Why do we allow Russia on the internet at all?

Just come back after a couple of days away doing chores.  I find a bunch of Russian language spam comments on this blog.  I’ve had to put moderation on for any comments coming out of Russia or Ukraine; then they switch to spamming from free email addresses.  Frankly I’m sick of seeing them.  All they do is waste my time.

Who can think of any online contribution made by Russia?  I certainly can’t.  Yet people from there are one of the major hazards on the web.  Why don’t we just disconnect Russia? 


12 thoughts on “Why do we allow Russia on the internet at all?

  1. There is a phenomenon in the MMORPG community known as “Chinese gold farming”. Some players in these communities offer to sell game gold for real money, something not allowed by the game rules (not to mention that it can ruin a game experience if you know that the other rookie is flying through the levels not because he is a good player but because he has bought the best gear). Originally those offering that kind of “service” where Chinese (hence the name) though today they tend to be Indonesians. Despite the serious convenience noone has suggested cutting China off the web.

    The Russian internet scam and spam phenomenon is in general a sign of the general level of respect for the law in Russian society. The authorities don’t give a priority to catch spammers, especially since their crimes are directed abroad. Since most of us don’t know Russian we can only see what is directed to us (which is mostly useless) and not what is directed towards the Russians which might actually be usefull

  2. 🙂

    Many, once Russia is mentioned, think of Rasputin, Stalin, the KGB, vodka and freezing conditions. What comes to my mind when Russia is talked about, however, are the Russian great Orthodox Christianity, its extraordinary kindness and reflex sympathy with the humiliated and insulted, its Dostoeivsky, its Tolstoy, its Chekhov, and the victory of its sweet soul over communism.

    I really love Russia, and wish her all the best.

    But, I understand the feelings towards the Russian spammers.

    Dioscorus Boles

  3. In Greece when we think of Russia we think of the Blond Nation that Will Free Us From the Turks (propaganda from the time of Catherine the Great), the Orlof affair (=what happens when you make the mistake of believing that propaganda), the common religion (and the problems that has created), natural gas, the Burgas Alexandroupolis pipeline and stuff like that. Stalin or Lenin or KGB, are ironically dropping from sight …

  4. ikokki, because I love Greece, I am not going to argue with you – particularly because I am ignorant of the Orlof affair! But, I don’t think your position is representative of most Greeks. Russia to Greeks as it is to all Orthodox nations (and here differences created by Chalcedon fade away) is “the good big brother”, even if she was unable to help Greece in her War of Independence!

    But my love of Russia is not merely ecclesiastical – it is dictated by Russia’s big heart, which Russian literature bears witness to.

    In America, political DNA has it that Russia is a natural enemy – but for many of us, who cannot understand the American position but equally love America, Russia is not an enemy but one of God’s most beautiful pieces of art and humanity.

    Dioscorus Boles
    [A Copt who really loves Russia ( and America, and the UK, and France, and …)]

  5. I don’t think that it came out in my post but our opinion of the Russians is more positive than negative. However, unlike with out relation with the Serbs or the Rumanians, we are always a bit cautious with our brothers the Russians because we have known to be dropped by the Russians if it was in their best interest to do so.

    In the early 18th century prophesies or “prophesies” started coming out that a blond nation (variations said a golden nation) would free us from the Turks. These started coming out after the older “prophesies” that the Christian West would free us started fading because despite our resurections (e.g. following the battle of Lepanto on Don Juan’s behest) were simply ignored by the West and brutaly punished by the Turks.

