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Aug 11, 2022
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“Mirror Response” is the surest way to lose

"Mirror Response" is the surest way to lose

Photo: Sergey Fadeichev / TASS

Ideas are in the air! Mike McFaul the former American ambassador in Moscow realized the other day: “Every citizen of Russia who receives a visa to travel to a free country must pay a tax or an additional fee. Funds received from these special taxes or fees should then be transferred to the Fund for the Reconstruction of Ukraine.

Sharp? Sensitive! Is it logical? Well, in general, yes. I remember that in May of this year, I was not for the first time indignant at the so-called mirror answers. These are often cowardice, they say, if it were not even worse than the enemy has already created. And almost always stupidity. If you don’t believe me, arrange the chess, repeat the moves after your opponent and quickly see what this tactic will lead to. If you don’t like chess, exchange “symmetrical” blows to the jaw with a big guy who is healthier than you.

The one who makes the first move chooses the best moment, figuring out in advance when, where and why. On his side, the effect of surprise and stunning. And with the “mirror” of counteraction, he is aware of what retaliatory damage can be expected, how to minimize it in advance, or set up a counter trap.

Something like this happened with the sensational renaming of streets and squares around the embassies. The conversation is not about who is right in this story, who is wrong, and even more so, which name is “better”. Just “toponymic diplomacy,” they began and garnered maximum media success when, in February 2018, a section of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington was named after Boris Nemtsov.

Again, one could simply “not notice” (sometimes it is smarter to skip a move), especially since the game is old. Do you know on which street, for example, the Russian Embassy in Ireland is located? On Orwell Road – in honor of Orwell. And what? Not to inflate a scandal about “hints” in such a place? In 1984, by the way, in Washington, opposite the USSR representative office, they also hung a sign “Sakharov Plaza”, but Soviet diplomats did not fall for it and did not emphasize the event. Alas, in the situation with “Nemtsov Square” it turned out differently.

After the obvious and loud dissatisfaction demonstrated by Moscow, the example seemed contagious for other countries, and they decided to respond to the “orgy of renaming”. “Mirror”. Yeah, probably, so that the rest would be disrespectful! The Americans were ready: “Surprised, but not offended by the proposal to rename part of the center of Moscow near the US embassy to the Defenders of Donbass Square” (this name was originally supposed). What is this trolling [украинская] the side is actually “defending the Donbass”, was gladly picked up by “non-Russian media”.

Further – more: on their official website, American diplomats “did not recognize” the new address, indicating the geographical coordinates 55.75566 ° N, 37.58028 ° E. And for the epistolary genre, “Bolshoy Devyatinsky Lane” is still listed in the American requisites, and not “Square of the Donetsk People’s Republic”. Fortunately, the mail is now mostly electronic, and they, apparently, do not expect good parcels.

It seems that the answer took place, you can put a mental tick somewhere. Only in fact there was an indistinct misunderstanding, a kind of “cargo cult”, they loaded themselves, trying to adapt someone else’s creativity. It is necessary to name the squares, and even it is obligatory! For yourself, not out of spite. By the way, sargo cult literally means “worship of the load”, the Americans were waiting for “mirror mirrors” and were not mistaken in predicting the behavior of the “natives”.

Was there an alternative, if it was so necessary to “show one’s attitude” in the toponymic confrontation? Quite. I recall my version (as “one of”, but there were better ones) by no means out of vanity. The idea was to increase the consular fee for foreigners entering Russia by some symbolic penny or cent. With a mandatory receipt, where a separate line would certainly indicate “For the restoration of Donbass.” And this is already a real-conscious action, and not emotional-ritual gloating, secondary in its essence.

Refuse to pay? Won’t go? Well, firstly, today, even without such a gathering, objectively, there are not very many people among the “unfriendly” who want to. But, secondly, there will be tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, after all, believing in the continuation is much more rational than in the apocalypse. It is more rational – because if the irreparable breaks out, it will no longer matter who offered what there, no one will remember who believed in what.

The main thing in that “consular fee” is not money at all, but the designation of the state position: you supplied weapons that destroyed the Donbass, and therefore you are paid. Yes, each side has its own truth, but this is precisely the struggle of meanings, who will fix the priority for himself, and who will be slavish. Those of my “May theses” I “thrown” to this:

“Every citizen of Russia who receives a visa to travel to a free country must pay a tax to the fund for the reconstruction of Ukraine,” Michael McFaul put forward the initiative on August 10, 2022. And the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Zakharova responded almost instantly: “How much do US citizens pay in special taxes or surcharges to rebuild Iraq? And Belgrade? Domestic media gladly picked up such a well-aimed hit to bring it to the top of Yandex.

Is it like another “mirror answer”? Have you eaten the damn foreigners again? Well, well, “walk ischo.”

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