent. Even the Finns didn’t want to join NATO. Why should the Ukrainians, who are much deeper in the bosom of Russia than Finland?

    I’m not defending Putin. I just think that extending NATO eastwards ultimately created the conditions for this war. It could have been done better.

  132. Extending NATO eastwards is why people in Poland and the Baltics sleep easier.

    It would be nice if NATO was more independent of the U.S., but that doesn’t negate its primary purpose, which has always been to defend Europe from Russia / the USSR.

  133. Exactly.

  134. There is an ideal world and there is reality. Diplomacy is the art of bringing about the best outcome for yourself in the midst of those realities.

    Perhaps Putin was always going to invade Ukraine, or at least interfere in intolerable ways. Perhaps. But threatening to join NATO was always going to produce the worst immediate outcome for Ukraine, given the realities on the ground (Russian military power, Russia’s geopolitical interests, and Putin’s psychopathy). Finland has walked a very fine line but has managed to stay independent. In my opinion, Ukraine might have done better.

    Anyway, the die is cast. There is no turning back. Perhaps forcing the issue will prove in hindsight to have been the best course. At the moment we can only watch events as they unfold.

    I suspect the “causes of the Russo-Ukrainian war” will be a much debated issue for future historians.

  135. In 1990s I thought that Poland and Baltic countries are paranoid because they wanted to join NATO to protect themselves from Russia. Why? Russia wouldn’t destroy it’s democratic and integrationist choice by grabing pieces of territory. I don’t even have a justification of youth.

    It might have been a good trade for Ukraine to denounce membership in NATO in exchange for security guaranties from Russia (by which I mean that Russia should guarantee a security from itself). But it is Ukrainian choice, not Western. Or do you think that Ukraine is just a Western puppet unable to make its own decisions? In any event, what sort of security guaranties can be taken seriously from an authoritarian ruler who thinks that your country shouldn’t exist at all?

  136. J.W. Brewer says

    It is true that the current borders of the Ukraine include significant chunks of territory stolen by Stalin from the predecessor regimes of several current NATO members (Poland, Romania, the former Czecho-Slovakia … and maybe arguably Hungary depending on how revisionist you’re willing to be*) but AFAIK none of those nations currently has any sort of serious irredentist claim to undo that theft (which the Ukrainians do not seem particularly ashamed about as best as I can tell …), and NATO membership fortunately does not seem to have emboldened them in that direction.

    *The current Ukrainian regime does seem to have needlessly antagonized the current Hungarian regime by changing the law unfavorably to the provision of Hungarian-language education for the children of ethnic-Hungarian parents in the few locales near the border where that is actually a relevant issue. But I don’t think the current Russian regime cares about that.

  137. It might have been a good trade for Ukraine to denounce membership in NATO in exchange for security guaranties from Russia

    How about a security guarantee from both NATO and Russia? Great Powers do negotiate this kind of thing.

  138. You don’t seem to have the faintest idea who Putin is. His guarantees are exactly as valuable as Hitler’s.

  139. Oh, when I need to hear “who started it first?!” “Them!!!!” I really can go out to the street…

  140. J.W. Brewer says

    FWIW, the author of the Guardian piece bathrobe linked to is not really part of the “Western Left” (despite the Guardian having republished his piece) but was and is part of the ideological faction descending from the old isolationist/non-interventionist American Right, which was mostly marginalized and/or in hibernation during the Cold War except for weirdos like him. Of course, one disadvantage of that position (not necessarily the only one) is that it may put one on the same side of a public geopolitical controversy as Noam Chomsky.

    To be fair, Chomsky may well have been right about something of a geopolitical nature at least once in his life? Just by random coincidence? Maybe East Timor?

  141. Rohr , Icl. rör etc. They are liquid-liquid and clearly onomatopoeic.

    Besides Germanic forms indicating *rauza-, there are also forms indicating *rausa- apparently without the effect of Verner’s Law. Note the form with -s- in Gothic, as in Mark 15:19:

    jah slohun is haubiþ rausa jah bispiwun ina jah lagjandans kniwa inwitun ina
    καὶ ἔτυπτον αὐτοῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν καλάμῳ καὶ ἐνέπτυον αὐτῷ, καὶ τιθέντες τὰ γόνατα προσεκύνουν αὐτῷ
    And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.

    Other explanations of the Gothic forms have been offered, but forms with -s- are also in Old Dutch rōs (see also here), and notably the Frankish form with -s- is continued in French roseau. The further etymology is unknown.

  142. David Marjanović says

    threatening to join NATO was always going to produce the worst immediate outcome for Ukraine

    Ukraine, like Georgia, applied for NATO membership long ago – and wasn’t allowed to join precisely because everyone figured Putin would feel provoked.

    (The official wording mentioned the unsolved conflicts over Crimea and Donetsk & Luhansk, which amounts to the exact same thing: NATO doesn’t want to be drawn into existing conflicts.)

    Finland has walked a very fine line but has managed to stay independent.

    Yesterday the citizens’ initiative to join NATO reached the 50,000 signatures necessary to be considered by the Finnish parliament.

    How about a security guarantee from both NATO and Russia?

    That’s exactly what Ukraine has had since 1994, in exchange for giving up its nukes ( = the Soviet nukes that happened to be on its territory) and sending them to Russia. Putin kinda just forgot about it…

    (OK, OK, it wasn’t technically NATO, it was the US and the UK, with Russia and Belarus. France signed a very similar agreement.)

  143. David Marjanović says

    Rohr , Icl. rör etc. They are liquid-liquid and clearly onomatopoeic.

    rauza […] rausa

    Onomatopoeia is sometimes folk etymology performed on the outcome of regular sound shifts. Another example is High German pfeifen, which means “whistle” and sounds like it, but its pre-Shift form obviously meant “to go ‘peep'”.

    BTW, German exhibits the usual Germanic word-formation madness in pairing Rohr n. with Röhre f.; the latter usually refers to larger tubes than the former, but this is all very vague (indeed outright false in the cases of Luftröhre “windpipe”, Speiseröhre “esophagus”, Eustachische Röhre “Eustachian tube”).

    (Rohr also still means “reed(s)” sometimes.)

  144. @dravsi : Actually, if you succeed in convincing a person that something is the majority view/consensus, it is quite likely that it will become this person’s view and this person will join the consensus.

    You are slightly overexaggerating this phenomenon, but you are right, in general.

  145. You “drink” tobacco in Kusaal. And Hausa.

    And Japanese—among other ways:

    たばこを吸う[のむ, 吹かす] (tabako o suu/nomu/fukasu ‘inhale’, ‘drink’, ‘puff/blow’) smoke (tobacco [a pipe, a cigarette, a cigar]); have [take] a smoke

  146. Lars Mathiesen says

    Da tagrør n. is Phragmites australis, the species of water reed you use for thatching here. We rarely keep the mad German doublets distinct, so all kinds of manmade tubing is just rør n., also spise/luftrør. (Plural unchanged as befits a neuter, so it’s not easy to tell if a specific occurrence is mass or count).

  147. Ukraine, like Georgia, applied for NATO membership long ago – and wasn’t allowed to join

    Exactly. And there was no chance, before February 22, of Ukraine being admitted to NATO because the West didn’t want to get drawn into a war. By occupying Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014 Russia effectively blocked any membership chance for Ukraine for the foreseeable future. The whole NATO issue is a smokescreen and useful fodder for isolationist conservatives and anti-American leftists (who are increasingly hard to distinguish from each other).

    It has always seemed obvious to me that Putin’s real issue is Ukraine’s increasingly close ties with the EU, Poland in particular. Millions of Ukrainians already work in Poland as Gastarbeiter – and we can see today how close the ties between Poland and Ukraine have become, as Poland has basically led the charge for the EU since the invasion. Putin is, reasonably from his point of view, very concerned that Ukraine is at a cultural and economic tipping point and about to be lost to the West forever. And if Ukraine goes, how long until gravity sucks Belarus back into the historic Polish/Lithuanian fold?

    One underreported development is that Ukraine has been working for quite some time to disconnect its power grid from Russia. February 24th was the date when Ukraine was supposed to go autonomous start preparing for a future integration with the EU power grid. Coincidence that the invasion took place two days earlier? (as it is, Ukraine appears to have succeeded in disconnecting – which is why the lights are still on in Kharkiv and Kyiv.)

  148. On a lighter note: Zelensky as the voice of Paddington Bear; Zelensky on Dancing with the Stars. My wife now officially has a crush on him.

  149. David Marjanović says

    Batman trained to be the best at everything.

  150. J.W. Brewer says

    In Manhattan, the legendary East Village Ukrainian diner Veselka/веселка has been mobbed by well-wishers. Not wishing to stand in a long line for the sake of a political-culinary gesture, I stopped by the lower-profile (but also quite good, although not open 24 hours) restaurant inside the Ukrainian National Home right next door yesterday evening, which also had a wait to be seated although I shorter one. At which point I went through the side door into the UNH’s in-house dive bar (the Лис Микита, loosely Englished as the Sly Fox) and had no trouble immediately finding a seat, where the bartender brought me a menu and got me the same borscht and deruny I would have had if I’d waited for a table in the restaurant proper.

    Earlier in the p.m. I stopped for a drink or three at another legendary E.V. dive bar, the Blue and Gold Tavern, which no longer has the same visible degree of Ukrainianness among its patrons as it did 30-35 years ago (when the clientele was split between tough Ukrainian immigrant dudes over 50 and punk-rock aficionados under 25 without too much in between), but still has a very patriotic name and quite inexpensive-for-Manhattan prices for good whiskey.

    https://nypost.com/2022/02/28/hundreds-line-nyc-block-to-get-into-iconic-ukrainian-diner-in-show-of-solidarity/

  151. Thanks for that cheering report (and blast from the past — I miss going to Veselka).

  152. David Marjanović says

    That’s exactly what Ukraine has had since 1994, in exchange for giving up its nukes ( = the Soviet nukes that happened to be on its territory) and sending them to Russia. Putin kinda just forgot about it…

    It’s called the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances; the Wikipedia article contains a long section on breaches…

    Today Belarus announced it’s joining the war; it’s not in a position to say no.

    When I wrote that on Feb. 27th, I didn’t know that on the same day hacktivists from inside the country claimed to have hacked the railway system, reducing it to manual control – greatly slowing it down without endangering civilians. I haven’t seen anything else about this, but I also haven’t looked.

    Meanwhile, Putin seems to have been completely unable to grasp the end-of-history idealism that is so widespread in the West in general and in Germany in particular.

    More on that mindset in general: 1, 2*; and in Germany: 3** and this short Twitter thread about two polls.

    Relatedly, this article basically argues that – I mean, I’m not sure the author even noticed, and if he did, he’d never say it, because it would be taken as both an incredible insult and a manifest batshit absurdity in the American context it’s written in – but it argues that Zelensky isn’t a patriot. Sure he says Слава Україні at every opportunity these days, but what he’s really staying and fighting for isn’t a country that isn’t the one he had built his “entertainment empire” in, or a culture, or a language he only really started learning in 2014: it’s liberal democracy.

    This article further argues that he has a personal motivation for that – related to the first footnote below. (Though it fails to mention the importance of Superman’s black hair.) It further points out that his success at becoming the icon of the resistance is evidence that his supporters, too, support liberal democracy first and foremost. That reminds me of Scotland’s independence referendum of 2014, which also looked nationalist but wasn’t: it was an attempt to create a social liberal democracy, which you can’t do in a country full of Tories.

    * “Although we in the West sometimes lose faith that our values are universal, Putin certainly believes they are.” I’m not surprised at all.

    ** “Scholz’s sudden about-face over the past week, as Russian troops rolled into Ukraine, was in part a reaction to the overwhelming pressure his government had come under—both within Germany and among Berlin’s closest allies—after weeks of foot-dragging. But the pressure alone does not explain the measures Scholz announced, which go far beyond what anyone could have expected from a politician known for his Hanseatic reserve.”

  153. Three Communist members of parliament, who had supported the resolution recognizing the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics believing it was a peacekeeping mission and not a full-scale invasion, were the sole members of the State Duma to speak out against the war.[639] State Duma deputy Mikhail Matveev voted in favour of the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics but later condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[640] State Duma deputy Oleg Smolin said he was “shocked” by the invasion.[641]

    Oh, wow. THAT is unusual.

  154. More on vocabulary expansion:

    Пропагандон (Propagandon)
    1. Propaganda-condom (noun)
    2. A way to insult a propagandist
    Some Russians are elastic with the truth

    Many Russians are sick of disinformation and propaganda. It erupts from their TVs and floods social-media feeds. A derogatory nickname has emerged to describe the people hogging these screens: propagandon, which literally means “progaganda-condom”. The term usually refers to journalists who spread state propaganda. Dmitry Kiselyov, a famous news anchor, is known in the West as the “Kremlin’s chief propagandist”. In Russia and Ukraine, he is the “Kremlin’s chief propagandon”.

    https://www.economist.com/1843/2021/03/15/know-what-a-propaganda-condom-is

  155. Important context: the word гондон ‘condom’ is itself used as an insult in Russian: “(vulgar, slang, offensive) dickhole.” Since that isn’t the case in English, “progaganda-condom” seems kind of random.

  156. Jen in Edinburgh says

    It sounds like it should stop propaganda spreading, or protect you from it. Whereas propagandon sounds like a dinosaur, which is at least potentially theatening.

  157. J.W. Brewer says

    Although note in English the shift over time from the “dated” sense 1 to the pejorative sense 2 of this lexeme: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/scumbag

  158. with such overlap (-gand-) either propa- can be treated as specifying the sort of condom, or -on can be treated as an agent noun suffix like -ist.

  159. Ah yes, “scumbag” is an excellent equivalent — someone should add it to the Wiktionary entry for the Russian word.

  160. How about “propagandumbag” for пропагандон?

  161. propaganbag or propagumbag or indeed just propagandon would be closer to how the russian word feels.

  162. Bathrobe is right.
    NATO has been a major concern for Russians, and not for Putin.

  163. “Propagandouchebag”?

  164. Trond Engen says

    I vote for “propagumbag”. It even evokes “humbug”.

    Propagandalf, OTOH, wields his powers for the good.

  165. George Grosz went by the title “propagandada”.

  166. I vote for “propagumbag”. It even evokes “humbug”.

    Yes, I withdraw my suggestion in favor of that one.

  167. Trond Engen says

    Propagandhi n. peacemonger

  168. Gandalf.
    I already complained: in my school someone inserted n in “gadolinium” in the chemistry room.
    Unstressed o/a merge and for me it read as a not very plausible refernece to Tolkien’s Gondolin. Only later I realized that it was “gondon” (emphatical lengthening /gaandon/)

  169. Propagandhi
    !!!!!!!! wow

  170. Propagandhi is a veteran political punk band.

  171. gondon is expressive for about the same reason why doldon is expressive.

  172. David Marjanović says

    Although note in English the shift over time from the “dated” sense 1 to the pejorative sense 2 of this lexeme:

    So cum ~ scum is a case of s mobile? I’m impressed.

  173. My guess is that scum as an insult begat scumbag, as with douchebag and countless others, and that was adopted by some clever mind to mean ‘condom’.

  174. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm
    If you are not joking, I always thought scum was cognate with Schaum but cum was ex come in sense of arrive (at the “highpoint”).

  175. Another possible etymology is from the old meaning of come, meaning for butter to form in a churn, butter being another old euphemism. Even in the 16th century—especially then, even—men were 14 years old.

  176. 14 years
    There is another meachnism at play, though. You need some sexual vocabulary. And “causal conversation of adults overheard when you are 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. year olds” are a poor sourse, and you do not practice this vocabulary as a child either.

  177. @Y: The order of the senses is not actually very well documented. The oldest OED citations for both scum (meaning “semen”) and scumbag (meaning “condom”) are from the Dictionary of American Slang in 1967. I have located no other non-gloss attestations for the “condom” meaning until after the first documented appearance (1971) of scumbag as a general term of abuse. Green’s Dictionary of Slang has arguable citations for scum going back to 1944, however.

  178. Scumbag meaning ‘condom’ appears in Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries, from the early 1960s (which is where I first saw that usage). In the pejorative meaning, it’s attested in Hubert Selby Jr.’s Tralala (1958). Scum bag, as an insult, is attested from 1953 (In the U.S. Congressional Records, here, from anonymous hate mail to a senator who criticized McCarthy). Sexual scum and scum-bag might be attested from 1943, here, but I don’t trust GB’s metadata.

  179. “Sexual scum and scum-bag .”

    I can’t call condoms very sexual, but strawberry-flavored condoms at checkout are both absurdist and reassuring.
    —-
    “You are scumbag со вкусом клубники!”

  180. Make love not war.

  181. @Y: It looks like that 1943 date is correct, or at least close. The authors appear to have republished essentially the same article as: Frank J. Curran, Bernard V. Strauss, B. Frank Vogel, “Group Sex Conferences as a Diagnostic, Therapeutic and Pedagogic Method,” Journal of Criminal Psychopathology 1943, 289 (1946).

  182. J.W. Brewer says

    FWIW while I have no idea where my hard copy of The Basketball Diaries is, via the magic of the google books corpus I can report that there are two mentions of “scumbag” in the condom sense, one dated to summer ’64 (the same passage where he points out the dirty-jokeness of the intersection of Seamen and Cumming Streets in the upper Manhattan neighborhood he lived in) and the other in winter ’66.

    Of course, I don’t know how much credence to give to the conceit that all of the prose in the 1978-published Basketball Diaries is in fact taken verbatim from what the author wrote down in his diaries 10-15 years earlier.

  183. A petition by Yabloko:

    “Война с Украиной, которую начал Путин*, принесет горе людям, разрушит семьи, погубит тысячи жизней. В этой войне невозможно победить.”

    Compare:
    “Роскомнадзор заблокировал издания-иноагенты «Медуза»*”

    “В этой связи призываем правительство и протестующих решить существующие проблемы путем диалога и взаимопонимания», — написал представитель талибов (организация запрещена в России)* в Twitter.”

    The second two asterisks refer to obligatory notes (“* Организация включена Минюстом в список иноагентов” in the first case, and (likely) that Taliban is terroristic organization forbidden in Russia in the second case). But no, Yabloko’s footnote is:

    * После начала боевых действий РФ на территории Украины редакция текста была изменена. До 24 февраля в тексте петиции говорилось: “Война с Украиной, которую готовит Путин…”

  184. Alla Gorbunova has been arrested (and released pending trial). I know she’s not more important than the thousands of others who have been arrested (and many of them will doubtless suffer more harshly), but I love her work (and Facebook presence) so much it can’t help but hit me hard. And of course this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  185. Her friend Natalia Bogdanova writes on FB:

    Hello EVERYBODY! Today is probably the darkest day for the people who happen to live in the territory of the modern Russia. It’s darkest SO FAR!….
    I know all eyes are on Ukraine now…. I understand!… I’ve been watching, hoping, supporting like many of you…
    But FYI lots of dangerous, unpredictable and URGENT “events” are happening now in Russia…
    New “laws”, sudden “big (Russian) name” people relocations to some foreign vacation places, closure of ALL THE International BUSINESSES/BRANDS/Companies… WORLD INTERNET is pretty much GONE (FB, Twitter, YouTube etc..are disappearing and already not working most of the time!) in like 1-2 day(s), many people (mostly men) “fails” passport control when attempting to leave the country..
    I am Russian, born and raised in Saint-Petersburg, and the SPb- State University graduate from the Faculty of Philosophy.
    ❗️And this is my friend and the university classmate – the great Russian poet Alla Gorbunova
    – one of the most intelligent, kindest and compassionate people I’ve ever known!…
    …………………..
    She was outside , peacefully protesting all that bloody insanity that’s going on. Now she could face, I don’t even know…, like 5 YEARS (?) (that’s a bargain, comparing to what I saw in the last few years ) in the RUSSIAN PRISON COMPLEX!..…
    And she’s not the only one from the people I PERSONALLY know who are EXPERIENCING ….
    T..H..I..S… and HAVE NO IDEA what can happen Next…
    PS: forgot to mention: you can be jailed (=tortured) in Russian prison for “a comment” or even “a like” that you posted anywhere on social media ANY AMOUNT of years ago! (And that’s been ALREADY happening for the last several years!!)

  186. (mostly men) – Several people from a club where my friend plays go (from a small but highly apolitical sample) moved or are moving abroad: some are working in foreign companies, but one moved to Armenia, apparently to avoid conscription (he does not have a travel passport). FB has been blocked for several days, Youtube is working.

  187. David Eddyshaw says

    Keep safe, drasvi.

  188. David Marjanović says

    that’s a bargain, comparing to what I saw in the last few years

    Ah, so we’re back to the joke my father told me.

    A new arrival in the Gulag is being processed.
    “How much did you get?”
    “Five years.”
    “And for what?”
    “For nothing.”
    The bureaucrat is enraged and threatens to hit the prisoner.
    “LIAR!!! The punishment for NOTHING is TEN years!!!”

    The silver lining is that it isn’t going to take five years for Russia to go bankrupt. If the nuclear deal with Iran is resurrected, as seems to be imminent, it’s going to go fast. Unlike Iranian oil, Russian oil is expensive to pump, expensive to get anywhere, and it’s “sour crude” with a lot of sulfur. Concerning natural gas, Germany’s stores are full, and winter is practically over (thanks to the Weini Emperor for enforcing Olympic peace).

    moved to Armenia

    According to Twitter, Yerevan was flooded with Russians two days ago for this reason. Also, Mexico was one of the last countries Russians could fly to – more Russians than members of any other nation have applied for asylum at the southern border of the US lately.

    Keep safe, drasvi.

    Good luck.

  189. Would it be right to say that Russia (however, defined) has known only109 days of democratic, decent government, namely, from 21 July 1917 to 7 November 1917, when Alexander Kerensky was, first, Minister-Chairman of the Russian Provisional Government and, then, Minister-Chairman of the Russian Republic?

  190. Depends on how you define “democratic” and “decent”.

    I do sympathize Yeltsin.

  191. David Eddyshaw says

    Depends on how you define “democratic” and “decent”

    Yes indeed: they are clines*, not neat binary distinctions. And they correlate, but far from perfectly.

    The idea that you’re either democratic or you’re not, and that it’s all very simple, leads to terrible diplomacy and major mistakes in foreign policy, and blinds you to actual progress. I’m very tempted to say that’s it’s a characteristically American delusion, but our UK government’s foreign policy is so bizarrely inept** that we’re not in a position to throw stones.

    * In fact, not so simple. There are several dimensions to consider, not just one.
    ** Well, it would be “inept” if the welfare of the UK population were actually an important objective (as opposed to asset-stripping the state for the benefit of party donors.)

  192. On some “Muslim” site (I do not know why I was reading it, I normally do not read religious sites, both Christian and Muslim. But it was highly informative) a writer whose views are consistent with folk mythology (means: Yeltsin was a traitor and she hates him fiercely) wrote that paradoxally in 90s Communists and allied Christian clerics and Muslim [er… what do you call them], could freely say what they think in TV.

    And now,when we are not ruled by traitors anymore, opposition to what she does not like is oppressed.

  193. David Eddyshaw says

    Presumably the moral is “be careful what you wish for” …

    I’ve noticed (doesn’t take much perceptiveness) a very distinct tendency to the Fundamental Attribution Error in Western commentary on African governance, in particular. The astonishing thing about the Nigerian Federation really is that it has ever worked at all, not that it has major problems and once cracked open altogether into a bloody civil war. (And you rarely hear much about Federal help for rebuilding Igboland after the Biafra war, which was considerable.) Try to imagine a state comprising cultures as different as France and Turkey to get an idea of the achievement. Europeans have not achieved this …

    As the most successful of all practitioners of Realpolitik said: Politik ist die Kunst des Möglichen.

  194. Presumably the moral is “be careful what you wish for” …

    I do not know. The folk mythology is that USSR was heaven and 90s were hell. Yeltsin too is likely a “traitor” because he contributed in collapse of USSR and was pro-Western.
    Adherents of this mythology often are believers (discouraged in USSR) travel abroad (impossible in USSR) listen to rock (discouraged). And this lady (there was a Christian writer on that site. I do not remember if it was she or not) is sort of religious. If she too is fond of anti-religious USSR, i do not know how such people resolve the “paradox“.

  195. 1996 presidential elections were sort of ok and couple of duma elections more or less decent. There seems to be (bad, from my POV) a tendency of a significant portion of Russians to vote for anyone who is already in power. Arguably, Russian democracy helped at least once during 1998 crises when Yeltsin included communists in the government to stabilize the situation. And I really do not like communist politics.

    Keep safe, drasvi.

    Good luck.

    And keep us posted.

  196. D.O. So, in your opinion, the 1996 presidential election was sort-of fair (I can imagine that, and I actually sort-of-agree, even with including the communists) and the 1999 parliamentary elections was also (it was definitely not). I think that at point Putin (before 1996, plotting from 1986) thought he was already in power. And he was. In a definitely non-democratic way. He had took control of the KGB at that point.

  197. David Marjanović says

    Politik ist die Kunst des Möglichen.

    I know it as des Machbaren, “of the feasible”.

  198. I remember when John Oliver tried to get an interview with Gorbachov. Gobachov said something like “fuck off”. Can we get Gorbachov back? He was not prone to nuclear war. He is an asshole, but he’s not Putin. He’s probably the same age as Biden. EDIT: Biden is 11 years younger than Gorbachov.

  199. Советский союз совершил ужасное дело…

    http://www.ji-magazine.lviv.ua/2020/basilashvili-sovetskij-soyuz-sovershil-uzhasnoe-delo.htm

  200. Trond Engen says

    Stay safe and keep us posted, all of you — in Russia, in Ukraine and elsewhere. But how long will the Internet keep us all together?

    And as someone said or didn’t say above: Please reach out. I don’t think I’m hard to find.

  201. David Marjanović says

    But how long will the Internet keep us all together?

    That seems to be a matter of VPN and/or Starlink these days.

  202. Yeltsin looks like a human. And I prefer to be ruled by a human (inexperienced) rather than a professional scoundrel (like what many oh-so-democratic people believe every politician must be).

  203. Communists (not leaders, but voters and supporters) of 90s were people who did like the change. The divide was both generational and regional (so called “Red Belt”). Also people who gained nothing but lost more hardly liked anything (not all of them were fond of USSR, I guess). Being against them would mean: being against people who are older than me, people from certain regions and people who are poorer than me.

    The problem is that shit political programs come in packets. “Communism/USSR” does not mean merely a different economical course. I would be totally fine with more careful economic reforms.
    It also means an oppressive system maintaining this course:(

    Read what they say, listen to what they say, do not travel, listen to idiotic propaganda, all because certain strata of people (maybe even majority) grew up within this oppressive system and learned to love it. It reminds the situation in what some call “traditional societies” (what refers to more oppressive/restrictive systems): it is their home, ruin it and they are homeless, keep it and someone is oppressed.

    Yeltsin’s voters feared that if Communists take pover there won’t be any elections anymore.

  204. And the three members of the parliament who spoke against the war were Communists.

    But ER is not really a party: it is just “Russian officials and businessmen”. Membership is an expression of loyality in exchange for party support. I once met a girl – a manager in a swimming pool – in a video-game who was a member. Her boss was a member and was required to form a cell, so he asked his employees and they agreed.

  205. About oppositionary comments in the Internet: If you live in Chechnya it is totally a good idea to move elsewhere AND use TOR.

    In Moscow… хохлосрач < хохол (slur for Ukrainians), срач (a scandal, also a dirty mess < срать "to shit"). Quarrels about Crimea and Ukraine. In the internet and not only: in 2014 opinions of educated Muscovites split and old friends sometimes were yelling at each other.
    In other words, the current habit of Muscovites is writing what they think.

    Compiling a database of people with various views based on forum comments is possible with modern technologies, and likely some alredy do it both in Russia and some Western countries.:(

  206. В.Путин: Я глубоко убежден в том, что у нас не может быть абсолютно никакого развития, и страна не будет иметь никакого будущего, если мы подавим гражданские свободы и прессу. Это просто мое глубочайшее убеждение. Потому что это важнейший на самом деле институт, который гарантирует государство от скатывания в трясину тоталитаризма. Мы жили уже в условиях тоталитарной системы. И как бы она ни приспосабливалась к внешнему миру, ничего не получалось в сфере экономики. Но важнейшим инструментом, который гарантирует здоровье общества, является свободная пресса.

    Интервью телеканалу ОРТ
    7 февраля 2000 года

    http://kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24373

  207. He is sincere. Partly…

  208. Акунин – что происходит с Россией / вДудь

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMJrKyWd_oI

  209. “Я к сожелению или к счастью пропустил донбасс, крым и всю эту движуху, т.к. был ребенок.”

    A very informative comment.

  210. В.Путин […] Интервью телеканалу ОРТ
    7 февраля 2000 года

    Power corrupts. This is why leaders need to be replaced every few years.

