Misperception and Reality

Fred Eidlin

Fred Eidlin is a Professor of Political Science. He was on the faculty of the University of Guelph (Canada) for 38 years, and currently lectures at Charles University and the University of Life Sciences in Prague, and at several universities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Latvia. He is interested in foundational problems of the social sciences, especially where inquiry runs into difficulties, and in political developments in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. DESCRIPTION: Many mistakes result from faulty assumptions and faulty perception. Such mistakes can sometimes be avoided by paying more attention to what is taken for granted. This is true, not only for ordinary people in their everyday lives, but also for governmental decision making, and even the advanced natural sciences. I have always been fascinated by such mistakes, and dogmatic adherence to flawed beliefs, even at the heights of government and in the advanced natural sciences. The study of Russia and other post-Soviet republics is fraught with misperception and flawed assumptions.

New entries

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September 25, 2016

The Wikipedia article on Putin is quite balanced, and gives a brief summary of his career. It should help you understand what kind of leader Putin is. Whether or not Putin can reasonably be called a “dictator” is a more difficult…

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September 25, 2016

Russia dearly wants good relations with Europe and does not want the EU to collapse. Some members of the European Union regard Russia as an enemy, most notably, Poland the the Baltic states. Others don’t regard Russia as an enemy. Attitudes…

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April 30, 2016

http://www.rferl.org/content/brezhnevs-children/24765431.html Russia is not the Soviet union.  The regime in Russia has little in common with the Soviet regime. To imply that the process of reforming Russia represents a continuation of attempts…

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April 30, 2016

My Russian friends used to annoy me when they insisted I could not understand Russia if I knew only Moscow and St. Petersburg.  So I began to visit other Russian cities and surrounding countryside--Perm, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Izhevsk…

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April 22, 2016

The Russian Oligarchs are more comparable to the Robber Barons in late 19th Century America. Despite the similarities, however, there are important differences. The most important similarity is that both resulted from institutional and legal vacuums…

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April 13, 2016

It would be irresponsible if those who make public policy did not pay serious attention to expert knowledge.  If experts advise that a proposed policy will fail, it would be irresponsible for policy makers to ignore their advice.  Advocating…

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April 4, 2016

"European values" is a widely-used expression.  Everyone is assumed to know what it means. But what are "European values?" Are they unique to Europe? If so, what is it that makes them special?  Are European values superior to those of other…

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March 10, 2016

Rereading my 1984 article “Misperception, Ambivalence, and Indecision in Soviet Policy-making,” for the first time in many years, most of the analysis strikes me as just as valid today as it was in 1984 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers…

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February 16, 2016

In totalitarian countries . . The government tortures, kills and suppresses unions and the press. Whereas in authoritarian countries . . These functions are left to the private sector. Jules Feiffer cartoon on statement by former U.S…

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January 25, 2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/13/opinion/what-the-west-gets-wrong-about-russia.html   According to Gleb Pavlovsky, the Kremlin is "still enigmatic, but no longer strategic." Kremlin policy is now "fashioned rather like the music of a jazz…

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January 11, 2016

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/germany-concerned-about-aggressive-nato-stance-on-ukraine-a-1022193.html#sp.goto.blogcomment=8148   The huge gaps between General Breedlove's allegations and the facts provided by the German…

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December 6, 2015

Disagreement about success and failure, and about learning and not learning from mistakes, far from being peculiar to debates about socialism, is endemic to all kinds of political debates. Debates about socialism have, however, been much complicated…

Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
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