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The last academic course I took in Russian History was in 1965

Sadly, I think this is probably the case with most "Russia experts" and foreign policy advisers...

I have relied mostly on media and didn't have a reliable calibration on my B.S. detector.

Again, you are in the vast majority.  You're why I write. ;)

Given that serfdom was only abolished by Alexander II, the Russians have come a long way in a short time.

Er, whaaa?  Russia abolished serfdom several years before America abolished slavery.  And 1861 was like, a long time ago!  You make it sound like Russia was lightyears behind civilization or something.  The liberal reforms of Russia in the 19th Century, which also included things like jury trials and local self-government, were pretty impressive, and for many, not liberal enough.  So let's set aside this idea that Russia's only recently emerged from some cave to join the Enlightenment.  Which, I know, is not exactly what you were saying.  But it could rub someone that way.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Sat Jul 12th, 2008 at 03:04:17 PM EST
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