An Independent Russian Investigation from WIF

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 Ways that Russians

are Misunderstood

Around the World

Today, Russia is arguably one of the most controversial countries on the planet. Much is said about them one way or the other (primarily due to Vladimir Putin), and very few countries have as many stereotypes (especially negative ones) floating around about them. While it’s understandable for many Westerners to be worried about Russian influence on their governments or people, it’s also important to be able to separate the Russian people and culture from their government, and to understand who the Russians really are — and not just what we know from crude and often demeaning stereotypes… or potential meddling in United States politics.

10. Russians Don’t Look At Governance The Same Way Many Westerners Do

Many Americans and other Western countries have trouble understanding Russians’ idea of government, because Westerners cannot imagine a life where they could have so little personal freedom. To Westerners, personal freedom — or at least the appearance of it — is practically a life or death matter. Now, Russians see things differently. It isn’t that they are naturally submissive or something, but the Russian people have never really had anything like the Democracy that many Western countries enjoy… and the Russian people go back a very long way.

When you haven’t ever had something in the first place, you’re hardly going to find yourself missing it greatly or fighting for it. For this reason, personal freedoms are a much lower priority for many Russians, and they don’t entirely understand why so many countries are worried about those issues. Particularly when they haven’t fixed other problems yet. This doesn’t mean there’s no one in Russia interested in Democracy, but by and large, you aren’t likely to find many willing to risk prison for something they’ve never even had to begin with.

9. Russians Look European, But Are Also Sort Of Asian

Perhaps one of the things that makes it so difficult for Westerners to deal with Russians is that they look so similar to many of us, despite thinking so drastically differently. This likely stems from their cultural origins. The larger portion of Russia is, geographically, essentially in Asia, but the more populated part is in what some call “European Russia” — a portion of Russia that’s still considered part of Eastern Europe. This is all quite confusing, and borders are all, of course, man-made to begin with, but the overall issue is that the Russian people hardly fit in any normal cultural box.

Even the ones from “European Russia” are still much farther East than most people who are considered to be from Europe, and this likely changes their thinking. They’re also part of a country that has much of its territory in the actual continent of Asia, which means many people from the European part will still have their culture influenced by the more Asian part. For this reason, some in Russia have said they felt they have a more unique identity, which is actually part Asian and part Eastern European.

8. Napoleon Made Them Incredibly Paranoid Long Ago; Now Others Think Them Aggressive

Americans Tchaikovsky’s Overture of 1812 well, and some even confuse as being in reference to the American War of 1812. However, at that same time in history, there was a war going on basically all over the world because of a little guy named Napoleon. This titchy fellow had been stirring up the nest all over the place, and had even pushed his way into Russia. Now, today many people look at this as a folly of Napoleon, and talk about how Hitler later repeated the same mistake: Attacking the hardy Russian people during the harsh winter.

However, the truth was that Napoleon came far closer, at least in the Russians’ minds, to completing a successful invasion than they were comfortable with. They were absolutely terrified, and never forgot it. Well over 100 years later, the term “Bonapartist” would still be a fairly common term in Russia. They feared the idea of a warrior general rising up and going on a rampage so much that they immortalized Napoleon’s name with a specific word for his little invasion attempt into their country. Many people today think the Russians are just aggressive, but this near-miss so long ago drove them to shore up their borders, and it’s primarily for this reason they’ve been so hostile to those closest to them since. The truth is that the Russians only won with scorched earth tactics and great losses. Napoleon scarred them forever.

