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It's funny.  Laugh.

Zhirinovsky to "Send Viruses to the West" 177

In another of many terribly funny quotes from Russian ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, he's stated that Russians don't drink anymore, and they are poaching money from the West. This is almost as funny as The Onion's parody of Patrick Buchanan, who's said some funny things himself. Perhaps we can get those two together somehow. *grin*
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Zhirinovsky to "Send Viruses to the West"

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  • In contrast to 99.9% of posts here, I actually seem to think that everybody here is getting into an uproar. First of all, there is a ridiculous amount of western ethnocentrism (or whatever that word is) here. "He's obviously a dangerous psychopath because he doesnt agree with our beliefs, and we're always correct." All right, I'll concede that he is somewhat of an unstable radical, but let's not forget how many such radicals we have here at home: Buchanan, the whole religious Right, etc...

    And I think these Hitler analogies are exagerrated. Zhirinovsky is in no way the capable policitican that Hitler was, nor does he really have an established, well-oiled propaganda machine that Hitler did. According the article, he has a fairly well running party and hes done some stuff in legislature, but I've seen this guy before. He's been around for a long time, and despite getting lots of attention through his extremist sayings (which is all he really seems to do: spout extreme quotes in order to get attention from the media). Hell, excite.com took the bait, as this article is worthless in itself, being solely a showcase for a few anti-west Zhirinovsky quotes. I'm not doubting the man's motives or agenda, I'm just saying he lacks the saavy to get them done. Look at our own nation's extremists, like Buchanan. He gets loads of press, but he's tried umpteen times to run for president and he's not even coming close. I realize that Russia is not the U.S. by any standards, but I'm sure their citizens have the same sense to keep him from getting in a position where he could pose a threat.

    I know I'm gonna get blasted for this, but Zhirinovsky is like your typicial /. troll: he spouts off extremist dogma to generate controversy because he can't do anything on his own merit, just raise your threshold and ignore him and he wont bother you.
  • I'm sorry if my post was unclear. Although I cannot speak for Ben, I know that my opinions have nothing to do with Big Z. being (or not being) a Communist. The salient point that both Ben and I were driving at was the Z. is making very real threats against the geo-political sector (i.e. pretty much the entire Western Hemisphere, esp. the USA) in which we live, in much the same was as Hitler did (witness Mein Kampf, as well as basically any speech he gave between leaving prison and committing suicide.)

    Neither Ben nor I ever claimed that we don't live in the most violent and wonderful nation on earth. I never claimed that the electric chair was the best seat in the house. I never beat my slaves.

    Also, at the threat of sounding like I'm issuing a flame of some sort, 1) National Socialism, by its very nature, was Socialism, so it wasn't exactly super-capitalism by any streatch. 2) I wasn't even alive for any u-boat attacks on the eastern seaboard, plus these were relatively few, and I've yet to meet a living American who is very bitter about them. 3) this isn't about citizens of the former Societ Union being bad or evil or pinkos-- this is about one lone, crazy guy who's rousing more rabble than the Klan.

    Someone moderate me down, I'm writing mad and raving offtopic.

  • by Alex Belits ( 437 ) on Tuesday December 21, 1999 @04:36AM (#1458003) Homepage
    Sorry, submitted it before without editing

    And it looks to me like something similar is happening in Russia. *Something* is causing people there to barter, whether it's a black market (which would imply those trade restrictions again), a government reduction in the money supply (trying to fight inflation, perhaps?) or simply the chain reaction of people pulling their money out of the country to avoid what they see as a financially dangerous situation.

    While I am not up to date with the current development, I know how it started because I was there. I may omit or distort some details in this description, so I welcome other Russians (no American poltitcians and journalists, pls.) to correct me where I am wrong.

    USSR economy originally was handled by the government. Government handled prices and planning of distribution of products, so while money and contracts existed and worked, government had power to determine possible relationships between "companies", import/export, prices, salaries, etc. Some things intentionally operated at loss, getting funds directly from the government.

    When reforms started, originally the ownership wasn't changed, however some "companies" were switched to more money-based model -- they had to keep more of their profits, had more choice in prices, salaries and their relationships with others even though the "owner" remained the same -- government. In a lot of cases it worked, however old low prices became impossible to maintain -- "companies" became disinterested in keeping prices low enough to let the rest of the economy, still entirely sponsored by the government, coexist with them. At the same time government started encouraging the creation of small businesses that were privately owned and had nothing to do with government except paying (high) taxes. Of course, those businesses were interested in increasing prices, however since most of them had to buy raw materials and equipment from "companies" owned by government, they still benefitted from arftificially limited prices that were in use there.

    After some time prices became split -- everything under strict control of the government tried to keep their prices low, everything else tried to keep them upper to reflect production cost, supply and demand. While unrestricted prices were growing, government had to increase their prices and funds allocated for government-sponsored production, education, research, health care and defense. Inflation started, however with no mechanism that balances government-handled part of economy in the presence of [semi-]independent and private parts of the economy, spending started to increase fast, pulling the inflation upper. To make things worse, salaries of people still working for the government (what was a majority of the economy) became significantly lower than employees of private companies, so large number of well-educated people left government-handled industry.

    Government started industry "privatization" campaign in attempt to create a kind of balance in the economy that does not require government to constantly adjust things (what it was clearly incapable of), however "privatization" quickly turned into looting -- former managers and government bureaucrats became "owners" and "shareholders" of what they previously managed, and with their personal wealth increased by many orders of magnitude they didn't become interested in any kind of useful economic activity. The rest of population got nothing.

    With still unbalanced economy, disinterested and incapable managers and businesses owners, choking government-sponsored education and health care, inflation continued to grow. Businesses started to switch to banking, trade, import-export from their original activities. Underfunded government became a victim of widespread corruption -- it became less profitable and safe to operate a legitimate business than to bribe bureaucrats to accept some bogus contract, make something worthless or near to worthless, get money, then use them to bribe more bureaucrats. Organized crime expanded, stability decreased even less, and businessmen started looking for means to secure their money. Since investment became unsafe in this kind of conditions, they had to convert money into stable currency and leave Russia, continuing to operate their still profitable businesses in Russia from abroad.

    This caused more instability, less production and further deterioration of everything that remained in the hands of the government. In addition to inflation money became unreliable simply because the production decreased below the demand.

  • That was the same thing that I noticed. I find that none of the ensemble comedy shows are much good, but MadTV has had more bright moments than SNL recently.
  • "nothing practical"

    Few people could sensibly argue that mans journey to the moon was not one of mankind's most extraordinary achievments.

    I was glued to my Grandma's old TV throughout. I will never forget it.

    You say that it was a waste of money? I suppose all the money Leonardo da Vinci spent on paint was a waste too. If only he done something practical with it - like a spot of decorating.
  • I remember a couple years ago he was running around blue in the face shouting about wanting to annex alaska. I think he's just a loonie, but then when you look at the kind of dingbats that the people will vote into office (Sunny Bono, Ronald Reagan, [insert your favorite brain dead pretty boy politician here], ...) you never know.
    My feeling is that if he gets elected he'll not actually get any of this stuff done, but it's probably a good idea to keep an eye on him anyway.
  • Yeah, and they dont need to crap anymore either, because they have a wonderful invention which allows them to recycle their waste...
    =======
    There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.
  • This guy had a huge amount of votes in the previous pseudo-election they had. This is not a joke! When I asked some of my friends that live there why the heck they voted for this looney -- their answer was, and I quote: "Because when he gets a lot of votes, the other russians will get scared of the possibility of him being the next president, and won't vote for him in the future." I lived the first half of my life in Russia, so I should be pretty versed in how they think. But there's no way I will ever understand the rationale behind their actions (probably cause there isn't any) in respect to voting for this clown.
  • by tilly ( 7530 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @02:33PM (#1458015)
    They don't see it.

    The help we sent got swallowed up in the general corruption. Despite our claims of sending help the average Russian peasant has never seen it so bad.

    Let me give one example [cnn.com].

    Around 40% of Russian male prisoners have drug-resistant TB. Given the size of the prison system and the huge turnover, Russia is turning into the epicenter of an epidemic.

    Here in the US we can usually treat drug-resistant TB, even if it does cost thousands/person. In Russia? Not a chance. They get a shipment of drugs, throw it at the prisoners, run out and thereby produce perfect conditions to breed resistant diseases.

    The US has forgotten TB, "consumption" is a quaint word that most people don't really recognize.

    Well until the 40's it was the leading cause of death in the US. It is back in Russia, with a vengeance. Over the next 5-10 years a significant fraction of Russia will experience that endless cough, and watch their bodies slowly waste away as they are "consumed" by a disease that Western medicine is going to be helpless to prevent.

    Don't be too complacent - it is coming here as well and public health officials don't have a clue how to handle it. The death rate has been rising since the 80's. Unless we have a miracle, we will experience what happens when diseases evolve past our ability to treat them. Welcome back to seeing your once young and healthy friend Johnny die for no greater crime than encountering "bad air".

    Today this plague is theoretical in the West. But not in Russia. Russia once boasted universal health care. It was not great, but it was available, and people trusted it. No longer. The free market (and corruption, but people hear the words free market) changed all that.

    Take a second look at Russia. The social chaos. The poverty. The diseases. The crime. The drugs.

    They blame it all on the West.

    Sure, the West claims to have sent money. What money? They never saw the money. They saw lots of other things come from the West though. Bite the hand that fed them you say? Many of them would see it as justifiable self-defence!

    Regards,
    Ben
  • Leave it to me to want to be serious about this...

    Wow-

    It sure seems like the US has pissed off every other 'Great Power'.

    Again.

