Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The reason behind the West hating Putin, Orban and Szydlo

This post is not politics (one party bad, other party good), but politology (understanding how political systems work). It came out of the blue and must share. I was puzzled why these leaders and the political systems under them are so hated by "the West" (USA, EU 15), when there are much worse systems out there they are working with. To understand how bizarre the situation is, let's compare Russia with China:
  • Politics: the West claims Russia to be a fake-democracy, where Putin controls the means to win an election (corrupted money for campaign and the press). But China has no elections at all. Xi Jinping holds various military and party offices, just like Brezhnev did, chosen by the Communist party, without any kind of (even fake) vote from the people.
  • Military expansions: Russia annexed the Crimea, Abhazia, Transnistria and some other tiny places even I couldn't find on the map. China claims to own Taiwan, which is a 23M population, 1/3 Russia GDP country with US military bases. They also build artificial islands and militarize them on the South China Sea, practically annexing it with its resources.
  • Size and power: Russia has 145M people (without disputed territories) and 1.6T $ GDP. China has 1375M people and 11.8T $ GDP. It's not a question which one can challenge the financial domination of the West.
  • Proxies and allies: besides its close neighbors (-istans and Belarus) Russia is allied with Iran and Syria, both resisting the Western plans locally. China is very strongly working with the whole Africa, becoming its biggest economic partner without visible economic interest, for obvious alliance building. North Korea, which is kept alive by China alone is threatening the US with nuclear attack and working hard to be able to deliver.
By every possible way I can think of China is worse for the West than Russia. Yet, the West-Chinese relations are amicable (at least on the photo ops), while the West-Russia relations are openly hostile. Also, there are countries like Saudi Arabia which are close Western allies despite being outright horrible dictatorships without even fake gestures towards the Western values (executing gays, women are practically property), so if human rights would be the problem, one can be completely lost why the West focuses on Russia. They also hate current Hungary and Poland despite these countries have absolutely no ability to threaten the West and they don't have any executions - unlike the new best buddy of Washington, Rodrigo Duterte who brags about lynching alleged criminals with his own hands. To make things even weirder, Poland is vehemently anti-Russian, and it gets more heat from the EU than openly Putin-friendly Hungary. The whole thing makes absolutely no sense, not just rational interest wise, but neither "values and ethics"-wise.

The missing part of this puzzle came with the Trump election. You probably remember how big Trump supporter I was. Since his election, he is openly and obviously betraying his promises. There is no wall, no deportation of illegals, no Muslim ban, no 35% border tax, no abandoning the NAFTA, no prosecuting the horribly corrupt Clinton, no repealing Obamacare, but there is a Goldman Sachs government and more unwinnable wars. While one can claim that these promises were dumb (that would be politics), there can be no doubt that he made these promises and people voted for these and now the opposite happens. Actually if Clinton won, the very same things would happen. Which is exactly the elephant in the room.

Under Boris Yeltsin the Russian politics were very different from the current. The Russian opposition figures promise to bring those policies back and there is clear experience that it happened before, so can happen again. When Orbán in Hungary built his barrier to stop the migrants, his predecessor Gyurcsány invited migrants (and Christiane Amanpour) to his own home to present how differently he'd handle this issue and indeed under his rule, multiculturalism got all possible support. This could return if people would elect him again. There was also very different tax and welfare system under Gyurcsány, opposite foreign policy focus, a completely different country. Same for Szydlo and Kopacz.

I believe the West hates Russia and other illiberal democracies because they are democracies, while the West is not. I mean, "we the people" can change the course of our countries by our votes, electing a completely different government that is doing the direct opposite what its predecessor did. Even if the system is far from perfect, we are in control of our countries. The elections in the West are only for show. They only affect the personal life of the politicians. Sure, Clinton and her friends lost fame and money. But the direction of the US didn't change a bit. The only changes are that the same laws are signed by the small hands of Trump instead of by "Madame President", the government money is channeled to the friends of Trump instead of to the Clinton foundation and it's Ivanka instead of Chelsea to get unearned fame and riches.

China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Philippines are no threat to this show, since these are obviously oppressive regimes. No Western person will ever say "I wish we'd be like Saudi Arabia". But the existence of real democracies (no matter how flawed they are) have the risk of the Western people noticing that there are countries where votes matter. There are countries where if a candidate promises a wall, he builds it. And the donors who control the politicians really don't want this to happen.

55 comments:

Caldazar said...

Are you really claiming voting in Russia has an effect on who leads? Elections and votes have very little to do with the transfer of power in Russia.

That said, I agree, China is as bad, or in many ways worse than Russia. The reason for the western more negative view on russia to me always seemed partially historical, partially because the west does not really need to be friendly to Russia. To China or to Saudi Arabia, the west does need to be friendly, due to economic/oil pressure in non friendly situation.

Regarding democracies: The reason Russia can have massive changes is not that it is a real democracy, it is that it is not. They have strong leaders who can kill opposition and push through change.
A democracy, like in the west, is a consensus driven form of government, and large groups of people commonly fail to agree on anything.

Anonymous said...

Well doh, they aren't, and they weren't supposed to be. The American founding fathers were clear about it - and even today a libertarian will tell it to you straight: democracy is 3 sheep and 5 wolves voting on what's for dinner - tyranny of the majority. That's why they conceived such systems as the electoral college, checks and balances, and indirect elections of senators (which was undone in the progressive era).

By the way, are you a democrat all of a sudden (in a political-philosophy way, not US democrat party)? Don't you know that democracy always ends with the large majority of M&S voting themselves money - the money of the good, hard working J Galt's?

Halycon said...

