Looking for Strategists

And they are absolutely right to be worried. This is precisely what I wrote about this morning. A huge narcissistic injury is being dealt to Russia. There are millions of young people in Russia who are being taught right now that they are victims who are unfairly and inexplicably mistreated by the world when they are trying to give the world a wonderful gift. We can wring our hands over it or figure out a strategy to do something about it.

Obviously, nobody can piblicize the strategy but I very much hope there are still statesmen who are thinking in that direction. The strategy adopted after the USSR fell apart was moronic. “Free markets will magically result in democracy.” You’ve got to be every shade of dumb. Hopefully, something has registered and we won’t see a repetition of the same approach.


16 thoughts on “Looking for Strategists

  1. “when they are trying to give the world a wonderful gift”

    I read Russian blogs and even I am confused here. Which gift? The end of Western global dominance?
    I do not think Russians today believe en masse they’re trying to give any gifts to Ukrainian people.

    FSU tried to give the gift of communism to mankind, but today’s Russia has no ideology except ‘the West is bad’ and ‘we want our sphere of influence’, which is not an ideology, of course.

    Most young Russian people are surely not this dumb.

    // Obviously, nobody can piblicize the strategy

    Why not? Won’t people figure it out or, most likely, ‘figure out’ their own version of it which will present the other side in the worst fashion? Russian bloggers, even the most intellectual of them, are already embracing conspiracy theories, often including Jews and/or Schwab’s ‘new normalcy.’ It is “слышал звон, да не знает , где он”.

    Frightened, confused people in Russia would benefit if the West talked clearly and honestly, not attempting to hide some stupid super secret strategy. Frankly, I do not believe the West can create some secret strategy and then put it into practice, while keeping it secret. They are not that efficient and smart. Look at the treatment of covid emergency.

    Lets not consider the other side stupid and easily manipulated in ways desired by the West.
    Sometimes being honest and 100% direct is the best.

    Do you have any strategy in mind?


    1. They are fighting Nazism, remember? What can be more beautiful than that?

      As for the COVID response, it was stunningly effective, concerted, and successful. The capital transfer of gigantic proportions was effectuated, and barely anybody noticed.

      The strategy I’m hoping to see is what I said. The Russian Federation broken up into several republics, each provided with a national identity. Everybody in Russia despises Moscow and its inhabitants. It will not be hard to give them a sense of regional pride. All you need is a willingness to acknowledge that the strategy in place since 1991 has failed spectacularly.


  2. Young Russians are actually most normal :

    ВЦИОМ провел опрос об отношении россиян к потенциальным патриотическим нововведениям в российских школах.

    67% опрошенных согласились с тем, что школа должна воспитывать патриотизм. Но среди недавних школьников (18-24 года) такой ответ дали только 46%, среди россиян от 25 до 34 лет – 54%. Для сравнения среди россиян старше 60 лет – 75%, 45-59 лет – 73%, 35-44 года – 69%.

    К проведению урока, посвященного событиям специальной военной операции России на Украине, положительно относятся 51% граждан, 37% – отрицательно, 5% безразлично. Здесь есть некоторое отличие от предыдущих вопросов. Молодые когорты отвергают эту идею полностью: 18-24 года – соотношение 31 к 56%, 25-34 года – 28 к 60%. Среди 35-44-летних уже больше сторонников, но разрыв относительно невелик – 50 к 42%. Среди более старших когорт подавляющее большинство за такой урок. 59 к 32% (45-59 лет) и 68 к 19% (от 60 лет).



  3. Have you known that ‘volunteers’ are actually worst criminals Russian authorities are searching all over Russia and Chechnya? Would explain in part why Russian army or ‘army’ looks like it does:

    Telegram-канал «Можем объяснить» полагает, что дело в другом. Оказалось, что под видом добровольцев из Чечни в Украину посылается уголовный сброд, собранный из разных регионов России и Кавказа.


    Ukraine would truly make Russia a gift if they killed all this criminal trash.


  4. The idea of breaking Russia into tiny pieces is … offsetting and sad even for me, let alone for Russians who must be both utterly enraged and horrified.

