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ukraine military vs russia

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Heh :D

Obama makes a statement... Fox spends the next few days telling us how the world is going to end because of what he said, MSNBC thinks we're all saved, and NPR examines both sides and concludes nobody is right or wrong.

Putin makes a statement... Russian media repeats it then moves on to remind the world that the CIA invented Ebola, HIV, and probably that nasty toe fungus I see in magazine ads telling me they can cure it.

There is certainly a difference, even though in both cases the average person in both countries would rather watch (fill in blank) reality TV show than think.

Steve

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Heh :D

Obama makes a statement... Fox spends the next few days telling us how the world is going to end because of what he said, MSNBC thinks we're all saved, and NPR examines both sides and concludes nobody is right or wrong.

Putin makes a statement... Russian media repeats it then moves on to remind the world that the CIA invented Ebola, HIV, and probably that nasty toe fungus I see in magazine ads telling me they can cure it.

There is certainly a difference, even though in both cases the average person in both countries would rather watch (fill in blank) reality TV show than think.

Steve

While I understand your point, and agree with the spirit of it, its not completely true about Russian media. The Russian version of 'reality TV' in your scenario is probably foreign TV series streaming on the internet. However, the people who 'want to think' as you put it, don't pay attention to the mass media - they get news from many different independent media outlets in the country.

The Russian media sources I see quoted by the Western media are often the least trusted, always ridiculed, and generally viewed as completely unreliable by the general public. You can talk all you want about the Russian media, but don't forget about the audience of it - a people who have never had a media that could be trusted. Nobody here views the news as the news - it is viewed as the version of events somebody else wants you to believe. It is a different culture here, you can't use an American POV to judge how a Russian understands his or her own media.

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wait, are we talking Russian or American media here? I am getting confused.

:confused:

Russian media, as I am a Russian I have no understanding in how Americans view their media.

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Russian media, as I am a Russian I have no understanding in how Americans view their media.

It seems to a certain degree we view our media the same, just funny to hear it put the same way I think of mine.

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While I understand your point, and agree with the spirit of it, its not completely true about Russian media. The Russian version of 'reality TV' in your scenario is probably foreign TV series streaming on the internet.

If Russian TV doesn't have things like "Biggest Loser", "The Voice", 'Top Chef", etc, then that's one thing Russian TV is much better at than American TV :D

However, the people who 'want to think' as you put it, don't pay attention to the mass media - they get news from many different independent media outlets in the country.

The problem is they don't appear to believe much of that either. Besides my own experiences with obviously well educated Russians believing the most ridiculous things, when polls are conducted of Russians the results aren't very good. And I say that knowing full well that the results aren't good in pretty much any country (the US has a shockingly large number of people that believe the Earth is a few thousand years old, for example).

The problem I see is that all countries have people that are naive and/or intellectually challenged (i.e. not very smart or at least not well educated). In the West there is no state sponsored media that controls more than 90% what people have available for news. Which means Western "challenged" people end up believing a wide mix of stupid things because they not brainwashed by a single message. This dilutes the "challenged" people's impact on Western society in most ways most of the time. Of course there are exceptions :(

In Russia it is very different. The state controls almost everything that everybody sees, reads, or hears in terms of news. And it is trying to control the Internet and other sources just like it did in the Soviet days of radio, movies, books, etc. Which means the "challenged" Russians get a steady and consistent message from (ultimately) one source. Therefore "challenged" people are more-or-less concentrated into a single block of confused/misled/fearful people that agree with the state's messages. This block is large enough that it can be used to maintain order and control. Long ago repressive regimes figured out that this is all that is necessary to maintain power.

The Russian media sources I see quoted by the Western media are often the least trusted, always ridiculed, and generally viewed as completely unreliable by the general public.

I have read about this in the media and I've listened to first hand accounts of it. There is also lots of speculation that opinion polls, even ones done by international organizations, are not reliable because of Russians' long history of mistrust of people asking questions. Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, has a long history of "honey pots" (people/organizations that say they oppose the government, but in fact are agents of the government designed to gather names of possible enemies of the state), surveillance, and "snitches". Which means people do not naturally trust people asking for opinions.

I sympathize with what the average Russian must think when someone calls and says "we're conducting a survey. Do you like Vladimir Putin?". Given a choice between speaking my mind and giving the "correct answer", I too might give the "correct answer" because it is also the "safe answer". In the West there is no hesitation... we know we can say what we think. Mostly because we know nobody in power cares :(

You can talk all you want about the Russian media, but don't forget about the audience of it - a people who have never had a media that could be trusted. Nobody here views the news as the news - it is viewed as the version of events somebody else wants you to believe. It is a different culture here, you can't use an American POV to judge how a Russian understands his or her own media.

