National News Roundup: Week 47 (December 10–16)

By Randall McNair (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The theme of this past week’s news was largely “brace yourself for raining shoes” — and several boots and a sandal have yet to drop as I write this. This week, keep your eyes peeled for Mueller mayhem, final votes on tax reform, and personnel changes on Capitol Hill. But in the meantime, here’s some info on what has happened already.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not an FBI agent! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

This week was pretty quiet on the Russia Collusion Investigation front, in part because rumors started circulating that Mueller was about to be fired — but here’s what has happened:

  • Mueller Email Adventures. Over the weekend, the Trump administration accused Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of emails from them because he went through the third-party General Services Administration. But as several legal experts note, public email accounts have no expectation of privacy, and it would be prosecutorial misconduct not to request the records. These claims fuel concern that the President is looking for an excuse to fire Mueller, despite his lack of authority to do so (and his claims to the contrary).
  • The Latest in Harassment Personnel Changes. With last week’s sweeping resignations come new seat-holders, and boy howdy is some of the process looking weird! I think I touched upon this last week, but the governor of Michigan has announced they won’t hold a special election at all, opting to leave John Conyer’s former seat open for an entire year and simply having ordinary elections in 2018. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s governor has appointed Lt Governor Tina Smith to take Al Franken’s seat, but it’s unclear when Franken plans to leave (and her appointment has created chaos in the state’s politics). And it’s completely unclear who is favored to replace Trent Franks, despite a primary election happening in only two months. So it’s been a bit of a wild ride all around.
  • Tax Reform Remix. The tax reform roller coaster appears to be nearing a stop this week, but that’s not a good thing, as it’s currently slowing down right near a gilded circle of hell. Mnuchin released a one-page report this week, which Forbes (rightfully) says he should be ashamed of releasing; among other things, the report confirms that the tax cuts are so expensive that they cannot pay for themselves, and “welfare reform” (i.e. Medicaid and Medicare cuts) will be necessary to pay for it all. That, unfortunately, did not stop Bob Corker and Mark Rubio from eventually hopping aboard for the final version of the bill, leaving the GOP so confident they had the votes that they let McCain take the week off. Though the final version of the tax reform bill does soften a lot of the House version’s harshest edges, it still includes a repeal of the health insurance mandate, and it’s very likely to widen wealth inequality in the country. The Washington Post put out a good comprehensive summary of the final version, which is definitely worth a read (or at least a skim) if you get a chance. But the short version is: If you aren’t rich, it isn’t gonna be great.
  • Federal Judge Withdrawals. Several deeply embarrassing federal judge nominations went the way of the dinosaurs this week! The first to go were Brett “Does it count if my wife practiced law?” Talley and Jeff “I Literally Told You I Illegally Discriminate” Mateer, who were both unceremoniously screened out by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. But after another nominee, Matthew Spenser Peterson, couldn’t answer extremely basic questions about legal procedure — like “I don’t know what a motion in limine is” level of basic — he withdrew his nomination today. Hallelujah, it’s raining turkeys!

And that’s basically the news that was fit to email this week — some good, some bad, most unfinished. It’s like the Big Dig of news weeks! And speaking of unfinished, the next few weeks are going to be a bit wonky here at Roundup Center, because both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Monday. The tentative plan is to issue the Christmas roundup on December 26, and I’ll check in from there on how to handle New Year’s. Until we meet again, happy holidays!

Resist ornament sewn by Benn Kessler

A Father’s Daughter My Favorite Essays for 2017

I am in the business of rediscovering myself. I’m fascinated by my inner child. I like that girl. I haven’t like me for a very long time. So I’m trying to learn as much as I can about her.

This is me in December, 2016. I am visiting my Grandfather at my Father’s old home in Moscow. He arrived here when he started playing for CSKA. This apartment was given to him from the government. That is how things worked in the Soviet Union. You are rewarded for being someone. That was ingrained in me from childhood.