We've a decades long problem with Russia. Longer than you or I have been alive. A large part of the reason we're worried about Putin's Russia is unspoken. We see him as a regression toward the scarier USSR days.

What you fail to understand though is that ultimately we don't care about Liberal or Conservative, for one the terms just straight up don't translate the way you seem to think they do from one government to the next. You're continued stance on being anti-liberal is just mindboggling when considering the differences between our country and yours. Mainline conservatives, not Tea Party, would be pretty damn liberal where you are.

What we care about when looking at other world leaders is less about politics and more about Path to Power. How they got power and keep power is often instructive of how easy they are to deal with. Putin's path is violent and chaotic. No one can say that an inordinate amount of opposition leaders haven't been murdered on his runup to power and after he obtained it. That's worrisome.

Economically, none of the big players care about Russia. Europe cares about the energy sector since a lot of imports in that area for the eastern side come from there, but honestly, that won't be a worry in another couple decades.

The reason we can deal with China btw is that in the ways we care about they're stable. Western-ish democracy will never happen there. Ever. Their culture pretty much prohibits it. But that isn't a bad thing per-say, so long as it works for them. They do have a democratically elected congress that decides lower level rules that effect day to day life problems while Xi Jinping and the Council deal with long term strategy and direction. Even with the idiotic Great Firewall of China and other policies, they aren't the totalitarians they seem on paper. They're willing to work with the rest of the world on world matters and then retreat into themselves for internal matters. Their economy also isn't what you think it is. Not by a longshot. China has the fastest growing debt as % of GDP for all developed countries. Which we find pretty non-worrisome, they aren't all the sudden going to start calling in markers for political gain because everyone else has markers against them. Really, there's only two contentious world issues in regard to China. Taiwan and Nepal. Taiwan is a holdever from Mao days, and while they may saber rattle about it publicly.. even they treat Taiwan as a separate sovereign country in all ways that matter. It's just posturing to save face, sooner or later it'll go away. Nepal is much more worrisome, much more. Nepal is actually not that small little area you see on a map, it's a huge portion of China's total territory. Unfortunately that ship sailed so long ago and we all internationally recognize most of Nepal as part of China. It makes the entire thing supremely complex so everyone just sorta looks the other way and considers it an internal matter they aren't getting involved in.

Anyway. I've said this before Gevlon, but you really need to stop talking about world politics. Really REALLY need to stop. You've this horrible habit of looking at it through the prism of your country's past which just does not make sense on a world stage. The world is a great big complex beautiful place, and the rules for your bit of it just aren't the same elsewhere. In some places what you'd label Liberals are bad, in others they are a great force for good. Some places Democracy works great, others it's a horrible horrible idea. Everything has to be judged on it's own merits. And you are absolutely horrible at doing that.

Gevlon said...

@Caldazar: there are opposition parties in Russia. Do you claim that they would do the same things if elected? Or that they are impossible to be elected due to cheating (please show evidence of cheating)?

If you claim that they won't be elected because the people won't vote for them, that's a feature, not a bug.

@Anon: if we don't rule by the tyranny of the majority, then whose tyranny we have? Please identify the "good king" we should follow!

The M&S can't and doesn't vote money for itself, simply because they are a minority. The majority are socials who follow and respect the "values" of hard work. When M&S gets welfare it's never by votes, it's always by judicial action or politicians breaking their promises. Trump got votes for "Buy American, Hire American" which assumes Americans working instead of leeching.

Gevlon said...

@Caldazar: there are opposition parties in Russia. Do you claim that they would do the same things if elected? Or that they are impossible to be elected due to cheating (please show evidence of cheating)?

If you claim that they won't be elected because the people won't vote for them, that's a feature, not a bug.

@Anon: if we don't rule by the tyranny of the majority, then whose tyranny we have? Please identify the "good king" we should follow!

The M&S can't and doesn't vote money for itself, simply because they are a minority. The majority are socials who follow and respect the "values" of hard work. When M&S gets welfare it's never by votes, it's always by judicial action or politicians breaking their promises. Trump got votes for "Buy American, Hire American" which assumes Americans working instead of leeching.

@Halycon: China doesn't have to "regress". They are still, officially a Communist dictatorship and no one seems to care.

How a leader gets to power is not about him, but about the country he has to lead. His success proves that the country is at the level where those actions are appropriate.

You wrote a lot, but avoided even mentioning what I said: the US elections proved that the American people have no ability to change the US government peacefully, while Hungarians, Russians and Polish can and DID change our governments multiple times in the last two decades. There were leaders I strongly disagreed, but they could and did lead the country where they wanted while they had public support.

Unknown said...

How "flawed" a democracy must be that you no longer consider it a democracy?
I am hungarian so I'll concentrate here on Hungary. You say the definiton of democracy is where the people can change the course of the country by their votes.
You imply that the people can send Orban to hell if they manage to vote for another leader in big enough quantities. That's technically true. The problem is - as you surely know - that the distribution of the means and resorces to reach out for
the potential voters is totally unbalanced, manipulated by the leading party's spin doctors and propaganda machine. Opposition media is reduced to a few internet portals, radio stations, printed media while on the other side FIDESZ (the ruling party) uses their (almost) total legislative power
and the government budget to silence or even shut down (google: closing of Népszabadság) those opposing the central canon. Newly emerged billionaires stuffed with (the European Union's) taxpayers money (nepotism at its best: http://budapestbeacon.com/featured-articles/is-felcsut-mayor-lorinc-meszaros-viktor-orbans-straw-man/1188) buying
everything out in the country that shows any strong or even just meaningful financial potential. Tens of thousands from my generation (between ages 20 and 40) have left the country in the past 10 years, mainly because of the high level of incompetence paired often with insatiable thirst for power of our leaders. For the moment, Hungary may look like a (limited) democracy
but the prospect of a FIDESZ regime that lasts for decades without any substantial amount of hope to displace it is very real.

