Gladiator (Igor Panarin v United States)

Will someone please name the second most hated Russian in the United States (the first obviously being Vladimir Putin)?

Correct, it's Igor Panarin, professor of the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow.  Last November, in an interview with Izvestia, Prof. Panarin suggested that in the summer of 2010, economic crisis, mass immigration, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war in the United States.  As the result of this war, the union will break into six pieces; each piece will become part of a different foreign body (Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Mexico, and Russia).

One has to admit that Prof. Panarin knows his subject (and he did visit the United States: I personally met him in Washington, DC in 2005).  His account of the dire state of the U.S. economy reads like a page from an average American newspaper.  His prediction that the collapse of General Motors and Ford will wipe out jobs in whole regions of the country is hardly off the mark.  And his description of separatist aspirations in some parts of the U.S., albeit biased, is certainly based on facts.   

I'm intrigued by Prof. Panarin's division of president Bush's national security team into "globalists" (Vice-President Cheney and Secretary of State Rice) and "statists" (Secretary of Defense Gates, CIA Director Hayden, and Director of National Intelligence McConnell) and would love to learn more about the criteria for such a classification.  But, hey, you can get only this much from a routine newspaper interview.  

The only serious flaw that I see in Prof. Panarin's logical constructs – but, unfortunately, a fatal one — is his belief that the decentralization of political power and a relative weakness of the federal center make the American political system  — and the country as a whole — "fragile."  (Prof. Panarin makes a big deal of the lack of a uniform legislation across the United States). 

I can see why a Russian political scientist would believe that every important decision must only be made in a couple of top offices in a national capital.  But this is not how it works in the United States, and the existence of multiple centers of decision-making — with much of responsibility for everyday lives of millions of citizens delegated to the state and municipal levels — represents one of the strengths, rather than weaknesses, of the American political system.  (I guess, one cannot learn that from a few short visits to the country).

In Russia, where people were concerned with more pressing issues than the fate of the United States of America in 2010, Prof. Panarin's interview attracted little attention.  The same held true for the United States until, for whatever reason, The Wall Street Journal decided, on December 29, to take Prof. Panarin to task.

The author of the Journal's article, Andrew Osborn, didn't waste time in a point-by-point rebuttal of his opponent's views.  He went straight to business: Prof. Panarin's KGB background.  Having spiced his piece with lines such as "a former KGB analyst", "Mr. Panarin's resume includes many years in the Soviet KGB", and "he began his career in the KGB in 1976…", Osborn rightfully concluded that his job was done.  What is here to discuss if the guy is from KGB?  Yet, showing remarkable analytical depth for the WSJ , Osborn also quoted Vladimir Posner, a TV journalist in Moscow, who opined that Prof. Panarin's views "reflect a very pronounced degree of anti-Americanism in Russia today."

A few days later, on January 3, the Washington Post picked up the subject again.  The staff writer, Joel Garreau, didn't even bother to mention Prof. Panarin's academic credentials; he simply called the latter a "KGB-trained, Kremlin-backed senior analyst."  Other than that, Garreau's opus can be called a masterpiece:  not often can one read a WP publication as sophisticated as Garreau's anti-Panarin crusade.

Where the WSJ simply sees a vulgar "anti-Americanism in Russia today", the perceptive Garreau smells "the Kremlin…projecting its own insecurities onto the United States."  Without hesitation, Garreau identifies Prof. Panarin with "some Russians who hate the loss of empire."  (Remember " the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century"?).  Sure enough, such evil people "would like to shed crocodile tears at the idea that history might repeat itself near the U.S.-Mexico border."

At times, Garreau's epic reaches truly Shakespearean heights.  Read that:

"Oh, and be still my Kremlin heart: those shooting wars in the Caucuses, in Chechnya and Georgia?  If only those would erupt in the Rockies!"

Curiously enough, in 1981, Garreau wrote a book, "The Nine Nations of North America", in which he divided North America into nine regions, or "nations", with distinctive economic and cultural features.  Garreau argued that conventional national and state borders are largely irrelevant, and that his "nations" provide a more accurate way of describing the true nature of North American society.

(Garreau's explanation: "Well, I was young.  I needed the money."  Yet, it's not easy to shake off the impression that the now grown-up and, hopefully, well-off, Garreau keeps a grudge against Prof. Panarin, because Panarin's six "pieces" have completely overshadowed Garreau's nine "nations.")

I can understand the indignation, disbelief or even shock the WSJ and WP authors experienced when reading Prof. Panarin's prophesies.  But I'm not sorry for them.  When it comes to writing about foreign countries, they show little depth, sensitivity or even knowledge of elementary facts.  Thanks to Prof. Panarin, they now know how it feels to read nonsense about their own country.  

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gladiator (Igor Panarin v United States)

  1. Alex(Igor) says:

    This was good, Eugene. I would have described your essay as oscillating near the center line – very reasonable approach with such a loaded topic (Panarin’s predictions).
    Cheers

  2. Igor privet!
    S Novym tebya Godom i Shchast’em!
    You kind of disappeared for awhile and I was afraid that you’ve switched your preferences from Russia to, I don’t know, the Ivory Coast (?). Welcome back from your temporary absence.
    Thanks for your comment. I applaud Panarin’s arrogance and the courage with which he’d stuck his finger in their eyes. But, unfortunately, what he’s saying is nonsense.
    Best,
    Eugene

  3. I am a very free way of thinking, I think if they have something to criticize my country I am willing to listen! I think that this should be everyone!

