Just like you can dismiss the Russian ideologies of collectivism as a retroactive justification for authoritarian control, you could argue that the West's ideology of freedom is a retroactive justification for oligarchy of the affluent. Even going back to the colonial days "freedom" meant freedom for white protestant land-owning men so was it ever really about freedom?
I'm not sure either side of that argument is completely right or completely wrong.
This piece makes the key point against this view:
"Conspiracy has replaced ideology [in Russia], and for the most part that serves the Kremlin very nicely. You can argue back against an ideology through its own logic: Communist leaders could, at least in theory, be accused of failing to create the ideal society they promised. Conspiracy negates all criticism by accusing the critic of being a front."
Even if one notices the hypocrisy of Western history in view of liberal ideology, one is still supposing that the latter exists to guide the former. This is true even if a conspiracy towards oligarchy exists! The earnest and shared belief in a consistent vision of just society creates the political consciousness prerequisite for revolution or reform.
In contrast, to suppose that all actors' motivations are conspiratorial, all espoused values a sham for self-interest and power that cannot be acted upon, is to foreclose the possibility of reform - it is a false consciousness.
The kleptomaniac & self-contradictory 'Russian values' quoted here from Russia's new strategy paper expect such conspiratorial thinking from Russian citizens. The text's internal hypocrisy - and its hypocrisy in view of Russian history - do not matter. The response to such criticism is singular, and you have said it: "[all ideologies] are retroactive justification for [oppression]." None have any meaning or application.
Pomerantsev enlightens us by showing how this particular nonsense of 'Russian values' exists specifically to justify 'Information Sovereignty,' a euphemism for preventing Russians from hearing foreign ideas - an ancient tactic of oppression by enforced ignorance, dressed here in the finery of 'National Security.'
>a euphemism for preventing Russians from hearing foreign ideas
Is it all ideas or foreign ideas that suffer there?
I am good at free market economy. I naturally propagate free market economy's good things. How is that not advancing national interests? You may claim that one does not intentionally advancing national interests, but you cannot deny the objective national interests embedded in those ideas.
It's purely an issue of sovereignty. For NATO/Washington, it does not matter how a country is run as long as it is run with significant influence from Western interests.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that brutally limits freedoms and butchers dissidents, yet it gets to be in the "democracy" club, because it does not attempt to defend its sovereignty (i.e. it lets Washington build military bases and control private industry on Saudi soil).
Russia, Syria, et al. are democracies, yet are in the "authoritarian" club because they do attempt to defend their sovereignty.
And yet they all have a net brain drain to the US. Interesting to see people simply... voting with their feet!
And you can tell that they move not because US is free, it's because US has a better life. One evidence: H1B workers cannot vote for at least 5+ years.
I am one example.
And again, that's exactly why US don't want other to have a better economy, and only want them to have a free society. Apparently some people making policies in US understand how to sustain the leadership position. They are truly the patriot of US. And I deeply admire their dedication.
Also: Syria may have elections. That doesn't make it a democracy.
How is Syria any less a democracy than USA?
 - https://telegra.ph/OP-HMG-Trojan-Horse-Part-4-Undermining-Ru...
Putin does not disappear his opposition. That is an insane allegation. Are you referring to the Navalny circus?
I don't know if you're being facetious or naive, but Putin is a ruthless dictator whose regime is responsible for a galling number of blatant political assassinations. Not to mention Ukraine and nuke testing and state sanctioned hacking. Or the total corruption of democratic reform in Russia.
Litvinenko was one of the most high profile, with radioactive tea playing a novel role as a murder weapon.
Oh, and China is clearly just misunderstood, they're actually really good for the world! /s
It's curious how many people reliably show up to defend either Russia or China on this forum.
Civilization in modern times is a game of good faith. Both of these countries have unendingly demonstrated their total lack of good faith, without any regard or respect for their erstwhile partners in the west, their geographical neighbors, or even their own citizens. It baffles me that so many in silicon valley are so willing to abandon any pretense at ethics or moral values, of even the most basic humanistic variety, to simply earn a few bucks on the backs of sino slave labor.
But carry on, you were telling us all that the concentration camps and political assassinations and imperial aggressions and all that is just propaganda...
Please, at least get the source for MSM in US.
Taiwan media famously claimed that most Chinese mainlanders cannot afford pickled vegs . Taiwan media outlets are the laughing stock of democratic reporting, they are money- and attention-grabbing, and without much respect for anything.
I'd like to see a great enlightenment and progress toward a post scarcity, humanist, democratic, liberal, freedom loving future in which people can live their best lives, as free as possible of pointless suffering at the hands of assholes.
I mean, call me radical, but with reality now as one end of a spectrum, and the above utopic fantasy as the other, it should be obvious what humanity should be moving toward.
