Books Are Not Bombs

Sergey Golubok’s letter to the customs post at Pulkovo Airport in Petersburg, dated 14 November 2018. Courtesy of his Facebook page

If you order a Masha Gessen book and have it sent to Russia via DHL, you might be asked to write the letter civil rights lawyer Sergey Golubok was asked to write today, confirming that the Masha Gessen book in question contained no calls for “extremist” and “terrorist” actions, did not vindicate terrorism, and would cause no damage to the economic and political interests of the Eurasian Economic Union’s member states and their national security, or the health and morals of its citizens.

The letter was addressed to the Russian customs post at Pulkovo Airport in Petersburg.

I hope the book Mr. Golubok ordered was the one about Ms. Gessen’s remarkable grandmothers, my personal favorite. {TRR}

The Moscow Senators

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The world’s greatest nonexistent baseball team, the Moscow Senators, are back on the field and raising a ruckus.

A new study by a Federation Council commission reportedly warns that Western nations are planning to transform Russian youths “into an instrument for eroding national political systems, realizing color revolution scenarios, coup d’etats, and social destabilization.” The goal of this campaign, the report allegedly concludes, is to create a generation of Russian leaders who, in 10 or 15 years, will come to power and change the country’s constitutional order and domestic and foreign policies to benefit the West.

In one section of the Federation Council’s report, Russian senators [sic] say they will create a “Black Book of Illegal Foreign Interference” to catalogue intrusions into Russian sovereignty, where individuals’ names and personal data could appear. The black book should be ready by mid-2018.

Senators [sic] are also calling for a series of new laws against foreign political meddling, including a formalized definition of “foreign interference” and new legislation prohibiting foreign state programs in Russia without the Russian government’s permission.

Excerpted from Meduza’s Real Russia email newsletter for November 29, 2017. Image courtesy of Twitter user @sarah63712

Land of NOD

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“Stop American demonocracy! Don’t touch Russia, gentlemen! My country is a great power!” Demonstrators at September 19, 2015, NOD rally on the Field of Mars, Petersburg. Photo by and courtesy of Vadim F. Lurye

Petersburgers, Stop the “Social Bombardment” of the Population!

Coordinator: Tatyana Chuprova

Venue: 4:00 p.m., September 19, 2015, Field of Mars, St. Petersburg

Our President has made significant progress in the struggle to return the sovereignty lost by our country after the defeat of 1991.

The United States could not remain indifferent to a colony’s desire to gain independence. The decline in oil prices, the coup in Ukraine, and the sanctions are all episodes in the economic war declared by the West against our Motherland.

As a result of his commitment to a national course for the country’s development, the head of state’s rating has reached a historic high. Contrary to the expectations of enemies, the people love Vladimir Vladimirovich for his merits.

Therefore, the West has moved on to the next phase, “social bombardment.” The dismissal of police officers, layoffs of doctors, cancellation of welfare benefits, increases in utility rates, and so on are all aimed at undermining our leader’s rating.

The Central Bank is a vital link in the external governance of our country. Under the Constitution, the Central Bank is independent from Russian state authorities. And, according to international agreements, it is subject to the instructions of the IMF. As a consequence, loans in Russia are expensive, the President of Russia’s orders for de-offshoring the economy have been sabotaged, the exchange rate has collapsed, and, along with it, so, too, has the country’s economy.

Let us unite in the face of external threats! Stop “social bombardment”! Let’s express our support for the national leader Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin!

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“Rally, September 19. Stop the social bombardment of the population!” Image courtesy of rusnod.ru

 

Source: Russian National Liberation Movement (NOD) website. Translated by The Russian Reader. See my previous posts about NOD.

Learning Is Fundamentalist

Greg Yudin
June 24, 2015
Facebook

Imagine you are the president of a big country, and you don’t like the fact that foreign foundations are funding your children and acquiring too much influence over them. Can such things happen? Of course they can. What do you do in this case? That’s right, you immediately offer talented young people different options for self-realization and launch funding programs in different areas. And then, all other things being equal, your children will gladly choose domestic funding. After all, they love their country and have dealings with foreign foundations only for lack of something better. What choices do they have?

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Now imagine you are spiteful little paranoiac who believes that people can only be bought and intimidated; otherwise, they won’t do anything. If you allow your children to get support from foreign foundations, they will immediately sell you out. For there is no reason to love you. And everything that is happening is meant to spite you and turn everyone against you. So then the first thing you will do is not think about the children but combat your enemies. You’ll say that children who are supported by foreign foundations have fallen into the enemy’s clutches. And you’ll spend money on propaganda so that everyone finds out about this and those children get scared.

