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Nobody in America seems to have much of anything nice to say about Vladimir Putin or Russia, itself. I wonder if we're seeing the beginning of a new Cold War.

Most of us on Daily Kos disapprove of Putin, at least, for his support and sponsorship of draconian laws against our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia. Good reason, that. But before Russia's "gay propaganda" laws recently became a cause célèbre, American media and mainstream thought had seemingly turned against Russia in general and Putin in particular, on both the Right and the Left. Also, homophobia is deeply ingrained in Russian Culture, supported in an unbroken chain of overwhelming social forces of, first the Tsars and the Russian Orthodox Church, then the Communist Party, and now the unfocused alliance of oligarchs, nationalists and, once again, the Russian Orthodox Church.

But it seems to me that this kind of backlash would happen under any Russian leader of any stripe, if in power at this time, when modern Western influences are fostering the spread of sexual liberality in Russia and LGBT Russians begin to increasingly come out. Given Russian history and the national character, a backlash was probably inevitable, no matter the government in power, even if Russia were fully and openly democratic, which it has never yet been.

In any event, the reactionary backlash unleashed by Russia's "gay propaganda" law goes nowhere near fully explaining why almost all of America hates Vladimir Putin and, inferentially, the Russians. For further exploration and discussion of these ideas, follow me out into the tall grass.

How the Right views Putin and Putin's Russia is represented by a few quotes from this essay in the New Republic.

For the other, the entirety of Russian history is a bloody swamp, from which Russia must be pulled into a liberal European system. What was happening in Pushkin’s Russia, in sum, is extraordinarily reminiscent of what is happening in Putin’s Russia.

. . .

 It is impossible to imagine Putin, the gray little KGB colonel, with a book in his hands.

. . .

 the corrupt system that Putin had built

. . .

the constricting and humiliating space that is Putin’s empire

. . .

The number of people whose brains have been cleansed by Putin TV may be a majority

I get it, they don't like the SOB even if a majority of his people like how he governs them.

So, the Left must be the other way, right? Well, of course not. First, there is the aforesaid LGBT problem. But before that became a focal point, most of the Left and the main stream media had been relentlessly and adamantly opposed to Putin and, more or less, Russia, since the demise of the supposedly more democratic Boris Yeltsin. The Nation put it this way:

But wanton Putin-bashing is also the dominant narrative in centrist, liberal and progressive media, from the Post, Times and The New Republic to CNN, MSNBC and HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, where Howard Dean, not previously known for his Russia expertise, recently declared, to the panel’s approval, “Vladimir Putin is a thug.”
Once upon a time, of course, President George W. Bush caught a glimpse of Vladimi Putin's soul and came away reassured about the Russian, but that fleeting moment of potential good will quickly faded away, judging by something Mr. Bush said five years later:
Putin was on his mind because Russia was about to host the annual summit of the G-8 powers for the first time and Bush feared that the session would be dominated by questions about why an undemocratic nation was hosting a gathering of democratic nations. Bush had been trying to get Putin to relax his authoritarian rule to no avail. "I think Putin is not a democrat anymore," Bush lamented a few weeks later to another visitor, the prime minister of Slovenia. "He's a tsar. I think we've lost him."
It is interesting that back when Russia was still the USSR, there was no outcry to speak of that I recall in America about LGBT repression in Russia. Perhaps that is because the US was hardly better at that time. Yet the prudishness of Russian Communism on all things sexual was very totalitarian:
Information about sexuality in Soviet schools was limited to “family issues and marriage,” according to Lyubov Erofeeva, the director general of the Russian Association for Population and Development.

“In the Soviet era, it was all motivated by building a strong family and loving each other forever,” she told me. “It was about fairy tales that young people were fed by the adults. There was a specialized subject in the school curriculum devoted to family issues and marriage, but nothing about contraception. It was more about the young members of the Communist society and their role in building families.”

“In general,” one Russian TV personality told The New York Times, “it was not acceptable to speak about sex.”

