It's been 20 years...

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    Nov 21, 2011 3:08 AM GMT
    since the Soviet Union broke up. The Baltic states, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania gained their independence in 1990 and early 1991, but the rest of the union didn't official dissolve until December 26, 1991. At least that's when the Soviet flag officially came down.

    Since then much has changed in most of the former USSR. Some changes have been for the better and others for the worst. Some things haven't even changed at all. For sure, some republics have fared better than others. However, Russia clearly remains the queen bee of the former union.

    Not only that, a whole generation has grown up since the breakup. Kids born in the '80s and '90s have very few or no memories of life during Soviet times. In certain republics, they grew up in a very different world from their parents and grandparents. Kids in other republics have probably had it harder than their parents and grandparents since Soviet times. Now they are grown up and ready to face the world. How will they shape their republics in the years to come?

    Now Russia is no longer enemy No. 1 to the US. In fact I think no one really feels threatened by Russia at all anymore. However, a lot of middle age Americans remain convinced that Russia is still a communist, atheist country keeping the few communist countries left afloat.
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:01 AM GMT
    pocketnico saidHowever, a lot of middle age Americans remain convinced that Russia is still a communist, atheist country keeping the few communist countries left afloat.


    This is not even remotely surprising given the fact most Americans are utterly clueless when it comes to geopolitics and strategic studies.
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:12 AM GMT
    I would say the differences in attitude are mainly generational. People like my parents and grandparents remember the Cold War since the spread of communism was a real fear back then. Between that and the space race, the US and the USSR were the two superpowers of the world. Now it's just the US all by itself with some eyes towards China in the distant future.

    People my age and younger haven't had to worry about the red scare or anything else the Soviets did. We only know about Russia as it's been since the '90s, which has mainly been rather chaotic and confusing.
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:15 AM GMT
    Nevertheless, I'm really glad I got to study in Russia in 2006. I'd been wanting to visit Russia since I was little. It's nice that the opportunity to do that became possible since the breakup because I know travel was so limited before the mid '80s.
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:18 AM GMT
    jpBITCHva saidThat's silly. All the communiss left Russia and come here. Oh and the socialiss too.


    I thought the socialites came mostly from Newport.
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:19 AM GMT
    Granted no part of the former Soviet Union is gay friendly (not even the Baltic republics that are part of the EU), but meeting boys wasn't really one of my priorities while I was there. Everything else made up for the lack of gay love icon_cool.gif
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:19 AM GMT
    pocketnico saidNevertheless, I'm really glad I got to study in Russia in 2006. I'd been wanting to visit Russia since I was little. It's nice that the opportunity to do that became possible since the breakup because I know travel was so limited before the mid '80s.


    That's so cool that you got to study in Russia. Sadly, I read a few days ago that the government wants to criminalize "any actions promoting homosexuality" which I think is very sad, but I know that not all Russians are like that. On an unrelated note, when I read, it's been 20 years, I thought this thread was gonna be sex-related, like it's been 20 years... since I had sex, I gotta get my mind out of the gutter. icon_redface.gif
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:19 AM GMT
    I <3 Russian guys. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:23 AM GMT
    Hypnotico said
    pocketnico saidNevertheless, I'm really glad I got to study in Russia in 2006. I'd been wanting to visit Russia since I was little. It's nice that the opportunity to do that became possible since the breakup because I know travel was so limited before the mid '80s.


    That's so cool that you got to study in Russia. Sadly, I read a few days ago that the government wants to criminalize "any actions promoting homosexuality" which I think is very sad, but I know that not all Russians are like that. On an unrelated note, when I read, it's been 20 years, I thought this thread was gonna be sex-related, like it's been 20 years... since I had sex, I gotta get my mind out of the gutter. icon_redface.gif


    Homosexuality in Russia was decriminalized in 1993. Even so, it's mainly a few politicians and religious groups that want to recriminalize it. I think the general government stance on anything regarding LGBT is indifferent.