    It makes me nervous enough that my (US) government
    seems oblivious to a large percent of it's population, but when the powers that be show a
    similar disregard towards this many countries, I get the shivers.

    When these many people want to use the US as fuel
    for thier religious/sectional/economic/political/personal vehicle, you have to stop and wonder what we have done to become a magnet for unified hatred.

    Like a lot of others reading this (from whatever country) , I was in the service, and still feel a patriotism-of-sorts for a country that I saw from a younger man's perspective.

    However, I'm starting to get embarassed, maybe even ashamed of my governments more than occasional arrogance towards the rest of the world.
  • I'm not aware of anyone who has claimed that AIDS only affects homosexuals or the immoral. Can you please site a specific instance of a "right-wing" person who has?

    On the other hand, I'm sure many "right wing people" have pointed out that ignoring traditional moral values increase your odds of getting AIDS dramatically. And it does: the only way I know of to catch aids within tradition morality on the part of all parties is blood transfer in a medical context. (There may be a few exceptions to this, but they are very few). Last I looked, that was less than 1% of all AIDS cases.

    The question I use to evaluate statements is not "does this conflict with (a vision of) society", but simply "is this true?" You seem to me to be in the redoubtable position of objecting to people telling the unimbellished, scientific truth because it conflicts with your prejudices or offends you. Usually, this is something that "right-wing people" are accused of.

    Your characterization of "right-wing people" is false -- not that I'm a right-winger. I just know a lot of right-wingers and think that you should limit your criticisms to true ones. There are certainly plenty of valid criticisms out there.

  • Apparently Zhirinovsky sees the parallel between himself and Buchanan. Buchanan won't admit it though.
    Here's an excerpt from a bio [indiana.edu] of Zhirinovsky:

    In February, 1996, Vladimir Zhirinovsky hailed Pat Buchanan's victory in the New Hampshire presidential primary. He wrote a letter to Buchanan, saying: ``You say that Congress is 'Israeli-occupied territory.' We have the same situation in Russia. So, to survive, we could set aside places on U.S. and Russian territory to deport this small but troublesome tribe.'' Zhirinovsky called Buchanan a ``brother in arms'' and wished him a ``convincing victory'' in November's U.S. presidential ballot. Buchanan rejected Zhirinovsky's endorsement. Zhirinovsky then changed tone. "I thought you were really defending the interests of your nation," said the letter, the text of which was released by Zhirinovsky's office. "And you've turned out to be just like Clinton and other corrupt politicians, moved by greed and vanity, not by love for the fatherland."
  • They have seen the West crush the Soviet system, lose them their empire, have a free market thrust down their throats only to bring utter poverty, disease, and hunger to them, and they don't like it.
    Well, the Soviet system crushed itself, they don't have a free market (nuthouse run by criminal gangs != free market) and yes, they don't like it. The more guys like this crank can blame Russia's problems on someone besides Russia, the better people who believe that type of thing feel. Until, of course, they realize that it really is Russia's problem, and they've had their eyes taken of the ball for years. Or until they starve. Whichever comes first. Maybe then, people will start standing up for themselves over there and solving theor own problems. As P.J. O'Rourke said, Russians have both feet firmly planted in the air. When he asked a group of protesters after glasnost what it was they wanted, he was told that they wanted en economist to give them a plan. "You had that already," was his reply.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1. He is dangerous because he is making promises that will be an act of war if carried out.

    Physical Aggresion against India.

    "Cyber" Agression agains th USA

    2. Hitler did not start out with an well oiled propaganda machine.

    He offered lots of hungry people a place to stay and food to eat if they joined his military.

    This guy blames the Jew for WWII, jeez.

    I guess my main point is that The former soviet union is poised for some major change. If US companies can get ahead of the russian black market, russia can be a powerfull democratic nation.

    if not, then the paople there will need away to get a better life. and war is good for an economy. Now, knowing some of the conditions there as I do, I find it hard to blame the non-criminal in russia for seeking ANYWAY to get out of that kind of poverty.

    Believe me, if your children where starving, and All you had to to is join a miltia to feed them, you would.

  • Please quote the place in my writing I am, whining all day is that everything non-western (in this case Russia) is evil or where I had the audacity to claim that Nazi Germany is not western.

    You cannot for the simple reason that I did not say that. I did point out that Zhirinovsky appeals to a segment of the Russian population that is explicitly anti-Western. This is a statement of fact, and I believe that I did a pretty good job of summing up why they are anti-Western.

    There were only two things that my post directly criticized. One was the ability for a a rabble-rouser with a convenient, disillusioned, and potentially violent minority to seize control. This is a pattern that has shown up in the establishment of dictatorships the world over. The other is the tendancy of people to dismiss out of hand the effects of a position that seems crazy to them. Well the position may seem crazy, but craziness is no obstacle to power.

    Now please go back and read the post that I wrote rather than the one you thought I did. When you get through reading it and sorting out my writing from your fantasy, perhaps you will have the guts to both apologize and sign your name to that.

    Sincerely,
    Benjamin J. Tilly
  • Remember that "Ultranationalism" is just our modern media's polite codeword for what would have been more straightforwardly called "fascism" by our forebears.
  • Remember the hedge fund that went bust recently, at a cost of $18 billion or so? The Fed bailed them out. How? By "monetizing the debt" -- i.e., printing more money.

    They also took money directly out of smaller investment firms' pockets (I know, I'm a partner in one), by manipulating market parameters such as interest rates the very week of a "triple-witch" expiration (something hitherto unheard of). The result was a market which behaved as they intended -- more or less the opposite of what would have happened if the Fed had not intervened. The little folks lost a bundle, but the big, insolvent funds whos mismanaged positions were so exposed were bailed out. In short, that money wasn't just "printed," much of it was stolen directly from the pockets of smaller investors and financial firms -- the very ones most critical to the success and continued functioning, not to mention prosperity, of the entire system.

    That entire fiasco made a mockery of free market economics and is, to me, one of the more stark examples of just how subsidized our whole economy really is, and how much corruption is built in to the entire apparatus. There is allot more "central planning" in the west than any of the politicians let on, and than most of us realize. Greenspan may work in "six month" rather than "five year" plans (which he then tweaks every month or two), he may use capital, rather than (or in addition to) the gun as a tool of coercion, and, yes, the result may be a system that works better than what the soviets had, but it is by no means a truly "free" market, and hasn't been for decades.

    BTW - Anyone else notice the rather large "bubble" in this year's markets?
  • Yeah, they could really put the world to rights between them :)

    Chris.
  • These statistics look even worse if you limit them to a certain area instead of the whole USA,
    And they look completely different if you look at the world statistics instead of those just for the US. "Globally, it is estimated that 60% of all cases of infection occur through vaginal intercourse. In sub-Saharan Africa, the estimate is 80%...In most central African cities and in some major cities in America and Western Europe, AIDS is already the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 20 and 40." [undp.org]

    by someone whose world view doesn't co-incide with The Truth.
    Never trust anyone who spells truth with a capital T.
  • by Sick Boy ( 5293 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @01:49PM (#1458030) Homepage
    I've worked with 2 Russians, one of whom was a severe alcoholic and one who didn't drink at all. Therefore 50% of Russians drink, and this man is a liar.
  • Yes, Russia is not yet out of Communism,
    maybe some generations later,
    but currently the Communist party in Russia
    has the first place in recent elections...

    so Russia is not yet with us,

    evguenii
  • "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

    -Mike Godwin

    But see, you also forgot about Quirk's exception;

    "Quirk's Exception: Intentional invocation of this so-called "Nazi Clause" is ineffectual."

    Nice try though :-)

    For more info, including how to properly invoke, use and skirt Godwin's law please see the Godwin's Law FAQ" [faqs.org]


    mcrandello@my-deja.com
    rschaar{at}pegasus.cc.ucf.edu if it's important.
  • While you are correct in pointing out that many of the assumptions made in the west are a result of anti-soviet propoganda and downright wrong (athiesm == evil; communism can't work; Reagan was responsible for reform in Russia, not Gorbochov; etc.), you are wrong on a couple of points:

    The same things happen within any large company [...] there is upper management in HQ, management in offices/branches, middle management, etc., all making their decisions on behalf of the company. The same kind of system was used in USSR. While I am not a fan of huge companies, last time I have checked, American economy is mostly ruled by them, so I don't see any fundamental difference.

    The differences are twofold:

    1) Central planning vs. unplanned "organic" self-organization. In the USSR, one government planned and executed the entire economy. In western capitalism, while each company (large and small) may or may not be autocratic, the economy is composed of thousands upon thousands of these autonomous entities operating within the economy. The only force even remotely "controlling" the economy is the Federal Reserve, and while it is in many ways far too involved in micromanaging the economy (see an earlier post I made), it is not the same as an economy centrally managed around Five Year Plans.

    This is not to say communism couldn't work (it worked after a fashion for fifty years, though I wouldn't characterize the results as particularly stellar), but to point out that your assertion that there is little difference between an economy run by a central government and one in which numerous companies participate is simply false.

    2) Democracy was IMHO the critical factor which allowed western capitalism to succeed in many areas where communism did not. Each economic system has its weaknesses and strengths, and both have lethal internal dichotomies and contradictions which, if left unaddressed, will consume their respective economic systems. Capitalism relies on free markets as its check and balance, with competition providing goods to consumers at the best price/product ratio. Unfortunately, unregulated markets become quickly dominated by one or only a few of the most successful producers, at which point competition dies, the free market ceases to exist, and the entire economic model begins to fall apart. Similarly with communism, the inherent notion that each contributes according to their ability and receives according to their need in an egalitarian context ignores the fundamental requirement that someone must administer the collection and distribution of goods. This administrator has inherent power over others, and the equality of the system is compromized. There to, eventually the economy devolves and falls apart. These are just a couple of examples, both systems have numerous other lethal flaws which I'm sure you'll recognize if you give it some thought.

