Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 25, 2016

Putin Tutors Euklidean Geometry - Pundits Say "All Greek To Me"

Go read the previous post first, then add this for a bit of additional entertainment.

A Russian TV event (vid) covered a nation wide geographic competition for schools children. This is somewhat comparable to the national spelling bee contest in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The guest star at the event was the Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was on stage with a nine year old participant who gave his specialties as "borders, neighboring countries and capitals." Putin asked the candidate "Where do Russia's borders end". The answer was "In the Bering Strait at the border with the U.S." Putin replied: "Russia's border does not end anywhere."

(When the audience then laughed and Putin sensed that it did not immediately get the real meaning of what he said he added: "That was a joke.")

But it was no joke. It was serious science. A whole lot of pundits, "western" reporters and anti-Putin haters now claim that Putin somehow did wrong, showed lust for new, unlimited Russian expansion or announced the fourth World War for the coming new Russian Empire.

See for example the BBC, Newsweek, Daily Mail, Express and many others who felt the urgent need to comment on a Russian quiz for kids. From the Newsweek piece:

A Kremlin spokesperson was not immediately available to explain if the joke referred to Russia’s military efforts to redraw the borders of Moldova, Georgia and most recently Ukraine, or if the president had a different, more figurative meaning in mind.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Finland, whose country has experienced firsthand Russia’s willingness to alter its borders, tweeted a photo of a ruined country log cabin with the ironic caption ‘Russia’s borders end nowhere.’


The basic definition of a border is:

A part that forms the outer edge of something.

A country, any country, is defined by a limited area (or areas) with an area characterized by an outer edge and a circumferential line known as "a border". Does the circumferential line of, ideally, a circle have a limit? Does it have a beginning or an end? This is exactly what Putin asked the kid.

Putin asked a pupil: "Where do Russia's borders end?" The answer "nowhere" is the (only) mathematically and geographically correct one. The geographic area characterized by a border is limited. The circumferential (border) line is, by mathematical definition, not "limited" in the sense that it has no beginning and no end (it has a length though).

This is basic math which Putin sympathetically lectured to a child in a scientific school competition on public TV. It probably was too much for a tired  evening audience. That is not an excuse for professional writers (not) doing their day job. I am sure that, over time, the kid will get it. The "News" journalists though ...

Indeed one can bet on the low level of "western" scientific education, especially of political pundits and news writers, to make an "imperial intent" mountain out of any scientifically correct description of a flyspeck. It is a new subcategory of "fake news" that they expose. It has its roots in basic stupidity.

Posted by b on November 25, 2016 at 13:59 UTC | Permalink


The big barrier called Putin

Posted by: nmb | Nov 25 2016 14:06 utc | 1

It is a new subcategory of "fake news" that they expose. It has its roots in basic stupidity.

I would argue that it has its roots in an uncomfortable blend of penis envy and wishful thinking. US-NATO have finally realised that Putin's got 'em Euchred.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 25 2016 14:43 utc | 2

Putin asked the candidate "Where do Russia's borders end".

If so, Putin is responsible for the misunderstanding.

He should have asked: "Where does Russia's border end".

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 25 2016 14:50 utc | 3

@3 Putin was speaking Russian.

Posted by: John | Nov 25 2016 15:04 utc | 4

As someone who occasionally tries to "educate" neocons, I know very well the dangers of speaking with idiots. Putin tossed a joke to hardworking people who do not have time for nuance. The failure belonged to Putin and no one else.

Posted by: Bardi | Nov 25 2016 15:40 utc | 5

Where do the US' borders end?

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 25 2016 16:03 utc | 6

That's it now the evil Putin is picking on children. I guess he's bored after running Amerika elections and stealing hillabillies emails;)

Posted by: jo6pac | Nov 25 2016 16:10 utc | 7

Assange... alive and kicking
(the "Yemen files")
Clinton foundation
(direct link to the Y files on WL)

Posted by: Mina | Nov 25 2016 16:23 utc | 8

@John #4
So, what do you mean?

b wrote: Putin asked the candidate "Where do Russia's borders end".
And b wrote: Putin asked a pupil: "Where do Russia's borders end?"

