Daily Archives: February 12, 2007

Svanidze Speaks: Another Original LR Translation

La Russophobe‘s in-house translator offers a short article from Nikolai Svanidze (pictured, left), whom LR reported on back in June when he announced that Russians were “tired of pluralism” and wanted the state to step in and make their choices for them. Svanidize is the host of a TV talk show known as “The Mirror” on state-owned RTR television, and a bigshot in the network’s power structure. He’s also written a series of newspaper articles for the Yezehedvny Zhurnal newspaper, including the one translated below. In a February 2000 public opinion poll, only one-quarter of respondents said they watched his show and found it trustworthy. In a November 2002 survey, he was ranked dead last in combined score for interest, agreement and credibility in a group of 12 other TV presenters. In November of last year, he said this to a group of government students in Tatarstan: “On the one hand, Vladimir Putin is popular – it is a guarantee of stability. In my view, however, we should not make exceptions and depart from the Constitution based on the president’s rating. George Washington was very popular in his time in the USA. He was reelected for the third term but he died. Now, the United States make no exceptions at elections.” Apparently, he was thinking of Franklin Roosevelt. George Washington, of course, could have been elected to a third term but declined to accept it, fearing the impact on democracy in the United States if he did. For his part, Roosevelt was elected not merely to a third but to a fourth term, and gave up power only when, like Stalin, he perished in office, violating Washington’s sage advice. Then the Constitution was changed to make Washington’s view the law.

LR: How many Russians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

So Fouled Up, It’s Kind of Fun!
Nikolai Svanidze
Yezhedneviy Zhurnal
January 17, 2007

A friend of mine recently returned from a political mob-event in Germany, a “round table” on Russian-European affairs. The discussion with his foreign colleagues did not bring him any great satisfaction. One could say that no discussion developed at all. My friend returned in the sort of mood that was well-described in 1916 by S.L. Markov, the future White Russian general and legendary hero of the Volunteer Army. At the time, Markov found himself surrounded by far superior German forces, and relayed to his commander, A.I. Denikin, “It’s so fouled up, it’s kind of fun!”

There are, it is true, a few differences. No one is attacking us now, we are not surrounded, and no one thirsts for our blood. We don’t need to cling to the frozen earth like a lover, under withering enemy fire. We don’t need to tear ourselves from that earth and, with an “ooh-rah” and an indistinct curse whispered from our fear-dried gullet, stand up for a bayonet charge. Nothing of that sort at all. We have no enemies at all. With the exception of our former friends, but they are not dangerous, inasmuch as they are small and fear us more than fire. We have a different problem. Like Panikovskiy*, no one likes us. The only thing they want is to get as far away from us as they can, as one might view a drunk on the street. It is tough to realize this, and tougher still to come to terms with it. We could, of course, grab them by the lapels and directly, impartially ask them: “Don’t you like me?” Or we could work ourselves up into a patriotic trance and chant that Russia is just getting up from its knees and no one is ready to forgive us for it. We could do this, and we already are. But then, being monsters, they shun us even more. They shun us, like crazy people; you can’t knock sense into their heads. It’s clear they’re genuinely sick.

Of course, all this did not begin this morning. For some years now any discussion of Russia and its problems in western universities and research centers has invited at best a yawn, at worst – irritation. And academic programs devoted to the study of us – from history and economics to arts and literature – are closing. Students don’t want to study Russian, they want to study Chinese. In other words we have already been for some time pushed to the periphery of western intellectual interests. But that was actually a victory. Now it’s much worse. The final straw was the polonium incident. On top of that lay, as if on someone’s order, as if naturally, the incident with Belarus. Time to cash out.

With a complete lack of interest, utterly coldly, they watch as our discussion of the polonium incident is turned upside down. They could care less whether Litvinenko was killed by rogue or non-rogue KGB agents, working for or against Putin. It’s all the same even if they were working for Berezovskiy, or Nevzlin, or the horned devil. It’s all the same. For them, we’re like Chinese, we all look the same. The main thing is — they’re all Russians. Look at these stupid Russians, in trouble because of their adolescent complexes and stolen billions, now not only have they had a public brawl in the heart of Old Europe, they’ve brought on an investigation using the tables of their own stupid Mendeleyev!** And they think that exactly in this way they are getting up off their stupid knees! Let them stand up, dance around, maul each other with chemicals, and beat their chests all they want, only please, as far away from Europe as they can.

