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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  354 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Butcher Builders: How Western Journalists Helped Create a Monster in Russia

Bit of a stretch to blame the kleptocracy of '90s Russia on Western press, innit? I mean, it's not like the Russians were sitting around reading the Wall Street Journal wondering what to do.

Western foreign policy? Absolutely. I mean, this is Fukuyama time, an era when of course Communism lost, it was preordained by God. Now that those wily Russkis had learned their lesson, let's go buy them. What's that? We don't know anyone? Well, I know a guy and he only wants his cut. Oh, wait. And it turns out he can have us killed. Wait. Now our factory belongs to a guy with KGB connections. Oh, right. FSB. My bad. Either way, it's a write-off and I never liked it here anyway. Back to Georgetown...

The West had a choice in Russia: colonize it and hope things worked out, or throw money at it and hope things worked out. "Throwing money at it" was what we'd done for the previous 40 years; US agriculture is heavily focused on corn, wheat, rice and potatoes because those first three? We ship 'em around the world as soft power. Colonize it? That led to the breakup of the Mongol Empire.

There could have been a "Marshall Plan II" that might have achieved a lasting democracy in Russia. There wasn't. That's a tragedy. But it has nothing to do with Western journalism.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  354 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    There could have been a "Marshall Plan II" that might have achieved a lasting democracy in Russia.

Are you implying the state of democracy in Russia to be dependent on its economic prosperity or even foreign aid?

kleinbl00  ·  354 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No, I'm implying that there was a sensitive period in Russia's history where it could have been influenced for the better, and it was influenced for the worse.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  354 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Influenced how? How would monetary influx help Russia become more democratic?

kleinbl00  ·  353 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I didn't say "monetary influx." There was plenty of money flying at Russia, it was just flying at things Western businesses thought could make them money. Things did not go well.

If the West-East postwar conversation and focus had been people to people, instead of CEO-to-nomenklatura, the people on both sides would have done better. lend/lease. Small business. Security for dissidents. All these "Western" values we've always lorded over everyone else - we did nothing to help them thrive in the ashes of the USSR. What we did was try to make a buck. Results went as expected.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  353 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hm. Any reading on it that you could recommend?

kleinbl00  ·  353 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My most recent read on the rise of Putin and the economic conditions from whence he sprang is Masha Gessen's The Man Without a Face. I'm also a big fan of Tony Judt's Postwar, although Russia is slightly peripheral.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  353 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Cheers. Saved.