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

Christian Chiarcos christian.chiarcos at gmail.com
Thu Mar 17 17:04:54 CET 2022


Dear Diana, dear all,

Am Sa., 12. März 2022 um 15:01 Uhr schrieb Diana Santos < dianamsmpsantos at gmail.com>:


> 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?
>

Thank you for suggesting that. Indeed that is a position I am much more sympathetic with, and it has some precedents, e.g., in the policy of GitHub (https://github.blog/2022-03-02-our-response-to-the-war-in-ukraine/). Despite the public criticism that they earned ( https://www.change.org/p/github-ban-github-for-russian-developers), it is certainly true that demonizing Putin (or other military aggressors, for that matter) won't help anyone. To stop doing business with Russia may have a long-term impact and is probably an appropriate thing to do. But in any case, actively supporting either Ukraine, the Russian opposition or anti-war movements in general, and be it just by helping to disseminate, to harvest or to preserve information will have a much more direct impact than insulting people over the politics of their country.

It is in fact important to understand why Putin and his circles thought that this invasion would be both necessary and successful, and what he hoped to achieve and why, and as others have suggested before, research on fake news and bias detection in international media might actually be a sensible thing for this community to intensify in this situation. Mutual understanding (in the sense of getting a grasp on the other's perspective, interests and goals, not in the sense of sharing the same interests) is the only way to de-escalate the situation. Probably less so on our level, but on that of politicians, and here, technology may help. Decoupling won't.

In fact, decoupling is not very likely to succeed at all. Ask the Koreans. It didn't end the Iranian revolution and it didn't help topple Saddam Hussein nor Muammar Gaddafi (well, not until massively supported by foreign military). It might have had some impact on the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević, but then, that was a multi-factorial process that involved many levels of foreign interference <https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/12/11/us-advice-guided-milosevic-opposition/ba9e87e5-bdca-45dc-8aad-da6571e89448/>, as well.

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