  211. From an interview with Dmitry Bykov, a novelist and critic I like a lot (despite some weird ideas):

    Currently, the Russian people are in a state of religious possession or severe intoxication, not all of them but a lot of them. For that reason, right now they simply have no options, no paths of retreat.
    It is not just a matter of constant propaganda, but rather a matter of an ideology taking them all the way into the absurd. It has been dominant in Russia for a very long time – The feeling that we are a separate part of the world, a messianic nation, separate from the rest of the world by the fact of its being especially spiritual. It is always ready to die and to kill, and it does all of that on the basis of love, and not out of some sort of pragmatic consideration.
    There is no doubt that Putin is carrying out a long term request by the populace – our lives have always been bad, and bad life needs a philosophical justification of some sort. Finally, they came up with one: Our lives are bad not because we have widespread theft, not because we have insufficiently educated and enlightened authorities, or because the populace is not active enough politically, etc.
    We live badly because we are the bearers of exclusive spirituality and are God’s people, while the rest of the world resides in some sort of pragmatic, lowly state, they have surrounded us and are trying to undermine our spirituality.
    We see this spirituality displayed in Ukraine right now.
    This is a dangerous delusion, generated by a bad quality of life and flaws in governance.

  212. I am sorry to disagree, but it is a complete crap. Russian society is as much consumerist as any “Western” one and Russians like foreign shiny objects just like everyone else. Family and social structure is as well that of a modern industrialized nation. And not of a Malthusian unlimited “human resources” which occasionally drives all sorts of madness. Saying that nationalistic psychosis in Russia reflects some fundamental feature of national character makes as much sense as blaming Napoleonic wars on some defects in French character, Boer war on British character, and “manifest destiny” on American character. Every nation is entitled to a bit of nationalism and jingoism, but the government should try to keep it in check rather than inflate it.

  213. For your consideration, this eloquent comment by a Russian POW:
    https://twitter.com/hackingbutlegal/status/1500465032966062082

  214. I see the Russian trolls are back on the job.

  215. David Marjanović says

    That’s the first accurate thing Greenwald has said in almost twenty years.

    …and even then I don’t think the Geneva Convention makes it impossible for POWs to go public voluntarily. It’s just hard to tell if that’s what happened in most cases.

  216. Greenwald is an idiot, and I won’t waste my time following a link to him. If by some accident he said something that happened to be right, I’m sure other non-idiots have said it elsewhere and better.

  217. David Marjanović says

    Oh yes. I saw a whole discussion on this yesterday, with no mention of Greenwald anywhere in sight.

  218. I’m just saying, assuming the prisoner is indeed speaking his heart, his take is contrary to Bykov’s.

    I also read an account of some Ukrainian living in the war zone, trying very hard to convince her relatives in Russia over the phone about what is happening, they not willing to believe that anyone would just bomb and shell citizens, and trying to find a logical way out of believing her. That does not match Bykov’s description, either.

  219. No, I do not think that Bykov is accurate here.

    @Y, alas.

  220. David Marjanović says

    Oh, I’m sure the mindset Bykov described exists. I just don’t think any such intellectual-philosophical-theological mindset is particularly common anywhere in the world.

  221. Yeah, the overemphasis on it is one of his quirks.

  222. , they not willing to believe that anyone would just bomb and shell citizens,

    When you conduct a large-scale military operation there are civilian casualties, collateral damage or how do you call it. The problem with wars is that a war is when people kill people, is not it?
    I do not think that the right argument is that Russian generals are not fighting it peacefully.*

    But at the moment most Russians hear that “killing civilians” is what Ukraine does in Donbass.**


    * I mean, the right argument is that it is fucking war and starting it means killing people, whether you fight it as “white people against white people” or as wars in colonies are fought.
    **
    Namely:
    It is what bad guys do.
    We are not bad guys.

  223. If in Bykov’s statement we substitute America for Russia, it sounds creepily apposite (at least from the viewpoint of someone, me, who’s spent nearly all his life in WV, KY and IN). It’s the New Israel vs. the Third Rome.

  224. Excellent comparison, and one that hadn’t occurred to me.

  225. Bykov means the boring bearded thinker. A ‘thinker” because bearded.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Dugin

  226. So общество Память won? Круто…

    I haven’t heard about them since 1996 (when a Jewish biologist, the leader of the expedition I took part in told how they were inviting him to join. “А ничего, что я…?” “Ничего, главное что вы по духу русский!”)

    But well, I know nothing about Dugin, he’s boring so i did not listen to him or read him. I just can recognize the reference. But

    Also in 1997, his article, “Fascism – Borderless and Red”, described “national capitalism” as pre-empting the development of a “genuine, true, radically revolutionary and consistent, fascist fascism” in Russia. He believes that it was “by no means the racist and chauvinist aspects of National Socialism that determined the nature of its ideology. The excesses of this ideology in Germany are a matter exclusively of the Germans … while Russian fascism is a combination of natural national conservatism with a passionate desire for true changes.”[25] “Waffen-SS and especially the scientific sector of this organization, Ahnenerbe,” was “an intellectual oasis in the framework of the National Socialist regime”, according to him.”[25]

  227. J.W. Brewer says

    I have heard Dugin’s name bandied about for a dozen years or more but never tried to actually read anything by the man. I am intrigued to learn upon recent investigation that it requires a little bit of extra effort to do so in the U.S. because the mega-internet-booksellers are generally not selling his books in English translation — apparently because as of a few years ago both Amazon and B&N were convinced by activist pressure and/or bad PR to stop selling anything by the decidedly out-of-the-mainstream* publisher that puts out those translations.** One can find used copies online and new copies apparently stocked by some smaller outfits that have not blacklisted the publisher. One prominent bookseller apparently won’t sell you an English translation but will sell you a Portuguese translation, perhaps because no one has demanded that its separate publisher be blacklisted.

    In the pre-Amazon Before Times, there was an infrastructure of small mail-order booksellers (including but not limited to the late Loompanics of famous memory) that would stock stuff too weird, controversial, or unsavory for the average brick-and-mortar bookstore to be willing to carry. Then the growth of Amazon and its seeming willingness to stock anything however outre destroyed that business model, creating a problem when Amazon then shifted to a less laissez-faire approach as to what it would stock and those non-mainstream channels of distribution were not still around to pick up the slack.

    *Arktos Media, which disputes that it is a “far-right” publisher and claims instead to be “an ‘out-of-the-box’ media company, whose range includes titles from conservative, religious, libertarian, anarchist, anti-establishment and futurist writers.” I think it would be fair to say that Dugin is not really the most controversial author they publish, and they seem invested in the very unlike-American-rightism sort of European “Nouvelle Droit” thing that involves Julius Evola in particular and a fascination with non-Christian occultism in general.

    **I’m assuming they are doing this because no one else (including university presses) was interested in doing it, not because Dugin himself would have refused to allow a translation to appear under more mainstream auspices.

  228. David Marjanović says

    It’s the New Israel vs. the Third Rome.

    *lightbulb moment*

    The Shining City on the Hill. It fits perfectly.

    Julius Evola

    A major influence on Dugin.

    Here’s a very concise and compact portrayal of Dugin’s ideology in German. Eurasianism seems to contain the circular assumption that “liberal cosmopolitanism” “will never be accepted by Russian society” and to be founded on remarkably superficial observations: in this age when individualism is celebrated more than ever before, people everywhere look more similar and behave more similarly to each other than ever before, how curious and hypocritical – in reality, while the diversity between different places has gone way down, the diversity within any single place has gone up; maybe Dugin forgot that because he’s against it…

  229. BTW, Hat, is ordering books from Russia not possible now?

  230. J.W. Brewer says

    Any connection between hat’s Bykov and the namesake of this Bykov that has been in the news of late? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_patrol_boat_Vasily_Bykov

    (What with post-Soviet orthographic divergences I’m not sure whether or not that namesake might be this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasil_Byka%C5%AD)

  231. BTW, Hat, is ordering books from Russia not possible now?

    I certainly wouldn’t want to try it. (I’m relieved I got my Ozon order just before the invasion.) Happily, I’ve found a good alternative source for Russian books, Globus Books in San Francisco; I’ve got an order on its way from them now. A lot of the books are pricey, but there are quite a few bargains, and they only charged me $4.95 for shipping, which is remarkable (shipping from ruskniga in Brighton Beach is $10, if I remember correctly, and of course from Russia is a whole lot more).

  232. Ah, Globus Books. We walked past it once, and it was irresistible. So many books, all diferent-looking, neatly arranged and visible from the window! We walked inside, and quickly realized that all these riches were in Russian, and not for us. The proprietor realized it even before we did, and got what I read as an impatient expression, waiting for us to realize it and leave…

    But if I could read Russian, I would have become a regular there long ago.

  233. Dugin often appeared in influential Russian media 20 years ago. What it meant is that he belongs to the circle of people who often appear there, and is considered by them to be a thinker. But I was not interested in reading anything “becuase it is influencing someone” or “because of where it will lead the country”.
    “Geopolitics” and “eurasianism” did not sound attractive.

    For a state from Dublin to Valdivostok they could simply join the European Union.

  234. Perhaps I was wrong. There is a Russian anime about Ahnenerbe so maybe Ahnenerbe is cool. I did not watch it. “If we want to liberate ourselves from the West, it is needed to liberate ourselves from textbooks on physics and chemistry.” is also cool.

    And I haven’t seen any adherents or fans of Dugin, so I could have understimated his influence.

    What is written about him and Communists neatly matches the notion of Red-Browns (where Browns stands for fascists/nationalists) or Communo-Patriotes. “Democrates” called so the strange unity between the left and right that arose in 90s. There also were some clerics with them which made it even crazier (Communists supposed to be anti-fascist and USSR was anti-religious….)

    What he says about Putin strongly recembles what I heard from those young people from my wider circle who were involved in politics and supported Kremlin (some of them turned away from it in around 2010).

  235. There’s no such thing as a Russian anime.

  236. But how do iyou call it then?

    Anime is very popular here, and many schoolboys and girls learn Japanese because of this (now Korean is also popular: K-pop and doramas).

    The anime in question, WP: First Squad: The Moment of Truth (Japanese: ファーストスクワッド Fāsuto sukuwaddo, Russian: Пе́рвый отря́д, romanized: Perviy otryad)….

    “Anime-styled cartoons” really looks like something you want to make shorter.

  237. How ファーストスクワッド Fāsuto sukuwaddo is Japanese???
    Mamma mia…

  238. We call it anime, which is a general term not restricted to those of Japanese origin. Brett is just being picky, like someone who would say pizzas made outside Naples are not real pizzas.

  239. How ファーストスクワッド Fāsuto sukuwaddo is Japanese???

    And I’ve recently learned that ボディバッグ /bodibaggu is the Japanese for things like these. Clearly a case of Wasei Eigo, and I’d hesitate to call them body bags. But then, no one has a copyright on English, and the Japanese are entitled to call anything the way the fancy takes them.

  240. So English is a register of Japanese (Japanese language system then)…

  241. I’m not an anime fan, nor generally interested in policing genre boundaries. It’s just that anime really is a word that, in my idiolect, is about provenance, not content.

  242. «Я люблю тебя» — это стихотворение, явного сюжета в котором нет, а все происходящее просто описывает каррент муда героя. Каждый понимает в меру своей романтизированности.

    каррент муда…

  243. David Eddyshaw says

    So English is a register of Japanese

    Of course. (As is Classical Chinese.)

  244. Уау. Рашэн из инглиш.

  245. David Marjanović says

    What is written about him and Communists neatly matches the notion of Red-Browns (where Browns stands for fascists/nationalists) or Communo-Patriotes.

    He literally founded the (short-lived) National Bolshevik Party… (Start here, then go to the “analysis page” and click on “Let’s take the third way”.)

    Here’s a bit more on him in English. It plays up the “ooh, scary – dangerous ideas!” angle, but does contain actual information: for example, “according to Foreign Policy, his 1997 Foundations of Geopolitics has been required reading for students at the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for a generation. […] In Foundations of Geopolitics, which Dugin describes as a brief for Russian ambitions from “Dublin to Vladivostok,” the philosopher claims that “Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning. It has no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness,” fulminating that Moscow must solve “the Ukrainian problem.” If you want to know what the fascists intend to do, it’s always wise to pay attention to what they literally say, otherwise you might be caught surprised.”

    I thought Putin was just keeping him around to secure his right political flank – like “sure, we’re going to Make Russia Great Again any year now, sure, there totally was a Russian state on the White Sea coast four thousand years ago, now be quiet and help keep me in power”. It looks like I was quite wrong. The article goes on: “That Russia is a state mired in oligarchical corruption is well known, but to see financial incentive as the core of Putin’s desire is to dangerously misapprehend the nature of our current threat, and it’s not to take men like Dugin at their word. Understood not as a conventional leader, or even as a simple autocrat, but rather as the de facto spiritual head of a fascist International, suddenly Putin’s behavior crystalizes into focus. The reactionary anti-LGBTQ laws in Russia, the financial and ideological support of far-right figures such as Marine Le Pen in France, Nigel Farage in Britain, and Trump in the United States, the forced annexation of Crimea and portions of Georgia, and now the offensive in Ukraine, don’t make sense if we simply understand Putin as just another Russian autocrat.”

  246. David Marjanović says

    Oh, the “bodybags” were all over Europe a while ago, too.

  247. Rodger C says

    David, you do realize that’s a good deal older than Reagan? John Winthrop, 1630:

    Wee shall finde that the God of Israell is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when hee shall make us a prayse and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty upon a hill. The eies of all people are uppon us. Soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our God in this worke wee haue undertaken, and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.

    JFK, 1961:

    But I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set before his shipmates on the flagship Arbella three hundred and thirty-one years ago, as they, too, faced the task of building a new government on a perilous frontier.

    “We must always consider,” he said, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill–the eyes of all people are upon us.”

    Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us–and our governments, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill–constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities.

    For we are setting out upon a voyage in 1961 no less hazardous than that undertaken by the Arabella in 1630. We are committing ourselves to tasks of statecraft no less awesome than that of governing the Massachusetts Bay Colony, beset as it was then by terror without and disorder within.

  248. aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities. – great self-importance

  249. David Marjanović says

    David, you do realize that’s a good deal older than Reagan?

    Yes; I didn’t mention Reagan.

  250. David: I, at least, associate the phrase containing “shining” with Reagan; I may be wrong.

    drasvi: Oh, absolutely. JFK’s inaugural was where we started marching toward the cliff edge. How enthralled I was, hearing it in a school auditorium, a few days short of 13, and what a horror it had become by the time I was 20. (And my apologies for recalling this world-scale disaster as something that happened to America.)

  251. Traditional leaders (a general who is someone’s nephew, or a lowest-ranking official who has a room and a phone and must sign a paper but won’t do that because “you see where you were born, don’t you?” etc.) are not deprived of this feeling. They just do not deliver sermons and live happily in their castles or at their tables.

  252. …desks.

  253. Update: Yes, the phrase “shining city on a hill” is definitely associated specifically with Reagan’s farewell address of 1989.

  254. The reactionary anti-LGBTQ laws in Russia,

    I wanted to grumble here (I do not know why people care about other’s sexuality, but it is not just Putin. If it were “just Putin”, there would be eben such a notion as LGBT.) and looked up maps of LGBT rights.

    And discovered this:

    https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/06/25/global-views-homosexuality-2019-appendix-a/
    https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2019/10/15/european-public-opinion-three-decades-after-the-fall-of-communism/pg_10-15-19-europe-values-00-09/

    Interestingly, Russians here are not different from Ukrainians.
    “% who say that homosexuality should be accepted by society” is 14 for Russia, Ukraine and Kenya (in 2002 it is 22, 17, 1 respectively).
    In the second table less people in Russia say that “X is very important” than in any European country for any given X. It is almost true for Ukraine as well. They are above Russia for every X, they value religious freedom more than European average (still not much), they value internet more than Lithuanians, and free media more than Lithuanians and Slovaks, but mostly they are below any country for any X.
    Like Russians they don’t support freedom of opposition parties.
    I honestly expected more difference. I wonder if Russia was above Ukraine in early 2000s for every X.

  255. As for legislation: yes, we are getting righter and more populist, also what I said about “packets”: What is bad? [NATO-democracy-gays] is bad. Capitalism is complicated (the government is pro-capitalism), lesbians are… so-so. If you choose the pro-Western course you are supposed to be more tolerant to what the West is more tolerant to and less tolerant to what the West is less tolerant too, it does not matter to what. If you take an anti-Western stance you are supposed be against it.

    But whether you interpret it as “Putin supporting anti-gay legislation” or “Putin not supporting worse legislation” is a matter of taste.

    Before the legislation it were gay pride events that caused loud scandals. Gays gathered, far-right people also gathered to attack gays, conservative society criticized gays, progressive society criticized the far right, and I suspect of those people who did not take part in scandals more supported conservatives. The government did not intervene in social matters too much… except certain initiatives that both I and conservative society hate.

    It is even remarkable that Putin did not intervene in such things for a while. Then he did and either it is a change in his attitudes, or just greater weight of certain groups. This conclusion is right (and to come to it is enough to listen to our TV).

    But “… don’t make sense if we simply understand Putin as just another Russian autocrat.“? Most of authoritarian leaders in the world are much MORE into social engineering and oppression of gays.

  256. Also since the legislation (and following international scandal) “Gayrope” became a slur for “Europe” used by politicized anti-Western comments and journalists. You have liberals, gays, NATO and other bad things.

  257. Russian police are currently conducting random searches of people’s phones to determine if people are LGBTI of have LGBTI friends.

  258. Sorry: what I am doing here is criticizing the article quoted by DM above (several days ago). I decided to comment on this because of this similariry between Russians and Ukrainians. But the article is superficial.

    – supporting Trump. – WHY on Earth Russia would like Hillary?
    – “the forced annexation of Crimea and portions of Georgia” – :-/

    So what we have:
    – European right.
    I honestly do not know why we do this. I mostly was interested in refugees. Not Europe, not us, just refugees. So I did notice this “helping refugees is evil” thing and flirting with the right as well. A different but related story is that we are shifting to the right.
    – “and now the offensive in Ukraine, don’t make sense if we simply understand Putin as just another Russian autocrat.”
    At the moment I do no thave a working model where this war makes any sense.

  259. @V, I do not know how to evaluate it without knowing the source:/

  260. I have no idea as to what you’re talking about, dravsi, sorry. I have friends that are helping Ukrainian refugees here in Bulgaria, now. I know a high-level Belarus general resigned, and Belarus troops are not participating in the invasion. I know people that know people that I know managed to either escape from Kyiv and Bolgrad, or stayed behing to help with the resistance.

  261. @V, I am answering to an article quoted by DM a few days ago (in a conversation about Dugin).
    And in another comment I am answering to your comment about LGBT:/

  262. dravsi: oh, sorry I meant to answer to you comment about Dugin, but I forgot about it.

  263. @V, Russia is as I said, flirting with far-right politicians in the West and becoming “righter” herself. It is really enough to watch our TV to see how folk xenophoby is used to make a politicial point.

    But the article was making a specific argument about personally Putin and Dugin, and I just meant that most of the author’s arguments (Georgia and Crimea, Trump, LGBT) have little to do either with fascism (Trump, Ossetia) or with Putin (LGBT). “Anti-fascist Putin” would supprot Trump all the same.

  264. I got my package from Globus Books a week after I ordered it, well packaged and the books individually wrapped. I highly recommend them to anyone who feels a craving for Russian-language books.

  265. The Telegram channel of Memorial is called Полный ПЦ. In different circumstances (if the choice was motivated not by the situation, but by the authors’ stylistical preferences*) I would call it a positive development….

    *If it were some other organization. A kindergarten or the minister of education’s blog.

  266. The other day, I first read Министр in Министр иностранных дел as Монстр.

  267. David Marjanović says

    Oh, come on, he’s not a monster. He just has alternative facts!

  268. Like, “The territory of Ukraine has suddenly and treacherously teleported itself a great distance right into Russia”?

  269. Honestly, I do not give a shit about any territory. If I did I would support all this.

    Why not? If it is all an argument about property…

  270. I just had difficulty deciphering Lavrov’s “Мы и на Украину не нападали”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcUyRF86B28

  271. Just in case: the above was not about juha. I’d never suspect juha in lack of humanism.

  272. I do not understand what’s going on here, so I did the same that I do with some other countries: I read sociologists. As I was doing this, I came accross a bilingual site about Russia that I never heard about before.
    I do not know if it is good, but I happen to know one of their authors.

    I was reading this piece: https://www.levada.ru/2022/01/18/nas-vtyagivayut-v-vojnu/
    and it says the original is published here: https://ridl.io/en/we-are-being-dragged-into-a-war/
    (the English translation). No, it is not the author that I “happen to know”, it is just the article I was reading (opinions of Russians in December)

  273. Very interesting, especially this:

    The apparent consensus can partly be explained by the fact that, despite being well informed about Ukraine-related events, respondents are not genuinely interested in the topic, which seems to be imposed by major media outlets. Respondents often mention fatigue from the Ukraine topic, from foreign policy in general and from confrontation with the West. Therefore, there is no desire to analyse what is happening in detail, to look for alternatives, to double-check the words of officials and TV show hosts.

  274. One aspect of Putin’s tyranny v. 2.0 is realizing that the absolute control of dissidence in the USSR, DDR, North Korea and such is wasteful. Let the grumblers grumble. It is only when they get to influencing other people that they need to be warned, and then, if necessary, killed.

  275. 2.0
    @Y, it is getting worse with time, so I am not sure about 2.0.

    What you said looks more like early Putin. He soon began taking control of TV, but he nevertheless allowed Echo Mosckvy and Novaya Gazeta. Novaya Gazeta still exist, Echo does not. For a while it was banned both by Youtube and our state:)

  276. Yeah, he’s clearly getting more and more intolerant. He’s heading for Ivan/Stalin territory.

  277. I am not sure if it is Putin (or some other group), but the regime is changing.

    The regime – again, Moscow, because in Chechnya you can’t be opposition – is milder than the Soviet regime. Compare Lev Oborin. and Varya B above (and Varya’s repressed grandparents in Soviet times).

    Gannushkina was simply stopped (link) at the metro station (surveillance cams and facial recognition) and not allowed to join protests. (Gannushkina is the head of this organization, refugee.ru).

    As for how Putin is changing personally, I watched interviews with Venedictov, because the man knows Putin personally.

  278. David Marjanović says

    One aspect of Putin’s tyranny v. 2.0 is realizing that the absolute control of dissidence in the USSR, DDR, North Korea and such is wasteful. Let the grumblers grumble. It is only when they get to influencing other people that they need to be warned, and then, if necessary, killed.

    Perfected in China. To get around the Great Firewall, all you need is VPN, which isn’t hard to get, and it isn’t hard to find out how to get it – but few enough people figure they have a reason to do that that the regime doesn’t need to care.

    He’s heading for Ivan/Stalin territory.

    He doesn’t have time to reach it, though.

  279. Perfected in China. To get around the Great Firewall, all you need is VPN, which isn’t hard to get, and it isn’t hard to find out how to get it …

    They began blocking sites only a few years ago. And they began with repeatedly blocking our old Internet library (lib.ru) because its site for self-published poetry contained teenage poetry that that interpreted as call for suicide. [facepalm]. Then they began a crackdown on pirate sites. For many years they were fighting against sci-hub (apparently without realizing that Russian researchers simply can’t access scientific journals without it). Once Elbakyan herself blocked Russia (she was angry).

    They tried Really hard. Since this summer sci-hub is “sci-hub.ru” and Elbakyan was invited at conferences here.
    But only for a couple of years they are trying to do something with oppositionary sites.

    It is expensive though, I mean China-style firewall. I am afraid we are learning from China. And you learn form China too.

  280. At least one NATO member and EU candidate has blocked Wikipedia years ago, because their president did not like what they write about him:) And when Youtube blocks Echo (because they are blocking state-owned media), it is BAD. Yes, there is a war in Ukraine. Yes, you are kinda her ally. Yes, propaganda… But the step towards “let’s filter what our people listen to, because there is an information war”, в любви и на войне все средства хороши have been made. More steps will follow.

  281. This was real crap:

    “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,”

    You told me again, you preferred handsome men but for me you would make an exception….

    Imagine a Russian user of porn sites and speaker of C++, who does not support Russian government and is shocked by the war reading this. What she will learn from it? The West is our enemy, that’s what.
    And if she feels threatened by the West (what our propaganda has been trying to make us feel – but we porn watchers and java speakers do not listen), lives of people in Ukraine may become of secondary concern for her. It is “just” a battlefield, like Donbass was.

  282. We are spiraling into something:( Sorry for bringing it to here. I saw it before and I am sure it has been discussed in the West too, but I was reading a Russian site where people post… funny stuff (they are celebrating Sasha Grey’s birthday now) and spotted it there again.

    The site surprised me with that its rather cynical but otherwise apolitical audience tends to be against the government and even support protesters. And then I saw them discussing this, and fuck. Yes, it can “convert” some people into pro-war religion. What else it can do?:( It also will have an effect at home, i think.

  283. Ah. So it was an internal e-mail, not an exceptionally diplomatic public statement (still quoted by many as a ‘statement’). That explains some things.

    The problem is that escalation is escalation. The likely outcome of sanctions here will be rise of fascism. No dependence on the world (except China). Easier to suppress and shut up opponents. Easier to fight wars and mobilize people. Capitalists and consumerism (naughty people who want to eat Italian cheese instead of rebuilding the Russian world) will lose influence:) Fascist paradise. And you relaly do not need propaganda to convince people that we are encircled by enemies when we are actually encircled by enemies. For the rest see Iran.

  284. David Marjanović says

    Once Elbakyan herself blocked Russia (she was angry).

    Yeah, that was ridiculous. 😀 A comment at the time was that everyone who cares has VPN anyway.

    Since this summer sci-hub is “sci-hub.ru”

    …among others.

    в любви и на войне все средства хороши

    “all’s fair in love and war”

    im Krieg und in der Liebe ist alles erlaubt and I’m sure the saying is much more widespread.

    You told me again, you preferred handsome men but for me you would make an exception….

    Yeah, that was not handled well.

    The likely outcome of sanctions here will be

    bankruptcy. Read the article I linked to. (Stop the loading of the page before the paywall goes up.)

  285. Let’s say my concerns are:

    1. Ukraine. It is not a political point. I obviously know many people from Ukraine, among people who attend my brithday party there is one (a girl Masha). Of course she lives in Moscow (or how else?) but her family is in Kiev. So the war is simply when her family is in danger. I do not know why it is different for some people: they too have freinds and relatives there. My antoher friend’s gransmother speaks to her dauther in Ukrainian and her daughter responds in Russian (the gransmother is from the Western Ukraine).
    Also my arrested friend.

    2. when the war is over, maybe sanctions, but look, I can do without AMD:) If they affect the poorest people, that is bad.

    3. politics. And here I am afraid of strenghtening of fascism.
    Think Cuba, Iran, Israel among Arabs, North Korea. Think North Korea. Sanctions is not a too efficient tool. Korean madness would be dissolved (by the network of personal and trade contacts) long ago if there was not a wall. The wall is above all maintained by the Korean government itself. It wanted to change the situation (at least in 90s and 00s it DID – and Lankov noted that officials often asked about what happened to East German colleagues) but it was afraid to lose control. But then the West is also maintaining this wall, and this all look like… symbiosis? Clinch?
    Yet this tool (sanctions) is applied indiscriminately (compare here Cuba).

    So what I am personally afraid is consequences of sanctions for our politics. Liberal opponents of Putin were often accused in “the worse the better” thinking in 00s, that is “Putin was brought to power by rising oil prices, but may lose power if his rule is not associated with economic improvement”. Now “the worse the better” can be good for “down with consumerism” party.

    Cheese is a meme: Putin sanctioned Europe and banned import, and what we did not know how to do well was cheese. Good (edible) cheese disappeared. And supporters of Putin’s policy were teasing opponents, hinting in their love for пармезанчик (Parmigiano sounds properly foreign, as something expensive and presumably accessible to the rich should. In reality both pro- and anti-Putin educated muscovites are middle class:))

    Yes, business and officials who depend on it won’t love this change.
    Young people…. Tehran is full of educated young people who do not like their government AT ALL (and totally can find common language with a Western tourist). And? It does not make the government less populist.
    It wages several wars at once (or did so). Dissent is easy to oppress.

    I wont’t make predictions, but it is simply what I am afraid of. Fascism is already on the rise.

  286. bankruptcy
    Perhaps, I am just not sure that its effect on our politics wil be “regime change”:)

    Iranian students actually are not unlike Soviet people in 80s. Tired of this.


    Well, they remind me USSR in something else. In their attitude to ‘conservative’ stuff, I mean modest dress and norms of behaviour. There are regions where it is an element of traditional life, and there is a region where “modest and observant” is a new thing (popular among youth) – but in Iran it is state-imposed. And many young people are fed up. State-imposed stuff is usually boring.

  287. What I meant was that there isn’t now, and isn’t likely to be, the widespread system of informants, where a private comment could get you arrested or jailed or killed. I don’t know how that system was set up (I’m sure someone here knows), but I imagine that there’s only a small window in time when something like that can be established, say after an all-encompassing revolution and war.

    Precedents go far back. An old Graf Bobby joke:
    Graf Bobby is enlisted as an informant by the Secret Police. Upon meeting Baron Rudi, he asks him:
    — What do you think of the Emperor?
    Baron Rudi answers:
    — Same as you, as you well know.
    — Then I am very sorry, but I must arrest you.

