Ethnic Lobbies in America: Will Russia Join The Club?

Of all countries that "matter" to the United States, Russia is perhaps the only one that doesn't systematically lobby its interests in Washington. 

This is, of course, not to say that American PR agencies and lobbyist firms have never touched "Russian" dollars.  Russian companies with significant presence in the U.S. market — Gazprom, Lukoil, and Severstal – routinely use lobbyists to protect and advance their corporate interests.  APCO Worldwide has become famous for manufacturing the image of YUKOS as the "most open and transparent Russia company."  Later, APCO spin doctors helped to propel  Mikhail Khodorkovsky, charged with tax evasion,  into the heights of political martyrdom.   In another incarnation of lobbying feats, the owner of Basic ElementOleg Deripaska, has reportedly paid $560,000 to a law firm employing former Senate majority leader, Bob Dole, to get an entry visa to the U.S. (after running into some problems with U.S. immigration officials). 

Yet when saying that there is no Russian (pro-Russian) lobby in America, one means that there is no Russian-American constituency in the U.S. that would politically support Russia, promote its interests in Washington, and work systematically on improving U.S.-Russian relations.

The grass-root potential for creating such a lobby is certainly there: different estimates put the number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union living in the U.S. at between 3 and 6 million (including illegal immigrants).  About 30% of them reportedly reside in New York State, with other states with a significant Russian presence being California, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Besides, by and large, Russian-Americans enjoy significant level of economic prosperity — due, undoubtedly, to the fact that they are usually highly educated: according to some estimates, up to 80% of Russian immigrants hold college degrees. 

In New York City, where an estimated 1 million residents speak Russian (the fourth most spoken language after English, Spanish, and Chinese ), Russian-speaking voters are gradually becoming a voting bloc to be reckoned with.  Reflecting this trend, a new New York state law requires that future election material be translated into Russian (in addition to Spanish, Chinese and Korean). 

New York City is also the home base for Alec Brook-Krasny, the first Soviet Union-born member of New York State Assembly — and believed to be the highest-ranked elected Russian-speaking politician in the country. 

Yet New York State appears to be an exception since in no other state has the clout of Russian-speaking voters reached a critical mass, forcing politicians to take them seriously.  (My attempts, in 2006, to persuade the Kerry Healey campaign for Massachusetts governor to spend more time in Russian-speaking communities in Boston produced no more than a few polite nods).  It's safe to say that no candidate for national office ever needed to worry about losing an election because he or she didn't support warmer relations with Russia. 

Far from that, in the absence of a pro-Russian lobby, no U.S. public figure ever paid a price for signing an anti-Russian letter or voting for a Russia-bashing resolution – or for simply making a gratuitous derogatory comment about Russia.  As repeatedly discussed in this space, misinformed and ill-spirited Russia-related publications are a standard fixture of American media.  Can anyone imagine an aspiring American politician or a sane journalist with a habit of casually dropping unsubstantiated critical remarks about Israel, for example?

The inability of U.S. Russian diaspora to create a functional lobby can be at least partly explained by the almost subconscious disdain of many Russian-Americans – very much like their friends and relatives back "at home" — for public politics.  Although cultural and religious organizations bringing together Russian-speaking Americans are relatively common, they clearly shun away from activities characterizing bona fide ethnic lobbies.  For example, one of the most reputable Russian cultural organizations in the U.S., the American Association of Russian Language, Culture and Education (AARCE), draws a very clear line by describing its mission as "representing and serving the American Russian-speaking community in the areas of culture, education, arts, sports, community and youth issues…"

The notable exception is Congress of Russian Americans (CRA), an organization founded in 1973 by "U.S. citizens and permanent residents of a Russian descent who are non-Communist in their beliefs [and whose] personal and social lives…are firmly rooted in religious Christian Orthodox values…"  One of the CRA mission statements defines its goal as "[F]ighting post Cold War Russophobia and restoring friendly relations between the U.S. and Russia."  