Caldazar said...

@ Gevlon: Impossible to be elected due to cheating.
Regarding proof: Sadly enough I am not a highly placed Russian cabinet member, and as such have no hard proof. Googling 2 seconds or even opening wikipedia can get you loads of articles about watchdog organisations stating this. I also have a russian friend (and he is also the only russian I know) who firmly believes Putin rigged the elections/had opposition/reporters killed.

Anonymous said...

it is a theater. the best I could find was Vladislav Surkov he financed movements and counter movements under putin and after a while let the public know that he had payed for it. A very upfront way to destroy peoples perception of reality. I don't know as to why this was done in this way, maybe you know more about this witnessing this nearly first hand as a neighbour. my assumption is, that they had to do this in a short time frame and didn't have the luxury like the west to fake and cloak several operations at once to achieve in a way the same thing.

The elections in the West are only for show
exactly this! and I came to this conclusion 3 decades ago when I was old enough to vote and was forced to look into what I should vote. checked party agendas from the election 4 years prior and the current one, not much difference, so checked the media what points where accomplished and how these where communicated if at all. It's a farce, ever since voted invalid votes.
If you want to change western democracy you will have to lobby, there your "vote" (money and expensive lawyers) counts!

Also about M&S. no one in their right mind lets M&S vote or actually give them equal say, it is an horrible idea, threfore voting doesn't matter at all. Rightfuly so as the foundingfathers of the US constitution already thought of. Sure who decides who is stupid and who is not, and bla "tyrant dictator satan" talk ensues, ignoring the fact that the nonestupid already influence the system the only way it seems to count. This is historicaly grown it very interesting yet a bit much text.

Gevlon said...

@Unknown: I'm fully aware that the media situations are one-sided. But the media situation in the US was even more one-sided: https://twitter.com/MarkSimoneNY/status/858807700947337216/photo/1 and Trump still won. Sure, he's a scammer, but it's clear that the votes can't be influenced.

Also, the FIDESZ lost it's 2/3 by the election of Zoltán Kész, despite they clearly wanted their 2/3. They lost several other parliament seats. If they lose more, they are out. That's democracy.

maxim said...

There are two broad reasons the west is openly hostile to Russia.

The biggest reason is that we are perceived as sort of weak and potentially susceptible to attack, therefore an attack is happening. Our weakness comes from the fact that we have a significant pro-western lobby that is ready and willing to go against national interests for the sake of closer ties with the west. Represenatives of this lobby are cheering every hostile act against Russia and even went on record calling for nuclear strikes against Sevastopol when the Crimea story was still up in the air.

The second reason is closer to your idea of "they are democracies, while the West is not, so the West worries over its people choosing to go for an alternative", but is more fundamental than that.

Russia is basically a member (and one of the few surviving representatives) of an alternative Christian civilisation, easily traceable back to Byzantine (and even further back, according to people like Lomonosov). Being a Christian civilisation, it claims to hold most of the same values the West considers its own (in the modern era, these are mostly grouped under the "humanism" umbrella concept). Being a member of an alternative Christian civilisation, Russia chooses to interpret these values in a vastly different way (f/ex basic human rights in Russia can be essentially revoked on a social and cultural level if the group or individual in question are not fulfilling basic human responsibilities, and no amount of pushing to change this on legislative level in the past 20 years has managed to truly affect that).

The most recent conflict in that regard is about the existence of national states. Russia considers national states essential as partners, capable of representing the people's will in a way that can be interacted with. The West, on another hand, went full global and has - in multiple instances - manipulated the will of the people against national states that resisted globalisation. A very solid case can be made that this started in USA with the murder of Kennedies (and was cemented with Nixon's impeachment).

Now the West is learning the hard way that you never go full global, while Russia is trying its best not to become the next national state the West eats to sustain itself.

maxim said...

Also, Russian opposition has failed so hard during the most recent elections that there was no reason whatsoever for Putin to rig anything. At the moment, he is our democratically elected supreme leader.

dobablo said...

TL:DR. The attitude of the Western world is directly propositional to the forecast growth of US car sales in the local market.
The US is a capitalist democracy. The weighting on the two words has fluctuated over the years but "you buy our stuff/give us something valuable" has nearly always trumped "your people wield political power."
The key factor of being a Friend of the West is being, or transitioning towards, an open and accessible market. The prevailing state of the world for the last 30 years has been the victory of liberal economics coupled with the globalisation of economies. The West considers itself the champion of free trade so those that threaten the free-trade web by implementing nationalistic and protectionist policies are treated as the antagonists. On the other hand, very restricted markets that show signs of opening up are treated as allies because they represent potential sales growth.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, sincerely, where are you getting all these ideas from? Asking for evidence is a typical Putin style behavior. He is asking for evidence all the time - murder of Boris Nemcov, crash of MH17, existence of Russian troops in Crimea, etc. Though if somebody tries to investigate, they try to do whatever they can to make this investigation harder. Latest example, they protested against investigation of that chemical weapon in Syria. Finally, if somebody gives some results of the investigation, - they do not agree with it, as everything was faked. That's a perfect attitude to deny everything what you don't want to admit, - I can pretty much say that Earth is actually flat and ask for an evidence that it is round. If you provide an evidence using some numbers and formulas, I can say that these numbers are faked. If you show how exactly some number was observed with some instrument, I say that this instrument is tailored to show that exact number and does not represent the reality. If you show how that instrument is built I will ask you for a certificate of some obscure transistor which is used in that instrument. If you provide that, I will say that this certificate is not valid as the company which issued the certificate has an employee who is gay and how do you trust a gay? If you think you can trust one - please provide an evidence that they can be trusted. This will go for ages, that is how Putin style "provide evidence" works, - do you really want to go that route?

dobablo said...