  288. Well, that is extreme. What is more usual is no free press and attempts at internet censorship.

  289. What Putin did is:

    (1) took over TV (first NTV – and it caused large protests that everyone watched on TV., other channels during next years).

    (2) kept Novaya Gazeta and Echo Moskvy – it was clearly a conscious decision. The Echo is state owned and Putin knows its editor in person since before he ruled the country. Venedictov was invited to the president’s pess-conferences all these years, sometimes talked to him in private, and the Echo also was a platform to where foreign politicians were invited to talk. Aleksey_Venediktov_at_Radio_Echo_Moskvy_interviews_Hillary_Rodham_Clinton_2009.jpg

    Novaya gazeta is VERY oppositionary.

    (3) kept human rights groups, but TV informed people what all so called human right activists get HUGE foreign grants.

    (4) did not control the Internet.

    Taking control (not a crackdown, but taking control) over important newspapers and magazines is 2010s.

    Meduza (Ru, En…. oops! Blocked too… But only since now) appeared because the owner of lenta.ru – back then already less independent – fired the editor in chief and the team resigned and decided to move abroad and make a new site. This new site is more oppositionary.

    Mid 2010s is the law about “foreign agents”. That is, if you assigned the status of a foreign agent, you must publish a warning before each text that you publish, that you are a foreign agent and wrote it acting in capacity of a foreign agent (the word is chosen to soundlike “spy”:))). So people knew WHO they are reading.

  290. I of course see how this all can be presented as cosmic information war between two evil forces.

    WP says, meduza collaborated with Buzzfeed… I do not know, maybe Buzzfeed is something decent, but I saw one piece offered by it (on the main page of VK, Russian social network) and I am not going to try a second.

  291. J.W. Brewer says

    I suppose Buzzfeed might fit well into some sort of neo-Slavophil narrative about the superficiality and/or decadence of the West?

  292. Hell, that works for me, and I’m not even a Slavophil.

  293. Ah, then maybe Buzzfeed is all right. The only piece that I saw was a video about the siege of Aleppo (by Russians, but what bothered me was not that it was anti-Russian).
    I remember, there were much more innocent-looking ones about applying make up….

  294. David Eddyshaw says

    There are worse things than being superficial and decadent. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

  295. хуй войне

    Oh. I forgot it:(
    Khuy Voyne!

    It was initially about Iraq…

    Wonderfully:

    В частности, в газете «Спецназ России» о лозунге упомянул[15] российский публицист и националист Константин Крылов. При этом он критически отозвался о российской эстраде в целом. Российский философ Александр Дугин в газете «Комсомольская правда» отметил, что акция ему «очень понравилась»; по его мнению, «Тату» написали «золотые слова» и «вовремя показали их»[16][17].

  296. but when shown on Russian TV, the shirts were edited with an extra stroke through the letter Х to say Жуй войне! literally “Chew to the War!

    a variant practiced in FB (for fun):

    ***̆ ***̆**

    (not sure if it is going to be displayed properly)

  297. No, it is not:(

    And the link to …Khuy_Voyne! does not work even when I try %21.

  298. It displays fine here (in Lucida Grande font).

  299. I fixed the link so it works.

  300. It is a bit surrealistic situation: people get arrested for protests: against war, for peace, for “thou shalt not kill” banners (by religious protesters) etc. And “fake” news (“fake”: different from official news) are outlawed, which possibly includes using a word “war” as opposed to “special operation”. The point of the joke with asterisks is that “dick” is asterisked because it is a dick, and “war” is asterisked because ….
    Some wonder if War and Peace by Tolstoy must be forbidden too: two bad words in the tittle.

  301. religious
    It is a rare situation when the patriarch of Russian church could influence history. But the chances of a person who would to become a patriarch are slim:)

  302. Some wonder if War and Peace by Tolstoy must be forbidden too

    Held up, with one’s hand accidentally obscuring part of the title…

  303. David Marjanović says

    Жуй войне!

    Wonderful.

    ***̆ ***̆**

    Awesome. This is “straw-mud horse and the evil river crab” level. Actually, it represents both the horse (censorship of obscenity) and the crab (ideological censorship).

    people get arrested for protests

    Even if they say nothing, just stand there holding a blank sheet of paper or a flower. Like in Hongkong.

  304. Alla Gorbunova has posted “Штраф 11 тысяч.” [fine 11,000]. The ruble now being worth so little, that works out to slightly over $100. No fun, but it could have been a lot worse (and of course still can be).

  305. Wonderful. – reminds Argentinian Jujuy, on Russian maps Жужуй, beloved by our football commenters (they need something to speak about during the second half or extra time if there is nothing to speak about*… so they speak about the adventures of Jujuy and other things like that).


    *”что говорить, когда нечего говорить” used in theater by people in the crowd.

  306. I remember at some moment when the Powers in Russia decided to crack down on protest (Navalny was arrested or somethig like that) people went in significant numbers and in prearranged times for a walk. When stopped by the police they explained that they are not protesting, just walking. I think it worked for about a week or two.

  307. D.O., not now. they stop some famous activists already at metro stations, visit some other people warning them that they should not go, also stop people (as you can guess mostly female) who wear wrong symbols (I do not know if ☮ is “wrong” or not) etc.

    Просьба сугубо помолиться за наших братьев и сестер, которые шли в храм на лекцию «Раннехристианские общины», но не дошли, поскольку вышли на Пушкинской.
    Предположительно их везут в Бескудниково

    …maintaining the impression that the country is unanimous.

  308. The spiritual predecessor of хуй войне: миру – мир, войне – пиписька

  309. Meet Elona Musk, don:

    SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has changed his name to ‘Elona Musk’ on Twitter, leaving the users in frenzy. However, the reason behind the change is linked to the ongoing Russia and Ukraine conflict.

    https://www.wionews.com/world/elon-musk-or-elona-musk-heres-why-tesla-ceo-changed-his-name-on-twitter-462788

  310. This world is becoming increasingly strange.

  311. David Marjanović says

    Ilona!

  312. Wiktionary: elon (uncountable)
    1. (photography) Synonym of p-methylaminophenol sulfate (“metol”)

    I like this definition. But in my head I always read his name as Элон, and the transcription Илон keeps confusing me. Apparently in my head ˈiːlɔn is just alon/elon with ɪŋɡlɪʃ accent.

  313. The wounders of touching up:

    https://twitter.com/mayemusk?lang=en

  314. Well, at least one lucky cat and his owner have made it from Kharkiv to Paris:

    https://www.newsweek.com/famous-meme-cat-ukraine-viral-platorm-plea-end-war-russia-stepan-1684488

    And a former classmate of mine is still holed up in a basement or something there.

  315. ЧГТРК “Грозный” – I wonder if it was written by their employee.

  316. Поэтому те, кто там воюет, они воюют ради Корана, ради Аллаха, ради того, чтобы эта грязь не распространилась у нас. Они – на джихаде, в этом нет никаких сомнений, – произнёс муфтий. Его слова перевёл на русский язык СМИ-иноагент «Кавказский узел».

  317. I posted it becaufe of this cute reference “его слова перевёл на русский язык СМИ-иноагент”. I can’t find the original post by the mufti and see if it is video or text and if GT can translate from Chechen:(
    https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/373689/

    Perhaps “this dirt” referst to what the patriarch spoke about in his sermon on “Forgiven Sunday”: xxx. It is unlikely that our “religious leaders” actually met and drank and discussed this (many of them are Muslims), but it is likely that they met and smoked something and discussed this, and came to a joint vision*.

    P.S. Not sure if “joint vision” is a pun or just broken English. But it was unitended.
    Men with a vision. visions. vision.

  318. David Marjanović says

    The wounders of touching up:

    That in particular.

  319. David Marjanović says

    “joint vision”

    Yes, that’s a great pun.

  320. I am not sure if I want to see a lady Kadyrov or not. But without the beard, please. The beard and Kalashnikov.
    (and no, the same mufti does not allow niqabs).

  321. The sermon in question (in Russian).

  322. That mufti & patriarch spin reminds of our own German right… About a month ago, when Putin was gathering his troops, I saw memes to the effect “would be good if Putin marched on Berlin, we would be rid of red-green and gendering would stop”. Looks like these guys are lying low now, keeping that kid of vomit to their telegram channels.

  323. Well, Putin is not waging a war on gay rights. From his latest (mendacity has reached at least Politburo level, but this fragment is funny for other reasons, or maybe not funny at all…):

    Я совсем не осуждаю тех, у кого вилла в Майами или на Французской Ривьере, кто не может обойтись без фуа-гра, устриц или так называемых гендерных свобод. Проблема абсолютно не в этом, а, повторю, в том, что многие из таких людей по своей сути ментально находятся именно там, а не здесь, не с нашим народом, не с Россией. Это и есть, по их мнению – по их мнению! – признак принадлежности к высшей касте, к высшей расе. Подобные люди готовы и мать родную продать, только бы им разрешили сидеть в прихожей у этой самой высшей касты. Они хотят быть похожими на неё, всячески подражая ей. Но они забывают или не понимают вообще, что этой так называемой высшей касте они если и нужны, то как расходный материал, чтобы использовать их для нанесения максимального ущерба нашему народу.

    I am not at all judging those who have a villa in Miami or on the French Riviera, who cannot do without foie gras, oysters, or so-called gender freedoms. That is absolutely not the problem, but, I repeat, the problem is that many of these people are mentally there, not here, not with our people, not with Russia. This is, in their opinion – in their opinion! – a sign of belonging to a higher caste, to a higher race. Such people are ready to sell their mother, only to be allowed to sit in the hallway of this higher caste. They want to be like it, imitating it in every possible way. But they forget or do not understand at all that if this so-called upper caste even needs them than as expendable material in order to use them to cause maximum damage to our people.

    (DeepL with my help)

  324. @D.O.
    “…destroyed Libya, almost destroyed Syria” – Putin, 2015 or 16.

    Libyans mostly lived in Libya, at home. Majority of Syrians were refugees (many of within Syria, many abroad). All Syrians who I know were. Cities were in ruins. So why did he say “almost”? I usually avoid listening to TV, but when I happen near a TV set I hear lines. Like this one (or like the one where he lied 4 times in 2 seconds and my jaw dropped:)). It is very instructive.
    He actually does not see that Libya (that is “people and land”) was in a much better state than Syria.

    For him both are states. He sees them so. As long as state institutions are still standing, they still can find subjects for them. For me the two countries are 20-something millions faces and landscapes.

  325. David Marjanović says

    From his latest

    Video with English subtitles; longer than the above, but abruptly ends before the speech is over. Basic message: all this is just going to purify Russia. I’ll refrain from making explicit who else was “purified” like that in history.

  326. As I said, sanctions make fascism stronger.

  327. There’s a link to an English translation of the full speech. The first half of it is not a bad wartime speech—a bit of hyperbole is to be expected—except that it’s all lies. The middle of the speech gets into wild-eyed frothing territory, so even if you didn’t know anything about anything, you might notice something’s amiss. The last third or so is an economic plan of sorts, attempting to calm anxieties about the economic situation. As far as I can tell, it comes down to, the Federal government will go into debt to float the economy.

  328. More optimistically:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUSPBeSNzYw

    A song “Такого как Путин”, performed by street musicians in, I think, Kazan. The English version of the original is here (but I do not understand words:(().

    I first heard it in 2002 in a kiosk (laryok, a pavillion where they sell beer, juice, cookies, etc.), and was quite surprised.

  329. PlasticPaddy says

    @drasvi
    This is a humorous song:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBFkPas6-DM

  330. Hat, what’s with the pronunciation of the r’s in that song? And what do the lyrics say, roughly?

    Hardly need to say it, but: Pussy Riot were right all along, and they did well in calling attention to him early on.

    Added: Maria Alyokhina is still fighting from within Russia. I’m stunned.

  331. @Y, хуёво.
    (“dicky”, that is: very bad)

  332. Россия и Украина
    11-14 марта 2022, уличный опрос 1000 респондентов, Москва
    Роман Юнеман
    Russian Field

    https://dropmefiles.com/oNhnB

  333. Not very different from what I expected. I would expect 60% pro-war, 15% anti-war.

    53% of young people using Telegram as their main source.

    “Как Вы оцениваете свои финансовые перспективы в ближайшем будущем?”
    In this case people who excpect improvement are fooling the interviewer but not themselves.

    На ваш взгляд, каких результатов России наиболее важно достичь по итогам
    специальной военной операции на территории Украины?
    Средние по 10-балльной шкале

    “Удаление сторонников неонацизма из органов власти Украины” 8.0
    That is unexpected.

  334. If it will be forced conversion of all Christians to Islam and all Muslims to Buddhism – will opinions also be split as ~15%-~60%? Like, all Yabloko voters against, and all supporters of the government supporting.

    Of course after 20 years-long campaign meant to convince everyone that Christians make better Muslims than Muslims who are, honestly, are terrible Muslims and would make much better Buddists.

  335. (and yes, most Muslims are terrible Muslims:-E But we do not have better Muslims… and this exact problem my plan is meant to solve! [same is true for Christians of course])

  336. He actually does not see that Libya (that is “people and land”) was in a much better state than Syria. For him both are states. He sees them so.

    I think this actually helps me understand Putin’s particular brand of psychopathy – and his appeal for some – much better. Thanks for that comment, drasvi.

  337. In Putin’s Weltanschauung, everyone is inherently bigoted; everyone is a “fundamentalist” — it just depends what kind of “fundamentalist” you are, or pretend to be.

  338. Y: The title means “Our madhouse voted for Putin,” and here are the lyrics (you can run them through DeepL or GT):

    Я сегодня спросил на обходе врача:
    “Почему у нас нет от палаты ключа?
    Почему в голове и в бюджете дыра?
    Почему вместо завтра сегодня вчера?”

    Пусть расскажет нам доктор про нефть и про газ,
    Кто их продал пиндосам, какой пидорас,
    Кто отнял у народа Газпром и Лукойл.
    Нет ответа. А на тебе, в жопу укол!

    Refrain:
    Всё так сложно, всё так запутано,
    Но разбираться некогда, брат!
    Наш дурдом голосует за Путина,
    Наш дурдом будет Путину рад! (2x)

    Из розетки я принял секретный сигнал.
    Говорят, что в больнице есть нал и безнал,
    Что завхоз отожрался, а я похудел.
    Где же, где же ты, вождь? Прекрати беспредел!

    Я писал в Белый Дом, что тут вор на воре,
    Что масоны хотят меня сжечь на костре,
    Что кругом разгильдяйство, распил и раскол.
    Нет ответа. А на тебе, в жопу укол!

    Всё так сложно, всё так запутано!
    Доктор прав, а я – виноват!
    Наш дурдом голосует за Путина!
    Путин – точно наш кандидат!

    (Refrain)

    Since neither translator understands the word пиндос ‘goddam American’ (see this LH post), I’m mentioning it here.

  339. Oh, and I don’t hear anything odd about the pronunciation of the r’s.

  340. David Marjanović says

    They’re particularly far retracted, sort of Indo-/Tibetospheric.

  341. Специально для издания «ASTRA» корреспондентка Яна Фёдорова решила поговорить с теми, кто покинул свои родные места и узнать, как они живут сейчас и что они думают о происходящем.

    https://telegra.ph/YA-hochu-v-svoyu-zhizn-do-24-fevralya-03-18

  342. Ovsyannikova, pro-war source: picture
    Ovsyannikova, anti-war source: picture (someone’s FB, I do not know the owner)

  343. Боевые птицы Никиты Михалкова/Nikita Mikhalkov’s Warbirds

    Из всех птиц на ум приходит кукуха, которая совсем слетела.

  344. … и его младший брат Рогозин:

    Глава «Роскосмоса» Дмитрий Рогозин утверждает, что целью биологических экспериментов, якобы проводимых Пентагоном на Украине, является разработка «этнического оружия» против «русского населения России». Он заявил, что это оружие якобы воздействует на репродуктивную систему россиянок. Какие-либо доказательства он не привел.

    https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5269932

    I guess some birds are also trained to collide with Russian satellites in orbit to bring them down.

  345. Ovsyannikova

    According to Kleimenov, she was in the pay of the UK embassy. Has anyone doubted that? Also, she had been digging a tunnel from Moscow to Washington, DC.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZVd41NI59c

    Read the comments, too.

  346. The exchange between Scott Kelly and Rogozin (nothing interesting apart of that R. called him “moron”, K. called R. “Dimon” which is not too interesting) reminded me that video where Padalka, Kelly and Kornienko were ascending to ISS….

    https://meduza.io/shapito/2016/08/12/my-zhivem-poka-letaem-na-divan-leg-i-kirdyk

    Падалка: Е-мое, гайз, целый год. The whole year, guys.
    Корниенко: Не напоминай…
    Падалка: Вы, ***** [междометие], хироу. You will be heroes.
    Kелли: Yes.
    Падалка: Все нормально там будет, не волнуйся.
    Корниенко: Команда нормальная — самое главное.
    Падалка: Постоянно будет меняться публика. прилетит, немножко мозги ****** [покомпостирует], ничего страшного.
    Корниенко: …тяжеловато будет.
    Падалка: А что делать?
    Корниенко: Да ничего. Приспособимся. Потом прилетит, и уже можно будет домой, в принципе. Еще не прилетел, уже домой собираюсь.
    Падалка: Ой, *** [междометие]… Мне нравится всегда, ***** [междометие]: проводы, старты, а потом думаю: ***** [зачем] я сюда собрался?
    Корниенко: Ха-ха, да. Потом наступают тяжелые будни и кирдык.
    Падалка: Интересно там: детки внизу, девушки, провожают, слезы. А я думаю: нахера оно нам надо, а?
    Корниенко: Да, когда прилетаешь, депрессняк. А потом ничего, вроде разойдешься.
    Падалка: Ничего, *** [междометие], да.
    Корниенко: Это нормально. Нормальное состояние.
    Падалка: Но я все, ****** [конец], крайний раз ***** [междометие].
    Корниенко: Ха-ха-ха. Иваныч.
    Падалка: Чего, *** [междометие]?
    Корниенко: Вот давай — когда ты взметнешься еще раз, с тебя бутылка.
    Падалка: Yes, guys. Guys, itʼs true. Itʼs my last flight. Все. Itʼs so, guys.
    Корниенко: Я от тебя слышу это в десятый раз.
    Падалка: Ну-ну.
    Корниенко: Мы живем, пока мы работаем, летаем. На диван лег… И кирдык, *** [междометие]. Так что не надо забываться. Во, 270 километров до станции. А там нас ждут уже. Консервы откроем, покушаем.
    Падалка: Баранинку, ***** [междометие]. С чаем горячим.

    (highly recommended for lovers of science fiction set in space… Asterisks left intact because they are always more obscene than actual fucks)

  347. David Marjanović says

    разработка «этнического оружия»

    Someone wasn’t taught enough biology in school.

    I guess some birds are also trained to collide with Russian satellites in orbit to bring them down.

    Of course. As we all know, the US government has replaced all birds by drones who spy on Real Americans and probably Russians, too. It logically follows…

    in the pay of the UK embassy

    How quaint!

    Read the comments, too.

    Why would I read YouTube comments? I just made that mistake yesterday!

  348. The word of the year?

    rouben
    @newaviator
    ·
    19 мар.
    Дебермудизация – процесс перерегистрации/перекрашивания бортовых номеров ВС с бермудской регистрации (либо иной: VP-, VQ-, EI-) на российскую регистрацию (RA-), без одобрения владельца ВС/лизинговой компании, вопреки запрету владельца/лизинговой компании эксплуатировать данное ВС

    https://twitter.com/newaviator/status/1505124650312941570?s=20&t=mESH8IqwNeCBnnUH3oH4UA

  349. I do not follow military slang, and a question of a [pro-]war correspondent to a comander whether мирняк просачивается or not impressed me.

  350. мирняк is a mass noun. Civilians.

  351. «Война стала последней каплей»
    Что происходит в госСМИ: проверки, увольнения и методички

    https://borzunova.substack.com/p/–2f6?s=w

  352. There was no need for this when we fought in Syria, because there was not serious opposition to it.

    But bombing Kiev (or Mariupol) is something many could dislike.

    When 50% of people around support war, and 50% people around are against the war – you scratch your head and you remmeber that you or your friends have relatives in the Ukraine. And you join the “againt” camp: you are with people.

    But when 100% of people around support war, you support war. Else you are a traitor, you are agains Russia.
    You are not wtih your motherland in a difficult hour. You are not with our boys who are risking their lives when fighting with Nazi in Mariupol.

    ِAn impression of overwhelming support is equivalent to it. And мирняк просачивается.

  353. David Eddyshaw says

    I suspect that the propaganda is not secondary to the purposes of the war on Ukraine; on the contrary, the war on Ukraine is intended to justify the propaganda: Putin incarnates Russia, and all opposition to him is treason.

  354. David Marjanović says

    Bingo. Putin and only Putin can Make Russia Great Again, now watch him do it.

  355. Why would I read YouTube comments?

    Because they are an ideal example of an одобрямс и осуждамс ‘condemn enemy-inspired voices/views and support our brave leaders’ point of view. Dissenting voices are enemies of our great peace-loving country.

  356. David Marjanović says

    Exactly. I’ve had enough of that. 🙂 What I had read the day before included such gems as “we here in latin america also hate volodymyr nazinsky”…

  357. @David Marjanović: As I was scrolling, I somehow read part of what you wrote as, “… only Putin can Make Russia Cake Again….”

  358. Then poutine…

  359. @juha, “peace-loving” is obsolete. It is fascism, not USSR.

  360. My greatest schock during the war in 2008 was that the community on a Russian-langauge forum who supported the war in Iraq and spoke back then about human rights and terrible things done by Saddam were not interested in that.

    They were explaining that Russia is wrong, but the arguments for why it is wrong were the same arguments that people here know by heart. They were not interested in what happened to locals. When Georgians are reconquerring a territory where a different (and after 1992, hostile) ethnicity lives, there is a danger of genocide. But that was Russian argument. When Russians reconquer it, the Georgian population is in a greater danger. But no, human rights were fashionable in 2003, now the party line is different.

    So I realized that they simply do not have their own opinion, they are simply retelling what newspapers tell and I can read the newspapers to the same effect. And they are all PhDs.

    I do not know if I am different. Maybe not. I normally do not watch news, so my opinion usually differs. But I read linguistics and… yes, I do not think anything original about lanuages.

  361. John Cowan says

    I do not know if I am different. Maybe not. I normally do not watch news, so my opinion usually differs. But I read linguistics and… yes, I do not think anything original about lanuages.

    The same applies to me.

    Some years back I didn’t know who Xi was. Now I do.

  362. «Интерфакс» назвал массовое сокращение «высвобождением от работы»
    В соцсетях предложили и другие эвфемизмы — например, «отрицательный приём на работу».
    […]

    «Высвобождение от работы» — не новый термин. Под ним понимают увольнение или отстранение от работы на длительные срок большого числа работников по причине экономического кризиса.

    https://tjournal.ru/internet/571808-interfaks-nazval-massovoe-sokrashchenie-vysvobozhdeniem-ot-raboty

  363. ТРВ-Наука (the newspaper that published the letter of sceintists against the war) is now a “foreign agent” as well.

  364. PlasticPaddy says

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Maria_Graf
    “Graf’s books were not included in the Nazi book burning; at the time, most of them were actually approved by the Nazis as recommended reading. In response, Graf published an appeal that subsequently became famous, Verbrennt mich! [“Burn me!”] in Vienna’s Arbeiterzeitung.”
    The obvious response for scientists or groups of scientists not connected with the letter but with similar feelings is to ask the Government to help them obtain foreign funding in order to qualify as foreign agents…

  365. It was a lot easier for Graf to cock a snook at the Nazis from abroad than for Russians in Russia to do such a thing.

  366. Reminded me a song (or rather a polyphonic Baroque and middle east inspired canon for two voices or something) “I am an agent of Mossad (and CIA)” that my friends, then students of a musical school composed in 90s. I do not rememeber if there are still any recordings and if there were any other lines apart of я-‘а-ген-тмас-саАаАаАаАаАада (baroque/ME ornamentation and then in low voice:) и-цэ-рэ-у… и-цэ-рэ-у… и-цэ-эр-у….
    Apparently there were. There was recitative in Hebrew.

  367. @PP, yes. One of the authors of the canon moved to Montenegro just because he likes it, but since recently the first small colony of Russian political emigrants has began to forming around. E.g. another my freind who was among the first to get personal status of “mass media—a foreign agent”. And now when TrV is an agent too, it starts looking … cool?

  368. David Marjanović says

    ТРВ-Наука (the newspaper that published the letter of sceintists against the war) is now a “foreign agent” as well.

    That’s only consistent. Science is rather literally globalist.

    Vienna’s Arbeiterzeitung

    …in the sense that both Vienna and the Arbeiterzeitung were owned by the Social Democratic Workers’ Party as it was then known.

    help them obtain foreign funding

    Seems to be unavailable, except maybe from China. Even scientific institutions have stopped working together with scientific institutions based in Russia.

  369. Actually, yes. If a scientific paper is based on a research funded by a foreign grant, then it would only be logical to require from the author and the journal to add ДАННОЕ СООБЩЕНИЕ (МАТЕРИАЛ) СОЗДАНО И (ИЛИ) РАСПРОСТРАНЕНО ИНОСТРАННЫМ СРЕДСТВОМ МАССОВОЙ ИНФОРМАЦИИ, ВЫПОЛНЯЮЩИМ ФУНКЦИИ ИНОСТРАННОГО АГЕНТА, И (ИЛИ) РОССИЙСКИМ ЮРИДИЧЕСКИМ ЛИЦОМ, ВЫПОЛНЯЮЩИМ ФУНКЦИИ ИНОСТРАННОГО АГЕНТА to everything they publish.

  370. dravsi: “Dugin often appeared in influential Russian media 20 years ago. What it meant is that he belongs to the circle of people who often appear there, and is considered by them to be a thinker.”

    Dugin was an influence on people close to Putin, though. He was considered credible in Russian media.

  371. I do not know. In 2014 specifically people in TV were scary (and much scarier than Putin).
    Then I did not follow news. Then a year ago I checked the news and discovered that I am now living in a fascist country and the change is rapid and recent. I do not know whether it is Putin or just a certain community/ideology has gained power.

  372. The Making of Vladimir Putin (archived): a long NY Times piece that has a good description of how he’s changed since taking power.

  373. there is also Venedictov’s classficition. In his classification it’s Putin 3.5 now (unless he has uploaded an update and it is Putin 4)
    – Yeltsin’s course
    – realizing that “this all was some морок” (V’s words, not P’s), and following his own course
    – (after 2011) reactionary Putin
    – (2018) мракобесный

  374. It goes without saying — but I’ll say it anyway — that the Times piece is repellently smug about the West in general and the US in particular, and takes for granted that everything “we” do is good and righteous. However, that doesn’t affect what they have to say about Putin.

  375. Губернатор Сергей Цивилев инициировал акцию по поддержке спецоперации России на Украине
    Cо 2 марта название региона в информационных материалах правительства области будет писаться «КуZбасс».
    «В то время как наши парни выполняют задачи….

    (meduza. The words are copied from kemerovo.ru though)

  376. Специальная библиотека КуZбасса для незрячих
    “Я получил образование в библиотеке. Совершенно бесплатно”. – Рэй Брэдбери

    Braille for З and Z is the same…

  377. John Cowan says

    takes for granted that everything “we” do is good and righteous

    Well, where “we” excludes Trump. But yes, the whole thing reeks of the fundamental attribution error: Putin does thus and so because it’s his (rotting) nature, whereas “we” merely try to keep the peace (or whatever).

    That said, FAE theory turns out to rest on the same shaky foundations as the rest of psychology: a meta-analysis shows that while the effect is robust, it has an effect size of zero. In addition, the term “fundamental attribution error” is inherently propagandistic, as if it was always an error. Lastly. of course people act both because of who they are and where they are: that’s basic to the producer-product worldview.

  378. David Marjanović says

    Ah, we have our first 110% Gauleiter.

    “«Я, когда увидела „КуZбасс“, сперва подумала, что это шутка. Потом подумала — это же свастика. Потом подумала, что они ********* (с ума сошли, — прим. „Медузы“). Ох, никогда столько не материлась, сколько в эти недели», — говорит Светлана Николаевна, учительница истории из маленького городка в Кемеровской области (имя изменено, чтобы обезопасить героиню, — прим. «Медузы»).”

    I’ve read elsewhere that supposedly there’s a joke going around in Russia: “Why are Putin’s fascists using ‘Z’?” “Because someone in his mafia stole the other half of the swastika.”

  379. *********
    ебанулись
    var. ёбнулись (by mood: the difference is mostly rhythmical).

    In MY time the forum convention was е**нулись or е*анулись. Being intelligent people we speak directly and swear badly, but there are ladies (gentlemen) around and we need to acknowledge their presence. Still they are intelligent people too, so the exact from must be recognizable, so they do not have to ask.

  380. Что за манера, ставить звёздочки вместо начальной буквы и суффиксов?
    Как будто Пушкина читаешь. “Наружу ******, милый вид” – вот и гадай, сиська это или титька.

