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Comment Re:who made cisco police, judge, and jury? (Score 1) 122

The difference is the Russian government doesn't even bother hiding its support for the Russian oligarchy aka mafia.

But the real question is, why that did not concern you in 1990s, when Russia resembled the oligarchy/mafia-run state the most? Some sort of a 15-years lag in perception? I remember talking to Americans in early 2000s and they believed Russia was about the Communism. Now it's 2016 and you believe Russia is about the Oligarchy/Mafia. Hopefully you learn something in the next 15 years. ;-)

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

Your analysis ignores the existence of states in similar, if not worse, predominant climatic conditions, that fare much better in terms of economy and (arguably, more importantly) quality of life. Canada, Finland, Sweden, Iceland... which of these have a problem with outflow of skilled labor?

Then again, the harshness of climate in Russia is also often overstated for effect. A good chunk of European Russia (basically, the lower 2/3 or so) has very reasonable climate. There are plenty of geographic benefits, too, such as a vast network of large rivers that can be readily used for transportation, significant number of natural resources (even in the European part), forests, and quality soil. In fact, the latter could easily enable homesteading, if you're keen to follow the American example.

IMO, for the past few centuries at least, the constraints on development in Russia (or lack thereof, which has been a rare occasion indeed) largely originate from poor governance rather than climatic conditions or that elusive "national mentality". It has everything that is needed to be a very successful, strong country economically - indeed, this shows up in some of the successes that USSR has enjoyed despite everything - but it either squanders those opportunities outright, or when they're actually used for something good, the wealth thus produced goes right past the majority of the populace, in a manner that is more blunt and unfair than even the most income-unequal liberal democratic capitalist countries (such as US).

You are spot-on-correct. The only issue is that the quality of government influences the _rate_ of economic development. I.e., if Russia had overnight the best quality of government, it might have fantastic economic successes -- like may be 4% of annual economic growth. That would certainly show up in 20 years or so.

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

Wow, that's a serious reply, and I do vaguely remember having a prior conversation with you and that you are Russian.

Now to proceed with my answer, have you probably read "Guns, germs and steel" by Jared Diamond? In that book the author asks a question why different civilizations have developed differently by the time the world became global, and his answer is that very basically it boils down to geographic factors.

In a similar manner it can be argued that for the foreseeable future Russia won't be a lucrative place to live for a young aspiring adult, because it is cheaper to produce new fantastic gadgets in the South Asia and it's more profitable to design them in the U.S. Russia falls in between, with the climate which increases the costs of production and the economy which does not allow for serious levels of irrecoverable costs (i.e. engineering labor). This pretty much means that the economy of Russia won't boom, and as a boomerang effect its middle class won't rise economically and aspire to claim political leadership.

So yes, it would be a lie to tell young people that there's a better future for them in Russia, because clearly the U.S. is the better place for a young aspiring person. This doesn't mean that it's not possible to make a living in Russia doing either science, engineering or business, and there are notable examples which prove that point (Kaspersky, ABBYY, Yotaphone, etc, etc), but it's also pretty clear that all that's left out to Russia is niche products.

And the only way to argue with geography is to change your own location, so yes, it is about personal choices, there will be always people who prefer to leave and nothing can be done about that.

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

Well, I do not "have to" support anything, and I believe it's only natural for a person to have doubts about everything, unless that person is a zealot.

I do have a cautionary tale to tell you, though. One my Russian friend used to think that Russia was shit. Would you like to learn what happened to him? He moved to MIT. Other Russian friend of mine used to think Russia was the land of slaves. His current whereabouts? Stanford.

The bottom line of my cautionary tale is the following: while you are trying to convince more Russians that their country is shit, are you sure that the U.S. economy can accomodate all of us?

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

You're right, the new Russian state is authoritarian rather than totalitarian.

Which is to say, it's still shit, it just stinks a little bit less.

I mean, yes, it would probably hurt if it meant anything compared to the simple, plain and stupid fact that the woman I love does not love me... I would not mind living in the pitiest stinking shithole if she did not throw me away. I'm just beyond hurt at this point. That's why I don't feel anything. It's not a problem with your wording or anything.

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

You're right, the new Russian state is authoritarian rather than totalitarian.

Which is to say, it's still shit, it just stinks a little bit less.

Hey, I'm a patriotic Russian, you are offending my country and still I'm talking to you... why? May be that's because I learned not to care about what do other people think about my country. But that raises additional questions, such as when have I reached that point and what motivated me? Holy fuck. You can never be aware of where a political discussion might lead you to. :-) I presume it's just hard to be a self-aware human in general, rather than implying anything directly relevant to the nature of our current political discussion, though.

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

And looking at its direction in the past couple of years, it seems that it's falling back into its old ways (or rather an incoherent mix of old and even older, from Soviet and Imperial times both), which makes me question just where the problem has really been all this time.

I don't think you understand what you are talking about. Do you know what precisely is a totalitarian state? It's a state which concerns itself with things which normally are a matter of a person's free will.

You can see a good illustration of a totalitarian state in movie "Stilyagi", the modern movie set in the Soviet Union:

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

A mindset is not something that changes radically over 60 years.

And there have been plenty of cries along the lines of "Stalin was right" referencing the deportation of Chechens after wars with them in the 90s, and the associated terrorist acts.

Hm, I think that has been _exactly_ the point Russia tried to make since 1990 -- that the problem was with the ideology (a wrong and misguided teaching), rather than the Russian people. Obviously, it doesn't take time to change the _ideology_. And it has indeed changed around 1990. And since that time Russia was indeed a very different country than it was before, in regards of multiple issues, in a broad scope covering a large area from private ownership of business empires and to legality of homosexual relationships.

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 156

I'd hate to be a Tatar now that they're responsible for turning off everyone's electricity.

Collective responsibility is not a part of the Russian mindset, and moreover the sabotage act itself wasn't perpetrated by the official reps of the Crimean Tatars from the Russia's viewpoint. More like outcast former elites discontented with their present status.

Comment Re:Equivication is standard KGB procedure (Score 1) 156

Those sanctions will remain in place until Putin submits, or his people depose him, and Crimea reverts to Ukrainian control.

It's not about Putin anymore. Joining Russia was promoted by local Crimean activists (yeah, there was an active brewing separatist movement) and popularly supported at a referendum. It might be naught from the international viewpoint, but it's something that cannot be ignored by Russia, regardless of who is its president.

Comment Re:WTF is with the US utility tie-in? (Score 1) 156

1. He has occupied new territory. It's not too hard to hold - the former power has other concerns, most of the population speaks Russian and a lot of them are loyal to Russia. But not all. There's a resistance, and it's getting in his way.

There's no resistance to speak of in Crimea, moreover joining Russia clearly was a decision by a vast majority of Crimean people. The issue is that the referendum was not in accordance with the Ukrainean legislation, hence it's not recognized internationally, but there's no debate that it was a popular decision of the Crimeans.

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