    Here is a post re Germans
    after WW2 and their attitude towards nazism:


    Anyone who reads it may not say today’s Russians are worse than Germans in the 40ies and the 50ies.

    Germany was divided, yet then united again.


    1. OK, I didn’t say tiny pieces. I said several republics. And by the way, there have been movements in Siberia, for instance, towards possible independence. Russians detest Moscow and St Petersburg. It’s a huge animating passion. And it’s not unreasonable. They are exploited, despised, and now sent off to die by Moscovites.

      My husband is from Greater Moscow area. Krasnogorsk. Since the day I met him, I noticed that he gets visibly annoyed when anybody says he’s from Moscow. Even though he’s from just a few miles away and went to college in Moscow. It’s very, very important for him that people know he’s not from Moscow. In contrast, I correct people when they assume I’m from Kyiv but it’s not an emotional point for me.


    2. OK, I read the link. Great link, thank you. And that’s exactly what I’m saying. Russians will not see the light suddenly and on their own. This will take a couple of generations, at least. Especially since their madness isn’t situational or recent. The “mysterious Russian soul” narrative is as old as Russia itself. There’s literally nothing else beyond that. It will take a while to create and inculcate something new.


  5. // They are fighting Nazism, remember? What can be more beautiful than that?

    Many Russian people do not believe that, especially among the young generation.

    The final sentences in the post re Germany give another recipe that I like better.

    Why not demand democratic reforms and demilitarization in order to take off sanctions?


    1. When I meet one, just one Russian person who doesn’t subscribe to the idea of being very special cookies with a very special mission who are unfairly mistreated by the world, I’ll happily report that momentous occasion. It hasn’t happened yet but I’ll keep looking.

      This sense of self – and not the lack of democracy or free markets – that’s causing all these problems. The only way out is for them to say, “things aren’t going great for us because we messed up. We need to do better. We have been mishandling things. Let’s see how we can improve.” There’s no democratic institution and no amount of wealth that can teach one to do this. Look at these young students I wrote about. Their narrative is, “there are unfair, mean stereotypes about us. We need to explain how these stereotypes are wrong.” There’s no acknowledgement that maybe stereotypes are based on something they are doing wrong. Contrast this with any speech by Arestovich, for example. It’s an endless, “we have this problem. We made a lot of mistakes. We have no culture of consequences for failure. We are doing XYZ wrong.” Even in the midst of being invaded, it’s all about how we must do better.

      The whole mentality needs to change in Russia. The whole culture. “Our great language, our great literature.” How exactly is it great? In terms of literary production, there’s precious little of it for such a huge country, and it’s all historically recent. In terms of language, what’s particularly great about it? I’ve never in my life heard an Anglo wax enthusiastic about how the English language is particularly great. It’s just not normal.


      1. “I’ve never in my life heard an Anglo wax enthusiastic about how the English language is particularly great”

        Not to non-native speakers or immigrants, they do with each other…. pretty frequently… I’ve met a few English teachers in Poland over the years (both British and American) who thought of themselves almost as missionaries whose duty was to help Polish people switch languages…. (more than one thought that Poland would go the Irish route within a few decades… and were quite immune to logic).


      2. Agreed. The little interaction I’ve had with Russians has given me an impression that they feel a sense of superiority, even when they are immigrants in another country.


        1. Enormous superiority. It’s like a reflex. That’s how we are brought up. If there were ever a culture in need of learning humility, it’s the Russian-speaking culture. And I don’t exclude myself from it.


  6. Clarissa, what do you make of the deal to trade Azovstal fighters for Russian POWs? I didn’t think this would be feasible a few weeks ago.


    1. Today the Russians have floated the possibility of a legal ban on any exchange. What they want is to conduct a public execution of the Ukrainian soldiers. But they are fearful. They are trying to gauge what is happening in the US senate. Whether the Russians will decide to ramp up or try to diffuse the situation nobody knows right now. They themselves don’t know.

      The Ukrainian fighters themselves said that they fulfilled their orders and ate ready for any development.


      1. Executing them would be yet another colossal mistake. If anything, this may be Russia’s way out. They got Mariupol, kicked out the “Nazis” special operation is over. But that would make too much sense, so I’m skeptical.


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