    The key difference is that, in the west, the democratic institutions provided avenues of generally peaceful (though often bitter and angry) feedback which resulted in legislation to curb the most extreme aspects of capitalism and provide dampening effects designed to prevent monopolists from destroying markets. Unfortunately for the communists, there was no such feedback mechanism to allow the system to recognize dysfunctions and remodel itself in order to alleviate those problems, until Gorbochov's 11th hour reforms which were too little, too late. Had that occurred in the 50's instead of the 80's I think history would have been much different, and we would be living in a world with two dominant and successful economic systems (which would probably be a more stable economic structure than an entire world with all of its eggs in the single capitalist basket).

    The other point I think you miss:

    Real prosperity is a bottom-up phenomenon.

    This entirely depends on the society in question. Of course, in US concentration of wealth already made this point close to becoming moot.

    Even in communist economies, it is the individual worker who produces the "wealth," whenever he or she converts a piece of rock into a statue, a piece of sheet metal, or a wrought-iron fence. In both systems wealth and prosperity are generated from the bottom up. Communism could have reformed to take this into account, had there been a democratic form of government in place to allow the necessary feedback and pressure to mandate such reform. (Think incentive, which capitalism, for all of its other problems, has down pat).

    As to America being addicted to imports, the same goes for every country in the world (including the Soviets, who for many years as a communist nation received grain imported from the United States). Self-sufficiency is a myth. We live in a global economy, and have since at least the era of the Egyptians. Every nation is dependent on another for goods too numerous to mention. Neither the US nor the USSR were ever islands unto themselves, and although both met most of their internal needs themselves up until the early 20th century, neither could ever do fully without imports to (and exports from) their neighbors without suffering economic hardship.
  • by mlc ( 16290 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @01:52PM (#1458035) Homepage
    The really scary thing here is that this politician is real, and is actually getting votes. It's one thing when some right-wing wacko (in your home country or abroad) makes scary statements in an attempt to get attention; it's quite another when that wacko (and I feel justified in calling these people wackos) starts to get votes (8% and rising, according to the article). While I hope this guy doesn't mean what he says, some of it resonates strongly with what people in this country are saying. When he announces that they don't have AIDS in Russia (which they do, of course), he sounds awfully like some right-wing people here in the US who claim that AIDS only affects homosexuals, or the immoral, or people whose last name begins with T, or whoever.
  • Keep an eye on this guy, He has the potential to become the next Hitler or Stalin, his quote that he wants to wash his boots in the indian ocean after russia expands there is quite telling.

  • The Africans have refused to wear condoms or practice any form of safe sex. It offends their religious and/or macho sensibilities, and their leaders (until very recently,) have steadfastly refused to publicly encourage AIDS education and/or safe sex. These leaders blather pithy pleas for 'abstinence' while they themselves do God/Allah knows what behind closed doors. The threat of AIDS is real, but totally avoidable, unlike cancer or starvation. The thing is, AIDS does not suffer fools gladly.

  • > Every Russian girl dreams to be like an
    > American slut. I doubt there is anyone in
    > Russia who likes that.

    I dunno...I'm not in Russia but I like that. Maybe I need to schedule a visit :)

    SGC

  • I like this quote:

    "Russia is a heavy drinking nation which is struggling to catch up with economically-advanced countries on the use of new technologies, such as the Internet, but a lack of resources and poor infrastructure confines progress to big cities."

    So how is this different from here in the good ol' U.S. of A? Everyone knows Ted Kennedy can drink any Russian under the table, and I haven't seen many rural areas benefiting from (or even using) new technologies such as the Internet.
  • I think your political biases are showing by comparing Zhirinovsky to Buchanan...

    Comparing the real life statements of Zhirinovsky to a parody of Buchanan is absurd. Perhaps you should grab a dictionary and look up "parody".

    Zhirinovsky is an expansionist. He wishes to expand Russia to the Indian Ocean and reclaim the independent states. He is an economic socialist with nationist flavoring. Buchanan, on the other hand, is an isolationist. The opposite, in other words. He does not advocate making war on any nation. He is an economic capitalist with protectionist flavoring.
  • by tilly ( 7530 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @03:01PM (#1458045)
    First I don't think that the Soviet system crushed itself. It just could not sustain an arms race with the most prosperous country on Earth. Additionally I cannot prove a thing, but I strongly suspect that the CIA had a part in the collapse of the Soviets. One of the more interesting articles that I have stumbled across is a 1984 article in the Whole Earth Catalog (not known for being a right wing publication) detailing how the 1982 events in Poland were orchestrated by the CIA operating with the Catholic Church in an experiment on using non-violent resistance. Given the events later in the decade I would not consider it beyond belief that said experiment was deemed a success and tried on a larger scale. (Proof, what is that? This is just a theory.)

    Regardless of that, you are perfectly correct about what the Russian economy is. However the people were told that they were getting a free market economy, they have been told they have a free market economy, and that is what they are blaming their troubles on.

    As for your dismissal, read some history. A signficant portion of economic reality is belief. What people believe is true, really is. Look again at Hitler. No, the Jews didn't hand away Germany in WW I. No, the Jews were not the cause of Germany's economic troubles.

    Yet Hitler managed to come to power, and acting at odds with all accepted economic principles really did manage to take a ruined country and put it together (while the rest of the World was collapsing into the Great Depression). He really did rebuild the country. He really did produce the finest highway system ever seen. He really did make Germans proud to be German. He really did restore the military. He really did conquer Europe. Had he not been an idiot and nutcase, he would have kept it as well!

    All of this despite the fact that his description of the causes of the existing troubles were completely loony, and despite (because of?) complete ignorance of how economics was supposed to work.

    Just because someone is utterly mistaken does not mean that they cannot be very effective. Particularly in areas where belief is so critical.

    Regards,
    Ben
  • The following are nothing but rumors from the old days.

    Zhirinovsky, as a political figure, was created soon after former USSR fell apart. Before that he worked at the KGB. At the time, Yeltsin (current "living dead" president of Russia) was interested in grabbing some power from the hands of Gorbachev (last president of USSR).

    Of course, to persuade common people that Yeltsin is the best candidate for leadership, who would lead the country in the right direction, some "fallen angel" (for the lack of better words) was necessary. Someone who would be so ridiculous at the leadership position, yet with some aggressive political views, that people would run screaming from him and priding Yeltsin. Thus, Zhirinovsky was created.

    As we all know, Yeltsin has won. Twice... But I'm not going there. The interesting part is the resonance Zhirinovsky has created. Even his ultra nationalistic views, that borderline with insanity, have touched some not-so-bright or otherwise socially myopic, sheep like, self priding citizen. My guess is that Yeltsin and his crew are still kicking themselves for this political mistake.

    Never underestimate stupidity of your citizen.

  • There is a certain joy in being held in submission to a harsh parent, spouse or other sort of guardian. Meals are bland and sparse, but appear on time. Rules are clearly defined, even if non-sensical, but are enforced with an iron hand. There is a feeling of consistency. When you are unhappy, you have a clear target to blame, but the penalty for speaking up is death, so you are relieved of the responsibility of doing anything to help yourself. You can grumble amongst your comrades about this or that but always end with "Ah! Such is life. What can we do?"

    Agoraphobia. Do you know what that is? It is an unrational fear of wide open spaces.

    You can face your fears, and help others face theirs, or you can help to build an even stronger prison, where they can lock you up like a dog again. Feed you on schedule. Beat you when you're bad. Reward you when you inform on others. Re-inforce your fear of leaving the cage by telling you tales of the horrors that lie outside.

    Sorry to blather on. Nothing personal. Freedom is scary, and Western culture is far from perfect. We are the richest in terms of physical wealth, and some of the poorest in terms of family and society.

    I hope your fellow Russians can find a way in the world that does not involve 'going back into the cage'. They are in an uncomfortable, nebulous position right now, but their is tremendous potential for...?


  • SNL, like Time magazine, died a long time ago, and has ceased to be of any consequence whatsoever. Kids in the Hall was brilliant, and bowed out gracefully when they all 'grew up'. Mad TV makes the best and most intellent effort by far for now. SNL can't seem to tell a good sketch from a bad one. I'll bet they hire their writers right out of college, thinking, "We'll get a really fresh and hip perspective!" What they actually get is a slush pile of almost interesting but totally uninformed Creative Writing 101 drivel. Somewhere in their offices is a 45-55 year old secretary who's lived long enough to actually be able to reflect intelligently and humorously on current events, but is ignored as old-school and out-dated.

    Oh well. Another great excuse NOT to watch TV, and THAT'S a Good Thing(TM)!



  • Greenspan may work in "six month" rather than "five year" plans (which he then tweaks every month or two), he
    may use capital, rather than (or in addition to) the gun as a tool of coercion, and, yes, the result may be a
    system that works better than what the soviets had, but it is by no means a truly "free" market, and hasn't been
    for decades.

    ... and hasn't been since 1913. It's been a "relatively free" mixed economy. Like "sort of pregnant".
  • With all its flaws USSR at least was capable of producing within its borders everything that was consumed there.
    To quote you, what kind of fantasy world are you living in? They have had to import food staples for years. Don't tell me GUM was a lot of fun to shop at.
    The same things happen within any large company -- the same organization is responsible for all decisions. In companies there is upper management in HQ, management in offices/branches, middle management, etc., all making their decisions on behalf of the company. The same kind of system was used in USSR. While I am not a fan of huge companies, last time I have checked, American economy is mostly ruled by them, so I don't see any fundamental difference.
    This difference is, companies fail when they plan wrong. They don't force anyone to do anything. They don't have an army.