    In 1770 Orlov, lover of Catherine the Great, came to the Peloponese with 3 ships to incite the Greeks to revolt against the Turks, in order to coincide with Catherine’s First war against the Turks and divert troops from the other Fronts. We believed the Orlov brothers, we rose and our revolution was crushed. Fleeing the Peloponese he engaged and defeated (with the help of converted Greek merchant ships he recruited for his fleet) the Turkish fleet at Cesme giving him the best opportunity to go and besiege Constantinople the Russians had before the Balkan crisis of 1877. Catherine though only saw Greece as a secondary front, when the peace negotiations came out she willingly returned the islands of the Cyclades that Orlov had in the mean time liberated to the Turks. The return from Russian rule and thus religious (and to a lesser extent also political) freedom to Ottoman rule was seen as a stab to the back, so when in her second War against the Turks Lambros Katsonis was sent to make Greece rise agains, he mostly failed (though the fact that he continued fighting against the Turks after the peace treaty was signed for Greece rather than for Russia has made Lambros Katsonis a national hero)

    The Russians did help us in the War of Independance, the Sultan execution of the Patriarch Gregory V brought a serious escalation in Russian-Ottoman relations and thus most of the Ottoman Army was bottled up in the Danube guarding against the Russians and could not crush our revolution. That war did break out eventually in 1828, it is onl after that war that Turkey accepted that a free Greek state would form. There also was a Russia fleet in the battle of Navarino (in addition to the French and British fleets).

    However from the Crimean War to the end of the Cold War Greece and Russia were politically on enemy sides, first because of Panslavism and then of Communism. While we have seen a huge improvement after the end of the Cold War, our common faith today can produce problems because since the time of Stalin the Russian Patriarchate is trying the remove the Ecumenical Patriarchate from the being the leader of Orthodoxy. However these are minor nuances when compared to Russian-US relations under Bush. It is the Russian side most Greeks took during the Georgian War although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs kept a neutral stance for very good reasons

  6. The disregard of Russians for the Law, and the regard of Russians for their Orthodox heritage, has also given us… Classical and Byzantine Warez: pdfs of dictionaries and grammars and lexica of Greek, many very much in copyright, available for free download. (No, I’m not hyperlinking; you’ve got Google.)

    Some would regard that too as a reason to unplug Russia from the interwebs. Я не думаю так.

    It’s made me more lenient about Russian spam though. And I know you were joking, Roger, but if Russians are putting Greek online for free, then maybe the Other isn’t as different from you as you think… 🙂

  7. It’s a consideration, I agree; to have access to stuff that otherwise we could never see. But if you saw the amount of comment spam that I do, you’d understand my feelings.

  8. Re: Russian Internet use

    On the whole, I think Russians make good use of the Internet and are good netizens. In Russian. Use a few well-chosen Russian search terms, and you’d be amazed what you find. I know I really enjoyed dipping into the Russian fantasy/sf community, because that deep Russian love for literature is so strong and expressive. They also make plenty of good jokes. (The sad thing about Russian lit is that the untranslated stuff is lively and fun, and the translated stuff makes you want to slit your wrists. And a lot of translators cut out funny stuff to make books ‘more readable’! Annoying!)

    But although Russians often read a lot of English language materials, they often are too shy or not confident enough in their English to participate. Whenever the political situation gets testy, they tend to fade into lurkdom even faster.

    Re: the above comments about American attitudes towards Russia — they’re wrong. Traditionally, Americans do distrust the Russian government and its apparatchiks. (Although we were very czar-friendly with Mr Progressive Czar back in pre-Civil War times.)

    However, Americans love normal Russians. If anything, there’s a tendency to regard them as a super-friendly version of Americans, and ignore evidence to the contrary as long as possible. There are always a lot of theories as to why (similar frontier heritages, mix of ethnicities), but I think Americans mostly find Russians not as reserved as Europeans, and openly hospitable with a lot of gusto. So you think you understand; and then it’s shocking when you suddenly smack into a brick wall of everyman Russian bad attitude towards Ukraine, for example.

    And frankly, a lot of Russians love Americans, although I think they suffer the same tendency to assume Russian-ness in us that we do in them. Ever since the Iron Curtain dropped, there have been a good many American writers who have found they were appreciated even better in Russia than in the US. (The late Robert Sheckley, for example, who was a superstar there; or Bujold, who achieved instant acclaim despite initially awful translations.) And then we do something _they_ can’t understand, and _they_ get disappointed. 🙂

    We aren’t anywhere near the same, really; but we are enough the same that we can’t leave each other alone. 🙂

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