I am holding a picture of myself. I am around 7 or 8 years old. I’m in San Jose, California and if my math serves me right, this would be house # 9. I’m attending Challenger School. This would be school #4. This is the very same school which held me back a year for messing up the “other” name for a rabbit. Not bunny. Hare.

This is the wall in the main room of my Grandfather’s apartment. These are some of the medals and awards my Father has won. Please note that I used the word some. There are more. In fact, the most impressive ones are displayed in my Father’s office- the first room one encounters when entering my Family Home. Whenever I visit here, I stand and stare. This time is no different. I wonder, how do I come from someone who has done so much? How did he win all of this? What kind of superhuman is this man? And how do I carry his DNA and the Soviet mentality of “being someone”, yet I am no one. How could I have failed him?

This is what it looks like to be from a generation where things don’t happen if they’re not on instagram. He didn’t say this, but I will assume that my Grandfather feels that this is a bizarre concept. I too feel this way and I try to refrain from this but since I consider myself a story-teller, I cannot help but document all that is around me.

My Grandmother, his wife, aforementioned in previous posts, is no longer alive but he keeps up with her table-setting traditions. The silverware, the dish ware, the napkins, and the tablecloth. The kinds of food we eat. He is 90 years old and he washed the curtains for my visit. The place is clean as can be.

These are the results of my incessant documentation. There are few things in this world that make me happier than Russian Bread, Russian Butter, and Russian Caviar. All together. All at once.

The phone rings and reveals that my Father is calling. He says it’s a total coincidence. We all take turns speaking with him, and I realize that I am amongst the Larionov men.

My favorite part of my visits is the time when we can dive into old photographs and newspaper cuttings. My Grandfather is a collector, like me. As I have boxes of memorabilia, so does he. Pictures have notes written on the back of them. Dates. Locations. Descriptions. Details to keep the memories alive. I dive headfirst into time traveling through my relatives lives. I see a younger Grandfather. I see a younger Uncle. I see a younger Father. I watch through a series of photographs as he matures into the man he is today.

I peak over to the wall on my right. It is a constant reminder of who I am not. But in seeing my Father’s life story, I am able to understand that our paths do not have to align. I start to release my self-made pressures of BEING somebody. I start to have empathy towards the struggles he must have faced in finding himself. I wonder if the Soviet System was the reason he is so hardened. I feel lucky that I do not have to abide to any particular societal laws. I can choose to be the woman I want to be. I am free. And through that thought process comes a moment of healing. I let go of the expectations which weigh heavily on me. I am a separate being. I don’t have to be anybody except for me.

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The Future of Nuclear Politics: Is Cold War II Looming?

by Luna Schlör

Kremlin Presidential Executive Office

On February 1, 2019, the United States officially declared its abrogation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. The bilateral agreement regulating nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation had been a cornerstone in ending the Cold War and remained a central pillar of US-Russia military relations ever since.

When former US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev signed the agreement in 1987, they renounced the production, ownership, and testing of short-to-intermediate range (500–5,500km) ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, which applied to both nuclear and conventional warheads. By 1991, the treaty had led the US and Russia to eliminate 2,692 of such missiles, and has since provided the foundation for US-Russia arms control. In recent years, however, mutual allegations of treaty violations have accumulated, and the US administration has pointed towards such alleged Russian violations to motivate its withdrawal from the INF this early February.

At face value, the INF abrogation may appear as yet another chapter in the already ailing US-Russia relations. However, if the US were truly concerned about Russian proliferation, the rational response would be to first pursue diplomatic dialogue and sanctions to reinforce the agreement. The alternative, which is abrogating the INF and paving the way for another arms race, is much costlier and hence, unwarranted as long as diplomatic solutions have not been exhausted. Indeed, diplomatic means have not been exhausted as Russia has continuously proven to welcome dialogue on the future of the agreement prior to the US’ suspension.

The state of US-Russia relations alone thus appear deficient in explaining the US administration’s decision to suspend the INF. However, if one considers the collapse of the INF against the increasing pressure from aspiring global nuclear powers such as China (or Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea for that matter), the narrative changes drastically.