Do you mean that b should have used Russian?

(PS not understanding the difference between border (what Putin said) and borders (what MSM and b say) is rather stupid)

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 25 2016 16:26 utc | 9

The masters of propaganda know that it starts with language nuance.

And the proles of empire jumped on this like stink on shit as they are paid to do.

@ JohnH who asked: "Where do the US' borders end?"

Good one!! Isn't it that the sun never sets on empire.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 25 2016 16:34 utc | 10

lets get caught up on a technicality... no, wait! lets start ww3 over it!!

it's all putins fault... i think that is the memo i am supposed to get this morning... they keep on sending it out and dam if i am too stupid to get it still!

Posted by: james | Nov 25 2016 16:43 utc | 11

@From The Hague @3

Splitting hairs, are we? Is there an "extra" Russian border around the Kuril Islands or is there only one border that goes around a continues Russia? About every country in this world has some weird border issues and discontinuities.

What you are trying to do is to divert the discussion. Try that again and you will be banned.

Posted by: b | Nov 25 2016 17:15 utc | 12

FTH@9. If you must be pedantic, Russia has borders in the plural: Kaliningrad, anybody?

Posted by: Mr Toad | Nov 25 2016 17:20 utc | 13

This post is probably the worst I've ever seen at MoA. It is so uncharacteristically brain-ded it makes me worry about how bad b's late infection really was. Meningitis?

First of all, equating a border to a circumference is nonsense, and trying to dress that all up like a geometry lesson is ponderous vanity masking a deep misunderstanding of geometry.

A circumference is a distance. Specifically, it is the distance around a circle. A border is not a distance or a measure of anything. In the geopolitical sense it is the recognized boundary or geographical extent of a country's jurisdiction and territory.

One can, of course, measure the length of a border, just as one can measure or calculate a circumference. And they both bound an area that can be measured or calculated. Other than that they have nothing relevant in common. I have never heard of a country's border equated with a "circumference," obviously because there are no circular countries.

More specifically, in the context Putin was employing, it is often said that one country's border ends where another country's border begins, just like my property border ends where my neighbor's begins. Everybody w/ half a brain knows exactly what the reference to borders ending means.

For a state leader to claim that the border of his country never ends is to make a veiled assertion of his imperialism. One would have to be ineptly naive not to see that. In Putin's soft head the joke was probably meant to be: "Of course Ru has no imperialistic designs or intentions -- I'm being funny to even suggest such a thing."

It was once proudly claimed by vain Brits that the sun never sets on the British Empire, which sounds to me a lot like saying its borders never end. If Obama had been stupid enough to claim, even in jest, that US borders have no end, people here at MoA, including b, would have pooped their panties and attacked Obama for his overt imperialism.

Posted by: Denis | Nov 25 2016 17:21 utc | 14

Speaking of borders I believe we have just witnessed the battle of the letter 'S.' As in United State and United States. I believe States won?

Posted by: ALberto | Nov 25 2016 17:30 utc | 15

@b #12: "(...)or is there only one border that goes around a continues Russia?"

Yes b, now you understand...

And look at the video in:

The translation in that video of Putin's question:

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 25 2016 17:46 utc | 16

Is there more anything meaningless then this pointless garbage of a non-story.

Where else then at MoA

Posted by: tom | Nov 25 2016 18:01 utc | 17

Here's a short video of the event provided and translated by a non-corporate source:
Putin To Annex You Next? - "Russia Has No Borders"


I literally cannot stop roflmao-ing at how good of a pun (regardless of his intention) Putin actually made.

Posted by: LXV | Nov 25 2016 18:15 utc | 18

thanks for asking, yes, in terms of insignificance, there are your posts tom ^^

Posted by: ratatat | Nov 25 2016 18:24 utc | 19

It's staggering that the news that Syrian troops attack Turkish troops that are invading Syria, which could seriously start a major war between the two countries and escalate further.... but b is more interested in ridiculous pointless Putin propaganda on a kids show.

Shocking but not surprising.

Goes to the depths of b's Putin worship, at the expense of far more serious issues.

I look forward to the hammering deserved in the comments. Oh wait it's just another layer of cultism here.

