A Charger For The “Reset”

A good friend from St. Petersburg has called and, referring to my appearance on Peter Lavelle's "CrossTalk" show, asked, half-jokingly:

"All right, when will you guys have a Russian lobby as good as the Jewish?"

I replied, half-seriously:

"Not in my lifetime."

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm a relatively young man and plan to live a long life.  Yet, honestly, I don't expect to see a functioning pro-Russian lobby in the U.S. as efficient as the pro-Israel any time soon.  Not even close. 

That said, let's state the obvious: the power of a foreign lobby should match, first and foremost, its objectives.  Sure, these AIPAC guys are great, but you also should consider what they are expected to deliver, year in and year out.  Check it out: in addition to unconditional security guarantees, the U.S. provides Israel with about $3 billion per year in direct aid (roughly one-sixth of the total U.S. foreign aid budget).  Besides, Israel enjoys "unwavering" diplomatic support: over the past few decades, the U.S. has vetoed more than 40 of the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions critical of Israel.  

Russia's relationship with the U.S. is completely different.  Russia simply doesn't need the things that Israel does: financial aid (Russia has the third-largest currency reserves in the world), security guarantees (it has one of the world's two largest nuclear weapon arsenals), or veto power in the U.N.S.C. (it has its own).

This is not to say that Russia doesn't need a lobby in the U.S.  However, given the current character of U.S.-Russia relations — and what Moscow supposedly "wants" from the U.S. government — the agenda for such a lobby would be quite moderate.  A number of potential issues to consider are as follows.

The New START treaty.  Just signed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in Prague, the treaty faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate.  Much noise (especially in Russia) was made out of the fact that the Democrats have recently lost their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and now allegedly need not 7, but 8 Senate Republicans to support the ratification of the treaty.  This is nonsense: both the support for the treaty and the opposition to it are bipartisan.  Notwithstanding the grumbling by Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), and Joe Lieberman (I-C T) (whom folks in Russia stubbornly continue calling a Democrat) that Russia was given too many "concessions", there is a broad consensus in the Senate that the START treaty serves U.S. national interests.  For as long as the leading Republican foreign policy guru in the Senate, Sen. Richard Lugar (IN), supports the treaty — and he does — ratification of START is possible.  Yet the White House could obviously use some help in bringing aboard a few undecided Senators worried about "concessions."

The so-called 123 Agreement (a.k.a. the U.S.-Russia Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy).  Signed by the Bush administration in 2008, it was never submitted to Congress.  True, the fate of the Agreement is superficially tied to Russia's cooperation on Iran, and the resistance to the Agreement  in Congress is strong.  And yet, in its core, this is a "trade" agreement providing American companies with entry into the lucrative Russian nuclear energy market.  Many legislators could become sensitive to this argument.   

Lately, I've changed my mind and now believe that the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment is only a distraction and there is no reason to fight for its repeal.  The real target should be Russia's membership in the WTO — if Moscow really wants it (I have certain doubts here).  Once Russia's in, Congress will repeal the amendment by itself.  And not because of pro-Russian lobbying, but due to the pressure from multiple domestic business interests willing to take advantage of Russia accession to the WTO.

Instead, a pro-Russian lobby could initiate efforts to include Russia into the Visa Waiver Program that would allow its citizens to travel to the United States for tourism and business without obtaining a B1 visa.  Russian-speaking Americans are rapidly becoming a major ethnic group in the U.S.  (especially in large metropolitan areas), increasing along the way the volume of transatlantic business and people-to-people travel.  Getting Russia into the Program won't be easy and will take years to achieve, but it will definitely have a real positive impact on lives of many Russian-Americans.   Besides, fighting for this goal has a chance of uniting people of different ethnicities and ideological beliefs within the Russian-speaking community.

What people caring about the state of U.S.-Russia relations should realize is that the notorious "reset" is not a law and not even an officially declared U.S. foreign policy objective.  It's a political trend adopted by the current administration that may well be thrown away by the next, most likely Republican, president.  To preserve the spirit and the current momentum of the "reset", it should be continuously promoted within the U.S.  foreign policy establishment.  This is what a pro-Russian lobby in the United States should be doing.

In other words, the "reset" needs a charger, and the pro-Russian lobby should play the role of this charger.

(I shared this idea with my wife, and she told me that the current handling of U.S.-Russia relations reminds her of cooking of a Thanksgiving turkey: you put the turkey in the oven and then forget about it for hours while hoping that the "product" will turn out well.  Instead, U.S.-Russia relations should be handled as risotto, when you always keep your eye on the pot while constantly stirring the rice.)