  381. David Marjanović says

    the Times piece is repellently smug about the West in general and the US in particular, and takes for granted that everything “we” do is good and righteous

    I wouldn’t go that far. Here’s a clear expression of unhappiness with something NATO did:

    The compromise was messy. The NATO leaders’ declaration said that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members of NATO.” But it stopped short of endorsing an action plan that would make such membership possible. Ukraine and Georgia were left with an empty promise, consigned to drift indefinitely in a strategic no man’s land, while Russia was at once angered and offered a glimpse of a division it could later exploit.

    What it does not do is criticize in one direction or the other. It completely avoids implying that Ukraine and Georgia should either have been offered “an action plan that would make such membership possible” or told no. I think that’s because the NYT has crafted itself into the pinnacle of the art of bothsiderism.

    In keeping with this, there are striking omissions:

    But Mr. Putin was far less comfortable with Mr. Bush’s “freedom agenda,” announced in his second inaugural of January 2005, a commitment to promote democracy across the world in pursuit of a neoconservative vision. In every stirring for liberty, Mr. Putin now saw the hidden hand of the United States. And why would Mr. Bush not include Russia in his ambitious program?

    “Now”, in 2005? Wasn’t Putin already convinced, when it was happening in 2004, that the Orange Revolution was entirely Hillary Clinton’s doing?

    But you can’t take sides on something that isn’t there, can you.

    Nested within this, note the complete avoidance of any hint at whether “a neoconservative vision” might be a good or a bad thing. Describing it makes it look bad, so it isn’t described.

    Having provoked an impetuous Georgian attack on its proxy forces in South Ossetia, Russia invaded Georgia.

    No bothsiderism there. I think that’s because this statement is a potential criticism of neither any Republicans nor any Democrats.

    I think the NYT interprets journalistic neutrality as steering precisely in the middle between the two political parties of, specifically, the US. Anything that can’t touch either party is fair game for being stated as a fact. Facts, on the other hand, that one of the parties denies cannot be stated as such.

    So much for the Obama administration’s attempts at a “reset” in relations with Russia over the four years that the milder Mr. Medvedev, who was always beholden to Mr. Putin, spent in office.

    Ha! A criticism of the Obama administration! …No, it’s blamed on Putin in the preceding paragraph. Mostly. Probably.

    Still, the idea that Mr. Putin posed any serious threat to American interests was largely dismissed in a Washington focused on defeating Al Qaeda. After Gov. Mitt Romney said that the biggest geopolitical threat facing the United States was Russia, he was mocked by President Obama.

    “The Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Mr. Obama said by way of contemptuous instruction during a 2012 presidential debate.

    OK, that’s criticism of Obama, but it’s framed as hindsight.

    But not many people were listening. The United States and most of Europe — less so the states closest to Russia — glided on in the seldom-questioned belief that the Russian threat, while growing, was contained; that Mr. Putin was a rational man whose use of force involved serious cost-benefit analysis; and that European peace was assured. The oligarchs continued to make “Londongrad” their home; Britain’s Conservative Party was glad to take money from them. Prominent figures in Germany, France and Austria were happy to accept well-paid Russian sinecures. They included Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, and François Fillon, the former French prime minister. Russian oil and gas poured into Europe.

    Direct criticism of the West, namechecking the US – but not any political figures in the US, and therefore neither of the parties. That’s safe.

    (The last sentence is quite misleading in context, of course. That started in the middle of the Cold War and is a famous part of a James Bond flick.)

    As for former President Donald J. Trump, he never had a critical word for Mr. Putin, preferring to believe him rather than his own intelligence services on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    There’s the political figure in the US! But the NYT decided on 6/1 that criticizing that one was safe. He remains the only one.

    germaphobia

    Back to linguistics… or copyediting.

  382. David Marjanović says

    *********

    Thank you! I was wondering. 🙂

  383. All true; I exaggerated as usual. And one can’t expect any more from the Gray Lady. But I didn’t want non-US readers to think I was uncritically endorsing the article.

  384. @David Marjanović: Ah, The Living Daylights, from way back in 1987. I had expected that sending a defector to the West through a petroleum pipeline would be the silliest, most unrealistic thing in the movie, until they showed Timothy Dalton and Maryam d’Abo having a great time riding the Hochbahn at Prater.

  385. David Marjanović says

    It’s a natural-gas pipeline, not a petroleum pipeline. Still silly, but decidedly less.

    But I didn’t want non-US readers to think I was uncritically endorsing the article.

    I wanted to explain bothsiderism to my fellow non-US readers. 🙂

  386. In the Earth science biz, petroleum refers not just to liquid oil, but also to natural gas (smaller molecules) and paraffins (larger). I specifically chose that word because I didn’t want to check what they say about the contents of the pipeline in the movie. In real life, it would be gas, but who knows what the script would say? (And, in light of recent events, does Putin know his Siberian pipeline is trans?)

  387. David Marjanović says

    Huh. I wouldn’t have guessed that from the oleum part.

    (…and in German, Petroleum is specifically what you burn in petroleum lamps; otherwise it’s near-calqued as Erdöl. Likewise, natural gas is Erdgas.)

  388. Now I know what Ukrainian/South Russian h sounds like with Arabic accent.
    Not bad, actually.
    I asked Arabic speakers when stuggling with x 7 h 3 what my Russian laringeal fricative sounds like, the answer was “something strange”

  389. @David Marjanović: I checked the OED and was surprised to find that petroleum is a very old word, in fact (so far as the OED knows) being first attested in English, although presumably not having originated there:

    The word was evidently reborrowed in the 15th cent.; there is unlikely to be continuity of use with the Old English.

    The Old English evidence (from a source c950) suggests that the word was current in post-classical Latin, perhaps as petraoleum, earlier than the 12th cent.

  390. However, that doesn’t affect what they have to say about Putin.

    How the United States Created Vladimir Putin

  391. @Hat But I didn’t want non-US readers to think I was uncritically endorsing the article.

    (Of course you weren’t. Plain to see.)

    @DM I wanted to explain bothsiderism to my fellow non-US readers.

    As a non-US reader enjoying a functioning democracy, I see bothsiderism only doing harm to politics in the U.S. — and indeed it’s poisoning everybody else’s politics. The disgraceful treatment of Ketanji Brown Jackson is not bothsiderable with the treatment of Brett Kavanagh: in the one case, it’s the Republican line of questioning that’s undermining respect for U.S. institutions; in the other, it was the behaviour of the nominee so undermining (and I mean his actual behaviour under questioning — that snarl of the over-privileged being called to account — not merely/not only the alleged past behaviour).

    Invading the Capitol is not an act of freedom of speech/civil disobedience bothsiderable with the Selma marches.

    Covid lockdowns and so-called vaccine mandates (New Zealand does not have/never has had compulsory vaccination) are not bothsiderable with the Warsaw Ghetto or Mengele’s experiments. And yet there’s now a splinter of NZ society who thinks they can say such stuff out loud, and set up a ‘Freedom Camp’ on the grounds of the Parliament, and daub swastikas on our war memorials (and wear MAGA hats and fly Trump 2024 flags).

    Bothsiderism destroys the nuance needed to preserve the ‘strategic ambiguity’ of Taiwan or “Ukraine and Georgia [being] left with an empty promise, consigned to drift indefinitely in a strategic no man’s land” — which realpolitikly is the best they can hope for.

    The U.S. doesn’t have a functioning democracy so far as I can see — this is going back over decades. Bothsiderism might be an adjunct to consensus politics; but there’s no working consensus; then bothsiderism works as a clapper in a cracked bell: it only makes the discord louder.

    The people of Ukraine are suffering too much already. Any attempt at peace must avoid the bothsiderism clangour of counterposing Putinism vs U.S. ‘democracy’ with its repellent notions of ‘freedoms’.

  392. «Это не просто война. Все гораздо хуже»
    Интервью Владимира Зеленского Ивану Колпакову, Михаилу Зыгарю, Тихону Дзядко и Владимиру Соловьеву из «Коммерсанта»

    https://meduza.io/feature/2022/03/27/eto-ne-prosto-voyna-vse-gorazdo-huzhe

  393. David Marjanović says

    How the United States Created Vladimir Putin

    Almost two hours, and the blurb is useless. Could you summarize the video?

    Интервью Владимира Зеленского

    Ah, so it’s in Meduza! I was wondering. 🙂 Interesting that they’re from the Kommersant; I wonder if that says something about Alisher “totally not my hyper-mega-yacht” Usmanov.

  394. David Marjanović says

    …one of them is from the Kommersant.

  395. I had almost forgotten the Kommersant even existed still. Did they take it over and make it Putinesque or did they not bother?

  396. @Bathrobe, yes.

    It is an accurate representation of how a certain segment sees the situation.
    Not knowing this view is comparable to not knowing in what part of the world Russia is: it is possible of course to discuss politics without geography, but it is easier to first learn some geography.

  397. David Marjanović says

    Usmanov has taken it over and apparently toned it down, and he’s personally Putinesque enough to be sanctioned, but I don’t know anything more specific than that.

    Интервью Владимира Зеленского

    …and it’s taking me well over two hours to read with my cutesily small vocabulary. I’ll interrupt, and resume later…

  398. he’s personally Putinesque enough to be sanctioned

    You mean “allowed to publish,” I presume. The verb “sanction” is so multivalent as to be useless except in very clear contexts.

  399. Stu Clayton says

    The verb “sanction” is so multivalent as to be useless except in very clear contexts.

    I have eliminated this annoying word from my active and passive vocab. As a bonus, I now don’t have to worry whether to treat a context of its use as clear. Anyhoo, if such contexts were clear, the word would not be multivalent, and thus sanctionable.

    Ditto sanktionieren.

  400. Funnily enough, it’s a rare case where it’s true in both major meanings of “sanctioned”

  401. John Cowan says

    Well, Russia is most certainly in the Northern Hemisphere but whether East or West is a question of where you see fit to draw lines.

  402. David Marjanović says

    Oops. I meant the EU has put sanctions on him.

  403. Echo Moskvy was state owned (and was simultaneously blocked by Youtube because of this and by ours:-))

  404. Ивану Колпакову, Михаилу Зыгарю, Тихону Дзядко и Владимиру Соловьеву из «Коммерсанта»

    “из «Коммерсанта»” I guess, because he is not THAT В. Соловьёв.

  405. David Marjanović says

    Yes: “специальный корреспондент «Коммерсанта» Владимир Соловьев (не путать с одноименным пропагандистом)”.

    (Yessss, I guessed the ё correctly.)

  406. the Times piece is repellently smug about the West in general and the US in particular, and takes for granted that everything “we” do is good and righteous.

    As the U.S. exported its culture to an astonishing degree, it imported very little. The result: American parochialism (Review of Sam Lebovic’s A Righteous Smokescreen: Postwar America and the Politics of Cultural Globalization.)

    Post-WWII restrictions “amounted to a guarantee of the _American_ right to spread information and culture across the globe.” “Containment, Lebovic shows, wasn’t just a territorial strategy committed to holding back Soviet expansion into Europe and Asia. Rather, it began at the American border and it involved policing the flow of people and ideas that were potentially inimical to the American status quo (this form of containment caught a much wider array of ideologies than just Soviet communism in its net). An Iron Curtain, to rejig Churchill’s famous speech about Soviet policies in Eastern Europe, had descended around the U.S.”

  407. Yeah, I don’t think many Americans have the faintest conception of that.

  408. I guessed the ё correctly.

    solovéj “nightingale”, Solovjóv “Sparrow[‘]s”, but solóvushka, diminutive
    vorobéj “sparrow”, Vorobjóv, but voróbushek, voróbyshek (у/ы)

    Tolstój, Tolstája, Tolstýje (all are relatives of the most bearded Tolstoy),
    tólstyj “fat”, “a fat person”

    and usually
    Ivanóv, but some of them are Ivánov. E.g. painters: Ivánov, Ivanóv.

    Sliver-Age poets are usually -ánov.
    Ivánov the co-author of Gamkrelidze is Ivánov, like his father (a writer Vsévolod I.).
    But there is of course a Slavist Ivanóv.

  409. David Marjanović says

    but some of them are Ivánov

    *runs screaming*

    I’m reminded of the extremely common surname 王 Wáng and the much less common surname 汪 Wāng, or the three Cantonese surnames Ng…

  410. There are a number of three-syllable names with possible stress on any of the syllables, like Babenkov.

  411. *runs screaming*

    Keep on running!

    Алекса́ндр Алекса́ндрович Але́хин (распространённое написание и произношение «Алёхин»[1] ошибочно[2][3];

    Алехин, Александр Александрович

  412. An aspect of the fallout from the special operation:

    Ташкент — город хлебный 2.0 Россияне бегут в Узбекистан от репрессий и мобилизации, как раньше бежали от голода и Гитлера

    https://mediazona.ca/article/2022/03/28/tashkentagain

  413. ….startign from Khiva Mennonites. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claas_Epp_Jr.
    (or not actually starting… who knows)

  414. And do not forget Чебышев. He spelled his surname Чебышев, but pronounced it Chebyshóv. Professors and students in some universities (consciously) retain it, others read it as Chébyshev. Fierce debates in WP (not only on the talk page) reneved for many years and they chose Чебышёв:/

    P.S. juha, thank you for the piece about Tashkent. I could follow local news, but I did not:( Also seeing fresh impressions of unprepared Russians who move there is incredebly interesting, I wish they wrote more about their impressions of the city/country…

  415. See here:

    Сторонники возвращения буквы в печать утверждают, что необязательность употребления этой буквы на печати исказила массу личных имён, и множество имён нарицательных. Так, например, буква “ё” исчезла из написаний (а затем и произношений) фамилий: кардинала Ришелье (фр. Richelieu), философа и писателя Монтескье (фр. Montesquieu), физика Рентгена (нем. Rontgen), микробиолога и химика Луи Пастера (фр. Pasteur), художника и востоковеда Николая Рёриха, математика Пафнутия Чебышева и др. (в последнем случае даже с изменением места ударения: Чебышев вместо правильного Чебышёв).

  416. @ David Marjanović

    The video is two hours but the talk is much less than that, about 40 minutes if I remember rightly. The rest is Q&A. The speaker once worked in Soviet propaganda and says his speech is partly mea culpa.

    I would recommend even more highly another talk at Youtube, Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault?, delivered in 2015. It is eerily prescient of the current situation. It also has Q&A, which makes it look longer than it actually is.

  417. Я уверен, что наш народ это примет, если захочет, потому что все все равно будет так или иначе голосоваться народными избраниями.

    I guess sleepy Zelinski meant …избранниками.
    “Х будет голосоваться” (Х голосуется) is parliamentary slang for “Х будет вынесен на голосование”, “по вопросу Х будет голосование” (Х вынесен на голосование, по Х идёт голосование).

    Though, of course, his langauge policy is ugly.

  418. PlasticPaddy says

    This lost me at the point where he started talking about promoting democracy, as I think this description cannot really be applied to giving moral (and perhaps even material) support to organisers of a putsch against an elected (however corrupt, unpopular, etc.) President, except with some kind of special pleading and truisms about breaking eggs to make omelettes.

  419. @Bathrobe,

    English WP does not give a good idea of what Pozner is for USSR. But he hosted this thing: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Телемост.

    He is introduced in the video as “journalist #1” of Perestroyka, but for Soviet people of the time… in the row of images that form the athmosphere of the time, those телемосты are as important as Gorbachev:)
    And the very fact that such talks were aired felt like a historical event.

    Conversations in this form also were unusual for Soviet TV (but became the main form of our modern TV).

    The guy is absolutely worth taking a look at, maybe for historical reasons (but maybe it is better to watch an actual historical Pozner/Donahue)

  420. the piece about Tashkent

    Есть их у нас, as they say.

    To boldly go where no echt-Russian has gone before, or tackling unfamiliar Uzbek food:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DX-9dzJxOM

  421. @LH, I do not know if WP editors invented this spelling, but I have not seen it before they chose it for WP.
    I am totally accustomed to Чебышев.

    Also it is how he wrote his surname and like with Алехин there was a point I think: following the noble Slavonic norm, cf. совершенный/совершённый perfect/made, Владимир/Володя (the official form of the name Володимѣръ is slavonicized, but not the short form) etc.). If his family changed their surname, it would be Чебышов. So it is not a case of “omitting the trema”, it is a case of not adding one where there never was one.

    And to me it feels weird. There are шёлк-шёлка-шелка (shólk-shólka-shelká, silk–of silk–silks), шёл-`шедший, but the possive suffix is always -ev (unstressed) or -ov. -ëv is weird.

  422. noble Slavonic

    Or literary Russian as opposed to vilalge Russian.

    Cf. Slovak Rusyns. Their first grammar (1768? I do not remember) is called “Russian grammar” – but it seems (I haven’t seen it) it is Slavonic grammar. Russian thus means “our acrolect/Dachsprache”.

  423. Чебышёв

    It’s only natural if the surname goes back to чебеш ‘chick’.

    себеш

    Etymology

    From onomatopoeic сеп-сеп (sep-sep).

    Compare to Tatar чебеш (çebeş), чеби (çebi, “chick”), Kazakh шіби (şibï, “chick”).
    Pronunciation

    IPA(key): [sɪ̞.ˈβɪ̞ʃ]
    Hyphenation: се‧беш

    Noun

    себеш • (sebeš)

    1. chick, young chicken
    2. (by extension) chick, young bird

    In Tashkent, there is Институт Шредера, which is clearly Schröder.

  424. YO!:

    The Wikipedia article on the letter says “The fact that yo is frequently replaced with ye in print often causes some confusion to non-Russians, as it makes Russian words and names harder to transcribe accurately,” but according to an impassioned plea for its use (by E. Pchelov and V. Chumakov), it confuses Russians too, so that some say Chebyshev for the correct Chebyshov (Чебышёв) and routinely mispronounce foreign names.

  425. LH, i was trying to find in Google Books the specific context where P and Ch used “Чебышёв”, that is, a line:

    “а великий русский математик Пафнутий Львович Чебышев”

    and Google offered
    Zakony i pravila russkago proiznoshenii͡a (“laws and rules of Russian pronunciation”),
    Vasiliĭ Ilʹich Chernyshev · 1908

    He is Chernyshóv:))))))

  426. But is it just a phonetical spelling in P and Ch? In textbooks he has always been Чебышев (likely now Чебышёв because everyone now learns THE correct spelling (and knowledge) from WP – and WP is arbitrary).

    In the “Mathematical Encyclopedia” he is of course Чебышев (but, of course, Нётер). It does not have a biogrpahical section, even though it is 5 volumes.
    In the Mathematical Encyclopedical Dictionary (1 vol.) there is a biographical chapter with portraits.

    ЧЕБОТАРЁВ Николай Григорьевич…

    ЧЕБЫШÉВ (произносится Чебышёв)….

  427. Änd honeslty, it is not a problem that some say Чéбышев.

    It is even cute when a bunch of particular snobs, students of students of his students tell everyone that he is /-óv/ when other universiuties say /-ev/

  428. You don’t want a world without footnotes, do you?!

  429. @Plastic Paddy, the pattern that Putin can find a common language with a certain kind of regimes is there. The West indeed often works with a different kind of regimes (but actually many of traditional allies are official monarchies). So maybe indeed it is more comfortable working with them, I do not know.

    The fact is that Putin does gather authoritarian regimes. I guess he is simply more comfortable with hierarchies. When something has a head, you can
    – make the head your subordinate
    – buy it
    – come to an agreement with it
    – threaten it

    but they are controllable… He can work with them.

    But anyway, the speaker needed to refer to this pattern somehow, so “democracy”. Yes, it is not a neutral word (and maybe does not correctly explain what is that thing that the West likes and that sometimes does not like the West).

  430. He understands them, that’s what I am saying.

  431. David Marjanović says

    In Tashkent, there is Институт Шредера, which is clearly Schröder.

    With German names there’s always the question if they were actually borrowed from an unrounded pronunciation. Over half the German dialects have unrounded the rounded front vowels, and until the mid-20th century (at least) there were people who had serious trouble pronouncing the rounded ones.

  432. David Marjanović says

    I would recommend even more highly another talk at Youtube, Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault?, delivered in 2015.

    Oh, is this Mearsheimer warning that Ukraine should not join NATO?

    Ukraine hasn’t joined NATO, and it turns out that’s exactly what made it possible for Putin to attack it. He’s not attacking Estonia or Latvia, tiny countries with large Russian minorities that we’ve previously talked about – evidently because that would trigger Article 5.

  433. Mearsheimer talked about three prongs in Western efforts to integrate Ukraine with the West: ‘democratisation’, integration with the EU, and Nato, all of which made Russia extremely nervous. Plus the fact that the Russians (Putin) felt betrayed by the West’s failure to keep its promises.

  434. You don’t want a world without footnotes, do you?!

    Боже сохрани!

    Mearsheimer talked about three prongs in Western efforts to integrate Ukraine with the West: ‘democratisation’, integration with the EU, and Nato, all of which made Russia extremely nervous. Plus the fact that the Russians (Putin) felt betrayed by the West’s failure to keep its promises.

    Who cares what makes Russia nervous? Nothing would keep Putin from feeling paranoid/betrayed short of the entire submission of all of Eurasia to him permanently. I admit I used to mutter about NATO’s eastward expansion, but now I agree with DM that Ukraine’s not joining NATO is exactly what made it possible for Putin to attack it. I wish it were possible for countries to just coexist peacefully without military alliances, but as long as there are Putins, there will be a need for NATOs.

  435. @DM, LH years ago a MGIMO student retold me what her professor told :
    – Yeltsin was a shame for Russia because vodka
    – Gorbachev is an idiot, because he gave away East Germany. A whole country. Just for nothing! Did not even sell it.

    I happen to disagree with her and her professor. It is immoral to keep a whole country as hostages.

  436. Exactly right.

  437. PlasticPaddy says

    @drasvi
    What I meant to say is that the point Mearsheimer lost me is when he talked about “protecting or establishing democracy” as a US foreign policy goal, particularly in the context of the Orange Revolution, which removed a democratically elected President by force. What you say about Putin seems to be true, and I find you more worth listening to than Mearsheimer….

  438. @PP, I understand. But this pattern (Putin hangs with this type of regimes, the West hangs with another type) needs to be referred to somehow. There is a split along a certain line.

    So he referred to it as “promoting democracy”. The words are not perfect, but he needed same label and this one is familiar… Communicatively it makes sense, but

    talk to chinese elites the idea that we’re promoting democracy around the world and especially
    13:33 in east asia just drives them crazy because they think they’re in the crosshairs and you
    13:38 know what they are in the crosshairs because our basic strategy is to topple regimes all
    13:44 over the world not simply because we like democracy but because we believe that whoever
    13:51 gets elected will be pro-western so we’re killing two birds with one stone

    ….does not sound like he is promoting it.

  439. David Marjanović says

    ‘democratisation’

    Ooh, scare quotes.

    integration with the EU, and Nato, all of which made Russia extremely nervous.

    NATO is a defensive alliance, and the EU isn’t a military alliance at all. So what is it that made Vladimir “Russia” Putin extremely nervous?

    It makes sense that he was suspicious of NATO. As I’ve said before, I used to think NATO should have been dissolved – honorably discharged – in 1991 when its entire raison d’être was suddenly gone. I think it was kept alive by American cultural anxiety: some people simply couldn’t believe the Soviet Union was gone for good – after all its nukes weren’t. This was parodied here and played straight in… I forgot the name of that ever-so-slightly embarrassing Hollywood flick where an explicitly Russian extremist hijacks a plane and starts to murder hostages until the POTUS personally saves the world. Putin, and no doubt many others in Russia, probably thought NATO had a secondary function that had not disappeared: to be an instrument for exerting American power in Europe. I don’t think the US would need NATO for that, but perhaps that makes it easier, what do I know.

    Anyway, when all the countries from Estonia to Bulgaria begged to join NATO and were eventually granted their request, I thought they were being paranoid for purely historical reasons.

    So why would Putin go from “suspicious” to “extremely nervous”? After all, Putin eventually managed to buy all the extreme-right parties in all of Europe except Poland, along with a few loud leftists; RT and Sputnik became the preferred news sources for a lot of people worldwide, and Putin’s influence on Twitter and Facebook, not to mention Cambridge Analytica, is hard to overstate.

    What he’s extremely nervous about is exactly the scare-quoted democratisation. That’s what the EU stands for. Once the Russians notice that right in front of their noses there’s a prospering democratic country full of Russians and of people that are not easy to distinguish from Russians, they just might figure they can have a prosperous democracy, too, and then he’s in serious trouble.

    (That’s the exact same problem Xi has with Taiwan and used to have with Hongkong.)

    Remember, Putin can’t just retire to his illegal palace. He’s in power for the rest of his life. Once he’s out of power, he’s useless to the rest of the mafia, but he knows way too much. He’d be found dead the next day under extremely, extremely mysterious circumstances. He has boxed himself in (as if symbolized by the bunker he lives in), and it’s entirely his fault.

    Plus the fact that the Russians (Putin) felt betrayed by the West’s failure to keep its promises.

    If you mean the supposed promises that NATO wouldn’t be enlarged, those are very poorly documented. It looks like some Western politicians did say such things at a few occasions in the 90s, but they never wrote them down, and they never had the power to actually enforce them any more than Trump could have bought Greenland.

    Georgia and Ukraine, in contrast, have not been allowed to join NATO…

    the Orange Revolution, which removed a democratically elected President by force

    Then he was unceremoniously reelected in 2010, and nobody tried to stop him until he faked the election of 2014. In the ensuing revolution it turned out he was a kleptocrat; he fled to Russia rather than face justice for his blatant crimes.

  440. Once the Russians notice that right in front of their noses there’s a prospering democratic country full of Russians and of people that are not easy to distinguish from Russians, they just might figure they can have a prosperous democracy, too, and then he’s in serious trouble.

    Putin is not a cartoon villain:(

  441. The Right of Revolution is the last of those self-evident truths in the Declaration of Independence—the truth to which all the others are working up to.

    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

  442. PlasticPaddy says

    @brett, dm
    My point was about labeling certain actions as “promoting democracy” and stating this to be a US foreign policy goal. I do not see that encouraging
    selected peoples to remove their elected leaders (kleptocrat, election-faking, cryptoFascist/Communist, whatever the “reason” for removing them is) by force fits my naive definition of “promoting democracy”. Even if you change the label to “enforcing the doctrine of Jeffersonian permanent revolution” (which perhaps fortunately has not been enforced in its country of origin), I have difficulty with stating it as a US foreign policy goal, due to the extremely selective and inconsistent nature of its application.

  443. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm
    Finland is a prospering (although less so since EU sanctions against Russia started) democratic country (also with x% ethnic Russians, with x some number under 5). But would you describe Poland or Hungary like this? My Euro MP at the time, the redoutable Patricia McKenna, stated at the time that the accession conditions applied to Poland, Czech Republic, Baltics would just create a two-tier Europe.

  444. In other news:

    Deputy of the Russian State Duma Mikhail Delyagin, speaking at the state television of the Russian Federation, called for the “punishment” of Azerbaijan for “aggressive actions” in Karabakh. He also conducted a survey on the topic of whether “is it worth it to hit the oil industry of Azerbaijan with nuclear weapons”. The Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov and the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, had to intervene in this matter. Only after that Delyagin apologized to the Azerbaijanis.

    https://jam-news.net/russian-mp-threatened-azerbaijan-with-a-nuclear-strike-the-kremlin-had-to-intervene/

  445. Ben Tolley says

    Putin is not a cartoon villain:(

    Give him time; he’s working on it.

    I’ve got to agree with DM. Whether Putin rationalises it that way himself or not, I’m pretty sure that is an important part of what’s driving him at this point.

  446. the Orange Revolution, which removed a democratically elected President by force.

    Umm (apologies for not keeping up). I though the point was that the elections “were rigged by the authorities in favour of [Yanukovych] ” [wp]. So he was maybe elected, but not democratically. (Or is this too much of a ‘no real Scotsman’ argument?)

    Yes it’s puzzling how come Yanukovych was then elected 5 years later. And then ousted 4 years after that. That might be described as “removing a democratically elected President”. Or do we (again) say his corruption and abuse of power had negated democratic legitimacy?

    (How to characterise all that in a way that doesn’t legitimise the Jan 6 attempted insurrection?)

  447. David Marjanović says

    But would you describe Poland or Hungary like this?

    Membership in the EU has prevented them from transitioning into full authoritarianism. They’re certainly close, but in Poland the opposition almost won very recently, and in Hungary it’s probably about to win, even though that’s taking an Israel-style coalition of absolutely everyone against Orbán.

    Economically prospering compared to Russia, though? Yes.

    Yes it’s puzzling how come Yanukovych was then elected 5 years later. And then ousted 4 years after that.

    Not that much. The Yushchenko/Tymoshenko government didn’t fulfill the high hopes placed on it, and people figured good relations with Russia were important, so they brought Yanukovych back. Good science: try two options, then pick the one that sucks less.

    Then, however, Yanukovych failed to deliver as well, so he faked the election of 2014. The ensuing revolution revealed his palace; that’s what turned the public opinion decisively westwards.

    (How to characterise all that in a way that doesn’t legitimise the Jan 6 attempted insurrection?)

    By recognizing that there’s such a thing as a fact. The US election of 2020 was, in fact, not faked, and Biden had not, in fact, engaged in corruption or other abuses of power. (I’m prepared to argue over his not very smart son if there’s interest.)