Posted by: tom | Nov 25 2016 18:45 utc | 20

b@12, your work is much appreciated. The comments reveal a lot about the commenters.

Posted by: spudski | Nov 25 2016 18:58 utc | 21

Seems clear enough to me that the Outlaw US Empire is trying to rekindle memories manufactured during its massive Anti-Communist Crusade since that Crusade's been dormant for the better part of a generation; thus the attempt to equate Russian media with Islamic Terrorism.

As for borders, all nations abutting the ocean have multiple borders related to economic zones which are based on geographical facts, Thus Russia's effort to get the Lomontov Ridge recognized as a continuation of Russia's continental shelf's extension into the Arctic Ocean since such recognition would expand its economic borders. As a teacher, I thought Putin's Socratic question quite appropriate--Russia has multiple borders, yet those borders themselves never end.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 25 2016 19:07 utc | 22

b, thanks for posting this. It's a somewhat fun aside showing the limitations of Western orthodox "thinking" that constantly looks for an 'a-ha' moment where they can pretend catch Putin doing something evil, such as making a Euclidean joke with schoolchildren.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Nov 25 2016 19:14 utc | 23

I'm new to this site.

I think this b fellow has opened a question we should pursue. It is the meaning of words vs the lack of understanding. Read the above comments and you'll readily come to the conclusion that one thing the MSN has done is to make us all into either narrow thinking people, or to make us able to twist meaning to fit our individual agenda as proto-propagandists.

Posted by: cabeza del toro | Nov 25 2016 19:42 utc | 24

Two Questions for cabeza del toro #23

1) MSN
What MSN do you mean?

2) "us all into narrow thinking people, or to make us able to twist meaning to fit our individual agenda as proto-propagandists."
In which of these groups are you (or are you in both groups?)

Posted by: Center | Nov 25 2016 19:54 utc | 25

Есть ли круг предел, границу, конец. Нет. Это просто. Оставьте нашим врожденным, перегибами перетаскиванием, ближе родня тем глубже в, политической аристократии и их послушный, коричневый обнюхивать, stenoghrapers, чтобы не увидеть что-то так просто. Я понимаю, аристократическая инбридинга создает highstrung луни, но эти хитрые комбинации крысы и обезьяны тонут в мелком конце генофонда.

Posted by: Ruben Chandler | Nov 25 2016 20:09 utc | 26

How to make sense of europe? Its going fcking nuts, twisting every statement and disinforming their populations?! Wtf is wrong with these people?

Not to mention that propornot obvious cia propaganda effort that is spreading sick disinformation and warmongering lies.

Posted by: Pw | Nov 25 2016 20:18 utc | 27

:) ... :) but post is serious...

Euclidian geometry is hardly taught in W schools anymore. But still in Russia. See for ex. here which offers an ‘easy, amusing, OP’ on this matter, with OK or interesting comments.

D. Trump supporters want to annul Common Core. (Applies to Eng and maths ‘standards’, primary ed., Federal directives, but not mandatory, see wiki.)

Yeah, it’s REALLY a thing. Common Core is loathed by large pro-Trump/ conservative / independent factions.

However, Betsy DeVos, the new DT nominee for Sec. of Ed. is pro Common Core.

See this one brief article from FoxNews that correctly summarises the main pol. issues:

Fox 23 Nov. 2016

Euclid, yes or no, or any other math. considerations by professionals are totally irrelevant, drowned out by buzz word pol discourse, as it is all about corps and money (unstated.)

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 25 2016 20:30 utc | 28

hey Noirette,

seen this?

Posted by: john | Nov 25 2016 21:05 utc | 29

Funny how simple minded trolls like Tom @19 always are: "It's staggering that the news that Syrian troops attack Turkish troops ... but b is more interested in ridiculous pointless Putin propaganda on a kids show."

Now check the very first line of my post above: "Go read the previous post first,..."
That previous post is of course about the Syrian air attack on Turkish troops.

Accusing me of writing/not writing of blahblahblah or whatever before even having started to read my stuff is so brain-dead that I wonder how such folks manage to wipe their asses.

Maybe they don't?