Oh, trust me... I know. Russian media has not moved very far away from Soviet media. The struggle had moments of success, but since the 2010/2012 period (when Putin found that Russians were catching on to vote rigging and corruption problems) it hasn't been good. In the last year the new laws restricting freedom of information and independent press has been especially bad.

Steve

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The problem I see is that all countries have people that are naive and/or intellectually challenged (i.e. not very smart or at least not well educated). In the West there is no state sponsored media that controls more than 90% what people have available for news. Which means Western "challenged" people end up believing a wide mix of stupid things because they not brainwashed by a single message. This dilutes the "challenged" people's impact on Western society in most ways most of the time. Of course there are exceptions :(

Steve

I think this is the main difference between western and russian media. Looking at media as a whole some might think that they are comparable, but westerners have a faster way to access multiple points of view.

I wouldn't say that "challenged" people make the difference. You are in the unique position of having a lot of time to devote to research (at least thats what I think). Many others might be both interested and intelligent but can't find the time for in-depth research. In the west those people can get a look at multiple perspectives because mainstream media is more diverse.

Another factor might be that in the west education has the goal of promoting critical thinking (at least in the countries I know of). I don't think that the same is happening in Russia.

If Russian TV doesn't have things like "Biggest Loser", "The Voice", 'Top Chef", etc, then that's one thing Russian TV is much better at than American TV :D

This got me thinking...

What if all those shows are a piece of a plan to defend democracy in the west? If "challenged" people devote time to those shows they don't have time to organise in groups that promote a... simple view of the world. If you discuss who is the "biggest Loser", the "Voice" or the "Top Chef" (That's what those shows are about, right?) you can't start a discussion about how the evil jews are controlling the whole world. Maybe those shows are what defends democracy in the first place. Maybe those shows are our savior.

It all makes sense now.:eek:

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I think this is the main difference between western and russian media. Looking at media as a whole some might think that they are comparable, but westerners have a faster way to access multiple points of view.

Yes, and more importantly they are constantly exposed to the contrasting points of view. Either directly (i.e. they see/hear it) or indirectly (i.e. talking politics at work or a pub). Unfortunately, in the West many people are deciding for themselves to only get information from a "partisan" source. This is not good when the source has "quality" problems. For example, I have read some studies that show people who almost exclusively get their news from US Fox News are less accurately informed than people who do not watch news programs on a regular basis! Fox also ranks lowest in terms of factual accuracy amongst the major US news media.

I say this only to remind everybody that I do not view the Western model of news economics as perfect. And don't even get me started on my opinions about voting :D

I wouldn't say that "challenged" people make the difference. You are in the unique position of having a lot of time to devote to research (at least thats what I think). Many others might be both interested and intelligent but can't find the time for in-depth research. In the west those people can get a look at multiple perspectives because mainstream media is more diverse.

I largely agree, but I think you missed one critical point. There are hundreds of millions of "challenged" people in the West on any given topic, yet the governments can't easily get them to do something active like covertly invade a foreign country. This is probably the case in Russia too, but the difference is the Kremlin has the tools necessary to convince enough "challenged" people to get the job done.

Remember, the Kremlin doesn't need millions of Russians brainwashed into committing acts of violence in a neighboring country. No, it only needs enough people to do the fighting, a slightly larger number to support it in concept, and an even larger number to not question it. Combined with the usual tools of a repressive and corrupt state, this is adequate to get the job done.

If there are 10,000 Russians in Ukraine right now, how many of them have to be convinced to join the war? 8,000? Even considering months of rotation, casualties, disillusionment, etc. that number is probably no greater than 32,000 for 1 year of fighting. Out of a population 140 million there might be 32 million of military age and fitness. That means state media only needs to score a success rate of 1 in 1000 to have a sustainable effort in Ukraine. Even in the West there's more than 1 in 1000 that are "challenged". The difference is the Western governments would have a very, very difficult time to convince their "challenged" people to illegally cross an international border, take up arms, and kill people. Especially on this scale.

Another factor might be that in the west education has the goal of promoting critical thinking (at least in the countries I know of). I don't think that the same is happening in Russia.

Although it is unevenly applied across the Western world, by and large this is correct. Teachers encourage students to ask questions and research answers. The West, in particular the United States, also has a governmental and economic system that encourages new and different ideas. Again, far from perfect, but there's a reason why most big things are invented in the West and in particular the United States.

This got me thinking...

