A recent new law signed by Donald Trump to regulate pro-Russian bloggers and their AI bots, forces me to post this ERRATUM to my previous blogpost.
(Ha ha, just kidding! I am posting this of my own free will…)
Anyhow, in my review of the Petr Akopov op-ed about Putin’s big speech to “Russian Gathering” folks, I mistakenly attributed some of Akopov’s editorial comments to Putin himself. Namely, that bit about Globalists and Communists all deriving from the same ((((root)))). And for those not in the know, my sarcastic parentheses around the word “root” is an allusion to an ALT-Right dog-whistle of denoting ((((Jews)))) by putting parentheses around allusions to them. As in, “their malign influence echoes through the centuries”, or something like that. Akopov clearly being of this frame of mind, when he conflates Globalists and Marxists.
In my blogpost I reamed Putin out for taking such a cheap shot; but then my reader Nat pointed out in a comment, in a very kind and very sweet way, that I had gotten the utterances mixed up. It was not an error in translation, just a wrong attribution of an utterance, to the wrong person! My error came in not reading the actual text of Putin’s speech, but only relying in Akopov’s excerpted quotes, into which he freely mixed in his own analysis and opinions. Horrors, who does that?
Well, I, for one. When I first started my blog, I had a vague plan of just doing translations from the Russian press. Then, as my project evolved, I started doing more “analysis and review” than straight translation. I review a lot of op-eds and try to keep track of elite Russian opinion. Sometimes this can be treacherous if one does not take care to separate out different utterances and distinguish fact from opinion. Or, as Putin might say, Separate the flies from the cutlets.
If the President of the Russian Federation had indeed made such an utterance, then it would have turned off at least a couple of segments of Russian society, for example, ethnic Jews (at least those politically-minded ones whose ears are tuned to the dog whistles), and people who vote for the Communist Party. Oh, I doubt if it would have affected Putin’s approval ratings, but it probably would negatively affect his legacy. After all, only crude ALT-Righties actually believe that George Soros and Leon Trotsky are one and the same person. These are people who possess a very limited view of history, to them pretty much everything, including Globalization, is a Jewish conspiracy. And they have no concept of economic class, or different class interests. To them, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew, and all these Jews care about is mooshing all the nations of the world together into one giant cattle farm. Except for Israel, of course! It is almost impossible to debate such primitive views, especially given that there is a molecule of truth in it — just as the random utterances of a schizophrenic off his meds, marching down the street ranting out loud, occasionally contains a true insight, and the sane person pauses for a second and goes, “Hm… that last bit is actually true!”
Oh, this is not the first time that Akopov and I have clashed swords. (Which is actually a hilarious statement on my part, since I am an obscure niche-blogger and Akopov has never heard of me!) Just last week I called him out on his “interference” in American racial politics — on the side of the neo-Confederacy! To wit, in his treatment of the Megyn Kelly firing, Akopov used charged words such as “Reverse Discrimination” which are a sort of dog-whistle that Americans get, but many Russians would not really understand the historical context. Like, that whole little kerfuffle with the Civil War, and the Klan, and all that jazz.
Not 100% sure, but I think this is him, according to his own self-written biography: This man with the intense staring gaze and the grizzled goatee, is 49 years old, a native of Moscow. Was a student at Moscow State Historical Institute. Became a reporter, travelled to South Ossetia in 1991 as a war correspondent. Proud of his right-wing, conservative-nationalist views, Akopov nonetheless served his time working for liberal-democratic press such as “Golos”, but then quit in protest for their support of the 1993 Yeltsin coup. Went on to work for the “Independent Gazette”, “Izvestia”, and many others. This particular biography only brings him up to 2007, but I think it’s safe to assume that this is our guy.
Anyhow, Akopov is a serious reporter and op-ed writer. The fact that he has this job with an important online newspaper like VZGLIAD shows that he is influential. And I feel like it is part of my job as a blogger to review influential Russian opinion. Also, part of my shtick is to analyze ideologies and attempt to categorize and partition people according to their ideologies. This, by the way, is an absolutely taboo practice in the United States. Americans regard the word “ideology” as a dirty word. Talking about “ideologies” is more taboo than talking about sex, or disclosing one’s salary. Most Americans deny they even have one. But basically, everybody has a political ideology, whether they know it or not. Just like everybody speaks in prose, whether they know it or not. Most people just have not really thought it through, and hence their ideology is implicit and subliminal, usually a carbon copy of what their ruling class believes. But for those who really thought it through, it is not an insult to try to peg them into the appropriate pigeon-hole. In fact, it is a necessary and laudable exercise, just like categorizing plants and animals. With less scientific accuracy, obviously, since human opinion is more fluid and fuzzy than, say, DNA.
But with that said, I think it is fair to categorize Petr Akopov as a proponent of the Russian “conservative-patriotic” ideology. These types tend to support Putin who is, essentially, one of them. They are anti-communist and anti-socialist to the core. Which makes them capitalists, but proponents of their own home-grown capitalist class which they hope will not become compradores of Western imperialism A section of these people, then starts to blur into the Right-Nationalist milieu. As in Russian, or possibly pan-Slav Nationalism. Which, in essence, makes them Doxies. It don’t matter if they are personally atheists — they can be Atheist-Orthodox!
The dangerous trend that I see, with my Nostradamic clarity, is that some of these guys, including Akopov apparently, appear to have adopted American Alt-Right’s position on the black-white racial issue. Which is stupid, like I said before, because Russia does not actually have a race problem of its own; so why import this American conflict? Why takes sides in it at all? The danger is that the Russian elite, in discarding “enlightened” views, will become infected with this new dangerous American virus called “Scientific Racism”, This is what I, Cassandra-like, warn against.
And with that final thought, I apologize once again for my erratum, I will try to do better in the future, and I descend from my soapbox…