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Thread: Putin Opponents Are Made to Vanish From TV

  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    So you're suggesting this is a matter of renewed nationalist sentiment?

    I think that might be a factor, but it can't be a major one, in my opinion...

    That is astoundingly naive.


    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    Importance on the world stage is no longer dictated by military might, but instead by economic might...

    Firstly, military might is most often a direct extension of economic might. Secondly, who said economic might cannot create nationalist pride?

  2. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    These are substantial gains, and all of them have come under Putin's rule. So while he's eroded the rights of the press and other liberties, the economic realities of average Russians have improved, and I suspect that's why they don't mind.

    truth

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris View Post
    Firstly, military might is most often a direct extension of economic might. Secondly, who said economic might cannot create nationalist pride?
    Maybe once upon a time, but not in the 21st century.

    Exhibits 1 & 2: Japan and Germany. 2nd and 4th largest economies in the world, and virtually nonexistent military infrastructure. Despite that, strong nationalist feelings throughout.

    Economic might can of course create nationalist pride, and does. It's happened with South Korea, Malaysia, and Finland, among others. None of those, however, are exhibiting that newfound nationalist pride in the form of military buildup.

    Who's doing it? The North Koreas, Irans, Syrias, and Myanmars of the world. All backward economies.

  4. #19

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    Why do you always expand arguments by making one model fit all?

    The military aspirations of both Germany and Japan were unilaterally curtailed as a result of WWII. They had no choice. The course of 20th century history with respect to Russia was nothing like either of the two.

    Who's doing it? The North Koreas, Irans, Syrias, and Myanmars of the world. All backward economies.
    And America. Look for China to follow suit.
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; June 13th, 2008 at 11:34 AM.

  5. #20

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    Article lobbing aside, I reject any notion that would rationalize the use of media censorship, dictatorial rule, and political intolerance as necessary means to achieve ends that include the establishment of the rule of law and with it the social stability needed to create an environment conducive to self-actualization and individual freedoms. Oppression and censorship leads to freedom and tolerance?? Where have we seen this before?? I I am sorry but once you go there, you never go back.

    Russia's new found wealth is not new found at all. Their economic stability is the result of possessing an abundance of a much demanded natural resource combined with reduced expenditures, specifically in the areas of military budget cuts as well and de-colonization (if that is a word) of the Soviet Block. Quite simply stated, the Soviet empire could not sustain itself economically and divested itself. Who knows how well Russia would have fared had they been able to combine these same more favorable economic factors and the lower corruption that exists today, with a more tolerant society.

    There is less corruption for sure. But I go back to Ninja's point. People can't object to what they do not know about.
    Last edited by eddhead; June 13th, 2008 at 12:14 AM.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Why do you always expand arguments by making one model fit all?
    I'm not trying to. He said, "military might is most often a direct extension of economic might." I resoundingly disagree. I think that theory died out in the 20th century.

    The military aspirations of both Germany and Japan were unilaterally curtailed as a result of WWII. They had no choice. The course of 20th century history with respect to Russia was nothing like either of the two.
    I'm well aware of the differences. My intention was to demonstrate that, in this day and age, to be perceived as a power player in global politics, you don't need to have a huge military parading around.

    And America. Look for China to follow suit.
    If you take into account historical trends, America's military budget is lower than at any point since before WWII as a percentage of GDP. It was slightly lower in the Clinton years, and yes, it's been increasing steadily since 2001, but perhaps (and I hope) it's a cyclical phenomenon. We'll see what happens if Obama is elected.

    China has its own internal security issues that may or may not make it advantageous for them to have a strong military. I personally don't know what road they're going down with respect to that, so I'll say nothing further.

  7. #22
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    Piano, he one thing they do not include on a lot of these stats it the actual cost of the war in Iraq. they have hidden it fairly well.

    The only other explanation was that we were ALWAYS spending this much money on the military and only now is it being put to use. Either way it does not bode well (spend that much money in a time of peace? etc.etc.).

    Anyway, lets try to get back on topic.....

  8. #23

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    ^^

    The US military budget is still believed to represent approximately 46% of total global worldwide military expenditures. Expenditures have increased significantly since 2001. In 2005, the last year this was trended studies showed that 80% of that year's increase was attributed to the US

    http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolit...litarySpending

  9. #24
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    Yeah, and US economic activity still represents somewhere close to 30% of world GDP.

    Let's stay on topic please.

  10. #25

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    - US GNP represents 28% of the world's total GNP.
    - US military expenditures represent 46% of the world's total Military expenditures.

    That is a significant imbalance

    As for staying on topic you're the one who took us here. One can easily argue that the percentage of US military expenditures to world wide expenditures is as relevant as percentage of US Military expenditures to US GNP is.