    I believe male-male sex is still illegal in a few Central Asian republics, however, offenders just pay a huge fine instead of jail time or any type of physical punishment. Islam in the Central Asian republics isn't nearly as radical as it is in some parts of the Middle East.
  • BIG_N_TALL

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    Nov 21, 2011 6:23 AM GMT
    pocketnico saidI would say the differences in attitude are mainly generational. People like my parents and grandparents remember the Cold War since the spread of communism was a real fear back then. Between that and the space race, the US and the USSR were the two superpowers of the world. Now it's just the US all by itself with some eyes towards China in the distant future.

    People my age and younger haven't had to worry about the red scare or anything else the Soviets did. We only know about Russia as it's been since the '90s, which has mainly been rather chaotic and confusing.


    I would agree that the attitude differences are mostly generational, however I think part of that divide is a product of the "war on terror" in the lives of most young people in the US. The US has been engaged in an aimless conflict for over a decade; while at home in the US, there is a pervasive 'there is a terrorist behind every corner' mentality.

    I think for those reasons alone, younger Americans have not had the opportunity, for lack of a better word, not to obsess over Russia in the way older Americans were trained to during the height of the Cold War. With that said, I do not necessarily believe this differentiation makes younger Americans anymore adept with current affairs than older Americans. The younger generation just has its attention focused elsewhere courtesy of "W" and his neoconservative cronies.

    I think China and the Far East will increasingly become more prominent in American foreign policy in the next few years, but diplomatic and political correctness have blunted most Americans 'terror mentality' when it comes to China. If anything, many Americans resent the Chinese association when it comes to American jobs having been out-sourced. I suspect most Americans outside of the Beltway see China more as an economic threat than anything else.
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
    My interest in all things Russian began around the same time I became interested in gymnastics. This was in 1994 when I saw gymnastics for the first time on TV. I was completely fascinated upon first glance. And of course, at the time, most of the best gymnasts were from the former USSR. The Soviets completely dominated gymnastics (and many, many other sports) since the 1950s. Their Olympic accomplishments are absolutely remarkable. And since the breakup of the USSR, many coaches and athletes have headed elsewhere in the world for more opportunities, more money, and thus many other sports teams have benefited from Soviet athletic knowledge.
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:44 AM GMT
    I remember the red scare as a kid.. the middle east at that time was not as big as it is now, the only thing on the radar for us was Iraq... and the iron curtain and berlin wall.. all those fall at the end of elementary school for me... But when you are a kid you dont quite understand what all this really means.. it mostly just seemed scary lol
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    Nov 21, 2011 6:57 AM GMT
    I'll drink one for my brothers in the various ex USSR republics I have ties with on 12/26. A friend of mine told me once that "it took almost 20 years but finally most people agree things are better now than under Soviet rule".

    So much has changed, except for Russia of course. Russia never changes on a fundamental level.

    The one good thing about the USSR was their anti-religiousness.

    Nazdaroviye, tovarichiy.
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    Nov 21, 2011 7:01 AM GMT
    Tazo995 saidI'll drink one for my brothers in the various ex USSR republics I have ties with on 12/26. A friend of mine told me once that "it took almost 20 years but finally most people agree things are better now than under Soviet rule".

    So much has changed, except for Russia of course. Russia never changes on a fundamental level.

    The one good thing about the USSR was their anti-religiousness.

    Nazdaroviye, tovarichiy.


    Haha. I can't imagine too many young people who actually wish they could've lived during Soviet times. If that were the case, they wouldn't be able to have things or travel! An absence of Russian tourists all over the world would be quite a significant blow to the tourism industry!
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    Nov 21, 2011 7:14 AM GMT
    Trollileo said
    pocketnico saidGranted no part of the former Soviet Union is gay friendly (not even the Baltic republics that are part of the EU), but meeting boys wasn't really one of my priorities while I was there. Everything else made up for the lack of gay love icon_cool.gif
    One studies abroad to study abroad, not for buttsecks.