Paging Ozzie and Harriet. The Communist Party and its prudish influence are diminished but hardly gone from Russia. Even today, more than 80 Lenin statues grace Moscow streets and parks and Lenin himself, still today, lies preserved in his Red Square mausoleum, thus:
The Russian Orthodox Church and its enormously prudish influence has more power now than in nearly 100 years. While America still hasn't fully broken away from such shackles, Russia is much farther behind.

There are plenty of other things to dislike about Putin, of course. He has been autocratic, cruel, antidemocratic, an oligarch and has acted in may ways with little regard for U.S. or other Western sentiment. In other words, he has acted like Russian leaders always act.  But, as noted by The Nation in a rare breath fresh air on U.S. Russia relations:

Russia today has serious problems and many repugnant Kremlin policies. But anyone relying on mainstream American media will not find there any of their origins or influences in Yeltsin’s Russia or in provocative US policies since the 1990s—only in the “autocrat” Putin who, however authoritarian, in reality lacks such power. Nor is he credited with stabilizing a disintegrating nuclear-armed country, assisting US security pursuits from Afghanistan and Syria to Iran or even with granting amnesty, in December, to more than 1,000 jailed prisoners, including mothers of young children.
The facts on the ground don't support the kind of enmity toward Putin and Russia that has become a groundswell in broadening ripples through all political spectra and the media. So, what is driving the bad feelings? An hypothesis for an answer might be found by asking cui bono, who will benefit from what we observe happening? The answer the pops into my mind is the MIC, the military-industrial complex.

The war on terror, especially in the old Neocon dreams of the Global War on Terror and the Long War, seems to be becoming more difficult for the MIC to sustain with changes including President Obama's reforms of our military commitments and force structures. Pivoting back to a belligerent stance against Russia could help supply the MIC the continued funding on which the parasitic monster feeds. If enthusiasm fades for engaging in asymmetrical combat worldwide, a strategic nuclear opponent is a good substitute for purposes serving the interests of the MIC.  

It seems that enmity toward Russia is always easy to inflame in America. Even the brief WWII alliance between the USSR and USA was rocky, perilous and essentially unfriendly.

Several issues arose during the war that threatened the alliance. These included the Soviet refusal to aide the Polish Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising of August 1944, and the decision of British and U.S. officials to exclude the Soviets from secret negotiations with German officers in March of 1945 in an effort to secure the surrender of German troops in Italy. The most important disagreement, however, was over the opening of a second front in the West. Stalin’s troops struggled to hold the Eastern front against the Nazi forces, and the Soviets began pleading for a British invasion of France immediately after the Nazi invasion in 1941. In 1942, Roosevelt unwisely promised the Soviets that the Allies would open the second front that autumn. Although Stalin only grumbled when the invasion was postponed until 1943, he exploded the following year when the invasion was postponed again until May of 1944. In retaliation, Stalin recalled his ambassadors from London and Washington and fears soon arose that the Soviets might seek a separate peace with Germany.

Then came the tension, for generations, of the Cold War, with constant fear of nuclear annihilation and nearly unbroken international and military tension and Ronald Reagan's ranting about evil empires. There was a brief but wary thaw from late Gorbachev through Yeltsin, but now the old feelings are boiling up.  

I like Russians. I visited Russia during the Cold War. I served militarily during the Cold War. My internist is Russian. My pain doctor is Russian. I live where a lot of Russian emigres live. Russia is a huge nation rich in resources and people, tradition, culture and the arts. Russia, is among the handful of other huge, rich nations, such as the USA, European Union, China and Brazil. Such nations must get along or mankind might not survive. Hating on each other about everything might not be the best way to do that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

    by LeftOfYou on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:31:04 PM PST

  •  in Russia, Lenin shoots John David Chapman /nt (6+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:40:18 PM PST

  •  Very interesting. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, commonmass, LeftOfYou

    "I swear it to you on my common woman's head, the common woman is as common as a common loaf of bread ... and will rise."

    by Expat Okie on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:42:13 PM PST

  •  I don't know where you find evidence that (17+ / 0-)

    Americans don't like the Russian people.

    Historically, Americans have always supported the Russian people. It was America that saved Russia from the worst famine ever to strike the modern world in 1921. After the Revolution.