@Gevlon: "If we don't rule by the tyranny of the majority, then whose tyranny we have? Please identify the "good king" we should follow!"

The general Western model typically imposes a bulkhead of independent judiciary, press and other institutions with combined with civil rights that limit the tyranny any one person can impose. The US-system deliberately designed with express purpose of mitigating the impact of a bad king. The European multi-party model works by forming governments of disparate groups which can be toppled by a single faction. The Northern Ireland government has a joint-executive model.
My point being, that there are plenty of options available to prevent the tyranny of the majority. That is one of the reasons why the West is concerned with the recent actions of Erdoğan and Orbán. They have removed constitutional limits on their power for the express purpose of implementing the will of the majority.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: Boris Nemtsov risen to power during Yeltsin, but his party got only 8.6% during the 1999 election (despite Putin was nobody back then). His loss is due to the people were less than happy about the 1998 market crash that was created by the free trade he championed. In 2003 they got 4%, so he fell out of the Parliament. He did not claim cheating back then for either election failures.

Since then he did not win any elections and was limited to posting various articles. He withdraw from the 2008 presidential elections, because he saw he couldn't possibly win. He lost the Sochi mayoral elections with 14%, blaming one-sided media, but no actual cheating. Repeat, HE did not claim cheating, not me.

So he was absolutely no threat to Putin, actually he was useful for Putin both as an evidence for free elections and by divinding opposition votes. Putin has zero reason to kill him, he was either killed due to personal matters, or by anti-Putin forces. Anyway, he was a prime specimen how the people could elect different politics (no doubt that Russia under president Nemtsov would be different than under Putin), but people choose multiple times to not vote for him.

Gevlon said...

@Dobablo: any system that prevents a "bad king" from ruining everything, also prevents a good one from fixing anything. The checks and balances only create a completely corrupted ruling class that answers to no one, has no responsibility for anything and immune to any attempts of the people (except the one involving ropes and lampposts). Which is exactly what we see in the US: the US gets into unwinnable wars again and again, despite the people express their will to have no wars again and again. Or the system saved the banks in 2008, despite practically no citizen wanted to save them.

Caldazar said...

@Gevlon: About US and wars: Those wars have majority support of the people when they start. After a while when losses mount and the unwinnable shows, they lose support.

Antze said...

@Caldazar:

"I also have a russian friend (and he is also the only russian I know)"

Him being the only one might be the reason. I'm another Russian and I don't have such firm beliefs (not being too patriotic and Putin-supporting either). I don't think any major elections were ever rigged in modern Russia (minor ones, like mayor elections in some cities, probably were). I cannot deny the possibility that some journalists/opponents were killed "by Putin's initiative" but, in that case, only the tiny minority of those you know about. The majority (e.g. Nemtsov definitely included) probably suffered from their own personal conflicts, or false flag attacks (anyone dies, blame Putin).

"loads of articles about watchdog organisations stating this"

Unfortunately, exactly because of the reasons Gevlon described, those watchdog organizations can't really be trusted when they state something about Russia (for some reason these organizations' headquarters are usually in the US). It's even not about "give me proof they can be trusted", it's more like "I can give you proof they can't".

As an example, they all state that in Crimea Putin oppresses rights of Crimean Tatars (spoiler: he doesn't).

First question that should come to mind: why in the hell should Putin do it? (Gevlon had a post about ideology and correctly stated that current Russia has no ideology, so there's absolutely no reason for Russia to oppress some particular nation; in fact, there's already a lot of different nations living in Russia and somehow it works generally well). But really, to annex a land and then try to oppress 10% of its people? What for? Just for the love of drama?

Second question. Under Ukrainian rule there was only one official language in Crimea: Ukrainian. Under Russian rule there are three: Russian, Ukrainian, Crimean-Tatar. Was that really done to oppress the rights of Crimean Tatars?

Personal reports that I know about also state that life of Crimean Tatars is currently fine. Bonus thought: there are no angry demonstrations of Crimean Tatars in Crimea, no conflicts etc.

Well, there is some organization called Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People which:

* is known to be closely connected with the West
* is outlawed in Russia
* considers themselves voice of all Crimean Tatar people (many Crimean Tatars disagree)
* wants to undermine Russian rule in every possible way
* ...including blockades, diversions and terrorist attacks (confirmed)

Those are oppressed indeed.

Anonymous said...

The Overton Window theory explains why western democracy is a sham. That is, the object of elites is to make this window narrower and narrower all the time, via the education system, media, etc. This is why both Sanders and Trump were both portrayed as "radical" despite their policies wouldn't seem strange to 1 or 2 generations ago.

As to why the west hate Russia. Several possibilities.

It is true they don't have "open markets", a polite way of saying they do not allow western corporations to come in and loot the place and endebt everyone.

Neoconservative philosophy of geopolitics also states that control of Eurasian continent is somehow key to controlling the world, like the "great game" in the 19th century, the goal is to encircle Russia and contain it. Russia meanwhile naturally want control over their rightful sphere of influence represented by the Tsarist empire, so this creates a clash. Military Industrial Complex also needs to justify its existence and why it requires $trillions of taxpayer monies despite the cold war ended long ago.