Posted by: b | Nov 25 2016 21:11 utc | 30

Putin was correct to make his point. The "western" media is attempting to confuse border with frontier. A frontier can be advanced as the many towns bearing the suffix "de la Frontera" as a result of Spain's Reconquista of lands occupied by Moors for, in many cases, hundreds of years, can provide proof. Frontiers can also recede over time. But a border is a border no matter its length or distance from the heartland.

Posted by: Cortes | Nov 25 2016 21:18 utc | 31

Putin got him with an old, but a goody!! And just having a bit of cryptic brain teasing fun, and all of a sudden he's an instant Genghis Khan in the western press. #FeelTheFear

Maybe more alarming is the poor display of lateral thought from some commenting in this thread. Some seem inexplicably irate at this blogpost...are you really that fucked in the head...?

Posted by: MadMax2 | Nov 25 2016 21:53 utc | 32

While we're all turning around in circles about borders versus boundaries and frontiers, whether Putin was right or not to confuse the child about Russia's borders being equivalent to the circumference of a circle and whether indeed Bernhard should be able to post anything he likes on his own blog, regardless of it being serious or relevant news (or even news at all), the post does raise some interesting issues that ought to be considered proverbial invisible elephants: issues such as, where do NATO's eastern boundaries stop or what should be the borders / boundaries of Israel and why that issue goes unmentioned or unresolved in Israel's Constitution.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 25 2016 21:58 utc | 33

Suppose in fact the Q was "Where do Russia's borders end?".

Seems a correct answer would be "At the beginning".
That would seem to satisfy variations of language translation and interpretations of singular/plural. A border is akin to perimeter.

The Q invites a respect for understanding the meaning of words, which introduces one to the difficulties of diplomacy and the risks of misunderstanding leading to disaster. E.g., "I loathe you" as Artificial-Intelligence mistranslation.

Misunderstanding may well be the ultimate source of what ails us.

Also, there is no cure for typos and real v. intended alterations.

Posted by: chu teh | Nov 25 2016 22:12 utc | 34

@30 b.. lol! in the case of tom, i would say he doesn't.. it smells from here~!

Posted by: james | Nov 25 2016 22:45 utc | 35

OK, I watched that video of Putin making his joke several times, and I am a native Russian speaker and have a degree in applied mathematics. I don't think his joke had anything to do with geometry.

Putin was joking around about Russian nationalism. That may seem inappropriate to some for a president of a country to do, but it was a joke. Obama in contrast speaks quite seriously about America being the exceptional and indispensable nation.

There are two ways in which it can be said that "Граница России негде не заканчивается." ("The border of Russia ends nowhere.") (1) Russia, like a bear, tends to take up a lot of space, without giving it much thought. (2) Russia is a world civilization. Therefore, it spans the globe with its ideas and what it represents.

A final note. To both an American and to a Russian conservative, what Putin did was a good thing. He was instilling patriotism in a child.

Demian is now known as Adalbrand

Posted by: Adalbrand | Nov 25 2016 23:33 utc | 36

Definition of circumference from

The distance around a circle is called the circumference, and although circumference is often used when talking about round things, it can mean a boundary of any shape that completely surrounds something.

As usual, b is correct and his Trufer-ish critics are in over their edu-phobic heads.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 26 2016 0:27 utc | 37

B you will be accused as apologist of Putin geometry, an news branch of mathematics after Euclidean, Riemann geometry and Lobatchevski geometry.
Western mathematicians now are having western and only legitimate western mathematics such as 2+2 = PUtin;

Surrealism and Ionesco Theaterof Absurd;

Oh. Congratulations for MOA for making the Joe McCarthy list of 2016 I am jealous.

Posted by: Kalen | Nov 26 2016 0:29 utc | 38

Sorry, the boy Putin was talking to looks about eight or nine, so I am not sure that the boy would understand b's explanation of why a boundary has no limits. There is a reason they teach geometry in tenth grade instead of fourth grade. It would be impolite for Putin to make a joke above the boy's head, so I don't think that Putin was making a point about geometry.

Also, I looked at the comments at the Youtube link b gave, and although there is discussion of the argument that b makes, most Russian language posters there take the joke as I do, as being about Russian nationalism.