    I don't like Putin for what he is doing to Russia. But that does not mean that I do not like the Russian people.

    •  To be sure. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Wreck Smurfy, poco, Mr Robert

      And the US and USSR were WWII allies as noted in the OP. Yet, a long history of enmity and unfriendly competition exists between the two peoples as history undeniably attests, up to the threshold of nuclear war, even, in 1962.

      Notwithstanding whatever positive dealings the countries have enjoyed, there has remained a deep reservoir of distrust and dislike that certain types of American political and media types have never hesitated to exploit for gain.  

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:58:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  ? (0+ / 0-)

      The post Revolutionary 1921 famine was not the worst in the modern world and the USA did not "save Russia" from it. No one has ever "saved" the poor Russians from their difficult political history. Rather they saved us, in World War II, when they suffered more deaths than every other country ON BOTH SIDES put together and faced more German divisions than all the other allies put together.

      If it weren't for the Russians, we would all be goose stepping aryans, or dead.

  •  I don't have anything against Russians. (13+ / 0-)

    Ethnic animosity is idiotic.

    But Vladimir Putin is a thug. His reputation as an authoritarian bastard is well-earned.

    •  I don't see that article the same way. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Gordon20024, Mr Robert

      I see that there are those on the Right who are happy to use Putin as a foil in their criticisms actually aimed at President Obama. I don't see much evidence in the Slate piece that the Right likes Putin just fine, though I agree the author tries to sell that idea.

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:03:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You could put it this way. But there is certainly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftOfYou

        no hatred for Putin and Russians.

        •  Maybe Not. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG, poco

          But then again, when the National Review publishes, Putin -- Saruman Come Alive, one must wonder just how the Right really feels about the guy.

          "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

          by LeftOfYou on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:15:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure, there are plenty of articles highly (0+ / 0-)

            critical of Putin. And he certainly did a lot to earn that. But Hanson's article doesn't demonize Russia. And Weigel showed a number of articles from the right that are quite complimentary of Putin. So there doesn't seem to be a consensus opinion. People routinely project their stances on domestic issues to international politics.

      •  They won't completely warm up to him because (0+ / 0-)

        he's Russian, and conservatives take comfort in their traditional rivalries.  In fact, you could say that's another reason they like him.  His personality and actions make Russia a more credible adversary.

    •  Yeah, the Right loves him. Where you been? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, FiredUpInCA

      Not new either. This goes all the way back to them adoring Milosevic as a hero that fought "teh muslims" and pining for Russia to send troops into Kosovo.

      Throw in the Homophobia and his not being Obama? Oh yeahhh they wish they had a REAL MAN in charge like Putin. Ugh.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:32:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not surprising (0+ / 0-)

      They wouldn't be terribly disappointed by his economic policies either. Flat and low taxes, corporatism in the vital sectors and freewheeling marketism everywhere else, all brought about by Vladimir, Defender of the Faith.

  •  I think that the old cold war (7+ / 0-)

    is still pretty much alive in the American world view.

  •  I love white Russians. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, LeftOfYou, Wreck Smurfy

    Although black Russians are all right, too.

    They're both great drinks; just depends on what you're in the mood for.

    On a more serious note, I don't hate Russia. Putin is not a nice guy, but he seems to be a student of realpolitik and we can deal with him on that basis.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:58:26 PM PST

  •  The only person who could truly love Putin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, Lawrence

    is Erich Mielke, and he's dead.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:00:17 PM PST

    •  In fact, if Erich Mielke were alive, (0+ / 0-)

      he'd be debriefing Snowden personally and would be quite in awe.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:01:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've never liked any of them. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, limpidglass, Mr Robert

      Russia almost always throws up fierce and disagreeable tyrants as its leaders. I don't like Putin either. But we still have to have a way to get along with his country and I'm pretty sure that submarines and aircraft carriers, etc. are not the way.  

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:08:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Russia has always been interested in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, jayden, atana

    competing with us on everything (or vice versa.)   Space exploration, moon landing, arms battle, what countries in Europe to divide which way after WWII, sports ("Hockey miracle, Olympics") on and on the list goes.