Also you can't discount the weird triggering in western liberals when these countries make policy for traditional and religious values. Putin disallowing a gay parade or Orban putting up a border fence is really a crime against humanity in their minds.

Caldazar said...

@ Antze: Absolutely, news articles/watchdog organisations are not (or not entirely) trustworthy, I completely agree with that.

I have no knowledge about Crimea facts, so can't comment on all that.
The main problem I see is: You state we can't trust news sites/watchdogs organisations. I can't believe what my friend says, as he is wrong and the only one of his opinion. But I can trust you and your opinion. While my friend may be wrong and you right, or vice versa, none of that is provable and devolves into he said, she said, as no sourcing is possible unless Putin himself posts here.

PS: We have no ideology so we don't have a reason to do something is a bad argument. There are loads of reasons to do things, Ideology is rarely the driving factor of actions. Ideology is a tool to motivate the masses, but rarely relevant to the actions of the leaders. Power, money, influence (for personal or national gain) are more relevant there.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: these can't explain why they focus on Russia and not China that do all these things and more.

@Caldazar: you can trust facts. There is no major uprising or guerilla fighting in Crimea but there is in Iraq, so it's obvious that the Crimea people are less oppressed than the Iraq people.

Anonymous said...

"Being a member of an alternative Christian civilisation, Russia chooses to interpret these values in a vastly different way (f/ex basic human rights in Russia can be essentially revoked on a social and cultural level if the group or individual in question are not fulfilling basic human responsibilities,...."

Basic human rights which can be taken away would obviously not really be "basic", would they? I prefer societies that actually treat them as basic to human nature (e.g. U.S.: "unalienable", Germany "unantastbar" (must not be touched)).
How much are (human) rights worth if they can be (legally) taken away on the whim of the powerful?!
Also, I fail to see how Christianity approves of such. Are men (i.e. humans) not God's children, created in his likeness, which endows them with unalienable dignity and the holy sacredness of life? Of Life, which can be compromised in many other ways than "simply" physically killing.
Really, someone in Russia appears to be drawing up an excuse for not oberserving human rights of unruly people. *Sigh*

Anonymous said...

Personal reports that I know about also state that life of Crimean Tatars is currently fine. "Bonus thought: there are no angry demonstrations of Crimean Tatars in Crimea, no conflicts etc.

Well, there is some organization called Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People which:

* is known to be closely connected with the West
* is outlawed in Russia
* considers themselves voice of all Crimean Tatar people (many Crimean Tatars disagree)
* wants to undermine Russian rule in every possible way
* ...including blockades, diversions and terrorist attacks (confirmed)"

It only took you six lines of text to contradict yourself.

Anonymous said...

The checks and balances were a concept that applied to the early American system. It virtually doesn't exist anymore.

Gelvon is right that it prevents a leader from fixing anything to an extent. The system was designed so that Government could only operate in the realm of protecting individual rights. It was not considered the Government's job to fix problems as such.

Corruption has to be viewed in degrees and defined. Corruption meaning the officials can be purchased or influenced to act outside of their elected responsibilities. Historically more Government is separated from it's power over economics the less corruption you have. Early America was better than modern America in that sense. There are obvious exceptions such as slavery to all of this though.

Antze said...

@Caldazar: If Putin himself posts here, that would be the same "he said". Everybody lies.

Ideology can be a driving factor. If you are a leader of a very religious society, you can't simply ignore religion, otherwise you're no longer a leader (of course you can maneuver). Also, it's often a driving factor for a part of the society to oppress another part of the society (indeed I mixed things, I was thinking of "Russians oppressing Crimean Tatars", then rewrote it into "Putin").

But in this case I can't think of any non-ideological reason for oppressing Crimean Tatars either, so if someone thinks there is one, it should be presented.

Antze said...

@anon: so smart! but no, since those guys were banned entry to Crimea and are operating from the outside, my statement is still correct. Nobody *in Crimea* is going to demonstrations or seeks conflict.

Jim L said...

That is terrible logic.

Since there were no major uprising or guerrilla fighting in Hungary during the Soviet Union, according to your logic there was no oppression of dissident thought under Soviets.

Gevlon said...

@Jim L: I have trouble deciding if you are a troll or just dumb: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Revolution_of_1956

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, I have trouble deciding if you are a troll or just dumb:

There were no major uprising or guerrilla fighting in Northern Korea (at least recently), so there is no oppression.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/28/asia/north-korea-officials-executed/ I wonder if they were executed for agreeing Kim

http://www.businessinsider.com/they-are-intentionally-starved-and-worked-to-death-the-horrific-conditions-in-north-korean-labor-camps-2016-3
They are probably just held there for fun, not for resisting

Nielas said...

@Gevlon I remember being told the the fighting in Hungary was caused by a small group of Western-sponsored terrorists and that 98% of Hungarians were in favor of Russian soldiers coming in to restore order. The "Hungarian Revolution" was just western anti-Russian propaganda meant to turn Hungarians against their Russian brothers.

Who should I trust?

Gevlon said...

@Nielas: the existence of local resistance fighting is the proof of oppression. It does NOT signal morality of either side. Ergo, the objective fact is "some Hungarians were unhappy enough with the Soviets to fight till death". You are free to believe that they were Western lunatics rising against the rightful order of communism if you wish.

Similarly it's an objective fact that Iraqi people rise against the Americans. You are again free to believe that they are freedom fighters against the Evil Imperialists or that they are brainwashed Islamist headchoppers.

On the other hand, it's also an objective fact that no one bothers to fight Russians in the Crimea.

Nielas said...

So after 1956 there was no more oppression in Hungary since the fighting stopped?

Gevlon said...