    Please explain why it is you think command economies and a populace with no rights outside those granted by the govenrment are better than capitalism and personal autonomy and freedom. And don't rant about how bad the US is. Actually tell us what's so hot about the USSR, or any totalitarian socialist regeime anywhere. I'l admint to US isn't perfect -- especially since 1913. But I don't want to hear about how the US is "no better than" the USSR. I want to hear about why the USSR was so good, in your opinion.
  • First of all, you assume that mongamy == morality. I disagree. Anyway, I don't have statistics handy, but there are plenty of ways to get AIDS:
    I didn't claim "monogamy == morality" - the people the original poster mention equate the two. The issue was not whether or not their opinion was right but rather whether living your life the way they want would reduce the risk of AIDS, which is true. Another poster posted some numbers - drug usage and homosexual sex were listed as the most common disease vectors by the CDC by a hefty margin. Without getting into issues of whether those practices are right or wrong, it's pretty obvious that they do increase your risk (which was my point).
    The first two of these do not count as immoral in anybody's book.
    You'd be surprised. There are those who consider blood transfusions wrong and there's a growing body of medical evidence suggesting that non-blood surgery is not only safer but also more effective.
    Also, plenty of people who might fit your definition of morality in that they only have one partner at a time might have more than one partner in a lifetime and thus spread AIDS or some other STD.
    Also quite true - I never claimed otherwise. However, if you follow what the original poster might have described as the right-wing fundamentalist lifestyle (sex only with spouse) it reduces the transmission risk to the accidental ones you mentioned.
  • ...their leaders (until very recently,) have steadfastly refused to publicly encourage AIDS education and/or safe sex. These leaders blather pithy pleas for 'abstinence' while they themselves do God/Allah knows what behind closed doors.
    Why, those uncivilized Africans. Certainly, American leaders would never behave that way.

    Heh heh heh.

  • Zhirinovsky is one of the coolest politicians

    Cool? Cool?? It doesn't matter if he is just a populist or if he is serious about his anti-semitism (and I for one believe he is serious). He is constantly trying to whip up hate against jews, and succeeding quite well in some areas too. I also believe he is a full blown psychopath. A female journalist (I believe she was American actually) who interviewed him a couple of years ago wrote an article. She claimed that when she began to ask him difficult questions about his politics during the interview, he eventually smiled and leaned over, and said, essentially, "I can rape you here and now. My bodyguards will help me subdue you, they obey my every word. No one will hear you. You are in my power now, bitch." Luckily some people came by and she managed to get away from him. He probably just wanted to scare her, but still. Also, did you seen the fight in the duma? He was not holding back there. He was pulling this woman's hair very hard and if people weren't holding his other arm he would probably have punched her in the face at the same time.

    Yeah, really cool guy there. Fool.

    ************************************************ ***

  • OK, $64,000 question - where did these words (with all the bloody inaccuracies in the transliteration ;) come from?

    And the answer is: (yep, you guessed it):
    It's a song from "The Hunt for Red October" soundtrack. A Hollywood movie based on Tom Clancy novel (which is, in turn, inspired by a real event [cosbyassoc.com]).

    And the song is not Soviet or Russian, it's a "Hymn to the Red October", music by Basil Poledouris. More info at t his link [hollywood.com].

    (I must admit, that it *IS* a clever fake... I thought it's Soviet for the longest time, and I used to have quite a bit of knowlege of Soviet war music).

    -Cheers,
    Daniel

  • While I must say there is more to Russian anti-americanism than "reverse-anti-communism",
    I will second the vote for stratfor.com
    an EXCELLENT source of information, recommended to anyone who is interested in non-hyped, thoughtful commentary based on reality and not ideology.
  • Quite honestly, i'm not sure who is further from reality - The Clown (my own name for Zhirinovsky), or the airhead mediot(s) at Excite.

    "Russia...is struggling to catch up with economically-advanced countries on the use of new technologies, such as the Internet..."

    OK, number one, since when did Internet become a *new* technology? ;)

    Number two - if you go ask ANYONE who has ever dealt with computer guys living in, or recently emigrated from, fUSSR [ and I don't mean script kiddies ], you would get a clear clue that on the average, they are at least as good as their counterparts in the West.

    This partly has to do with the fact that, in general, math and science education in fUSSR was better than in the States, which easily compensated for any technology gaps.

    I don't want to touch this Zhirinovsky discussion with a 10-foot soldering iron, but it unpleasantly amazed me how /. community happily started yelling "yes all russian hackers are uber-inferior to us!". I would have expected more mature attitude.

    -DVK

  • he sounds awfully like some right-wing people here in the US who claim that AIDS only ... the immoral
    Not to jump on the religion soap-box, but just how what percentage of the AIDS patients were monogamous?
  • Zhirinovsky's speaches remind me of others given in a formerly prosperous country about 60 or so years ago.
    The person who gave the speaches told people what they wanted to hear. He told them that they would rise back to there former place in the sun, and even higher. He told them that they were the best in the world, simply because they were who they were.
    He also gave them easy answers. He blamed all the problems on a small group of people who were different.
    And people believed him. They followed him, they loved him. They followed his every word. He started to do bad things. He invaded other countries, and burned books. He also started enslaving the people that the was blaming for everything. They still loved him.
    That man was hitler.
    I can only hope that the people of Russia are cynical enough not to believe this crackpot, or the whole world could be in for a real mess.
  • Zhirinovsky is one of the coolest politicians, and I am pretty sure he is one of the smartest ones too (just to mention, he probably used to work for KGB and speaks several languages). The guy has absolutely no beliefs (for example, along with all his anti-semitic remarks, he is half-jewish himself (which is relatively well-known in Russia), and also once said that jews were the smartest nation). For him politics is pure business, and that's the only reason why he is there. He does sell places in his party (i.e., through that, in the Russian parliament). To maintain his 7-8% rating he uses various time-proven techniques - anti-americanism, anti-semitism, and so on. There is absolutely no chance he can become hitler or stalin (there was a chance several years ago, but not anymore), there is no chance for him to become the president, and he is very well aware of that.

    By the way, when he does not make all those crazy statements, he actually works in the Duma, and the most amazing thing is that while what he says there is said to be stupid, eventually the government does exactly that - for example, some time ago he was the only one to say that Chechnya should be bombed, and now it is (it's not that I'm saying it's good, but he is more shrewd than other russian politicians).

    To put it shortly - I am a big fan of this guy as long as he doesn't get more than 10% of the votes, and since it's not going to happen, I'm glad he is in the new Duma. He is probably the only one there who, at least sometimes, says absolutely whatever he wants!!
  • First of all, you assume that mongamy == morality. I disagree.

    Anyway, I don't have statistics handy, but there are plenty of ways to get AIDS:

    • accidental exchange of blood (open cut, whatever)
    • blood / whatever infusions
    • unclean needles
    The first two of these do not count as immoral in anybody's book. Also, plenty of people who might fit your definition of morality in that they only have one partner at a time might have more than one partner in a lifetime and thus spread AIDS or some other STD.
  • There are large numbers of people who are still virgins and who have AIDS, much less being non-monogamous. They're called congenital victims of their mother's AIDS, or haemophiliacs, or other victims of tainted blood transfusions. The daughter of someone I know got HIV from a transfusion during cancer surgery when she was 1 year old.

    And even that doesn't exhaust the list of people who are not non-monogamous and who have HIV. They're called spouses of people who practice unsafe extra-marital sex and contract HIV. Under your system of belief, there is still the presence of sin, but it is not that victim's sin that causes the suffering; for he/she is innocent.

    And even that doesn't exhaust the list, but you can do the rest as a personal homework assignment from me to you.
  • While I hope this guy doesn't mean what he says, some of it resonates strongly with what people in this country are saying.

    I does mean what he says.
    I am from ex USSR, I have known this guy since 1991. Also, among other things he has promissed
    to drop the nukes on Chechenia and dump radioactive waste in Baltic countries..
  • The really scary thing here is that this politician is real, and is actually getting votes. It's one thing when some right-wing wacko (in your home country or abroad) makes scary statements in an attempt to get attention; it's quite another when that wacko (and I feel justified in calling these people wackos) starts to get votes

    You mean like Pat Buchanan? Scary stuff indeed! :-)

  • Holodna hmoora.
    Eemruchnoh v'doosheh
    Kak mohg znat ya shtoh tee oomriosh?
    Do svidonia, byehreg rodnoy
    Kak nam troodnag pridstahvit shtoh eto nyeh sohn.
    Rodina, dom radnoy,
    Do svidonia Rodina.
    Ay. Avepakhod, avepakhod, nass val nahmarskaya zhdyot nyehdazh dyotsyah.
    Nass zah vootmarskaya dah, ee preeboy!

    Salute otsam ee nashem dedum
    Zahvietum eekh fsigdah vierney.
    Tepierre nichtoh, nee astanoivit,
    Pabiedney shark, radnoy straney.
    Tiy pliyvee, pliyvee bestrashna,
    Gordest say viernykh marieye.
    Revoluytziye nadezhdah sgoostk vierif sekh luydeye.
    V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh,
    Rahpar tu ium miy nashe pabiediy.
    V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh,
    Novie meeir fahli numnashy dehidiy.

    Just threw that out to get people thinking. Pretty music, if you get a change to listen to it. It's pretty easy to let yourself get caught up in the song, even if the lyrics don't apply to the country who's side you'd seemingly be on. Hope of a Revolution does seem to inspire people to do things they otherwise wouldn't. (I leave it to the reader to figure out the words to the song if they feel so inclined. Dejanews helps.)

