Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: vladimir putin

The isolation of Russia

Each year, my university provides 160 fully funded grants that are made available to Ph.D. candidates by the national governments of the 28 EU Member States and a few other countries. Among these other countries there is Russia. Or, I should rather say, there was Russia. Yesterday I have been informed that the government in Moscow has decided to close the convention with the EUI, meaning that from the next academic year no more Russian students will be able join the Institute. Apparently the European Institute is trying to restore the convention, although a success seems very unlikely. Too bad. Russian citizens went through all of this with the Soviet Union, when a closed system only multiplied its inefficiencies and eventually caused complete dismay. Once again, Russian elite’s fixation on isolationism comes with an increasingly high toll on its citizens.

Be afraid, be very afraid

I have been sharing articles about Russian foreign policy with an anonymous friend from Lithuania over the last few weeks. Yesterday my contact, whom we shall refer to as il Biscione Lituano, wrote me a few conclusive lines (he writes in very good Italian). It’s worth thinking about it:

Quello che scrive il Financial Times in parte é vero, pero’ il nazionalismo russo stava riemergendo dal 2000. E’ parte della strategia di Putin (Cecenia, Georgia, Ucraina). Quello che non capite in Europa é che in Est Europa non stiamo vivendo in un mondo della pace perpetua di Kant. E non capite quanto la Russia é una stato fallito e non capite quanto é disposto a fare Putin per mantere controllo. Leggiti bene questo.

I couldn’t find a witty comment in answer to this: the reference to Kant’s Perpetual Peace kind of shut me off. If you have an idea, let me know.

Update, 26/09. Cult of personality, ban on foreign media and movies: plenty of stuff to be wary about from the first session of the Russian Duma back to work after the Summer break.