Facing much better funded Eastern European and Baltic ethnic lobbies, CRA put up a good fight against the notorious Captive Nations resolution, which upon adoption by U.S. Congress,  in 1959, declared the third week of July as the annual U.S. Captive Nations Week.  The goal of the resolution was supposed to raise public awareness of the suffering of nations ruled by Communist and other non-democratic regimes.  CRA members objected to the resolution because of the use of words "Russian Communism" and "Communist Russia" in its text.  CRA argued that the Russian people – similar to other "captive nations" — were also the victims of the oppressive Communist regime.

CRA must also be credited with pressing the U.S. Congress to adopt the House Resolution 555 that designated November 7, 1988 as a "Memorial Day for the Victims of Communism" and expressed solidarity with all "captive" people of the U.S.S.R, including Russians.

Although in 1986, CRA established a Washington Office (WO), it clearly stated that WO was "[N]ot a lobbying organization."  Instead, the professed goals of the WO were defined as "gathering and disseminating information and representing the Russian-American community."  Whatever the role CRA foresees for itself in the future, it is clear that at the moment, it has no organizational or financial resources to perform activities of a de facto pro-Russian lobby.

In addition to political passivity of Russian-speaking Americans, another major roadblock to creating the "Russian" version of AIPAC or Armenian Assembly of America, is the ideological heterogeneity of Russian diaspora.  A century-old Jewish emigration from Russia and the Soviet Union has resulted in the Russian-American community being approximately 70 percent Jewish.  (And although members of this community may hold "non-Communist beliefs" professed by members of CRA, they don't necessarily share their "religious Christian Orthodox values"). 

Very little solid research has been done on Russian-speaking community in the U.S., but a number of common assumptions are being frequently made.  It's generally believed that the majority of Russian-speaking immigrants who arrived in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s came as political refugees with strong anti-Soviet and anti-Communist views.  Some members of this particular "immigration wave" turned professional critics of Russia's political regime and leadership.  American Enterprise Institute's  Leon Aron spings to mind as an example.

The collapse of Communism and introduction of democratic reforms in Russia have had a profound effect on the way many Russian-Americans now perceive their homeland.   Some of them became advocates of a less confrontational approach towards Russia.  Dimitri Simes, the president of  The Nixon Center and publisher of The National Interest, is a leading proponent of a "realistic" (i.e. more pragmatic) course in U.S.-Russia relations.  Former Soviet dissident (and currently the president of American University in Moscow), Edward Lozansky, began organizing the World Russian Forums, a venue in which American and Russian experts can exchange their views on the most pressing problems facing the two countries.

In contrast to political refugees of earlier generations, Russian-speaking immigrants of the 1990s and 2000s came to the U.S. mostly for "economic" reasons, i.e. seeking employment opportunities.  Many of them have retained Russian citizenship and, along with it, a keen interest in current events in Russia.  Many recent additions to Russian diaspora in the U.S. cultivate close ties with Russian businesses and thus are naturally interested in developing strong economic relations between Russia and the U.S.  These people represent a potential grass-root basis a future pro-Russian lobby in America can be built upon.

But there is a need for a trigger.  Edward Lozansky believes that the initial push should come from the Russian government.  Professional lobbyists must be hired first to begin systematically working with members of Congress — exactly as they do for other foreign governments.  The signs that Russia has finally become serious in lobbying its interests in Washington would encourage on-the-ground efforts to establish politically significant pro-Russian organizations, a process that will inevitably take years to produce the first meaningful results. 

Moscow is wrong in expecting that any improvements in U.S.-Russia relations will happen by themselves or will be ushered solely by the ObamaMedvedev summits (or by actions of largely bureaucratic "bilateral commissions" the two presidents have established).   The fate of the uber-irritant in the U.S.-Russia relations, the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment – as well as of the highly desirable by Russia "123 Agreement" — will be decided in U.S. Congress.  It's here where ethnic lobbies have traditionally been the most successful, and it's here, where currently, Russia has no leverage.  Waiting for the White House to do the job of the non-existing pro-Russian lobby, Russia only shows that, unfortunately, it doesn't understand the rules Washington is playing by. 

