Recent writings by Russian analysts display a worrying trend of falsification and distortion and an overall degeneration of what might be called “Rusology” or the study and analysis of Russian politics, economics, society, and culture. Recent distortions go beyond a ‘mere’ misrepresentation of the facts on the ground in Russia. Rather, we see attempts by some politicized analysts to misrepresent the articles of those with whom they have disagreements. This devolution represents a larger intellectual dishonesty in current political discourse wherein reasoned, fact-based argumentation is replaced by inexact or even non-existent sourcing in one’s own work.
Thus, Russian analyst Liliya Shevtsova recently wrote the following: “Take a look at yet another “artist” producing an optimistic portrait of the Russian landscape: Gordon M. Hahn. Here is how he tells his own ‘history of Russia’ (keeping in mind that in fact that he wrote all this long after it was clear who Medvedev was and where Putin is heading). ‘Medvedev’s presidency was marked by a political thaw and significant liberalizing reforms,’ (!) Hahn writes. After the rigged elections and Putin’s return to the Kremlin, Hahn insists that Russia has experienced a ‘return to democratization and market reforms... After the elections, the new Duma began to function more democratically... The Kremlin has responded [to the protests] by expanding the space for political expression, participation and competition’” (Liliya Shevtsova, Russia XXI, Carnegie Endowmwnt for International Peace, p. 74-75).