The history of all of the most free and liberal societies hold great suffering and sacrifice in their past. The bloodshed and revolution that purchased their freedoms might not be an option now that the tyrants have nukes, so that leaves intellectual revolution as the last feasible option for human progress.
It's the greed and cynicism of the wealthy and powerful that perpetuate the status quo. Ideologues and selfish exploiters create space for massive corruption. These regimes may be effectively unstoppable, since the west is so eager to capitulate at the first sign of profit. It may be the best and only thing we can do to simply talk about the crimes and abuses of those in power, and never let up.
To you, any allegation from a Washington-aligned media source is a) unquestioningly true and b) evidence of the respective government's bad behavior. You do this automatically, without considering the alternatives.
Do these media sources have an incentive to misrepresent their foreign subjects? For example, to maintain good relations with Western governments, or to score lucrative contracts. If so, why would they not act on that incentive?
Do Western intelligence services have an incentive to manufacture evidence against their opponents? Why would they not act on this incentive? Indeed, there are countless well-established historical examples of this behavior, from the USS Maine to the OPCW cover-up. Yet to modern Western chauvinists, that behavior is eternally in the past and could never explain present controversies.
The Africa situation, the spread of misinformation and obstruction with regards to covid, and the endless parade of human rights abuses in their manufacturing infrastructure are also front and center in the world's eyes.
By all means, though, continue with your narrative. Obviously China is just a force for good in the world, and is just misunderstood because of all that nasty CIA propaganda.
Obviously, only those evil Russians do this.
edit: doh! sarcasm! I forgot about Poe's law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law
There are lots of reasons why Russia becomes this since the collapse of USSR.
If, imagine, somehow the privatization worked out wonderfully, every Russian is as happy as as their counterparts in US, UK etc. (In fact, that would not be sufficient...) Do you still think Russia would do this?
If you think they still would do this, then it must be the free will of the country?
Now given what's happening, should this be treated as a natural reaction to the fact that learning from a foreign system is not working, and the nation are trying something else?
Remember, when you claim someone else is inventing certain ideology, that means there is a concept of ideology. The moment this concept is created, it naturally applies to the accuser, I.e., someone else inventing a different ideology than the accuser.
Then, it's obvious that the foreign ideology was regarded by the ruling group as not suitable.
Taken further: if some people can't get what they want because legitimate moral obstacles get in the way, then they rationalize their desires in an attempt to give them a patina of legitimacy. However, that desire already functions as a summum bonum. So there's the real religion behind the scenes and then there's the public facing ideological curtain that conceals it.
Pretty much the core point of the piece but I'm not sure this is true. China of course has a national ideology "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and countless of phrases but often you also hear the straightforward argument that informational sovereignty is necessary for security, economic development and territorial integrity.
An even stronger example is probably Singapore. A very tightly managed society, but completely depoliticized with almost no ideology to speak of, Gibson famously called it "Disneyland with the death penalty" in his piece that got Wired banned from the country.
Traditionalists and other factions I think try to capitalize on the security state and to co-opt or capture it but I don't think the state is necessarily in control or happy about these movements.
Where did you get the impression that Singapore is completely depoliticized?
Take a look at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Kuan_Yew and see the struggle of Lee family's rise to power. And the economy power controlled by the family https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Ching
Human together is politics. You cannot depoliticize unless everyone lives in complete isolation.
The push for data localization in Russia was a response to the domination of Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (the latter is blocked). The ideology here is state sovereignty; he who holds the data, has control. Pomerantsev is correct to say that Russia just doesn't want to play by foreign rules.
Data localization has the added effect of bolstering the IT industry as a whole in Russia and spurring data center construction, even in Siberia, where cooling isn't much of a concern. The legal effect is to maintain a database of Russian citizens' online activity on these western platforms in case the FSB wants to build a case against a dissident or suspected criminal.
Meanwhile you see since roughly 2008 a more ideologically hostile and "civilizational" discourse in Putin's speeches, those of his ultra-nationalist wing, and in some of their publications (look into Izborsky Club, and the writings of Alexander Prokhanov and Dugin). The Russian military doctrine and information security doctrines were later updated to prioritize shielding or protecting its populace from certain discourse and ideas (pro-LGBTQ, pro-democracy NGOs) and favoring a "patriotic" information sphere to uphold "spiritual and religious values".
So the ideological basis for this information security policy is to bolster the "Russian world/Russkiy Mir," an imagined community of individuals beyond Russia's borders, including former Soviet sphere citizens and ethnic Russians abroad.
And of course the utility in silencing the propagation of certain ideas and viewpoints is to minimize protests (the most destabilizing of which was likely Bolotnaya in 2011). So this ideology doesn't stop them from prohibiting or banning groups and discussion about Russia's biggest problem: corruption.