    Putin seems kind of "cave man" on many things, so I can see where many on the right actually like him (he fits in with them) and many on the left despise him like we do tea-baggers.   But, on a meta level I think a lot here find much to like amongst the Russian people, their culture, history, etc.      

    •  Bush once described Putin as ignorent. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      atana, crose

      Think about that for a moment.  

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:19:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Russia's history always depressed me. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crose

      Only country that had more slaves in the 19th century than America.

      Siberia.

      Bolsheviks were dicks and then it got worse.

      Alcoholism.  

      Who's the greatest Russian leader in history? Ivan the Terrible or Stalin?

      Russian history makes Irish history look like Spongebob i swear.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:40:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What's wrong with competion? (0+ / 0-)

      Obama loves competition in the global marketplace so long as he's winning. When he's losing it's another matter altogether.

      My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

      by Mr Robert on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:59:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  yes, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou

    Scott Lively and Peter LaBarbera (Porno Pete) LOVE Russia, because of things like the gay propaganda law. Lively, in fact, has offered Russia as a refuge for Americans who despise marriage equality.

  •  Great diary. And I agree it's the MIC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, Mr Robert, poco

    that has the most to gain from the Putin and Russia bashing. Here in Canada we're spending billions on old leftover British diesel-electric submarines. For what? Certainly not the "War on Terror". And our former defense minister tried to justify buying F-35 fighters because them darn Rooskies keep testing our northern air defenses with their bombers. These bombers. From the 1950s. What a joke.

    -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

    by Wreck Smurfy on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:18:49 PM PST

    •  Russia bashing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler

      I can't believe the Nationalistic propaganda that NBC is delivering along with its coverage of the Olympics.

      I think that in spite of some slip ups here and there that Russia has done a fantastic job not to mention that they have kicked the USA in the ass in some events.

      So I say good for them and good for Russia regardless who leads the country.

      My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

      by Mr Robert on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:56:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, I think the diary is mainly nonsense. (5+ / 0-)

    Most U.S. citizens have no idea who Putin is and couldn't identify Russia on a map.

  •  Lessee... (12+ / 0-)

    ...my grandparents, mother and uncle and another aunt all came from Russia. Dedushka was in the Tsar Nicky's army. My brother's wife is from Chelyabinsk and she grew up under the Soviet system. (And stories to curl hair...)

    None of this qualifies me to speak about Russian geo-political intrigues or even present-day Russian culture.

    But I CAN speak about the character of the Russians I've known in my life.

    Suspicious of strangers at first, once befriended by a Russian, it's for life. Russians don't give loyalty easily or readily, but once given they are more loyal than tapeworms.

    They are very much aware of the stereotypes the world holds about them, especially the US. This is one area you can easily offend a Russian. Russians are VERY proud people.

    Do NOT tell a Russian how "we saved your ass" during WWII. For one thing, Russians call it "The Great Patriotic War." America's dead was 405,000 or 0.3% of the population of the time. Russia lost more than 25 million people. Over 14% of their population of the time.

    Russians are complex people. They are, in many ways, a FAR more diverse country than the US. But they are only in the past couple of decades able to begin to establish a national character which reflects Russia and not it's divergent parts.

    A lot like us.

    Putin will go someday. Russia will overcome many of it's present problems with or without Putin or anyone else.

    Let's cut them some slack.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:23:58 PM PST

  •  Too bad we are doomed to be natural allies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    balancing potential threats from powers in Europe and Asia.

  •  Most Kossacks supported Putin, when Romney (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, truong son traveler

    called him America's #1 enemy.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:44:23 PM PST

  •  No point (2+ / 0-)

    in trying to argue against 70 years of Cold War propaganda and stereotyping.  Americans will hate Russians so long as there is a Russia.  

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:57:30 PM PST

  •  Russians can not find their footing in the modern (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, jayden

    world.  It hurt them not to have the Renaissance or Enlighenment.  They can not break out of their need for an autocratic leader and a purdish, backward Orthodox Church.  Their dreadful loss of life in World War II of 20 million people is not something to casually bounce back from either.