  448. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm
    The question was whether e.g., Poland was prosperous in an absolute, not relative sense (for a relative sense, why not take say Austria or Portugal for the comparison instead of Russia)? But I see you are a glass half full man, whereas I tend to be a glass half empty man for Eastern Europe, and this bias may be affecting my judgment.

  449. I can’t stand Bret Stephens, but I’m afraid he’s all too plausible here:

    Suppose for a moment that Putin never intended to conquer all of Ukraine: that, from the beginning, his real targets were the energy riches of Ukraine’s east, which contain Europe’s second-largest known reserves of natural gas (after Norway’s).

    Combine that with Russia’s previous territorial seizures in Crimea (which has huge offshore energy fields) and the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk (which contain part of an enormous shale-gas field), as well as Putin’s bid to control most or all of Ukraine’s coastline, and the shape of Putin’s ambitions become clear. He’s less interested in reuniting the Russian-speaking world than he is in securing Russia’s energy dominance.

    “Under the guise of an invasion, Putin is executing an enormous heist,” said Canadian energy expert David Knight Legg. As for what’s left of a mostly landlocked Ukraine, it will likely become a welfare case for the West, which will help pick up the tab for resettling Ukraine’s refugees to new homes outside of Russian control. In time, a Viktor Orban-like figure could take Ukraine’s presidency, imitating the strongman-style of politics that Putin prefers in his neighbors.

    If this analysis is right, then Putin doesn’t seem like the miscalculating loser his critics make him out to be.

    It also makes sense of his strategy of targeting civilians. More than simply a way of compensating for the incompetence of Russian troops, the mass killing of civilians puts immense pressure on Zelensky to agree to the very things Putin has demanded all along: territorial concessions and Ukrainian neutrality. The West will also look for any opportunity to de-escalate, especially as we convince ourselves that a mentally unstable Putin is prepared to use nuclear weapons.

    Within Russia, the war has already served Putin’s political purposes. Many in the professional middle class — the people most sympathetic to dissidents like Aleksei Navalny — have gone into self-imposed exile. The remnants of a free press have been shuttered, probably for good. To the extent that Russia’s military has embarrassed itself, it is more likely to lead to a well-aimed purge from above than a broad revolution from below. Russia’s new energy riches could eventually help it shake loose the grip of sanctions.

  450. the mass killing of civilians puts immense pressure

    WP, Russian bombing in Syria: ~4000 civilian casualties, ~11000 combatants
    WP, Western bombing in Syria: ~4000 civilian casualties, ~12000 combatants

    WP, Donbass (8 years before the invasion) ~3000 civilian, ~4000 pro-Russian, ~4000 the other side.

    WP, invasion in Iraq: ~7000 civilian, ~5-10k combatants.
    WP, Iraq pre-2011: ~100 000 civilian, ~25k combatants

    What was it called, “shock and awe”?
    Sounds good compared to “intimidating Ukraine by targeting residential areas”?

  451. The last thing I want is diverting criticism from Russia, and I support drawing attention to what they are drawing attention to (war crimes).

    But I hear the bullshit about how we are figting nice clean “operation” (not a war) everyday. How we “target military objects” AS IF soldiers, Russian, Ukrainain, Syrian, any are not human beings.

    When I do not hear “war is EVIL” and instead hear about how “Russia fights a dirty war” (as opposed to clean) from the other side I am disturbed.

    Putin did something terrible when he STARTED it. But I can compare this war to others.

  452. I don’t think Bret Stephens makes any sense. So far, Crimea and Donbass were charity cases. And if Putin thinks that what Russia needs most economically is a bit more natural resources, he is even stupider than I thought. Also, Putin didn’t need a pretext for purges, closing oppositional (or independent) press or whatever else is imputed to his motives. I understand that it is an “opinion” piece, but could people base their opinions on facts or else write books of imaginative literature.

  453. What was it called, “shock and awe”?
    Sounds good compared to “intimidating Ukraine by targeting residential areas”?

    Good lord, I hope nobody here thinks I’m in any way defending the US war in Iraq, or any other stupid, destructive US military operations. Yes, war is EVIL, and this is the war that’s going on now, so this is what we’re talking about.

    So far, Crimea and Donbass were charity cases.

    But they’ll be less so if he connects them up with Russia more securely.

    Look, I don’t think Stephens is necessarily right (and neither does he), I just said I found the idea plausible. Bullying Ukraine to pick up more territory and natural resources makes more sense than trying to conquer the entire country. But nobody said these things have to make sense.

  454. Ok, this is probably public information at this point, two days later:

    > the Ukrainians have now gone on the offensive. Counterattacks around Kyiv have just liberated the suburb of Irpin and driven the Russians back at least 20 miles. The invaders are not in artillery range of the city center and Ukrainian air defenses preclude heavy bombing, enabling the return of some ordinary life in the capital.

  455. @LH, I once mentioned: in 2014 I stopped watching news completely because of their reports of war crimes in Donbass and suffering of people in Donbass.

    I knew very well that people in Donbass do suffer. And if I wanted to listen about war crimes committed by Ukrainian side specifically (but I do not know why I would feel stronger about war crimes depending on the “side”) – I would go to the (recently closed) Memorial and listen to Orlov’s lecture about war crimes committed by Ukrainians side.

    The problem is that the whores on TV would show fake strories about suffering and fake war crimes, because it is cheaper and because they do not care. Listening to such stories without knowing if they are true, and having a good reason to think they are not, and knowing that there are actual terrible things happening there was unbearable.

    I mean there is a good ethical reason to present stories about suffering objectively. That what is done in Ukraine is terrible is out of question absolutely.

    My comment was not directed at you and I assure you: I explode, in Russian, aloud (privately, though) when I hear Russian narrative about our neat “operation”. But the assumtion here is “there are good wars and bad wars. Ours is good because we are targeting military objects”. When I turn on foreign news (not “Western”, foreign) and hear the same “there are good wars and bad wars. Their is bad, because they are targeting residential area/civilian infrastructure”. I too want to expode and so I did.

    Of course starting from 24 February I do care HOW Russian generals and soldiers act. If they are mad enough to start it, then what else they will do? I FEAR for Ukrainians and their cities. So I do watch. I watched other wars before.

  456. I feel the same way. I’ve been hating war as long as I can remember. I don’t understand why people keep going along with it (the common people who have to fight, not the maniacs who send them to war).

  457. Oh, that’s easy. There’s always the loophole of self-defense. Convince people that bombing hospitals is what you need to do to get rid of “nazis” or whatever.

    In fact, that worked really well in WW2. Not many — not enough, anyway — questioned the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the destruction of cities throughout Germany and Italy. It served no purpose, other than to satisfy Lindemann and such crazies, but the public and the people in the bombers didn’t question it because there were, in fact, actual nazis to be put down.

  458. Oh, that’s easy. There’s always the loophole of self-defense. Convince people that bombing hospitals is what you need to do to get rid of “nazis” or whatever.

    That depends on 1) complete control of media, so you can convince people of lies, and more importantly 2) people’s prior willingness to drop everything, pick up a gun, and go get killed because the Big Guy says so. If people weren’t so willing to place the good of the Big Guy over their own, it wouldn’t work.

  459. I mean, I don’t like nazis either, but I wouldn’t pick up a gun. One of the stupider questions I was asked when I was applying for conscientious objector status was “What if everybody thought like you?” “There wouldn’t be any war!” Talk about a slam dunk.

  460. “One of the stupider questions I was asked when I was applying for conscientious objector status was “What if everybody thought like you?” “There wouldn’t be any war!””

    It seems obvious to us, but apparently it does not occur to most people to just not be aggressive.

  461. Convince people that bombing hospitals is what you need to do to get rid of “nazis” or whatever.

    I think the loophole is the concept of blame. I do not see how it is defence. “We are bombing Donbass to defend Donbass from bombing“????

    But enough hatred to Nazis and it is all right.

    Yes Azov battalion is partly Nazi, see WP.
    They fight fiercely because “they know, they can expect no mercy” says a DPR commander. All right, so the objective is securing a strategically important city and killing Nazi.

  462. Well, DPR fighters are different from ordianary Russians. You do not need to sell it to them.
    With ordinary Russians, I guess noble rage .

    You know: you rush in my neighbourhood screaming: “they killed a [Jewish, Muslim, …] boy and raped a girl!”. And then I run in their quarter and kill two and rape two. And so on.

  463. Look, I don’t think Stephens is necessarily right (and neither does he), I just said I found the idea plausible. Bullying Ukraine to pick up more territory and natural resources makes more sense than trying to conquer the entire country. But nobody said these things have to make sense.
    I can understand people trying to make sense out of what doesn’t, but I agree with D.O. – if those were Putin’s goals, he chose a quite inefficient way to achieve them. And while he seemingly neither understands nor values the creative / professional middle class, assuming that he wanted to actually drive them out of the country and started a war to achieve that seems over the top to me. It’s like assuming that Hitler wanted Germany in ruins and half of it under Communist rule because that’s what he achieved (BTW, there is an old Soviet joke about this: What were Hitler’s last words? – “Inform Comrade Stalin that the mission has been successfully fulfilled.”)
    On the other hand, declaring that what has been achieved is what was intended is time-honoured organisational behaviour, so if Putin and an isolated Russis will hold on to some chunks of Ukraine at the end, expect that getting said chunks and freeing Russia from the economic chains binding it to the West will be declared to have been the goals from the start.

  464. Sure. I just hope he doesn’t manage to hang on to the chunks, because that will encourage other revanchists, like Xi.

  465. Putin never intended to conquer all of Ukraine: that, from the beginning, his real targets were the energy riches of Ukraine’s east,

    Yep, I said way back Putin wants the east (esp industrial Kharkiv and south coast down to Crimea). Attacking Kiev is to pin down the defence forces so he can secure the transport lines.

    Irrespective of economic/resource considerations, the east is territorially adjacent. It’s the standard buffer zone tactic.

  466. Trond Engen says

    Many will agree that the invasion of Iraq was a crime. Even more will agree that it did irrepareable damage to the post-war strive for international rule of law. The major divide in the west is between those who mourn the idea of international rule of law and those who say “good riddance”. It was the latter bunch who orchestrated the war just for that purpose.

    An isolated Russia is a very likely and very destructive outcome of the war. Our problem is really not that Europe’s too dependent on Russia, because Russia’s even more dependent on Europe, and that’s power. The problem is that Russia for a long time has been ruled by an uncontested leadership that no longer sees itself constrained by normal concerns like the prosperity and future of its constituents. Once the smoke has settled, Europe will have to reinvent the Schuman doctrine yet again and get Russia on board.

    But for that to happen, Russia will have to realize that the greatest threat to Russia is being ruled by an unpredictable and insular regime outside the reach of international law. What would Russia get in return? Stable trade, but also security through a renaissance for and a renewal of international institutions. Good for the country but bad for the current elite, I.e. good.

    Also, the US would have to realize that to build institutions the most powerful will have to yield most power. What would the US get in return? Increased international stability and reduced need for military capacity, and an external system keeping it off the path to absolute corruption that comes with absolute power. Good for the country but bad for the current elite, I.e. good.

    And Europe? To take on board even more members or closely connected institutional partners it would have to reform its institutions and increase its ability to make common, broadly legitimate decisions. Good for the union but bad for the current elite, I.e. good.

    And the likely outcome? Russia will be cut off and forced into junior partnership with China, playing Blair Lukashenko to Xi’s Bush Putin. The US will prefer polishing its self-image as protector of the free world with the right and ability to use unlimited power whenever it sees fit. Europe will be caught in yet another stalemate, torn between the need to include Russia in the European economy and the fear for Russian nationalism, and between the need for American involvement and the fear for the future of American democracy.

    So what do I suggest? A realization that stable, widely representative democracies are fundamentally important to peace. A generation of politicians taking upon them the burden of being states(wo)men rather than poseurs and using the fresh horror to create a new Pan-European-Atlantic framework of security through democracy. An international constitutional treaty and a treaty of mutual protection for all countries adhering to it. A supranational court with the authority to strike down any attempt to undermine democracy and the rule of law in any country, to protect the rights of all individual citizens and minority groups, and to impose mandatory sanctions on countries and even order the arrest of national leaders and parliamentarians responsible for violations, even when they were democratically elected to do so.

    Undemocratic? No, that’s the point of democratic constitutions. The democratically elected authoritarian could always withdraw from the constitutional treaty, but that would mean immediate, automatic exclusion from international trade and travel and from the treaty of mutual protection.

  467. The US will prefer polishing its self-image as protector of the free world with the right and ability to use unlimited power whenever it sees fit.

    I’m afraid that’s a virtual certainty.

  468. David Marjanović says

    Everything Trond just said.

    The question was whether e.g., Poland was prosperous in an absolute, not relative sense (for a relative sense, why not take say Austria or Portugal for the comparison instead of Russia)?

    The point is Ukraine. It’s a democracy, it’s more prosperous than Russia, it’s right next door to Russia, and it’s full of ethnic Russians and of people who are close enough, so that’s what people in Russia are going to compare themselves to.

    Suppose for a moment that Putin never intended to conquer all of Ukraine: that, from the beginning, his real targets were the energy riches of Ukraine’s east, which contain Europe’s second-largest known reserves of natural gas (after Norway’s).

    Bret Stephens is a dead-tree troll.

    Yes, the gas & oil fields are real, they were in a YouTube video over a month ago; it would take a decade or two to develop them, which in many cases would require hydrofracking (indeed that’s why they haven’t already been developed), but in the long run they could be a nice bonus for Putin if he had them and Ukraine did not.

    If that’s all Putin had wanted, he’d have stopped after sending troops into the “People’s Republics” on February 23rd. He would not have bothered shelling almost all big cities in the morning of February 24th while dropping paratroopers (i.e. mythologized riot police) on the airport of Kyiv (Hostomel). Neither would he have begun to level Kharkiv, let alone involved Belarus at all (long before the war, remember). Asking Toqayev for troops after a few days doesn’t fit this picture either.

    Now the army is a paper bear in the eyes of the world, 7 or 8 generals are dead and so is the lieutenant commander of the Black Sea fleet, and the losses are staggering. Oh, and Putin looks stupider than he ever did since before he was mayor of St. Petersburg. All according to plan, if we take Stephens anywhere near seriously.

    This is all so screamingly obvious I really can’t imagine Stephens hasn’t noticed it. He’s not being honest. And the New York Times prints this deliberately crafted bullshit because it believes journalistic objectivity requires having one “left-wing” and one right-wing opinion writer on staff.

    I even read today that the “energy expert” Stephens cited is no such thing. It’s all just bullshit in Frankfurt’s sense – or trumpiness in Colbert’s sense: “it doesn’t even have to feel true, it just has to feel good“.

    Within Russia, the war has already served Putin’s political purposes. Many in the professional middle class — the people most sympathetic to dissidents like Aleksei Navalny — have gone into self-imposed exile.

    When 300,000 young, well-educated people suddenly leave, that’s going to leave a mark.

    Russia’s new energy riches could eventually help it shake loose the grip of sanctions.

    How? Nobody is going to buy all that oil and gas. Germany, for example, will be independent from Russian oil, gas and coal in two years or less. “Russia’s new energy riches” would be as useless as Russia’s 2.3 kilotonnes of gold are right now. No, selling them to China in reasonable quantities will neither be practical anytime soon, nor will it ever break even.

    Attacking Kiev is to pin down the defence forces so he can secure the transport lines.

    Including three attempts to assassinate Zelensky in the first few days, complete with “elite Kadyrovites”? And telling Lukashenko to send troops after Toqayev said no, because the huge numbers of Russian troops attacking northern Ukraine through Belarus weren’t enough?

    And if he wants Kharkiv, why is he flattening it?

    (“Элитные Кадыровцы” should be a band name or something.)

  469. It’s a democracy, it’s more prosperous than Russia,

    Belarus is more prosperous than Russia, not Ukraine.

  470. Ukraine is

    The Yushchenko/Tymoshenko government didn’t fulfill the high hopes placed on it, and people figured good relations with Russia were important, so they brought Yanukovych back. Good science: try two options, then pick the one that sucks less.

    Then, however, Yanukovych failed to deliver as well

    This.

  471. HDI 2019, 52th, 53th, 74th places, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine.

  472. J.W. Brewer says

    On the standard GDP-per-capita lists (using pre-war data) that one finds on the internet Ukraine is materially poorer than Belarus which is in turn materially poorer than Russia. Ukraine is at or below the level of Moldova, below all three former SSR’s in the Caucasus, and below two out of the five Post-Soviet-Stans. Now, GDP per capita (with or without PPP adjustments, not that that does much for the Ukrainians) is certainly an imperfect metric for wealth, but what’s the alternative metric that *doesn’t* still make the Ukrainians look like they’re battling it out with the Moldovans and/or Kosovars for the distinction of being the poorest folks in Europe?

  473. FWIW, as of 5 years ago, Ukraine had the second-lowest GDP in Europe ($3400), with only Moldova ($3200) lower. That of Belarus is twice higher, Russia’s almost twice higher again. Maybe Ukraine’s economy improved since then; its currency stayed flat between the 2014 invasion (after it dropped its value threefold) and the current war. That said, I don’t know how to reconcile these numbers with its image of a developing, stable country, presumably drawing rich foreign investors.

    Ed.: Double Jinx!
    Ed.: Kosovo isn’t on the list I checked.

  474. Bret Stephens is a dead-tree troll.

    Yes indeed.

  475. 2021,
    GDP PPP per capita is 55th, 66th, 108th and
    GDP nominal per capita 64th, 84th and 119th

    GDP (PPP) per capita
    International Monetary Fund (2013), 58th 64th 107th
    World Bank (2012), 46th 65th 100th
    CIA (2013), 60th 67th 112th

  476. Belarus wins because tehy do not have oil.

  477. Who are our “economic miracles”? Ireland? Korea?
    You know, how long did it take for Ireland to become one? 70 years I think…
    How long did it take for Korea?

  478. What if we have honest elections in Russia?
    All right, we elect Putin again and nothign happens. But maybe we have free TV. And maybe next time we elect someone else and maybe not. But next time it is some other jerk.

    But maybe after a few tries it is not a jerk. It is a Very Wise Woman. And how does she make us prosper?

  479. Who are our “economic miracles”?

    Albania.

  480. Bret Stephens is a bedbug.

  481. David Eddyshaw says

    He would indeed appear to be a right bedbug.
    (I’d never heard of him before, and I will now forget all about him. I have that power …)

  482. David Eddyshaw says

    On the supposition that there are not that many Canadian Davids Knight-Legg, this

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-premier-s-principal-adviser-spent-18k-in-taxpayer-money-on-trips-to-london-ndp-says-1.5358598

    seems to be about the energy expert in question. He seems to have at least one area of genuine expertise.

  483. He should have gone to Paterson, NJ, instead. It’s quite cheaper, I understand.

  484. Спецоперация как часть третьей мировой

    https://vpk-news.ru/articles/66370

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    Oh. They are copying the “foreign agent” thing.

  486. Oh, come on. I am old enough to remember “Radio Liberty is funded by the United States Congress”.

  487. Speaking of it

    24 марта 2015
    Новые друзья ждут продолжения банкета
    За чей счет прошел конгресс российских и европейских правых радикалов в Петербурге
    https://www.svoboda.org/a/26915775.html

    I only learned about our new freinds in the autumn, when our media began the campaign against refugees in Germany.

  488. David Marjanović says

    That said, I don’t know how to reconcile these numbers with its image of a developing, stable country, presumably drawing rich foreign investors.

    Ah, so maybe I fell for the image. In that case, lots of Russians might as well!

  489. Related: Patrick Radden Keefe’s “How Putin’s Oligarchs Bought London” (archived) is excellent and made me send off immediately for a used copy of Catherine Belton’s “Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West” (2020), which she has had to alter for new printings because she was sued by the rich stooge Roman Abramovich in Britain’s notoriously friendly libel courts:

    In December, the case was settled. Belton and HarperCollins agreed to some changes and clarifications in future editions; the book would be amended to contain a more strenuous denial on the Chelsea claim, and to emphasize that the allegations relating to the team could not be characterized as incontrovertible facts. They also agreed to cut the line about Abramovich being “Putin’s representative,” and to include additional comments from his spokesperson. Chelsea released a smug statement expressing satisfaction that Belton had “apologized to Mr. Abramovich.” HarperCollins committed to making a payment to the charity of his choosing.

  490. Russians might as well! No, apparently some of us are “stopping Ukraine Nazi government’s crime agaisnt its own people” while others тихо хуеют.

  491. Yeah, that’s really awful and if it keeps up is going to drain away sympathy for Ukraine.

  492. @LH, V, I can’t find it. Could you share a link?

  493. There seems to be some racism against black and asian people with regards to the evacuation, but I don’t have concrete data. I know some black and asian people have been stranded somewhere in the battlezone, but not by whom.

    The only interview I saw was with a Nigerian tourist, IIRC. I can’t find it now, sorry.

  494. Black Ukraine refugees allege discrimination while trying to escape Russian invasion:

    From day one of the Russian invasion, reports of discrimination at Ukraine’s border began to surface.

    One student from Ghana described what she saw and experienced. “Mostly they would, they would consider White people first. White people first, Indian people, Arabic people before Black people,” said Ethel Ansaeh Otto.

    Another student, from Morocco, said: “We went to the train station and they will not let us in.”

    “And when they did let us in, they were like, ‘You have to give us money because this is, this is not for free for you because you are foreign. This is not free for you,” said Selma El Alaui.

  495. DM: It looks like the Ukrainian economy took a while to recover from the 2008 recession, got knocked back by the events of 2014, and has been recovering steadily until this war. A big cause for the downturn after 2014 was the loss of trade with Russia, which had been its principal trading partner. No wonder they want stronger ties to Europe.

  496. racism has no boundaries – very true (idk about the south pole).

    According to Bagui Sylla, the Ukrainian border guards said they were merely following instructions from their Polish counterparts – a claim denied by officials in Warsaw.

    Soudns familiar.

    LH, V, thank you!

  497. dravsi : this is not a Ukrainian people thing, this is a policemen thing. You do realise I am otherwise completely terrified of Putin and Russia in general? And have Ghanaian refugee friends here in Bulgaria?

  498. Don’t be silly, there’s plenty of racism in Ukraine (as there is everywhere). It’s a mistake to turn people resisting aggression into saints.

  499. V, both I guess. Russian, Belarus and Ukrainian people are quite similar. And since the fall of USSR xenophoby is on the rise. It was already there in USSR, but then we all learned a lot of new stuff.

    LH, when my cousin (a doctor) got a job in a hospital a large Russian city, she was requred to get a “registration” (of her stay in the city) so she went to the official who said “I can’t register you. You see where you were born!” and showed to her her passport so she could learn from it that she was born in Tashkent. No racism. My cousin is an ethnic Russian. But for some reason the official saw a problem…

  500. My ex-gf’s mom worked for Niyazov, for KPMG. How’s that for fucked up?

  501. Certain confused Turkmens in 1991 said that they heard on TV that Niyazov staged a coup in Moscow (confusing him with Yazov).

  502. Ok, that’s borderline funny.

  503. PlasticPaddy says

    @drasvi
    Perhaps such problems (if not caused by endemic and persistent racism) can be helped by a small charitable contribution to the Civil Servants’ Retirement Fund. Or as with grease stains or insect bites, by application of a sufficient quantity of vodka…

  504. PlasticPaddy: working for KPMG is itself fucked up. It’s an evil corporation. That’s something you learn at age 12.

  505. David Marjanović says

    What is KPMG?

    Edit: this?

  506. David: yeah, that. My gf’s mother was one of top employers in Turnmekistan.

  507. The list of lawsuits, settled by them for hundreds of millions year after year, is impressive. They probably have specialist accountants estimating fines in advance of every malfeasance, and working them into the budget.

  508. J.W. Brewer says

    I can see someone getting a pretty good comic/absurdist novel about financial-globalization types like KPMG parachuting into post-Soviet Turkmenistan full of hubris and naivete and bumping into wily locals who figure out that if they hook up with KPMG they can get a little bit of modernizing-liberalizing-globalizing camouflage for the rather old-fashioned ways they wish to conduct business now that the Marxist style of camouflage has fallen out of fashion.

  509. @J.W. Brewer: That kind of thing was was actually a significant part (and probably the best part) of Gary Shteyngart’s 2006 novel Absurdistan.

  510. Sounds like the Soveticate world has hijacked -stan from the Persianate world:(

  511. J.W. Brewer: the tentative title of Iron Sunrise was Space Nazis must Die and then Space Pirates of the KPGM.

  512. -stan means just “camp”. as in “stand”.

  513. Габардино-Балкария.
    Таджичий стан, шелками схваченный…

  514. stan happens in Russian toponymy. Cf. Тёплый стан in Moscow.

  515. It was not Yazov and Niyazov!!!!

    It was Yanayev and Nyanayev. Nyanayev in question is not even in Google.

  516. “We’re KPMG –
    As strong as can be –
    A legend of power and unity;
    We go for the gold,
    Together we hold
    Onto our vision of global strategy!”

    Not disagreeing with V on this one – that song is clearly some kind of crime in and of itself…

  517. I’d forgotten about the corporate theme song debacle. Also:

    > During March 2022, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, KPMG announced that “our Russia and Belarus firms will leave the KPMG network”.

    O. K… I mean, today is April the first, so I might have to check if this was added today to the wikipedia article. But on the other hand, they’re leaving the “network”, so I guess this means they’ve figured out a way to evade the sanctions.

  518. David Marjanović says

    It was there yesterday.

  519. David Marjanović: thanks for checking.

  520. Pelevin is almost as universally relevant as Kozma Prutkov. From Generation «П»:

    Глупо искать здесь следы антирусского заговора. Антирусский заговор, безусловно, существует — проблема только в том, что в нём участвует всё взрослое население России.

  521. David Marjanović says

    Заговор is so much better a word than discourse.

  522. Language Hat: I have not read Generation «П» in probably 17 years and it’s strangely apropos, even if I don’t particularly like Pelevin lately.

  523. As LH correctly surmised, Prutkov is never far away: “Не робей перед врагом: лютейший враг человека — он сам” (Don’t shy away from the enemy, man’s fiercest enemy is himself)

  524. Bathrobe says

    And now for something slightly different: a leftist view of the far right on both the Ukrainian AND Russian sides: Beyond Putin’s Propaganda, the Far Right Is a Major Problem in Ukraine.

  525. Bathrobe says
  526. Stu Clayton says

    Заговор is so much better a word than discourse.

    That’s not hard, on the ground “discourse” is a wuss word anyway, along with “narrative” and “what’s-your-pronoun”.

    Is заговор like Gerede or Geschwätz ? Please remember to take Austrogermanic differences into account …

  527. ….Thus, the actions of Nikitin A.N. should be interpreted as a call to overthrow the current government, as well as to follow the ideology of Tolstoy L.N. …

    (DeepL)

    https://t.me/ovdinfolive/7201

  528. PlasticPaddy says

    @stu
    just on morphology, the za in zagovor is a preposition that indicates “with purpose” or “in the manner of” (compare Ger. für) or “(from) behind”, which is one sense here, a zagovor can be a secret or private conversation. But I suppose in the discussion sense, it is more like the over in “talking over” (compare zagladit’ “smooth over”).

  529. Is заговор like Gerede or Geschwätz ?

    It’s ‘plot, conspiracy.’

  530. Stu Clayton says

    So “Заговор is so much better a word than discourse” is a comparison full of mystery, apt to mislead the ignorant.

  531. Yes, I didn’t really get that, but I figured DM was making an obscure joke.

  532. David Marjanović says

    It’s ‘plot, conspiracy.’

    Oh, I misunderstood it.

  533. David Marjanović says

    Beyond Putin’s Propaganda, the Far Right Is a Major Problem in Ukraine

    From there:

    To be sure, the Ukrainian government is reactionary, bourgeois, and pro-imperialist

    Oh, come on.

    The article gets mostly better after that, and yes, Ukraine’s current attitude of closing both eyes while the Azov people and various (other) Banderists are aimed in the right direction will have to end in a reckoning. But the article completely fails to point out that the Azov regiment’s political arm joined with two other extreme-right parties for the election of 2019 – and the fusion ticket failed the three-percent hurdle to get into parliament, reaching only 2.15% of the vote. And while the 2014 decision to integrate all the militias, Azov included, into the national guard, certainly legitimizes them falsely, it also takes away their ability to act independently of orders from the ministry of the interior, making them quite a bit less dangerous than before.

    Russia’s extreme-right scene seems to be several times larger than that. For starters, the Wagner Group is much larger than the Azov regiment and has fucked up a lot more countries.

  534. The more grimly determined segments of the left are desperate to find a way to blame the US (the Devil!) and Ukraine (the pet of the Devil) without outright justifying Putin’s invasion. Bothsiderism is the obvious way out, and they’re clutching it with both hands.

  535. Fascism is a specific form of capitalist rule in which petty bourgeois masses are organized to smash the workers’ movement.

    Nathaniel, also known by the nickname Wladek,

    Teehee. I didn’t know they still made them like that.

