Tuesday, November 14, 2023

20,000th Window on Eurasia in New Series

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 11 – This week I will be posting my 20,000 Window in the new series I began in 2011. Together with the Windows sent out earlier by fax and email between 2004 and 2011, I have now posted approximately 25,000 in all of these brief essays, far more than I ever expected to.

            This project has evolved over time, especially over the last four and a half years since I passed the 10,000th landmark, and I’d like to take this opportunity not only to thank all of you who have contributed by your comments but also to mention three changes which have played a major role in my production of Windows.

            First, there have been the changes in the Russian Federation and its neighbors as such. None of them is where it was only a short time ago, and the challenge of covering them has changed as well. Many of those who were writing commentaries have fled repression at home, and those who remain have not produced the same volume of this kind of writing as before.

            As a result, Windows, which I began to call attention to some of the most interesting thinking of those living in these countries, has changed, with fewer Windows now devoted to commentaries and more to specific developments and with ever more of them shorter than was the case earlier.

            Second, reflecting political and technological changes, ever more of the online materials being produced in these countries is not text but rather video. That makes it far harder to keep up. Not only are oral discussions often less focused than text ones, but one can read far faster than one can listen – and that puts additional burdens on anyone who tries to report on these clips.

            At the same time, commentaries and news reports from the former Soviet space, like those from elsewhere, increasingly follow what often seems to be a herd principle driven by the desire to attract notice via likes or reaction by sometimes hyperbolic writing. And consequently, it is increasingly the case that the range of reporting is less as more items focus on a single topic.

            Moreover, Windows on Eurasia has been subject to more denial of service attacks in the last few years than ever more; and the author of them has been subject to ever more attacks from Moscow. But I take such attacks as an indication that I must be doing something right and hope to continue to do so.

            And third, I am older and sicker than I was; and I am slowly down. Not only will I reach 75 in two months, but I continue to live with leukemia and have just had radiation treatment for a second kind of cancer. Many days I lack the energy to produce anything like the volume I did earlier, and I assume that trend will continue.

            Nonetheless, I continue to enjoy doing Windows and will do so as long as I can and remain heartened and extremely grateful for all your reactions and especially for those from readers who take the time point me in directions and to sources I would otherwise miss. Many, many thanks.

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