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 A Charger For The “Reset”

  1. Hi Eugene
    My usual yup with some additional points.
    Better efforts in getting responsibly patriotic Russian views in American academia and mass media are pertinent ingredients that have some relatioship towards the lobbying concept. Achieving this is problematical for reasons that you touch on.
    On the Russian end, one sees room for improvement regarding some (stress some) of the sources getting selected at InoSMi and RT over other available options.
    As I said elsewhere in closed company, homerun hitters can’t hit homeruns sitting on the bench.
    A frank discussion on such matters serves to improve things.
    Best,
    Mike

  2. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Thanks Mike,
    Needless to say, you can always count on me and this blog to discuss things you and I care about.
    Best,
    Eugene

  3. Which is why I keep checking this site Eugene.
    Some food for thought:
    The Moscow Times and Kyiv Post have a good deal of influence outside Russia and Ukraine. Is it asking too much for the non-Russian owned, but Russian based Moscow Times to carry one Russian patriotically inclined columnist on a regular basis?
    Note some of the columnists regularly appearing at the Kyiv Post. IMO, The Moscow Times’ carrying of Alexander Motyl’s anti-Russian/Ukrainian nationalist piece highlights an ongoing bias.
    In comparison, one doesn’t see as many rock solid pro-Russian views getting the same editorial consideration. A letter to the editor doesn’t carry the same clout as an article. The Moscow Times is perfectly aware of the other available options. This point applies to openDemocracy, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and a number of other venues.
    Shameless promotion and all, note how InoSMI.Ru ran Motyl’s piece without running the rebuttal to it:
    http://eurasianhome.org/xml/t/expert.xml?lang=en&nic=expert&pid=2355
    There’re numerous other examples as well.
    Salut!
    Mike

  4. Alex says:

    Hi, Eugene. Decided to check your site – and here you are, another interesting piece on even more interesting topic :))
    If asked for a SINGLE (main) reason why Russia does not and probably will never have a decent lobby, then – somewhat summing up your post and Mike’s last comment – it is a lack of genuine patriotism (positive nationalism). Full stop.
    As for a traditional sarcasm, you know , here in Australia one has to pay for being NOT listed in the telephone White Pages. Similarly, and continuing your discussion above about what Russia may want from the US – it is just like that – Russia wants NOT being “listed” (as an enemy, nation of crooks, mafia, KGB, alcoholics etc). That would be already a lot, wouldn’t it? More than ever was “given” to Russia. A presumption of innocence and many times over deserved moral credit ( I will even skip direct contribution of Russian/Soviet scientists and engineers). Perhaps, the Americans (as usual) want money for that?
    I also like your thesis about visa free exchange – this, it seems, is something the Russians – whatever unpatriotic they are in the US – will be willing to put their money and efforts for.
    Cheers

  5. Hi Alex
    I assure you that there’re people in the US who’ve reasonably positive feelings towards Russia, who haven’t been effectively utilized at the higher profile of venues. I’ve no doubt that improvement can be noticeably achieved if the opportunities were offered.
    I’ll not repeat what I said in my earlier comments at this thread. Rather, I offer them as talking points to follow-up on.
    On the matter of Russia’s image, I think others thinking like Eugene will appreciate this link:
    http://grayfalcon.blogspot.com/2010/04/art-of-hate.html
    “Globalization” includes the way that some get caricatured.
    Best,
    Mike

  6. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Alex, Mike-
    Thanks much for your comments.
    Alex, I agree with you about the lack of genuine patriotism among Russians in America. But why this patriotism is expected in the first place? Why people who deliberately left Russia should feel patriotic about it? Therefore, when speaking about Russian lobby, I’d rely on more pragmatic things like business or family connections. In this respect, visa waiver program could unite people more effectively than patriotism, much less any common “ideological” views.
    I also agree with Mike that there are enough people in the U.S. (and I’m gradually getting to know them) who’re willing to put some effort in the improvement of U.S.-Russia relations — whatever their motivation could be.
    Patriotism aside, but in my opinion, the face of the Russian Diaspora in the U.S. is changing. Largely composed of “political refugees” only 20 years ago, it now includes people (like myself) who came here to work and who hold no grudges toward their homeland. That’s why I believe that it’s now possible to talk about Russian lobby.
    Regards to both of you,
    Eugene