  • I'm not characterizing all right-wing people by any means. My apologies if I gave that impresion. There are people (e.g., some of the Republican party) with views that I disagree with but are nonetheless consistant with facts and realtiy. I'm characterizing "right-wing wackos" (and there are left-wing wackos -- some would argue that I am one -- but I'm not talking about them right now).

    And the person who the article's about said that no russians get AIDS. If that's not a good enough example of what you're looking for, I don't know what is.

  • I've seen a lot of speculation about it, some people have said it's actually a composition of two different songs from the 20s, others have said it's all written by Poledouris. It was interesting seeing the responces here, I wanted to see who would respond with what. :) I'm not Russian myself, so I don't know the specific inaccuracies of the song. I do enjoy it though, and I'm glad that a couple people seem to have responded. :)
  • To quote you, what kind of fantasy world are you living in? They have had to import food staples for years. Don't tell me GUM was a lot of fun to shop at.

    It was sufficient for its main purpose -- why shopping is supposed to be some kind of enterntainment (probably people here love having all their senses attacked with ads) is beyond me.

    This difference is, companies fail when they plan wrong. They don't force anyone to do anything. They don't have an army.

    After getting big enough company has as little chances to fail as a country with its government even when it makes completely bogus decisions at the upper level -- see GM, IBM, AT&T, etc. Even Microsoft in the very worst (for Microsoft) case will unlikely "fail" -- see examples of AT&T and Standard Oil.

    Please explain why it is you think command economies and a populace with no rights outside those granted by the govenrment are better than capitalism and personal autonomy and freedom. And don't rant about how bad the US is.

    I am not trying to defend abstract ideas of "communism", "capitalism" and "democracy". "No rights" isn't exactly how I can describe USSR, and "personal autonomy and freedom" is not exactly what I see in US. Discussion about extremes and utopias can be endless, and I refuse to even go into that direction. I am talking only about real countries and current political situation.

    Actually tell us what's so hot about the USSR, or any totalitarian socialist regeime anywhere.

    Where have I said that USSR or Communists were "good", or that I like or liked them? I only compare things and show the lies that anti-soviet propaganda put into americans' heads.

    I'l admint to US isn't perfect -- especially since 1913. But I don't want to hear about how the US is "no better than" the USSR. I want to hear about why the USSR was so good, in your opinion.

    Again, neither USSR, nor US were/are "good" -- both made more than enough of things that have nothing to do with "good". The problem is, Russians admitted them and even made a clumsy attempt of correcting the political system while Americans still insist that they are right in everything, that their political system is the best possible, that monopoly-infested economy works, and that they have a "right" to attack every country that they think, is not "democratic" enough for their taste. I find it to be hypocritic in the highest degree possible.

  • 1) Central planning vs. unplanned "organic" self-organization. In the USSR, one government planned and executed the entire economy. In western capitalism, while each company (large and small) may or may not be autocratic, the economy is composed of thousands upon thousands of these autonomous entities operating within the economy. The only force even remotely "controlling" the economy is the Federal Reserve, and while it is in many ways far too involved in micromanaging the economy (see an earlier post I made), it is not the same as an economy centrally managed around Five Year Plans.

    USSR was a Federation with 15 members, each with its own government and one central federal government. "Five Years Plans" never were detailed in the degree that can be called "micromanagement", AFAIK they mostly consisted of the planned volumes of production, and it "companies" were encouraged to exceed them in the reasonable range. Different branches of industry were handled by different "Ministries" (Departments) of the executive branch of government, and only finances and general planning/market prediction were centralized across the branches (Gosplan/Gossnab/...). Locally the decisions still were made by Directors of "companies" of various sizes, who were responsible to "the government" through various structures.

    At least formally Ministries were responsible to "the people" through the government -- legislative branch of it ("Soviets") was elected just like everywhere else. Of course, since Communist Party had significant power over the whole this system, this mechanism quickly became screwed up, however this is not too unlike other countries where one or two similar parties taken over the whole political process.

  • Similarly with communism, the inherent notion that each contributes according to their ability and receives according to their need in an egalitarian context ignores the fundamental requirement that someone must administer the collection and distribution of goods. This administrator has inherent power over others, and the equality of the system is compromized.

    This is a very common mistake about the nature of political/economical system that was present in USSR. While the idea of the "communism" was "from everyone according to abilities, to everyone according to needs", USSR never claimed to have actually implemented it. While the ruling party was called "Communist", "communism" was declared to be a distant goal of the development of _socialist_ country (USSR, Union of Soviet _Socialist_ Republics). It was declared that while people can't regulate themselves based on their own conscience, some system, in part based on governmental regulation, in part based on money, should be in place.

  • Sorry if I haven't made it clear -- socialist system that existed in USSR was _not_ supposed to implement "from everyone according to abilities, to everyone according to needs" principle precisely because it was declared to be not achievable by any means until people will voluntarily subscribe to this goal. While this Communists' final goal does not seem to be realistic, at least they admitted the imperfection of the system that they have used, and did not try to apply it to the things, it was useless for.
  • by svo ( 128675 )
    If everyone dislikes the fact, why do you say every girl? I particularly don't care about those who really want to become an american slut, dirtier there, it is cleaner here. Just don't use the word "every".
  • LOL, you've made my day
  • Well, according to esteemed New York Mayor Giuliani, the Marxists never left the US and are still a menace today [nytimes.com].
  • by Axe ( 11122 )
    What sort of a transcription is that? I barely undertood parts of it. It does not look like my native language...
  • Just listen to the dishonorable senator from the state of North Carolina, Jesse Helms [aegis.com], who in 1995 argued for the cutting of Federal AIDS funding in as much as AIDS is a problem only facing "people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts".

    And then there are plenty of other idiots espousing similar views, like Bob Enyart ("Gay stands for Got AIDS Yet?") and Fred Phelps (of godhatesfags.com fame, who leads protests at the funerals of people who die of AIDS).

    Your other points are equally bogus, but I already fed another troll today. Look for an earlier post called "you depress me".
  • > 1) National Socialism, by its very nature, was Socialism ...

    Eh?

    It was State cronyism driven capitalism under a fascist roof, not Socialist by a long shot. Remember, the scare mongering AH used to get into power used Jews _and_ Communist as scapegoats. ANd who was the Reichstag fire blamed on? Capitalists? I think not!

    Besides, the comparison between AH and VZ is ludicrous. VZ is a buffoon.

    BTW, a comparison to Hitler has been raised, by the old USENET rules this thread should be terminated. So much for tradition!

    -M
  • Doesn't seem like a good mix. I can here some choice Buchanan quotes right now, like "What the hell am I doing in a room with this damn commie?" and good ol' Zhirinovski retorting along the lines of how Americans are stuck up pigs who couldn't care about anything except consumerism, then the fist fight starts with both of them raving about nukes, Buchanan yelling about the "Duke" and the American way, while Zhirinovski is yelling about Sputnik and unstoppable force of the Russian empire....

    Such happy thoughts.

    Jeff

  • For a while I've felt that it would be useful for me/somebody to make a web site outlining the reasons that people might have for hating the U.S.. Not to condone/criticize these views, but simply to list them (and then have discussion forums for people to back and forth about them). Why? Well, lots of people around the world do hate the U.S., and until U.S. citizens (and politicians!) understand the reasons for this, a lot of what happens in the world isn't going to make sense to them. Every time I read a Tom Clancy novel, the desire to make such a web site becomes almost overpowering. Maybe such a web site exists already. Let us know if it does. Again, the purpose of such a site would be to improve communication and understanding among global citizens. Naïve? Probably.


    ______________________(
    // ///#\)

  • All you Americans are whining all day is that everything non-western (in this case Russia) is evil If you truly believe this is what we say and we think, you don't understand Americans. We know Hitler was Western; we know he took a country of "good" people and created one of the most terrible forces in history. (It was Japanse subs that bombed the U.S., however; German subs confined themselves to sinking American ships within sight of the coast.) All it took was a charismatic, nationalistic lunatic who took advantage of terrible economic times. So what do we have in Russia? Looks like a disturbingly simi;lar situation. Look, Americans don't want to "keep Russia down;" we want an economically strong Russia that no longer feels a need for nukes, or at least no need to threaten anyone with them. If we could figure out how to build Russia's infrastructure to make that happen, we would. Unfortunately, our efforts so far seem to have done more harm than good, at least in Russia. (We do seem to have done rather better in Eastern Europe, and we're really hoping that starts to rub off.)
  • there was actually an SNL sketch about two weeks after that issue of the Onion came out (the week with Christina Ricci and Beck) that was exactly the same as the Onion article. It was called "who wants to eat" and had contestants from Bosnia, Etheopia, etc.

    While it had some extremely clever interpretations of the Onion version (the set was the same wierd hi-tech thing as WWTBAM except the ceiling appeared to be made out of grass, the music was the same except it also had sitars.. the questions were rather funny, etc.) it's a sad day when you see the once-mighty Saturday Night Live stealing directly from the Onion.
  • Thus saying
    immorals are more likely to get AIDS (where immorality means promiscuity --
    remeber morality is relative) is a statistically accurate statement.


    Though semantically it is flawed. Why is non-monogamy "immoral"? Because the Bible said so? There is no reason why having more than one sexual partner (in itself) should be considered "immoral". If you believe it's wrong to have sex with anyone you're not married to, by all means don't do it. But don't judge others who don't share your beliefs.