Posted by: Adalbrand | Nov 26 2016 0:45 utc | 39

In case you still don't get it:

Where does Russia end? At the border.

Where does the border end? It doesn't, it's a continuous line that goes round & round.

Where does Russia's border end? was grammatically incorrect. It ought to have been Where is Russia's border?

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 26 2016 0:51 utc | 40


Glad you're feeling better, and as a math teacher who can't get his US students to correctly solve x=3-3×6+2, thanks for the laugh, but I hold with those who believe Putin was referring to old Soviet Communist-era expansionism, as a joke, not as an exercise in topology. You would have to have lived in the Soviet Union to get the joke, like Xi if asked how many Chinese intelkigentsiacdoes it take to change a lightbulb, might joke, "None, they've all been sent to the communes." You know, where there is no electricity. And they're all dead. Ha, ha.

Posted by: chipnik | Nov 26 2016 0:59 utc | 41

@Penelope #40:

Where does Russia's border end? was grammatically incorrect. It ought to have been Where is Russia's border?

Putin's question was, "А где заканчивается граница России?" ("So where does the border of Russia end?") That sounds like grammatically correct Russian to me. It may be not a natural way to express that idea in English, but it is in Russian.

Posted by: Adalbrand | Nov 26 2016 1:07 utc | 42

One lesson I have learned over years of posting to big list serves and on my blog is 'never tell a joke unless you are ready to take some heat', and especially a sophisticated joke that requires some intellect to parse it. There is ALWAYS some yahoo who will miss the point and take offense. Putin is so articulate and clear in his analysis that I have no doubt he is often out of sync with ordinary expectations.

Posted by: Judith | Nov 26 2016 1:22 utc | 43


Speaking of mathematics, it's virtually a mathematical certainty that Trump will facilitate a huge wave of 'legal' H1B immigration from India to offset the collapse of a society that controls MicroSoft et al, which means the collapse of the US STEM education effort, which Trump appears ready to privatize anyway by outsourcing moar curriculum development from the US to India through Pearson Education, as it already is, using (India)n programmers, and the same way most MSM news today uses (India)n stringers to write the news, which is why you will never hear about the Hindu Problem.

What is the mathematics of looting 1B (India)ns of their 24K jewelry in return for fiat government 'gold bonds' that Modi issued, then dumping that same 24K jewelry melted into bullion on the global bullion market as they did last week, in return for buying UK Sterling, while Modi has destroyed the currency, the economy and now plans an income tax on the middle class, a group who works for US software, media and call center firms? Is this Soros' revenge on Trump?

What's going on? Is Modi a double agent of the Queen and Globalist Royal breakout artists are pulling off the largest bunko scheme in human history? Where did Modi the globalist privateer come from, the same ranks as Trump, the bunko privateer? How will the US absorb the millions of expatriating (India)ns who have been the chief outsource sinkhole for all of America's new high-tech jobs? Won't there be a huge White backlash, ...or is that what Trump's 'The Wall' really all about, metastasizing Homeland Security with unlimited IDIQNB Czar powers, and pointing everyone towards the Mexicans and Muslims instead?

Is America next to be broken-out? They have already completed the unredeemable debt final phase, and pumped the US$ and US markets to all-time highs. Will they 'pull it' and will we start to see 'redemptions limited to $500 a day' at the banks again, like in 2008? Remember, the Globalist Mafia have the nano-computers and distributed data mining dashboard redux, in real time. They know better than any humans have ever known before what the near financial future holds, and they want to be in on the front-end of that, not to correct it, not to prevent it, but to profit off it. Think of Soros and the UK pound, ...on steroids.

Your mathematical model for the financial world today is disequilibrium decoupling of relic gravitons in a Hausdorff Space topology, or fewer words, a Braniff 542.

Posted by: TheRealDonald | Nov 26 2016 1:55 utc | 44

To 'b' at 30.

Touche! And even if "they" do somehow manage, it's what they're inclined to do with it afterwards that causes 'em real problems.


