The Enemy Within
We’ve written before about the pro-dictatorship propaganda being churned out in the name of American conservatism by the Discovery Institute’s Russia Blog, which is run by one Yuri Mamchur, a Russian citizen, and which works closely with the Kremlin’s propaganda TV network Russia Today and its propaganda website Russia Profile. It’s not surprising to see an affinity between the intelligent-design-promoting Institute and the Putin’s Russia, of course, since as Christopher Hitchens says “the black-cowled phalanx of Russian Orthodox Christianity is back at the side of the new czar.” Putin wants to create a Holy Russian Empire, and it seems Discovery Institute wants to be a part of it. Probably, they’d enjoy a similar transformation of the United States.
Such a nexus is particularly troubling when Russia begins to expand outside its borders using military force in an effort to annex parts of independent, democratically governed secular states — as recently happened in Georgia. Therefore, we take this opportunity to review that institution’s coverage of the Georgia conflict and to remind unwary web readers of who they are and what they are about.
1. Russia Blog’s Coverage of the Georgia Conflict
Reviewing one of Russia Blog’s posts about the Georgia conflict, Charles Johnson of the powerful Little Green Footballs blog noted that it might as well have been written by the Kremlin itself. That’s an observation we’ve made more than once about Mamchur’s propaganda right here on La Russophobe, and given that Mamchur is a Russian citizen, it’s perhaps not surprising. But we thought we’d take a moment to survey Russia Blog’s coverage of the Georgia conflict in order to determine whether Johnson’s impression is justified by the entire body of evidence.
Since the war in Georgia began, Russia Blog has published nearly two dozen posts about it. As you review them, take Johnson’s challenge: Ask yourself how the post would be different if the Kremlin itself had written it.
On August 7th it began by accusing the Washington Post of being the “Tbilisi Post” because of the paper’s extensive and prescient coverage of the tension with Russia before war broke out. This is the same Washington Post that published an op-ed piece by Mikhail Gorbachev defending the Kremlin’s actions. Read this post and ask yourself: How would it have been any different if it had been written by the Kremlin? Do the same with each of the other posts we review below.
On August 8th, Mamchur said it was “not polite” for Georgia to “start a war during the Olympics.” In fact, however, it was the Ossetian rebels, backed by Russia, that started the firefight. Georgia’s president then went public asking for a ceasefire. Russia did nothing to quell the rebels, who ignored the invitation and continued the attack. Only then did Georgian troops move in. Mamchur did not report any of this, nor did he report the numerous violations of Georgian airspace by Russian warplanes in the weeks leading up to the war. Such warplanes, moreover, did not simply patrol the skies. A missile was filed into Georgia proper, and a Georgian surveillance drone was shot down.
On August 9th, two posts from Russia Blog. First, it attacked both Barack Obama and John McCain as being “wrong” on Georgia, since they didn’t take Russia’s side. Thenit said America had only “yawns and knee-jerks” in response to the Russian attack Apparently, not one single thinking person sided with Georgia. So to recap, both of our presidential candidates and most of our population are idiots because they don’t agree with Russia Blog’s Russian editor about American interests.
On August 10th, under an unsourced photograph allegedly showing Georgia firing rockets into Ossetia, Russia Blog staffer Patrick Armstrong, author of many of the pro-Russia posts on Georgia, went after Little Green Footballs, claiming Charles Johnson did not know the chronology of events in the conflict, and asserting that it was irrelevant that Russia Blog is funded by intelligent design mongers (whom the writer repudiated). The “chronology” offered by Armstrong begins with Georgia’s call for a cease fire; it fails to describe the unprovoked Ossetian aggression that motivated that call, and it fails to acknowledge that neither Russia nor Ossetia responded to the call in any manner. Just like Mamchur, Armstrong simply ignored the incursions on Georgian airspace and the fact that no country – not one in the whole world, including Russia – had recognized Ossetia as independent. As the respected Russia scholar Vladimir Socor of the Jamestown Foundation has noted, Russia is a partyto the conflicts in the breakaway regions, not a peacekeeper, and as such had no right to violate Georgia’s territorial integrity. Georgia has never launched any type of attack against Russian territory, so Russia had no more right to invade Ossetia, much less Georgia proper, than NATO had to invade Chechnya. Likewise, Armstrong ignored the breathtaking hypocrisy necessary to claim that Russia could invade Ossetia but NATO had to stay away from Chechnya.
