Russia

Investigative journalism, Russian style

Featured image New York Times media reporter Ben Smith has the intensely interesting story “How Investigative Journalism Flourished in Hostile Russia.” The crazy brave dissident Alexei Navalny turns up in Smith’s bullet points: Mr. Navalny’s foundation flew drones over Mr. Putin’s palace, a vast estate on the Black Sea that Mr. Navalny labeled “the World’s Biggest Bribe” in a scathing, mocking nearly two-hour video he released on his return to Russia last »

Navalny speaks

Featured image I wrote about Vladimir Putin’s poisoning of Alex Navalny in “Inside Putin’s underpants op.” It’s an incredible story. For background I recommend Leonid Bershidsky’s January 18 Bloomberg column “Navalny vs. Putin is an epic existential battle.” Perhaps even more incredible is Navalny’s subsequent return to Russia. Bershidsky’s column on Navalny’s return is here. Having returned to Russia, Navalny has now been sentenced to prison for three and a half years. »

Inside Putin’s underpants op

Featured image I don’t recall reading anything like Paul Roderick Gregory’s Hill column — “The Kremlin, FSB, and the ‘Berlin patient’s’ underpants” — and related news stories. The Coen Brothers could turn it to good use in a film like Burn After Reading. Gregory tells how Vladimir Putin’s would-be assassination victim Aleksei Navalny extracted an account of the operation from the failed FSB assassin Konstantin Kudryavtsev himself. In a four-hour December 17 »

How to read a society

Featured image The original source of this quote from Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) appears to date to a 2005 Frontpage article or interview that is no longer accessible online: Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to »

One-trick pony

Featured image Peter Doocy had the temerity to ask Joe Biden about the smartest man he knows — Hunter Biden. Hunter is so smart that he became a millionaire with no visible talent to sell. I seriously doubt that Joe Biden is in a position to evaluate the relative intellectual capacity of the men he knows. Doocy has asked the question a time or two before without much success, but Biden really »

Biden’s Brezhnev vibes

Featured image Born in the Soviet Union, Katya Sedgwick now lives in the United States. She brings a valuable cross cultural-perspective to our perception of Joe Biden’s age-related mental impairment in the Spectator USA column “Biden’s Brezhnev vibes.” She discusses Brezhnev’s impaired physical condition and relates: [W]atching news segments on TV, it was hard to avoid conclusion that the general secretary was unfit to rule. His speech was slurred, and his movements »

Suicide of the liberals

Featured image We have previously drawn attention to Professor Gary Saul Morson’s New Criterion essay “How the great truth dawned,” Professor Morson’s New Criterion lecture “Leninthink,” Professor Morson’s New York Review of Books review “The horror, the horror,” and Professor Morson’s book Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time (Steve wrote about it here). To these I now want to add Professor Morson’s First Things essay “Suicide of the liberals.” Drawing on »

A diplomatic breakthrough the media would like to ignore

Featured image The Trump administration has helped broker a deal between Serbia and Kosovo, two former arch-enemies that were part of the former Yugoslavia. The agreement is receiving scant attention from the mainstream media for reasons I’ll address below. However, it’s an important deal — more so, I think, than the agreement between Israel and the UAE, which mostly ratified existing realities. The main significance of the Serbia-Kosovo agreement is its potential »

Judge Stephen Williams, RIP

Featured image Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has died at age 83, reportedly due to the Wuhan coronavirus. The statement of Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan praising his colleague is here. This tribute by Aaron Nelson includes moving praise from one of his liberal colleagues, Judge David Tatel. Williams was a staunch conservative. Nelson’s article begins by quoting the following opening line by Judge »

Are our enemies rooting for Trump or Biden?

Featured image American intelligence officials “assess” that China and Iran hope that Joe Biden defeats President Trump, but that Russia is trying to undermine Joe Biden. These assessments have generated lots of buzz. Democrats have been unhappy that Bill Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, wasn’t more alarmist about alleged Russian plans. Now they are unhappy that he has thrown China and Iran into the mix. I assess that »

Trump at his worst

Featured image President Trump is at his worst when he asserts a moral equivalence between America and Russia. Trump asserted such an equivalence during an interview with Bill O’Reilly in 2017. Trump told O’Reilly that he respected Vladimir Putin. O’Reilly objected by noting that Putin is a killer. Instead of explaining the ways in which Putin nonetheless might deserve some form of respect, Trump’s response was: “There are a lot of killers. »

Was Trump briefed about alleged Russian bounties on U.S. troops?

Featured image The latest Russia-related Trump scandal being touted by the media concerns alleged bounties offered to terrorists in Afghanistan for attacks on NATO forces. Supposedly, U.S intelligence concluded that Russia offered such payments, and the New York Times says that Trump was briefed about it. The White House denies that Trump was briefed. If our intelligence community really concluded that Russia was offering terrorists bounties for killing Americans (and troops allied »

The biggest debunked conspiracy theory of them all

Featured image Of all the lies the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have told about President Trump, the claim that Trump is a tool of the Russians stands out for its audacity I’m not surprised that the Dems/MSM went big with their lying. However, it astounds me that intelligent people I know who are outside of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media somehow found merit in this claim. »

Isaac Babel revisited

Featured image Northwestern University Professor Gary Saul Morson packs a lot of learning into his 2018 New York Review of Books essay/review on Isaac Babel, “The horror, the horror.” The editors of the NYRB kindly took the essay out from behind its paywall and made it accessible for Power Line readers this week in response to my request yesterday. The essay will soon recede behind the paywall once again. I want to »

The Power Line Show, Ep 172: Breaking Down the Oil Price War and the Coronavirus with Mark Mills

Featured image I’m posting this week’s episode a couple days ahead of our usual weekend schedule to keep up with the fast-moving news cycle about the most important story of the week—no, not the coronavirus, but rather the oil price war that broke out last weekend between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The timing may not be purely coincidental, as I discuss with my guest this week, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Mark Mills. »

Strap In: It’s Going to Get Bumpy

Featured image The big news over the weekend was not the coronavirus, contrary to what you might think from watching the news. The most consequential story of the weekend is the oil price war that has broken out between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Saudi Arabia has decided to increase its production and slash its price to punish Russia for not going along with OPEC quotas designed to prop up the price of »

For Turkey, a war and a new refugee crisis

Featured image With so much focus on the coronavirus and the Democratic primaries, the media has paid scant attention to two related developments: (1) war between Turkey and Syria and (2) refugees trying to push their way en masse from Turkey into Greece. Turkey has been at war with Syria, and by extension Russia, for a few weeks. The war stems from the push by the Syrian regime, with its usual Russian »