[Corpora-List] Fw: SketchEngine CEO: No “business as usual” with Russia anymore

Diana Santos dianamsmpsantos at gmail.com
Sat Mar 12 14:45:25 CET 2022

Sorry for coming so late to this important debate, but I had to think things over for a while. I disagree strongly with Miloš Jakubíček's and Eric Atwell's statement, on almost all counts:

1) I think it is ethically wrong to blame Russians (the Russian people) if they live under a dictatorship. They are nor responsible for Putin's acts, and they are therefore being punished twice. We should try to make clear that the problem is Russian nationalism, and Putin and his generals, not Russians who happen to live and suffer there.

2) Science should be political Yes and no. Or better, for me, politics is not only nationalistic wars, politics is all we do. And to help Russian scientists (and Ucranians too, of course) is also one political move, one I suggest and strongly support. Putin wants precisely to come back to a divided world, where there is us and them. This is why he has been subsidizing and helping nationalists all over the world, but especially in Europe, and in the US. Cutting bonds with Russians is helping Putin tremendously. In my opinion, we should be making all efforts to keep communication and work with the other side. We should not engage in Putin's war, demonising the other. We should be helping our Russian colleagues in their courageous fight againts their own regime, not helping Putin in his nationalistic propaganda (that this is the West against Russia, and that the West is just like Russia).

There are many levels of politics, one is what Putin and Boris Johnson say, but should we (normal people) align with our leaders without thinking? I don't think so.

And I know I am very lucky that I live in a time and place where I won't be imprisoned for saying publicly what I mean.

3) Yes, they are against Putin, and still you want to punish them believing you are punishing Putin? You are helping Putin to punish them, that is all.

4) Here I agree with you, Milos and Eric: all (even small) actions help. The worst is not doing anything.

But my conclusion is the opposite: aren't there many other things SketchEngine could do, with the help of Russian users, to help Ucranians? Just some examples: help distribute Ucranian texts to Russian readers, help people who want to study the way Ucrania has been described in Russian in the last 100 years, even help Ucranians preserve their cultural heritage?

Now, as an afterword: I understand that we come from different "worlds", and therefore previous experience can explain different positions. I am European too, Portuguese. But from my viewpoint NATO is far from the champion of democracy, happily supporting a dictatorship in my country (until 1974), when we had probably the only ever revolution without blood, of which I am enormously proud.

Also, I still remember "the West" or in this case USA helping one of the bloodiest dictatorships in Latin America, that of Pinochet in Chile, against a democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. So I cannot wholeheartedly ever believe that America (or any other military power) is doing anything other than their powerful elite's interests.

I have no solution about what is happening now (I wish I had!), and I have total understanding and admiration for the way Ucranians are fighting. But I just believe that this kind of propaganda for a complete war is the worst thing we can do. We should be trying to avoid a bigger war. And helping Ucranians, not helping Ucranians to be killed and Ucrania to be totally destroyed.

I had hoped that people like Gandhi, Mandela and Amilcar Cabral, neither of them European but all of them read and conversant with European culture, could be heard and followed now, instead of coming back to the first world war. (Where there were no ideological differences, just power from different nations who believed they had rights over people and land.)

So, and going back to science, art and sport, can't we all agree that there is absolutely no advantage to anyone (except for those who sell weapons) that research, art and sport is regionalized, nationalized, instead of being global, universal forces?

Is there anyone that believes that we can save our planet from the climate crisis without involving every country? Or that Olympic spirit is just for when there is no war? Or that literature, cinema, sculpture and music are not to be shared across borders?

So, sorry for my long answer here, but my point is: let us make Putin and other power leaders, such as Trump, distant from their people. Let us embrace human solidarity across borders, independent of nationality. Let us try to prevent people from going to war, fighting for their leaders. Let us work to make peace with the other peoples in the world.

And thank you so much, Christian, for starting a discussion on SketchEngine's statement.

