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Western racism and the stereotyping of Russians

The ugly stereotyping of Russians which has become pervasive in the West, is the last remaining acceptable form of Western racism. Like all forms of racism, it is however offensive, dehumanising and dangerous.

Alexander Mercouris

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In a world of political correctness one form of ethnic stereotyping in the West remains not merely tolerated but even fashionable. This is the ethnic stereotyping of Russians.

Russians are nowadays regularly represented in the West in certain characteristic ways. 

Russian men are brutish, sullen, slovenly, often drunk, and always cruel.  They speak in thick heavy accents.  They dress badly, are dishonest, violent and greedy.  They treat women oafishly.  Their taste is comically terrible.  If they are rich they are corrupt; “Russia” and “corruption” being two words which Westerners have conflated with each other.  Typical Russian men are thieves, hitmen or crooks, an honest Russian businessman (an “oligarch”) being a contradiction in terms.

During the Cold War the Western stereotype image of Russian women was that they were fat, masculine and ugly.  It came with a measure of condescension.  Russian women typically were represented as peasants, street cleaners or tractor drivers.

Today the Western stereotypical image of Russian women is that they are beautiful.  However this is not something to be celebrated.  On the contrary it is something to be feared or at least to be on one’s guard against. 

Where Russian women during the Cold War were thought of as plain and dull but ultimately honest, today they are represented as materialistic, money-focused, tacky, manipulative, promiscuous, under-dressed and amoral.  They are femmes fatales out to gull unsuspecting innocent Westerners of their secrets, their morals, and (of course) their money.  Typically they are spies, prostitutes or gangsters’ molls.

Russians, both male and female, are according to these stereotypes axiomatically dishonest. The ease with which the Western public accepted the entirely unproven claims of Russian cheating during the recent Olympic doping scandal without giving the Russians the slightest benefit of the doubt is a good example of this.  

The supporters of the demand for a blanket ban on Russian athletes competing in the Rio Olympics did not feel the need to justify their claim that the Russians should be denied the presumption of innocence.  Since the Western stereotype of Russians is that they are axiomatically dishonest there was no pressure on them to do this.

Russians are also at one and the same time – and despite the obvious contradiction – both diabolically cunning and rather stupid.  They are also completely incompetent and inefficient.  Nonetheless they are scary because they are so aggressive and so violent.

The one quality Westerns do typically allow Russians is bravery.  Russia’s record of victory in war makes it impossible to do otherwise.  However this Russian bravery is not thought of as being the same as Western courage.  Rather it is the product of Russians’ underlying stupidity and aggressiveness and their supposedly characteristically Russian obsession with money and power.  

As might be expected of such people Russians in the Western imagination spend their ill-gotten gains in the most dreadfully hedonistic way: on yachts, luxuries, partying and promiscuous sex.  If Moscow today unlike during the Cold War is famous for its nightlife this is not something to be celebrated – as it is for example in the case of Berlin – but is all of a piece with the supposedly gross appetites of Russians, making it somehow sinister.

Russia itself is of course all that might be expected of a country which produces such terrible people. 

It is violent, corrupt and brutal, ruled over by a government as violent, corrupt and brutal as the people over whom it rules.  Like the people it is scarily aggressive, diabolically cunning but also somehow stupid and inefficient.  As a result, though it is threatening and dangerous, it is also overweening and in the end somehow absurd. 

Needless to say the leader of such a country must be a macho thug, who typically poses topless on a horse.  Ruthless” is perhaps the most common word used to describe him.  He is a gangster – violent, amoral, corrupt, cunning and ruthless – like the people he leads.

That this Western stereotype of Russia and Russians is so far detached from reality that I find it impossible to relate any part of it to the truth should not need to be said. 

For the record, Russia – or at least those parts of Russia which I have visited – has impressed me as extremely law-abiding and orderly, with Russians coming across as family-centred, tolerant, law abiding, well educated and very cultured – the latter to an often touchingly self-conscious degree.  Standards of personal and public honesty are in my experience actually very high, in the case of the straightforward directness of some Russians, unsettlingly high. 

As for Putin himself, on the only two occasions I have seen him in person, what struck me most about him other than his very highly developed sense of humour and his obvious intelligence was his old fashioned courtesy – a quality mentioned even by Obama in the gargantuan interview he recently gave to The Atlantic.  This largely unreported but obviously deeply ingrained habit of courtesy is something which immediately distances Putin from the stereotypical image most Westerners have of him.

In saying all this I of course do not deny Russia’s many problems.  Nor have I any wish to present Russians as better than they are.  However since this is an article about the negative stereotyping of Russia and of Russians it is the positive about them I have chosen to dwell on.

Negative stereotypes about various ethnicities of the kind that now circulate about Russia and about Russians have of course a long history in European and Western culture.  As recently as the 1970s stereotypical representations of various ethnicities such as Germans, people from the Caribbean, Indians and Pakistanis from the subcontinent, Irish and even Jews, were a stock feature of British comedy.  

They have now thankfully completely disappeared, having come to be seen – quite rightly – as  racist and deeply offensive of the people they stereotype.  British comedy is far the better for their absence.

One glaring exception however remains. 

Negative stereotyping of Russia and of Russians has not only not disappeared; it has grown far more common and become much worse.  Indeed it is now pervasive, repeated endlessly in Western films, on television, in the media, and in endless numbers of thrillers, graphic novels and pulp fiction stories.  It is so pervasive that no Westerner can avoid it, and very few can resist its influence.