    "Man has the right to love as he will, where, when and whom he will."
  • This was taken from the article:

    "We have the best hackers in the world. We do not need to drink or smoke...We do not drink, smoke, have drugs and we don't have AIDS, that's what you have got in the West." quote by Vladimir Zhirinovsky
    Russia is a heavy drinking nation which is struggling to catch up with economically-advanced countries on the use of new technologies, such as the Internet, but a lack of resources and poor infrastructure confines progress to big cities. following paragraph by Excite

    Who said journalists don't have a sense of humor.

    Bad Command Or File Name
  • I must first put up a disclaimer of total ignorance: I'm not an economist, not a historian, and not even a closely interested observer. But I do have a point to make, and a question:

    I (like most political pundits I've heard) was under the general impression that the primary cause of Russia's economic problems was simply endemic corruption caused by a too-fast attempt to switch to a free market system.

    I'm not so sure anymore. Newsweek claimed recently that over half of the Russian economy was based on barter, as one of many figures they mentioned to demonstrate to readers that Russia's economy is in serious trouble.

    I think it has more significance than that, though. People don't think to themselves, "I think I'll trade goods without paper money, because it will symbolize how screwed up our economy is." People barter because they don't have a trusted medium of exchange that they can use instead: either they don't have enough cash, or they don't have any cash they can trust.

    We refer to "the Great Depression" instead of "the 1930 Recession" in good part because the U.S. government at the time didn't have a clue how to handle money; when the recession started, in a misguided attempt to preemptively prevent hyperinflation, the government cut back the money supply. Drastically. By over 50% on some indicators (It's been a while since I read this, and I don't so much as remember the difference between M1 and M2 now - the curious can check figures for themselves), and unemployment and GDP (in constant dollars) pretty much dropped in sync with the reduction in the money supply.

    OK, I know this is simplistic, I know there were other major contributing factors (e.g. massive trade restrictions/tariffs) to the Great Depression... but the money supply may have been the largest single factor.

    And it looks to me like something similar is happening in Russia. *Something* is causing people there to barter, whether it's a black market (which would imply those trade restrictions again), a government reduction in the money supply (trying to fight inflation, perhaps?) or simply the chain reaction of people pulling their money out of the country to avoid what they see as a financially dangerous situation.

    Would someone who knows more about the situation in Russia than I do care to comment? Even if this was the problem, I'd have no idea how to solve it. Increasing the supply of fiat money (as eventually happened in the US when the government had to spend big in the late 30s and the 40s) would only work if inflation is in the single digits. Foreign aid and investment hasn't seemed to make a dent so far.

    And this is a horrible situation, both for it's own sake and for what it implies for the future. People have already compared 1990's Russia to 1930's Germany, but even if Russia didn't end up in a political collapse, what would their economy's continued failure say about the development of a free market? That it's possible to kick an industrial economy into a depression state from which there is no return? That's almost too frightening to think about.
  • Don't get offended if you don't have to. He may or may not be passing a moral judgement, we don't know. However, in the eyes of the Judeo-Christian religions, sex with someone other than your spouse is "immoral". (The quotes are to remind you that this is an opinion being discussed in an abstract way and not for its actual validity.) Last time I checked, people who only have sex with their spouse (assuming their spouse does the same) will not contract AIDS through sexual intercourse. Thus, their chances of contracting AIDS are much lower. If "moral" (again observe the quotes) people are less likely to contract AIDS than "immoral" people, then we would also expect a random sample of the AIDS infected population to be most likely an "immoral" (please, please see the quotes) person.

    There, I think I made the guy's original point. "Immoral" in this context refers to the category that a particular religious group considers to be equivalent to the abstract notion of immorality. Whether or not they're right is another matter which I don't particularly care about.

  • The cause of the great depression was not the federal reserve. It was the banks and the way that people invested. In order for something like that to happen now it would require complete incompetence on behalf of the reserve though.

  • It was the banks and the way that people invested.
    ... and the Fed is The Bank, and certainly had an effect on the way people invested. Its major crime, though, was tinkering with US money to prop up the British pound. It caused a huge speculative bubble in the stock market, because people could borrow money cheap and invest it in stocks. The Fed also encourages poor financial management, because banks can always belly up to the Discount Window and get a loan of Last Resort. That and the FDIC (voted down over 100 times before it fianlly passed -- I wonder who was pressing it that hard, and why) effectively provide banks with both a huge subsidy and near-complete protection from reality. It does not matter if financial institutions lose money. Because the Fed will just print more. Remember the hedge fund that went bust recently, at a cost of $18 billion or so? The Fed bailed them out. How? By "monetizing the debt" -- i.e., printing more money. They inflated the currency in order to save the collective ass of that hedge fund. The 18 billion came out of the pocket of every holder of U.S. currency.
  • A po roje ne hochesh?
  • Well, democracy doesn't mean screwing a country over. Look at other East European countries, who had much better comebacks from communism, namely the baltic states, which came out of the grip of USSR. I am not blaming everyone, I am pointing out some facts and some of the opinions.
  • Well I agree, not every, but certainly a large percentage including some intelligent girls as well.
  • Yes we did. IIRC it was in the sum of billions in "loans" (which we pretty much expect not to see returned).
    Oh and by the way, that's only the US officially. We're not even talking about the IMF, basically a US funded organization.
    We've also helped in other ways like giving them economic advice.

    They're not seeing it because we can't feed all of em. Even if we wanted to, we're not powerful enough to bring their quality of life up to par. We can't even do that with our own homeless.

    But the point is that we've helped. Without it, they'd probably be in a worse situation.

    The medical issue is an outgrowth of their poverty; I dont see how that's relevent except to show that the majority of americans are unaware of these problems. The majority doesn't haveta be aware... let them be ignorant. Even if they were aware, i suspect it wouldn't increase the help we're giving them signifigantly.

    Sure, they can blame the west for their problems, but they would be doing so out of ignorance. Sure they lost a lot of money in the cold war, but their govenment was going down in mismanagement anyways. They never had it good to start with.

    Back to my point, his ignorance is what we haveta be afraid of.
  • My most humple apologies; thi s [nytimes.com] is the correct link.
  • instead of just complaining and raggin on Hemos...why don't YOU look them up and post a link if you consider him to be such a threat?

    If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem...

    Wolfgang
  • This guy is a psycho. Listen to what he had to say in a press conference in April of 1998

    "The essence of the conflict around the Jewish people is that when their number grows too much in some country, war breaks out there," said Zhirinovsky, who leads the third-largest faction in the Russian parliament's lower house.

    "That happened in Germany ... where there were too many Jews," he declared.

    Zhirinovsky, a former presidential candidate, has a flamboyant style and clearly relishes making provocative statements.

    It was not clear why he called the news conference, which he turned into a monologue about his vision of the history of the Jews and their role in contemporary life.

    "Many Jews were born in April," was the only explanation he provided.


    Makes me sick. All I can say is that this guy will be put in his place, soon.

    Old dude probably can't even turn on a fscking computer, let alone hack into the US. Now, I'm defintley not saying there are capable individuals in the former-USSR, cause there defenitely are. I just know that this guy is a racist nothing, and will be put in his place

    The US probably has enough strings attached in Russia, to throw this guy with a nudge of a pinky finger, but that's left to be seen.
  • by sugarman ( 33437 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @01:55PM (#1458122)
    I realize this is pretty up-tight, but making Zhirinovsky out to be some fun-lovin', practical-jokin' frat-boy is probably not in anyone's best interests.

    Its one thing to be cracking wise and making threats when you're in Delta House, but when you're a political leader who could (potentially) be controlling the world's second largest nuclear arsenal*, cracking wise about expansionism and assaults on other nations doesn't help your cred much.

    It didn't work well for Reagan, and we shouldn't be laughing at this wacko either. I'd treat his threats seriously. It may be easy to dismiss him as a nut when he only has 8% share, but that 8% change rapidly (just ask anyone from Minnesota).

    * alright, this may be FUD, I'm no longer sure of Russia's potential nuclear capabilities. Somehow I don't think they've gotten rid of everything yet though...
  • by tilly ( 7530 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @01:56PM (#1458123)
    He isn't stupid or crazy though. Never think that. His core constituency is anti-West. They have seen the West crush the Soviet system, lose them their empire, have a free market thrust down their throats only to bring utter poverty, disease, and hunger to them, and they don't like it. The more that he can make it seem that the West is afraid of him, the more they love him.

    The resulting antics seem foolish, stupid, and bizarre to Western eyes. But don't dismiss him lightly. A violent, dispossessed, and easily manipulated minority in the hands of a rabble-rouser is a very effective hand to produce a dictatorship. May I remind everyone of a similarly audacious "lunatic" who unified a country, restored its economy, hope, and pride? I am speaking, of course, of a once-Austrian who wound up leading Germany, Adolf Hitler.

    Sleep tight...
    Ben
  • Although Slashdot may make him out to be a cuddly old bear with a sense of humor, Vladimir Zhirinovsky is actually a dangerous psychopath with a racist streak a mile wide. Look up his "terribly funny quotes" from the early nineties about Zionism and what he would like to do to recover the former Soviet empire. Hemos - please get a clue.
  • The SOviet Union had no economic engine. Slavery -- even slavery dressed up as a "worker's paradise" -- can only get you so far. Eventually too many of the slaves drop their wrenches in the gears. As for your other point, why couldn't the USSR sustain an expensive arms rage with "the most prosperous country in the world?" They had more people, more natural resources. Rumor had it their populace was even "better educated." They didn't have any silly worker's rights and environmental laws to worry about. So why didn't they kick our asses, economically? They ignored age-old lessons. Rule of law (not men) and equal treatment under that law are essential. You have to provide the means for people to succeed, without mandating what they do and how they do it. Real prosperity is a bottom-up phenomenon. The Soviets tried to plan in advance, with some type of self-awarded omnipotence, what everyone was and was not going to do to make the USSR "successful." The CIA mucking around with that isn't going to change the basic problems. And central-planning apologists like Lester Thurow haven't learned the lessons, either.