Moreover, Russia Blog has totally ignored the fact that the Kremlin lied brazenly about the number of civilians killed in the Georgian assault on Ossetia. What was announced as 2,000 days into the attack has now turned into less than 200. Russia Blog has never called the Kremlin to task for these outrageous falsehoods.
On August 11th came thee more posts, both from DI boss Bruce Chapman himself. First he offered to “put things in perspective” and claimed his blog provided an “almost unique” take on Russia. And indeed, the only other similar voice you will find out there is the Kremlin’s own. In the rest of the post, which is basically gibberish, he tries to claim Russia Blog was reporting objectively on the conflict. One almost got the impression that someone started complaining about all that breathless propaganda. After all, DI relies on contributions from conservatives to sustain itself. Then in a second post along the same lines, Chapman claimed that there were “too many opinions and not enough facts.” He didn’t, however, acknowledge one single thing Russia Blog might have got wrong in its five prior posts. Having made this claim of objectivity, of course, it’s only fair to hold him to it.
One can pause to note the salient and obvious fact that Chapman is a passionate intelligent designer, the Big Kahuna in fact. His ability to put content directly on Russia Blog shows that the ridiculous denials of the staff, like Armstrong, regarding the non-intrusion of the malignant DI ideology (and other equally crackpot schemes) are highly questionable.
The final post on August 11th was from one John Wohlstetter “special to Russia Blog.” Wohlstetter is identified as a “senior fellow” at DI and not assigned any credentials involving Russia at all. Yet, he purports to teach us “four painful lessons” about Georgia. He calls democracy a “fetish” to be sacrificed to the god of “avoiding unnecessary wars.” In other words, as Pat Buchanan would say, who cares what happens to the people of Georgia? It’s no skin off our noses!
On August 13th, three more posts. First, Mamchur pointed to “good coverage” in the Wall Street Journal’s reporting. He failed to tell his readers how many times in the past he’s claimed that the Wall Street Journal is a clan of knee-jerk Russophobes, and hence totally unreliable. The article he cites reports on damage done by Georgians during their assault; Mamchur ignores the Journal’s other reports dealing with outrageous crimes committed by Russians. He also ignores the fact that the Kremlin’s initial reports about the conflict, which claimed that Georgian forces razed the city of Tskhinvali and killed 2,000 civilians there were later proven utterly false. Russia now says less than 200 civilians were killed and the city received only relatively minor damage.
Then a staffer touted Russia’s agreement with the Sarkozy proposal for a cease fire, claiming the agreement amounted to “precisely what Moscow said it was doing all along.” No updates, of course, when Russia blew of Georgia’s main rail line and repudiated that agreement, humiliating Sarkozy and requiring a whole new round of negotiation. Finally, another staffer argued that the problems in Gori were caused by the inhabitants, who fled the Russian invaders in “disarray” and therefore compelled Russian forces to take over the city and run it.
On August 14th, having seen the tsunami of world opinion rise against the Putin regime, Russia Blog went into overdrive, with five posts on the conflict. First it touted an op-ed in the Times of London saying Putin had won “brilliant victory” in Georgia and “checkmated” the West. Then Chapman returned to the topic of chronology, once again blaming Georgia for starting the fighting, offered a second postmourning the demise of heroic Russian soldiers fighting for justice in Ossetia, and finishing with a third blaming the U.S. for “intelligence failure.” He accuses Georgia of trying to “annex Ossetia by force,” forgetting that Ossetia is already part of Georgia and so recognized by all nations. Finally, a staffer speculates about possible Georgia plans to oust Russian forces from Ossetia and argues that Russia brilliantly frustrated them. There’s no hint in the unsourced, propagandistic diatribe that Georgia is half the size of Moscow and has less than 25,000 men under arms. The staffer speaks about Georgia as if it were Nazi Germany, an allusion many Russophiles have made.