What makes it much worse is that there is no objection to it.  Where at a time of Jihadist terrorism and violence negative stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in the West is rightly and strongly condemned as Islamophobia, negative stereotyping of Russians goes by entirely unremarked.

This is the situation which clearly lies behind the strong reaction in Russia to the recent video release “Party like a Russian” by the British singer Robbie Williams. 

The video is in fact capable of more than one interpretation.  In my opinion it is not intended to be a mockery of Russians in general.  Rather it looks to me like a dig at a specific type of Russian: the corrupt Russian oligarch who has fled to Britain after stealing money from Russia.  

That this is the sort of Russian the video is intended to reference is in my opinion shown by the fact that the video is filmed in what is visibly a large English country house – one of the Tudor or Jacobean era – exactly the sort of opulent country residence favoured by a certain type of fugitive Russian oligarch who has fled to Britain to escape the Russian authorities and has found refuge here.  

In my opinion the lyrics of the song also bear out this interpretation.  They too seem to refer to someone who has fled Russia with his ill-gotten gains to enjoy the high life in the West under the West’s protection.

“It takes a certain type of man with a certain reputation

To alleviate the cash from a whole nation

…..

I put a bank inside a car, inside a plane, inside a boat

It takes half the western world just to keep my ship afloat”

(bold italics added)

If that is right then the video is actually intended – despite the unfortunate misuse of some Russian themes eg. the references to Rasputin, Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights, the 1917 Revolution, and the clothes obviously copied from the Russian ballet – to be sympathetic to the Russian people rather than hostile to them.

However given the massive negative stereotyping of Russia and of Russians – and the obvious overlap between the character depicted in the video and some of the stereotypical characteristics so often attributed in the West to Russians – I can completely understand why many people in Russia do not see the video that way, and have taken strong offence to it.  

Indeed the overlap is so strong that there are many people in the West who actually agree with them, and who approve of the video precisely because they see it as hostile to Russians and to President Putin in particular.

Which brings me to something else.  What the episode of the video shows is that when people in Russia – for completely understandable reasons – complain that they are being stereotyped, there is no rush in the West to reassure or support them, just as there is never any outcry when other more clearly negative stereotypical representations of Russians appear. 

The tidal wave of condemnation which reliably takes place whenever ugly stereotypical representations of (say) Jews, Muslims or Irish appear, in the case of Russians never happens.

Consider the response of the British newspaper The Guardian – that stalwart liberal defender of political correctness and anti-racism – to Russian protests about the Robbie Williams video

The Guardian’s response was neither to condemn the video, nor to discuss it in any meaningful way, nor to acknowledge why Russians might see it as offensive – as it surely would have done in the case of any other popular music video about any other ethnicity.  Instead it commissioned a single shortish article from the Russian journalist Natalia Antonova.  This it must be said starts promisingly enough

“Tired of political correctness, debates on cultural appropriation and being shamed over racist jokes on Twitter? Don’t worry. There is still an entire country you can safely stereotype – and it’s Russia, of course.

Although it has resulted in some controversy, Robbie Williams’s Party Like a Russian is not likely to negatively impact his career, spark a protest, or cause Robbie to be no-platformed should he suddenly feel the burning need to speak at an academic conference. It’s just a song about those crazy Russians, with their vodka-soaked escapades and curious penchant for putting dolls inside other dolls. Everybody knows that stereotyping Russians is a harmless bit of fun – and if you have a problem with it, you’re an oversensitive loser who can’t take a joke.

The idea that there are “good” and “bad” stereotypes is not new and, as Yale University professor Marijeta Bozovic has noted, there is something odd about the way in which tired cultural cliches are “smilingly tolerated by cosmopolitan elites when directed at Slavs in the 21st century”.”

The force of these entirely proper words is then however completely lost when Antonova claims that the video is actually correct after all.  Russians do party wildly – why Antonova has done it herself!  So really there is nothing to complain about!

Racial stereotyping is always something to complain about.  It is dehumanising, intolerant and ugly.  It is racist and profoundly offensive of its target.  This is so whenever it is used to mock or label any ethnicity or national or cultural group.  Russians are not an exception. 

A society that indulges in it, and which tolerates those who do, forfeits its claim to anti-racism and interracial tolerance.  The fact that it is treating just one ethnic group – Russians – in this way, denying them the moral and legal protection which it accords others, in no way diminishes its racism and intolerance.   It emphasises it. 

At a time of heightened international tension between the West and Russia the dehumanisation of Russians inherent in this sort of stereotyping also has multiple other negative consequences.

Firstly, it can only work against achieving understanding.   What understanding can there be between the West and those the West chooses to see as gangsters and savages?  

In the process it lowers the threshold where violence against Russians becomes acceptable.  This has been the invariable pattern of Western racism in the past against any group or ethnicity which it targets.  There is no reason to think that against Russians it will be any different.  

In doing so however it increases the danger of war.  Unlike other groups targeted by Western racism in the past, Russians have the capacity to resist and hit back, and their history shows that like all other peoples if pushed to extremes they will do so.

It is in the West’s own interests therefore to bring this ugly habit of stereotyping Russians to a stop.  This is one example – by no means the only one but certainly one of the more pressing – where the principles the West likes to proclaim – in this case of anti-racism – and its own interests fully coincide.

For that to happen however the stereotyping of Russians – like the stereotyping of all other cultures and ethnicities – must be condemned and identified as the straightforward racism that it of course is.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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