7. Russian National Pride Goes Back A Long Way, But Has Clashed With French Culture

Some people don’t understand why Russians are willing to forego so much comfort for the good of their country, and many people like to claim it’s Soviet propaganda. But the Russian people have been behaving this way for some time now. Considering the country of Russia is really one of the oldest surviving countries and cultures in the world, it’s not surprising that they have a gigantic wellspring of national pride, whether the situation warrants it or not. They also have a history of dictatorships, which means they’re used to simply being proud of their country and letting others run it.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Russians have always remained truly proud and obsessed with Slavic culture. A situation that still exists (to a smaller extent) today — but blew up shortly after the time of Napoleon — is the fight between the Slavophiles and the Francophiles. The Slavophiles wanted to keep Russia Slavic and focus on Slavic cultures, traditions, dress, and customs. However, enthralled and enraptured by the French, many young people were now dressing in French fashions, taking up their customs, and studying their culture and language. This has changed the Russian people even further over the years and, if anything, has made them even more incomprehensible to the rest of the world.

6. The Russian Concept of “Poshlost” Explains Why They Often Think Of Wealth Differently

These days you have people who like to make fun of people like the Kardashians, or joke about how they became famous for doing literally nothing at all. However, at the same time, many of those same people view being in a position like the Kardashians as something to aspire to. Now, despite misconceptions, the Kardashians still have a lot of work to do to maintain their empire of nothing. But many see their lifestyle as an aspiration because it’s perceived as a life where they can just chill and enjoy the finer things while not having to work or do… well, anything. In many ways this almost makes them the ultimate American dream, but Russians would find the whole thing ridiculous.

While there are some Russian billionaires today, and Russia has a lot of corruption, those who are at least in business or working are given a great deal of respect by the common person regardless of their ridiculous wealth. It’s only the playboys, who don’t really work or do anything, that get the true disrespect. In Russian literature, there’s a concept that many of the greats like Pushkin, or Lermontov, wrote about called “Poshlost.” Poshlost has been called untranslatable, but we will try our best to explain the concept: it’s used to refer to outer beauty, or empty wealth that is flaunted, while the individuals behind that wealth spend most of their time lounging, trying to look important, and contributing nothing of value to society at all. In a way, it was a backlash to the fashionable trappings of high society brought forth by the Francophile fad.

5. The Idea Of Struggle Is Entirely Embedded In The Russian Cultural Ethos

One of the things many people in America, in particular, understand least about the Russians is their willingness to accept a life without a lot of particular luxuries, and without a lot of options in general. This isn’t because the Russians are just masochistic and enjoy taking punishment, or are trying to prove some kind of specific point. Nor are the Russian people necessarily taking one for the team in order to advance the cause of the current government. The biggest reason most Russians are okay with things being that way is because, within in their ethos, the idea of struggle is deeply embedded.

In many ways, it may by their most important cultural value: Working hard and muddling through to get by is seen as extremely important. For a culture that’s often had to deal with poverty and want, even under their most benevolent leaders, this was something they had to learn as a people very early on. In many ways it has defined them, and explains why they are willing to accept what many in Western culture would consider unacceptable. They are simply far more accustomed to hardship, so they don’t act like everything is out of sorts when things get difficult.

4. The Origins Of Their Language, And Its Structure, Give Them A Unique Perspective

The Russian language, and most Slavic languages, use the Cyrillic Alphabet; however, the origin of their written language is rather strange. The people of the region had mostly used spoken-word and wrote little down when two Catholic missionaries named Cyril and Methodius traveled to the region. These two decided to help create an alphabet and written-word system for the language spoken by the people of the region, and something similar is in use today in most Slavic Countries. Now, this gives them a rather unique language structure and perspective.

The language itself was formed entirely by natives of the region, but the written form was made up mostly by outsiders who didn’t entirely understand their thinking. This has created a language system where the written word (and, as they’ve evolved together, sometimes even the spoken word) are hard to articulate the way the writer would want. Many writers like Pushkin took the written form of Russian to its limit to extract as much wordplay as possible, but they could only go so far, despite their genius.

3. Russians Are Generally Thought Of As A Drunk Country – But There Is A Lot More To It

One of the most famous stereotypes about the Russians is that they are huge drunks, and may even be bigger drunks than the Irish. People talk about teens using mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and other awful things, but in any country with poverty and bored children, things like that aren’t uncommon. And while people like to act like the average Russian just pounds alcohol like there’s no tomorrow, even among the heavy drinkers there are customs to drinking, and it’s only when you ignore them and actually do start pounding for no reason (which is relatively rare) that you have a real problem.