On August 15th, two more posts. And here, at last, came the first critical words spoken by Russia Blog about Russia. Chapman (note well, not Mamchur) calls it “silly” (note well, not “outrageous” or “offensive”) for the Kremlin to have claimed that America had provoked the incident as part of the presidential campaign. And yet, there is no pointed criticism by Chapman of any specific person in Russia, much less in the Russian government, who made such a claim, and come to think of it Russia Blog manages to repeat the obviously bogus charges, further airing them. Thena staffer attempts to rationalize Russia’s violation of the Sarkozy accord by speculating (totally falsely) that Georgia had not signed the document. Even now, after three promises from “president” Medvedv and three weeks since the crisis began, Russia still has not vacated Georgian territory as it promised, and Russia Blog has not said a word about it. Objective reporting?
On August 16th, just one post. Chapman touts his appearanceon local Seattle AM radio to be interviewed about the crisis. That’s rather scraping the bottom of the barrel, isn’t it? Local AM really the best DI’s boss can do?
On August 17th, one post again, Chapman again. Now he claimed that the Washington Post has “the best reporting” on the crisis. Apparently, he’s not a regular Russia Blog reader, and didn’t catch the “Tbilisi Post” item that started the ball rolling. He acknowledges “a torrent of abuse and prejudice, second guessing and histrionics on both sides.” He fails to mention that Russia Blog hadn’t reported on a single such incident on Russia’s side since the crisis began.
After that, Russia Blog basically dropped the subject of Georgia. It started talking about Ikea opening stores in Russia, and its traditional line of propaganda nonsense. But it returned to it briefly on August 21st, with a post from Mamchur arguing hat since the Best Buy chain hasn’t canceled its plans to put a store in Russia, this proves there are no negative economic consequences for Russia because of the invastion. Mamchur appears to have missed the reports, featured right here on LR, on billions of dollars in capital flight, including one in today’s issue from the prestigious Investor’s Business Daily indicating that investors are pulling up stakes in droves. Hard to imagine how that could comport with Chapman’s call for objectivity. Smells like teen Soviet propaganda.
In those nearly two dozen posts, not a single specific critical word about Russian government leaders appears in any of these posts. No mention of the bombing of civilian apartment buildings in Gori. No mention of the use of ballistic missiles. No discussion of drawing Abkhazia, which had nothing to do with the hostilities, into the dispute, or about raiding Georgian ports far from the action. No discussion of the Russian government repeatedly violating its cease-fire pledge. No discussion of the universal condemnation of Europe, the ejection of Russia from the G-8 and the NATO Council. Not a peep about the fact that Vladimir Putin, in unprecedented fashion, called the shots on the war and acted as if he were still president. In other words, Kremlin-like wall of silence.
So to recap the Russia Blog view on the Georgia, in the words of one of its own posts: “Most of the world has been appallingly irresponsible” . . . because it did not agree with Russia Blog. It is impossible — impossible — that “most of the world” is right and Russia Blog is wrong. Sound like what the USSR said about moving into Eastern Europe? Sound like the words of someone who was educated in Soviet Russia?
2. Who is Yuri Mamchur?
Mamchur is a Russian citizen who was educated in Soviet Russia. In a nutshell, he got a “law degree” there (to the extent Russia can offer such a thing), abandoned the law almost before ever practicing it, declared himself a composer, and then pushed that into the background when he found his true calling, advising Americans on how to deal with Russia.
