“In 1946, the Soviet Union prevented a production of Our Town in the Russian sector of occupied Berlin ‘on the grounds that the drama is too depressing and could inspire a German suicide wave.’” en.wikipedia.org
MOSCOW — An American citizen has been arrested in Moscow on suspicion of espionage, Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, said on Monday.
The agency identified the man as Paul Whelan. A criminal case has been opened against him.
Tit for tat to get back at US for arresting Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina?
A Russian Santa Claus died of a heart attack while putting on a Christmas play for a room full of children at a Siberian school. (Seamus Bellamy) boingboing.net
Also, men tolerate cold better than women – a fact which nobody told my body, because I don’t like cold and Julie does much better with it. About 30% of our conversations in summer is about me wanting to not turn on the ac.
Russia is no longer a world power. Its economy is the size of Mexico’s or Australia’s. That constrains how it can flex its muscle, “whether in the form of hacking, surreal state-sponsored trolling operations or news and propaganda networks operating more or less openly with state sponsorship,” says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.
Iran cracks down on women posting with their hair showing. India bans face-morphing photo software. Russia stifles anti-Putin parody tweets. These are clashes between American and native cultures, says Buzzfeed News editor Katie Notopoulos.
Not so, says Mike Elgan. It’s not Americans these doing the forbidden sharing. It’s Iranians, Indians, and Russians. The tools were made in America, but that’s irrelevant. These are clashes between tyrranical governments and their own people.
None of this means, however, that we can rest content with democracy’s performance over the past couple of decades. My end-of-history hypothesis was never intended to be deterministic or a simple prediction of liberal democracy’s inevitable triumph around the world. Democracies survive and succeed only because people are willing to fight for the rule of law, human rights and political accountability. Such societies depend on leadership, organizational ability and sheer good luck.
The biggest single problem in societies aspiring to be democratic has been their failure to provide the substance of what people want from government: personal security, shared economic growth and the basic public services (especially education, health care and infrastructure) that are needed to achieve individual opportunity. Proponents of democracy focus, for understandable reasons, on limiting the powers of tyrannical or predatory states. But they don’t spend as much time thinking about how to govern effectively. They are, in Woodrow Wilson’s phrase, more interested in “controlling than in energizing government.”