It's time for Russia to join the club of more than 100 countries who actively lobby their interests in America.

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.
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33 Responses to Ethnic Lobbies in America: Will Russia Join The Club?

  1. Alex says:

    Very good piece, Eugene. On a very important topic. I posted a comment to Peter’s blog (so as not to clutter your comments section).
    Cheers

  2. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Thanks Alex,
    Comments (especially yours) DO NOT clutter the comment section. On the contrary, they improve the blog’s ratings🙂 Just a hint…
    Cheers,
    Eugene

  3. Alex says:

    No, worries :))
    A profound & long needed discussion topic, Eugene.
    You managed to identify some important positive examples – like that of (some of) CRA activities & you have raised a very important question – why the Russian government has been doing seemingly nothing about this. I would have added that they equally doing very little to actively promote positive image of Russia & Russian culture/language abroad.
    As for the spontaneous rise of the Russian lobby in the US…,perhaps, there are many problems such as (IMHO):
    (1) a relative (compare to **all** other nations) lack of (positive)nationalism among the “Russians”. This positive national identification is something every nation has in excess, but the Russians totally lack. So, the resulting behavioral difference is huge. To simplify my observations, the Russians abroad see each other more as a threatening competition rather than an “anamcara” of sorts. Perhaps, they have their reasons too :))
    This lack of positive national identification & resulting low self-esteem starts in Russia herself & – IMHO- is the real main problem of modern Russia.
    (1.1) It would be interesting to compare views of eg. Russian businessmen in the US & the native to the land (eg. WASP) businessmen there, asking them eg. whom they will employ, given a choice of two at least equally qualified candidates – a “Russian” or someone else (in Australia – I would have said “Anglo-Saxon”). Another question to ask would be how high support of their own nationals is on their *real* respective business priorities :))
    (2) To slightly re-phrase you argument – there is a difference between Russian-speaking and ethnic Russians. You cite 70% of the “Russians” in US being actually Jewish. Now, while many Russian-Jewish of Soviet times were more Russian than the Russians themselves – and here I mean it in a very positive sense, these people may find little logical reasons to associate themselves with modern Russia. The same is true for anyone from the republics.
    (3) Anti-Russia sentiments among the “Russians”. It is IMHO is another major problem, but not unrelated to the lack of genuine patriotism. Scenario is something like this: an immigrant wants/needs to fit into a new society. The society has a set of stereotypes about Russians – actively supported by the mass media for many decades. Now one does not make friends with someone by telling him/them that he/they are mis-informed, stupid, brainwashed Russophobes – especially, when they had the Russophobia literally beaten into their brain from the early childhood. And so it goes. Plus the need to compensate for the cultural shock.
    Re-formulating one of NLP theses for the occasion – there is no difference between a person who speaks and behaves **as** a Russophobe and the real Russophobe. Add people who do not identify themselves as Russians but are perceived as such by
    everyone else.
    Cheers

  4. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Alex,
    Thanks again for your deep-thought comments.
    First of all, I don’t really believe that a Russian lobby can “rise spontaneously” — definitely not given the attitude of those who’re called “Russians” in the US. There must be a reason for that, and that reason to me is the need to intensify economic relations between the two countries.
    I’d therefore argue that at the moment, the reason d’etre for any “lobbying” activities should be removing any barriers in trade relations (Jackson-Vanik, WTO, etc.). This would give focus and potentially help bring together people who agree with each other — leaving all ideological splits for the future.
    But again, the push should come from Moscow. I can’t imagine Russian-American businessmen spending their time and money on supporting Russia if Russia doesn’t need it.
    Regards,
    Eugene