On Mamchur’s personal website, where he tries to sell his music, it states: “I turned 24 on January 8, 2006. Right now I’m working as a Director of Foreign Policy at the Discovery Institute. Part of my job is the RussiaBlog (www.RussiaBlog.org), which provides commentary and dialogue on a lot of interesting stuff about modern day Russia.” He breathlessly adds: “It is challenging to compose, practice and record along with a full-time job, but I’m hoping to get it all done.”
The DI website sets forth Yuri’s qualificationsto be its “Director of Foreign Policy” as follows: “Yuri is also a PhD candidate and graduate of the Russian Tax Academy School of Law in Moscow. During his studies (and following) he served as the Director of International Relations for the Sodeystvie Fund, the oldest charitable foundation in the Former Soviet Union.” It further states: “His parents, who still live in the city, both held high ranking positions in the former Soviet government (his father was a speechwriter and spokesman for the defense ministry). After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Mamchur family worked through the challenges facing Russia’s new democracy and succeeded in post-Soviet society. For the past six years, Yuri has traveled between Moscow and US and immersed himself in American culture. Yuri took classes at Georgetown University; he volunteers with Tacoma YMCA and teaches piano to young students in his free time.”
Here’s what Mamchur says about his degree: “The Russian educational system is different. It is not a 4-year college followed by a 3-year masters program. I went for a Law major in 1998, and after five and a half years of school, I received my European law degree with honors.” Here’s what he says about his use of that degree: “I worked at a law firm for half a year and found it extremely boring. Though I never really used the degree, the education helps.”
So let’s recap: Yuri is the ripe old age of twenty-six. He has degree from a Russian institution called the “Tax Academy School of Law”and worked for charitable fund for some unspecified (short) period of time. And this qualifies him as an expert on foreign policy (actually, as the manager of other experts on foreign policy)? Hard to see how, but perhaps the voice of God was whispering in the ears of the folks at DI when they hired Yuri. Do you dare to imagine the qualifications of the folks they rejected? An image of the three stooges leaps to mind.
His “resume” raises more questions than it answers. For instance: Where exactly is he currently seeking his PhD? Is Mamchur a tax lawyer? What “law firm” did he work for? Is he saying that Russia, of all places, taught him about European law and now he’s qualified to practice it? Don’t ask, dear reader, don’t ask. I tried to ask Discovery Institute’s director of media relations Robert Crowther by e-mail, but got no response.
If you Google the “Tax Academy School of Law,” you will find out exactly nothing about it. In fact, you will get only three hits for that exact phrase on Google, and all three will be for Yuri’s biography (which, conveniently, does not provide any links or further information about his alma mater). This is a matter of significant concern, since even people casually familiar with Russia know that it is full of unlicensed, fly-by-nighteducational institutions whose diplomas are not worth the paper they are printed on. Director Mamchur, and DI, ought to come forward with more detailed information about this school.
After months of haggling with Russia blog, we finally induced one of its flunkies to provide me with the TASL’s website(link in Russian). When we finally read it, we realized why they were so reluctant to provide it. You see, Mamchur left out a little bit of its name, the part that reads “of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.” It’s as if, in other words, an American had graduated from a school run by the IRS. Likely, he’d have a “certain” attitude towards the U.S. government and his powers, might he not?
We have asked Russia Blog a bunch of other questions about Yuri’s background; they refused to answer any of them.
3. What is Mamchur doing on Russia Blog?
Mamchur spends his time rationalizing and defending the Putin regime, almost as if he were its agent. And indeed, his blog is full of content from the Russia Today television network, which is owned an operated by the Kremlin, and his writings are also published on Russia Profile, another Kremlin-funded website.
And his defenses are based on unmitigated fabrications, unsourced factual claims and totally misleading conclusions. Here are just a few examples.
On March 24, 2007, citing anonymous “sources,” Mamchur stated that Russian “president” Vladimir Putin would resign from office “before December 2nd, when his successor will stand in the next election.” A few months later, Mamchur repeated the prediction. Responding to a comment on the March post, Mamchur then stated: “I’ve learned this news from a reliable source, which is as close to the grove as it can be. So I am simply taking the pride of saying something I’m very confident in (rather than re-telling other outlet’s rumors).”