    But OK if you insist, I will refer back to my previous post #20
    Last edited by eddhead; June 14th, 2008 at 05:52 PM.

  11. #26
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    eddhead, if you'd like to talk about this more, I have no problem with it. The topic happens to interest me, and I'd like to learn more about it if I have the chance.

    Threads like this tend to get off topic fairly easily, and Ninja already pointed out we were veering off course. I only brought the issue up because Zippy mentioned it in his last post. But you started the thread, so I guess if you think a discussion of America's military expenditures is relevant to the topic, we can keep discussing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by eddhead
    Article lobbing aside, I reject any notion that would rationalize the use of media censorship, dictatorial rule, and political intolerance as necessary means to achieve ends that include the establishment of the rule of law and with it the social stability needed to create an environment conducive to self-actualization and individual freedoms.
    Like I said, I'm not defending it, nor am I in favor of it. From what I've read, however, there does seem to be justification for it in political development theory. I also think it's fair to say that many democratic societies today are more democratic than they were at the onset. For me, it's a question of balancing two conflicting perspectives: 1) How a country is developing in relation to its current time and global context; 2) How a country is developing in relation to its position on the development timeline.

    Quote Originally Posted by eddhead
    There is less corruption for sure. But I go back to Ninja's point. People can't object to what they do not know about.
    To what extent do you think this phenomenon is occurring? There's certainly a lot of activity in the government that Russians probably have no details about, but then again we face that problem too. What's to be said of the Russians who freely defend Putin's actions in forums such as the NYTimes? Even if they don't know exactly what's going on, they must know there are things about which they know nothing, and they don't seem to mind.

  12. #27

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    ^
    I mentioned what in my last post?

    You diluted this topic in post #18, bringing in several countries, offering "exhibits."

    Is it your assumption that Russians (or citizens of any country) make an objective, analytical assessment of the global community, and choose their view of the idea of their country from the best (or most numerous, or whatever) models?

    Group behavior is often not logical.

  13. #28
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    You specifically mentioned "America" in your last post, and since then I've been trying to keep the thread on topic after Ninja and eddhead jumped on my two cents about it.

    Is it your assumption that Russians continue to think the same way they thought under communism? A lot's changed since then.

    And, as if on cue...

  14. #29
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    Free and Flush, Russians Eager to Roam Abroad


    Russian tourists enjoy the pool at a resort hotel in Antalya, Turkey, built to resemble the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

    By CLIFFORD J. LEVY
    Published: June 15, 2008

    ANTALYA, Turkey — Yelena Kasyanova booked her trip at a local travel agency in about as much time it takes to drop by the market for a few groceries. She was soon lounging here by the Mediterranean, a working-class anybody from an anyplace deep in Russia, a child of the Soviet era who still remembers the humiliating strictures that once made it difficult to obtain a passport, let alone a plane ticket.

    And all around the beach were so many just like her.

    One of the most enduring changes in the lives of Russians in recent years has occurred not in Russia itself, but in places like this coastal region of Turkey, where an influx of Russian tourists has given rise to a mini-industry catering to their needs. A people who under Communism were rarely allowed to venture abroad, and then lacked money to do so when the political barriers first fell, are now seeing the world. And relishing it.

    There is perhaps no better symbol of the growth in Russian tourism than the very resort where Ms. Kasyanova was staying, the Kremlin Palace Hotel, a kind of Las-Vegas-does-Moscow-by-the-shore extravaganza whose buildings are replicas of major sights at the Kremlin complex and nearby neighborhood. Why go to any old spot when you can frolic by the pool while gazing at the reassuring onion domes of a faux St. Basil’s Cathedral? (No need to bundle up against the cold, either!)

    Ms. Kasyanova, 51, a health-care aide from the Kaluga region, 125 miles southwest of Moscow, has been to Egypt, Hungary and Turkey in the last few years and has Western Europe in her sights. For her and other Russians interviewed here, foreign travel reflects not just Russia’s economic revival under Vladimir V. Putin, but also how the country has become, in some essential ways, normal.

    If you have some time and a little money, you can travel. Just like everyone else in the world.

    “It is now so easy — buy a package tour for $800, and here we are, in paradise,” said Ms. Kasyanova, who, like many Russians here, was amused by the resort’s trappings but also interested in exploring the mountains and other places nearby. “It speaks of the high standard of life in Russia, of the improvement in life in Russia.”

    The Russians are coming from all over. At the local airport here, the arrivals screen was like a primer in Russian geography, with charter flights from Moscow, Rostov-on-Don in the south, Kazan in the center, Novosibirsk in Siberia and other cities in between.