  5. Alex says:

    I agree. Especially about WTO & J-V. The “spontaneously” in my text meant to be “independent of Moscow’s efforts”.
    And this Jackson-Vanik…maybe Russians should introduce a “Jackson-Vanik tax” ? (anything imported from America is taxed additionally to compensate for the projected losses due to its (the J-V) existence ? The shear stupidity of having this J-V still active, will make criticism of the tax easy to rebuff )
    Cheers

  6. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Lovely idea! Actually, Ed Lozansky recently suggested to “swap” J-V for ban of US poultry. Smart one, too.
    Cheers,
    Eugene

  7. O'Brotha says:

    One question is the extent to which what you propose is in the national interests of the U.S. Is a proxy voice to the Kremlin in U.S. politics something most Americans would find agreeable?
    Second question: are attitudes toward Russia’s current policies and the character of its government a consequence of that government and those policies? I would argue they are.
    We’re not talking about Ireland here.

  8. O'Brotha says:

    One question is the extent to which what you propose is in the national interests of the U.S. Is a proxy voice to the Kremlin in U.S. politics something most Americans would find agreeable?
    Second question: are attitudes toward Russia’s current policies and the character of its government a consequence of that government and those policies? I would argue they are.
    We’re not talking about Ireland here.

  9. Dear O’Brotha,
    Thank you for your comments. Asking Americans about who’s influencing the decisions of their government is a great idea. What about lobbyists working for Saudi Arabia, the home country for 15 out of 19 9/11 terrorists? Did you ask?
    Besides, how many Americans would object to repealing the anachronistic Jackson-Vanik amendment (if they knew what it is), the stupidity of which isn’t evident only to the members of US Congress?
    What is precisely wrong with “Russia’s current policies and the character of its government”? Sure, we’re not talking about Ireland here. There are no IRA-styled terrorists in Russia.
    I naturally welcome your further input.
    Best Regards,
    Eugene

  10. Dear O’Brotha,
    Thank you for your comments. Asking Americans about who’s influencing the decisions of their government is a great idea. What about lobbyists working for Saudi Arabia, the home country for 15 out of 19 9/11 terrorists? Did you ask?
    Besides, how many Americans would object to repealing the anachronistic Jackson-Vanik amendment (if they knew what it is), the stupidity of which isn’t evident only to the members of US Congress?
    What is precisely wrong with “Russia’s current policies and the character of its government”? Sure, we’re not talking about Ireland here. There are no IRA-styled terrorists in Russia.
    I naturally welcome your further input.
    Best Regards,
    Eugene

  11. Alex says:

    If I may for a moment – very well formulated questions from O’Brotha. Both have the same answer – one needs to be properly informed about an issue before forming an opinion. Without a Russian lobby, about the only information source for the senators is FoxNews & WP (see this blog about quality of the latter) It is from these source(-s) the congressmen (and public)form their opinion about Russian current policies – which is not always what the policies are in reality.
    Cheers

  12. Alex says:

    If I may for a moment – very well formulated questions from O’Brotha. Both have the same answer – one needs to be properly informed about an issue before forming an opinion. Without a Russian lobby, about the only information source for the senators is FoxNews & WP (see this blog about quality of the latter) It is from these source(-s) the congressmen (and public)form their opinion about Russian current policies – which is not always what the policies are in reality.
    Cheers

  13. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Thanks for your help Alex,
    I hope that O’Brotha will be satisfied with your response.
    Regards,
    Eugene

  14. Leo says:

    Eugene,
    I think O’Brotha has a point here, if a Congressman lends his/her ear to a Russia-friendly lobbying organization he/she can be labelled a Kremlin stooge. And it is going to stick, because life is fair:).
    Second, attitudes toward Russia (or any other country) and its government are (at least partly) results of their actions. Lobby or no lobby, many decisions of the Russian government (no matter how logical they may be) are not sufficiently explained to the public, “PR’ed” or otherwise promoted. This behavior is a Soviet-era relic and it hurts Russia’s prospects of rapproachment with other nations. Because in the absence of sufficient information events are judged based on assumtions (or suspicions) rather than real reasoning.
    Third, I find it hard to believe that our respectable Congressmen don’t understand the stupidity of the J-V amendment in this day and age. I think many treat the amendment as their only leverage with the obstreperous Russia.
    Best wishes,
    Leo