We have made history, in the eyes of the world, with the first instance of nuclear terrorism. And now we are being congratulated by a grateful world. The world is now interested not in our plans for reform or anti-reform, not in our plans for economic or political freedom. All this “sputtering” is seen as categorically unreal, everyone knows it. No one even bothers asking dumb questions about freedom of speech anymore. Even the anti-aircraft missile systems we sold to Iran get only a wave of the hand. Only one small slice of us is interesting – the slice with the oil and gas pipelines. That is because their sick imagination suggests to them that such temperamental, at best unpredictable children, who spit polonium at each other as easily and unnecessarily as school children shoot spit wads, are capable of much more. They’ve gotten up off their knees before, too. For example, to turn off the pipeline. It’s good that we already had occasion to fear them.

And now, Belarus. Right for the groin, so to speak. With that, regarding what is and isn’t Belarus, all our European friends are united. Today it is, tomorrow it isn’t. And suddenly they appreciate the Little Father [TN: the President of Belarus, Lukashenko]. So the issue, of course, is not Belarus and not Lukashenko, but yet another instance of what they consider not playing by the rules. We ask them, of course, in all seriousness, “Who thought up these idiotic rules? We didn’t. We have our own rules. We keep our candy in our sweaty palm and don’t give it out for just a ‘thank you’.” To this, of course, they have nothing to say. They just sit quietly, squint their eyes, and don’t want to hear anything. They don’t trust us. At all.

It just means they have to speed up their transition to alternative sources of energy. And that means that prices will fall to their traditional levels. Wreaking our bright dreams of “Russia – The Energy Superpower.” And this is just the ideological part. In the economic part, serious problems await us, and not way off on the horizon.

———NOTES———

LR: Literally, the title of the article (“Так хреново, что даже весело!”) means “So full of horseradish, it’s even merry!”

*Panikovskiy: a swindler, from the classic novel “The Golden Calf” by Ilf and Petrov. Most famous for pretending to be blind, then picking the pockets of those who came to his assistance.

**Dmitri Mendeleyev: Russian scientist, creator of the first periodic table of the elements.

LR’s Translator offers the following observations about the photograph that leads the article (LR has nothing to do with this photograph, it was selected by the Russian paper, but LR added the caption):

The utter idiocy of a guy holding a live electric wire in his hand, trying to figure out how to change the lightbulb at the end of it, while his daft mother or grandmother or wife or whatever looks on, is just too precious to let go. (Maybe a sort of allegory — all of Russia looking on while their “gebetsi” try to turn Russia into an “energy superpower”?) It’s actually the main reason I translated the article, so no one would accuse us of just putting up pictures of stupid Russians to make them all look bad. The article itself seemed a little cobbled together and inverted, with the less significant issue (the spat with Belarus) tacked on at the end and seemingly elevated above the significance of the Litvinenko murder — I honestly couldn’t understand what point Svanidze was trying to make in the first half of the next to last paragraph, even after I read it aloud to myself several times. So I just gave him a very literal translation and moved on. But I also liked his image of people in the west looking at Russians the way you might a drunk on the sidewalk. Conversationally, and in most ways professionally, I’ll definitely cross the street to avoid having to deal with Russians. As for Svanidze, I put him in the same category with Vladimir Pozner — both Soviet-educated True Believers, who quaintly came to believe their own propaganda about the basic goodness of Russians/Soviets, and manage to be genuinely surprised when they show themselves, time after time, to be the exact opposite.

LR: It’s not at all uncommon to encounter purely incomprehensible gibberish in the Russian press, even from a high-ranking figure like Svanidze. In fact, perhaps most common, since the culture of cowardice in Russia usually prevents anyone from mentioning the flaws, as in the Emperor’s New Clothes. Hence, the poor Emperor ultimately perishes from frostbite.

