Thursday, April 3, 2014

Some advice from David Johnson (Johnson's Russia List)

Just received my daily dose of Johnson's Russia List, and found this in the header:

"DJ: It's time for some wishful thinking about how to start to understand recent events vis-a-vis Ukraine and Russia. The first step is humility. You simply don't know as much as you think you know. Some semblance of an open mind about events as they unfold is needed. Very hard for some people. Second, you need to be able to accept that Russian perceptions of what has happened in Ukraine have some quality of legitimacy. I realize that for some people anything of the sort makes you a Putin apologist. Actually, you have to stop trying to interpret everything thru the Putin prism. There is much more to the Russian posture than the personality of Putin. Demonizing Putin is not helpful to accurate perception and understanding. This is not a matter of choosing sides. It is a matter of choosing not to take a side, at least on occasion. If you can't move on from that you can stop here.
    "Third, I am referring in part to Russian perceptions of what happened in the Maidan events and their consequences. You need to be willing to accept that there is complexity and uncertainty and some fuzziness about the facts. If you have a romantic view of Maidan you will stop here. So... the main thing is to try to understand events and unload the partisan burden. Of course, a lot of people WANT to be partisan. That's their current role and compulsion. I hope there are still some that want to try to understand. JRL has always presented diverse information and interpretation. It is one of the few sources of genuinely balanced information about Russia. And, incidentally, going in this direction does not mean that everything becomes clear and understandable. Probably quite the contrary. But if prediction is your thing you might get a little better at it. Of course, I could be wrong and it is Armageddon."

Sound advice, it is. I have no interest with discussing politics with partisans. They need no discussions and want no discussions. This includes people from both the pro-Russia/Putin camp and the EuroMaidan camp.

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