  15. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Leo,
    Sure, O’Brotha and you both have a point. The current image of Russia is such that any support of its action would immediately result in the supporter being labelled a Kremlin stooge. I know that, but this only emphasizes my point about the need for a lobby. A Congressman must be told that his/her support of Russia (on some specific points, of course) is in the best US’ interests. Or, alternatively, that opposing Russia wil cost him or her an election (because life is fair:)). This is what ethnic lobbies are all about.
    Your second point is the same affirmative to what I’ve just said. Russian government is intrinsically incapable to explain its policies to the US public and politicians. This is exactly what a Russian lobby should be doing.
    On your third point, perhaps, you hold more esteem of our elected officials than I do:), but you’re right in principle: the J-V is being used as a leverage by the so-called Chicken Lobby (of which our VP Joe Biden is an active member).
    That said, I’d like to challenge O’Brotha’s explicit and yours implicit idea that because Russia is such an “evil” country, it even doesn’t deserve to have a lobby. We’re fine with having a Saudi Arabia’s one — with SA being an intellectual hub of anti-American jihad — but we oppose the one from a former comrad-in-arms being in addition a fellow Christian nation. Why is that?
    O’Brotha made a good suggestion: to ask American people. In your opinion, whose lobby the American people preferred more: Russian or Saudi Arabian, Egyptian or Pakistani?
    I think it’s time to realize that the very negative image of Russia in the US has little to do with what Russia does. It’s in itself is a result of activities of anti-Russian lobbies (Baltic, East European, etc.). I highly recommend that you read Andrei Tsygankov’s latest book “Russophobia.”
    Best Regards,
    Eugene

  16. Leo says:

    Eugene,
    I am not sure at which point exactly I implied that Russia is evil and does not deserve to have a lobby. So, I will re-phrase – if Russia’s governtment does not bother to explain its actions even to its own public, no lobby in the world can help Russia to advance its interests abroad.
    On your last point, while I agree that Eastern European lobbies may be a factor in the formation of Russia’s image in the US, I would not go as far as to say that they are the decisive factor. It is always easier to find someone else to blame but oneself. But that is probably a subject of a separate discussion.
    Best wishes,
    Leo

  17. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Leo,
    It almost always happens that we end up finding a middle ground of sort. Couple of more comments further down the road…:)
    To your second point, I’d say that any country’s image in the US is a combination of pro and contra actions of dirrefrent players (internal, external, and third party). Some countries looks better than they deserve, some countries look worse. In my opinion, Russia belongs to the second group. I see absolutely nothing “amoral” to help it move to the first.
    To your first point, I’d strongly disagree. Sure, you’re correct in some very “high” sense, but in real life, good lobbies (read: big money) do wonders regardless of what’s going on in the “home” country.
    Best Regards,
    Eugene

  18. Leo says:

    Eugene,
    Again, not sure if I somehow somewhere implied that having a lobby is immoral for Russia. Life is fair – I was just being sarcastic. I guess that gives away an inexperienced blogger…
    Anyhow, …good lobbies (read: big money) do wonders regardless of what’s going on in the “home” country – I would almost agree, provided there is mutual economic benefit for the country-lobbyist and the country- lobbyee. Considering the abysmal volume of trade between the US and Russia I would still maintain that lobbying is useless until Russia’s governing class calibrates its policies to the information age.
    Best regards,
    Leo

  19. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Leo,
    See, didn’t I tell you that sooner or later, we’d meet in the middle? We’re there🙂
    I agree with you on Russia’s governing class. However, here, I do see some promising signs of improvement, if only almost stylistic. The trade volume is abysmal, true, and yet, it has tripled over the past couple of years.
    Now, do I really believe that Russia will ever have a lobby on par with Israeli? No, not really, at least not in my lifetime. But it must have one, however symbolic in the very beginning. If even for no other reason than to show that it knows how Washington operates. I repeat: it’s not about whitewashing Russia’s real or (mostly) imaginable sins, it’s not about clean your house first, go out later — it’s about having a conversation with American political class in the language the latter understands.
    Thanks for as usually great discussion. Do come back.
    Best Regards,
    Eugene