Posted by: H | Nov 26 2016 3:13 utc | 45

I would guess that Putin was repeating a joke/riddle that was sprung on him when he was a student. It's the sort of brain-twister he might remember being "fooled" by ... Yes, a boundary, like a circle, does not end because it is continuous. Similarly, there are an infinite number of "points" in any line. I remember being stumped in algebra in 7th grade by "x being any number that .... which end up being revealed to be be "5" on one page while "x" was any number that .... which would end up being "7" on the next page. Pretty funny in hindsight ... at the time, a stumper.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 26 2016 3:26 utc | 46


US dollar is now in a bubble that is close to popping

Posted by: meofios | Nov 26 2016 5:21 utc | 47

@ cabeza del toro | Nov 25, 2016 2:42:25 PM | 24

Great point.
And now b should be very proud of MoA being identified as a Russian propaganda machine emanating "fake" news.
And just who makes these claims? Why, it's the WAPO;
The pot calling the kettle black...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 26 2016 5:41 utc | 48

OT, from BBC news. Fidel Castro has died..

A great man..

Posted by: ben | Nov 26 2016 5:41 utc | 49

My post @ 48, for those too thick to understand; it was posted as sarcasm/irony.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 26 2016 5:43 utc | 50

ben | Nov 26, 2016 12:41:33 AM | 49

Indeed he was; rip Fidel Castro.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 26 2016 5:47 utc | 51

Vale Fidel
I was thinking when I watched him on TV yesterday that he seemed to have got much older suddenly.

Let's hope that at least some of the Cuban revolution outlives him, an immediate return to Cuba being a suburb of Miami free from all 'pesky' laws that prevented a corporation from doing whatever it wished would be a tragic end to an already heart-breaking attempt to exist unencumbered by the empire.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 26 2016 6:06 utc | 52

Putin to annex you next? - "Russia has no borders"
1min vid from translator InessaS: "Sorry I couldn't resist the title - apologies to all the very serious viewers!" (cont.)

I'll take the above interpretation.

The link the Inessa account provides to CNN's laughable effort at translation in dropdown info beneath youtube video has now... been disappeared... into the ether... along with many other works of art we must presume...

Posted by: MadMax2 | Nov 26 2016 10:53 utc | 53

Geometry Nazi comment:

Why "Euclidean geometry"? In non-euclidean two dimensional geometry, border does not have ends either. Thus this is a TOPOLOGICAL fact (meaning, more general), not a geometric one. And one can observe that surface of the Earth is quite different from a Euclidean plane, especially when we talk at such extensive territories like Russian Federation.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 26 2016 16:02 utc | 54

The media responses show that the U.S. educational system is fundamentally flawed; in other countries people get math early and often and so understand the whole business of borders of shapes.

Putin could have gone father and asked "how long is Russia's border" to get into some more modern mathematics, since that all depends on the length of the measuring stick. See How Long is Great Britain's Coastline for example.

Dumbing down the American public, that's been a deliberate program for decades now, aimed at creating a more sheep-like populace easily controlled by a few elites, as in "Brave New World."

Posted by: nonsensefactory | Nov 26 2016 17:46 utc | 55

Late thought on this trivia topic is that it may refer to some line in a popular or sentimental poem or song ... like "from sea to shining sea" ... which meant something specific before Alaska and Hawaii joined the union ... and/or may specifically reference not geometry, but the anti-Russian European desire to claim that Russian is not and has never "really" been European but something much more "eastern" (of some non-contiguous European bloodline/lineage) which I've seen mentioned ... as if the bulk of its enormous land mass being "far east" of Europe, made Russia non-European (which when i have seen this suggested, is close to a racist "othering" of Russia and Russians) ymmv.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 26 2016 23:50 utc | 56

@Susan Sunflower #56:

the anti-Russian European desire to claim that Russian is not and has never "really" been European but something much more "eastern" (of some non-contiguous European bloodline/lineage) which I've seen mentioned ... as if the bulk of its enormous land mass being "far east" of Europe, made Russia non-European (which when i have seen this suggested, is close to a racist "othering" of Russia and Russians)

Yes, it's very hard to avoid concluding that the current West European (as well as US Democratic) anti-Russian animus has a racist dimension. But the question of whether Russians are really Western/European has intrigued Russians themselves. The Florida-based Russian blogger the Saker actually expressed regret that Russians are white, which keeps them from recognizing that they are different from Europeans, according to him.