What if all those shows are a piece of a plan to defend democracy in the west? If "challenged" people devote time to those shows they don't have time to organise in groups that promote a... simple view of the world. If you discuss who is the "biggest Loser", the "Voice" or the "Top Chef" (That's what those shows are about, right?) you can't start a discussion about how the evil jews are controlling the whole world. Maybe those shows are what defends democracy in the first place. Maybe those shows are our savior.

It all makes sense now.:eek:

I agree with sburke's comment... reality TV is the opiate of the masses. People only have so much free time and so much mental energy. If it is occupied with Duck Dynasty and The Kardashians, it is not spending time figuring out how to change the system in order to earn a livable wage.

And yes, I regularly recommend people watch the movie Idiocracy :D

Steve

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There is no Russian "Biggest Loser" but there is a Ukrainian version.

Ah! Then perhaps Putin's interference in Ukraine isn't an effort to stop the advancement of the EU, NATO, and domestic political reform?!? Perhaps it is to stop the spread of horrible reality TV programming over the border into Russia? If so, then I will change my view of the war in Ukraine from "totally unjustified" to "well, Putin's got a good point" :D

Steve

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The difference is the Western governments would have a very, very difficult time to convince their "challenged" people to illegally cross an international border, take up arms, and kill people. Especially on this scale.

I know type of engagement was different in Iraq and Afghanistan then now in Ukraine but in the end at the time West didn't have much of an issue invading those two contries on illgal pretensions.

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I know type of engagement was different in Iraq and Afghanistan then now in Ukraine but in the end at the time West didn't have much of an issue invading those two contries on illgal pretensions.

Well, Powell's lies in front of the UN (WMD trucks) did enough for the time being to convince the necessary people to fight (army personnel), support it(governments) or just do nothing about it (the general population watching the Biggest Loser). Same tricks, different execution ;)

Poor Powell.

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I'd just like to point out, the common man has no problem being able to show his or her displeasure with Vova. There are constantly hippie guys playing anti Putin songs in front of my metro station in full earshot of the police with no issues. You can buy anti-Putin T-Shirts from souvenir kiosks on Nevsky Prospekt and at Gostiny Dvor. The notion that people are afraid to proclaim their displeasure is an invention of the West. The common man is no real threat to Putin's power. Yes a couple years ago there were some large demonstrations, but alas - this was a major minority in the country combined with people that got swept up into the 'party' so to speak who now are completely apathetic again. The thing is Putin is very popular but his party is not. Putin easily can win elections with 70% of the vote legitimately. His party on the other hand, is hated, especially at the local level. These are the people that need election tampering to win elections. This tampering is not even ordered by Putin, he just allows it to happen. Another misunderstanding is that Putin is issuing orders for corruption, the reality is his allows a lot of autonomy to the regional governments, he overlooks corruption and remains clean - though getting things done in a dirty way is implied. Regional governments that play the game get extra funding that is completely stolen from the region and put in United Russia party members' pockets in seemingly legal ways. Gangster ****.

Reporters that report on things that can seriously damage Putin are 'taken care of' But it is not at the orders of Putin, it is done by the Regional governments acting on their own initiative not wanting to lose their income flow.

The need to be an ally of the President with vast power causes local governments to act harshly often. Never at the order of the president. He is more of an indirect tyrant if that makes sense. But of course he understands this... Its some passive aggressive tyrany.

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Well, Powell's lies in front of the UN (WMD trucks) did enough for the time being to convince the necessary people to fight (army personnel), support it(governments) or just do nothing about it (the general population watching the Biggest Loser). Same tricks, different execution ;)

Poor Powell.

I'm not sure Powell lied I'm convinced he thought he was telling 100% truths.

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I'm not sure Powell lied I'm convinced he thought he was telling 100% truths.

I believe you are correct and this was a major breaking point in his relations to the Bush administration.

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...Western governments would have a very, very difficult time to convince their "challenged" people to illegally cross an international border, take up arms, and kill people....

In fact, the IS has an easier time of it than our Governments. I'd bet money that there are more UK nationals fighting in IS "formations" in Syria and Iraq than there are fighting on either side in Ukraine.

...Especially on this scale.

Though even the IS and all the weight of Islamic fundamentalism can't produce as many "volunteers" using their leave and "borrowing" army equipment to go fight in their chosen cause celebre as the passionate, freedom-defending Russian nation can...

I agree with sburke's comment... reality TV is the opiate of the masses. People only have so much free time and so much mental energy. If it is occupied with Duck Dynasty and The Kardashians, it is not spending time figuring out how to change the system in order to earn a livable wage.

