Welcome to Da Russophile

Da Russophile offers original analysis in our Core Articles and Editorials, records Russia-related News from an eclectic mix of media outlets with commentary and throws in some Flotsam and Jetsam (funny photos, videos or other light relief).

This is a response to what we see as the consistent and almost systematic defamation of Russia in the Western media. Is this because of unpleasant memories of the Soviet Union? A search for new enemies? A barely repressed fear of the East and the barbaric hordes that its vast plains harbor, buried deep within the Western psyche?

Whatever it is, we believe that truth will vanquish lies – no matter how hard liars try to supress, ignore or simulate truth. Hence this blog will go like a burning match into the darkness of fear and ignorance. It might not do much at first, but a match can ignite forests.

Is Russia’s economy nothing more than an oil bubble? No. The economy is driven above all by retail, construction and manufacturing. Is Russia blighted by endemic corruption on a scale comparable to Zaire under Mobutu? No. Russia’s level of corruption is comparable to that of the Czech Republic. Has Putin clamped down on democracy and human rights? Only a negligibly small percentage of Russians would agree.

Do you have a hard time coming to terms with the above claims? Yes? I’m not surprised, given the Western media’s embedded Russophobia. However, they are all well-documented. Consult my Top 10 Russophobe Myths.

Finally about the title. We consider ourselves as the polar opposite to La Russophobe, which is why we’ve called ourselves Da Russophile. La Russophobe hates Russia and Russians, which can be deduced from even a cursory glance at the crude and racist stereotyping that goes on in that blog (she even has the gall to argue Russia should have surrendered to the Nazis, who planned to exterminate 75% of them and helotize the rest). Da Russophile loves Russia and is committed to spreading an objective picture of it in the wider world.

After all, liberal democracy is ultimately underpinned by the economy – as people get richer, they demand more rights. However, if the picture foreign investors have of a country is one where corruption is endemic and where the mafia controls the government, they will not be tripping over their heels in a rush to invest there. The country languishes and starts conforming to expectations – in effect, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This is not to say that this is indeed what is occuring in Russia – actually, FDI reached a respectable 48.9nb $ (up 70.3% on the year before) in 2007. And this has occured amidst a general economic boom that has seen the country growing at around 7% yearly since the financial crisis of 1998. Nonetheless, perceptions tend to lag reality – by several years, in the case of Russia. This is an unfortunate fact, a distortion of the market, if you will, which still prevents Russia achieving its full growth potential. But I digress.

As of today, major Russophobe blogs far outnumber the Russophiles. In the former camp, you have giants with feet of clay such as Robert Amsterdam, Edward Lucas and La Russophobe herself. Sean’s Russia Blog and Siberian Light are neutral rather than Russophile. The only major Russophile blog is Russia Blog. This pattern is roughly reiterated throughout the rest of the blogosphere – for every Russia in the Media, Da Russophile or (the now moribund) Russian Blog, there are three or more Russophobe blogs, not to mention the various ethnic Baltic or Ukrainian blogs (which are almost exclusively Russophobic).

As such, the balance needs to be readdressed, and Da Russophile has partly been created towards this end. For according to Hegel’s dialectic, progress can be described by a triad – thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Let us assume that La Russophobe is the thesis. She is transparently biased and possesses dictatorial tendencies (for instance, not allowing free discourse on her blog). Her stance is that Russia is bad. My stance (though I hope to convey it objectively) is that Russia is good, although I hope to convey it in a rather more objective and intellectual manner. It is the responsibility of the reader to find a middle road and reach synthesis.

In summary, quoted from the top of our blog page:

Their Thesis
The Western media tells us Russia is in a death spiral, its economy is one giant oil bubble,
suffers from endemic corruption, inequality and lawlessness and is presided over by a KGB kleptocrat dead-set on resurrecting the USSR and launching Cold War II.
Our Antithesis
Russia is a normal country with a booming non-hydrocarbons economy underpinned
by a well-educated and secular workforce. The Putin administration has affirmed democratic values, worked to improve human rights and pursued Russia’s national interests abroad.
Your Synthesis

Finally, an accusation depressingly often levelled against pro-Kremlin bloggers:

You are under FSB control, tasked with sugarcoating the thugs and kleptocrats who rule Russia to a Western audience. Looks like the Kremlin, having consolidated its control over the Russian media, is now going online. Why should I trust anything you say?

Obviously, I have no way of refuting this assertion (although I’d sure be glad if you could drop a hint as to where I may collect my paycheck). But that is immaterial. Appeal to motive is a logical fallacy. You can gauge how reliable and trustworthy I am simply by reading my posts, most of whose assertions are meticulously sourced. I wouldn’t recommend you to trust me unconditionally in the same spirit you shouldn’t unconditionally trust anything that anyone says. Everything is relative and subjective. Even mathematical ‘truths’ rely on a set of assumed axioms. Any other perspective belongs to intellectual cattle.

This is not to say, however, that accusing me of working for the Kremlin is a wise move. It probably isn’t. If your sole basis for slandering me is that you don’t like what I write, then do realize that you undermine your own claim about the Kremlin’s alleged control of the media (presumably, you don’t like what they have to say either).

A few boring technical details:

You can contact stalker (the author of Da Russophile) at darussophileATyandexDOTru.

Feel free to make use of content on this blog in your own blog or publication. However we do claim copyright on this blog and its contents, so please be kind enough to throw in a hyperlink and acknowledge us as the source.