Since the INF is a bilateral agreement, it restricts Russian and US proliferation but leaves the activities of budding superpowers — such as China — unregulated. The INF is particularly bothersome to the US since it extends to conventional warheads as well, putting the US at a severe disadvantage against China in anchoring its rule in the Pacific.

US Navy Commander Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. claimed before the US Senate in 2017 that China’s military possess the biggest missile arsenal in the world including over 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles, the vast majority of which would be banned under the INF. To put this in perspective, China currently holds almost the same amount of ground-based missiles that the US and Russia held together in 1987 prior to the INF signing. Admiral Harris attests that “the U.S. has no comparable capability due to [its] adherence to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.” The pressure on the US to upgrade its own missile force is imminent.

Trump has intimated that the increasing military pressure from China has played a bigger role than Russia in his decision to abrogate the INF treaty. This is evident, for instance, when he claims that “if Russia’s [building missiles in violation of the INF] and if China’s doing it and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable.” Although talking about a bilateral agreement with Russia, Trump places equal importance on China’s proliferation, implying that the Asian superpower has been a key factor in his decision-making process.

Even if China’s growing military capacity puts the US under pressure, it remains to be seen if abrogating the INF is the right expedient to reclaim control in the ongoing economic and geopolitical struggle with China. Suspending the agreement gives the US a free hand to upgrade its missile force, but such missiles are in vain if the US is unable to deploy these arms on territory within reach of China. US allies in East Asia, for that matter, have shown little interest in hosting American missiles.

Entering an arms race with China, reminiscent of the Cold War era, would pose a challenge to the US given China’s booming economy. The US owes its success in the Cold War arms race mainly to the Soviet Union’s ailing economy; China’s economy, however, might not prove this accommodating in an arms race. Moreover, although the INF has been a bilateral agreement binding the US and Russia, the treaty might have indirectly contained China’s (and other non-signatory nuclear powers’) nuclear armament as well. As long as the US had been bound by the INF, China might have been content with its current arsenal, but it will not turn a blind eye to future US armament now that the INF is suspended.

The US has now entered the 6-month withdrawal period for the INF agreement. Once the grace period is over, the abrogation will become effective, leaving the 2010 New START agreement (which expires in 2021) to stand alone in ensuring nuclear security between the US and Russia. The INF abrogation will change the rules of the geopolitical game not only with Russia but also with China and other geopolitical actors.

UN Model at LUNN 🌐

That week we had an interesting event. It was the United Nations Model — a really good expirience for pupils and students. I joined this project for the second time (the first one was in April 2017), because I really like it.

I think that Model is a good opportunity to meet new people, to imrove your oratorical skills and learn something new about our world.

As you can see ⤴ I was a delegate of Russian Federation. And our theme was “The protection of nationality”.

Thank you all for that day!

What is a FAN ID and why do you need one?

Having a never-ending love for your national team and securing yourself with tickets to the World Cup is not enough, and in order to attend football matches in Russia, you will need a FAN ID. It is a personalized card with your picture on it that allows you to use many of its benefits.

There are no exceptions, and everybody who wants to attend the World Cup matches needs a FAN ID. This includes minors as well.

How can I get my FAN ID card?

You can only get your FAN ID card after you have purchased World Cup tickets. Once the tickets have been bought, you can apply for the ID card on the website There you will need to upload a picture and provide all the necessary information. If your application has been approved, you may get a FAN ID in any way that is convenient for you, for example, at FAN ID Distribution centers or you may have them delivered by post. Once you can check off all of these points off your list, you are on your way to be fully enjoying the world cup.

What are the benefits that come along with FAN ID?

FAN ID entitles a person traveling to Russia, a visa-free entry starting from 10 days before the first match until 10 games after the final. It also provides free transportation services that include free use of both intercity and local public transports. FAN ID holders have to present their match tickets, an identity document and the FAN ID itself in order to get these benefits. Children also need a FAN ID, therefore parents should fill out an application for their daughter/son.