Diana Santos

Olga Kolesnikova <kolesolga at gmail.com> escreveu no dia sexta, 11/03/2022 (s) 22:46:

> A very good statement in my opinion:
> https://www.springernature.com/gp/advancing-discovery/springboard/blog/blogposts-open-research/springer-nature-condemns-russian-invasion/20191448
> On Fri, Mar 11, 2022 at 6:18 AM Vasundhara G <vasundhara131719 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Dear Christian (and colleagues),
>> Thank you for saying this. I've also been quite disappointed by people's
>> vociferous agreement with the statement. There are parts I agree with and I
>> understand and agree with the desire to condemn Russian military
>> aggression, but I also see many problems with the statement that are
>> representative of a broader and problematic conflation of the Russian state
>> with Russian people.
>> As you say, it's a two-sided sword. It strikes me as odd to tell Russians
>> it's their duty to "prevent Russia from becoming the second North Korea,
>> completely isolated from the outside world, completely cut off from any
>> type of collaboration," in an email that's about cutting off SketchEngine's
>> service to Russian and Belarusian address space.
>> It worries me when people conflate an aggressor state with its citizens
>> (however broadly defined), because this is the sort of thinking that leads
>> to folks calling for Russian students abroad to be deported
>> <https://whitehousewire.com/2022/02/27/eric-swalwell-calls-for-russian-students-to-be-kicked-out-of-american-universities-2/>,
>> and to stop collaborations with Russian academics as the SketchEngine email
>> does - "It is now not the time to make business in Russia, collaborate
>> in research and science or compete in sports. It is now not the time to
>> do corpus linguistics in Russia." There are companies cutting off
>> Russian access to the internet
>> <https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/russia-ukraine-latest-news-2022-03-04/card/internet-traffic-handler-cuts-off-some-russian-customers-UrliLc9YQodPocN0HzxX> (something
>> the UN considers a fundamental human right), Russian businesses in the
>> US are apparently being vandalized
>> <https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/russian-businesses-us-face-backlash-war-ukraine-rcna19155>
>> , Facebook is temporarily allowing Russophobic hate speech
>> <https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/10/22970705/russia-ukraine-moderation-facebook-instagram-hate-speech-violence-policy>
>> ... Some of this strikes me as being similar to anti-Asian sentiment
>> because people are frustrated about COVID-19 - the anger is misdirected and
>> we need to all be more critical about who is getting caught in the
>> crossfire.
>> As the StackOverflow post you linked says,
>> Geo-targeted restrictions on access to Stack Overflow are unlikely to
>> effectively block bad actors from using our site, and are technically
>> difficult to maintain. The most inconvenienced people wouldn't be policy
>> makers / military members - they have tools to evade IP based blocks. It
>> would be students/practitioners who'd suddenly find themselves removed from
>> one of the world’s largest most consistently high-quality reference sources.
>> Something else that put me off about the email is that I find it awfully
>> convenient for people writing emails from the comfort of their homes and
>> offices in other countries to be telling Russian people that "we all need
>> to make sacrifices now," and "if you live in Russia, you need to act," when
>> thousands of anti-war protesters in Russia are being beaten and arrested
>> in droves
>> <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/27/more-than-2000-arrested-at-anti-war-protests-in-russia> by
>> the state. In my opinion we should be doing what we can to support everyone
>> who wants to end this war, rather than cutting them off.
>> I understand people's desire to show support for Ukraine but I think this
>> can be done without falling into the trap of hatred towards or isolation of
>> Russian people who don't even want this war, and we should therefore all do
>> better.
>> Best,
>> Vasundhara
>> On Mar 11, 2022, at 12:30 PM, Christian Chiarcos <
>> christian.chiarcos at gmail.com> wrote:
>> public
>> Mx. Vasundhara Gautam (they/them <https://pronoun.is/they>)
>> Computational Linguist
>> https://vasundharagautam.com/
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> --
> Olga Kolesnikova, Ph.D. in Computer Science
> Professor at Superior School of Computer Sciences
> National Polytechnic Institute
> Mexico City, Mexico
> https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=cXgJJqAAAAAJ&hl=en
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