In Russia, drinking is a big social thing, but it is accompanied by lots of little bits of food, toasting to friends, and good conversation and camaraderie in general. Russians like to toast to things while drinking so they have a reason to imbibe, and it’s custom to eat a bit of food after each shot or drink — both for your health, and to avoid a hangover later. Many Russians will simply not drink if they don’t at least have a little bit of bread so they can have a little bite with each drink.

2. Internet Pirates Are Often Russian, But Due To Poverty – Not Inherent Cultural Dishonesty

The Pirate Bay, and other popular torrent sites, have always had a huge amount of torrents coming from Russian hackers. Many who pirate a lot are all too familiar with their written “Russian Accent” and have noticed that many torrent-ed movies have Russian subtitles. Now, some people have noticed this and come to the conclusion that Russians are inherently dishonest or thieves, but this is not really the case.

For starters, an incredible amount of Westerners use torrent sites — even middle class Westerners — so it’s a little bit hypocritical to brand Russians as thieves. However, more to the point, many common Russian folk feel compelled to do these things because they are desperately poor, and simply cannot afford the content otherwise. In many cases it may not even be available for legitimate purchase within their country, so they have to resort to piracy in order to get past government censorship. Russians aren’t generally a bunch of horrible cyber thieves; well, at least not any more-so than most other modern countries and people. Also, while Russians aren’t more dishonest, necessarily, they are better educated than many countries when it comes to IT.

1. The Russian People Usually Know Full Well When They Are Being Fed Propaganda

A lot of folks think that the Russian people are easily fooled, and that Ol’ Putin completely has the wool over their eyes. They believe that Putin’s propaganda machine has managed to get people under his spell, and that they are basically putty in his hands. However, the situation — and the Russian people by extension — are a lot more complex and complicated than that. The Russian people are well aware of the concept of propaganda, and have a word called “Pravda” (which some of you may be familiar with) due to the ironically named Soviet Propaganda paper of the same name.

Now for those who aren’t aware, Pravda means “truth,” but it can also mean a lot more (or less) than that. Some know that Pravda was used sarcastically as a phrase to subtly disagree with Soviet propaganda, but most Westerners don’t know how long this phrase has been in use, or how many things it can mean (and it can mean dozens of things). After all, Russians may not have as many words as some languages, so they often use the same word to mean many things.

Pravda can mean actual truth, but it can also mean that you know you aren’t being told the truth, and are very slightly sarcastically saying “Oh yes, of course I believe that,” when you both know it’s a lie. And this is the funny thing about the Russian propaganda machine: It often knows it isn’t really fooling anyone, and the people often know they aren’t being fooled, but everyone pretends the propaganda is working anyway in order to avoid any kind of confrontation with the government.


An Independent Russian Investigation

from WIF

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 106

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 106

 …All the regulars: the mailman, clients, Jimmy from Western Union, etc… come to the front door. Nobody uses the rear…

All the Regulars

Molly’s tail wags enthusiastically at the sight and familiar smells of Fanny Renwick. Dogs cannot tell time, but they do get happier the longer they are apart from their owners and two months in the care of a neighbor most certainly qualifies.

It turns out that she had not been so friendly the day before, when someone was nosing around the fringes of the Constance Caraway Private Investigation building. While out doing her business in the back yard, she startles someone who has left a package on their back porch. All the regulars: the mailman, clients and Jimmy from Western Union come to the front door. Nobody uses the rear.

Molly-001… As the story goes, the guy takes off running, losing some papers & money in the process. Molly’s range stops where the alley and Calhoun Street meet, so she turns tail back to the house, whereupon grabbing this guy’s lunch bag—or so she thought. When the woman’s’ best friend brings the bag to Betty, the alert neighbor notices a ticking sound and lunches do not make sounds, so she takes it back to the back and tosses it in the direction of Image result for bomb gifthe garbage cans… in a flash and bang, there are no more garbage cans, replaced by a 10 foot circular crater, three feet deep…

“Sheriff Odz told me that it was a good sized bomb and if it was left at your back door—that somebody probably wants to send you a message.”