Ticombo has a limited amount of World Cup tickets available for purchase on the website. Knowing that the FAN ID process is a bit complicated, we want to make this process easy for you, therefore, we assist you in obtaining the FAN ID. You just give relevant information to us and then we take care of the process for you. Ticombo also promises that the processes associated with us are simple, secure and fair.

You can see all the tickets that we have to offer for World Cup here.

If you need any further info, please contact our support team on

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Attack of the “paper tiger”

Two fellows, needing funds, and bold,
A bearskin to a furrier sold,
Of which the bear was living still,
But which they presently would kill — 
At least they said they would,
And vow’d their word was good.

La Fontaine

Last weekend (16–17 February) the visit of the British Finance Minister Philip Hammond to China was planned. In London this fact was carefully concealed until the “Minister of war” Gavin Williamson uttered an enchanting speech, that firmly drove a wedge in relations between China and Britain. Mr. Williamson has long been famous for careless statements and, as a rule, he used not to be shy in expressions. On February 11, speaking at the Royal Institute for defense studies in Westminster, the British Minister of defense announced plans to send an aircraft carrier “Queen Elizabeth” with two F-35 squadrons on board to the South China sea. The South China sea is traditionally a zone of China’s interests and, in fact, it is the starting point of a strategically important project for Beijing’s trade route “Polar silk road”.

Undoubtedly, an aircraft carrier is a strong argument, but nowadays the presence of warships in the zone of interests of a competing state is not surprising. These things happen everywhere. Williamson, sharp-tongued, said the key phrase “To talk but fail to act risks our nation being seen as little more than a paper tiger”. I think everyone understands who he meant by “paper tiger.” In Eastern (and particularly Chinese) culture “Paper tiger” disparagingly referred to what just seems terrible. Thus, the Defense Department of the United Kingdom hints that they will stop at nothing to restrain China. Beijing, of course, did not like such statements and the visit of the British Finance Minister (who could certainly build bridges between London and Beijing on issues of mutually beneficial cooperation) was blocked.

Recently, the Internet has been excited about the news that the UK will send to Norway more than 1,000 marines, as well as plan to carry out reconnaissance missions of P-8A aircraft. This was reported by”the Telegraph” with reference to the statement of the British Minister of defense. The public took this step as another attempt to show Russia its intentions to promote interests in the Arctic, however, the publication highlights the fact that this is happening in the background of the strained relations between Beijing and London. Indeed, if you look at the map, you can see an interesting fact that the British military presence is indicated in the regions that limit the “Polar silk road” (South China and the Norwegian sea), despite the fact that the marine contingent (which is planned to gradually increase to the scale of a full-fledged brigade) is located near the Chinese Arctic station in Norway (Huanghe). To be honest, we can only sympathize to the leadership of Norway. It happened that the country turned up at the intersection of the interests of several powers in the Arctic region. In Norway, they are still trying to “bend their line”, but they are unlikely to be able to cope with the foreign policy pressure of the leader countries of the NATO, whose members they are.

In the Westminster Palace, in addition to Russia, they see a threat to interests in the Arctic and from China. Logically speaking, the initiative of the “Polar silk road” is developing at a rapid pace. China, with the support of Russia, actually provided a passage along the Northern sea route, placing the base in Norway and ensured a point of service and repair of vessels, and the recently opened research base of China in Iceland (Carhall) discovered the prospects for the continuation of the “silk road” to North America, which in fact “cuts” the UK from access to the Arctic.

The report published on 12.02 by the Finnish government “China in the Arctic: opportunities and challenges of Chinese-Finnish cooperation” remained unnoticed. In the report, the leadership of Finland considers the attraction of Chinese investments for the development of tourism, information and transport infrastructure. This news could not stay unnoticed in London. China intends to firmly settle on the Scandinavian Peninsula, which indicates not only the intentions of China to develop its trade routes, but also claims to the resources of the Arctic shelf. In many ways, the sum of what happened prompted the UK leadership to such sharp and decisive statements.

