Bleg for good texts on immediate post-WWI Germany and Russia.

Specifically, I need books that are readable, and not barking mad insane, on both 1920s German radical groups and the Russian communist factional rivals to the Bolsheviks.  I’m not one for obsessive historical research – I think that doing that often gets people stuck in neutral when they should be writing – but it wouldn’t hurt this one time to know just who all the players were.  And, yeah, I read Pirate Utopia, but that’s pretty much Italian-themed and I’m going to be leaving Mussolini right where I found him.

Tweet of the Day, Post-Soviet Occultism Can Be Freaky-Interesting* edition.

Ken Hite retweeted this out…

…and the link is, indeed, ‘fascinatingly bizarre.’ Total conspiracy thinking, of course – but it’s post-Soviet Russian conspiracy thinking, which means that it’s mainlining on the more esoteric Russian Orthodoxy fringe beliefs.  I hope somebody has written, or is going to write, a good, accessible account of exactly what was going on with Christianity in the Soviet Union: the churches seem to have weathered the Commie years quite ably.

Anyhoo… if you wanted to mine this for material for an occult spy RPG campaign – and why wouldn’t you want to do that? It’s an awesome concept – I suggest that you check out Tim Power’s book Declare and the Russian film Night Watch. Not that Night Watch is particularly ‘occult spy,’ but it’s a good, solid ‘post-Soviet occult secret history’ flick, and nobody’s done a movie or TV version of Declare yet.  And dear GOD but I wish that somebody would.

Moe Lane

*I was going to add “…until they start talking about the Jews:” but that’s a common problem in conspiracy theories. And theorists. Besides, there was nothing about the Jews in this article anyway so the link is at least safe (I haven’t looked at the rest of the site).

Russia deciding to get involved in the Syrian quagmire.

What’s Russian for “Never get involved in a land war in Asia?”

Russia signaled deepening intervention Monday in the Syria war, strongly hinting that its “volunteer” ground forces would soon be fighting there, as NATO officials warned the Kremlin after a Russian warplane invaded Turkey’s airspace.

Mind you, that rule should be asterisked with a ‘Unless you’re a Republican President.’ But, since Vladimir Putin is not… well.  I’m sure that the folks over at the Ministry of Defense have already figured out how to get in, get whatever it is that Vladimir Putin wants done done, then get out again before their operating forces are all addicted to heroin.


Moe Lane

PS: I didn’t miss the Cold War once it was over, but I will admit that things were a good deal more straightforward back then.

Reminder: Russia is not our friend.

Let me repeat that.  Russia is not our friend:

On Sunday, the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia hosted the first “Dialog of Nations” conference in Moscow.


The conference hosted separatists from multiple Western nations—Ireland, Italy, Spain—in addition to a Western Sahara contingent. The greatest plurality of representatives, however, came from the United States. Russia has prior cultivated relations with separatists in Texas—who are attempting to land the question of secession on Texas’s GOP ballot—but [Alexander] Ionov and his organization have since expanded their reach among American separatists.

Continue reading Reminder: Russia is not our friend.

How Ed Snowden helped Russia get a good choke hold on its own online dissidents.

‘Inadvertently.’  How droll. How abso-[expletive deleted]-lute-ly droll.

Let me set the scene: Russia – which has comfortably settled back into the patterns of bureaucratic autocracy that has more or less been its operating methodology for a millennium – has a problem.  It’s that pesky Internet, which was created by those pesky Americans, and our pesky stubborn insistence that people have rights and needs that trumps the State’s. Worse, an American’s instinctive response to foreigners insisting the we shut up on the Internet traditionally involves a bodily function, a rope and directions on how do the former upon the latter. You can do that, when all the servers are on your soil. Sooo

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, this was intolerable. In his mind the solution was simple: force the platforms — Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple among them — to locate their servers on Russian soil so Russian authorities could control them.

The challenge was how to do it.

Continue reading How Ed Snowden helped Russia get a good choke hold on its own online dissidents.

Vine of the Day, Я клянусь, это никогда не случалось со мной прежде edition.

I shouldn’t make that joke. I am getting too old to make that joke. But here we are.

Via @noclador.

Moe Lane

PS: Russian ships are generally referred to as ‘he,’ by the way. So the joke really does work.

Tweet of the Day, Sing It, Brother @Charleswcooke edition.

Seriously, this is like the Platonic Ideal of the If you’re explaining, you’re losing principle.

Continue reading Tweet of the Day, Sing It, Brother @Charleswcooke edition.

Boris Nemtsov murder suspect :air quotes: ‘blows himself up.’

Okaaay: “A suspect in the murder of the opposition politician Boris Y. Nemtsov blew himself up as the police closed in on him overnight, Russian news reports said on Sunday…” The New York Times went on to note that the Russians seem rather wedded to the idea that this is all due to Chechens; precisely why they’d want Nemtsov dead (given that the man was involved in trying to end the first Russo-Chechen War) is unkno… oh, why am I pretending?  We all know that the Putin regime put the hit out on Nemtsov, and is now blaming the Chechens because they’re extremely convenient boogeymen for Russian audiences. People outside Russia will have a different opinion; but what does Putin care about that?

Welcome back to history, folks.  Turns out the reports of its demise were, as they say, premature. in fact, it never really died at all.

Via Hot Air Headlines.

Moe Lane

Tweet of the Day, This Is Almost Platonic Truth Here, You Know edition.

Dan McLaughlin, as is his wont, handily summarizes recent Eastern European / Eurasian history in less than 140 characters.

But I’m not bitter. Nope. Not in the least.

Hrm. Maybe those white elephant Polish airports ARE for eventual military use.

I don’t know how snarky Glenn Reynolds was being about this report

The European Union has given Poland more than 100 million euros ($125 million) to build at least three “ghost” airports in places where there are not enough passengers to keep them in business.

The result is gleaming new airport terminals which, even at the peak of the holiday season, echo to the sound of empty concourses and spend millions trying to attract airlines.

…when he suggested that they’d make good impromptu airstrips in case of a military invasion by the Soviets.  Err, sorry: ‘Russians.’  Old Cold Warrior reflex.  Anyway, and not to be all Cold War spy-nostalgic or anything, but if you look at a map to see where the airports (Reuters reports them as being  Lodz, Rzeszow and Lublin) that were renovated are: Continue reading Hrm. Maybe those white elephant Polish airports ARE for eventual military use.