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Categorizing the Russia Debate

Sublime Oblivion has devised a grid to plot each Russia blogger’s political stance.

If you want to know the state of Russia blogging today, do no more than head over to Sublime Oblivion to check out his inspired idea of slotting each Russia blogger into a 2d matrix; their position based on their political views.


Head over to Sublime Oblivion for the full matrix, which is fully clickable (no idea how he did that!) and has, as you’d expect from Anatoly, exhaustive analysis.

I’m amused to see that he’s spot on when it comes to describing Siberian Light:

Siberian Light is the centrist par excellence amongst bloggers. Though he personally has a rather dim view of the Putin administration, Andy mostly focuses on aggregation and allows readers to make up their own minds.

And even more amused to find out that, as a centrist par excellence, I come in ahead of such leading lights as Geoffrey Hosking. Although, I have to admit, I read a lot of his work early on when studying Russia, and must have been heavily influenced.


  • @Andy,

    I’m glad you agree with my categorization of yourself. I was primarily focusing on bloggers, and since you are much more famous on the blogosphere than any Russia-watcher academic, I put you in first place in that category. The main reason I threw in a few academics was to “clarify the terrain”.

    Re-how I created the image map, its all HTML, but I used this very useful tool to vastly simplify the process (


    There’s LR (presumably) 😉 On a more serious note, I agree. There’s Expatresse, Svet Keeton and yourself (occasionally), but they rarely dwell on the political side of things and I am not familiar with their views.

    Sublime Oblivion´s last blog post..Categorizing the Russia Debate

  • The stink of male chauvanism is truly repugnant here. Mr. Karlin’s barbaric ignorance and dishonesty extends to that field as well. How about Cathy Young? How about Veronica Khokhlova? How about Anne Appelbaum and Yulia Latynina? While he pretends to be open minded, When was the last time Mr. Karlin wrote a post critical of Russian sexism, for instance in the halls of power in the Kremlin that are utterly,excluslively male?

    The idiocy and ignorance on display here is so barbaric one can hardly breathe.

    Meanwhile, according to Mr. Karlin’s “methodology” one might think that LR never praises Russians or attacks Americans, and that Mr. Karlin sometimes praises Americans and attacks Russians. Both statements would be horrific lies. We routinely praise Russians like Boris Nemtsov and attack Americans like George Bush and Barack Obama. Meanwhile, you’ll search long and hard for anything written by Mr. Karlin attacking Vladimir Putin or praising John McCain.

    It is useful to have this gibberish displayed, however, because it answers the question how Russia can be such a mess (as for instance not to rank in the top 150 nations of the world for adult lifespan). It’s because Russia has only tis kind of “friend.”

    La Russophobe´s last blog post..July 12, 2009 — Contents

  • Hosking was my internal examiner for my PhD at University of London. I was at SOAS and he was at SSEES across the street. I use his book for my political history of the USSR class. Mainly because it is easy to read and presents a very different view of the USSR from that generally taught in Kyrgyzstan. Here the Soviet Union including the Stalin era are generally still viewed as a flawless utopia. So it is interesting to see him put as a centerist when I would have firmly put him in the pro-Western camp. I have no idea where I stand on this scale since my blog and acadmic work are evidently too obscure to be rated.

    J. Otto Pohl´s last blog post..Arivaca Memories

  • Let’s not forget the prolific Josephina. Though I believe that aside from Kim there are no female bloggers in the English language blogosphere who consistently focus on Russian politics. Well, I consistently focus on Russian politics, but very infrequently bother to write down my thoughts. There are journalists and academics (Applebaum, Freeland, Latynina, Shevtsova…) who do. And there are bloggers who write a bit about everything (Neeka, Josephina, Svet, Expatresse…) and sometimes occasionally on politics. I think it says less about Mr. Karlin’s or the Kremlin’s misogyny than the traditional dynamics of the blogosphere.

  • @LR,

    So? I didn’t mention Kasparov, Illarionov, McFaul, Brzezinski, and a whole host of other male commentators other. There’s only so much space on the grid. I don’t know enough about C. Young or V. Khokhlova. A. Appelbaum would come under “neoliberals”, Latynina under “liberasts”. My intention was to illustrate a way of looking at things, not to classify every single person who ever said something about Russia or engage in political-correctness games.

    When was the last time Mr. Karlin wrote a post critical of Russian sexism, for instance in the halls of power in the Kremlin that are utterly,excluslively male?’

    About a year and a half ago. (At least according to a quick search of my blog’s archives).

    We support the goals of the feminist movement and consider that gender equality has not yet been achieved anywhere. Men are still more valued as bread-winners and women-more as home-makers, and changing these social perceptions is one of our goals. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2007, Russia comes 45th out of 128 countries – it scores very well on female economic participation, but must make bigger efforts in political empowerment.

    As for the rest of your points, it’s pretty clear that you have either a) not read the post or b) did not want to understand it. I subject the “skeptical Russophile” and “Western Russophile” perspectives to a withering critique much like “Western Russophobia”.

    Sublime Oblivion´s last blog post..Categorizing the Russia Debate

  • Shouldn’t there be a special “crazy person masturbating furiously in public” category for LR?

  • I also have a so called russian blog. Though I’m not russian, but I really try to be. Maybe I should follow this blog to get some inspiration!
    (I cant speak russian either but i use google translate to write in russian in my blog)

    Volodja´s last blog post..Russian fashion #2

  • Consequent to this post and the lively discussion it spawned, it occurred to me that much of Russia’s tortured and intriguing history could be rationalized as a self-reinforcing loop within a belief matrix similar to what I’ve outlined here. This schema can even be extended further to many other societies – e.g. a) Germany’s “Reich cycles”, b) America’s “liberty cycles” and c) the continuous “radical redefining of terms” that characterized Soviet history from 1914 to 1953. I plan to write these articles in the next few weeks.

    For now here’s the first installment – The Belief Matrix which outlines the definitions and identifies the two most basic / common patterns of spiritual-morale developments in society: the Malthusian Loop, and the Sisyphean Loop. The articles covering specific societies (Russia, Germany, the US) will soon follow.

    Sublime Oblivion´s last blog post..The Belief Matrix

  • @LR: “The idiocy and ignorance on display here is so barbaric one can hardly breathe.”

    Shortness of breath while browsing the internet? Sounds like you need to cut back on the Big Macs pal.

  • If that’s the case, then it’s a habit that will eventually benefit humanity.

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