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More Russophile Gibberish on Litvinenko

Here’s an article (with LR’s running commentary) by an abject moron named Justin Raimondo (pictured, left) from the Ethernet blog which tries to help the Kremlin avoid blame for the Litvinenko killing. Raimondo is the wacko publisher of “Antiwar.comand here he is “anti-war” in the same way that good old Neville Chamberlain was. Notice how he only mentions Litvinenko and Yushchenko as indications of Kremlin malevolence. Not a word about Anna Politkovskaya, no mention of Yuri Shchekochikhin or any of the other Kremlin-critical journalists murdered since Putin took power, no mention of the attack on Yegor Gaidar. No mention of the Khodorkovksy sham trial, no reference to the Kremlin’s recent conviction for torture in Chechnya. What’s more, no mention in the article (dated February 7th) of the report by ABC News on January 26th that a highly placed official in the British government had confirmed their investigation showed it was a Kremlin hit. Notice, too, how he won’t say one single word about what he’d be prepared to do if it turns out the Kremlin is guilty. Just a blindly partisan screed even as he attacks others for allegedly telling only one side of the story. It’s a Maalox moment:

It isn’t very often that we come across news of a radioactive poisoning, let alone a state-sponsored one, but in the past few months we’ve had no less than two – and, more significantly, two completely different reactions from the “mainstream” media and Western governments (or do I repeat myself?). The first such alleged poisoning was the death of Alexander Litvinenko, whose supposed status as a prominent Russian “dissident” set him up as the perfect candidate for a KGB-style “hit.” Or so the public relations campaign unleashed by Russian oligarch-gangster Boris Berezovsky would have us believe. There are several problems with this scenario, however, not the least of which is the question: instead of poisoning him with $10 million worth of polonium, a rare radioactive substance – after traipsing all over London and half of Europe, spilling it and leaving a radioactive trail in hotel rooms, private homes, offices, and airliners – why didn’t they just put a bullet in the back of his head?

LR: The author appears unaware of recent reports that the Polonium used cost thousands, not millions, of dollars. But let’s say he’s right, and it did cost millions. So, he’s saying it’s credible that Boris Berezovsky (or some other unnamed Kremlin foe) would not only spend $10 million to buy this “rare radioactive substance” from illicit sources in Russia, thereby exposing himself to worldwide criminal liability in the massive investigation that would inevitably follow, but would use it to kill someone who is an ally in attacking the Kremlin. On the other hand, he saying it’s totally incredible that the Kremlin would use such a substance, which it can get for free, and use it to kill one of its most vocal dissidents? And it’s irrelevant that Scotland Yard, which is investigating the matter, has not said one single word about Berezovsky being involved, while they’ve been reported to have blamed the Kremlin. And it’s irrelevant that not one but two high-ranking KGB defectors (Gordievsky and Kalugin) have confirmed that Litvinenko was killed by the Kremlin. Right?

The alternative is that Alexander Litvinenko, who this guy says is an absolute nobody that the Kremlin couldn’t care less about, got his hands on $10 million worth of Russian polonium and then spilled it, killing himself, and blamed it on the Kremlin, which for some unknown reason failed to tell the world that its polonium had been pilfered. This all makes perfect sense. Right? And it’s all balanced and fair, unlike the coverage this orangutan is attacking. Right?

Why not shoot him? Well, because that wouldn’t cause him to suffer so long and publicly, and hence it wouldn’t be a warning to others. It’s not really that complicated, except to an abject moron like this one here. Also, it wouldn’t be a really good test of a powerful new weapon the KGB had invented. In other words, it wouldn’t kill two birds with one stone. Is this guy really qualified to lecture us on how the KGB thinks? Is it possible he imagines he is?

The other killing this little reptile is making reference to involves an Arab, and he thinks Israel could have been responsible. He’s shocked an offended that the idea of Israel killing a suspected Arab terrorist isn’t just as offensive to us as the idea of the Kremlin killing a dissident. He seems to genuinely feel that the governments of Israel and Russia are equally threatening to the West. In other words, he’s a lunatic. He doesn’t seem to be aware that Israel is a tiny little country with no control over a gigantic supply of oil and no huge nuclear arsenal aimed at the US, no proud KGB spy as “president” and no legacy of seeking to “bury” the West. Perhaps, somebody should clue him in.

