It's true that it is unique. Russians themselves say that St. Petersburg is half russian and half european. But I've also got russian friends I talk to, who are from Moscow, from small villages near the Ural mountains and other places within Russia.
It sounds like you've been won over by the facade of corrupt spending and wealth in touristy areas
You assume I was a tourist. I wasn't.
Russia is a huge country - the biggest on earth, in fact - and of course there are large differences between the various areas. I was in St. Petersburg as I said. It's probably one of the richer areas.
People don't love Putin because he's improved the country, they love him because like all dictators he's a master of propaganda and populism, or did you think all those photoshoots and the massive military parades each year and the nationalist rhetoric over Crimea were all just for his own personal scrapbook?
Russians don't care as much as we do. They separate private and business life a lot more strongly, from what I gather. Of course there's a lot of propaganda involved as well.
But you totally ignored that main argument I made. That no matter what you see Russia as today, compared to the very recent past it has improved dramatically, and those improvements started with Putin taking office. Whether its true or not, a lot of people see a connection.
You see, the scenario you outline isn't all that different from what happened at the beginning of the 20th century.
Except for two world wars, a totally changed global economical and political environment and, oh yes, the EU itself.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe was a mess of countries all out for blood, with century-old hatreds and politicians just waiting for an opportunity to start a war. Which is kind of exactly what happened just a few years into the 20th century.
Yeah... it would be absolutely the same... keep dreaming.
I agree with your main point, btw.
However, both on paper and from real-world experience, I dare to say that the judicative is the least troubled arm.
In most of Europe, the legislative and executive are pretty much identical and that bothers me to no end. Parliament passes laws and parliament elects the executive, and all the executives (ministers, etc.) are also members of parliament. These two arms are not seperated at all. The USA has the better system there, even though it is still imperfect in that the same parties exist in both.
If I were to re-write the political rules, I'd seperate the arms completely and make a law that political parties can be active in either the executive or the legistlative election processes, but not in both and any attempt to do so leads to immediate dissolution of the party in question with all assets seized and distributed to the poor.
Let me repeat that: It is absolutely technically possible to filter based on source IP address country.
Yes, you can also do various trickery to cloak your real source behind another source. That doesn't invalidate the point.
If Putin were to back down and support a peaceful resolution whose outcome might not satisfy Russian nationalists, he could find himself out of power.
Highly unlikely. Putin is beloved by the majority of russians, because under his government economy and internal security have improved dramatically. Most russians remember the 1990s when people were shot in the streets regularily, the way you only see in some old movies about when the Mafia ruled in some US cities. Compared to that time, they live in paradise now, and many attribute this change to Putin. Don't expect him to be out of power anytime soon. As for the russian elite, a lot of them own their fortune to this change. Never mistake criticism for opposition. Especially among politicians and the rich, it is fairly common to complain loudly about someone and still support them when it matters, because all the complaining and seeming hostility is simply an attempt to move them on certain topics.
The last thing Putin wants is a country with a lot of relatives of Russians getting the EU treatment and finding out how nice it is to be out of their largely lawless, virtual dictatorship of a state.
You should update your propaganda-driven beliefs. I've got a russian girlfriend and I've been to Russia myself. At least for where I was (St. Petersburg), it looks much like any european city, except more beautiful (but that's a St. Petersburg special, they made very sure to keep all the old palaces and buildings in shape).
Crime was horrible in the 1990s, my girlfriend says, but here's why most russians actually love Putin: Since he became the top dog, things have been continuously improving. Crime is low, economy is good, of course nothing is perfect, but compared to previous times, they're pretty great.
From what I've seen in daily life, I don't see anything that would make them jealous of a random EU member country. Supermarkets are full of basically the same products I can buy here, everyone has a car, public transport is better than in some european cities, the streets are in good condition and clean, I felt safe both at day and at night.
Of course Putin doesn't want Ukraine to join the EU. But that they will all be able to suddenly buy bananas and thus run away from communism is 1990s stuff and long since outdated.
My understanding is that this (Separation of Powers) is explicitly defined and codified in the USA. In the rest of the world, that may be the intent, but there can often be some overlap.
You mean like the typically politically motivated appointment of the judges of the supreme court? Oh wait, that's in the USA...
who were serving members of the House of Lords (one of the houses of Parliament). [...]some degree of agency between the executive and the judiciary.
Legislative. Get your facts straight before you argue.
And the best response that could be given would be to blackhole everything EU. They want to be forgotten, then let's forget them.
Let me guess, you're american and you didn't pay attention in school, so you think "Europe" is some small country somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, yes?
The EU is larger than the USA in people, economic power and basically every other metric except prison population. Blackhole the EU if you want. We may or may not come over to save the sorry remains of your economy in a couple years.
The EU wants to be forgotten, let's see how the EU economy survives that.
The trade volume between the USA and the EU is about 60 billion US$ monthly . However, the USA imports a lot more, while the import/export balance of the EU is almost balanced (http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/eu-position-in-world-trade/). Make a guess who would suffer more.
You've heard of this thing they call "Separation of Powers"? Maybe the news hasn't reached you yet, after all it's only been around for some 350 years.
So is there a right to search, which is really a form of free speech?
Searching and speaking are really not the same thing. Once again, you can say they are related and one requires the other and so on, but all of that only means that yes, there really is no "right to search", you can only construct it from other rights.
Freedom of association.
Is a right in itself and maybe you can derive a "right to search" from it, but in doing so you would only prove my point that a "right to search" by itself is nowhere in the law books.
Nice hyperbole, but entirely beside the point. I already explained in my original posting what the legal situation actually is, I don't see why I should repeat it.
Of course, you can refute me easily. Find the correct EU law that contains the phrase "right to search" and post a link. I will apologize if you do.
So, Europe would like to be able to affect what everyone sees,
You are jumping to conclusion there.
Europe would like its laws to be honoured by corporations doing business in the EU. If Google was ordered to remove X, but it is still present if I simply go to google.com instead of google.co.uk, then Google has not complied with the removal order.
It is absolutely technically possible to filter based on source IP address country. They can do it for advertisement, so there's absolutely no excuse for not doing it for legal compliance.
Second, it will have to grow up as individuals and realize, when you put it out there, you put it out there. And no nanny state can fix it.
It is mostly not about stuff people put out there themselves. There are people out there who can't get a job because they were wrongfully accused of molesting a child 10 years ago, and the searches turn up the accusations, but not the acquittal (mostly because press rarely writes about it).
Of course, Merkel gets to put on her show and dance about being outraged her phone is tapped, but she says nothing about how complicit she is in tapping everyone elses phones in her country.
While you are right on this, I doubt it has much to do with this law. This law has been in the works since 1995 and was passed in 2012 if I recall correctly (many EU laws go into effect delayed, or require national laws to be passed to implement them). It was on the table long before anyone knew the name Snowden, and if at all then the NSA scandal only affected some final touches.