The concerning point for me as an American is that in the past two-ish years we've seen our social media companies turn more draconian with the censorship and cooperation with our intelligence agencies, especially since Jan 6th and what the Biden administration is calling "misinformation". The U.S. was the survivor of the Cold War for many reasons, but the most compelling of which was that America represented a far more moral, humanitarian, and tolerant society, especially compared to the unfree, amoral, and atheist superpower. I'm getting off topic here, but I think you can see what I'm getting at. Ideology matters, just as much as ideological consistency does.
> far more moral
In what sense? As a nation, US conducted equally atrocious things inside and outside of its country.
Capitalism exploitation on south American
> tolerant society
Aside tolerance, there isn't much superiority in USA from cold war.
KMT moved majority of the intellectuals and wealth into Taiwan, and left the mainland with rubbish.
If China and Russia chose a different route than what they did already, are there a plausible pathway for them to reach similar economic prosperity (let's put aside the political well being for a bit).
My so far limited conclusion is: NO.
There has no plausible path for Russia and China to achieve their economical growth without the brutality and sacrifices. The rapid industrialization requires centralized wealth. Those are not collected through the immoral and brutal colonization by the modern industrial nations. Those were not possible at the time when Russia and China start their industrialization. They unfortunately have to turn their brutality towards their own people.
There is also a persistent danger that this flow eventually leads to political nihilism where there is no meaning in trying to dissecting the historical facts, and everyone is as bad as everyone else. That effectively moves the discussion back to the starting point, i.e., one has to look for something else to settle the original discussion anyway.
Communism is a threat to humanity itself, not just capitalism.
US still maintains its own Gulag, with the world’s highest incarceration ratio, and also uses it as slave labor.
However, American imperialism simply doesn't hold a candle to Russian or Chinese communism. When it comes to genocide or other mass atrocities, communists are usually in a league of their own.
Also, you’re repeating over and over the “doesn’t hold a candle”, but you failed to quote any numbers.
For example, the French and Indian War involved well under 100 thousand combatants, maybe even just 50 thousand. At the same time, during the Seven Years' War in Europe over a million people were mobilized. In multiple battles Europeans took about as many casualties as the North American theatre had participants.
You still hadn’t quoted any numbers.
I cannot disagree with much of what is said here (even that I guess that strong family is just a short hand for anti-gay, so maybe I am missing other 'eufemismes'). But, to reduce corruption would be the first step. As 'prioritising the spiritual over the material' is not compatible with corruption. Life, freedom and dignity are not compatible either with executing journalists and opositors.
I can understand the will for information sovereignty. But it just seems an excuse to avoid international accountability.
Facebook is not cited in the article, I guess that USA corporations are not so bad if they are willing to share data with the Russian government.
"Independence, even in straitened and penurious forms, still offers more sexual freedom than affluence gained through marriage and dependence on one man".
"Marriage is disappearing as a cultural norm in America, with disastrous consequences for the social and economic stability that depend on it".
Pro-family is anti-LGBT only incidentally as a conceptual consequence. It is not as if pro-family was some invention confected just to stick it to the gays. According to natural law theory, the family (traditionally understood) is the basic unit of society, the rest of society and the human race functioning as the extended family ("natural" here means entailed by human nature; we can do all sorts of unnatural things, but they are harmful to us and do not help us in genuinely flourishing as human beings as conformity with nature does). The only reason something like "pro-family" has become a term is because the natural family has become the target of ideological attack.
If anything, the anti-LGBT actions are against the family: their only purpose is to make life harder for LGBT families.
It is interesting how in Slavic countries where corruption is on high rise government peddling same propaganda (my origin is Slavic country so I know)
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".
I am not saying that western countries are any better, just saying that they can be recognized by the narrative of those at the top, which is always very similar. While they hoard majority of wealth they will use propaganda of spiritual over the material, humanism, kindness, justice, and especially patriotism...
A Russian GFW would make Pomerantsev's job--spreading anti-Kremlin disinformation to benefit NATO's geopolitical goals in the region--very very difficult. He would have to work harder for fewer results. Like the Mongol raider, this is bad for his job security and quality of life.
More so every day. It's amusing that US pundits appear to have believed Clinton was dead wrong about this just a few years ago.
The analogy is apt, the Jell-O may seem initially to have been successfully fastened in place for now, and then you are distracted for a moment and it's slipped to the floor again.
These aspiring totalitarian systems are quite porous.
Societies with high amounts of internal distrust will not be able to compete in this century. They will fall apart. That is why the US is taking it so seriously and cracking down on disinformation (see Google this week). The GFW must have been visionary if Western governments are now playing catch-up.