  20. “Professional lobbyists must be hired first to begin systematically working with members of Congress — exactly as they do for other foreign governments.”
    ****
    Actually and respectfully put, I think pro-Russian folks who relate well to the American market should be finally utilized in a proper manner.
    I’m referring to people with a proven aptitude who’ve been essentially muzzled by the elitny.
    The Russian views typically getting the nod in Western mass media as well as Western influenced mass media outlets like The Moscow Times are individuals who don’t focus their attention on the biases discussed at this blog. If anything, a number of these preferred Russians go along with the existing biases.
    In an earnest point-counterpoint exchange with such folks, the patriotically responsible Russian views will come out on top.
    BET!
    Frankly put there’s a level of cronyism on the “Russophile” side which conflicts with progress.
    Finally, I suspect that some ethnic lobby groups in America might be in greater receip of US government aid over some others. I’d be interested in any follow-up on this thought.

  21. Eugene Ivanov says:

    “…I suspect that some ethnic lobby groups in America might be in greater receip of US government aid over some others.”
    Mike, you bet!
    Check out this reference:
    http://www.res.org.uk/society/mediabriefings/pdfs/2000/March/lahiri2.asp
    Isn’t it fascinating? True, the reference dates back to 2000, but I doubt that anything has dramatically changed since.
    Best Regards,
    Eugene

  22. Eugene, here’s one of what I suspect are several grants for this org:
    http://www.usukraine.org/openworld2010grant.shtml
    The org’s name is more neutral from its slant.
    “Ukrainian lobby,” as in reflecting a particular Ukrainian view not in sync with many other Ukrainians.
    BTW, someone with the initials of OK recently complained about the Russian government supposedly not letting him out of the country. I’d love to know more on that. Shortly after that announcement, he’s in DC at an AEI gathering. He will be (if not already) undoubtedly allowed back in Russia.
    Meantime, I understand that Norman Finkelstein isn’t allowed in Israel. Yet, Russia gets the wrap for being intolerant.
    Best,
    Mike

  23. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Mike,
    In the piece you so kindly advertised around recently, I wrote about the guy with initials of OK. Well, I feel I’ve spent more time on him that he deserves, and if the folks at AEI want to waste theirs, well, that’s not my problem.
    As for his troubles of getting out of Russia, I strongly suspect that the trouble was with obtaining a US visa — due to his criminal background.
    Best,
    Eugene

  24. Eugene
    Soviet propaganda had a knack for picking up on Americans who did things as seek getting arrested for reasons that many viewed with some apprehension – in terms of accepting their views.
    There has been a bit of a role reversal. Not that the West didn’t do likewise during that period. The difference being that Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn had legitimate gripes (they shouldn’t be confused with some others like Amalrik), relative to what was evident in the USSR. S & S had also achieved substantive fame within the USSR.
    On the role reversal point, note how EU membership isn’t as willingly offered as the NATO variant. Guns over butter is how the USSR has been characterized.
    Agree on your “more time on him that he deserves” point. So-called “Russian liberals” who seemingly cozy up to biased against Russia elements shouldn’t expect popular support within Russia, as well as among a good number of Russian expats.
    In men’s Olympic ice hockey, Russia-Slovakia at around midnight 12:15 eastern time, on I believe CNBC (if not, then ck. MSNBC or USA).
    Best,
    Mike

  25. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Mike, God! I’ll be sleeping long before midnight. Ovi and Co. will take care of the business w/o me🙂
    A short note: the crucial difference between Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn and the “Russian liberals” (of whom OK is a “light” version, intellectually speaking) is that the formers never wanted to be arrested whereas the latters strive for that. Otherwise, no one in the West will notice them.
    Regards and have a sound sleep tonight:)
    Eugene