    Belief does play a huge role in the economy. The Federal Reserve almost single-handedly caused the Great Depression. But the reason the we didn't snap back was that the velocity of money was too low -- people didn't trust the future anymore and were afraid to spend and invest. Only when FDR gave the country a cause to rally around (no, not the WPA and other claptrap, but World War Two), were people motivated again. Money in mattresses does no one any good. No one in the Sovient Union believed that progress was possible without central planning and enforcement to back it up. Russians by and large still don't believe it. The only Russians getting rich these days are variants on the old Russians. In the USSR, party bosses an apparatchicks, and spies, got rich. They did it by stealing. Whether by bribes or simply appropriating themselves money, they stole it. The new rich in Russia (besides the few real entrepreneurs whcih must exist) are also stealing it. They're members of organized crime operations, and/or the government.

    The CIA doubtlessly mucks around with far too many things at home and abroad. However, I doubt they played any significant role in the downfall of Soviet totalitarianism. You can't kill all your smart, creative people and take away every one else's freedom and security (does the knock on the door mean death?) and build a long-lasting, prosperous country with what's left, especially not when certain groups of people have deceided they deserve the fruits of the labor of the rest, and seize it woth force (i.e., with guns).

    As far as Hitler reviving Germany -- yes, did, didn't he? But his recovery was built on some groups lawfully taking advantage of other groups. In the end, it was overt theft and slavery. Again, not a long-term, sustainable solution.
  • Ah, one of those. Hmm.

    How many people do you know who have sexually transmitted diseases? How many do each of them have? How many of your associates have gotten pregnant? How many pregnancies each? How many have had abortions? How many abortions each? Do they treat abortion as a birth-control device, or do they treat it with responsibility?

    Before AIDS, there were many other sexually transmitted diseases. Their decisions before AIDS don't seem to reflect much responsibility.

    Perhaps monogamy has nothiing to do with morality (though in my opinion it does), but it has plenty to do with responsibility.

    The problem with polyamory and its ilk is that the people involved, for the most part (there are exceptions) do NOT behave in a responsible manner. I have friends who subscribe to your beliefs. Of them, they all have some kind of sexually transmitted disease, they all have more than one sexually transmitted disease, only one of them has not gotten pregnant (yet), and other than that one, only one other has not had an abortion.

    Then there's me. Perhaps I'm evil in your eyes, but I see something wrong with those figures. That kind of crap shouldn't be happening.

    When I'm in a relationship, I am strictly monogamous. Perhaps I'm restricting myself, perhaps I'm actually *GASP* controlling my baser instincts rather than letting them control me, but I have never gotten a woman pregnant. I have never contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Neither have any of my *ohmygoddirtyword* monogamous friends.

    But what do I know, I'm one of those horribly evil people that thinks people should be responsible with their sexuality and not flail it about at a whim.

    How's that infection, today?

    And if you're one of those exceptional polyamorists who is actually clean, I'm sorry if this offends you.

  • ...led you to believe. I lived there for 23 years, and can definitely say that it was not "slavery" -- it was s system with significant flaws, however -- surprise -- the magnitude of human rights violations was in the same range a s what was practiced in most of the Western countries at the same time. The "economic engine" that Russia had was inefficient, however so is stock market -- contrary to the popular belief economic systems can be something other than capitalism. While I don't like Communists or their actions (and criticized their political decisions when I lived there), I have to acknowledge that they did have working and stable economy for at least half a century, and most of people in Russia (surprise again) didn't feel more threatened by the government and society in their everyday life than americans do now in US.

    Eventually too many of the slaves drop their wrenches in the gears.

    This is a blatant rewriting of history. At the time when political reforms started economy still worked normally. Only after that when unblalnced, screwed up reforms started, people started losing their income and started leaving their normal jobs for various kinds of "exploitation of the flaws in the system". USSR was destroyed because of political problems, not because its economy suddently became incapable of supporting itself.

    As for your other point, why couldn't the USSR sustain an expensive arms rage with "the most prosperous country in the world?"

    What kind of fantasy world are you talking about? Arms race was sustained for all duration of the Cold War with no noticeable advantage to any side.

    They had more people, more natural resources. Rumor had it their populace was even "better educated." They didn't have any silly worker's rights and environmental laws to worry about.

    Russian population was (and probably still is) better educated than american one -- US has probably the worst education system among developed countries, and Russians, with Communists or not, always taken education very seriously. Communists understood well that with their political and economical system they had to pay _more_ attention to education than other countries to keep the development of technology at the level and rate, comparable with others. And again, contrary to what propaganda led you to believe, there are worker rights laws, unions (however they are even more corrupt and affected by politics there than in US) and environmental protection laws.

    They ignored age-old lessons. Rule of law (not men) and equal treatment under that law are essential.

    Again, this is bullshit. While government often ignored their own laws when it could get away with it (what is not too much unlike US), laws actually existed and were enforced. One may say that those laws were unjust, however it's a different question -- IMHO american immigration-related laws are unjust, too. The part about "lesson" is especially ridiculous -- Russia, just like say, Japan, had no "age-old" traditions of democracy or capitalism.

    You have to provide the means for people to succeed,

    This (with "success" as multi-million income) is only specific to one particular kind of society. The remote possibility to "strike big" at the expense of all others (reality check -- most of people will never be able to reach anywhere close to the level of wealth they set their goals for because scarcity and concentration of wealth won't allow them) may be a valid driving force of human activity, however it's not the only one possible, and with the amount of blatant abuse that we see now (from Microsoft to Amazon.com) one can wonder if it more often works or being abused.

    without mandating what they do and how they do it. Real prosperity is a bottom-up phenomenon.

    This entirely depends on the society in question. Of course, in US concentration of wealth already made this point close to becoming moot. And considering that US depends on the import and dirt-cheap labor abroad like an addict on crack, it becomes even less relevant. With all its flaws USSR at least was capable of producing within its borders everything that was consumed there.

    The Soviets tried to plan in advance, with some type of self-awarded omnipotence, what everyone was and was not going to do to make the USSR "successful."

    The same things happen within any large company -- the same organization is responsible for all decisions. In companies there is upper management in HQ, management in offices/branches, middle management, etc., all making their decisions on behalf of the company. The same kind of system was used in USSR. While I am not a fan of huge companies, last time I have checked, American economy is mostly ruled by them, so I don't see any fundamental difference.

  • The dangerous thing about Hitler was that he could simultaneously draw the attention of the dregs of society while deflecting the attention of the politically powerful with the very same antics. "Reasonable" people thought he was just some kind of a colorful kook who got by by saying crazy things that made the disposessed feel a little better.

    The Nazi party never won a real election, however they came to power because the political elite underestimated them and tried to use them as a political tool. Once they got a toehold in power, they surprised the politicians because they actually did everything they said they would so rapidly they threw everyone off balance and created an impenetrable climate of fear for any potential adversaries.

    I wouldn't put it down to the Hitler's political brilliance, so much as the other politicians not understanding his agenda. Here's a kind of analogy. The responsible parties let the Nazis into the club to play a game of chess, on the proviso that they play only with pawns. Hitler accepted the invitation because he had a gun in his pocket, and his agenda wasn't chess but murdering everyone in the club and burning it to the ground.

    The lesson -- you should never dismiss a bitter, violent fringe politician as an impotent kook, just because he'll never be able to put together an electoral victory.
  • I am Russian, and I don't _ever_ drink anything "stronger" than coffee. You have problem with that?
  • Zhirinovsky is probably the most ridiculously-looking politician ever. Over all his political career he managed to spout insults on everyone but himself and ultra-right extremists, promised/threatened ridiculous things, and at least at one occasion started a brawl in the Parlaiment session, but so far haven't done anything visible to back his words. I have no idea who voted for him, but I suspect that such a vote could only be taken as a desperate expression of complete disrespect to Russian Parliament (Duma). In Russia no one except probably some drunken mentally sick types really cares what he says or does -- certainly not Russian hackers that mostly are intelligent people.

    Publishing his rants in any non-tabloid place can mean one of two things -- either journalist is a moron, or it is done as an anti-Russian propaganda piece.

  • For a while I've felt that it would be useful
    for me/somebody to make a web site outlining
    the reasons that people might have for hating the U.S
    ...
    Every time I read a Tom Clancy novel, the desire to make such a web site becomes almost overpowering.


    Maybe the rest of the world hates us because we don't understand them; maybe we don't understand them because of where we get our ideas about them. ;-)

    Seriously, having travelled a bit and known people from other countries, I would say it is an exaggeration to say that everyone hates Americans -- generally, I think the opposite is the case. People usually express very warm feelings towards Americans, and are very prepared to like you if you are one.

    Now, attitudes towards American paternalism are a little less warm. The US is probably the most enlightened, least paternalistic super-empire in history, but the competition for this distinction is hardly challenging.

    Americans tend to think we can do no wrong, so we paper over things we have done to others that they don't like, like meddling in their politics. It must seem surreal that Americans are getting bent out of shape because China might have funnelled an insignificant amount of money into the US elections, after the kind of bankrolling of political movements (not to mention propping up of dictators) we have done around the world. You can kind of see their point. I once had a colored South African woman working for me back during the 88 elections. She told me that she wished she could vote in the American elections, first because for once in her life she could get to vote, but also because the election of the American president had as big if not bigger impact on her prospects than it did for Americans.

