Best Link of the Weekend

Putin’s regime functions not by mobilizing society with the help of a single grand vision, as fascist Germany and Italy did, but by demobilizing individuals, assuring them that there are no certainties and no institutions that can be trusted.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/ukraine/ukraine-war-democracy-nihilism-timothy-snyder

Exactly. No certainty, no social trust, no institutions that have been time-tested and can be relied upon to work. Remind you of anything?

The current Russian regime is one consequence of the mistaken belief that democracy happens naturally and that all opinions are equally valid.

Also true. The scariest thing about Russia is that there’s no reality any more. Everything is whatever somebody claims it is. Russia is what happens when the insane idea that “a woman is anybody who identifies as a woman” is taken to its logical conclusion. It is what happens when people refuse to accept any limits on their capacity to remake the world by renaming it.

There’s also good stuff in the linked article about how “the global South” is pathetically subservient to the Russians when the Russians are openly hoping they’ll starve. As I keep saying, you can only blame “colonialism” for so long. If you are still in deep shit 200 years after achieving independence, it’s not the empire’s fault. You might just be a deadbeat.

Snyder understands the region like almost nobody else. If only he concentrated on what he knows and avoided trying to analyze US politics, he’d be priceless. Well, nobody is perfect.

3 thoughts on “Best Link of the Weekend

  1. Thanks for the great link! My favorite part :

    “While Russia’s support of fascism, white nationalism, and chaos brings it a certain kind of supporter, its bottomless nihilism is what attracts citizens of democracies who are not sure where to find ethical landmarks—who have been taught, on the right, that democracy is a natural consequence of capitalism or, on the left, that all opinions are equally valid. The gift of Russian propagandists has been to take things apart, to peel away the layers of the onion until nothing is left but the tears of others and their own cynical laughter.

    The defense of Putin’s regime has been offered by people operating as literary critics, ever disassembling and dissembling. Ukrainian resistance, embodied by President Volodymyr Zelensky, has been more like literature: careful attention to art, no doubt, but for the purpose of articulating values. If all one has is literary criticism, one accepts that everything melts into air and concedes the values that make democratic politics possible. But when one has literature, one experiences a certain solidity, a sense that embodying values is more interesting and more courageous than dismissing or mocking them.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And note the vocabulary of fluidity versus what’s solid. Snyder is one of the world’s leading scholars of Ukraine. And he’s saying exactly what I’ve been saying this whole time. Ukraine = nation-state. Russia = fluid, postmodern chaos.

      Like

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