    Eh... I beleive in an imersion experience... I'm going to learn the culture, food, history, geography, and social customs of interaction... that includes having relations with someone of that country if possible. The russians I know are wow... this one guy from the Ukraine... hottie! AND HUNG! I'm not a size queen but damn! I was super jealous of his boyfriend. Just beautiful in ever way... personality, looks. eyes, hands... I only saw him naked once and that was cause we dared him to go steaking in the sprinklers.After he got changed he was all hugging on me cause I was warm... that had to be the worst blue balls of my life! icon_evil.gif
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    Nov 21, 2011 7:43 AM GMT
    With almost certainty, Putin will have the top job beginning next year. It is in the best interest of the US and the West to deal with him on a firm basis, not appeasing.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204358004577032533741783056.html

    ...Mr. Putin accused the U.S. of being interested in relations with Moscow because Russia was the only country that could destroy the U.S. in half an hour or less. ...
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    Nov 21, 2011 10:51 AM GMT
    don't kid yourself, Russia is still a major military player--especially with all the oil revenue coming in.

    "First and foremost, Russian defense will focus on the development of strategic nuclear weapons, construction of over 100 military vessels for Russian Navy, including construction of four originally French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, and the introduction into the Air Force of over 1,000 helicopters and 600 military planes, including fifth generation PAK-FA fighter." [emphasis added]

    http://rt.com/news/military-budget-russia-2020/

    yes, Russia only spends 17% of its GDP on its military, but make no mistake, Russia is still a military threat, and a geo-political player.

    i remember my grandfather taking to some of his friends at the club one time. they were strategizing, and this was in like 1999 or 2000, how to get Russia and China to go to war. they realized that both were a continuing, or upcoming in China's case, threat to the US.

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    Nov 21, 2011 11:25 AM GMT
    The more interesting question is will the younger generations in America learn from older generations' mistakes or will they fear the new "USSR": The Middle East and China? Sadly, military conflicts and aggressive foreign policies are started by only a handful of people, and as a result unjust wars and foreign policies are forced upon citizens using fear and nationalism/patriotism.
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    Nov 21, 2011 12:38 PM GMT
    for those too young to remember or even know about the Red Scare of the early 1980's..i suggest you watch "the Day After"...television program that aired in the early '80's...i was a teen during this time and this was a very real threat.
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    Nov 21, 2011 12:46 PM GMT
    conscienti1984 saidThe more interesting question is will the younger generations in America learn from older generations' mistakes or will they fear the new "USSR": The Middle East and China? Sadly, military conflicts and aggressive foreign policies are started by only a handful of people, and as a result unjust wars and foreign policies are forced upon citizens using fear and nationalism/patriotism.

    It is not a question of fearing them, but it is also important not to be naive either. The Russian government under Putin has shown itself as seeking continued instability in the mid-east. We need to understand what we are dealing with and not make unilateral concessions, as was done by the current US administration when the defense shield was abandoned in E Europe without any concessions from them.
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    Nov 21, 2011 1:31 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    conscienti1984 saidThe more interesting question is will the younger generations in America learn from older generations' mistakes or will they fear the new "USSR": The Middle East and China? Sadly, military conflicts and aggressive foreign policies are started by only a handful of people, and as a result unjust wars and foreign policies are forced upon citizens using fear and nationalism/patriotism.

    It is not a question of fearing them, but it is also important not to be naive either. The Russian government under Putin has shown itself as seeking continued instability in the mid-east. We need to understand what we are dealing with and not make unilateral concessions, as was done by the current US administration when the defense shield was abandoned in E Europe without any concessions from them.


    My point was that politicans and brass-heads start wars... not citizens--all too often war is waged aggressively and diplomacy passively. MAD is still protecting us. And if I'm not mistaken, the Eastern European defense shield was not suppose to send a message to the Russians but rather the Middle East.

    And yes, we are made to fear other countries--I would say you are the naive one if you cannot see this. Agressive behavior and "defense shields" make our enemies/competitors very neverous and nearly brought us to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 (Jupiter missiles in Turkey); connering a rabid dog often makes them more agressive. If JFK would have listened to his military advisors we probably would not be having this debate.
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    Nov 21, 2011 2:29 PM GMT
    Avoiding the potential for delving into a discussion of the various interests that direct geopolitics to their own ends (the so-called Illuminati)...