Even if they had resorted to such mundane measures, however, another question arises: why bother? The truth of the matter is that hardly anyone in Russia ever heard of Litvinenko – and if they had it is unlikely that either his political views or his activities on behalf of Berezovsky would have put him in good stead with the Russian people.

LR: Too bad this ape (sorry, apes!) doesn’t read the papers (or simply this blog) a bit more. If he did, he’d know about the big scandal in which Litvinenko’s photograph was used for target practice by the KGB with a high-ranking Kremlin official in attendance. He’d also know about the BBC interview in which a former director of the KGB called Litvinenko a traitor who deserved killing. Nobody ever said the Kremlin killed Litvinenko because the Russian public wanted him dead. Anybody who thinks the Kremlin is concerned about what the Russian people want can only be a world-class idiot. Incidentally: Does this maniac really think he has a pipeline to the inner thought processes of the KGB, so he knows what motivates them and how they would respond to a given situation?

In spite of the tremendous puff-job being done on him – apparently no less than two Hollywood studios are competing to come out with the first movie about the Litvinenko affair, one of which stars Johnny DeppLitvinenko was hardly a “dissident” on the level of, say, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. His kooky ideas – that the KGB is really behind alQaeda, and plotted the 9/11 terrorist attacks – compromising allegiances (aside from being a paid employee of Berezovsky’s, he regularly palled around with Chechen terrorists), and dubious moral character (shortly before his death, he announced to an interviewer that he was planning to blackmail several prominent Russian business figures and politicians) belie the posthumous portrait of him as a saintly martyr to the cause of freedom and democracy in Russia.

LR: That’s true, Litvinenko and Solzhenitsyn were dissimilar in many ways. For instance, Litvinenko didn’t return to Russia after his exile and publicly support the Putin dictatorship, or try to host a bizarre TV talk show, the way Solzhenitsyn did. KGB support for terrorist organizations is documented on the world wide web ad nauseam, from the highest-level sources in both Western and Soviet intelligence. Notice how the author doesn’t mention the “interviewer” (Julia Svelitchnaya) by name, or mention the questions that have been raised about her possible Kremlin connections, or explain why Litvinenko would announce to someone he didn’t know that he intended to engage in blackmail (much less quote any actual language of Litvinenko to that effect)?

And for the record, nobody has said Litvinenko was a saint. What they’ve said is that he was a harsh critic of the Kremlin who was silenced in an outrageous act of international murder, right after the Russian Duma passed a law allowing this to occur. That this ape dares to claim alliances, as he does, with the libertarian cause while rationalizing such action by the neo-Soviet state clearly establishes just how demented he really is. Apparently, this so-called “libertarian” believes it’s OK for a government to kill somebody, as long as it’s a nasty somebody. So much for his principles!

In short, Litvinenko opposed Putin but hardly represented a credible threat to the Russian president. There was simply no reason for the Russians to assassinate him, and too many reasons – aside from his relative unimportance – not to. After all, Litvinenko was a British citizen who died on British soil: for the Russians to have offed him, in this context, would amount to an open declaration of war.

LR: Is this wacko really saying what he seems to be? Is he saying that Russians never do anything that doesn’t make sense? Can he “explain” their behavior in the Kursk submarine sinking? Can he “explain” why the USSR devoted 25% of its GDP to military spending in a futile arms race with the USA, then disappeared? Can he “explain” the rationality of voting for a proud KGB spy to be the country’s president, and favoring him with 75% approval ratings when the average wage is $300 per month and the population loses 1 million every year, and after the KGB murdered millions of innocent Russians during the Soviet era?