The purpose of these statements was clear. Mamchur wanted readers to drop their guard on Russia, to make as little fuss as possible as Putin’s second term in office ended and he sought to affect some sort of transition. That would be appropriate, perhaps, if Putin intended to step away from power and assure a true democratic transition. Obviously, though, if Putin intended to remain in power, the he needed to minimize Western opposition before the fact to the maximum extent possible. In that event, Mamchur’s actions would essential be those of a Russian spy.
And in fact, of course, not only didn’t Putin step aside on or before December 2nd, he didn’t do so at all. He remained in power as “prime minister” and, at his first official meeting with his “successor” Dmitri Medvedev (a hand-picked sycophant who ran without opposition), he sat in the same chair he had occupied as president. Soon he was making a state visit to France, something no Russian prime minister had ever done, and being received as if he still ruled the country. Putin, not Medvedev, attended the Olympic games in Beijing, and it was Putin who then returned to take charge of the invasion of Georgia. Medvedev declared “mission accomplished” a few days later and agreed to a cease fire brokered by France; Russian forces then summarily ignored that agreement and proceeded to seize the city of Gori. They could only have been taking their orders from Putin.
Mamchur waited for four days after Putin announced he would remain in power as prime minister to mention it, and he didn’t say a word about his prior prediction or the possibility that Putin was becoming a dictator. He didn’t say a single critical word about Putin’s action. It was almost as if he had been educated in the Soviet Union.
Examples of this type of propaganda emanating from Russia Blog are abundant. You will find them on almost any post you choose to browse.
In February 2006, for instance, Mamchur bragged about a victory by Russia over Canada at an international tournament. He stated: “The Cold War is dead, and so is the athletic rivalry between the US and Russia. It almost seems like the Cold War was beneficial for the conditioning of the Olympic players of our countries…Americans today only seem to take the gold in individual winter sports.” Russia was then crushed by Finland in its next match, relegated to the bronze medal contest, and lost that to Czech Republic in another blowout. The same result occurred at the World Championships a few months later. Mamchur reported none of the losses.
In August 2006, Mamchur launched a frenzied attack on the Wall Street Journal, a diatribe which essentially accused the storied institution of being no better than the National Enquirer, as if he himself represented the sine qua none of journalistic ethics. Mamchur was furious that the Journal had written critically about a new law that could be used to crush expressions of dissent by labeling them extremist, but he failed to tell his readers that the prestigious Committee to Protect Journalists and the World Association of Newspapers had already vigorously condemned the measure. Nor did he tell his readers that even Central Election Commission chief Alexander Veshnyakov had criticized the expanded definition of extremism contained in the law. His tirade mischaracterizes the content of the Journal piece to an obscene degree, as any intelligent person can see for herself by perusing it. There is consensus in the mainstream Russia-watching community that the law has since been used aggressively to target Kremlin critics.
In April 2007, Russia Blog claimed “We can also compare the Russian GDP as a share of e.g. of the USA figure, and see how fast Russia is closing the gap [under the reign of Vladimir Putin].” In fact, although Russia’s GDP has gotten larger under Putin, America’s has expanded at a much faster pace, and the gap between the two countries is much larger now than when Putin took power. The respected Russia scholar Michael McFaul of the Hoover Institute has argued that Russia’s economic growth would be much greater if it weren’t for Putin’s inhibiting policies.
In June 2007, Russia Blog claimed that dissident oligarch Boris Berezovsky had admitted to funding the opposition activities of Garry Kasparov. In fact, Berezovsky never said any such thing, and had gone on record attacking Kasparov as a milquetoast.
In July 2007, Russia Blog stated:
Last week France’s Total S.A. agreed to a 25% stake in a major Russian oil and gas project, while the state-owned firm OAO Rosneft forged a new partnership with Royal Dutch Shell. In an attempt to head off any future supply crunch, the Russian government is now allowing Gazprom to raise rates across the board, while encouraging the development of coal and nuclear power plants to diversify fuel sources for the power grid.