Our current crop of politicians can't even do "Bread and Circuses" right. They keep cutting the bread ration and hoping that the "free" (actually, it's expensive, but the plebs have been persuaded that it's worth spending food money on) entertainment will keep getting more addictive and pick up the slack. Pretty soon, though, we'll be too fat to riot.

I know type of engagement was different in Iraq and Afghanistan then now in Ukraine but in the end at the time West didn't have much of an issue invading those two contries on illgal pretensions.

Actually, the people of the West did, especially over Iraq. And you're presuming quite a lot to call the invasion of Afghanistan illegal. It's also probably worth pointing out that even were the invasions illegal and fully supported by the population, the governments involved didn't lie about the fact that the invasion was going on.

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I'm not sure Powell lied I'm convinced he thought he was telling 100% truths.

I'm not so sure of that. There was coming a lot of signals from intelligence that they couldn't find proof of anything WMD related. But, the higher ups had already decided there was going to be a war anyhow. He was just doing his job, but he ain't that stupid ;)

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Well, Powell's lies in front of the UN (WMD trucks) did enough for the time being to convince the necessary people to fight (army personnel), support it(governments) or just do nothing about it (the general population watching the Biggest Loser). Same tricks, different execution ;)

Poor Powell.

The notable difference was that that the U.S. didn't say "Who? What? Us? We have no idea who is bombing the crap out of Baghdad!". Putin is pretty much literally doing that in Ukraine

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The notable difference was that that the U.S. didn't say "Who? What? Us? We have no idea who is bombing the crap out of Baghdad!". Putin is pretty much literally doing that in Ukraine

Exactly. The US has waged war many times against many countries for questionable, if not factious, reasons. However, when it invades a country it does it in the open. It also usually does it with allies and after presenting a case (flawed or otherwise) to the UN and international community.

Russia, on the other hand, invades unilaterally without making a case for invasion because it says it hasn't invaded. When it does invade in the open, like Georgia and the 2nd Chechen War, it makes sure there is an immediate pretext so that it can claim it was acting in self defense.

As for the legality of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... Afghanistan was clearly legal and justified. Iraq was a lot murkier. Clearly the presented case for war against Iraq was mostly a lie, but it was presented and many people (including me) knew it was a lie. Almost 1/3rd of the US Congress voted against authorizing the war, which mean others knew it was a weak case (at best).

The West's handling of war is certainly imperfect and it can be swayed by lies. True. But we at least have a debate and the debate matters. And Western society constantly looks at itself with a critical eye. As a result the world knows the reasons for war in Iraq were mostly lies. In contrast, I still have to debate Russians about how bad the Soviet Union was :(

Steve

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I'd just like to point out, the common man has no problem being able to show his or her displeasure with Vova. There are constantly hippie guys playing anti Putin songs in front of my metro station in full earshot of the police with no issues. You can buy anti-Putin T-Shirts from souvenir kiosks on Nevsky Prospekt and at Gostiny Dvor.

This is well known to me. Putin is one of the "smartest" autocrats I can think of. He recognized, very early on, that the quickest way to be seen as a dictator was to blatantly act like one. The Soviet Union had a security apparatus that punished people for doing as little as complaining about lines for bread, not to mention criticizing Soviet leadership. Putin correctly determined that this sort of complaining doesn't translate into direct action against the government. So he allows it and claims it shows Russia is a nation of free people. It was good enough to fool many people in the West, that's for sure.

The notion that people are afraid to proclaim their displeasure is an invention of the West.

I have heard this accusation about answering polls from Russians as well as the West. I do not know how widespread this concern is. You think it's not a significant factor. I will side with your opinion.

The common man is no real threat to Putin's power. Yes a couple years ago there were some large demonstrations, but alas - this was a major minority in the country combined with people that got swept up into the 'party' so to speak who now are completely apathetic again. The thing is Putin is very popular but his party is not. Putin easily can win elections with 70% of the vote legitimately. His party on the other hand, is hated, especially at the local level. These are the people that need election tampering to win elections. This tampering is not even ordered by Putin, he just allows it to happen. Another misunderstanding is that Putin is issuing orders for corruption, the reality is his allows a lot of autonomy to the regional governments, he overlooks corruption and remains clean - though getting things done in a dirty way is implied. Regional governments that play the game get extra funding that is completely stolen from the region and put in United Russia party members' pockets in seemingly legal ways. Gangster ****.

This is well known to me. It is *exactly* how the Third Reich operated. In fact, it is why Russia's government today looks and acts so much like the Third Reich in more ways than it does not. Hitler set the rules and pretty much let powerful interests follow those rules. Hitler made sure that there was more than a single powerful force so that if one got out of line he could use the other to counter it. Putin is doing the same thing.

