Dear friends,

It’s time for me to give you a quick update on how things are going in our community and how we fit in the general political picture of this end of 2018.

But first, I want to sincerely thank all those who have generously contributed to the recent Fall fundraiser – I want to thank you for the donations you sent, of course, but also for the very moving and kind words of support and encouragement you have sent me (electronically or by snail mail!).  Frankly, having an English-language pro-Kremlin blog is not always easy or fun and there are moments when I feel rather discouraged and disgusted by much of what I see. In moments like that I think of those of you who have reached out and expressed appreciation and support for my efforts and that gives me the courage to flush my “mental toilet” and keep on struggling for the values I believe in.

On the down side, I have to honestly tell you that the environment in which our community operates is not getting any better.  Sadly, but it is a fact that the continuing trend during 2018 is for many (but not all!) pro-russian websites to fall into very polarized ideological stances in which real analyses (or even any form of nuance) have been replaced by crude “black and white” kind of narratives which simply don’t match the current very complex political reality.  Even worse, some sites and authors have clearly adopted techniques pioneered by the National Enquirer and are now resorting to “click-baiting”, primarily by using sensationalist headlines or by spreading unfounded rumors.

Why would they do this?

Simple: for one thing, such sites simply lack good authors capable of writing solid analyses.

Instead, they either grab articles here and there on the Internet (without asking anybody, of course) or, alternatively, they have the one or two paid “in-house” know-it-alls who are presented as “experts” on any and all topics and who are called upon to comment on anything and everything on a daily basis.  Since the kind of analyses/commentaries such “experts” produce is inevitably boring, these website eventually have to resort to either click-baiting or bashing perceived competitors (usually both!) all in the hope of getting more attention.  And, indeed, it is much harder to write good, solid, analyses or finding expert authors who will write specifically for your website (as all the guest authors at the Saker Blog are doing) than to spread silly rumors or bark-up everybody else.

I can promise you that in spite of these trends, the Saker Community blogs will continue to strive to provide original analyses and commentaries by expert authors who will write them especially for our communityIt is precisely because we regularly provide solid analyses and interesting commentaries that we have no need to attack anybody else or use click-baiting titles.  In fact, since there are no ads at all on the Saker blog there is no incentive for us to engage is such behavior to begin with. We are quite happy with the number of pages we serve every month (currently typically at around 2M-2.5M each month but with highs over 3M and lows under 2M) but if that number suddenly went up or down it would really have no impact on what we do, how we do it or, most importantly, why we do it.

Yes, we choose to remain totally dependent on spontaneous, voluntary, reader contributions because we firmly believe that this is the only way to remain financially independent and intellectually honest.

In truth, I can reveal something which has always been a priority for me: not to reach as many people as possible, but reach the right type of people: critically thinking people who truly prefer non-ideological and nuanced analyses and people who place moral, spiritual, or ethical values over political expediency or a “right or wrong – my country” kind of mindset.  In other words, the Saker blogs are written for the conceptual opposite to what I call the “ideological drones“.

In the meantime, the situation in Russia is not getting any simpler: externally the threats against Russia are multiplying while internally the Atlantic Integrationists are still in firm control of the key financial and economic ministerial portfolios.  This reality provides the two ideologically polarized camps an ideal background to engage in their typical behavior of either mindless cheerleading or doom-and-gloom kind of defeatism.  Both of these stances are equally wrong and both represent a very real risk for Russia and Putin, especially if they are not challenged and debunked.

Likewise, in the USA a lot of observers have fallen into the “I hate Trump” vs “I support Trump” conceptual trap in which the name of the puppet in the White House appears to be far more important than the real agenda of the puppet’s puppeteers.

I have said it in the past, but I will repeat it again here: in the Saker Community we will continue to focus on values, ideas and policies, not ideologies or personalities and we will continue to do this even if so many of our (now ex-) friends and allies have been drawn into a hopelessly partisan ideological stance.

I will conclude by saying that even though we are certainly going through some difficult and high-risk times, our Community is doing really well.  Of course, I am sad that the Oceania Saker Blog has been closed down due to a lack of time of those running it (a problem common to all of us with “real jobs” and families) but I also understand that this kind of situation is inevitable.  Right now I have heard of no plans to create further Saker blogs, but I also notice that I get more and more emails from Far East Asia and I would not be surprised if in the not too distant future another Saker Blog popped up somewhere :-)

Make sure to drop by and check out the two websites affiliated the main Saker Blog (the History of the Orthodox People website and the Saker Community website) and please let me know if you have any comments, wishes, criticisms or suggestions by either emailing me directly or posting a comment in the comment section below.

Many thanks for everything, hugs and cheers,

The Saker

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