  7. Thanks Eugene.
    Not to be overlooked are folks of White Russian background, whose family relations were part of two periods of migration following the Russian Revolution and World War II.
    There’re also folks who aren’t of Russian background, who’ve become sympathetic to mainstream Russian concerns. This has included individuals who marry people of Russian heritage.
    Contrary to some of the imagery, not all of the 1970s era Brighton Beach crowd think like Gessen and Albats.
    In short, the mass media attention often given to some Russian views isn’t indicative of the whole picture. As I’ve previously noted, this point pertains to the kind of Ukrainian views which have typically been featured at a number of mass media outlets.
    Salut!
    Mike

  8. Adding onto this discussion, see:
    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/64098/
    I’m not going to support the idea of erecting a Stalin monument. In the discussed instance, this issue doesn’t involve Russia. Note the treatment of Bandera. IMO, a more accurate spin notes how pound for pound, Bandera’s forces were quite brutal and not a positive role model.
    In addition, isn’t the “Hero” designation a Soviet like relic of sorts? If so, there exists purportedly anti-Communist Ukrainian nationalists utilizing Soviet like manner.
    The author of that article belongs to this org. which offhand seems to have a relationship (inclusive of likely funding) with some Western NGOs:
    http://khpg.org/en/index.php
    In comparison, there doesn’t seem to be a loosely affiliated Western NGO Moscow Times/Kyiv Post commentary (as in articles – not letters or forum posts) from patriotically responsible Russian sources.
    BTW: Vlasov is more deserving of a “Hero” status than Bandera. The former’s forces haven’t been linked to the kind of mass killings of the OUN/UPA.

  9. Alex says:

    Hi back Eugene
    (I am continuously distracted from this very interesting subject at the moment, so I’ll provide only a (possible) answer to why “patriotism” is important – in the hope to get back here later:).
    Very simple. AFAIK – and pragmatic reason – one needs to exhibit patriotism to produce the right impression – to get a better paid job, easier business, better relations with Anglo-Saxon “friends” (English meaning of the word). Because people tend to classify things & other people – and this classification is especially easy to do on a “national character ” basis. Thus the reasons for a Russian to promote his country/nation in every possible way is very pragmatic and should be obvious to everyone. Moreover at least some semblance of a patriotism is what consciously or subconsciously expected by the host peers – because everyone (but the Russians) shows it.Unfortunately,this is not what a typical Russian immigrant does or even bothers to think about.
    The above is of course, trivial – and I think we discussed it many times already, but it does not hurt to repeat.
    I actually agree that now I hear words like “sovok’, “Rushka” etc much less then few years ago. Maybe indeed, the mentality of the Russian compatriots is changing…
    Cheers

  10. The so-called “sovok” attitude isn’t in sync with the kind of patriotic perception that relates well with Americans at large. On a related front, it’s refreshing to see post-Soviet Russia at large take a more positive look at Russia’s pre-1917 past – ideally in a measured enough way, free of chauvinism.
    Different groups have ways of expressing themselves. Pro-Israeli Jewish-Americans don’t seem as likely to have Israeli flag decals on their cars in the manner exhibited by some others (Irish-Americans with Irish flag decals, Italian-Americans with with Italian flag decals).
    On the other hand, a good number of Jewish orgs. and individual Jews are steadfast in answering views they see as anti-Jewish and/or anti-Israeli.
    The important thing is to understand:
    – the opposing view
    – folks influenced by it, who’re otherwise open to getting the other side of the story
    – having the best possible advocates in place.
    To HIGHLIGHT: the last point concerns people who understand America, while having the knowledge and debating skills to prevail.

  11. Alex says:

    Yes, Mike – I agree with what you said.
    Especially re- history- Only one has to include the whole Russian/Soviet history and do not try to pretend that this history is not theirs. The same way as Americans or Australians do not deny what they had done to their native populations or how they treat(-ed) blacks/not-whites/ not so long ago (+). They are not exactly proud of it, but are quite ready to forgive themselves. That what Russians MUST learn to do too. Moreover that there was (IMHO) more positive than negative about USSR/Russia.
    As for “sovok”..What is it? The tendency to express aloud & without caution/thinking official (national)media cliches as if they were own personal views? Every nation has more than plenty of that – the Americans & Australians in particular. When it comes to opinions about Russia and the Russians – almost all of the supposedly educated anglo-saxons I have ever met hurried to demonstrate that they knew of eg. USSR more than its former citizens (eg. myself) did. Including “understanding” the Russian cultural values or even the comparative value of Soviet academic education. This later American “sovkovost” is actually the reason why only people very well acquainted with American/Anglo-Saxon culture should be the “advocates” (re: you last point) – as you see , we actually agree here too. And IMHO – the “jewish” ” steadfast” approach is something to be learned from. I believe that I saw how it worked when (former or current) Russians suddenly *started* to simply comment to western media articles during Georgian conflict. (as I tried to say previously this “patriotic” attitude has also a simple “capitalistic” business value.)
    Sorry, Eugene – a bit off your original line, perhaps – but not against it either. Your proposal to concentrate on visas does make sense as a realistic start. Which should not prevent the Russian government to invest into lobbying more or less directly.
    Cheers