In fact, Total and Shell had just been forced to sell of major short-term development projects by the Russian government, and the deal they signed was a totally meaningless long-term speculation. More recently, BP was virtually ejected from the country in a storm of controversy. Total has no experience whatsoever in arctic drilling of the type envisioned by the agreement, and Gazprom is getting involved with coal and nuclear power to hide the criminal lack of investment in “upstream” development, as the Kremlin has siphoned off its revenues to pay for a reinvigoration of the cold war.
In September 2007, plumbing the depths, Russia blog attempted to claim that the 9/11 and Beslan terrorist attacks placed the U.S. and Russia in the same bed, implying that the U.S. had to give Russia a free hand to crush civil society in Russia. Mamchur totally ignored the Kremlin’s repeated conviction for human rights violations in Chechnya, including state-sponsored murder, before the European Court for Human Rights, ignored the Kremlin’s brutal suppression of the political groups calling for an investigation of the Kremlin’s role in the Beslan tragedy, ignored the relative scales of the disasters (3,000 killed on 9/11, 300 at Beslan), and ignored the huge amount of support Russia is giving to Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, the very groups that instigate acts like the 9/11 attack.
In March 2008, Mamchur argued that Barack Obama understood the “real” Kremlin and would support Putin once in power. A week later, the Russian newspaper Kommersantwas reporting on how Obama was attacking the Bush administration for being too soft on Putin. Mamchur then denounced Obama, as he again did when Obama criticized the Kremlin’s incursion into Georgia, without making any reference to his prior post praising him.
And so on. The blog is, in short, full of exactly the type of false information you’d expect from an institution run by an clueless sycophant of the Moscow Kremlin. It’s the Pravda and Izvestia of the 21st Century, except that it’s published in English and aimed at undermining our will to resist the neo-Soviet state it is defending.
4. What is the Discovery Institute?
Mamchur has referred to his website as “the only organizationally funded Russia Blog in the world.” And the organization that is funding it is the controversial Discovery Institute, a leading proponent of teaching the theory of “intelligent design” in public schools.
Who are the people who stand behind Russia Blog? They are corrupt religious fanatics, Russian citizens, self-interested businessmen seeking to profit from the Putin dictatorship, hodgepodge Russophile wackos and lackeys of the DI money.
a. Religious Extremists
If you look up “The Discovery Institute” on Wikipediayou will find that it is identified as “a conservative Christian think tank” founded in 1990 and devoted to the teaching of intelligent design (according to Wiki “An overwhelming majority of the scientific community views intelligent design as pseudoscience“).
Discovery Institute describes itself, however, as “a nonpartisan public policy think tank conducting research on technology, science and culture, economics and foreign affairs.” It was founded by one Bruce Chapman, currently its president. Its website currently offers vistors the chance to sign a petition called “Stand up for Science” by boldly declaring: “I agree that teachers should equip students to critically analyze evolutionary theory by presenting them with the scientific evidence both for and against Darwinian evolution.” According to Wiki, DI refuses to divulge its financial contributors because it fears they will be harrassed for providing support.
Harrassed? Why harassed? Wikipedia explains. It states that DI has regularly been called on the carpet for intellectual dishonesty:
At the foundation of most criticism of the Discovery Institute is the charge that the institute and its Center for Science and Culture intentionally misrepresent or omit many important facts in promoting their agenda- essentially a charge of intellectual dishonesty, in the form of misleading impressions created by the use of rhetoric, intentional ambiguity, and misrepresented evidence. It is alleged that its goal is to lead an unwary public to reach certain conclusions, and that many have been deceived as a result. Its critics, such as Eugenie Scott, Robert Pennock, Richard Dawkins and Barbara Forrest, claim that the Discovery Institute knowingly misquotes scientists and other experts, deceptively omits contextual text through ellipsis, and makes unsupported amplifications of relationships and credentials. A wide spectrum of critics level this charge; from educators, scientists and the Smithsonian Institute to individuals who oppose the teaching of creationism along science on ideological grounds. Specific objections with examples are listed at the Center for Science and Culture article.