As for myself, I agree with Putin and Sergey Vlasov, when they suggest that Russia has become the last defender of European civilization. But with Trump's election, the view among Russians that Western civilization is under threat has abated, for a while at least, as can be seen from this piece by Alexander Dugin:

Donald Trump: The Swamp and Fire

Posted by: Adalbrand | Nov 27 2016 1:23 utc | 57

Sorry, I meant Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, not Sergey Vlasov.

Demian is now known an Adalbrand

Posted by: Adalbrand | Nov 27 2016 1:34 utc | 58

The simplest explanation is: Border is a closed line, it does not have a beginning or an end. Therefor a border ends nowhere, even though the area encircled by this border is limited. It ends at the border line. Putin gave the right answer to a wrong question.

Posted by: Alex | Nov 27 2016 1:40 utc | 59

@Alex #59:

Putin gave the right answer to a wrong question.

But the question and answer were about Russia's border specifically, not the borders of nations in general. Which means, to me anyway, that the context to view this in is nationalism, not topology.

Posted by: Adalbrand | Nov 27 2016 1:55 utc | 60

mmmm, yes, it was sort of -- in my mind -- perhaps something akin to Obama saying he believes in American exceptionalism... that Russia is in fact this gigantic also exceptional, also indispensible country, as in "yes, we are the 2 ton canary" ...
old joke: Where does the 2 ton canary sit? answer: Anywhere he wants to.
Which is to say that The United States says all sorts of things about cooperation but behaves like a 2 ton canary. I'm often vaguely amused by the pettiness of some of American sniping about Russia and Russia's rightful sphere-of-influence (presents and historical) while the United States trods roughshod over most of the globe with little "rightful" claim to "national interest"

The "realignment" is going to be interesting if Trump actually cuts the long frayed ties to many international bodies. The "deep state" will still exert inertial power to maintain the status quo, but Europe nations may feel emboldened to act in national interests and the EU may feel the existential necessity of accomomodating same.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 27 2016 3:13 utc | 61

CNN (Clinton News Network) didn't get the memo that war with Russia is off, because Hillary lost.

Youtube: CNN: Vladimir Putin: Russia's border 'doesn't end anywhere'

Posted by: Adalbrand | Nov 27 2016 13:16 utc | 62

If a large earthquake topples a building full of American journalists, where do you bury the survivors?

Posted by: Sordo | Nov 27 2016 20:27 utc | 63

Thanks Adalbrand @ 42 & 60. I was forgetting that the conversation occurred in Russian, hence partook of Russian grammar and social experience and that great sense of humor.

In Mexico if one asks for a piece of paper they rip a sheet in half and give you a piece. If you ask for a piece of wood, they look baffled, "You want me to cut it?" Un papel or una madera is understood to come in sheets or "pieces" since neither is presented any other way.

There must be something about modern political correctness that smothers humor. I remember the stories of jokes played upon their contemporaries by people far older than I-- and the sort still occurring in Mexican villages. Definitely not politically correct.

Although Americans are far behind their high school contemporaries in Asia & Europe in math & science, I think "Social Studies" has done us even more harm. By the 1920s the teaching of history and even geography was eradicated under "Social Studies". I remember even as a little kid thinking that there wasn't anything IN the subject. on the purpose of social studies.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 30 2016 17:47 utc | 64

@Penelope #64:

Thanks for the link. I'll look at that later. I am old enough that I was able to take a course with the now politically incorrect name "Western Civilization" my senior year in high school.

As for Putin's joke and political correctness, once when I was with a group of Germans who had all gone to Gymnasium together, one of them yelled out Deutschland! Of course, the others expressed dismay at that humorous outburst of nationalism. But it is intriguing to see the president of a country make the same kind of joke.

I imagine the English and the French could joke about their own nationalisms in the same way. But it's hard to imagine an American doing that. I can only guess that that's because the idea that America is the exceptional nation is part of the civic religion. So Americans don't joke about their own nationalism, because to them, it is a sacred subject, like Muhammad to Muslims.

Posted by: Adalbrand | Dec 1 2016 5:15 utc | 65

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