“Oh swell! So now “they” know where we live?” Fanny is disgusted.

“Who are they Fanny?”

“They are some bad folks connected to that case Connie is still working on up North. But now they are hitting too close to home Betty,” she doesn’t go into great detail with the shell-shocked neighbor. “Where is that money you were telling me about?”

“Well it looks like money, but I can’t read a word on it, what is a L-I-R-A?”

“It’s Italian for trouble,” Fanny cautions. “I have to let Connie know what’s going on.”

The two friends are working at more than arm’s length for a change, in order to cover more ground.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 94

The NULL Solution = Episode 141

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The NULL Solution = Episode 141

…You can’t please everyone all the time, but when you can satisfy the majority, it is a start…

Back in his King Ranch upbringing, Deke was used to foreign languages, before elementary Spanish became part of his south Texas way of life.

“Lo que es para el almuerzo.” “Senorita Francine la carne de cerdo y frijoles.”

Poor Deke and his brother thought the men were probably talking trash about their stepmom, but that was all. “What’s for lunch” and sounds like “the Alamo freed people from holes”, even though they “love Francine’s gourmet pork & bean creation”.

The Gifted preferred method of communication is between minds. Do the Null have a clue as to what is going on? That does nothing for the no-small matter of trust.

 #The Null have beautiful children# Thoughts do not audibly register, so the Null are unable to hear that some Gifted female thinks their child is beautiful, which is an unfortunate consequence.

The melodious Olde Language makes a rousing comeback, which is good, but it then leaves the Earthlings in the dark. You can’t please everyone all the time, but when you can satisfy the majority, it is a start.

The matter of Joyner McKinney is another story. The Gifted and Null share a genetic heritage, that some have traced back to the early days on their original homeworld. Celebrating that commonality can be used as glue for reluctant participants in global change. But to be mixed with the lowly humans, who are still relatively new to the Eridanian way and regrettably primitive {especially the one called Sammy Mac}, is a real hindrance to his acceptance. What good can such child do for the greater good? What manner of disease will be introduced among them?

John Q Eridanus is afraid that Joyner’s humanness will turn them all into savages, a marked step back for a superior race that has discarded wars and deplores aggression.

Similarly, Cerella’s status has been diminished. She has embraced the frivolous notion of love, a previously unnecessary emotional bond. That one even needs to express her feelings is foreign. Can she be trusted in a position of leadership without favoring her mate’s family?


The NULL Solution =

Episode 141


page 139

The NULL Solution = Episode 112

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The NULL Solution = Episode 112

…Celeste is convinced that her husband is not the master of malapropisms; he just doesn’t give a hoot…

After an adjustment period, Cerella readapts to and her son is introduced to a world without livestock, barbeques and droughts.

In the short time it takes to make a TSF roundtrip, Eridanus’ security status has changed. The bigger news arrives from the Triangulum Galaxy via Chasonn; Collapsar Axis has passed by and it is headed to Epsilon Eridani’s system, in the middle of Orion’s Belt.

Letter writer to the Earthlings, Celeste McKinney and former Null, Skaldic have been holding down the fort, the latter becoming fixated not by his Giftedness or the looming gargantuan, but rather the riddle that continues to stump everyone and everything.

“Chasonn seems to think we are in danger, Sam. Take a look at the images of that Ÿ€Ð dreadnought…, inside and out it looks like trouble.”

“It’s also moving like a slug, Cel, for crying out loud! Don’t we have our hands full with little Joyner or even O?”

“I believe I am close to solving the riddle,” Skaldic interjects.

“See? Even Skaldy isn’t concerned about that planet on wheels.”

“What is it about the unattainable that is so attractive to you men?”