Many experts fear that China, thanks to huge cash infusions into the infrastructure of the Arctic region, will be able to get control over the entire Arctic, and not being a country of the Arctic Council. And the UK risks getting a second (besides Russia) irritant in its “backyard” (the Arctic is called backyard in the UK government).

To sum all up, we have come to the conclusion that countries which do not have any rights to the resources and territories of the Arctic are engaged in a fierce political struggle for it. Someone by the way of cash infusions, someone by the arrangement of military contingents. I do not exclude such a development of events when China will want to use the “Northern sea route” alone and without hindrance, despite its belonging to Russia. But it is all until the only diesel icebreaker of China will go to the planned maintenance service or get stuck in the ice of the Arctic Ocean. Britain will do everything possible to prevent the expansion of the influence of the “Paper tiger” on the Scandinavian countries.

How Learning a New Language Can Create Great Stories

For the past 3 years, I have been studying Russian and living in Moscow, Russia.

Credits to Nastya (YAGE)

It was a cold day in December (2016) as I was walking through Moscow. With sunlight colouring the streets and snow covering the trees, I walked past a cosy looking café and decided to hop in. Upon entering the café, I was greeted with an intense heat — as was to be expected with -19 degrees outside. It had an interesting reaction on my body.

The cold from the streets was being turned into warmth immediately, causing my body to sweat and cry at the same time. While my head was becoming increasingly wet, I took a glance at the menu standing on the counter. But soon my attention was caught by the glass display showing all kinds of food miracles. From colourful vegetables to a variety of meat, there were plenty of options. But there was only one thing that I wanted; a wrap. There was one problem though.

I did not speak nor understand Russian properly. Having studied Russian for a few months only by that time, this proved to become an interesting test for me that day. With a wet head and a hungry look in my eyes, I decided on a particularly tasty-looking Caesar wrap. A dark-haired woman was standing behind the counter and looked at me with a smile as she mumbled gracefully something along the lines of “Hi, hello, good day, welcome, could you tell me please what you would like, have you seen anything that you like?”. To add, she didn’t speak slowly in Russian either. Well… that was too much for my brain to handle. The result? A long and confusing stare.

While the woman was waiting for me to reply, I simply pointed towards the wrap behind the glass. I added with a smile ‘May I, please?’. She nodded quickly, said “of course” and grabbed the wrap. Due to the still confused but happy look on my face, and not to forget the heavy accent, she understood that I was a foreigner. Because I wasn’t holding up anybody else, she asked me another question, “…..?”. The feeling as if I was performing on stage overwhelmed me, because I was strangely aware that I was directly looking into a spotlight at this point. I had no idea what she asked.

Not a single word she mentioned corresponded with anything I had learned previously, but I decided to risk it all. I simply answered with “yes”. I was genuinely getting worried. What did I just say yes to? Hoping for the best, I slowly paced towards the counter to pay. Not because it was blatantly obvious that I had to walk that way, but because the woman was heavily pointing towards that direction. I just kindly took the hint.

After a couple minutes, the café served the wrap. Apparently, she asked me whether I wanted to have the wrap grilled, because the wrap was hot and crunchy. It was delicious. Suddenly, I looked up and realized something. How in the world.. was I going to repeat this? How was I going to ask whether they could do the same thing next time?

Before I could even answer my own question, one of the people working at the café walked up to me with his phone. It showed a single sentence translated; “Welcome to Russia, nice to see you here”.

Through learning Russian and practicing it every day, I have had experiences that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. While living in Moscow and trying to find my way around the city with my limited Russian, I always experienced something new and interesting. Those experiences I have then told to my friends and family as stories, which is why I believe that learning a new language gives you exactly this opportunity.. to create great stories.

Winter is coming

Поговорим о прогнозистах.

С разницей в пару недель два самых умных (как им кажется) человека на планете Земля Тим Кук и Герман Оскарович Греф публично выступили в разных направлениях.

Как же наше любимое: «great minds think alike»?