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Gladiator (Igor Panarin v United States)

Will someone please name the second most hated Russian in the United States (the first obviously being Vladimir Putin)?

Correct, it's Igor Panarin, professor of the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow.  Last November, in an interview with Izvestia, Prof. Panarin suggested that in the summer of 2010, economic crisis, mass immigration, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war in the United States.  As the result of this war, the union will break into six pieces; each piece will become part of a different foreign body (Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Mexico, and Russia).

One has to admit that Prof. Panarin knows his subject (and he did visit the United States: I personally met him in Washington, DC in 2005).  His account of the dire state of the U.S. economy reads like a page from an average American newspaper.  His prediction that the collapse of General Motors and Ford will wipe out jobs in whole regions of the country is hardly off the mark.  And his description of separatist aspirations in some parts of the U.S., albeit biased, is certainly based on facts.   

I'm intrigued by Prof. Panarin's division of president Bush's national security team into "globalists" (Vice-President Cheney and Secretary of State Rice) and "statists" (Secretary of Defense Gates, CIA Director Hayden, and Director of National Intelligence McConnell) and would love to learn more about the criteria for such a classification.  But, hey, you can get only this much from a routine newspaper interview.  

The only serious flaw that I see in Prof. Panarin's logical constructs – but, unfortunately, a fatal one — is his belief that the decentralization of political power and a relative weakness of the federal center make the American political system  — and the country as a whole — "fragile."  (Prof. Panarin makes a big deal of the lack of a uniform legislation across the United States). 

I can see why a Russian political scientist would believe that every important decision must only be made in a couple of top offices in a national capital.  But this is not how it works in the United States, and the existence of multiple centers of decision-making — with much of responsibility for everyday lives of millions of citizens delegated to the state and municipal levels — represents one of the strengths, rather than weaknesses, of the American political system.  (I guess, one cannot learn that from a few short visits to the country).

In Russia, where people were concerned with more pressing issues than the fate of the United States of America in 2010, Prof. Panarin's interview attracted little attention.  The same held true for the United States until, for whatever reason, The Wall Street Journal decided, on December 29, to take Prof. Panarin to task.

The author of the Journal's article, Andrew Osborn, didn't waste time in a point-by-point rebuttal of his opponent's views.  He went straight to business: Prof. Panarin's KGB background.  Having spiced his piece with lines such as "a former KGB analyst", "Mr. Panarin's resume includes many years in the Soviet KGB", and "he began his career in the KGB in 1976…", Osborn rightfully concluded that his job was done.  What is here to discuss if the guy is from KGB?  Yet, showing remarkable analytical depth for the WSJ , Osborn also quoted Vladimir Posner, a TV journalist in Moscow, who opined that Prof. Panarin's views "reflect a very pronounced degree of anti-Americanism in Russia today."

A few days later, on January 3, the Washington Post picked up the subject again.  The staff writer, Joel Garreau, didn't even bother to mention Prof. Panarin's academic credentials; he simply called the latter a "KGB-trained, Kremlin-backed senior analyst."  Other than that, Garreau's opus can be called a masterpiece:  not often can one read a WP publication as sophisticated as Garreau's anti-Panarin crusade.

Where the WSJ simply sees a vulgar "anti-Americanism in Russia today", the perceptive Garreau smells "the Kremlin…projecting its own insecurities onto the United States."  Without hesitation, Garreau identifies Prof. Panarin with "some Russians who hate the loss of empire."  (Remember " the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century"?).  Sure enough, such evil people "would like to shed crocodile tears at the idea that history might repeat itself near the U.S.-Mexico border."

At times, Garreau's epic reaches truly Shakespearean heights.  Read that:

"Oh, and be still my Kremlin heart: those shooting wars in the Caucuses, in Chechnya and Georgia?  If only those would erupt in the Rockies!"

Curiously enough, in 1981, Garreau wrote a book, "The Nine Nations of North America", in which he divided North America into nine regions, or "nations", with distinctive economic and cultural features.  Garreau argued that conventional national and state borders are largely irrelevant, and that his "nations" provide a more accurate way of describing the true nature of North American society.

(Garreau's explanation: "Well, I was young.  I needed the money."  Yet, it's not easy to shake off the impression that the now grown-up and, hopefully, well-off, Garreau keeps a grudge against Prof. Panarin, because Panarin's six "pieces" have completely overshadowed Garreau's nine "nations.")

I can understand the indignation, disbelief or even shock the WSJ and WP authors experienced when reading Prof. Panarin's prophesies.  But I'm not sorry for them.  When it comes to writing about foreign countries, they show little depth, sensitivity or even knowledge of elementary facts.  Thanks to Prof. Panarin, they now know how it feels to read nonsense about their own country.  

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gladiator (Igor Panarin v United States)

  1. Alex(Igor) says:

    This was good, Eugene. I would have described your essay as oscillating near the center line – very reasonable approach with such a loaded topic (Panarin’s predictions).
    Cheers

  2. Gubkin says:

    I read many comments on different sites. The majority name panarin is mad. But in process of approach of 2010 becomes more than those who does not trust to strong America.
    Today Panarin continues to assert, that in the beginning of December will occur events. The dollar will start to depreciate.
    It is necessary to remember, that he also spoke about crash GM and a Crysler, and also Ford. Unless it has not occurred? Let even partially.
    Many ask, and what forecasts have come true at it? I can answer: he was mistaken with a default of 1998 in Russia for 2 days.
    Can the USA and will not be divided. But unless it will be easier, when really crisis will make the homeless and without meal of thousand Americans.

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