Dmitry Hvorostovsky, one of the Russia’s best and most beloved artists, died this week of brain cancer.
* Andrew Higgins: Why Putin’s Foes Deplore U.S. Fixation on Election Meddling
“The Kremlin is of course very proud of this whole Russian interference story. It shows they are not just a group of old K.G.B. guys with no understanding of digital but an almighty force from a James Bond saga,” Mr. Volkov said in a telephone interview. “This image is very bad for us. Putin is not a master geopolitical genius.”
One of the few points on which many svidomy Ukrainians and progressive Americans differ with Russian liberals is that while the former basically view Putin as a God, the latter tend to take a much dimmer view of Putin’s actual talents, influence, and capabilities (for the record, I am sooner in the second camp, though I am not a Russian liberal).
This has resulted in the rather amusing spectable of America’s handshakeworthies and Blue Checkmarks now regularly accusing the likes of Alexey Kovalev and Leonid Bershidsky – both liberal anti-Putinists, who, nonetheless, inhabit the reality-based universe, the one in which Putin is your typical Internet-challenged boomer and a few modest Russian Facebook campaigns are irrelevant for determining the results of an elections whose total costs run into the billions of dollars – of being shills for Putler (see right).
It’s all so hilarious, and I even feel a bit sorry for them, since they’d be much more successful if they didn’t suffer from a certain degree of respect for reality and honesty, like the Russia Experts of the Current Year (Louise Mensch, John Schindler, Eric Garland, Molly McKew, James Kirchick, etc) who make the old generation of propagandists like Ed Lucas appear like paragons of intelligence and objectivity.
* James Thompson: Game Over for Humans?
Commenter CanSpeccy added a cool video:
I have at times speculated about how to increase the effectiveness of terrorist attacks with modern technology. I think one of the most promising ideas that’s already very technically feasible is to mount guns with tracking systems onto drones. Can do a huge amount of damage if you could set it loose at an open air concern or a mass protest…
This slaughterbot idea is even more elegant… but is probably still a decade or two off. First and foremost, it needs to have sufficient intelligence for indoor navigation without the use of GPS, and for face recognition. Both tasks are computationally intensive, so we either need much more progress on minituarization, or a reliable Internet connection to a server farm (wouldn’t it be hilarious to to be murdered through your own WiFi… or to be saved by Comcast’s incompetence).
Also battery longevity might be an issue, though minituarization is progressing fast.
* More damning revelations about the Kiev Snipergate false flag three years on. (Not that anyone cares by now).
* LNR Coup – to be covered separately.
* Bryan MacDonald: ‘Scoop’ based on Moscow rumors, another low in British media coverage of Russia.
- Alexander Mercouris: Will Putin run again for President? Here’s why he probably will and why he should
- Me: Will Putin Even Run?
* More Google censorship: YouTube removes the channel of Russian Faith, a Christian side project of Russia Insider run by David Curry, without even bothering to cite a reason why.
Hundreds of videos have been lost.
* David Fillipov (WaPo): Russia spent $50 billion on the Sochi Olympics. It might actually have been worth it.
* Mikhail Batin: Patriarch Kirill preaches against transhumanism
* Zhirinovsky unveils his Presidential program [in Russian]. Might write about this later if there’s interest.
* Trump/Ballgate. Trump picks his culture wars well. As usual, snarking libs don’t realize they’re getting played.
NFLgate showed them to be unpatriotic. Now they come off as literal dindus.
* Izabella Tabarovsky: Eastern Europe’s Dark Past Could Hinder Its Future
Vanagaite’s specific crime was to question whether the celebrated partisan Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, who Lithuanians honor for his struggle against the Soviet occupation, was an appropriate choice as a symbol for 2018—the year the nation will be celebrating the centennial of its original independence. …
Many Lithuanians had already had enough of Vanagaite with her 2016 book Our People. In it she, an ethnic Lithuanian and descendant of Holocaust perpetrators, wrote openly about her countrymen’s (and her family’s) role in annihilating Lithuania’s 220,000 Jews. She found herself on the receiving end of personal threats and disparagements, including accusations of being on the take from the Kremlin. …
The latest episode, however, seems to have been too much even for most of her supporters. As a result of a public storm, Vanagaite’s long-term publisher Alma Littera severed its relationship with her, announcing that all her five books would be pulled off the shelves and pulped—including those books that have nothing to do with the subject. A patriotically-minded group filed a suit against her with the prosecutor general alleging slander and denigration of memory of a deceased person.
Naturally, this gets about 100x less attention that Russia’s politicization of history.
* Result of China dropping its One Child Policy in 2015? Births rise by 7.6% to 18.46 million in 2016, with the biggest increase (+62%!) in Beijing.