In Russia the basic rules for the oligarchs are that you can be as corrupt as you want to be provided that you don't get into politics or in some significant way interfere with state policy. Khodorkovsky violated this rule and he spent 10 years in prison and now lives in exile. Oh, and the Russian state seized his assets, of course. Now more recently Yevtushenkov was put under house arrest and this week his assets were transferred to a more favored oligarch. This is interesting to the West because Yevtushenkov was a Putin loyalist and is alleged to have largely funded activities in Ukraine. There is still a debate about what his arrest means.

Reporters that report on things that can seriously damage Putin are 'taken care of' But it is not at the orders of Putin, it is done by the Regional governments acting on their own initiative not wanting to lose their income flow.

Yes, because this is the way successful organizations work. The head of the organization does not micromanage low level decision making. The head says "I don't want problems, make sure there aren't any or I will take action against you personally". So the next level of authority says to its subordinates "I don't want any problems with Putin, make sure there aren't any or I will take action against you personally". So on and so forth down to the lowest level.

The need to be an ally of the President with vast power causes local governments to act harshly often. Never at the order of the president. He is more of an indirect tyrant if that makes sense. But of course he understands this... Its some passive aggressive tyrany.

It is actually the best way to run an organization, be it a democracy, a totalitarian state, a military force, a large business, an organized crime syndicate, a religion, etc. The least successful examples of any of these are ones where the head of the organization becomes too focused on small details.

Steve

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The notable difference was that that the U.S. didn't say "Who? What? Us? We have no idea who is bombing the crap out of Baghdad!". Putin is pretty much literally doing that in Ukraine

Exactly. The US has waged war many times against many countries for questionable, if not factious, reasons. However, when it invades a country it does it in the open. It also usually does it with allies and after presenting a case (flawed or otherwise) to the UN and international community.

Russia, on the other hand, invades unilaterally without making a case for invasion because it says it hasn't invaded. When it does invade in the open, like Georgia and the 2nd Chechen War, it makes sure there is an immediate pretext so that it can claim it was acting in self defense.

As for the legality of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... Afghanistan was clearly legal and justified. Iraq was a lot murkier. Clearly the presented case for war against Iraq was mostly a lie, but it was presented and many people (including me) knew it was a lie. Almost 1/3rd of the US Congress voted against authorizing the war, which mean others knew it was a weak case (at best).

The West's handling of war is certainly imperfect and it can be swayed by lies. True. But we at least have a debate and the debate matters. And Western society constantly looks at itself with a critical eye. As a result the world knows the reasons for war in Iraq were mostly lies. In contrast, I still have to debate Russians about how bad the Soviet Union was :(

Steve

I don't challenge any of this. Still, Powell's speech had it's effect and the general philosophy behind it is similar to the Russian propaganda which facilitates war on behalf of ones interest, whatever these are. The fact that we knew the WMD trucks were a lie (I see Powell as an intelligent man, so he knew too) and were able to pronounce that freely, unfortunately didn't enable us (critical thinking free man of the west) to stop the invasion.

So Democracy vs Tyranny is in certain ways the difference between being screwed over knowingly or unknowingly. While I prefer to be screwed knowingly, I'm still being screwed :D

P.S. The world should know the reasons for war in Iraq were lies and the after-war plans fatally flawed, but there are plenty of (academic) schooled people even in my country that still don't know.

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Iraq was complicated by the fact that Saddam was, with 100% certainty, a brutal and sadistic dictator. Many people, including myself, felt that there was enough reason to take out Saddam from a purely moral standpoint. It weakened the resolve of people to oppose the war at the most basic level. It's not like the Bush government pushed for a war against The Netherlands because nobody would support that... oh wait, the British would. OK, bad example, but I think I made my point :)

Steve

P.S. And yes, that was a covert Austin Powers reference :D

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Iraq was complicated by the fact that Saddam was, with 100% certainty, a brutal and sadistic dictator. Many people, including myself, felt that there was enough reason to take out Saddam from a purely moral standpoint. It weakened the resolve of people to oppose the war at the most basic level. It's not like the Bush government pushed for a war against The Netherlands because nobody would support that... oh wait, the British would. OK, bad example, but I think I made my point :)

Steve

P.S. And yes, that was a covert Austin Powers reference :D

:D

Well I have to admit that at the time I was also thinking that Saddam gone couldn't be a bad thing, be it under dodgy pretense. In hindsight however it is quite open for debate whether under Saddam a lot less people would have been killed or suffered.

Libya was a dodgy affair too.

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