Daily Archives: April 18, 2006

The Sad Tale of Lost Anastasia

You may not recognize her if you are not a tennis fan.

Even if you are one, you may not recognize her half-naked and in a long, curly wig (but, in case you were wondering, yup, that’s her very own nipple, a la Elaine in Seinfeld). Or, you may have forgotten about her, as her ranking has gradually plummetted since she won the French Open two years ago, the first year a Russian won a Grand Slam event.

But she’s Anastasia Myskina. For some reason several years ago, she felt the need to take her clothes off when a GQ photographer asked her to during a sports-related photo shoot. She says he promised her they’d be “just for him,” but then the dirty rat went and sold them to the media and they turned up every-which-where, whereupon Anastasia sued the photog, and eventually lost.

Can’t say as I recall Chris Everett or Martina Navratilova or Lindsey Davenport or the Williams sisters suddenly turning up nude, can you? And it’s Russia that has the big problem with white slavery and rampant AIDS, isn’t it? I wonder if the two could be at all related?

Russia Dominates at Pig Olympics

As the Moscow Times reports, Russian athletes recently put in a powerful performance at the International Pig Olympics.

Out of a field of 12 pigs in the roughly 4-meter sprint, the Russians dominated, capturing first and second place, with the French taking third. The Ukrainians, Chinese, Canadians and Latvians went home without medals. With 300 people in attendance, the Sunday spectacle was one of the main draws at ZooRussia 2006 at Crocus Expo, which featured numerous merchants hawking organic dog food, kitty litter and poodle vests.

Russian Papers Still Have No Editorial Pages

As Moscow Times Columnist Alexei Pankin reports:

At the beginning of last year, I was hired as the editorial page editor of the newspaper Izvestia and put in charge of a two-page daily section called “Opinion and Commentary.” It’s remarkable that with few exceptions — such as The Moscow Times and Vedomosti, which were created by Western companies and organized in accordance with Western practices — the editorial page, long a standard feature of quality newspapers around the world, simply did not exist in Russian newspapers before that time. My motto for the section was: “Here you will find friends and make enemies.” I also contributed a weekly column on Fridays, in which I responded to readers’ questions and complaints. I defended Izvestia’s journalists from obviously unjust attacks, and on occasion I criticized Izvestia itself. In other words, I assumed the role of an ombudsman or readers’ editor.

It’s not hard to understand why. As Pankin explains:

Gazprom-Media, an arm of the state-controlled natural gas monopoly, bought a controlling stake in Izvestia in June 2005 from Prof-Media, a media holding in Vladimir Potanin’s business empire. Last November, the new owners appointed a new executive editor. The new editor immediately made clear that Izvestia would no longer have any need for an ombudsman. By the end of the year, we both realized that we couldn’t work together, and early this year we parted ways. I was the one who left the paper, of course, not the new editor.

In other words, not only does Moscow not believe in tears, it doesn’t believe in the expression of opinion or debate, either. So, of course, President Putin did not participate in debates in either of his two bids for presidency, even though his only serious opposition came from the Communists, whom he allegedly opposes.