  12. Alex says:

    Yes, Mike – I agree with what you said.
    Especially re- history- Only one has to include the whole Russian/Soviet history and do not try to pretend that this history is not theirs. The same way as Americans or Australians do not deny what they had done to their native populations or how they treat(-ed) blacks/not-whites/ not so long ago (+). They are not exactly proud of it, but are quite ready to forgive themselves. That what Russians MUST learn to do too. Moreover that there was (IMHO) more positive than negative about USSR/Russia.
    As for “sovok”..What is it? The tendency to express aloud & without caution/thinking official (national)media cliches as if they were own personal views? Every nation has more than plenty of that – the Americans & Australians in particular. When it comes to opinions about Russia and the Russians – almost all of the supposedly educated anglo-saxons I have ever met hurried to demonstrate that they knew of eg. USSR more than its former citizens (eg. myself) did. Including “understanding” the Russian cultural values or even the comparative value of Soviet academic education. This later American “sovkovost” is actually the reason why only people very well acquainted with American/Anglo-Saxon culture should be the “advocates” (re: you last point) – as you see , we actually agree here too. And IMHO – the “jewish” ” steadfast” approach is something to be learned from. I believe that I saw how it worked when (former or current) Russians suddenly *started* to simply comment to western media articles during Georgian conflict. (as I tried to say previously this “patriotic” attitude has also a simple “capitalistic” business value.)
    Sorry, Eugene – a bit off your original line, perhaps – but not against it either. Your proposal to concentrate on visas does make sense as a realistic start. Which should not prevent the Russian government to invest into lobbying more or less directly.
    Cheers

  13. Alex says:

    Oh – and while I am here – about the START.
    Hard to believe that anyone can seriously think of it as of a concession to Russia. Eg. here some independent (i.e. not military business-interest-related) calculations
    http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/warplan/index.asp
    There you find that for a “successful” first strike by the US with the target precision available even 10 years ago ~ 1,300 warheads was a sufficient number. Compare this with the 1,550 warheads of the current START. Everyone should be happy – particularly the US – because they can save on maintenance of the unnecessary stock (especially compare to the Russians who had been “saving” on the maintenance for already quite a while). So, who actually wins?
    BTW – if you look through the estimates in the above link, you will see the estimated Russian civilian death toll as the result of the American first nuclear strike of ~ 50 million people… Or more – if the wind blows “right”. Moral values?
    Cheers

  14. Alex says:

    Oh – and while I am here – about the START.
    Hard to believe that anyone can seriously think of it as of a concession to Russia. Eg. here some independent (i.e. not military business-interest-related) calculations
    http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/warplan/index.asp
    There you find that for a “successful” first strike by the US with the target precision available even 10 years ago ~ 1,300 warheads was a sufficient number. Compare this with the 1,550 warheads of the current START. Everyone should be happy – particularly the US – because they can save on maintenance of the unnecessary stock (especially compare to the Russians who had been “saving” on the maintenance for already quite a while). So, who actually wins?
    BTW – if you look through the estimates in the above link, you will see the estimated Russian civilian death toll as the result of the American first nuclear strike of ~ 50 million people… Or more – if the wind blows “right”. Moral values?
    Cheers

  15. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Mike, Alex-
    Thanks again for your thoughts and comments. It’s almost impossible to reply to everything (will keep in mind for future posts), but just a few key points.
    Mike, by no means do I exclude anyone from the discussion. I think I tried to make it clear before: for me, the “Russian” lobby is a group of people united by common interests, rather than common background, much less by common language or etnicity.
    Alex, I’m not against patriotism (I think I consider myself as one more than “not one”), but personally I tend to gravitate to people who have some “pragmatic” motivation: business interest, intellectual inclinations, etc.
    What I like about the Jewish community in the US is its maturity (for the lack of better word) allowing them to have different views, organizations, and, ultimately, different lobbyist groups (AIPAC and J Street). The Russian community is still in its infancy, and raw emotions are still close to the surface. Tapping on patriotism too firmly runs a risk of letting them exlode. IMVHO.
    Love your contribution guys,
    Best,
    Eugene