Г-н Кук сказал буквально следующее: «учится программировать гораздо важнее, чему изучать английский, как второй язык. В каждой средней школе на Земле должен быть такой предмет».

Г-н Греф, развлекая молодежь в Сочи, заявил: ««век айтишников» закончился и настал век «очень энергичных людей»».

Своеобразный ответ на заявление главы Минкомсвязи г-на Никофорова, который сообщил, что России нужен «миллион айтишников».

До этого Герман Оскарович также быстро посчитался с юристами, которые по его мнению должны разбираться в ИИ и нейросетях.

Если CEO Apple каждое свое высказывание конструирует с учетом корпоративных интересов, что понятно, то ПСД Сбербанка занимает философскую позицию «над картой», что в его исполнении странно.

Начнем с последнего, как самого громкого заявителя.

Если воспользоваться языком цифр, то вообще-то в РФ на сегодняшний момент по самым скромным подсчетам уже больше 1 миллиона «айтишников». В 2015 году число только разработчиков, а сюда, как вы понимаете не входит масса смежных специальностей, равнялось 889,5 тысячам человек.

Еще один миллион — вопрос ближайшего будущего.

В Европе (и Восточной и Западной) сейчас около 8 миллионов программистов. В мире что-то такое 22–23 миллиона.

Их количество за последние 10 лет удвоилось. Причем это касается правильно зарегистрированных, находящихся на рынке труда людей. Сколько народу может заниматься разработкой для себя, вне коммерческого сектора и «в тени» не понятно.

РФ растет быстрее всех в регионе.

По двум причинам:
– не закрыта целиком внутренняя потребность. В отличие от ряда стран Западной Европы, где текучка кадров гарантируется более частыми (и более массовыми) технологическими скачками;
– это до сих пор наиболее платежеспособная массовая специализация.

По поводу денег хотелось бы поговорить отдельно.

Сейчас, особенно после 2014 года, сложилась ситуация, когда с одной стороны обозначился потолок зарплат технических специалистов, с другой — высота этого потолка позволяет втягивать в индустрию всех людей вокруг.

Например, одна из самых загадочных для меня особенностей развития этого бизнеса в РФ — парадоксальная недозаполненность ниши IT-аутсорсинга. Он есть, но это много-много 15% от целевой отметки в подобной ситуации. При том, что разница в оплате труда между Францией/UK и РФ может составлять в среднем 2,5–3,2 раза, а качество быть 75–90%% от востребуемого.

Теперь возвращаемся к Герману Оскаровичу.

Он, как за ним водится, говорит правильные слова, но делает это невпопад. Сами фразы смещены во времени и пространстве.

То он заставляет молиться крупнейший финансовый институт страны на ИТ-методику 20-летней давности, то деконструирует несчастных юристов, под которыми он имеет в виду только андеррайтеров.

Теперь вот, вопреки своему 2-летней давности турне по Кремниевой Долине, решил высказаться об «айтишниках», хотя никаких айтишников уже лет пять нет, ну или айтишниками в этом случае стали все, в том числе и те самые «энергичные люди».

Особенно смешно для некоторых подобные слова звучат в момент очередного взлета американского рынка разработки, ориентированной на создание продуктов и массовых сервисов «под ключ».

В связи с крайней нагретостью индустрии там средняя цифра в 2017-м достигла $122000 в год, Amazon/Google или какой-нибудь модный финтех могут платить до $500000 за стаж 10 лет в определенных специализациях + комппакет, опционы и т.д..

Однако, это флуктуации самого рынка, подходящая 2–3% участников.

На протяжении уже 15 лет идет насыщение, которое в реальности приводит к снижение доходов большей части входящих.

Происходит это незаметно, по 5–7% в год, но с учетом инфляции все равно ощутимо в качестве карьерной перспективы.

Есть и еще один важный нюанс, сильно заметный изнутри.

Рабочая вилка присутствия в профессии сейчас составляет где-то 20 лет и неумолимо снижается. Когда-то, в 90-х она проектировалась на 30 и даже 35 лет.