@Nielas: there was no need for it. Those who rejected communism died (20-30K) or went exile (200-300K). The rest were collaborators, believer communists and simple guys who just wanted to make a living with no greater goals than a family. The communists increased rations and entertainment, Hungary was caused "the happiest barrack in the Soviet camp". So yes, after the defeat of the revolution, Hungary was no longer oppressed, it was successfully pacified. In 1968 Hungarian troops took part in the invasion of Chechslovakia when they risen against communism.

PS: you are wasting your time if you want to induce cognitive dissonance in me, I'm not a social, I'm not emotionally bond to my countrymen, I do not idolize and repaint our past. I'm fully aware that my family members turned blind eye on the communist dictatorship and just cared about their own lives. Actually a handful of them were even party members. It was their call, not mine, I bear no shame for them.

Anonymous said...

I think you should look up the history of the Yabloko party in Russia, which was systematically destroyed through the elections process at both the regional and national levels. A person is allowed to run on the Russian ballot for the presidential elections if they attain a certain number of signatures, I think the current number is a few million. The government can then deny the validity of a single one of those signatures for any reason (and without satisfactory proof) and require the entire group of signatures to be reacquired. The body that has the power to deny signatures is controlled by Putin.

By this means, Putin has enabled himself to create the illusion of a democracy and allows only those people he knows will not win to run against him. Along with his power to choose the governors in each region, he is nothing less than the absolute monarch. The elections in Russia are a stage performance at best. He and his crony Medvedev play ping-pong with the official titles in order to avoid term limits, and so nothing stops him. He is rumored to be worth at least $40 billion by virtue of his stake in Russia Inc., which is comprised mostly of assets sold off in the idiotic over-privatization of Russian steel, oil, etc. in the 1990s.

Is this comparable to the US? Somewhat. The FEC has tons of its own corruption issues, and it was made with the intention of providing a 3-3 deadlock vote on important issues between the parties, thus rendering it largely ineffective in maintaining the sanctity of elections. They also effectively block third parties from entering the debates. In essence, the democratic and republican parties have a similar grip over US democracy that Putin has over Russian democracy. But this isn't nearly as large a problem as Putin in Russia is because:

a) A majority of people in the US identify with one of the two major parties. The parties are more open to change than they've been. See Bill Clinton's don't ask don't tell as a very simplistic example of this.

b) While Donald Trump isn't following his promises, at the very least his election proves that there is room for candidates to come out of left field. Ross Perot had a true chance of winning in the 90s. Teddy Roosevelt won from the Bull-Moose party. Putin doesn't allow even these unlikely events to transpire, whereas the US system does.

c) The two parties are parties, not simply one man (as is the case in Russia). There is a group of elites in the US, whereas in Russia there is only one, and about 9 oligarch billionaires. The oligarchs in Russia have a lot of money but nearly zero ability to stand up against Putin (as can be seen by the imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky).

The phrase "illiberal democracy" was meant specifically to demean the idea that it is a democracy, so your overall point that the west hates these places because they "ARE" a democracy is nonsensical. The US is more democratic than Russia by all possible measures.

Nielas said...

We seem to have different definitions of what "oppressed" means. I would think that a system where a "goblin" like you would either have to become a "social" or end up in prison, would feel very oppressive.

I grew up in communist Poland so maybe things were different in Hungary but I do not imagine by much. Even as a child it felt oppressive to me even though no one in my family was beaten up or thrown in prison.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: indeed Trump could win. But only a nice room, not any power. He is just a puppet in the hands of unelected power holders. Putin at least has to care about his ratings. Finally, Putin will die one day or be too old/sick to rule and then there will be a window for change for Russia. There is no such hope for America, the Military-Industrial complex will rule above them "forever".

@Nielas: this is kind of the point. That being violently oppressed isn't the only way to be not free. While people weren't hunted in the streets, they were not the masters of their future. I see the same thing in the West now what I saw when I was a child. You can mind your own business, but if you speak up, you lose your job (for "microaggressions" and "harrassment") and your votes don't count.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon,

You said "There is no major uprising or guerrilla fighting in Crimea but there is in Iraq, so it's obvious that the Crimea people are less oppressed than the Iraq people." Another one "the existence of local resistance fighting is the proof of oppression".

So you are stating that uprisings and guerrilla fights have direct correlation with oppression. The more uprisings - the bigger oppression. Right? But when given Norther Korea as an example you go and start inventing new rules and exclusions about prisoners, etc. But, according to your original statement, if dictator is successfully able to shut down any signs of opposition before it gets evolved into something like uprising, = All good - no oppression.

You are absolutely social. You can not admit your mistakes and when your nose is pointed into them by various people, - you just keep twisting around and inventing excuses just to defend your own "out-of-the-box/creative" ideas.

I was kind of aligning with you when I was reading your stuff about WoT being rigged, EVE conspiracy against you, LOL being P2W, - thinking like "hm, well, maybe this guy has a valid point". Though, after these political posts of yours I just started to realize how biased you are, you don't care about truth, or facts, or just plain logic, - you just invent something "smart" in your mind and then try to twist around with numbers, broken logic, etc. just to prove your point. You need to be right. That's way more social behavior than any other social nonsense that ordinary person does.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon:
"puppet in the hands of unelected power holders" - who are they? Show evidence.
"but if you speak up, you lose your job" - what do you mean "speak up"? Show evidence. I see you speak. I assume you still have your job?

Gevlon said...

@Anon: again, oppression isn't a moral statement. It simply means that the government is in disagreement with the population and uses force to resolve this. Hitler didn't oppress the SS, since they were devout Nazis. This didn't make them right.