  16. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Mike, Alex-
    Thanks again for your thoughts and comments. It’s almost impossible to reply to everything (will keep in mind for future posts), but just a few key points.
    Mike, by no means do I exclude anyone from the discussion. I think I tried to make it clear before: for me, the “Russian” lobby is a group of people united by common interests, rather than common background, much less by common language or etnicity.
    Alex, I’m not against patriotism (I think I consider myself as one more than “not one”), but personally I tend to gravitate to people who have some “pragmatic” motivation: business interest, intellectual inclinations, etc.
    What I like about the Jewish community in the US is its maturity (for the lack of better word) allowing them to have different views, organizations, and, ultimately, different lobbyist groups (AIPAC and J Street). The Russian community is still in its infancy, and raw emotions are still close to the surface. Tapping on patriotism too firmly runs a risk of letting them exlode. IMVHO.
    Love your contribution guys,
    Best,
    Eugene

  17. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Alex,
    Thanks for the link: it’s awesome.
    There is absolutely no way to argue with you on the merits. But people here who complain about “concessions” have one very specific grievance in mind: that Obama didn’t get the Russians to agree on “hard” sanctions on Iran. That’s all.
    Best,
    Eugene

  18. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Alex,
    Thanks for the link: it’s awesome.
    There is absolutely no way to argue with you on the merits. But people here who complain about “concessions” have one very specific grievance in mind: that Obama didn’t get the Russians to agree on “hard” sanctions on Iran. That’s all.
    Best,
    Eugene

  19. Hi again Eugene
    For sure, you’ve an inclusive spirit which I sense isn’t as commonly shared elsewhere. I’ll leave it at that. My reference in that set of comments was to cover all grounds like people with White Russian ties, as well as what I said about individuals associated with 1970s Brighton Beach.
    On that last point, your overview of the Jewish community is spot on. Conservatives, liberals, neolibs and neocons among them have worked together on a number of issues.
    Alex, as typically used, the sovok term isn’t meant as a positive description. It has been utilized when discussing people who’re a bit romantically on the Soviet nostalgic side – in a way that overlooks Soviet wrongs, in conjunction with a not so savvy way of presentation to a Western audience.
    The Soviet past is one in need of balance. There were Russian and non-Russian contributions to it. Neocon leaning Albats has noted a disproportionate level of Jews in the upper levels of Soviet security under Stalin. She makes this point while noting how many other Jews suffered, as an answer to the bigoted Judeo-Bolshevism mindset. Similarly, it’s simplistically inaccurate to suggest that the USSR was created for the benefit of Russia at the expense of others.
    Contrary to what some believe, I don’t think that post-Soviet Russia en masse has been so bad on recollecting the past.

  20. Hi again Eugene
    For sure, you’ve an inclusive spirit which I sense isn’t as commonly shared elsewhere. I’ll leave it at that. My reference in that set of comments was to cover all grounds like people with White Russian ties, as well as what I said about individuals associated with 1970s Brighton Beach.
    On that last point, your overview of the Jewish community is spot on. Conservatives, liberals, neolibs and neocons among them have worked together on a number of issues.
    Alex, as typically used, the sovok term isn’t meant as a positive description. It has been utilized when discussing people who’re a bit romantically on the Soviet nostalgic side – in a way that overlooks Soviet wrongs, in conjunction with a not so savvy way of presentation to a Western audience.
    The Soviet past is one in need of balance. There were Russian and non-Russian contributions to it. Neocon leaning Albats has noted a disproportionate level of Jews in the upper levels of Soviet security under Stalin. She makes this point while noting how many other Jews suffered, as an answer to the bigoted Judeo-Bolshevism mindset. Similarly, it’s simplistically inaccurate to suggest that the USSR was created for the benefit of Russia at the expense of others.
    Contrary to what some believe, I don’t think that post-Soviet Russia en masse has been so bad on recollecting the past.

