Russia

Special Report

A Russian Knockout

By 4.2.14

A Russian triumphed over an American this past weekend. World Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev soundly defeated Cedric Agnew. Meanwhile Russia seems poised to regain its status as a world power, to the embarrassment of the United States.

After a week of President Obama fecklessly alternating between weak insults and moralistic assertions, and even as Secretary of State John Kerry walked away with no resolution from another Sergey—Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister—Kovalev scored a resounding win—a win for the boxer, and also a win for the many Russians in the audience.

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Crimes in Crimea

By on 3.18.14 | 4:55PM

In 1853, Russia invaded the Danubian Principalities, just west of its empire on the Black Sea. Britain and France responded by allying with the Ottoman Empire and declaring war on Russia. Much of the fighting over the next three years would take place in Crimea, as allied forces tried to break Russia’s grip on the city of Sevastopol. The Crimean War would leave about 375,000 allied troops and anywhere from 143,000 to 522,000 Russian troops dead—mostly from disease—and devastate the Crimean Peninsula.

During the Russian Civil War, Crimea would become a stronghold for the anti-Bolshevik White Army and its sympathizers. But by 1920, the White Army was evacuating and the Bolsheviks stormed the peninsula. The communists distributed questionnaires and, foreshadowing Nazi tactics that would one day be used against them, used the answers to divide the population into those to be killed, imprisoned, or saved. More than 50,000 people, most of them civilians, were slaughtered over about six weeks.

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The Current Crisis

Ukraine and the Return of the KGB

By 3.6.14

 WASHINGTON—Regarding our community activist’s present imbroglio with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, I stand with Donald Trump who said recently: “The thing I have the most concern about is that he’s being so lambasted for not being respected, and for being a joke, that he’ll do something really stupid to show that he’s a man.” We are now about where we were with Jimmy Carter after he lectured his fellow citizens about their so-called “inordinate fear of Communism” even as the Soviet Union was spreading its tentacles over the Third World. His sudden turn-around—caused by Soviet aggression in Afghanistan—from a position of sweet reason to the pose of a hawk alarmed me and doubtless alarmed the Russians. Jimmy began the military build-up that a more gifted statesman, President Ronald Reagan, consummated in pursuit of a peaceful ending of the Cold War. Yet while Jimmy resided in the White House, I was uneasy with the sudden anti-Communism of this moralistic twerp. Most probably Donald was too. Now we have to worry about the intolerable greenhorn Barack Obama. What will he do next?

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America’s Savior: Shirtless Putin on a Horse

By on 2.12.14 | 11:59AM

American military affairs expert William Lind argued on The American Conservative website yesterday that Vladmir Putin’s Russia, particularly in the realm of foreign policy, exemplifies conservatism and the United States should take heed.

One thing I will agree on is that America’s approach to foreign policy over the past 15 years cannot be described as true to American conservatism. However Lind goes further, boldly arguing that Putin’s lip service to hands-off foreign policy, outlined in Putin’s op-ed in The New York Times lecturing America on intervening in Syria, reveals “a conservative Russia.”

Although Lind is smart and well-credentialed, and Putin is correct in noting “military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries” is not in “America’s long term interest,” we cannot mistake Putin’s opportunism for genuine conservative values. Putin chastised the United States for intervening, but his own government has been sending arms to Syria.

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Russian Olympics a Huge Pain in the “O-Ring”

By on 2.8.14 | 2:48PM

The official slogan for the 2014 Winter Olympics currently being held in Sochi, Russia is "Hot. Cool. Yours." But so far, even hot and cold seems too lofty a goal. Social media is buzzing with reports from athletes and members of the press that the accommodations leave something to be desired--unless you like tandem toilet seats, live wires in the shower, and urine hued water. The Twitter account @SochiFails is documenting the worst of the mishaps. But with the games already underway, the problems are far from cosmetic. The Denver Post has a glorious summary:

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Writer’s Bloc

By on 1.14.14 | 5:37PM

If you can't trust the Russian government, who can you trust? This must be the question running through the mind of David Satter, a longtime journalist who now posesses the dubious and unfortunate distinction of being the first American scribe denied entry to the land of nesting dolls and Ivan Drago since the fall of the Soviet Union. The journalist has been barred from visiting Russia for at least the next five years.

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Government Shutdown, Mother Russia, and the ‘Inner Life’

By on 10.4.13 | 12:22PM

Everyone from my barber to the hipster kid down the street who thinks he’s watched “the news” when he catches a clip of The Daily Show on his iPad has a take on the government shutdown and perpetual political stalemate in Washington. Whether they have the faintest understanding of what is actually going on, whether I agree with this or that neighbor’s assessment of the situation, the one thing we can all agree on is that the political and economic landscapes facing us today are lackluster, to say the least.

While reading through a series of essays co-written and edited by Alexander Solzhenitsyn titled From Under the Rubble, I was reminded of an all-too-important factor that one must consider when rendering judgment on his or her duly-elected government: the only change that really matters comes from within.

We’re a nation of more than 300 million people, and to keep insisting that one law here or one election there is going to “fix” things is asinine and a lie even the brightest among us tell themselves.

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At Large

Moscow Casting Call

By 10.2.09

Whether on stage or behind the scenes, Dmitry Medvedev is no longer serving as Vladimir Putin's understudy.
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