There is no oppression in the Crimea, because most people are ethnic Russians who prefer Russia, the Tatars are neither Russians, nor Ukrainens, so have no better options. North Korea is likely less oppressed than Iraq, simply because it's ruled by Kims for decades and everyone who didn't surrender to that decades ago were executed decades ago.

On the other Hand Russia is in Crimea shorter time than the USA in Iraq, so Crimea should be the more rebellious and it's not. Ergo, I do say that the people of Crimea like Russia more than the Iraqi people like the US.

Also, why are we talking about violent oppression, when the topic was about democracy: changing countries by elections?

Jean-Mira said...

Curious that nobody mentioned it yet, but *of course* EU countries hold Hungary and Poland to higher standards: After all they are members of the EU!

Comparing EU-15 behaviour to other EU states (internal policy) versus other countries (foreign policy) is comparing apples to oranges.

Antze said...

@Gevlon: You forgot Ukrainians. In 2014 16% of Crimean population was Ukrainians (no recent data, sorry, but I don't recall any major migration). Those are generally fine with Russian rule as well, maybe because they have jobs, good salaries, can teach their children in Ukrainian language and are NOT beaten up, jailed, insulted or limited in their rights in any way.

Still, I'm afraid Russia is not so "democratic" in your sense, that it could be changed through elections. You seem to get one thing right - looks like the ruling class in Russia somehow depends on the people's wishes, so if they start just doing whatever they like, they will lose power, they know it, they don't want it, so they keep (most of) their promises to people. In the West the system seems to be constructed in a way which is more resistant to "unhappy people", so people in power can do much more of whatever they like.

The difference follows. Your point: "in Russia the ruling class has to keep promises to people, possibly because otherwise they will be re-elected". My point: "in Russia the ruling class has to keep (some of the) promises to people, possibly because otherwise they will lose power, likely through some violence". It doesn't require direct violence like in 1917, there are other ways the system can go down, and people in this system don't want it.

Gevlon said...

@Anon I missed:
Who are these power holders? How about those who gave $19M to Paul Ryan despite not even being in his district https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/district.php?cycle=2016&display=B
Speak up and lose your job: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/business/media/bill-oreilly-fox-news-allegations.html

@Jean-Mira: since when "do the opposite of what the people want" are high standards in a democratic system? There isn't a single EU15 country where the PEOPLE wanted Syrian/Lybian refugees.

@Antze: your statement need two things to be true:
- Russian people are more rebellious than the Westerns, so they are ready to revolt any time they are wronged, while Westerns are sheep who accept being fooled again and again
- Russian leaders are less violent than the Westerns, so they wouldn't just massacre the revolting people when they rise

Halycon said...

@Gevlon

You're making the normal outsiders mistake in expecting an election to massively change US law or policy. You don't understand the role of the courts in making law.

One of the side effects of how the courts come into play is it slows things down so nothing can happen too fast. You see, the legislative creates a law, the executive passes it and enforces it, and the judicial has to decide what it actually means. Which is much harder than it seems because of how precedents work. The courts want consistency of meaning and enforcement, which takes a lot of time.

For instance, a new law is made. Boom. Several things can happen with it in the courts, if it goes up the chain of courts and lands in SCOTUS it's usually because something about it is unconstitutional, in which case that part is straight up stricken down. But, the more common thing is new law conflicts with old law. And old law is given precedent unless the new law specifically overwrites the old law. So then the courts have to decide how this new law interacts with the old law. That can take years. Decades sometimes for edge cases to trickle into the courts.

That system is a feature. Not a bug. By design the judicial system slows change down so the country has time to adjust from one set of changes to the next. The judicial is setup to provide consistency in law and action, while the other to are setup to disrupt. It's part of the system of checks and balances.

From an outsider it looks bad, maybe, because no single election can have too much of an effect on things. From an insider perspective it means no one can screw things up too badly. The courts keep it from happening. The practical effect though is the US is consistent. Everyone can count on whatever was true yesterday being true tomorrow, and only a few particulars will have changed. Over time big changes can happen, but everything is over a long enough time period to make sure the country can acclimate. Only in a few extraordinary circumstances can big change come rapidly, and usually it's because decades were spent leading upto it.

Antze said...

No idea how these things are needed for my statement to be true. Also no idea how negating them makes my statement invalid (that is, makes peaceful re-election possible). It reads: "if Russian people are not rebellious or Russian leaders are violent, that makes peaceful re-election possible", and it looks quite strange.

It has nothing to do with people's temper, actually Western people seems to be more rebellious for me. My point was that (#probably) the Western power holders are in agreement with each other, so to change something it might require extreme levels of rebellion that might be unacceptable for some people. Russian power holders (#probably) compete with each other, so they are dependent on people (if some of them starts ignoring people, another one might use it for his advantage). Hopefully that side will use "peaceful election mechanism" for gaining advantage, but I wouldn't bet on that - last time power holders were disagreeing, Russian way was "people mysteriously disappearing, ending up in jail, suddenly losing influence, freely and willingly leaving the country, tanks roaming the place near parliament office, etc."

I used #probably tag because I have no idea about power holders and their relations, it just looks for me that way.

Gevlon said...

@Halycon:

‘Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact — and the furthest extension one can even imagine — of the court’s claimed power to create that the constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.’

Antonin Scalia

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/antonin-scalia-defending-democracy-against-judicial-agitation/18037#.WQrj1mnyiHs

Gevlon said...