  536. Lars Mathiesen says

    KPMG: It seems that it still follows the “partnership” model, with formally independent companies sharing branding and expertise. Much like a franchise operation, where even if the mothership cuts the umbilical there is no legal way of making the baby MacDonaldses change their names. They just call it a network.

  537. KPMG: It seems that it still follows the “partnership” model

    I’m not sure your “still” is appropriate: all of the ‘big five’ (or rather the four that were left) accountancy practices reorganised themselves after the Arthur Anderson collapse 2002: they didn’t want their global network to be brought down by one rogue practice. (Although the U.S.’s audit practices at Enron were suspiciously similar to everybody’s practices.)

    I was at Deloitte at the time: we all had to sign new employment agreements with a new local legal entity, with screeds of small print about our jobs not being rescued by the global firm in case of local malfeasance. Those in the Management Consulting practice (me) got shuffled into an arms-length legal entity to avoid accusations of conflicts of interest with the Accounting practice (joke!).

    The clients were like meh, whatever: we want the Deloitte name for the Accounting; we want the Deloitte name for the Consulting; stop making your problem into our problem.

  538. Lars Mathiesen says

    Ah, so there was a time when it was all one global company. Or five. Having lots of independent companies just sounded like the way you did things fifty (or two hundred) years ago, so I assumed it was a hold-over.

    Having broken themselves up is pretty convenient for them now, though.

  539. @Lars Mathiesen: No, they were always professional services networks, not unitary firms operating on the global scale. The precise structures of the networks have always been in flux though. Over the last half century, there have been, in response to economic and regulatory pressures, both internal consolidations and arm’s length split-offs.

  540. David Eddyshaw says

    For starters, the Wagner Group is much larger than the Azov regiment and has fucked up a lot more countries.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/05/russian-mercenaries-and-mali-army-accused-of-killing-300-civilians

  541. @DE, Putin is a западник (zapadnik, West-nik). And he is pro-democracy (I am not kidding).

    He is similar to Peter the Great: he is modelling Russia after the Western states. Or to Arab nationalists (you know this type who would shave off everyone beards).
    The West is powerful. He was Russia to be powerful too:)

    Apart of borrowing from the West exactly the things that I consider the ugliest, whenever he sees that the West used a tactics that in his view is below the belt, he parodizes it. You remember these scandals?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_military_company#PMCs_in_Iraq

    A private military company Wagner Group is a copy of those. “It is how things are done in the hypocritical West”

  542. @DE, and I do feel bad about Russian intervention in the Middle East and Africa. It is just that the point made by DM and LH was not that Russia deserves criticism. It was specifically that Ukraine and the West do not.

  543. PlasticPaddy says

    @drasvi
    I read what hat is saying not that “the Ukraine and the West do not deserve criticism” but that “it is false and dishonest to create an impression that the West and Ukraine have equal responsibility with Russia for the outbreak of war between Russia and the Ukraine.” I like to distinguish between cause and trigger in cases of aggression; the behaviour of Ukraine and West could have triggered Russian aggression but did not cause it.

  544. @PlasticPaddy, the Russian share of responsibility is greater.

    But LH says: …grimly determined segments of the left are desperate to find a way to blame…

    Haven’t noticed the angel wings:/

  545. the Russian share of responsibility is greater.

    @PlasticPaddy, honestly i do not know what is shares of responsibility. We contributed more in the escalation.

    Regarding the invasion, Putin ordered it. Was it a good decision? No. I do not know about responsibilities, it was just better not to order it (from my perspective). And it would be better to stop it.

    But apart of fguring out “who is to blame” (which is an idiotic question, I think) or “whose share of responsibility is larger”, one can ask “what we could do differently, better? What we can do now?” And LH and DM answer: we were not aggressive enough.
    And now: critics must shut up. People trying to explain Putin’s motives (Bathrobe) are naïve, he has no motives, he is just Hitler. We are just good guys, and they are just bad guys.

    It is what I hear on the Russian TV:-/

  546. PlasticPaddy says

    @drasvi
    I generally agree (although I doubt world leaders and opinion-makers will consult you or me) that kto vinovat’ is not a good question for settling disputes equitably. I would say however that it is necessary to address real causes (e.g., Great Powers vs. emerging nations/states in WWI) rather than triggers (assassination of an Austrian royal).

  547. David Marjanović says

    It is just that the point made by DM and LH was not that Russia deserves criticism. It was specifically that Ukraine and the West do not.

    No, the opposite: Ukraine and NATO, and the US in particular, deserve plenty of criticism, but Putin blows them all out of the water.

    And LH and DM answer: we were not aggressive enough.

    Not that either. I’m saying it’s ridiculous, in hindsight, to frame NATO expansion as aggression.

    he has no motives

    He has lots of motives. Some of them are stupid, some of them are evil, some of them are both. 😐 The same holds for Hitler, and for GW Bush, and probably for everyone else who ever started a war.

    causes […] rather than triggers

    In this case I can’t even find a trigger. Putin had so much freedom to choose the date of the invasion that Xi evidently got him to postpone it till after the Olympics. There was no such freedom in WWI – once the assassination happened, the alliances, cultural attitudes etc. constituted a mechanism that set the war in motion, and nobody thought they could do anything about it.

    Austrian royal

    Hungarian royal; Austrian imperial. 😉

  548. And he is pro-democracy (I am not kidding).

    I have no idea what you mean by this (unless demos = Putin); can you explain?

    It is just that the point made by DM and LH was not that Russia deserves criticism. It was specifically that Ukraine and the West do not.

    I have no idea why you think this; have you even been reading my comments? I’ve been criticizing the US all my life (it’s my personal part of the West, and I know more about it, so I can criticize it intelligently rather than stupidly, the way idiot leftists do), and Ukraine has been full of corruption and bad leadership ever since independence (and, of course, before as well, like all the rest of the Soviet Union). But this war is in fact entirely Russia’s fault, unless you believe the propaganda about Nazis and mass killings of Russians. Perhaps you also believe Poland provoked Hitler? Please try to read and think more carefully.

  549. @LH, your exact words (desperate to find a way) sound like you are discouraging any self-criticism.
    But I know that it is not your usual position.

  550. You are misreading me. I said segments of the left are desperate to find a way to blame the US and Ukraine, and that’s true. I hope you too are not trying to find a way to blame the US and Ukraine. Can you just come out and say what you mean, both about Putin-the-democrat and about who’s responsible for the war, rather than sniping at what you falsely imagine to be my views? It’s hard to have a discussion that way.

  551. John Cowan says

    Oh, come on. [first appearance]

    Allow me to translate. Reactionary and bourgeois both mean ‘not committed to the speaker’s flavor of Communism “revolutionary socialism”, whereas all countries whatever may be described as either imperialist or pro-imperialist, depending on their sizes.

    It’s my personal part of the West, and I know more about it, so I can criticize it intelligently rather than stupidly.

    Precisely what Chomsky does, in fact, which gets him condemned for being one-sided (or lacking bothsiderism, depending on context).

  552. “Russia cannot afford to lose, so we need a kind of a victory”: Sergey Karaganov on what Putin wants

    A former adviser to the Kremlin explains how Russia views the war in Ukraine, fears over Nato and China, and the fate of liberalism.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/04/russia-cannot-afford-to-lose-so-we-need-a-kind-of-a-victory-sergey-karaganov-on-what-putin-wants

  553. «Мы теперь будем их всех е***ь». Что происходит в российских элитах через месяц после начала войны
    Санкции и пропаганда сплотили вокруг Путина даже тех, кто был против вторжения в Украину

    https://faridaily.substack.com/p/–3c3?s=w

    “Now we’re going to f*ck them all.” What’s happening in Russia’s elites after a month of war
    Sanctions and propaganda have rallied even those who were against the invasion around Putin

    https://faridaily.substack.com/p/now-were-going-to-fck-them-all-whats?s=r

  554. David Marjanović says

    A former adviser to the Kremlin explains how Russia views the war in Ukraine, fears over Nato and China, and the fate of liberalism.

    From there:

    Bruno Maçães Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

    Sergey Karaganov For 25 years, people like myself have been saying that if Nato and Western alliances expand beyond certain red lines, especially into Ukraine, there will be a war. I envisioned that scenario as far back as 1997. In 2008 President Putin said that if Ukraine’s membership of the alliance became a possibility then there will be no Ukraine. He was not listened to. So the first objective is to end Nato’s expansion.

    Counterpoint: Bill Clinton’s article in The Atlantic.

    Karaganov further:

    There was also a strong belief that war with Ukraine was inevitable – maybe three or four years from now – which could well have taken place on Russian territory itself.

    There is no way he actually believes this.

    So my judgement would be that some of Ukraine will become a friendly state to Russia, other parts may be partitioned. Poland will gladly take back some of parts in the west, maybe Romanians and Hungarians will, too, because the Hungarian minority in Ukraine has been suppressed along with other minorities.

    and

    Europe […] with this mysterious zest for independence from Russian energy

    Oh, so maybe he does believe it, because the rest of his mindset is stuck in 1920, too!

    BM One argument is that Russia will fall under Chinese control, and this war does not help – because by isolating Russia from the West, it turns Russia into easy prey for Chinese economic influence. Are you worried that this could be the beginning of a “Chinese century” for Russia?

    SK […] Whether Russia would become a kind of a satellite country, according to the Chinese tradition of their Middle Kingdom, I doubt it. […] But culturally, we are different, so I don’t think it is possible that we will become a subsidiary country.

    Literally half of the current territory of the PRC would seem to contradict that logic, wouldn’t it.

    Russia will continue to be a major military power

    That seems self-evident – but as long as the sanctions stay up, it’s actually quite unlikely. Russia’s only tank factory had to stop producing a week or two into the war because it ran out of parts.

    under circumstances of great tension, democracies always wither away or become autocratic. These changes are inevitable.

    That has happened often enough, but even if we decide the US Civil War doesn’t count somehow, there are still counterexamples like Germany in the late 90s.

    Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher of the Far Right, demystifies the Azov Regiment:

    Interesting, though it does leave me wondering why they couldn’t simply get rid of the Wolfsangel symbol – or at least tilt it so it becomes a Z with a stroke through it!

    I wonder what this part means:

    But not only do Azov fighters speak mostly Russian language among themselves, on average they speak better Russian than the Russian invaders.

    Is that implying that Chechens and, I don’t know, Yakuts are overrepresented in the Russian army? Or what?

  555. Yeah, Shekhovtsov clears up some things, I think, but his discourse seems biased, even if it’s biased toward clearing up the people on the good side. Some of what he’s saying seems consistent and reasonable though: the far right has been quite marginalized in Ukraine, and the founders of an organization need not represent its current mindset. It’s better than “yes, they are nazis, but they are helpful right now.”

  556. Our favourite linguist weighs in on the war:

    We’re approaching the most dangerous point in human history

  557. We’re approaching the most dangerous point in human history

    A hedged hyperbole.

    Climate change’s horrible effects are present and increasing, for sure. Nuclear war is no joke either. But there is no ‘point’ to be approached. What we have is what is called a slow-motion car crash. If you don’t want to be specific, you can posit a “point” and say that it’s coming soon and not say when. Cheap demagogy.

    And he condemns Putin, but says NATO made him do it. I’d just as soon take Move α seriously.

  558. @ David Marjanović: Is that implying that Chechens and, I don’t know, Yakuts are overrepresented in the Russian army? Or what?

    Buryats and others seem to be heavily represented in Russian forces invading Ukraine, as can be seen from various news reports:

    From the Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/30/coffins-in-buryatia-ukraine-invasion-takes-toll-on-russias-remote-regions

    And an article from India:

    https://hindustannewshub.com/russia-ukraine-news/military-from-buryatia-suffered-the-most-serious-losses-in-ukraine-the-moscow-times/

    This has aroused a certain amount of comment in Mongolia (although there are plenty of Mongolians, including right-wing nationalists, who are pro-Russian). A comment on a Facebook group:

    “Apparently Putin wants to clean Russian name by putting blame on asiatic nations! They are forcefully recruiting buryats, tuvas, and khalimags. Now Ukrainians already started hating slanted eyes! Easy to instigate racial hatred!”

    @ Y

    But he does put a different (and more recent date) on NATO’s ‘provocations’:

    in September 2021 the United States came out with a strong policy statement, calling for enhanced military cooperation with Ukraine, further sending of advanced military weapons, all part of the enhancement programme of Ukraine joining Nato.

  559. Y: Francis Fukuyama was both optimistic and not very optimistic. Stanislaw Lem was more satirical about the whole thing. (I agree with your comment).

  560. David Marjanović says

    I dimly remembered something about Buryats and wanted to mention them, but then figured this didn’t make probabilistic sense (don’t they mostly speak L1 Russian now?) and wrote Yakuts instead…

  561. David Marjanović says

    Хуй войне sighted in Germany (just in the picture at the top, not mentioned in the text of the article).

  562. Ukrainian southern port city is under chemical attack

    The Azov Regiment, part of the Ukraine National Guard, reported on Monday evening that the southern port city of Mariupol is under chemical attack.

    Russian troops use chemical weapons against the entrenched Ukrainian garrison in the southern port city of Mariupol.

    According to Azov’s statement, an unidentified agent was delivered with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

    “The victims have respiratory failure, vestibule-atactic syndrome,” Azov said.

    A local source reported that the Russian military used Nerve agent GB (Sarin) in Mariupol, though there has been no official confirmation.

    https://defence-blog.com/ukrainian-southern-port-city-is-under-chemical-attack/

  563. Zигзаги журналистики. Как небольшое издание из Смоленска стало рупором «партии войны» с миллионной аудиторией

    https://telegra.ph/Kak-rabotaet-voennaya-propaganda-na-primere-izdaniya-Readovka-04-11

  564. Zигзаги

    Etymology: From German Sieg, as in “Sieg Heil!”.

    зи́га • (zíga) f inan (genitive зи́ги, nominative plural зи́ги, genitive plural зиг)
    (slang) Hitlergruß, Nazi salute
    бросить/кинуть зигу brositʹ/kinutʹ zigu to throw a “Sieg”, to give a Nazi salute
    Derived terms: зиговать (zigovatʹ), зигануть (ziganutʹ)

  565. Etymology of the week!

  566. Or of the decade:(

  567. the word гондон ‘condom’ is itself used as an insult in Russian: “(vulgar, slang, offensive) dickhole.”

    …as exemplified by the following:

    Производители презервативов Durex и Сontex уходят из России.

    А гондоны остаются

    (Сталингулаг)

  568. Did we have yet a chance to marvel at the expression “гондон юзаный!” ?

  569. Around me it is usually штопаный “darned”.

    It is hard to say if it is anyhow related to its use as a swear word in English: it is plausible in the contex(t) of condoms, it is also plausible that someone saw a film or a book where “darned” was translated as штопаный and remembered it as a posisble synonym of грёбаный, to re-use it later with condoms.

  570. @Bathrobe: That offers an interesting point of view, but I am leery of any source that contains such an obvious error in only the second sentence of the running text.

    Her father, a senior diplomat, was exiled in 1968 due to his opposition to Hafez al-Assad, father of the present ruler Bashar al-Assad.

    Assad didn’t take power until 1970 and wasn’t really in a position to force anyone out of Syria until 1969 at the earliest. While this is not directly relevant to the topic of the interview, it does suggest a worrying lack of awareness on the part of the interviewer and/or interviewee.

  571. David Marjanović says

    I wouldn’t have caught that, but what strikes me is that more than the first half of the interview is actually a list of separate interviews: one question, one answer, followed by a completely unrelated question and its answer, then another completely new question…

  572. They did not seem unrelated to me, but it does look like an interview taken online (possibly e-mail). It can explain its disconnectedness.

  573. it does suggest a worrying lack of awareness on the part of the interviewer and/or interviewee.

    Surely the interviewer, whose knowledge and/or competence aren’t crucial. The background provided by Kodmani was very interesting to me.

  574. “Knight of the Legion of Honour (2012).” (WP, Bassma_Kodmani). Is the title “Dame” (or “Lady”) only applied to those orders where it is the official title?

    The background provided by Kodmani was very interesting to me. – I am mostly familiar with it, but it would be interesting to read more of her.

    I do not understand what she means by “the last battle against NATO in Europe”. A nuclear war? Undermining NATO diplomatically? (how?) Or as usual, winning the argument over what Arabs to bomb?

  575. Her father, a senior diplomat, was exiled in 1968 due to his opposition to Hafez al-Assad, father of the present ruler Bashar al-Assad.

    Read on its own, that suggests to me that her father was exiled by Hafez al-Assad. If Hafez exiled someone, I don’t imagine Bashar would welcome them back with open arms.

  576. @Bathrobe: Yes, of course that’s what it sounds like. However, the president of Syria in 1968 was Nureddin al-Atassi. Or am I missing something else?

  577. You’re missing the extreme complexity of Syrian politics in the ’60s. Atas(s)i may have been the official head of state, but the country was run by the Ba’ath party leadership, and as Patrick Seale says in his (superb) biography, “By the end of 1968 Asad had already outstripped [Fu’ad] Jadid in the accumulation of power.” As with Stalin in Russia, there isn’t a single moment you can point to and say “Now he’s in total command”; it was a gradual process.

  578. “Following the defeat of the 1967 war, he had a skirmish with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and was subsequently jailed for 6 months.[4]”

    WP. The reference is to her book. French WP references Le Monde:

    Bassma Kodmani, 53 ans, a très peu vécu en Syrie. Son père, diplomate, n’a cessé de changer de poste, trimballant sa famille avec lui au gré des affectations. Durant sa petite enfance, Bassma Kodmani déménage ainsi de Tunisie en Libye, puis en Afrique du Sud et en Guinée, en passant par Le Caire, capitale de la République arabe unie (Egypte et Syrie) de 1958 à 1961. Après trois années à Paris, de 1962 à 1965, où il est chargé de rétablir les relations diplomatiques rompues depuis l’affaire de Suez, M. Kodmani est rappelé à Damas.

    Peu après la guerre des Six-Jours, en 1967, durant laquelle la Syrie perd le plateau du Golan, le jeune diplomate, qui a toujours pensé librement, est arrêté quelques mois pour avoir osé critiquer son ministre. Dès sa libération, début 1968, il part avec toute sa famille à Beyrouth.

    (link) and some other artcile (link) that harshly criticizes her but does not add many details.

  579. @drasvi: That second story appears to come from Rene Naba’s Web site. Naba is a weird character—sometimes seemingly on the right moral side of an issue, but sometimes also going to bat for obvious crooks and scumbags.

  580. This belongs more on a thread about mutual intelligibility of Slavic languages, of which I remember at least one, but guess there are lots of them. But I am too lazy to search for one and put it here in a “war thread”. Sorry, from Twitter
    Russian (or maybe DPR/LPR) soldier reads insructions on a Polish RPG

  581. It seems to be a “war thread” by default. After Hat asked people not to comment on the war, they did anyway and this seemed to become the main thread for discussing it.

  582. “They” is LH.
    Because the authors of the war arrested the hero of this thread.

  583. Yeah, this is the de facto war thread, because how can we not talk about it? But I prefer to keep it isolated here and let people who want to talk about the usual LH subjects avoid it.

  584. A podcast by meduza about Buryatia (in Russian), an interview with two Siberian journalists. They claim that Buryatia has a record number of dead soldiers among Russian regions. I do not like video and audio (I read faster…), and mostly listened to it because the girls speak unprofessionaly (that is: as a people who work as journalists rather than as journalists) and because of the Siberian accent of one of them. But what they are telling is that (1) army is the best or maybe only economic opportunity (2) friends of killed soldiers want to join the army and fight too [in different visited places] (3) small children also say they want to join the army and die as heroes [one village, in others children apparently were not asked].

  585. army is the best or maybe only economic opportunity

    I’m afraid that’s the case in a lot of places, the US included. I remember seeing something about some top-level economic guy letting it slip that he was concerned that if workers’ pay rose too much it would be hard to recruit people for the military. Нет войне!

  586. John Cowan says

    There is no way he actually believes this.

    “Russians! To arms, defend your country! The Ukrainians are coming!” Uh-huh. And birds aren’t real. (You do not have to be Gen Z (born 1997-20??) to understand that web site.)

    if we decide the US Civil War doesn’t count somehow

    That war is a spectacular counterexample, because under the greatest possible stress, a literally fratricidal war, we can watch the U.S. tilt toward autocracy, then right itself.

    ● In order to allow suspected Southern spies to be imprisoned behind the front according to military necessity, Lincoln suspends the right of habeas corpus[1] between Philadelphia and Washington, as permitted by the Constitution, but Chief Justice Taney[2] declares in Ex parte Merryman that only Congress has that power[3]. Detention continues on a smaller scale, but Merryman himself is relinquished to the civil authorities of Maryland[4] freed on bail, and all charges are dropped.

    ● General Ulysses S. Grant, worried by the large-scale cotton smuggling in the Military District of Tennessee[5], issues the equally infamous General Order #11, which bans all Jews from the District, whether they had anything to do with the cotton trade or not. Grant is a known anti-Semite and is winning Lincoln’s war for him, but when Lincoln hears of this thanks to the protests of long-settled Jews, he immediately revokes the order, and Grant admits that it was not justified. During his presidency beginning three years after the end of the war, Grant appoints an unprecedented number of Jews to public office[6] and sends a Jewish diplomat to Romania[7] to protest the ongoing pogroms there.

    [1] The writ of habeas corpus requires all prisoners who demand it to be brought before a judge where definite and public justifications must be given for their imprisonment.

    [2] Taney was pro-Southern and pro-slavery, but anti-secession, and the author of the infamous Dred Scott decision, which said that black men — not merely slaves — had no rights that white men need respect.

    [3] The Constitution merely says: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it”, which conspicuously lacks an actor. In the first draft, Congress was explicitly mentioned, but this was dropped in the second draft for reasons unknown.

    [4] Maryland was a slave state that never seceded; almost half the black population was free, including almost all the black population of Baltimore. Lincoln had to tread carefully to prevent secession until after the Southern invasion of the state.

    [5] Because at least some of the smuggled cotton going north was being paid for in arms and munitions going south that were much superior to any the South could produce.

    [6] This was before the U.S. had a civil service, so the President had to appoint among other things literally every postmaster in every one-horse town throughout the country. Often they got to Washington on foot, sometimes followed closely by a rival hopeful, in which case the race was indeed to the swift.

    [7] Notoriously the most anti-Semitic country in Europe. The Horthy regime began officially killing Jews before the Nazi regime did, and didn’t bother building “humane” extermination camps: they packed their victims into slow trains that chuffed around the countryside until everyone inside was dead of thirst and exposure, horrifying their German allies when they heard of it. After all, they had plenty of oil.

  587. Romania[7]

    [7] Notoriously the most anti-Semitic country in Europe. The Horthy regime

    Something has gone amiss here.

  588. John Cowan says

    that song is clearly some kind of crime in and of itself…

    “Songs of the I.B.M.” from 1937.

  589. John Cowan says

    Sorry, a brain fart. s/Horthy/Antonescu/.

    ~~ all dictators are One Dictator ~~

  590. David Eddyshaw says

    Evil men are boring, which makes it hard to tell them apart.

    Le mal imaginaire est romantique et varié, alors que le mal réel est sombre, monotone, dépouillé, ennuyeux. Le bien imaginaire est ennuyeux, alors que le bien réel est toujours neuf, merveilleux, enivrant.

    (Simone Weil)

  591. if workers’ pay rose too much it would be hard to recruit people for the military

    I wish (I wish!) people stopped reading some morality into economics. Because US has a professional (as they call it all volunteer) army, soldiers pay reflects what sort of people would like to sign up. Yes, family traditions, patriotism, respect of the community and such play a part, but the hard (and soft) cash speaks the loudest. Army has to offer competitive pay. It’s neither good nor bad. If income inequality is somewhat reduced, the government would have to pay more for the army and also maybe less (in relative terms) economically squeezed people will sign up. So what?

  592. So there will be fewer soldiers and less appetite for war, that’s what. To eliminate morality from the equation is monstrous. War is an unmitigated evil.

  593. That’s actually a “no”. There are various ways the recruitment can react to an economic squeeze. Standards can be lowered and an army can be more poorly trained. That would lead to more dead soldiers on “our” side and worse treatment of civilians on “their” side. Or maybe the army will rely more on automation and that would lead to more reckless policies because people don’t care that much about equipment loss in unnecassary wars. Or maybe something else happens. The only way to reduce wars is more peaceful mindset and also economic cooperation might help. War is unmitigated evil indeed, but it has nothing to do with economics of raising armies.

  594. David Marjanović says

    Indeed. “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want” turned out to mean “you go to war with the army Sgt. Rummy wants, not the army Gen. Shinseki wants”.

  595. John Cowan says

    the hard (and soft) cash speaks the loudest

    “Or else it doesn’t, you know,” as my father used to say to me when I made dogmatic statements like that. Perhaps an economically rational soldier would run away, figuring that the conquerors won’t get around to them for quite some time.

  596. J.W. Brewer says

    That brainfart was, I must say, quite a libel on the late Admiral Horthy, who was forcibly removed from power by Hitler’s stooges for inter alia being insufficiently anti-Semitic. To perhaps be more nuanced, Horthy shared a lot of anti-Semitic stereotypes, among which was the stereotype that Jews were, while supposedly prone to disloyalty and Communist sympathies, unusually clever and productive if properly monitored and supervised. From which Horthy drew the obvious conclusion that it would be Totally Batshit Insane to deport or massacre your own country’s Jews while you were, for example, at war with the Soviet Union and could benefit from their contributions to the economy. Which conclusion helped lead him to oppose massacre-or-deportation policy initiatives. Which in turn led to him being financially supported in his old age, as a fugitive/emigre living post-WW2 in Salazar’s Portugal, by subventions from American Jews of Hungarian origin who appreciated how he had conducted himself when contrasted with the politically-plausible unsavory alternatives in the relevant time and place.

  597. an interview with Dmitry Bykov

    Дмитрий Быков: Людям не нравится быть плохими. Скоро все кончится

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndBvOMXp3wo

  598. I guess some novoyaz is in order. Here goes:

    хтонь

    Русский

    Морфологические и синтаксические свойства
    хтонь

    Существительное, неодушевлённое, женский род, 3-е склонение (тип склонения 8a по классификации А. А. Зализняка).

    Корень: -хтонь-.

    Семантические свойства
    Значение
    1. неол. зло, нечистая сила, умершие предки, гады ◆ А главное, какому ещё охотнику за нечистью довелось победить такую хтонь? Камышовый, «Ск-9: Рау та любви», 2019 г. ◆ Хтонь заявляет свои права. Среди характерных особенностей хтонических существ традиционно выделяют звероподобие, наличие сверхъестественных способностей. К ним относились умершие предки. В славянской традиции к хтоническим существам относились прежде всего гады, в число которых включались и животные, связанные со смертью и потусторонним миром. М. Струкова, «Отступник, значит, верный. (О поэзии А. Широпаева)», 2012 г.
    2. неол. пренебр. народ, электорат ◆ Люди, которых нынешние элитки свысока называют быдлом, гребанным электоратом, хтонью, и так далее… Ю. М. Семецкий, «Мы», 2020 г. ◆ Как известно, любой массовый протест можно погасить боевой химией, водометами, бронетехникой… Каждый первый может продолжить и детализировать список способов загнать хтонь в стойло. Но слабость и беспомощность народных масс… Ю. М. Семецкий, «Мы», 2020 г. ◆ Только язык Салтыкова-Щедрина, Аверченко, Зощенко и Даниила Хармса способен передать эту русскую хтонь, просочившаяся даже в тот вид криминала, который мы привыкли считать наиболее романтичным и элегантным. С. Багдасарова, «Воры, вандалы и идиоты», 2019 г.
    3. неол. чёрт, бог (в качестве междометия) ◆ — Да и хтонь с ним. Сдох и сдох, — решил Нумо и осушил кружку. — Спать пойду. Устал. Камышовый, «Ск-9: Рау та любви», 2019 г.

    вертухай

    Russian
    Pronunciation

    IPA(key): [vʲɪrtʊˈxaj]

    Noun

    вертуха́й • (vertuxáj) m anim (genitive вертуха́я, nominative plural вертуха́и, genitive plural вертуха́ев)

    1. (slang, derogatory) turnkey, jailer, prison guard
    2. (derogatory) militiaman, policeman
    3. employee of the “State Vehicle Inspection” / “State Patrol” (ГАИ, or Государственная автомобильная инспекция)

  599. Битва за Донбасс: сможет ли армия России окружить и разбить украинскую, и каковы преимущества сторон

    https://telegra.ph/Bitva-za-Donbass-smozhet-li-armiya-Rossii-okruzhit-i-razbit-ukrainskuyu-i-kakovy-preimushchestva-storon-04-19

  600. @J.W. Brewer, but then I share this stereotype:/ Is not it just a statistical observation?

    I studied in one of so-called “math-schools” in Moscow, most of my classmates were Jews and most of people who took the exam were also Jews, which excludes the possibility of discrimination* (also I simply never observed discriminatation). Our teachers were Jewish too.

    One of the forms of state anti-Semitism in USSR was not letting Jews in certain universities, among them the mathematical faculty of Moscow university and several others hard sceince and engineering schools here. The explanation was “there are way too many of you guys here”.

