This is an extract from my Russia diary which will be published later this year.
16-2-20 Production Targets
My language school has required (you cannot say asked) me to take on a new class. The new class is scheduled to run back to back with an existing class. Both classes are 1.5 hours long. So, I will have to teach one class and then immediately move to the other class. How exactly I am expected to complete the paperwork and tidy up after the first class and then set up for the next class in no time at all is not explained. Continue reading “Production Targets. Do the Russians need to be be mentored?”
Liberals hate Russia, Russians and Putin. They hate Putin because he is a somewhat authoritarian figure who has been immensely successful in uniting and leading Russia. Under his rule the economy has strengthened and stabilized – strong enough to weather the storm of Western sanctions and a collapse in world oil prices and still show modest growth. The country continues to be modernised and infrastructure developed. Corruption at a senior level has been tackled. All this can be confirmed by reading the work of experts from e.g. the OECD. Don’t get your picture about Russia from delusional hate-mongers like Tisdall. Continue reading “Simon Tisdall spews garbage about Russia in the Guardian”
A Downing Street spokesman said May had “told the president that there cannot be a normalisation of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilising activity that threatens the UK and its allies – including hostile interventions in other countries, disinformation and cyber-attacks – which undermine Russia’s standing in the world”. 
Continue reading “May to Putin – dreams”
If you have bile and hatred inside you you have to hate someone. Liberals can’t hate blacks or gays so they hate Russians.
This is ‘journalist’ Shaun Walker writing in the Guardian about the developments in the ‘case’ of the downing of the Malaysian airliner over Eastern Ukraine in 2014. Continue reading “Bile in the Guardian”
The news that drugs charges against Russian journalist Golunov have been dropped is welcome. Continue reading “How to turn good news into propaganda (Guardian style)”
Finding credible books on Russia and Russian history is not easy.
By far the most credible this author has read is Paul Dukes A History of Russia.  Most of the others I’ve tried are simply works of propaganda – full of bile and hatred for the (unknown) other and an insult to any idea of scholarship.
I don’t know if the above applies to this one, “Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy” by Anders Asund (I haven’t read it) but there is a clue in the publisher’s preview on Amazon: Continue reading “Anti-Russia books”
Anyone who watches how the Western media and political class construct their ‘truths’ will have noticed the rough elements of the pattern. Something can be suggested in one quarter, for example in the US State Department, and then some ‘evidence’ is adduced – circumstantial, based on probability and relying on the most curious of sources (for example ex MI5 officers freelancing for a bit of extra money) but evidence nonetheless. At this stage people talk about “high probability”. But, wait a few weeks and what was previously a question of probability is now assumed fact. And the truth has also been cleansed of its dubious sources. It is simply cited as as obviously true as the earth is round and therefore there is no longer any need to reference it. And, it seems that 90% of them believe it themselves.
It turns out that this is an age old practice. Russian (Ukrainian) writer Nikolay Gogol had seen it all in the 19th century:
That both ladies were finally and unshakably convinced of that which they previously had been supposing as mere supposition is nothing unusual. Our fraternity, we intelligent people, as we call ourselves, behave in almost the same way, and our learned discourses serve as proof of that. At first, the scholar approaches them like an uncommon kind of blackguard. He begins timidly, moderately, he begins with the humblest kind of inquiry: ‘Is that not the origin? Was it not from that particular little corner that such-and-such a country received its name?’ or, ‘Does this document not belong to another, later time?’ or, ‘When we say this particular people, do we really not mean this other people?’ He immediately cites this and that ancient writer, and as soon as he detects a hint or something that strikes him as a hint, then he hits his full stride, plucks up his courage, feels perfectly at ease in conversing with the ancient writers, puts questions to them and even answers them himself, completely forgetting that he has started out with a modest supposition. It now seems to him that he sees what’s what, that it is clear, and his discourse concludes with the words: ‘And so, this is how it was, this is how a certain people should be understood, this is the viewpoint from which we should look at the topic!’ Then, from the lecture platform, he declaims it for all to hear, and a newly discovered truth embarks on its journey through the world, gathering to itself followers and admirers. 
- Gogol, Nikolay. Dead Souls (Penguin Classics) (pp. 212-213). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.