Sunday, January 24, 2016

Internet disappointments

Every time I post an anti-Soviet comment on Reddit (like in "Soviet Union was a rather bad thing overall") I get downvoted to negative numbers in the morning, and then into positives again in the evening. Get it? When Russian users are active (around US late morning, early afternoon), any critical statement about, say, Stalin, or geopolitical role of the USSR is downvoted, but then it is upvoted again twofold once US users come back from work (or maybe rather get tired at work).

Which is kind of sad, as every time it reminds me that modern Russian users, even those who read and write in English, and routinely browse English-language forums (a tiny subset of the population), are on average to some degree mildly Stalinist. Not too strongly, but a tiny little bit, you know. Which is quite understandable psychologically, but still kind of sad.

But Internet is generally full of disappointments. Here's another one: many people got really riled up about Ted Cruz saying that he's a Christian first, and American second. There were statements about how he should now be disqualified as a candidate, and so on. Mind it, I don't sympathize to the dude at all, but, the interesting fact is that it's a normal statement for a Christian. Moreover, it is a required normative statement for a Christian (backed by several rather imperative passages from both the Gospels and the Epistles). So saying that it disqualifies somebody from the office is like claiming that all Christians should be disqualified, which would be somewhat weird. It's like saying that humanists should be disqualified because they could claim to be "humanists first and american second". There's an inevitable hypocrisy in Cruz's claim of course, but it's a more subtle, and because of that much more important hypocrisy, stemming from a de-facto special status of a majority religion. The context, in which this statement was made, ironically defies its literal meaning; but it is a nuanced contradiction, and it was lost on most sources.

Notably, Vladimir Putin is known for repeatedly saying that he is Russian first and Christian second (or something to this effect). For example, he is famous for claiming that St. Boris and Gleb (two spiritually respectable historical dudes from the 11th century who refused to preemptively kill their evil brother, thus letting him kill them) are not good Russian saints. Because, you see, in his opinion good Russian saints should be enemy-slayers (like St. Dimitry Donskoy, St. Alexander Nevsky and alike). They are patriotic, and are never into all this pacifist non-violence nonsense. In a way, proper saints (according to Putin) are Russian first, and Christian second. In this context I find it somewhat funny that /r/atheism is essentially advocating for Putinesque solutions on the issue of morality. But, oh well, that's really none of my business.


  1. The thing is that the guys that visit these reddit forums to discuss politics have some special agenda. They go there to 'fight for their country', some of them are paid for it, some are agitaded with these Stalinist ideas that they get from 'patriotic' organizations. So it's a biassed representation.
    If you take a look on the answers and comments on Russian-speaking you can see that all the Stalinst comments always get downvoted by the users. Though it is not a site for the politically obsessed people - the visitors have different views and knowledge, they discuss different things. Of course some people get there to spread out some ideas but the community react to that like 'no, man, that's bullshit'.

    1. That was Dima Razorenov :)
      I thought google would idetify me.