    The number of Russian tourists visiting countries outside the former Soviet Union grew to 7.1 million in 2006, the last year statistics were available, from 2.6 million in 1995, according to the Russian government.

    A record 2.5 million Russians visited Turkey in 2007, up 33 percent from 2006, Turkish officials said. Only Germany, that paragon of European wealth, sends more tourists to Turkey. (By contrast, in 1988, a few years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, all of 22,000 Soviet citizens visited Turkey.)

    The Russian tourism boom is happening as new low-cost airlines in Europe have spurred a sharp increase in tourism across the Continent. But for the Russians, the chance to travel is especially prized.

    For the first time in Russian history, wide swaths of the citizenry are being exposed to life in far-off lands, helping to ease a kind of insularity and parochialism that built up in the Soviet era. Back then, the public was not only prevented from going abroad; it was also inculcated with propaganda that the Soviet Union was unquestionably the world’s best country, so there was no need to leave anyway.

    People who desired foreign travel in Soviet times typically had to receive official approval, and if it was granted, they were closely chaperoned once they crossed the border. Even before they left, they often were sent to classes to be indoctrinated in how to behave and avoid the perils of foreign influence. Those who were not in good standing with the party had little chance of going.

    The controls on travel were particularly onerous given Russia’s long and dark winters.

    “For us, it’s like a fairy tale to be here,” said Lilia Valeyeva, 46, a clerk from Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains who had never before been abroad when she visited Turkey two years ago. Since then, she has returned twice.

    “We are seeing other countries with our own eyes, how other people live,” she said.

    Many Russians interviewed here credited Mr. Putin, the former president and current prime minister, for their ability to travel, saying that he was responsible for Russia’s new prosperity.

    “It is not like before, when we were afraid of everything,” said Larisa Kazakova, 32, a real estate agent from Yekaterinburg. “We travel, and we live a good life.”

    These days, Russians can compare the services they receive abroad with those at home, and can mingle with tourists from everywhere. How these experiences will alter their perspective at home is an intriguing question.

    The writer and commentator Viktor Yerofeyev said he had noticed that the more Russians traveled, the more they tended to lose some of the coarseness that at times characterized Soviet society.

    “Through all this travel, we are seeing a change in mentality at home,” Mr. Yerofeyev said. “People are now seeking pleasure, whether it is in the night clubs of Moscow or in restaurants. Travel is a continuation of that pleasure. Just to have pleasant lives, not to suffer, to feel positive. Their life compass changes, from ‘I don’t care about anything’ to ‘I would like to have a better life.’ Travel is a part of this.”

    “The world is becoming part of their lives,” he said.

    The first major wave of Russian tourists after the fall of the Soviet Union did not necessarily do their country proud, sometimes acting like rowdy college freshmen getting a taste of spring break in Florida. There were tales of hotels limiting or even banning some Russian tour groups because of drunken behavior.

    Hotel executives in Turkey said things had largely settled down, with many Russian families now vacationing here, and relatively few problems.

    “Nobody believes me when I say this, but the Germans drink even more than the Russians,” said Ali Akgun, a manager at another hotel in the area, the Kemer Holiday Club. “It’s just that the Russians drink a little faster.”

    The biggest struggle now for the Turkish hotels is to find enough staff members who speak Russian. Those in the tourism industry who had mastered German and English are returning to language school.

    “Everybody is studying Russian now,” said Suat Esenli, a worker at the Kremlin Palace Hotel, which has more than 800 rooms and opened in 2003, just as Russian tourism began to soar. Typically, about 60 percent of the hotel’s patrons are from the former Soviet Union, with the rest from elsewhere in Europe.

    Still, the effort to make Russian guests feel comfortable can go too far. For a time, one of the hotel restaurants served the sort of dishes — borscht, blinis and the like — that should have brought joy to a Russian’s heart.

    The restaurant had to scrap the menu. It turned out that the last thing that the Russians wanted was the food they could get at home.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  15. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    You specifically mentioned "America" in your last post
    Don't be obtuse. It was a direct response to your off-topic post.

    Didn't we go through this already in the blank-wall thread?

    Is it your assumption that Russians continue to think the same way they thought under communism?
    No, it's my assumption that Russians think like Russians, and their history, which includes Communism, shapes their national viewpoint.

    And I made no claim as to the relative weight of economics vs national pride, so there was no need for me to resort to absurd examples like Japan to make some sort of quantitative case.

    And, as if on cue...
    Yeah, what, that it's 51-49, or 70-30? Are we back to lobbing articles, or did you "happen to be browsing" again?

    You're thinking like an accountant.

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