“Cerella has told Deke that NASA has given O a name – Lorgan – is what they call it. That means they know it may be connected to that riddle. Don’t you think Gussy and Roy are hard at work on solving it? Maybe it’s not the Selljunk’s business. ”

“I give up.” He cannot keep alien names straight.

“Don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye out for that Collapsed Axle.

Collapsar Axis and those friends of ours are not the Sell Junk!” Celeste is convinced that her husband is not the master of malapropisms; he just doesn’t give a hoot. “I thought you liked Chasonn?”

“He’s okay… a little jumpy, but okay.” Sam yields.

“Then you better respect his judgement. When he says jump, you better.” Celeste is solemn in projecting her resolve. “And you will leave Deke alone for a cycle? He needs time with his family.”

“I hear you Cel. I’ll keep an eye on that intrusive slug and Skaldy will work on the “Harmonica Query”.  Harmonica-Harmonia, what’s the big diff? “And yes, if you can keep him tethered in Cerella’s tower, Deker can get to know that little firecracker of his… Joyner sure seems to have the McKinney smarts.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 112


page 111

The NULL Solution = Episode 105

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The NULL Solution = Episode 105

…Fearmongering is a persuasive instrument in the hands of a master, history is littered with them…

— How does one feel, after being scramble and reassembled? For all Chasonn knows he may be the first, non-convicted societal menace, to tell the tale. Everything seems to be in the right place, for the intruder that he is.

Nothing about this refuge has the feel of an actual vehicle. It is more like a grotto without end. Each nook has a purpose while every cranny is filled with the essence of Ÿ€Ð. Judging by the concentration of hooded individuals, he may have gotten lucky. They all seem to be headed in the same direction. He may be on the correct level.

If his calculations are correct, Collapsar will reach Seljuk space soon. He must be prudent with his movements. The bevy of hoods has reached a gathering point, leading to a large auditorium with an ornate pedestal at the head. Chasonn bows with the rest of his brethren. Something big is about to happen.

Unsure of the governing structure hereabout, he sees a figure takes to the pedestal, like Image result for yoda gifhe belongs there.  Župzïð the Last brings order out of chaos. He speaks in a broken/choppy fashion, of which would make Yoda proud, “Next target. The Seljuk familiar.  Capable to destroy fleet at Terran system.  Atmosphere-degrading weapon perhaps use.” The grand poohbah concludes, “Verification team assemble. Responsible maybe, we destroy.”

The Ÿ€Ð language he uses only hits the high spots and is meant to be universally understood by his diverse audience. Adjectives and adverbs are scarce. Translating earbuds are scattered about the immediate area and Chasonn is one of the many who require such interpretation. To his mind, that is an indication that Collapsar is becoming, or intended as, a real mobile melting pot. It is increasingly apparent that this cosmic plodder is picking up stragglers along the way, jumping onboard, buying whatever Župzïð is selling.

O creator menace galaxies.”

Fearmongering is a persuasive instrument in the hands of a master. History is littered with them; from any given parsec, at any given time, you come across them. Collapsar Axis is brimming with peoples who are collectively skeptical.

⃝    is the common denominator. ⃝    is not just a Seljuk concern. ⃝    has had a lasting effect on the Great Expanse; up-to-down and side-to-side. Župzïð is convincing a growing audience, that if you can find out who is behind ⃝   , the collective will be better off.

To his dismay {and Chasonn’s delight}, Seljuk is found “not guilty” of any association. But neither do they choose to join the hallowed cause. Collapsar is not everyone’s’ cup of tea.

Chasonn gets back to his transport location.  His mission was not a wasted one. He now knows the wherefore of Collapsar Axis. The added bonus is in the form of the particle transporter. Necessity is the mother of invention.

So ends “The Curious Case of Collapsar’s Cause”.

Stay tuned for further developments.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 105


page 106

The NULL Solution = Episode 80

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The NULL Solution = Episode 80

…The baby name-game goes on…

“Have you decided to name your boy?” asks Doctor Picard of his improbable patient.