Через 5 лет я не буду удивлен, если она понизится до 10 лет.

Дальше заканчивается активный период использования рынком специалистов и им становится очень сложно найти применение. Гарантированный доход снижается.

Остается три варианта:
– уже в момент активного роста диверсифицировать навыки, чтобы запрыгнуть на следующую технологическую «волну». Тут есть большой риск не угадать с волной и конкурировать с более молодыми (и дешевыми) кадрами;
– идти в управление. Здесь, в свою очередь, в 6 раз выше конкуренция (статистически выверенное число) и опять-таки чем выше, тем меньше сама профессия технологически зависима;
– предпринимательство, где неимоверно велики как риски так и бонусы.

Что это такое, когда поле специализаций востребовано, а жизнь каждой «специальности» крайне скоротечна?

Получается, мы говорим не столько о профессии, сколько о навыке. Таким образом переформатировать необходимо сам подход к подобным определениям.

Как только мы говорим об умении, а не карьере, как г-н Греф, все встает на свои места.

Навык хорошо бы иметь, но он не рассчитан на долгое использование и должен сменяться другим навыком.

Верно это, кстати, и не только в отношении «айтишников», но и почти всех традиционных профессий.

На разогретых областях это видно более рельефно — их больше нет.

О том, что с этим делать «визионеры» предпочитают помалкивать 🙂

Why Eurasia cannot be a Union

The Eurasian region is in the limelight for many years, but since 2016, it has become quite a hot cake for the media and the investors too. This is majorly due to the ample opportunities and prospects offered by the region. As per the projections, it is the region that is going to take over the world economically. Even currently the region contains 70% to the world GDP, according to the World Bank. Among the worlds’ top ten biggest economies, eight are Eurasian.

Asia and Europe, when combined form Eurasia which contains most of the world’s area and resources i.e. 70% of the world population and 75% of the energy resources. If this region becomes a Union, it is going to have control over up to 33% percent of the world’s natural gas reserves and this fact is quite significant, as world’s energy needs are growing day by day. In the light of these facts, Eurasian countries have recognized the importance of making an alliance in order to be able to leverage out of their amazing development. Furthermore, this alliance is intended to be an answer to the Western alliances, as far as Russia sees it, but is this ever going to happen?

Eurasia, the next NATO or EU?

The idea of a Eurasian Union dates back to 1994 and has managed to be materialized in 2010, but can it become the next NATO i.e. a military alliance, or a European Union i.e. an economic alliance? As the trend goes, the Eurasian integration kicked off in 2010 and tended to expand by 2014, but it did not deliver the promise of an economic boom coming out of this integration. Essentially, every alliance holds an objective, a promise of a benefit, be it political, strategic or economic.

For instance, if the major alliances like NATO and EU are taken into account, the promise of benefit is fulfilled. For NATO, the alliance is actually a bulwark against any threat that comes in the way of any of the members, While, for EU the economic benefits are multifaceted. Can the Eurasian bloc promise any of these benefits? Facts point otherwise.

With the changing global economic and politico-strategic dynamics and sanctions being imposed on Kremlin, it seems far unlikely for this idea to prosper, as it would jeopardize other countries allying with Russia, a chance to strike trade relations with the West.

Major Powers’ Play

An alliance between Eurasian countries is not practical as there are going to be three, somewhat, antagonistic major powers i.e. UK, Russia, and China into the scene. The UK is already pulling out of an existing and a very longstanding alliance, odds are rare if it would be interested in forming any more. Furthermore, it is quite difficult to imagine UK and Russia being on the same table, as the differences between the two countries are multifarious. Russia is already not a part of European Union and this tells something.

Now coming to China; Russia and China are striving to make better trade relations with each other and are not antagonists, but still, both countries have deeply ingrained interests in the region which can clash as both countries are striving to establish their sphere of influence in the Eurasian region. It also can be depicted in both countries’ investment plans. China is building the Silk Road in Eurasia, while Russia is all set to establish Trans-Eurasian Development (TERP). These projects can result in the clash of interests, as both countries can consider the other’s project as a risk to their sphere of influence.