  •  Whatever people think, they better start thinking (3+ / 0-)

    about how dangerous it's getting and how their own government is the most dangerous of them all.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:29:20 PM PST

    •  Without a doubt n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt

      My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

      by Mr Robert on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:48:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is kind of hard to overlook the fact that they (0+ / 0-)

      protect and support the Assad/Syria and Iranian regimes.  At the same time, they do so for their own security and interests, not soley because they openly state that they are our enemies.  But, China does the same with this a crazy dictator in North Korea.

      But, I agree, they are potentially very dangerous.  I was hopeful that both parties wanted to move past the cold war.  But, with Putin at the helm, it doesn't appear to be realistic.

      Recent efforts seem to highlight concerns.  The Olympic spending demonstrates the level of corruption under Putin, as does the Ukrainian revolt.  Even Mitt Romney blasted Putin for spending $52 billion dollars on the games.  And, who does so at a beach resort for a winter Olympics?  Seems pretty clear that Putin and cronies plan to vacation there often in their new villas.  

      I was personally taken aback to learn that in front of his children, he had his young, gymnast mistress participate in lighting the Olympic torch.

  •  Hate is too strong a word. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    For the baby boomers, there's a legacy of competition with Russia that ranges from who can make a better refrigerator to who can build a bigger hydrogen bomb. The Soviets were my generation's "boogeyman", but I - for one - hated the Arms Race, not the Russians.

    Younger Americans might have very different views. Except for a few Young Republicans, I don't think that Gen-X really took Reagan's warnings about the "Evil Empire" seriously. For Gen-Y, the USSR was displaced by Osama Bin Laden as great boogeyman.

    Current competition with Russia revolves mainly around access to gas & oil in the 'stans... and Europe's struggle to avoid dependency on Russian pipelines. I'm convinced that Russia's only interest in Syria is to prevent southern pipeline routes to the Mediterranean from being realized.

    The Great Game is on, so it's no great surprise that America's "official" press is doing what it can to discourage positive opinions of Russia.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:31:59 PM PST

    •  Competition not all bad... (0+ / 0-)


      The Soviet Union claimed to hold up a Communistic ideal that is drawn from the Christian Book of Acts.  That Moscow took special delight in telling everybody how rotten Jim Crow was made voting rights and civil rights more tolerable for enough hawks to get them past filibusters.  We're still profiting from technologies developed to get us to the Moon before the Soviets got there.  

      Now, the "competition" is a naked kleptocracy in Russia and China's autocratic, largely capitalist regime.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:36:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are more than enough thugs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    to go around in this world and the USA has more than its fair share in my opinion.

    US history tells me that the USA is more than willing to throw its weight around decade after decade.

    So in my opinion the USA is no better or worse than Russia unless you focus in on particular issues like LGBT rights.

    My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

    by Mr Robert on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:46:13 PM PST

  •  I hope the American people don't have enmity for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DowneastDem

    the Russian people, just for the current Russian government (and unfortunately every previous Russian government).  Boris Yeltsin presided over the rise of the oligarchs, and every other Russian government back to Ivan the Terrible has been tyrannical.  Not long after Alexis de Tocqueville visited America and remarked that the future of humanity seemed to depend on America and Russia, another French aristocrat, who like Tocqueville lost most of his family in the Revolution, made a tour of Russia, hoping to find justification for his conservatism.  His name was Astolphe de Custine.  He was gay and good friends with Balzac and Chopin.  He was quickly cured of thinking that autocracy was a good thing.  And he was so terrified of what might happen if the Russian government knew what he was writing that he kept it all hidden until he was safely across the border in Germany.  Much of the negative impressions he got has continued to be true after 160 years.
    But nonetheless the Russian people have excelled in science, arts, and literature far out of proportion with their numbers.   Arguably more than us.

    Armed! I feel like a savage! Barbarella

    by richardvjohnson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:57:49 PM PST

  •  Real & false reasons for antipathy toward Putin (5+ / 0-)

    It isn't the American people who have any visceral dislike of Russia or its leadership. Really it's the mainstream media & the Washington policy establishment who particularly revile the man & reflexively dislike Russia. The reason: he has shown the confidence & the audacity to stand up to U.S. hegemony in world affairs.