DI does things like providing a list of questions junior high school students can use to help them confront their biology teachers and reject their lessons on evolution. In essence, DI suborns mutiny by students against faculty, inviting them to tune out at best, create open insurrection at worst. It’s not surprising, then, that they would adopt a Pat-Buchanan-like tolerancefor dictators like Vladimir Putin, who’s regime is deeply intertwined with the Russian Orthodox Church (as we’ve previously reported many times).
b. A Russian National
Russia blog is run by an actual Russian citizen, Yuri Mamchur. He’s paid a salary by DI to spew out this tract urging America to drop its guard on Russia. Divided loyalties? You be the judge.
c. Conflicted Businessmen
Mamchur is not the only person who publishes material on Russia Blog. The website acts as forum for various businessmen. There’s Timothy Post, who published basically an advertisement for his Russian golf course – yes, golf course – on August 17thand who, like Mamchur, we have exposed for making ludicrously false predictionsabout Russia’s future democracy and then ignoring them when proved false. There’s Vladimir Kuznetsov, who authored the July 2007 post about Total described above, and many others of similar ilk. And there’s Alexander Aginsky, and probably others. These guys want to encourage Western investment in Russia, andtherefore can profit by helping to convince the world that Putin is benign. These conflicts of interest are never declared by Russia Blog, nor does the entity disclose the extent of financial support it receives from them and their ilk. Do they make financial contributions to DI? Who knows. DI isn’t saying.
d. Card-carrying Wackos
Then there is a group of contributors to Russia blog are actual lunatics, as best illustrated by one Mike Averko– so crazy Russia Blog was actually forced to distance itself from him, Averko claims his “commentary has appeared in the New York Times” because they’ve published his letters to the editor – and one Edward Lozansky– who works for something called the American University in Russia – but it’s not connected to the American University in Washington DC. We’ve exposed Lozansky’s duplicty many times before.
Finally you’ve got the likes of Charles Ganske and Nick Slepkoand Patrick Armstrong (see above, he’s responsible for several of the Georgia reports including the attack on Charles Johnson) the Russia Blog grunts we’ve previously exposed as the frauds they are. Ganske, the primary editorial assistant to Mamchur, does not speak Russian, until very recently had never set foot in Russia, and has no special educational credentials in the country. In other words, he’s a patsy. Slepko is such a ridiculous lightweight that he’s not even worth discussing.
As is always the case with Russia, it’s difficult to tell whether any given instance of asinine behavior is motivated by actual evil or merely by arch stupidity. Did “President” Medvedev fail to keep his word on a cease fire because he’s a mendacious liar, or because he only thinks he’s ruling the country when in fact Vladimir Putin really is? Did Stalin really think he could trust Hitler when he made a secret deal with him, selling Western Europe down the river? Did Khrushchev really believe he could make a point by taking off his shoe and pounding it on a table at the U.N.? Questions like these will probably never be answered.
But two things are clear.
One, Mamchur the Russian is right when he says that no other blog in English is doing what his blog is doing, namely actively seeking to undermine American security in the manner of a treacherous Russian spy and in the name of American conservatism. Discovery Institute is Pat Buchanan (another big fan of the Putin dictatorship) in sheep’s clothing. As a window into the Kremlin’s cobweb-bedecked soul, it’s truly in a class by itself. It’s hard to understand how a one-sidedly pro-Russia stance could be in the best interests of American national security — though it may serve Russian interests quite well.
And two, that blog is being funded by Discovery Institute, which claims the great George Gilder as an adherent and which attracts lots of donations from conservatives by pretending to support their causes. Do these conservatives know their money is being spent to make Ronald “Evil Empire” Reagan do loop-de-loops in his grave? Perhaps not. Is it time to tell them? Perhaps, indeed, it is.