Today we are pleased and honored to have been included as one of Siberian Light’s top Russia blogs.
Andy Young has been doing a terrific and even-handed job over there at SL, and I am a frequent reader. Other blogs to get Andy’s nod include Sean’s Russia Blog, La Russophobe, Russia Blog, and the always entertaining English Russia.
I am pleased that the write-up also took note of the difference between taking an “anti-Kremlin” stance and an “anti-Russia” stance – which are two entirely separate positions (for example Bush-bashing is a hobby of mine, but that does not mean I am anti-American). This is something that is often confused and even exploited to dismiss arguments preemptively. Even at that, I would hesitate to say that I have ever been committed to criticism of the entire government – but rather only the top leadership, the siloviki, and their proxies throughout the justice system that are responsible for most of the key problems, in my personal opinion.This blog, I have reiterated time and again, is overwhelming pro-Russian, and in support of popular Russian sovereignty and free society. We don’t buy into the Surkovian excuses that Russian people aren’t ready for participatory democracy, and we don’t buy into the executive’s narrative that their abuses of power, intolerance of dissent, and instrumentalization of the law are acceptable, popularly approved measures.And especially considering the government’s recent slow murder of former Yukos counsel Vasily Alexanyan, we most certainly do not believe that the procuracy is behaving in a law-abiding manner.It’s also important to note that it has quietly been our policy to refrain from any personal attacks on other bloggers or commentators. Apart from criticism of public officials and executives of major corporations, we have strictly stuck to debating the arguments, despite having been personally attacked and provoked repeatedly from intolerant pro-Putin voices.I have been traveling to and working in Russia for more than 35 years, from a youthful ideological curiosity up until my forced exile. It is a country I hold in the highest respect. I know as well as anyone the incredible achievements, potential, and greatness of the Russian people. This potential could be limitless if the state were ever to get out of the people’s way.I am grateful once again to Siberian Light for considering us, and I only regret that Andy Young neglected to include his own blog in the list. We look forward to continuing to contribute value to these debates over Russia for a long time to come.