    On the other hand, I think the rest of the world sometimes overestimates what we can do, so that it seems like we want to call the shots, but not undertake the responsibilities that come with that authority. People who think this way naturally feel some contempt for the US government. Why this bothers Americans, I can't say -- reviling the US government is great sport here.

    In the end, I wonder if all these issues are obsolete. Maybe the growth of international business will marginalize nations and governments as world actors.
  • http://www.theonion.com/onion35 43/russian_meal.html [theonion.com]

    I literally snorted from laughter in Barnes & Nobles after reading this
  • by BMIComp ( 87596 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @02:07PM (#1458153)
    Russians don't drink anymore? =P

    This guy's a little pzykotic. He blamed Jews for the Holocaust and WWII [nando.net], since "there were too many Jews"... this guys a looney.
  • At least he's not hell-bent on restricting access to overseas networks, like they are here in Australia.

    "Kill all access, must kill all access"

    -Mike.

  • Others have addressed your other points, I just want to hit 2 of yours.

    You ask, why couldn't the USSR sustain an expensive arms rage with "the most prosperous country in the world?" Well remember your history. In the 80's the USA massively sped up its half of the arms race, and provided a credible threat of developing an anti-missile system to protect itself against the USSR. The resulting over-expenditure was not really affordable by the US, and definitely could not be matched by the USSR.

    As for the CIA, I read that article a decade ago, and would love to put my hands on it again. Essentially the policy that the CIA pioneered with the Solidarity movement in Poland was how to make a populace aware of their options for non-violent protest, help them organize, and bridge the gaps to let traditional sources of support (labor unions, Church, etc) be able to effectively help the movement.

    These policies (for obvious reasons) can only work when the population is dissatisfied. Furthermore the alliance between the USA and the Catholic Church in the 80's is an open secret. Thirdly the collapse of the Soviet block happened as a series of movements that resembled Solidarity.

    So given that in 1984 there were (very complimentary) press reports detailing how the events of 1982 in Poland were partly the result of a successful CIA experiment in encouraging non-violent protest, and given that a few short years later in Soviet country after Soviet country the governments came toppling down after very similar public protests, one cannot help but ask what the connection is.

    Note that the CIA activity in Poland, while covert, was not unethical. It was largely a behind-the-scenes informing, teaching, and organizing role to encourage a democratic protest. In a system that blocks such protests, the effects can be quite...startling.

    Cheers,
    Ben
  • And it looks to me like something similar is happening in Russia. *Something* is causing people there to barter, whether it's a black market (which would imply those trade restrictions again), a government reduction in the money supply (trying to fight inflation, perhaps?) or simply the chain reaction of people pulling their money out of the country to avoid what they see as a financially dangerous situation.

    While I am not up to date with the current development, I know how it started because I was there. I may omit or distort some details in this description, so I welcome other Russians (no American poltitcians and journalist, pls.) to correct me where I am wrong.

    USSR economy originally was handled by the government. Government handled prices planning of distribution of products, so while money and contracts existed and worked, government had power to determine possible relationships between "companies", import/export, prices, salaries, etc. Some things intentionally operated at loss, getting funds directly from the government.

    When reforms started, originally the ownership wasn't changed, however some "companies" were switched to more money-based model -- they had to keep more of their profits, had more choice in prices, salaries and their relationships with others even though the "owner" remained the same -- government. In a lot of cases it worked, however old low prices became impossible to maintain -- "companies" became disinterested in keeping prices low enough to let the rest of the economy, still entirely sponsored by the government coexist with them. At the same time government started encouraging the creation of small businesses that were privately owned and had nothing to do with government except paying (high) taxes. Of course, those businesses were interested in increasing prices, however since most of them had to buy raw materials and equipment from "companies" owned by government, they still benefitted from arftificially limited prices that were in use there.

    After some time prices became split -- everything under strict control of the government tried to keep their prices low, everything else tried to keep them upper to reflect production cost, supply and demand. While unrestricted prices were growing, government had to increase their prices and funds allocated for government-sponsored production, education, research, health care and defense. Inflation started, however with no mechanism that balances government-handled part of economy in the presence of [semi-]independent and private parts of the economy, spending started to increase fast, pulling the inflation upper. To make things worse, salaries of people still working for the government (what was a majority of the economy) became significantly lower than employees of private companies, so large number of well-educated people left government-handled industry.

    Government started industry "privatization" campaign in attempt to create a kind of balance in the economy that does not require government to constantly adjust things (what it was clearly incapable of), however "privatization" quickly turned into looting -- former managers and government bureaucrats became "owners" and "shareholders" of what they previously managed, and with their personal wealth increased by many orders of magnitude they didn't became interested in any kind of useful economic activity. The rest of population got nothing, and was thrown away from any further paritcipation in the development of the economy.

    With still unbalanced economy, disinterested and incapable managers and businesses owners, choking government-sponsored education and health care, inflation continued to grow. Businesses started to switch their to banking, trade, import-export from their original activities. Underfunded government became a victim of widespread corruption -- it became less profitable and safe to operate a legitimate business than to bribe bureaucrats to accept some bogus contract, make something worthless or near to worthless, get money, then use them to bribe more bureaucrats. Organized crime expanded, stability decreased even less, and businessmen started looking for means to secure their money. Since investment became unsafe in this kind of conditions, they had to convert money into stable currency and leave Russia, continuing to operate their still profitable businesses in Russia from abroad.

  • ...if you have a border with Russia. This guy represents the dark side of Russia. The side we all want to forget about very quickly. However, Zyrinowski's party just got 25 seats in Duma (approx. 5.5%)
    He made some headlines in Poland when he threatened to nuke Warsaw if Poland ever dared joining NATO. Imagine what is going to happen if he ever gets a majority vote. In a democratic country with a stable economy this guy would be considered a harmless lunatic and probably end up in an institution.
    In a country that's effectively in an economic turmoil where the business, politicians and even the law enforcement is constantly suspected of corruption and democracy is widely confused with anarchy such demagogs have a rich basis for planting their propaganda.
    Now that EU is actively trying to elbow-out the US forces from Europe by trying to create a European equivalent of NATO it could be the perfect timing to convince at least some Russians that there never was a better time to restore the former areas of influence...
    Russia is in turmoil but that doesn't necessarily mean that its military force is weak. With the lack of prospects for decent living a lot of citizens will be more and more frustrated and generally become more prone to any extremist ideas. The victimizing of minorities, and politics of accusation will work in Russia's politicians favour (Mr Putin being the prime example).
    Given that the majority of seats were won by the communist party and the pro-Chechnya-war 'Unity' coming close second it is clear that Russia is missing its communist past. Beware.
  • In support of Ben's observation-- as well as his analogy-- we should all bear in mind that Herr Hitler never had more than roughly 33% of the popular vote in Germany. Look at what a glorious mess he made with just 1/3 of the people. That Big Z (Newsweek, in an unchracteristic moment of decent writing, once dubbed him the "Laughing Fascist") currently only has an 8% market share is cold comfort.
  • Actually Zhirinovsky is very strongly loosing popularity. In the first Russian elections (~1992) he has got smth like 30% of all the votes and was a leading party in the parliamnet. Than his share was steadily slipping to the condition this year when there were big doubts that he will get 5% of votes that is a threshold to get in to parliament. Hi is a falling star. Surely he is a scary personality and, BTW, a former KGB agent. I hope that some time he will disappear from the Russian political scene.
  • Hehe.. hardly a day goes by on IRC where I'm not harrassed by a russian who wants me to read his latest virus source. In broken english he'll say how much he loved VLAD 4 and ask when the next mag is out. Unlike western virus crews, the russians have a real structure to their "virus clubs". I once received a newsletter from a russian virus club and they were saying that I could be come a "Wizard" if I liked. Oh please. The attitude to viruses is totally different over there. I just find it funny that Zhirinovsky's first name is Vladimir :)

    You can read more about VLAD at http://www.virusexchange.org/vlad/ [virusexchange.org].

  • by strlen ( 117515 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @02:22PM (#1458174) Homepage
    Please dont love at Jirinovsky. He's nothing to be laughed about. In fact, to some degree he summarizes the key points of what Russians want (I, being from a former U.S.S.R. republic do know what I am talking about).
    • Their pride restored. During the U.S.S.R. Russia was a powerfull nations, whos armed forces could turn New York into a powerdercake, whos scientists were among the best in the world, where there was no unemployement, there was no crime, there was no AIDS and alcoholism was being fought against (if you were found drunk on the street, be ready to smell boots and loose your liver).
    • Yankees go home. American cultural has infiltrated Russia much more then it has the rest of Europe. Every Russian girl dreams to be like an American slut. I doubt there is anyone in Russia who likes that.
    • Order. Crime began to climb rapidly in Russia after the fall of Gorrbachev and the U.S.S.R. Streets are dirty, buttons in elevators are burned out, the whole country looks like a project in NYC.
    If he comes to power, which he might, depending on how well Putin does (assuming he does get elected as the president) and how popular the communists become, many of US will know what a T66 is, just like we know what a Panzer is.
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Monday December 20, 1999 @02:24PM (#1458176)
    Open letter to Zhirinovsky from his family:

    Please, Zhirinovsky, we don't want to see you hurt yourself or others. We miss the old days when you didn't come home from the Duma in the middle of the night and urinate on the living room floor. There are people [al-anon-alateen.org] who can help you -- they've helped themselves and they've helped others before you. We have a book [gso.org] we want you to read. You don't have to do it if you don't want, but all the same we hope you'll do it. We love you. And little Sasha wants some help assasinating rival political opponents. Who will teach him if you don't? Please, if you won't do it for yourself, do it for us.

    Tseluyem,
    Vasha Sem'ya

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