@Antze You wrote "Russia is not so "democratic" in your sense, that it could be changed through elections" ... "the ruling class in Russia somehow depends on the people's wishes, so if they start just doing whatever they like, they will lose power"

You can lose power two ways:
- democratic elections
- some form of violence (revolution, coup, assassination)

If you say that the ruling class loses power if it goes against the people, you must believe that either
- Russia is a democracy
- Russians are ready to remove the government by violence


Anonymous said...

Gevlon,

These links are your evidence? I can present you the evidence that you can speak and keep your job. That evidence is you. So, we both proved opposite things now. How come?

I can also easily find you the link about various properties Putin owns in various western countries, he would never would be able to afford from his legal income. Will that be an evidence that he is corrupt and maybe also "controlled by someone"?

Gevlon said...

@Anon: nope, I'm not an evidence because
- I live in Hungary that I claim to be democracy and not in "the West" which I claim to be not
- I am not a big public figure, so I'm not sure that whatever I write here is "speaking up"

No, the items owned by Putin proves that he steals, not that he is corrupt. Let me explain:
- policeman lets thief run for money: corrupt
- policeman arrests thief and steals his money instead of turning it in as evidence: thief

While I do not support Putin (and Orbán) stealing, I do not think they are corrupted and controlled by anyone.

Antze said...

OK, that's clear, thanks. I pick the latter option, with a minor correction - "SOME Russians are ready to remove the government by violence". But it's not a belief, it's a hypothesis, or maybe even apprehension.

So I restate my point as follows: "I am afraid that Russia might be not a democracy in sense of having democratic elections, yet Russia has a system which seems to somehow force the leaders to listen to people". I emphasize yet again that I have no proof and it could still be that Russia is a democracy, and the new different leader will come through elections.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon,

Alright, just random link, just like yours: https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/09/06/russia-journalist-punished-chechnya-reporting

This is the evidence for "you speak in Russia, you end up in jail". Though your point still holds, that Russia is more democractic than US?

Policemen example:
You agree that Putin steals. That's good. Now about corruption using your policeman example - if Putin has friends who steals, he must be corrupt. Don't say that he does not know his fiend is doing that - that would mean he is stupid. Do you need a link about Putin friends owning properties around the world or will you find that "evidence" yourself?

Do you agree Putin both steals and is corrupt?

Gevlon said...

@Anon: no. To be corrupt, you need to sell influence for money. Corrupt cop sells "no arrests" for money. Thieving cop sells nothing, he just steals while doing his job properly.

I have not seen evidence that someone walked to Putin, gave him money and it made Putin change a decision. Nor Orbán. What I see in Hungary all the time is Orbán making the right decisions, then let a friendly oligarch implement the decision (build the road, run the newspaper, whatever) for higher than market price and they split the extra profit. It's clearly stealing and I don't approve it.

But the right decision is still made. Corrupted politicians make bad decisions for money. For example Obama bailed out the banks in 2008 and now he got his first $400K payment. Orbán didn't do the same when some investment firm (Questor) failed in Hungary, he let the bank go down and bailed out the little guys who had money inside (and the sums didn't add up, so he probably stole from the money).

Halycon said...

@Gevlon

The argument Scalia was making was to gay marriage. And the people did have a voice. Many many laws were on the books all over the country. Many conflicting. You could be married in one place, move to another, and suddenly be not married. Congress straight up wouldn't touch it, it was too much of a hot button issue with some religious voting blocks. So it fell to the courts to decide what the legal definition of marriage is because of the amount of chaos it was causing. What they were ruling on were state laws causing problems in the republic. It's considered a constitutional right, for now. Congress could revisit the issue, they won't, but they could. Gay marriage was one of those extraordinary cases I was talking about earlier, and it like most of it's kind built over decades to get to that point. Lots and lots of case law had been built up over it from all those laws on the books, almost all of it conflicting, and SCOTUS had to figure out what to do with them.

Scalia's argument is an impassioned plea, but since the national legislature wouldn't touch it, someone had to. It's the same thing with executive orders. Really, the president doesn't have nearly the power executive orders make it seem he does. Executive orders are meant to be a stop gap while actual law is worked out at congress. It's just that year over year congress has passed less and less laws inflating the power of executive orders. If congress actually did their job executive orders would be what they actually are supposed to be. Temporary until the legislature can react to developing situations. That case as well is temporary until congress gets around to it. They won't though, so it'll stand.

Anonymous said...

who dude, before you go about speaking about the banks and Obama you better wake up on the fact since you do not live here there are some things you should not speak about.

But as to the banks, yes some of them are now more controlled tightly by the Federal Gov, and that now is Trump and his circle jerk. I forget which one, but 1 bank attempted to return the bailout and was denied this ability. It was the same with I believe General Mortors, thing is as a major part of our economy we need GM to stay up and running no matter who runs the show(for now). As to the banks, pfft they can go bottom up and it wold not make a dent in how things work with the Federal Reserve still up and running and calling the shots on how our Banking side of the economy works.

Also, us Americans, we are a dysfunctional family most of the time. But if you fuck with us we can unite pretty damn fast, and there is historical evidence of that.

maxim said...

@Gevlon and Antze
On the topic of russian rebelliousness - we really are not too rebellious. We do not often organise marches like the kind we see against Le Pen now (and when we do, they are not nearly that intense, more like socials hanging out). We also have mostly ignored the noticeable drop in our standrats of living that came with recent western sanctions (a drop in standart of living of a similar magnitude in most places in the West causes people to bring molotovs to streets).

That being said, we did end our government twice in XX century (thrice if you count the Provisional Government between February and October 1917), and are unique in that way.
We didn't do it out of any particular sort of rebelliousness, mind you, but rather just because the old government reached its limits and it couldn't maintain the country any longer.