getting different points of view


If you ever want to get a really different point of view go read the Pravda (a Russian newspaper. The newspaper was originally the voice of communism and while it currently claims to have no resemblance to the original communist Pravda its mission remains “to report the truth and nothing but the truth” (Pravda means truth in Russian). And. It still leans mightily toward a pro-Russian/communist point of view (just as say a NY Times leans mightily toward a pro-American/democratic point of view).


I cruise the Pravda website on occasion and their columnist editorials never fail to screw my head up.

Their point of view on a variety of topics will make your head spin.

They write about the Caucasus (which I will comment on later).

McCain … this one is a real headache maker .. “the bleating of senile old goats” should inspire you to take a look at this one … …)


Oh. And Libya … On one side of the divide, the Satanic and dark forces of NATO and on the other side, those who see themselves as the guardians of what is right and good and just. It is good versus evil, it is God versus Satan, it is about implementing international law..

Yeah. There is stuff in this paper that will truly make your head spin.

And at the same time make you think a little … a little about “how much does our own media spin the story?”

For wouldn’t we be foolish to completely disregard what we read in this paper (named Truth)? At minimum there should be a grain of truth in what they write and in their opinions.

And, also at minimum, millions of Russian readers are reading this paper and, similar to the USA, millions of points of view are being molded by what they are reading.

And maybe that alone is a good reason to read foreign newspapers on occasion. If only to be exposed to what other people are creating points of view from.

Yes.  We may scoff.  We may scratch our heads in disbelief.  And we may even believe it is all blarney.

But it is news to someone.

And a lot of someones.

And a lot of someones who are building their own points of view on things.

And if we were the ones reading it every day there would be a boatload of people right here who would be taking it as unassailable fact and truth.


And then I read the following article about the Caucasus.

And of all the seemingly insane points of view I read this one hit with like a hammer of sanity.

We in the USA very quickly jump to the popular (and in theory I also like it and agree with it) self determination theory (likeminded people creating countries) when discussing the dissolution of the old Soviet Union (Russian and extended ‘states’).

But, honestly, there is a practicality which eludes us when discussing it simply in platitudes.

And this article did a nice job of pointing out some really practical issues.

Practical issues surrounding country/geographic boundaries. And in bringing that up it seems like we should have some facts as we grapple with this topic. Some background.

The Caucasus a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including Europe’s highest mountain (Mount Elbrus).

North Caucasus comprises:

* Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Adyghea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai

South Caucasus comprises:

* Armenia

* Azerbaijan (including disputed Nagorno-Karabakh)

* Georgia (including disputed Abkhazia and South Ossetia)

I believe the article below focuses on North Caucasus region which has about 5.5 to 6 million population, at least a dozen languages, a lot of raw mineral wealth, high unemployment and a lot of confusion about its desire for independence (because Chechnya desires an independent state and the other components have not expressed a large desire to be independent).

The article:

Russia may bid farewell to Caucasus?

The program for the Development of the Northern Caucasus in 2012-2025 prepared by the Ministry of Regional Development stirred up the “separatist” wave in the society that threatens to erase once and for all Adygeya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, and of course, Chechnya from the map of Russia.

The “pro” arguments are well-known: 1) we feed them (huge subsidies from the federal budget; 2) they are blowing us up (the Caucasus as a permanent source of terrorism), and 3) they do not respect us (a number of facts ranging from ethnic crime to the national dances at the Manege Square).

Certain circles believe that only radical measures will solve all aforementioned problems in one swoop and then everyone else will be happy. The “separatists” do not bother with the practical side of the issue of the construction of the “Great Caucasus wall.” It is very simple: strip them off the Russian citizenship, move them out of Russia, install a barbed wire fence and ban the re-entry.

It is hard to come up with a better excuse for a civil war. Does anyone think that the process of disengagement will be quiet and peaceful? It would seem that the example of the “independent” (factually) Chechnya of 1996-1999 should have once and for all shown that even being separated the Caucasus would not leave Russia and would not dissolve. On the contrary, the following would happen:

– The power on the rogue territories will be taken by the rogue, whose raison d’être would be a constant battle with the hated neighbor. This means that at least chronic border disputes are guaranteed;

– There will be an endless series of lawsuits against Russia with territorial and property claims, with the full approval and even whole-hearted support of the Western countries;

– The final solution of the “Russian issue” in the North Caucasus will be just around the corner. Objections that there is no Russian-speaking population left there are not true. Besides the nearly mono-ethnic Chechnya, there is Adygea where the Russian population is the majority (approximately 65 percent), and Russian Mozdok in North Ossetia, as well as numerous Cossack villages scattered throughout the region. In a full-scale conflict aggravated by a forced relocation, the Russian-speaking inhabitants would perish first.

Separatists from other autonomous regions such as Tatarstan and Sakha Republic will get an example to follow. The country will experience the formation of the notorious “fifth column”, this time capable of blowing Russia up from within. The new “foreign countries” will be happy to help.

I repeat: we can certainly say goodbye to the Caucasus, but it will not leave us. The desire to wait it out behind the proverbial wall is equivalent to the decision to lock oneself in the apartment and not go outside because there may be hooligans there. If someone does not want to abide by the rules of human coexistence, it is necessary to punish the rogue specifically, without making global generalizations.

It is even stranger to call this position “patriotic.” Patriotism, for those who do not know, in ancient Greek means “fatherland” and dictionaries treat the term more broadly – “the love for one’s country.” Dr. Samuel Johnson who uttered his immortal “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” in 1775 meant that the scoundrel has still some hope if he loves his country.

It seems that in the 21st century the aphorism of Johnson is turned the other way around. Patriotism in a distorted understanding has truly become a refuge for scoundrels, for it is a very convenient cover for stupidity, cowardice and betrayal behind the hypocritical mask.

Stupidity – because there is no simple, painless and effective mechanism to remove the Caucasus problems. Have people failed to learn from the last parade of sovereignties? First we said goodbye to the “unnecessary” Baltic States, then bid farewell to the Soviet Union.

Cowardice – because the withdrawal from the Caucasus can be described by a brief, but telling slogan – “Holes instead of mountains.” Betrayal – because even though Russia is great, there is not enough space to retreat.


Excellent article. Makes you think.  Maybe enlightens a little.

And I love the fact a Russian editorialist quotes Samuel Johnson of all people.

This all seems to have come to a head not through anything Chechnya did but rather in January 2010, the Kremlin announced the establishment of the North Caucasus Federal District (which includes all the republics of the North Caucasus except Adygea). With the creation of that district the North Caucasian republics were separated from the Southern Caucasus (and united Northern republics under one federally administered district). The explanation behind this move was that it would allow for better focus to be paid to addressing the shared problems across the republics of the North Caucasus. However, this decision could also be seen as an attempt to improve the effectiveness of Moscow’s financial support to the North Caucasus, and ultimately a step toward establishing the region’s financial independence from Moscow, which has become particularly urgent considering that Kremlin funds are becoming increasingly stretched due to economic constraint and its costly development projects.

Other theories have been stated to explain the move but suffice it to say none of this kind of detail enters (r very rarely does) into our discussions here.

To us Americans is “give them freedom.”

And it really isn’t that simple.

Is the Pravda giving us “the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” I doubt it. But does it give us something to think about?

You bet.

It is always good to see what other parts of the world think.

It is always good to at least know other people’s points of view.

Written by Bruce