  26. Eugene, for me, the Olympics with NHL players is one of the top sporting events. Once very four years makes it such for me to adjust time wise.
    Your point about OK touches on what does and doesn’t get propped.
    I don’t see Russian institutes as gung ho in paying for (in comparsion to him) intellectually superior Americans like… to travel to Russia and speak.
    Valdai is one exception. Note that this event brings in establishment views like Hoagland and Goldman.
    From a pro-Russian/pro-American viewpoint, there’s so much more that could and should be done.
    Cronyism continues to stand in the way of an improved situation. This can be analytically proven. Such analysis appears to be inconvenient for some within the existing status quo.

  27. Leo says:

    Eugene, Mike,
    It has taken some time to decipher the OK acronym, but I have cracked it, finally! Well, you are too hard on the kid, I think. His vision is black and white, but I would venture to say that I was exactly like Mr.OK at his age. He will hopefully mature (GK never will because black and white is what he played in his past life).
    History teaches us that changes come to Russia either from above or from outside. All changes (or attempts thereof) from below have been disastrous, especially the last successful change in 1917. So, it may seem beneficial for some (like Mr. OK) to seek outside pressure for change inside Russia, never mind that Russian people may not approve of such pressures or the resulting changes.
    Best regards,
    Leo

  28. Leo
    You’re right in suggesting that folks in their early twenties haven’t reached their intellectual peak (at least in most instances).
    Regarding “Russia watching” issues, there’s someone his age who exhibits a greater intellectual capability, but from a different view.
    I note how that latter mentioned person doesn’t get the royal treatment. IMO, this is one of numerous examples of the kind of biases that are out there.
    There’s another issue to consider. In sports, when a youngster is playing in the big time, the team opposing him/her doesn’t suddenly go soft.
    If you’re put in a high profile position, I think it’s appropriate to expect to face big league pitching, checking or whatever is applicable.
    Can’t take it? Then bring someone of quality in who can. The quality of the coverage periodically sucks partly because of some hypocritical and thin skinned manner.
    Eugene
    Someone termed tomorrow as “Hatred Day,” with three great games slated (all televised on the NBC Olympic affiliates)
    – Russia-Czech Republic
    – US-Canada
    – Finland-Sweden

  29. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Leo,
    Sure, polemics aside, OK is a young guy and, hopefully, has a future that we’ll discuss in due course. His political views don’t trouble me much; it’s his attitude. He’s writing a column for The Huffington Post, which introduces him as “Leading Russian Democracy and Human Rights Activist.” Leading…
    On the other hand, we have Masha Gaidar (the daughter of the late Yegor Gaidar) who used to be a “leading” something too. Now, she’s an aide to Nikita Belykh in Kirov and, as I understand, doing a heck of a REAL job.
    Regards,
    Eugene
    p.s. Your GK line is a masterpiece!

  30. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Mike,
    I already had one Hatred Day on Thursday when Russia lost to Slovakia. I’m not sure I can survive another🙂
    Best,
    Eugene

  31. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Mike,
    I already had one Hatred Day on Thursday when Russia lost to Slovakia. I’m not sure I can survive another🙂
    Best,
    Eugene

  32. Eugene
    That loss might prove beneficial in setting their priorities right.
    Focussing on their considered weakest point (defense) can noticeably offset their strong point (offense).
    They’ve to find the perfect blend.
    Keep in mind Canada’s last game which went into overtime and a shootout win against a Swiss team that isn’t as highly regarded as Slovakia’s.
    Best,
    Mike

  33. Eugene
    That loss might prove beneficial in setting their priorities right.
    Focussing on their considered weakest point (defense) can noticeably offset their strong point (offense).
    They’ve to find the perfect blend.
    Keep in mind Canada’s last game which went into overtime and a shootout win against a Swiss team that isn’t as highly regarded as Slovakia’s.
    Best,
    Mike

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