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I don’t know how or why I ever got an invitation to come and teach in Moscow.  I was hesitant to come: after all I was teaching at two small colleges near my home, I had a large family who lived close to me, and a lot of friends.  I was comfortable right where I was.  But as one of my friends said to me, it would be a nice little adventure to go to Moscow.  And so I thought I would come, stay a few months and go home again.  I have been here for ten years now.  It was the gods of technology themselves who kept me here.

I was sent to teach at Deutsche Bank’s IT center where I found myself surrounded by genius.  The people who worked there were some of the most brilliant mathematicians, physicists and IT specialists in a country that has always been famous for producing brilliant mathematicians and scientists,  and it was sheer joy to be surrounded by them every day.  In fluent English we discussed everything and anything, from the political situation in Russia to decoherence, from lasers to trading platforms.  It was the best job I ever had.

Sometimes we would go up on the roof of the highrise at Begovaya where the offices were, and look out across the city.  Begovaya means running or racing in Russian, and this area was called Begovaya because there was a race track for trotters a few blocks away.  As I stood there, high above Moscow, I felt that I was on a sacred mountain top with the great gods of technology, watching chariots race below, looking out across the kingdom that was theirs.

I would tell them, tell them over and over again, that they were “the revolutionary” segment of the working class because they possessed in their minds and at their fingertips, the keys to the capitalist kingdom. After all, they designed trading platforms for stock markets.   They would smile at me. There were no communists or Marxists amongst them.  They dreamed instead of opening their own businesses; of designing  new exciting apps and programs.   They didn’t need me to tell they just how smart, how good, how capable they were.  DB IT came to Russia specifically because these guys were so good.  They had tried to establish IT centers in other underdeveloped parts of the world, and closed them just because the IT specialists in those countries, while cheaper to hire, were never as good as the boys (99% of the specialists were male) in Moscow.

I worked there for years and many of those gods of technology became and remain my friends.  Whenever I have any problem with my computer I turn to them and of course, they fix it.  Recently, my computer connection has been absolutely terrible.  The computer would just disconnect.  The rest of the time it was so slow.  So I asked them, and was told that the problems I was having with my computer were because the Russian government was trying to disconnect an app called Telegram Messenger, ostensibly because it was about to launch the world’s biggest initial coin offering.   However, this app is encrypted end to end; meaning that conversations cannot be spied on.  For the past several weeks the FSB has tried to shut down the messenger service because IT REFUSED TO HAND OVER ENCRYPTION KEYS.   The security services eventually got those keys, but even then, could not shut down the service because of its ability to change so quickly.

The founder of Telegram messaging service, PavelDourov,  is also the founder of VK, Russia’s own version of Facebook. He is the brother of Nikolai Dourok, one of Russia’s most famous mathematicians who has won numerous international awards.  Dourov has not stepped back from his confrontation with the FSB, but rather has pledged millions of dollars to fund tools that would allow users to sidestep new Internet restrictions imposed by the Russian government.

So it seems that the biggest battle Putin will have to engage in will not be with the U.S. in Syria, nor against his pathetically ineffectual oppositions “leader” Navalney, but rather against the gods of technology themselves, who are, as I have always told them, the revolutionary element of society.

NEWS ALERT: PUTIN’S LATEST GREATEST CHALLENGE: CAN HE HANDLE IT?????

Let’s face it, Vladimir Vladimirovich is brave, strong, intelligent.  The image he projects as he rides horseback through the Taiga is that of man’s man and yes, a woman’s man too.  He makes the ladies sigh.

But there is a new threat: one that challenges his essential image – the shirtless challenge issued by PavelDurov.    Appearing today in of all places, Russia Today, stands none other than the young tech god, PavelDurov  looking every bit like Apollo.

How will Putin respond to the man who challenges not only his authority but also his image????

And the more important question – will Donald Trump enter the competition.  Perhaps Macron or Trudeau.  Theresa May?????

Durov has shown us that there is no reason for politics to be boring.  A little bit of sex makes it so much more interesting.

Mary Metzger is a 72 year old retired teacher who has lived in Moscow for the past ten years. She studied Women’s Studies under Barbara Eherenreich and Deidre English at S.U.N.Y. Old Westerbury. She did her graduate work at New York University under Bertell Ollman where she studied Marx, Hegel and the Dialectic. She went on to teach at Kean University, Rutgers University, N.Y.U., and most recenly, at The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology where she taught the Philosophy of Science. Her particular area of interest is the dialectic of nature, and she is currently working on a history of the dialectic. She is the mother of three, the gradmother of five, and the great grandmother of 2.

 

 

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