“Name?”

Yes. You – Cerella, you – Jean-Luc, me and your prodigy is ____ who? You fill in the blank. He needs a name, because I have to know what to yell at him when he’s hogging my computer! He cannot speak yet, but he can perform a Craniotomy.”

“Yes, a name.” She understands. Joineroftwoworlds

“Pardon moi?”

“It is olde Eridanian for “Joiner of Two Worlds”

“Tré longue,” he realizes that he slipping into a language barrier, “it sounds lovely but very long, too long as a matter of fact. How about Joyner with a y instead of an i?”

Spelling is inconsequential on Eridanus.

“Joyner with a why?”

“Not why – the letter Y.”

The baby name-game goes on. But who’s name is it anyway?

“We can call him Joyner for now. Suisse, dear Suisse will be his birthplace on his certificate, how about it?”

Sacre Bleu by ACM00 on DeviantArt

Cerella gazes out the window at the snowcapped mountains of the Alps. Natural beauty is universal. Dr. Picard joins her, pointing out the peak where he skies. As they turn around, he sees what he believes to be a ghost.

Sacré bleu! He is in need of a strong cognac or a good long nap.

It takes but a brief second for Cerella to recognize the visage of a friend, Celeste McKinney.”

“Do you know ghosts? Ghosts don’t exist, only at the cinema!”

This is a friendly ghost, one that lovingly strokes the head of her new grandchild. Because of their proximity, Celeste is able to telepathically communicate with the missing Princess. Many questions and answers are exchanged by the two women.

Joyner.”

“Joyner, I like that.”

Celeste came for a peek at what was going-on on Earth, with no idea about what she would find. She can return to Eridanus with a song in her heart.

Cerella seeks a way home, but remains on Earth, comforted by a familial face.

As suddenly as Celeste appeared, so does she depart.

Jean-Luc opens a drawer to his desk, and pulls out a bottle of André Petit X.O he was saving for a special occasion. It was part of his great-grandfather Picard’s estate, left to him before he reached drinking age {7 yrs. old in France}.

He pours it into a Baccarat crystal snifter and leans back in his high-backed chair and sighs, “Just another day in the life of a baby-delivering ghost-hunting cognac-drinking brain-surgeon.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 80


page 82

Boring to Better – WIF Word Alternatives

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28 Boring Word

Alternatives

– Improve Your Writing

Designed and written by my friend Jack Milgram @ custom-writing.org

Have you ever been in a situation like this?

You’re having a conversation with your friend or colleague. Once it’s over and a couple of minutes pass, thoughts appear in your head. You start thinking something like: “I should’ve said that differently. Using other words would be better.”

And it doesn’t even matter, whether the conversation was friendly, or if it was an argument of some sort. It can happen even after a small talk.

Well, today it’s all about to change.

At Custom-Writing, we care about how you present yourself even in the shortest talk. We also don’t want you to be doubting your conversation skills.

That’s why we’ve gathered 28 the most common words that are just too boring to use. And we’ve selected some alternatives you can use instead.

Those word alternatives will make your speech way more varied and exciting.

It’s going to be equally helpful both for spoken and for written conversations.

You can find all of this goodness in an infographic below.

We’re not saying that you should get rid of those annoying words altogether. But changing things up a little bit will make a big difference.

And again, you won’t ever have to worry about whether or not you’ve made a good impression in that last conversation.

It surely might take some time to get used to. And that’s fine. After all, we’ve been using the same common words each and day over and over again.

However, English has much more to offer. And we all know it well. It’s just become a habit to use the most common words, as it doesn’t require additional thinking. But if the language allows you to express your thoughts in so many different ways, why would you miss this opportunity?

All you need is just a little bit of attention and patience. After some time, you won’t even notice that you’ve upgraded your active vocabulary.

Are you ready for this? Let’s go!


Boring to Better –

WIF Word Alternatives