16 Sep

Russian Flag

1. A pigheadedly conservative populace who paradoxically enjoy chess as a popular spectator sport but somehow still manage to resolve arguments with fists and are afraid of a change in the weather.

2. An entrenched and massive aristocracy so spoiled they make the French 18th century mob look like New England puritans.

3. The fact that, thanks to #1 and #2, Russia managed to avoid the bulk of the 19th century partially thru the ruthless repression of Enlightenment influenced intelligentsia.

4. World War I which demonstrated well how much most people were regarded as livestock by #2.

5. The Bolsheviks who sported the latest in revolutionary ideologies from Europe. These people mixed the greatest enthusiasm for modernity with a triple portion of all its errors and never once considered the possibility they’d they fail.

6. The inevitable Napoleonic Strongman.

7. Several decades of an unnatural experiment that attempted to remake human nature and succeeded only in encouraging the worst of it.

8. The inevitable reform going too fast and precipitating the breakdown of the state.

9. The establishment of a new state on the advice of (mostly) American experts who thought the American system would naturally spring up from black scorched Earth.

10. The old nomenklatura who grabbed most of the newly privatized capital and resources and imposed a former KGB toe-cutter as de facto Czar.


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