The Russian military alliances with the Eurasian countries have also weakened over time, as Russian ambitions do not overlap the other countries’ interests. Furthermore, the Eurasian countries, themselves are in conflict with each other for ages, and these issues turn up after every while e.g. the 2016 Armenia-Azerbaijan rift.

Cultural Dispositions

Another challenge that a Eurasian Union would face is the culture difference. In fact, it is not only the culture but the system, norms, and values are also different. As compared to the other blocs, this alliance would be quite heterogeneous, and thus would not long last. Such alliances can only exist as time and situation bound alliances, which would evaporate when the time and situation changes, as can be depicted in the alliance between Russia and US (West) during the 2nd world war. The norms and values of the EU countries are almost similar, like being unanimous on their stance human rights and capital punishment. With the Eurasian Union, this is not going to happen, as among the Eurasian countries many are democratic, semi-democratic while many are totalitarian regimes.

Thus, the materialization of the Russian dream of making an integration that reincarnates its pre-1991 sphere of influence and brings even more to it is not possible. These countries can form alliances comprising 3 to 6 countries, or even more but they would not be cohesive and would not spill much benefit to the members.

Fake Black Activist Accounts are reportedly linked to the Russian Government

The Russian government is linked to a widely followed social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter titled “Blacktivist”, in an apparent effort to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election.

The “Blacktivist” accounts are the latest of multiple evidence that point to the Kremlin’s attempts to use social media in order to influence the election. More details on such efforts have started to unveil after Facebook announced last week that “inauthentic” accounts with Russian ties purchased more than $100,000 worth of political ads, and consequently turned over the information to Congress.

According to reporting by the CNN, the Facebook and Twitter accounts both employed the handle “Blacktivist” and regularly shared videos of police brutality against African Americans, coupled with calls for “black people to wake up as soon as possible”.

In other instances, the pages advertised rallies and demonstrations around the country, including the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party and a march in Baltimore commemorating the death of Freddie Gray, an event also covered by the Russian-government sponsored RT. Targeted ads were also employed to reach the cities of Ferguson and Baltimore, where police brutality against African-Americans had caused violent protests and disorder.

Earlier this week, Business Insider reported that Russia-linked Facebook pages like SecuredBorders attempted to mobilize anti-immigrant mobs in Texas and Idaho. But beyond reaffirming allegations that Russian-backed campaigns highlighted polarizing issues like immigration or race, the inauthentic Black activist accounts reveal that the Russians targeted both sides of the American political spectrum, and not just the far-right as is often assumed.

They also give an insight on the magnitude and reach of such campaigns — the accounts garnered an impressive following, with more than 360,000 likes on Facebook, considerably more than the verified “Black Lives Matter” page.

Despite astounding evidence and the consensus of the US intelligence community, the impact of the Russian misinformation campaign on the presidential race has been the subject of intense debate. For his part, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially disputed the idea, despite a warning by President Obama the night after the election to consider the matter seriously. In November, he reportedly told a tech conference, “Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of content, influenced the election is a pretty crazy idea.”

But shortly after the election, research by media analysts documented that false stories dominated public discourse in social media platforms. The graph below, which visualizes data collated by BuzzFeed using its content analysis tool, shows that in the three-month period before Election Day, four out of the top five most-engaged-with stories from Facebook were false.

To access interactive infographic, click here:

Last week, Zuckerberg appeared to modify his sentiment in a live broadcast on his Facebook page. “Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive.” he wrote, adding however a spirited defense of Facebook’s role in helping give more people a voice during the election.

According to CNN, the Blacktivist page is merely one of more than 470 Russian-linked Facebook accounts posting inflammatory content that were identified by the social media network and disclosed to Congress earlier this month. More details are expected to surface in the coming days, as Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election interference continues to investigate whether Moscow colluded with President Trump’s campaign team.

Meanwhile, the Blacktivist Facebook page appears to have been deactivated