Look, I'm from the former Soviet Union. One of the reasons Putin, an alumnus of the KGB, the agency that committed some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, came to power in 2000 and stayed is that people wanted unity rather than accountability. Chew on that.
NB: There were discussions after the fall of the Soviet Union to hold a tribunal, similar to the Nuremberg Trials, to hold members of the NKVD (as the KGB was previously known) to account for their crimes. There were also talk of lustration.
In the end, it was decided that, in the face of a massive economic crisis and a country that seemed to be splitting apart, it was better to turn the page and not pick the scabs of the country's historical trauma, not to dwell on the things that pitted Russian against Russian.
By 2000, nine years after the fall of the USSR, a KGB man was elected president. You might know him as Vladimir Putin.

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More from @juliaioffe

12 Jan
When this is over, don't forget that neither Jared nor Ivanka stopped Trump.

Amazing, chilling reporting from @AshleyRParker @PhilipRucker @jdawsey1

“He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,” said one close Trump adviser. “If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.”
"The man who vowed to be a president of law and order failed to enforce the law or restore order. The man who has always seen himself as the protector of uniformed police sat idly by as Capitol Police officers were outnumbered, outmaneuvered, trampled on—and in one case, killed."
Read 6 tweets
8 Jan
There’s a reason this resonates for us former foreign correspondents. When I was reporting out of Moscow, we wrestled with the question of objectivity. In the end, we knew: Putin is objectively corrupt, Putin is objectively an authoritarian, Putin objectively was not good. 1/
Our editors back home in Washington and NYC agreed—and they ate it up. We wrote stories about “the man to take on Putin,” not the man in the version of the Russian diner who supported Putin. We agreed: the opposition was the good guys, the Kremlin was the bad guys. 2/
Then came Trump and it turned out that the standards we applied to writing about foreign countries had to be toned down to “racially charged” and “not supported by the facts” and both sides. 3/
Read 5 tweets
6 Jan
This is why the "calm down and let the process play out," "this is not who we are," "the institutions will save us," is so dangerous, arrogant, and stupid. It is a position born of ignorance and privilege.
It is a willful blindness to human history and human nature, a condescending belief that Americans are somehow constitutionally different—and superior to—the other 7 bln people on this planet, that our nature is one of calm deliberation, not violence—like *those* people.
It is a willful disregard for evidence screaming you in the face and therefore an inability to understand why things play out the way they do, leading to surprised and naive declarations of "this is not who we are."
Read 6 tweets
30 Dec 20
I love seeing the same people who were like “omg why do these hicks insist on going to church in the middle of a pandemic?!” now posting pictures from their tropical vacations to poor countries that don’t have the health infrastructure to take care of the resort staff they infect
It’s “I’m one of the good guys” syndrome on steroids. Loudly proclaiming your liberal values on social media or lawn signs doesn’t magically exempt you from the rules—or following public health guidelines that overwhelmed healthcare staff are begging you to follow.
It’s a simple question but it bears repeating: just who do you think you are?
Read 4 tweets
20 Dec 20
Yesterday, my beloved grandmother Emma Bruk died of #COVID19. Born in 1934, she did what most people of her generation couldn't do: she lived life on her own terms, without compromising her ideals or hopes, with an inner freedom that seems impossible for her era.
She was a cardiologist and many of her patients became her lifelong friends. Even after she retired at 77, she kept treating anyone who needed her help. She saw every concert, every exhibit, every play, followed the news, went to protests. (In 1991, she manned the barricades.)
"Moscow won't be the same without her," a friend said. And it's true. I can't imagine a city or a world without her endless energy, irrepressible optimism, her curiosity, and her lectures on Russian history, which, in her opinion, I did not understand. I can't believe she's gone.
Read 4 tweets
10 Nov 20
This is the clearest argument I’ve heard from the right: you undermined Trump’s legitimacy for 4 years, therefore we do not have to grant your guy legitimacy. 1/
But there is a big difference between the rhetoric of a party out out power, and the actions of the party in power, refusing to relinquish the power it lost in a free and fair election. 2/
The problem of Trump’s lack of legitimacy did not stem from an a priori decision of all Dems not to see him as legitimate, though such a contingent did exist. It came from winning in the EC but losing by 3m votes, and US intel community concluding Russia had tried to help him. 3/
Read 6 tweets

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