And again, does he really believe he has a pipeline to the secret corridors of the Kremlin and knows what they thought about Litvinenko? Is he that mental? In addition to silencing a vocal critic who was starting to investigate the Politkovskaya killing, in addition to sending a powerful message to all other Kremlin critics of what will happen if they dare to challenge The Power, in addition to sending a message to Britain about what Russia is prepared to do to punish it for protecting Boris Berezovsky, the killing also provides the Kremlin with a perfect basis to leverage Berezovsky’s extradition, using the blackmail tactic of withholding cooperation on the Litvinenko killing (and even trying to blame it on Berezovsky himself, as this 8-ball author is oh-so-helpfully doing).

Declaration of war? This guy belongs in the loony bin. Does he really believe that if Britain conclusively proves it was the Kremlin that ordered the hit, it will declare war on Russia? Talk about credibility problems! Britain is in no position even to to do Russia serious economic harm, much less to launch a military assault. It burned its bridges with Russia during the G-8 Summit when both Tony Blair and his wife went after Putin on human rights. After that, the Kremlin knew it could no longer manipulate the British, so it had nothing at all to lose by killing Litvinenko there. In fact, it sent a message of how dirty it was willing to play if Britain got uppity. Now to be sure, killing a dissident on AMERICAN soil might be dangerous. But that didn’t happen, now did it?

It makes no sense to assume that Putin or anyone in a position of authority in Russia pulled off this messy alleged assassination, yet the Western media rushed – nay, stampeded – to validate this improbable scenario. The British tabloids were awash in breathless accounts of past KGB hits, from the assassination of Leon Trotsky (the neocons never got over that one) to the elaborate poisonings carried out by the Russian secret service in the past. The American media followed suit. Invariably, the very different case of Viktor Yushchenko was raised, which has never been solved to this day – and which the Ukrainian authorities seem to have mysteriously dropped from their list of active investigations. On the Litvinenko and Yushchenko incidents, I have expressed my doubts about the semi-official narratives, which point to alleged Russian perfidy. This crude attempt to characterize the Russian government as run by serial poisoners evokes the old familiar Cold War imagery that portrayed the Russians as invariably sinister: it also depends on the reputation of the Stalin-era KGB, which has little if anything to do with the present-day FSB. So I won’t go too deeply into these questions here, except to note that there is much more evidence regarding another incident of possible state-sponsored assassination, by means of radioactive poisoning, of a prominent person on his native soil.

LR: Let’s ask the author a simple question. How many enemies of the Kremlin would have to be brutally killed before he would accept the possibility of Kremlin involvement? 100? 1,000? 10,000? What sort of person is willing to gamble with people’s lives in this way? Not the kind you’d want to turn your back on, that’s for sure.

The Litvinenko “assassination” – which could just as easily have been a case of a failed smuggling operation – was covered, and is still being covered, with wall-to-wall articles, and even two movies-in-the-making.

LR: So let’s see if we understand. There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support the author’s claim, but he believes it’s reasonable that Alexander Litvinenko, a “nobody” and a defector from Russia, could get his hands on $10 million worth of Russian polonium in order to sell it to somebody. He can speculate about such things and it’s perfectly reasonable, but if anyone speculates about the Kremlin being involved they are paranoid nuts, Right? But, wouldn’t being able to get so much Russian polonium make Litvinenko a “somebody,” and somebody that the Kremlin would really like to kill? And if he did so, wouldn’t the Kremlin come forward and say “hey, this guy just stole our polonium!” Would it be logical that the Kremlin would report such a dangerous theft as soon as it occurred? After all, the author is sure the Kremlin never does irrational things, isn’t he? The level of intellectual cowardice, dishonesty and ideological frenzy necessary to support this kind of gibberish is hard to imagine.

The Litvinenko affair, according to the version peddled in the Western media, dramatizes a narrative that both journalists and Western government officials have a whole lot invested in: they’ve largely swallowed the neocon-Cheney line that Russia is backsliding into authoritarianism, and that Putin – characterized as a neo-Soviet reincarnation of Stalin – represents a threat to the West. That’s why the media is so willing to overlook the logical inconsistencies in the “Putin did it” theory, and, fueled by plenty of press releases from the Berezovsky organization, continues to point an accusing finger at Moscow without a single iota of solid evidence.