    It has nothing to do with the anti-gay law, certainly nothing to do with Pussy Riot. Those are just pabulum for domestic media consumption. It has much to do with Georgia, Ukraine, Syria & Iran. It has much to do with Russian resource nationalism, Russian rejection of the "Washington consensus" in economic policy, & Russian resistance to further NATO expansion.

    All through the 1990s, the practice on the U.S. side was to mouth words about "partnership", "peace", "new beginning" or whatever, but the real policy was to roll back Russian power & influence, whenever & wherever possible - NATO expansion, Serbia, all those "color revolutions" in former Soviet republics. In essence, to kick 'em while they were down. Under Putin, Russia began to push back, & has successfully thwarted U.S. ambitions in many regional theaters. Whatever one thinks of his domestic policies, in foreign affairs Putin has played exceptionally well the weak hand he was initially dealt. This is why they don't like him.

  •  well let me count the ways (0+ / 0-)

    Let's see:

    levelling Grozny
    maintaining hostile, dominating relations with all neighbors, which given Russia history, is hardly a pleasant
    Doing its best to support Assad
    jailing Greenpeace activists, leading opposition leaders and dissidents
    and on, and on

    But yeah, of course there's hardly a nasty oppressive regime the left hasn't been able to cuddle up with.

  •  when it comes to gay porn (especially of the (0+ / 0-)

    "twink" variety), Russia has had for years a thriving industry, and it caters primarily to the American market.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:15:26 PM PST

  •  Dare I say that perhaps Christianist (2+ / 0-)

    Fundamentalism, especially in its Christian Zionist form, has far more influence on American foreign policy than the Russian Orthodox Church has on Putin's?

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:24:32 PM PST

  •  I thought Putin was the hero of transparency, (0+ / 0-)

    offering Snowden refuge and all that.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:36:27 PM PST

  •  Music, dance, science, engineering, literature (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    Russians excel at all human endeavors. The story of the Russian scientists who starved to death protecting the (edible) seed bank during the siege of Lenningrad is incredibly heroic. (look up Pavlovsk Experimental Station)

    Competition yes, or course, but hatred? of the Russian people? Nyet.

    I don't think much of this diary.

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:25:55 PM PST

  •  American media misrepresent Putin (0+ / 0-)
    Distorting Russia

    How the American media misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine.

    The degradation of mainstream American press coverage of Russia, a country still vital to US national security, has been under way for many years. If the recent tsunami of shamefully unprofessional and politically inflammatory articles in leading newspapers and magazines—particularly about the Sochi Olympics, Ukraine and, unfailingly, President Vladimir Putin—is an indication, this media malpractice is now pervasive and the new norm.

    There are notable exceptions, but a general pattern has developed. Even in the venerable New York Times and Washington Post, news reports, editorials and commentaries no longer adhere rigorously to traditional journalistic standards, often failing to provide essential facts and context; to make a clear distinction between reporting and analysis; to require at least two different political or “expert” views on major developments; or to publish opposing opinions on their op-ed pages. As a result, American media on Russia today are less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when they covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War.
    ...
    ...A new Cold War divide between West and East may now be unfolding, not in Berlin but in the heart of Russia’s historical civilization. The result could be a permanent confrontation fraught with instability and the threat of a hot war far worse than the one in Georgia in 2008. These dangers have been all but ignored in highly selective, partisan and inflammatory US media accounts, which portray the European Union’s “Partnership” proposal benignly as Ukraine’s chance for democracy, prosperity and escape from Russia, thwarted only by a “bullying” Putin and his “cronies” in Kiev.
    ...

  •  It's largely a matter of sibling rivalry. (0+ / 0-)

    The U.S. and Russia are very similar -- culturally and ethnically and geographically split. The internal tensions are easier to deal with when there's an external threat. And then there's jealousy, an emotion that's prompted not so much by what people have, but by an obsessive need to get attention.

    http://hannah.smith-family.com

    by hannah on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:34:38 AM PST

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