    It would be rather idiotic not to think “mathematics is popular among Moscow Jews” (it is a fact) and “Soviet anti-Semitism was detrimental for the economy”. Preventing access to education to the population most interested in it because it is “too much” interested in it?

    I think the observation per se is not good or bad, just like “Muslims drink less than Christians”. It can have bad conequences: either privileged position of Jews or anti-Semitism, or discrimination against some other minority which is believed to be “less clevel” or “less interested in education”.

    But it is all about the effects of observed statistical fact. As argument against already-existing anti-Semtism it looks fine. Whether capability of making statistical observations is evil per se is a good question:)

    * I mean, discrimination BY Jews.

  601. Well, of course, “prone to disloyality” is an anti-Semitic stereotype. Again, as an observation it can be true*, especially if the choise is “Nazi or leftists”.


    * I mean disloyality to the regime.

  602. It is a part of Soviet anti-Semitism, of course. Sakharov was particularly trusted because among the main authors of the Russian bomb he was an ethnic Russian. But…

    By 1970s it was more like a conflict between the party and a part of the Jewish community (if not all), but again, “loyality” to the party means agreement with its course (that includes anti-Israeli policy and even mistrust to Jews) and absence of certain views and interests and then if the disloyal part wants to emigrate, this desire is already disloyality.

    An excpetionally drunk friend of mine (not a Jew) once came to me. He drank with another guy E. (not a Jew), a friend of our friend L. (a Jew) . This another guy once became very interested in opposition politics, mostly listening to characters particularly hated by our nationalists – but not particularly attractive to me. Then he was disappointed and began supporting nationalist/pro-regime politicians.

    We drank two more bottles of red wine and then my freind said that E. said that Jews are going to просрать (screw up? Or what is the translation?) everything here and then leave. It is not normal pro-regime discourse (I do not see signs of state anti-Semitism) it is his personal I think: he referred to L. because there are many Jewish human rights activists around L. and they are predictably anti-Putin. So my freind (being two bottles more than exceptionally drunk) said: “but I do not want that! I do not want them to prosrat everything and leave!” said he. “Undrestand? I do not want that they leave!!!!”. And he cried.

    He is a musician, and he is worried: the Moscow Conservatory used to be very Jewish but seems to become less so. He likes Jews and as for screwing up the country, he could not care less.

  603. As we have discussed before, the contrasting approaches of the Horthy regime and the Arrow Cross’s subsequent Nazi puppet state do serve as a clear example of how there can be very important distinctions between a regime that is merely ultraconservative and authoritarian, versus one that is genuinely ethno-fascist.

  604. Oh, oops. I do not know how, but I thought J.W.Brewer wrote not about Horthy but some lower rank character. In that case “potentially disloyal, but useful” is anti-Semitic, of course.

  605. Heh:

    On today’s news. Russian troops have captured Polish equipment from Ukrainian army. Seeing Slavic words written in Latin Alphabet, they thought American military made up new language to confuse them, while in fact, it was just West Slavic language… Polish 🙃

    No idea whether it’s true or not, but it’s funny. (I imagine most Russians would recognize Polish without problem, but there are always random idiots.)

  606. David Marjanović says

    D.O. posted another tweet about this two days ago in this thread. Instead of a screenshot from the video (with subtitles), it includes the video (without subtitles).

    I haven’t watched it yet, though.

  607. Oh, that’s right — I didn’t click through for some reason! Go click DM’s link to DO’s link, it’s got the whole video and is hilarious (and proves that there really are such idiots).

  608. January First-of-May says

    I wonder what they thought about the meaning of the text in large black letters: “TU TRZYMAĆ RĘKĄ”. I don’t think knowledge of Ukrainian and the English alphabet would have been enough to decipher it, without at least some idea of Polish spelling rules…

    (in the video they don’t seem to discuss that part)

  609. David Marjanović says

    On the other hand, it’s really striking how many words and calques-or-etymological-nativizations from Polish there are in Ukrainian.

    Sometimes there seem to be doublets, too, e.g. любов(ь?) and кохання…

  610. Rashism or Ruscism (Russian: Рашизм, tr. Rashizm, pronounced [rɐˈʂɨzm]; a portmanteau of “Russia” and “fascism”) is an assertion that Russia has been transformed into a fascist country. That transformation was described as based on the ideas of the “special civilizational mission” of the Russians, such as Moscow as the Third Rome and expansionism. This is also a claim widely used to identify supporters of Russian military aggression.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashism

  611. J.W. Brewer says

    I would have thought Rashism was an ideology based on perhaps excessive devotion to the teachings of the medieval rabbi commonly known as Rashi. I think (at least to an Anglophone ear) it is a failed attempt at a portmanteau. If the first vowel is that of “Russia” it doesn’t particularly successfully evoke fascism and if the first vowel is that of “fascism” it doesn’t particularly successfully evoke Russia.

    Maybe it needs to be inserted in a longer list, a la “Everybody’s talking about
    Bagism,* Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
    This-ism, that-ism ….”

    *I remember with fondness some cold winter’s day in suburbia in the very late Seventies or very early Eighties when I walked around with a few other teenagers writing pro-Bagist agitprop in the snow on people’s front yards.

  612. I think (at least to an Anglophone ear) it is a failed attempt at a portmanteau.

    It’s not an English word but a Russian one, and I see no reason why Russians should worry particularly about the effect of their neologisms when and if they get transliterated and exposed to English-language eyes.

  613. J.W. Brewer says

    Well, I’m not conceding that it’s a successful portmanteau in Russian, just noting that I’m not in a position to judge. I don’t know enough about how portmanteaus conventionally work in Russian to know what level of transparent/compositional etymology is generally required by the genre.

    But more to the point, I’m not convinced it’s a “Russian” word in a useful sense, since at least according to the internet it is primarily used as a pejorative by speakers of Ukrainian or Georgian or Chechen or whatnot who are very self-consciously Not Russian, although they certainly may understand Russian well enough due to the Soviet-etc. legacy. Maybe it’s more plausible than a “Russian-sounding” word made up by Anglophones engaged in anti-Kremlin polemic would be, but again I can’t say for sure. And I suppose it could still be a “Russian word” in the sense in which “Sassenach” is an “English word,” i.e. one generally used only by self-consciously non-English speakers of some regional variety of English.

    FWIW the no-longer-alive Chechen leader who wikipedia credits with coining the word seems to have had it as Русизм although Рашизм seems to be the Ukrainian preference. I assume this is different from a Kiev/Kyiv sort of distinction and is more about which half of the would-be portmanteau is being made more legible at the expense of the other.

  614. PlasticPaddy says

    @jwb
    It seems clear why Ukrainians could not use Rusizm as a pejorative. The ethonym Rus’ applies equally or even more specially to those living in the heartland of the Kievan Rus’ state (or those who speak Rusyn, as discussed in another thread).

  615. @JWB, it is a word created in a language

    – whose speakers have already borrowed English “Russia”.
    Which makes Dudayev very unlikely – even if he knew English, “Russia” was as familiar to him as Allemagne or Semitic nimsa “Austria” are for me.
    – whose speaker hear the vowel in “Russia” the same way as the vowel in fascism (true for many languages).

    Most likely the language is Russian. Of course it also can be Ukrainian. The word is hardly attractive for anti-Putin or pro-(Ukrainian/Chechen/….) Russians, because anti-Putin does not mean anti-Russian.

  616. Semitic
    https://www.google.com/search?q=nimtsa+Austria finds some Hebrew examples (e.g).

  617. I watched the video. Dudayev did not mean the English “Russia”. As for fascism, he lists “fascism, nazism, racism”. He draws a parallel between “rusism” (/u/) and fascism saying that the whole civilized world must cure rusism the same was as it cured fascism but only “racism” has /s/ like “rusism”. The video is made by members of the Congress of Ukrianian Nationalists (has to do with Russian claims that Ukraine is taken over by banderovtsi) who, as one can see here compare русизм and расизм “racism”.

  618. it’s really striking how many words and calques-or-etymological-nativizations from Polish there are in Ukrainian.

    When I was working in Ukraine back in the late 1990s, I recall that Ukrainian speakers in Kyiv/Central Ukraine would claim that Western Ukrainian was too Polonized and was not “pure” Ukrainian (e.g. addressing strangers as “panie/pani”). I suppose given Russia’s behavior over the past 8 years, it would not be surprising if more and more Ukrainian speakers are now consciously choosing “Polonisms” in preference over vocabulary and constructions that seem superficially more Russian.

  619. Yes, I’m afraid so. I can’t tell you how much I hate linguistic nationalism. Languages don’t kill people, people kill people!

  620. people kill people – ..and to stop it we need to kill more people:-E

  621. No, we need to get people to stop thinking of killing as the solution to their problems.

  622. Of course, I ironized not about your words, but about what usually happens.

  623. Gotcha, thanks for the clarification!

  624. the hard (and soft) cash speaks the loudest

    “Or else it doesn’t, you know,” as my father used to say to me when I made dogmatic statements like that.

    Fair enough. These are the things better studied with some concrete information. Which I have neither desire, nor time, nor ability to find. Can we agree at least that soldier’s pay is the easiest thing for the government to manipulate?

    Perhaps an economically rational soldier would run away, figuring that the conquerors won’t get around to them for quite some time.

    Why soldiers stay and fight, but sometimes run, is even more difficult problem, which I even less prepared to discuss. It has something to do with troops cohesion and with understanding that the most dangerous moments for soldiers were during routs for times when battles were more personal.

  625. how much I hate linguistic nationalism.

    When you put it that way, sure. But linguistic and cultural prescriptivism from the side of the dominated is very different than when it’s from the side of the dominating. A speaker of an endangered language creating a language nest in a corner of their house, where the dominant language is not permitted, or a Ukrainian pushing away the harbingers of Russian domination, are not, ipso facto, chauvinists.

  626. That’s not what I call linguistic nationalism, it’s just love of your own language and a desire to keep it alive and vibrant. It’s when you start seeing other languages as bad that you fall into linguistic nationalism, just as when you see other countries as less worthy than yours you fall into nationalism tout court.

  627. @Y, can
    – South Ossetian Ossetians do whatever they like to South Ossetian Georgians (because they are dominated by Georgian imperialism)
    – Georgians do whatever they like to Ossetians (because they are dominated by Russian imperialism)
    – Russians do whatever we like to Ukrainians (because the Western imperialism)
    … and ad infinitum? (for: “…a Flea / Hath smaller Fleas that on him prey / And these have smaller yet to bite ’em …”)

    And should we like it, doing something bad to Ukrainians (irrespectively of the Western whatever -ism)?

  628. That’s not what I call linguistic nationalism, it’s just love of your own language and a desire to keep it alive and vibrant.

    This is a good thing. Moreover, langauge revitalization does mean some sort of unequal treatment for languages.

  629. But revitalization efforts can be stupid or smart (and very easily can be detrimental for the “revitalized” culture) and also respectful to speakers or not quite so.

  630. Well, the flea argument likely has nothing to do with, specifically, Polonisms.

  631. Really now, drasvi.

    I’m against anybody being mean to anybody. Also, I’m against oppressors pretending that a minority is oppressing them, as an excuse to putting the boot on it harder.

    I’m saying, language has symbolism, and it can’t be denied. If Ukrainian individuals want to fortify their spirits by excising Russian loanwords from their language, I can fully understand it. (If their government tried to enforce that kind of thing, I’d be much less fond of it.)

  632. I’m saying, language has symbolism, and it can’t be denied.

    Sure it can. Like anything else, it has only the symbolism we choose to give it — nothing “has” symbolism on its own. If one chooses to dump one’s anger at people’s behavior on the language they speak, that’s one’s own choice; there’s nothing natural or inevitable about it. You might as well blame the clothes they wear.

  633. All right, then: people give symbolism to language; that is, they ascribe social significance to the kind of language one speaks. In the abstract, maybe it’s not essential, but in practice it’s true everywhere. Sociolinguists have things to observe always and everywhere.

  634. @Y, I think I was not as much supporting LH (this example with polonisms is too hypothetical for me: I do not know whether anything like this is happenuing or not) as objecting to this oppressor-oppressed model.

    You earlier wrote about Azov. The most important thing about it is that they are being killed now. I quoted above a DPR commander who said that Azov fighters are fighting fiercely, “because they know they should expect no mercy”. Nazi or not, what the commander is speaking about is a war crime. It also increaces civilian casulaties. A word “Nazi” is becoming an excuse for doing more evil. Some people raped girls with German surnames here in 50s and yes, it is true that the country was recovering from severe collective trauma so it is not surprising…. Except it does not become a bit less evil.

    But then the article you linked says the Western “obsession” with Azov is why the “genocide” in Mariupol is happening.

    In reality there were numerous war crimes in Donbass war, both sides. Are there wars without war crimes? And there were ruined cities. Our news were showing cities shelled by Ukrainians, their news were showing cities shelled by DPR. Human rights groups would show both. And there is collaboration between Ukrainian right and Ukrianian security and it is not a good thing. Same for Russia: yes, fascism is on the rise here.

    Finding “the good guys” in a conflict and speaking about crimes of their enemies (but not theirs) is a trap. You constantly have to choose between “if I condemn their crimes, they lose support” and “if I support them, I give them a licence to kill”. We need some way out of this.

    In reality any country will benefit from more respect for human rights in that country. All of this is not and should not be about judging anyone. If an Ukrainian does something stupid it harms her (by definition of “stupid”), if she does something bad, but irritating for Putin, then she does something bad to another person, most likely an Ukrainian. During the war in Donbass the victim is the same all the time: whether it is Russian or Ukrainian bombs, they destroy the very same population. It is just that our propaganda have been speaking about “genocide” in Donbass by Ukrainians and it turned out that they meant “we need to kill more!”.

    And it is not about Ukraine, I just mean we need a way of supporting an oppressed population wihtout encouraging it to oppress someone even weaker. Back to langauge, I mean there is a good reason to remember what is objectively stupid and what is clever, what is beautiful and what is ugly and what is good and what is evil rather than limiting ourselves with finding the oppressed and oppressors. No, using polonisms does not look exactly “evil”, my objection is to keeping the notion of “oppressed and oppressors” – and eventually the idea of judging and determining who are good guys and who are bad guys – central to anything.

    I am tired of this. Georgia gives us a perfect food chain: when Russians came they expelled local Georgians (those remaining after 1989). They were a minority population in SO. SO is a minority within Georgia, and Georgia tried to conquer it (“Russia provoked an impetous Georgian attack on its proxy forces” if you prefer this formulation). Georgia is minority within USSR. Russia is minority globally. So one just picks an even or odd link by taste.

  635. David Marjanović says

    I suppose given Russia’s behavior over the past 8 years, it would not be surprising if more and more Ukrainian speakers are now consciously choosing “Polonisms” in preference over vocabulary and constructions that seem superficially more Russian.

    Ah, that would not be surprising.

    I am tired of this.

    That’s one reason why EU membership for Ukraine will be a good thing: the EU has all sorts of laws about minority issues. Indeed the very hope of EU membership is why Erdoğan introduced such things as schools teaching in Kurdish.

  636. @DM, I agree.

  637. Yes, in terms of human rights certain European countries are much more advanced and are a good example for everyone. And yes, I guess it is the hope of many pro-Western Ukrainians: that being intergrated in Europe somehow will help with corruption and everything.

  638. John Cowan says

    “How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That’s a good thing, but one mustn’t make a virtue of it, or a profession… Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope.” —Therem Harth rem ir Estraven, as reported by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)

  639. David Eddyshaw says

    If you can’t love people who resemble yourself, you are probably* deluding yourself if you imagine that you love people who are not much like yourself (and if you can’t love people who are not much like yourself, you are undoubtedly deluding yourself if you imagine that you love God.)

    * I put in the “probably” for a reason. But there is often something off about xenophilia in people who don’t care for their neighbours much. Borrioboola-Gha …

  640. Finding “the good guys” in a conflict and speaking about crimes of their enemies (but not theirs) is a trap. You constantly have to choose between “if I condemn their crimes, they lose support” and “if I support them, I give them a licence to kill”. We need some way out of this.

    Yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

  641. @DE, it is interesting how the word for neighbour came to mean different things in Russian and English.

    וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ says Wiktionary
    ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν says the NT…and I guess LXX?)

    In Russian it is ближний, the word is used

    – as adjective, contrastively “in the [one which is near] grove squirrels live, while in the [one which is far] grove nightingales live”. This contrast makes me want to use “one”.
    – often in toponyms: “This is Near Shitfield, the Far Shitfield is beyond that hill”. Similarly, in toponyms that you create on your own, like “the near grocery”
    – as a noun it means: “those who thou shalt love as thyself”.

    Sometimes it is used similarly to “близкие” (that’s people who are close to you and mean something to you).

    One translation that I checked (Elizabeth Bible 18th c.) has a different word for “near one” in Matthew (but not Luke or Mark): и҆́скреннѧго (ACC sg.) which today means “sincere”.
    I do not know where they took it.

    In English you have … nigh Boer:) I wonder if it already meant “neighbour” back then and what the Hebrew and Greek words meant.

    Having this said, the formulation is practical:) It is clearly a bad idea to be bad to those who you already love. Bad as in detrimental to your heart.
    It is also bad idea not to notice and not to care about a beggar who you can see and are passing by, but a few people are able to notice them, and those are famously overwhelmed when there are more suffering people around than they can help (which is the case if you simply walk in Moscow and really see what’s going on around you).
    But then there are people of East Timor, generalized people of East Timor, without names and anything. They are abstract for me. I can by a mental effort try to be at least responsible with them but loving them would take God-like powers (or I miss something about human abilities).

  642. (I know that above is not too polite to possible readers from East Timor. But from me it is quite far:(

    WP: “Timor” is derived from timur, the word for “east” in Malay, which became recorded as Timor in Portuguese, thus resulting in the tautological toponym meaning “East East”; in Indonesian, Timor Timur. In Portuguese, the country is called Timor-Leste (Leste being the word for “east”); in Tetum Timór Lorosa’e (Lorosa’e being the word for “east” (literally “rising sun”)).)

  643. John Cowan says

    “Of course in ‘real life’ causes are not clear cut — if only because human tyrants are seldom utterly corrupted into pure manifestations of evil will. As far as I can judge some seem to have been so corrupt, but even they must rule subjects only part of whom are equally corrupt, while many still need to have ‘good motives’, real or feigned, presented to them. As we see today.

    “Still there are clear cases: e.g. acts of sheer cruel aggression, in which therefore right is from the beginning wholly on one side, whatever evil the resentful suffering of evil may eventually generate in members of the right side. There are also conflicts about important things or ideas. In such cases I am more impressed by the extreme importance of being on the right side, than I am disturbed by the revelation of the jungle of confused motives, private purposes, and individual actions (noble or base) in which the right and the wrong in actual human conflicts are commonly involved.

    “If the conflict really is about things properly called right and wrong, or good and evil, then the rightness or goodness of one side is not proved or established by the claims of either side; it must depend on values and beliefs above and independent of the particular conflict.A judge must assign right and wrong according to principles which he holds valid in all cases. That being so, the right will remain an inalienable possession of the right side and Justify its cause throughout.

    “(I speak of causes, not of individuals. Of course to a judge whose moral ideas have a religious or philosophical basis, or indeed to anyone not blinded by partisan fanaticism, the rightness of the cause will not justify the actions of its supporters, as individuals, that are morally wicked. But though ‘propaganda’ may seize on them as proofs that their cause was not in fact ‘right’, that is not valid. The aggressors are themselves primarily to blame for the evil deeds that proceed from their original violation of justice and the passions that their own wickedness must naturally (by their standards) have been expected to arouse. They at any rate have no right to demand that their victims when assaulted should not demand an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.)

    “Similarly, good actions by those on the wrong side will not justify their cause. There may be deeds on the wrong side of heroic courage, or some of a higher moral level: deeds of mercy and forbearance. A judge may accord them honour and rejoice to see how some men can rise above the hate and anger of a conflict; even as he may deplore the evil deeds on the right side and be grieved to see how hatred once provoked can drag them down. But this will not alter his judgement as to which side was in the right, nor his assignment of the primary blame for all the evil that followed to the other side.” —Tolkien, Letter 183

  644. David Eddyshaw says

    @drasvi:

    Interestingly, the Kusaal version of Matthew 22:39 goes

    Nɔŋimi fɔ tiraan wɔɔ fɔ mɛng nɛ
    “Love your neighbour like yourself.”

    where tiraan is actually “peer, fellow”. There is a perfectly good word for “neighbour” in the “nearby-person” sense: kpi’a, transparently cognate to kpi’e “get near”; interesting that the translators didn’t use it.

    It’s the same choice as in the Kusaal proverb

    Fʋ ya’a tɛn’ɛs bɛɛ tʋm bɛ’ɛd yɛ fʋ tisi fʋ tiraan, fʋ maanni fʋ mɛŋ ya’as la
    “If you think or do evil to your neighbour (tiraan), you’re doing it back to yourself.”

  645. David Eddyshaw says

    In the Good Samaritan passage, the Lawyer replies to Jesus’ question about what is written in he Law with ka nɔŋi fʋ tiraan “and love your tiraan” in Luke 10:27, and then (“willing to justify himself”) asks Anɔ’ɔnɛ aan m kpi’a? “Who is my kpi’a?” in verse 29; they have translated the very same Greek (and English) word differently in the space of three verses.

    Evidently Kusaal “has no word for neighbour.” In fact, the English meaning is no doubt highly influenced by this very passage.

  646. David Eddyshaw says

    I notice that the 1996 Bible version here uses tiraan throughout instead of kpi’a, but translates “love your neighbour” in the quote from Leviticus as ka noŋ fu taab “and love your fellow.” The revisers in 2016 had a better idea, though they still must have felt that “neighbour” had no single equivalent.

  647. David Eddyshaw says

    [The Kusaal version of Matthew 22:29 above ought to read Nɔŋimi fʋ tiraan wʋʋ fʋ mɛŋ nɛ. Apologies to all Kusaasi Hatters. Why the spellcheck didn’t pick that up, I’ll never know …]

  648. @drasvi. I’m having trouble understanding what you mean here:

    “Semitic”
    https://www.google.com/search?q=nimtsa+Austria finds some Hebrew examples (e.g).

    Do you mean that in the following romanized Hebrew title the word nimtsa belongs to the family of Slavic words going back to Proto-Slavic *němьcь 1. ‘foreigner’. 2. ‘German’?

    Hagadah shel Pesah : ketav-yad me-osef Baron David Gintsburg ha-nimtsa be-Sifriyah ha-le’umit be-Moskva

    If so, Hebrew nimtsa ‘is found, is located’ is unrelated to that family. Rather, it comes from the Hebrew root מצא ‘find’.

    If however you have something else in mind, please explain.

  649. Dunno what Austria is in Hebrew, but in Arabic it’s an-Namsā (via Ottoman Turkish); I assume that’s what drasvi has in mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if the term found its way thence into early modern Syriac and Sephardic Hebrew, though it obviously is not to be reconstructed for proto-Semitic 🙂

  650. Austria in Hebrew is ostria. As M. says, nimtsa is the passive (niphal) of mṣʔ ‘find’ and means ‘found, located’ (m. sg.) The example drasvi links to is an index to eulogies in the library of the Jewish community in Vienna. M.’s example is a Haggadah from a manuscript found in the National Library in Moscow.

  651. No, I mean absolutely nothing:)

    I meant Arabic. But there is this neo-Aramaic form that I know only from Wiktionary: ܢܸܡܣܵܐ . I wanted to check it but I made typo (I keep writing “nimtsa” in transliteration, because of my native nemtsy). And I saw this result in Google. Instead of trying to read it (my Hebrew is at the level “I can decipher it sometimes”) I took a mental note “wow, some writers in Hebrew borrowed it too. Why -ts-?” and corrected my typo. Then I wrote “Semitic”. Then I felt I need to explain why Semitic and copied the link …

    In other words, the comment was a mess.
    I should have written “Middle Eastern”, not “Semitic”, I should have read the Hebrew title…

  652. The werid thing is that I am not fully used to Hebrew (or Syriac to that matter) alphabets. It too looks like “deciphering” unless I have already spent some 5 minutes doing it (and then I totally confuse diacritics). But I think it is the fact that it was transliteration and I hardly ever tried to read Hebrew right-to-left that made my eye catch this form and ignore the rest. The fact that the book is in Vienna does have to do with this too : google said so and my eye catched it.

  653. @JC, it look like two gentlemen brawling, “I punched your face and you punched mine”.

    But in reality it is “I raped your cousin, you raped mine”.

    Our Internet is full of this. When someone writes something against the war, the answer is always “but where were you all these 8 years when people of Donbass were suffering?”. Or else they think that the anti-war guy was Ukrainian and write “ha-ha, now you love peace!”.

  654. John Cowan says

    That even has an English name: whataboutism:

    “Your country is oppressing its minorities: it needs to stop.”

    “But what about your country’s treatment of the Native Americans?”

    “Your country is also denying the human rights of all its citizens.”

    “But what about your country’s treatment of the Native Americans?”

    The OED’s first citation is to 1978 and is an explanation of the term, suggesting that it was fairly new then. The synonymous whataboutery is traced to 1974 with specific reference to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. As one of the other citations says, it goes on forever and leads nowhere.

  655. where tiraan is actually “peer, fellow”. There is a perfectly good word for “neighbour” in the “nearby-person” sense: kpi’a, transparently cognate to kpi’e “get near”; interesting that the translators didn’t use it.

    It’s the same choice as in the Kusaal proverb
    My guess would be that the translators knew the proverb and that influenced their choice?

  656. “How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people,
    Gustav Heinemann, 3rd president of the Federal Republic of Germany, famously when asked if he doesn’t love the German state: “Ach was, ich liebe keine Staaten, ich liebe meine Frau; fertig!” “Nonsense, I don’t love any states, I love my wife, that’s it.”

  657. David Eddyshaw says

    My guess would be that the translators knew the proverb and that influenced their choice?

    Could well be. The general feeling about the Bible versions among Kusaasi seems to be that they’re pretty idiomatic; I have heard complaints that they are “difficult”, but that would be hardly surprising given that the Bible texts are far and away the most extensive written works in a language with no written tradition.

    The revisers in 1996 and 2016 seem to have disentangled some of the more convoluted constructions for clarity; but even quite ordinary Kusaal is abundantly supplied with subordinate clauses of all sorts, which nest quite freely. It does multiple embedding quite as much as English does.

    The most striking syntax change in the 1996 revision was replacing all the indirect speech with direct, which has been done so thoroughly that it must have been a conscious strategy. I suppose it does aid clarity, but the indirect construction seems to be much more in line with the usual way Kusaal does it, judging by other sources, so it seems a bit of a pity, in a way. Translationese …

  658. PlasticPaddy says

    The Irish word for neighbour is comharsa,

    Leviticus 19:18
    Ní foláir duit grá a thabhairt do do chomharsa mar thú féin.

    Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31
    Gráóidh tú do chomharsa mar thú féin.’

    Apparently this is from Middle Irish co(m)+airsa, where the second element is literally “door-post” and figuratively “support”.

  659. Russian does have a word for neighbour, sosed, where so- is co- and sed is the same as in Latin sedere and IE. Here means co-dweller.

    It just is not used in the Bible in this passage. In modern translations it occurs in
    Proverbs 27:10
    Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.
    Jer. 6:21
    Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.

    https://biblehub.com/hebrew/shachen_7934.htm

  660. David Eddyshaw says

    The Welsh Bible uses cymydog in both Leviticus and Matthew. It’s the ordinary equivalent of English “neighbour”; etymologically, it’s a transparent derivative of cwmwd “district, province”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commote

    (“Not to be confused with ‘commode'”, indeed!)
    Same construction as the Russian сосед, basically.

    I suppose that in Kusaal you could summarise the point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan as “a kpi’a ought to be a tiraan.” (“A neighbour₁ ought to be a neighbour₂.”)

  661. German is parallel to Russian blizhniy here – the German Bible translation uses dein Nächster “your nearest / closest (one)”, not dein Nachbar. I think English and traditions going through English are actually the ones that are deviant here.

  662. David Marjanović says

    The good news is that there is a Greek school in Crimea…

  663. David Eddyshaw says

    To confuse matters further, the Hausa Bible uses ɗan’uwa “brother/cousin/relative” for “neighbour” pretty much throughout (and in all occurrences in the Good Samaritan passage, including the Leviticus quote), but, curiously, not in the Leviticus verse itself, where it has the colourless sauran mutane “other people” instead.

    I don’t know if this is because Hausa ɗan’uwa has been bleached of any particular affective sense or just means that the translators didn’t particularly focus on the issue. It’s likely that they were largely translating primarily from the English versions in practice, too, which may well have confused matters.

    I notice that the original Hebrew in Leviticus uses רֵעַ “friend, companion”, which is indeed tiraan rather than kpi’a. But the LXX renders it τὸν πλησίον (i.e. kpi’a) which may be the origin of the mischief.

  664. Then the natural question is what was pre-King James English…

    …and Old Irish.

    I can’t find an old Latin Leviticus.

    Vulgata Clementina (16th century, http://catholicbible.online/side_by_side/OT/Lev/ch_19) has:
    Latin: Non quæras ultionem, nec memor eris injuriæ civium tuorum. Diliges amicum tuum sicut teipsum. Ego Dominus.
    Douay-Rheims (1500s-1600s): Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself. I am the Lord.
    Knox Bible (XX century): Do not seek revenge, or bear a grudge for wrong done to thee by thy fellow-citizens; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; thy Lord is his.