Because in Russia there are pitifully few opportunities to break through and get your ideas heard. To do this you usually have to be born in Moscow and have good contacts. How many times have I heard from mayors, administrators, and all sorts of people outside of Moscow that the main problem is there is no way to engage young people, that young people do not know what to take up in life. In fact, young people who have had the courage, patience, and talent to secure support from any foundation are the nation’s gold. They are capable of creating something while overcoming difficulties. And now they are being told they are potential traitors. Because they have a dream and are prepared to go for it.

__________

Putin Accuses Foreign Organizations of Looting Russia’s Brightest Youth
June 24, 2015
The Moscow Times

President Vladimir Putin has accused foreign-backed organizations of pillaging through Russian schools in search of their most talented pupils and then spiriting them away via educational programs abroad, state news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

Speaking at a meeting of the Council for Science and Education, Putin said it was necessary to pay attention to the work of nongovernmental organizations in schools because they threatened to suck Russia dry of its future talent.

“A network of [foreign] organizations has ‘rummaged’ through the schools in the Russian Federation for many years under the guise of supporting talented young people. In reality, they simply hoover everything up like a vacuum,” he was cited as saying by RIA.

Putin was responding to comments by Vladimir Fortov, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who said in March that a “brain drain” was robbing the country of its future talent as educated youngsters sought out lives abroad.

Last year, as relations between Moscow and the West became strained over the crisis in Ukraine, Russia canceled an education exchange partnership with the United States in protest of the alleged adoption of a student by a same-sex couple.

The FLEX — or Future Leaders Exchange — program was established in 1992 and saw more than 8,000 Russian high schoolers travel to the United States for study purposes.

 learning is fundamental

 

[Vladimir Gelman]
Why foreign education does not meet the “highest international standards”
June 22, 2015
grey-dolphin.livejournal.com

The Russian government has decided that educations in political science, history, sociology, and other disciplines received at foreign universities do not meet the “highest international standards.” This follows from the list affirmed by Russian Federal Government Decree No. 1101-r (dated June 15, 2015). The document, which runs to over two hundred pages, includes a list of foreign universities that are among the leaders in the international rankings, a list that has been corrected compared to a similar document adopted a year ago. Whereas last year’s version of the document merely included a list of the universities, the current document specifies which areas and specialties in these institutions are in accordance with the Russian national classification.

What is significant is not which areas and specialties the Russian authorities have deemed as meeting the “highest international standards,” but which of them have not been included in this list. If you follow the government’s list, an education in political science, sociology, history, law, journalism, etc., at Harvard or Oxford does not meet the “highest international standards.” From the viewpoint of the Russian authorities, chemistry, physics, and even “economics and management” can be global, but political science and history are “sovereign” disciplines.

Images courtesy of Books around the Table and Google Images

The Devil Rides Out

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And the devil today, unfortunately, increasingly appears to us in the guise of the civic activist.

This is Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly Member Vitaly Milonov, as quoted on page 5 of the July 13, 2015, edition of local weekly newspaper Smena, on apparently thwarted plans to build a Russian Orthodox church in Malinovka park, in the eastern part of the city. The project has been opposed by a vigorous grassroots campaign on the part of local residents.

The newspaper also continues, for the second issue running, its wild denunciation of local supporters of improved conditions for bicycling in Petersburg. As things stand now, only the extremely bold or the recklessly suicidal would ride a bike on Petersburg’s mean streets, which are nearly totally bereft of bike lanes or other safety amenities for cyclists.

Darya Tabachnikova, recently appointed by city hall as its advisor on cycling issues, is denounced by the former local Communist Youth League newspaper as follows (on page 3):

Firstly, the modest cycling advisor Tabachnikova has worked in the past at the World Bank (an international organization headquartered in Washington, DC) and a branch of the major American company PriceWaterhouseCoopers. In general, when it comes to “Europeanization,” is probably an old hand.

You cannot make this stuff up, which is why I would suggest Smena should be adopted as classroom material by all progressive centers of Russian language pedagogy abroad such as Middlebury College and so on.

Because this is more and more the guise in which the Russian language is appearing to us today (to paraphrase the estimable Milonov): as an instrument for deliberately and cynically attempting to turn white to black, disrupting the critical faculties altogether, and turning the populace into a quivering, paranoid bowl of jelly. TRR