  21. Alex says:

    Mike,
    I cannot accept your definition of “sovok”.
    What you describe is a healthy attitude (or a conscious position) which permits one not to feel ashamed of being eg. a Russian (whatever it may mean). It is exactly the attitude which every nation other then Russian has. The word “sovok” is used by people who try to show *to others* that they are better than the nation they themselves belong(-ed) to & who try to publicly ** disassociate themselves from it**. Mostly for pragmatic (and as a rule pitiful) purpose – such as to win insincere pat on the shoulder from Anglo-Saxon friends (insincere – because in reality nobody respects such people).
    And the “balance” on Soviet past …- unfortunately currently the priority is to counter balance the views of several generations of anglo-saxon […] brought up on Russophobia and hatred of anything Russian/Soviet. They are not bad or stupid – it is simply impossible for them to suddenly give up the views & opinions which were fed to them by “western” propaganda from their early childhood. And these (older) people are in power right now.
    Eugene (and also Mike) – in the previous I used the word “patriotism” somewhat loosely (for brevity). We are actually saying the same thing.
    Cheers

  22. Alex says:

    Mike,
    I cannot accept your definition of “sovok”.
    What you describe is a healthy attitude (or a conscious position) which permits one not to feel ashamed of being eg. a Russian (whatever it may mean). It is exactly the attitude which every nation other then Russian has. The word “sovok” is used by people who try to show *to others* that they are better than the nation they themselves belong(-ed) to & who try to publicly ** disassociate themselves from it**. Mostly for pragmatic (and as a rule pitiful) purpose – such as to win insincere pat on the shoulder from Anglo-Saxon friends (insincere – because in reality nobody respects such people).
    And the “balance” on Soviet past …- unfortunately currently the priority is to counter balance the views of several generations of anglo-saxon […] brought up on Russophobia and hatred of anything Russian/Soviet. They are not bad or stupid – it is simply impossible for them to suddenly give up the views & opinions which were fed to them by “western” propaganda from their early childhood. And these (older) people are in power right now.
    Eugene (and also Mike) – in the previous I used the word “patriotism” somewhat loosely (for brevity). We are actually saying the same thing.
    Cheers

  23. Alex, the sovok definition has a broad aspect to it that includes what I described.
    Somewhat related to what you say, there’re different approaches out there with takes like:
    – pro-Russian/anti-Communist
    – anti-Russian/anti-Communist
    – left leaning pro-Russian
    – left leaning anti-Russian.
    On the matter of patriotism, happy Patriot’s Day, which is a festive time in the Boston area. Patriot’s Day includes the annual Boston Marathon and an early afternoon Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

  24. Alex, the sovok definition has a broad aspect to it that includes what I described.
    Somewhat related to what you say, there’re different approaches out there with takes like:
    – pro-Russian/anti-Communist
    – anti-Russian/anti-Communist
    – left leaning pro-Russian
    – left leaning anti-Russian.
    On the matter of patriotism, happy Patriot’s Day, which is a festive time in the Boston area. Patriot’s Day includes the annual Boston Marathon and an early afternoon Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

  25. That’s Patriots’ (not Patriot’s) Day.

  26. Alex says:

    I’ve just re-read my previous posts here & it appears that I somehow forgot to clarify my starting point in the beginning: IMHO, bad image of Russia in the “west” is in part a direct fault of the Russian emigrants themselves, who do not realize that anything bad they say about their former home country, in the final run has a direct negative impact on their and other Russian immigrants’ well-being. That is how the (pragmatic) “patriotism” is related to this. Sorry if it caused a confusion. Cheers

  27. It’s best to take a reasonably balanced approach. Not doing so gives the opposing view something to tap dance over.
    Keep in mind the instances where someone is giving an overview which then gets selectively referenced to highlight one aspect of that analysis.
    I’m reminded of a recent discussion, which among other things included some comments about Sergei Tigipko:
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/adrian-karatnycky/partition-ukraine-i-think-not
    An ongoing issue remains who is and isn’t getting prime consideration at the leading venues. This point relates to my second set of comments at this particular discussion.

  28. Alex says:

    Totally agree about the “balanced approach” – otherwise even telling the truth may be perceived as a Red Propaganda. To be more precise – perhaps, it can be **an appearance of** a balanced approach – which links us to the second paragraph of your last post. For most Russian compatriots abroad, though, it would be already an achievement simply *not to offer” negative information about Russia/Soviet Union – especially when no one even asked for it. Unfortunately, this tendency to “spill the guts” to not really sympathetic foreigners is something that most Russians abroad very much like to do.
    Cheers

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