    ...America needs "an enemy". Whether it was the Two Kaisers and the Ottoman Sultan who were the dying gasps of direct (or near-direct) Monarchy in WW1, the Axis Powers (and FDR's particular desire to bring us into the war against the Nazis) in WW2, and fighting the spread of global communism from then until the close of the 20th century, and now "the global war on terror" in this century, Americans are seemingly reared to require "the Enemy at the Gates" to keep us from our usual parochial concerns, and ever in support of the industrial-military complex that powers most of our economy.

    No doubt that terrorism is a place-holder until the Russians resume their bid for building their empire, and China solidifies itself at the head of an East Asian Alliance (which may eventually wrest Japan from our influence as a buffer state against Chinese and North Korean agression).

    And Germany may yet increase its power over the EU if it successfully weathers the ongoing crisis of the PIGS economic collapses to check the US and Red Chinese - although energy security remains a big concern for the Eurobloc with Russia controlling the taps for oil and gas.
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    Nov 21, 2011 2:36 PM GMT
    conscienti1984 said ...If JFK would have listened to his military advisors we probably would not be having this debate.


    I'll roll that back even further and say that if Truman had listened to General MacArthur and had used atomic supremacy to install the Nationalist Chinese (the Kuomintang government) in Beijing prior to 1948 and have nuke capable airbases in northern China aimed at denying Russian sea access from Vladiovostok and the Black Sea, we could have contained Soviet communism much more effectively.
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    Nov 21, 2011 2:55 PM GMT
    AlphaTrigger said
    conscienti1984 said ...If JFK would have listened to his military advisors we probably would not be having this debate.


    I'll roll that back even further and say that if Truman had listened to General MacArthur and had used atomic supremacy to install the Nationalist Chinese (the Kuomintang government) in Beijing prior to 1948 and have nuke capable airbases in northern China aimed at denying Russian sea access from Vladiovostok and the Black Sea, we could have contained Soviet communism much more effectively.


    Sorry, but that would have been impossible. You can't use atomic supremacy to install a puppet government with virtually NO public support. The communists won the civil war because they earned the support of the lower classes, whether that trust was misplaced or not.

    Yeah, try nuking a populated center in China during that time, and you would have ended with Chinese hating Americans in their blood and driving China into alliance with Russia (China and Russia were NOT close during the Cold War due to differences of opinion in both strategy and ideology).
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    Nov 21, 2011 3:11 PM GMT
    pocketnico said
    Tazo995 saidI'll drink one for my brothers in the various ex USSR republics I have ties with on 12/26. A friend of mine told me once that "it took almost 20 years but finally most people agree things are better now than under Soviet rule".

    So much has changed, except for Russia of course. Russia never changes on a fundamental level.

    The one good thing about the USSR was their anti-religiousness.

    Nazdaroviye, tovarichiy.


    Haha. I can't imagine too many young people who actually wish they could've lived during Soviet times. If that were the case, they wouldn't be able to have things or travel! An absence of Russian tourists all over the world would be quite a significant blow to the tourism industry!



    Yeah, he was referring to the older ones finally being swayed too.

    However the reality is that people who used to fly from Tbilisi to Moscow for 20 rubles traveled more than now. Try travel when you make $200 a month, if you have a job at all. Or if you get a $25 a month pension.

    And nobody will miss Russian tourists - hotels in Turkey already have implemented "no Russians" policies because they're too ill behaved and scare away all other customers.

    Also... who said "only 17% of GDP" is military spending for Russia? That's an outrageous number, for any country. I hope the US will not be as soft on the Russians as Obama has been. Putin is a real evil genius and an authoritarian dictatorship always has the advantage of being able to outmaneuver a democracy. In a few years we can revisit this thread and I'll be able to say "told you so" when the Russian army rolls into some other tiny neighbour country that the US will left to fend for itself.