    Asd for gospels, it is diligis proximum tuum in all texts that I am able to find.

    Including Matthew 5:43 in Diatessaron by Tatian:

    Audistis quia dictum est: diligis proximum tuum et odio habebis inimicum tuum. Ego autem dico vobis: diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui vos oderunt, et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos.

    Ír gihortut thaz giquetan ist: minno thinan nahiston inti habe in hazze thinan fiant. Ih quidu íu: minnot iuuara fianta, tuot then uuola thie íuuih hazzont, inti betot furi thie háhtenton inti harmenton íu.

  665. Then the natural question is what was pre-King James English…

    …and Old Irish.

    I can’t find an old Latin Leviticus.

    Vulgata Clementina (16th century, http://catholicbible.online/side_by_side/OT/Lev/ch_19) has:
    Latin: Non quæras ultionem, nec memor eris injuriæ civium tuorum. Diliges amicum tuum sicut teipsum. Ego Dominus.
    Douay-Rheims (1500s-1600s): Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself. I am the Lord.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knox_Bible (XX century): Do not seek revenge, or bear a grudge for wrong done to thee by thy fellow-citizens; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; thy Lord is his.

  666. Asd for gospels, it is diligis proximum tuum in all texts that I am able to find.

    Including Matthew 5:43 in Diatessaron by Tatian:

    Audistis quia dictum est: diligis proximum tuum et odio habebis inimicum tuum. Ego autem dico vobis: diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui vos oderunt, et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos.

    Ír gihortut thaz giquetan ist: minno thinan nahiston inti habe in hazze thinan fiant. Ih quidu íu: minnot iuuara fianta, tuot then uuola thie íuuih hazzont, inti betot furi thie háhtenton inti harmenton íu.

  667. David Eddyshaw says

    The Syriac Peshitta, which seems to have been translated from the Hebrew, not the Greek, has חבר “companion, friend” in Leviticus 19:18 too.

    Interesting. The Lawyer’s “who is my neighbour?” in Luke is actually a very good question on a linguistic level (and it makes a lot more sense if you imagine the conversation as having taken place in Aramaic, not the Greek version of the text.) I Did Not Know That.

    The Peshitta version of the Good Samaritan parable uses qarri:b (i.e. kpi’a) throughout, though, including in the Leviticus quote; evidently it’s just directly translated from the Greek.

  668. “…a very good question on a linguistic level (and it makes a lot more sense if you imagine the conversation as having taken place in Aramaic, … ).”

    What do you mean?

  669. I have a 19-th century copy of the Gospels* in Gothic (only where extant), Old English, Wycliffe and Tyndale: Matt 12:39 has OW Lufa ðínne nehstan swá swá ðe sylfne (thorn/eth choices and accents are editorial), Wycliffe Thou shalt loue thi neiȝbore as thi self, Tyndale Thou shalt love thyne neghbour as thy selfe. “Neighbour” does go back to OE neáh-gebúr but evidently that wasn’t the most obvious translation; something changed in the intervening centuries. I blame the Normans… No extant Gothic for the Matthew passage but Luke 10: 27 gives nieghbour as “newhundyan” ( 𐌽𐌴𐍈𐌿𐌽𐌳𐌾𐌰𐌽, nehwundjan in more modern transcriptions), again just the superlative of ‘near’.

    * edited by Joseph Bosworth, MDCCCLXV

  670. David Eddyshaw says

    what do you mean?

    Well, in the Greek Gospel text, the word used throughout for “neighbour” is etymologically and transparently “nearby-person”; but if the exchange took place in Aramaic (or Hebrew), the Lawyer may actually have been asking “Who exactly is this ‘companion/friend’ (who I’m supposed to be loving like myself)?” This actually seems to me to be to be a perfectly sensible question of Biblical exegesis; Luke’s parenthetical remarks about his motivation, on the other hand, seem to reflect the Greek text, in which the question looks much more like a mere bit of pettifoggery.

    But (ignoring questions about the historicity of the entire exchange) if the conversation actually took place at all, the Lawyer would surely not have been citing the Torah in Greek. He’d have quoted the Hebrew, or maybe an Aramaic targum.

  671. Mathtew 5:43-44 is also a nightmare for a literalist.

    First πλησίος here is contrasted to your enemy. It must mean the same thing when we are commanded to love him, our πλησίος? So the Austrian far right can celebrate a victory: we do not have to love понаехавших.

    But then he says we should love your enemies;-( (which too must be the same thing)…

  672. David Eddyshaw says

    The Kusaal version, again, uses tiraan:

    Nɔŋimi fʋ tiraan ka kisigi fʋ bi’em “Love your peer/companion and hate your enemy.”

    It seems reasonable to think that the original Aramaic would have used a “companion/friend” word rather than a “nearby-person” word, as the reference is again to Leviticus 19:18.
    (The Syriac just directly translates the Greek as qarri:b again; it’s not one of those tantalising cases you occasionally see where the Aramaic-speaking translators have second-guessed the Greek.)

    I wonder if I’ve missed a trick with the the Greek word πλησίος? Just because it means “nearby” etymologically, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it was actually constrained to the “nearby” meaning. We have scholars amongst us who will Actually Know …
    The various translators obviously did take that as its core meaning, though.

    The entire Sermon on the Mount is a problem for literalists, but not for any linguistic reason. It’s perfectly clear what it means; you just rather wish it wasn’t. (I agree with CS Lewis: it’s hard to imagine a more desperately deluded spiritual state than that of someone who thinks the Sermon on the Mount is comforting …)

  673. Lars Mathiesen says

    FWIW, I have never understood din næste as denoting any sort of in-group, despite the etymological equation to “nearest,” and I have never heard a Danish priest interpret it that way in a sermon. Rather it’s “anybody you meet or hear about,” and in this interconnected age that means “any human being.” When not substantivized, næste = “next”.

    I’m sure the other interpretation exists among Danes who think of themselves as good Christians, though.

    (Now dine nærmeste, which is a substantivized superlative [formed to nærmere < ON nærrmeirr which served as a comparative because the inherited comparative of nær was nærr and that was confusing] does mean close family (~ “next of kin”). Danish does have a newly formed regular comparative of nær:nærere, næreste, but the m-forms can be used in all contexts in all but the most stilted registers. Also nærmer and fjermer are used by coachmen [cf Kocs] about left and right horses, wheels, a.s.o., because kusken [cf Kocs] traditionally walks or sits on the left side).

    (EDIT: The ON stuff above only makes sense if you ignore and assume they had already substituted nær for the positive, which is the situation in Danish. My sources are not in agreement on this).

  674. Yes, I wonder too. But then the Hebrew word does not seem to mean “neighbour” either.

    Wycliffe Thou shalt loue thi neiȝbore as thi self

    Aha, so “neighbour” predates King James. My only idea then is that in possibly OE it could mean “adjacent”.

    Welsh and Irish can be calques from English (the transition nigh > neightbour is more likely in English) but: this exact commandment is famous and proverbial. It must have been in use since the early medieval times in Cletics, and likely is mentioned in extant manuscripts…

  675. qarri:b )
    “love qariib, hate ghariib!” must be a great idea of anti-refugee banner…

  676. (“Not to be confused with ‘commode’”, indeed!)

    cognate with Old Breton compot (“division of land”) and Modern Breton kombod “)

  677. The semantic range of רֵעַ rēa‘, the term used in Leviticus 19:18, is all over the place, from ‘friend’, to ‘another person’ to ‘one of the same people’. From the context in Leviticus, “Do not avenge and do not bear a grudge towards ones of your people”, it seems to me pretty straightforward that gentiles don’t count. So much so, that later exegetes had to specifically say that yes, you really should be nice to everyone, not just other Jews.
    (Not that anyone ever took this seriously, within or without the in-group.)

  678. David Eddyshaw says

    I’ve always taken the “love your neighbour” injunctions as Jesus simply picking up something that was already there for the taking in Leviticus 19:18 and running with it, but looking more carefully at the context of the parable of the Good Samaritan, it looks a lot more like the same thing as he’s doing in the Sermon on the Mount: he’s once again going “Hah! you thought you were observing the Law, did you? Not so fast!”, and not merely heading off a wilful misunderstanding on the part of the hapless Lawyer, which is the way the frame story usually seems to get interpreted (including by Luke himself, apparently.)

    Somewhere along the line, this may have got further enabled by what looks awfully like a mistranslation on the part of the LXX crew of the original Hebrew of Leviticus; a mistranslation then duly propagated into many translations via the Greek. It’s rather like the עַלמָה who gets turned into a παρθένος …

    (For my DD thesis, I will be taking the topic “Mistranslation as Prophecy.”)

  679. I think that Y and DE are onto something. Remember, that in Luke the Leviticus quote is in the intro to the parable of the good Samaritan. Which means that it can be viewed as pretty much the discussion on the scope of the first half of Lev 19:18.

    Now, historically, Greek speaking Luke writing more than half century after the fact a story to which he wasn’t even an eyewitness pretty much rules out that it is intentional, but the death of the author and all that…

  680. @Y, David Eddyshaw, D.O.: Putting the question in the mouth of a lawyer also suggests that the parables is intended as an exegesis of the passage from Leviticus.

  681. Well, here the text is clear:

    25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

    30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

  682. David Eddyshaw says

    @Brett:

    Good point.

  683. “The good news is that there is a Greek school in Crimea…”

    In this case it is a school where Greek is taught (Greek-as-mother-tongue). Also German and Bulgarian.

  684. I wonder if I’ve missed a trick with the the Greek word πλησίος? Just because it means “nearby” etymologically, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it was actually constrained to the “nearby” meaning. We have scholars amongst us who will Actually Know …
    The various translators obviously did take that as its core meaning, though.

    I don’t know if that answers your question, but the meanings indicated in Liddle-Scott all revolve around "near" and "neighbour".

  685. I do not understand if in Greek it is just a substantive of “near” (which would be translated to English as a “neighbour”) or actually a neighbour.

    [substantive of near] – [dwelling near] – [a member of a social institution]

    Russian sosed is 2 strongly affected by 3: my neighbour comes once in a few month to tell that she does not have the keys and can’t open her door, and I would give her an extra set. It can be used in the sense “adjacent”, e.g. I can speak about “neighbours” of a vertex in a graph (these still “dwell” near this vertex and this sence could be borrowed).

  686. Subst., neighbour, “ἰδὼν ἐς π. ἄλλον” Il.2.271, etc.; “οἱ π.” Hdt. 7.152, Ar.Lys.471, etc.

    Il.2.271 But the Achaeans, sore vexed at heart though they were, broke into a merry laugh at him, and thus would one speak with a glance at his neighbour
    Hdt. 7.152 This, however, I know full well, namely if all men should carry their own private troubles to market for barter with their neighbors, there would not be a single one who, when he had looked into the troubles of other men, would not be glad to carry home again what he had brought.
    Ar.Lys.471 ἀλλ᾽ ὦ μέλ᾽ οὐ χρὴ προσφέρειν τοῖς πλησίοισιν εἰκῇ
    τὴν χεῖρ᾽: ἐὰν δὲ τοῦτο δρᾷς, κυλοιδιᾶν ἀνάγκη.

  687. Эта история очень мила моему сердцу. Я так давно и так часто рассказываю ее, что многие привыкли считать меня ее автором. Между тем я лишь прилежный пересказчик принадлежащих истории фактов, летописец, что ли.

    …Начало моей истории относится к памятной дате 5 марта 1953 года. Уже пару дней радио торжественным голосом диктора Левитана передавало о “постигшем нашу партию и народ несчастьи: тяжелой болезни нашего Великого Вождя и Учителя Иосифа Виссарионовича Сталина (наверняка перечислялись еще какие-то титулы и должности, но я их не запомнил).

    https://web.archive.org/web/20090422174253/http://serafim.msk.ru/index.php?lan=0&module=98

  688. David Eddyshaw says

    @Hans:

    Thanks. Unfortunately, the English gloss “neighbour” is itself ambiguous between the “comrade/peer” sense and the “nearby person” sense, so one would need to look at the actual contexts, really.

    It’s a pretty natural metaphor to extend “spatially close” to “socially close” (even though that hasn’t happened in Kusaal, among other languages); what I was wondering was if this had happened in Greek (and if so, whether the extension antedates the New Testament.) If it had happened, the LXX translators didn’t make a an actual mistake in translating Leviticus 19:18: it would just be confusing for future exegetes that the Greek word they picked had a significantly broader semantic range than the original Hebrew (the opposite of the עַלמָה/παρθένος thing, where they picked a Greek word with a significantly narrower semantic range …)

    The fact that the Peshitta consistently translates the Greek word by a form which surely does just mean “spatially close” *, and which they didn’t use for the Leviticus verse, seems to suggest otherwise, though. However, I may well be overinterpreting this; ancient translators did not share our modern criteria for accuracy.

    * Also “close” of family relationships, I see from my dictionary; but that, though also a metaphor, is not the same as the “socially close” metaphor (of course.)

  689. David Eddyshaw says

    As an illustration that the Peshitta translators had other criteria for accuracy than our own, I’ve just noticed that the עַלמָה “young woman” in Isaiah 7:14 actually is a בתולתא “virgin” in the Syriac.

    The usual story seems to be that the Peshitta Old Testament was translated directly from the Hebrew, but it can’t be that simple. French WP is distinctly more forthcoming on this than the English:

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshitta#Influence_de_la_Septante

    But is qarri:b just spatially close?

    Judging by Payne Smith’s dictionary, yes (although also used for “close” as in “close relative.”)
    Etymologically, of course, it means “spatially close”, but then my entire point is that that doesn’t necessarily settle the matter …

  690. J.W. Brewer says

    The “spatially close” sense of neighbor in English means “habitually spatially close” – other people who live on the same block (or larger geographical “neighborhood”) as you as contrasted with other people who happen to be at the moment merely riding in the same subway car or seated in the same movie theater as you. So what happens when people leave their own neighborhoods to go wandering around the vaster and more complex and cosmopolitan world? The man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho was almost certainly not in his (unspecified) home neighborhood when he fell among thieves, nor is it a plausible inference that the inn where the good Samaritan took him (and paid the innkeeper in advance to give him continuing care) was in that neighborhood.

    That said, the story only makes sense if you assume the man who fell among thieves was socially closer to the priest and Levite than he was to the Samaritan, although that’s not inconsistent with his home neighborhood being one in which Samaritans did not reside but priests and Levites did. (I don’t have an immediate good sense of how residentially segregated the Samaritan community in the Holy Land was in those days.)

    I will say that the lawyer’s question is extremely evocative of the atmosphere of a first-year class for American law students, or at least that’s how it struck me quite powerfully one cold-but-sunny afternoon during early Lent of 1990 when I happened to be reading the passage while in my first year of law school.

  691. But the point is, as DE and Y probably figured out, is not about who is your “neighbor”, but who is your “fellow citizen”.

  692. David Eddyshaw says

    Disappearing down the rabbit-hole of the girl in Isaiah 7:14, I’ve just come across a suggestion that was entirely new to me, viz that the Classical Greek word παρθένος itself did not (yet) necessary imply virginity, but meant simply “young unmarried/marriageable woman.” This would mean that the LXX translators didn’t make a mistake; rather, the change of the meaning of the Greek word over the succeeding centuries gave the LXX version of Isaiah 7:14 the meaning that Matthew ascribes to it in Matthew 1:23 …

    I might have to change the topic of my DD thesis from “Mistranslation as Prophecy” to “Semantic Drift as Prophecy” …

    I was trying to think of reasons to jettison this idea based on my dim recollections of παρθένοι in Classical Greek literature: the more difficult when you’re dealing with a culture in which a “young unmarried/marriageable woman” is assumed to be a virgin …

    I think I’ve mentioned before the Kusaal word pu’asadir, which means “young woman who has not yet given birth”, this – not unreasonably – being felt in Kusaasi culture to be of somewhat greater significance than having sex … (Kusaal has “no word for ‘virgin'” …)

    It reminded me also of Christopher Logue’s excellent War Music, in which Athene’s standing Homeric epithet is consistently translated “teenage” …

  693. DE, “The Syriac Peshitta… has חבר “companion, friend” in Leviticus 19:18 too.
    Y, “The semantic range of רֵעַ rēa‘, the term used in Leviticus 19:18

    I wonder if there are any cognates for רֵעַ rēa‘ in Aramaic. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament: Volume XIII, https://books.google.com/books?id=RAwg47G0M2IC&pg=PA523:
    …Nöldeke has noted, however, there is no other evidence for an Aramaic word corresponding to rēa‘ …”

  694. I played with double plurals targumims or targumsim in my head – we do that in Russian, English “bucks” is pluralized in Russian as baksy, and hobbitses are hobbitsy – and realized that I can form targumimsy, my precious.

  695. David Eddyshaw says

    Historically, Hausa (“you can never have too many different ways of forming the plural”) has gone a bundle on double plurals, not only in repluralising perfectly innocent existing plurals, but also because in quite a few cases the original plural has got demoted to singular, which now needs a new plural; thus gida “house” was originally the plural of giji, and it’s now got the plural gidaje “houseses” (preciousss …)

    The original singular stilll ekes out a pitiful existence as an adverb: Za ni giji “I’m going home.”

  696. In America they are called McMansions.

  697. The Septuagint of Genesis 34:3 has a use of παρθένος for a young woman (Dinah) who ceased to be a virgin in the previous verse (though she was not given any choice in the matter); the Hebrew there is נַּעֲרָ na’ara (spelt without the final he for some reason), more like “girl” – KJV goes for ‘damsel’. Meanwhile Isaiah’s עַלְמָה alma is a rare enough word that it’s difficult to be too sure what it implied to every Biblical author.

  698. David Eddyshaw says

    Good find.

    Proverbs 30:19 springs to mind as an instance of a עַלְמָה who is presumably not virginal.
    (She is a pu’asadir in the Kusaal version.)

  699. Едет хиппи в автобусе, рядом бабушка.
    Бабушка: “Девушка, ну как вам не стыдно, [generic babushka-grumbling about the mores of of the youth… possibly she’s asking the hippy to give her a seat]” “Я не девушка” “Нашла чем гордиться, дура!”

  700. Quite recently it was not seen as appropriate in Russia to assume that “virgin” and “unmarried” are semantically different. As for “young”, it also gets close to both (but it is approprite to assume that a woman is still young).
    As result Russian words for this drift from one shade of meaning to another quite freely.

    But that was very… recently ago. Nowadays, “virgin” is devstvennitsa (and mostly appears in vicinity of unicorns) while devushka and devítsa are just young lady. Deva and dévitsa is poetic (high epic and folk epic), devka is dated unmarried village girl, as is usual with words for village women, somewhat peyorative/dismissive.
    Devochka, devchonka, etc are “a girl” and devochka too and devchushka….

    So yes, it occured to me that the word could have driftd.

  701. “Нашла чем гордиться, дура!”

    Gave me a laugh.

  702. David Eddyshaw says

    Proverbs 30:19

    LXX seems to have had a different Vorlage; it goes … ὁδοὺς ἀνδρὸς ἐν νεότητι.
    The Disney version, perhaps …

  703. devka is dated unmarried village girl … somewhat peyorative/dismissive

    Indeed, some people feel uncomfortable singing Выйду на улицу.

  704. When i first heard it (I was 10 maybe), the guy sang devchónki gulyayut. Only later I learned that it is dévki and giggled.

    Muzhik came to mean “reliable, strong, robust” (even if smelly and with uncombed hair), the ideal of a man. Мужчина должен быть могуч, вонюч и волосат (body hair).
    But words for peasant women baba and devka are pejorative (sorry, it is not peyotl..).
    Sometimes baba is used similarly to muzhik by women. “Am I a baba or not after all? I need a man”.

  705. Genteel word for an unmarried (like in never married) woman is барышня, but it’s almost never used as a generic unmarked word. Баба is definitely more neutral than девка. В сорок пять баба ягодка опять is not raising any eyebrows.

  706. Is барышня still in use? Somehow I thought it was thoroughly obsolete.

  707. No, it’s a normal word, but is a bit off-center, not sure how exactly pin it down. In my undergrade school it was a normal word for a female student. We called ourselves мужики и барышни.

  708. @LH, as an address in Soviet Russian (and maybe now) sometimes instead of devushka in contexts like «Девушка, милая, как вас звать?» — «Тома. Семьдесят вторая». Also ironically. It is boring to call men “men”, women “women”, tables “tables” all the time, people need synonyms that have their smell and sound. For the same reason you have “dude” etc.

  709. “We called ourselves мужики и барышни.”
    A good company…

  710. Also ironically. It is boring to call men “men”, women “women”, tables “tables” all the time, people need synonyms that have their smell and sound. For the same reason you have “dude” etc.

    Sure. I just didn’t realize барышня had been revived that way. Отсталый я человек!

  711. I know, the phenomenon is hardly new for you, but I do not know a good name for it, while “ironically” could imply more irony than what I mean here. The distance from “neutral” is hardly greater than for “dude”.

  712. A reference by description rather than an explanation:)
    “revived” – I suspect if has always been around, moving up and down in waves. And yes, it brings about an image of someone in a 19th century dress (so I think D.O.’s female classmates are underlyingly young ladies – a beast less common (at the surface level) in gender-equal worker-peasant USSR. It is somewhat more gentle word, and genteel indeed)
    The usual newspaper-Russian word is devushka of course.

  713. J.W. Brewer says

    While I would look forward to reading either of Dr. Eddyshaw’s proposed theses, in the U.S. the D.D. is universally an honorary degree (with thus no thesis submitted). I had thought the same was true in the U.K. but perhaps I am mistaken or perhaps Dr. Eddyshaw is being jocular.

  714. David Eddyshaw says

    Well, when I say thesis, I was really referring to my series of groundbreaking published studies what I have now got assembled ready for vetting, like. Sort of Lifetime Achievement Award, it’ll be.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Divinity

  715. Disappearing down the rabbit-hole of the girl in Isaiah 7:14, I’ve just come across a suggestion that was entirely new to me, viz that the Classical Greek word παρθένος itself did not (yet) necessary imply virginity, but meant simply “young unmarried/marriageable woman.”

    I thought this is well-travelled ground(?) Already in the 1970’s my school Classics master said the Greek word means no more than ‘young girl’.

    Matthew — indeed the whole Virgin birth propaganda — is merely mythologising to tie up tendentious readings of the Scriptures with Roman myth-making. As per that link, Romulus/Remus, Alexander the Great, even Caesar Augustus/Octavian are claimed to be Virgin births. So lining up Jesus to be celestial ruler of the Romans.

    Zeus went about impregnating all sorts/shower of gold/etc. Sarah miraculously conceiving a son at a preposterous age. Call me Ishmael.

    For publicising this critical exegesis of the scriptures, by the way, we chiefly thank atheists, especially Christopher Hitchens. So-called bible scholars knew all this, but kept it a dark secret for fear of scaring off the masses. After all, the rest of the scriptures are so plausible.

    @DE, perhaps you need to read more footnotes.

  716. Stu Clayton says

    Meanwhile, in the Land of Opportunism:

    Billy Graham, who received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from The King’s College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was regularly addressed as “Dr. Graham”, though his highest earned degree was a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Wheaton College.[8][9]

  717. J.W. Brewer says

    I am puzzled by AntC’s phrase “Already in the 1970’s.” Surely there is no theory and/or proposed lifestyle so radical, transgressive, and/or debauched that it was not publicly aired in the 1970’s. Biorhythms, pyramid power, ley lines, cultish adulation of the Manson family, modern Biblical scholarship, pet rocks, disco … it was all out there and in your face back then.

  718. J.W. Brewer says

    @Stu: there is or at least was in polite American society a well-recognized clergyman exception to the “people with merely honorary doctorates don’t get addressed as Dr. SURNAME” norm. Worlds away from Billy Graham, class-snobbery-wise, there were plenty of posh Episcopalians/Presbyterians who got referred to as the Rev’d Dr. So-and-So w/o having defended a dissertation or learned how to set a broken leg.

  719. David Eddyshaw says

    For publicising this critical exegesis of the scriptures, by the way, we chiefly thank atheists

    What, Rudy Bultmann did all his work in secret? I Did Not Know That.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demythologization

    That retiring fellow Schweitzer published his stuff in samizdat, sure …

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quest_of_the_Historical_Jesus

    That’s why I’ve never heard of him.
    Footnotes, eh?

  720. Stu Clayton says

    Actually Wheaton College looks like good clean fun. A maturant for our times.

  721. J.W. Brewer says

    @David E.: Clearly better as a tactical matter to let Team Atheist get all the credit for Bultmann and Schweitzer, innit? Their self-understanding may have been otherwise, but it is well-established that many people are Unreliable Narrators of their own lives, innit?

  722. David Eddyshaw says

    @JWB:

    Why should the devil have all the best demythologisers?

    Incidentally, I wish I had a BA in Anthropology. I wonder if I’ve left it too late …

  723. Wheaton was a really progressive place by the standards of the mid-nineteenth century. Today, it is startlingly retrograde.

    I also know one joke about Wheaton College. It actually seems at odds with the starkly conservative Christian reputation of the college today, but I heard it from somebody who grew up in Chicagoland in the mid-twentieth century, so it presumably represents some really existing stereotype about the place from that time:

    Q: How do you know that Santa Claus went to Wheaton?
    A: He has a beard, he always wears fur, and he only works one day a year.

  724. J.W. Brewer says

    FWIW the U.S. has two different institutions of higher learning with confusingly similar names, which wikipedia disambiguates as “Wheaton College (Illinois)” [the reputedly evangelical-subculture-aligned one] and “Wheaton College (Massachusetts)” [yeah, which not so much]. One of my mother’s good friends from college, now deceased, ended up serving as president of the latter, so I assume she spent more of her time than she would have preferred in dealing with people under the misimpression that she was president of the former.

  725. @J.W. Brewer: Yeah, I knew that, actually, and I should have mentioned it. I’m pretty sure that the person I heard the joke from was thinking of the Wheaton in Illinois, however—although maybe he had the wrong end of the stick himself. The Wheaton in Massachusetts is probably a better fit for the joke, but not phenomenally better. Apparently the King of Bhutan went to the Massachusetts Wheaton; make of that what you will.

  726. Surely there is no theory and/or proposed lifestyle so radical, transgressive, and/or debauched that it was not publicly aired in the 1970’s.

    @JWB you missed the attribution: ” my school Classics master”. He was at least the age of Abraham when Sarah miraculously conceived. (Him being the last teacher of Latin and Greek, he called himself ‘the ancient monument’.) There was nothing whatsoever cultish about him. This intelligence was whispered to us in Greek Lit. lest the headmaster overhear. (He a lay preacher.) Who would think that in a Grammar School, actual language could be so subversive?

    @DE you said a suggestion that was entirely new to me. If that was irony, I missed the footnote telling me.

    As for Bultmann and Schweizer: at said Grammar school I suffered 4 years of Religious so-called ‘Education’. Not a word about those geezers. 4 years of feckin gobshitery.

    Don’t say “discloses the truth of the kerygma as kerygma for those who do not think mythologically.” Do say “end-to-end total bollocks” [Hitchens — specifically of the Nativity myths].

  727. The king of Bhutan is, from what I’ve seen of his actions, one of those unobtrusive authoritarians that don’t go on the radar of most people because he does not have the resources to invade a neighboring country, but is none the less extremely creepy.

  728. David Eddyshaw says

    you said a suggestion that was entirely new to me. If that was irony, I missed the footnote telling me

    It was not irony; I was well aware that the Hebrew text does not say “virgin”, but I did not, in fact, know that the Greek word need not imply virginity either: hence my earlier comments about “mistranslation.” It seems I was mistaken, though I would in fact be interested to hear from an actual classicist on the point (we have some amongst us.) Nor is the matter quite as simple as all that, even so: even if the word παρθένος need not entail virginity, the choice of that word over enough in a particular (textual or cultural) context might strongly imply it. This is linguistics, not theology. I don’t know the answer. I welcome actual information on the subject.

    Please note that I have not been discussing the doctrine of the Virgin Birth at all, and have no intention of doing so; nor have I at any point vouchsafed to you my own beliefs on the matter.

    Your “Religious Education” lessons seem indeed to have lacked much substance. Pity. It is good if atheists have some grasp of the basics of what it is they don’t believe in, exactly.

    “end-to-end total bollocks”

    This is in accordance with the tenets of Orthodox Dawkinsism, of which the Prime Radiant is “Christians only disagree with me because they’re fucking stupid.”

    So-called bible scholars knew all this, but kept it a dark secret for fear of scaring off the masses

    This is just a fantasy. Bultmann was simply the first name that came to mind. There is a whole tradition of such scholarship, among Christians, long since dominant not only in academic theology departments but among the actual clergy of many mainstream denominations, and it has issued in some very high-profile popular works aimed squarely at Christian non-academics. Actual atheists generally feel that there is little actual point in close study of the Bible, and who can blame them?

    Describing the Bultmanns and the Schweitzers as non-Christian (apart from being essentially a Fundamentalist stance) is simply the One True Scotsman fallacy. To call them “so-called” scholars is mere Dawkinsism.