Interestingly, the author states that he believes the Israeli special forces were involved in a recent killing of an Arab using radioactive poison, yet he doesn’t point to a “single iota of evidence” to support his claim. That’s classic Russophile hypocrisy. Does this wacko somehow imagine he is an unbiased truth-seeker while using terms like “neocon“? Does he think that the abolition of all local elections, the nationalization of all television news and the usurpation of the entire energy industry does not constitute “democratic backsliding”? If not, what would? Would Putin have to start building gulags?

Doesn’t the author find it at all strange to demand “solid evidence” of the involvement of Russia’s secret police in a clandestine killing of a dissident? Wouldn’t it be their business not to leave such indications after them? Isn’t that what they spend their whole lives training to do?

Let LR ask you this, dear reader: If the KGB did kill Litvinenko, and if it decided to write an article in the Western press seeking to deflect blame, how would such an article be different from the one you see above in black and white?

Can anybody tell her?

Russia Even Manages to Piss off Canada!

When you can manage to piss of the Canadians, you know that you are just about as extreme as you can get. Leave it to Russia! From the Financial Post of Canada:

Stop Tolerating Russian Tyranny

Billionaire “oligarch” Roman Abramovich was once asked what advice he would give to young people who wanted to make money in Russia. “Do not imagine,” he said, “that you will never go to jail.”

Mr. Abramovich is one of the lucky ones. He took the money and ran, and is now most famous for his ruble revitalization of British soccer club Chelsea. However, his warning about the link between business and incarceration has been brought back under the interrogation lamp by the Kremlin’s continuing vendetta against Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Like other oligarchs, Mr. Khodorkovsky took advantage in the 1990s of rushed privatizations and the weakness of president Boris Yeltsin to seize control of old Soviet facilities. The rationale for rapid privatization was that assets had to be got out of the hands of the Communists as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the inevitable unfairness of the process has been used as an excuse to reinstall not communism but its totalitarian cousin, fascism, under the iron fist of a former KGB supergoon, President Vladimir Putin.

Eighteen months ago, Mr. Khodorkovsky’s oil company, Yukos, was stolen from under him after a show trial. Mr. K was in fact the model of what Russia needed to flourish. A talented businessman, he built Yukos into an outstanding example of both transparency and profitability. But he also promoted democracy and a more open society on the basis that these developments could do nothing but good for the Russian people. That was his biggest mistake.

Mr. Putin had a quite different vision of Russia: he wanted it to be feared again, and has succeeded, by reversing energy privatizations and threatening Russia’s European natural gas customers, not to mention by arming some of the world’ most dangerous whackos.

One key issue is whether anybody can expect a fair trial in Russia, since the justice system is so closely allied with the Kremlin. Mr. Khodorkovsky’s lawyers point out that the persecution of their client is closely related to Mr. Putin’s strategy of concentrating power in the hands of his cronies, and using the legal system to seize energy assets.

Mr. Khodorkovsky’s first trial was a travesty. He is currently serving his time in a heavily contaminated area of Siberia, where he has been subjected to solitary confinement for offences such as: possessing unauthorized printing material (a copy of the prison regulations); drinking tea in an unauthorized location, and the possession of two lemons, which had been given to him by his wife. On another occasion, he was shoved into solitary “for his own protection” after another inmate tried to gouge his eye out with a knife.

The U.S. State Department has professed profound concern about the implications of the Khodorkovsky case for the rule of law in Russia. Among others who have protested Mr. Khodorkovsky’s treatment are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, former Czech president Vaclev Havel, former Irish president Mary Robinson, former Polish president Lech Walesa and Amnesty International. Where are Canada’s protests?

Anybody who imagined that Mr. Khodorkovsky’s case didn’t send out a wider warning for business has been disabused by the Kremlin’s recent pressure on international oil giants Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP over their Russian holdings.

Perhaps the most terrifying indication of the lawlessness of Mr. Putin’s Russia is the number of murders, both inside and outside the country, that appear to be politically related. The most spectacular was the poisoning last year of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko with polonium 210. Other cases include the executions of investigative journalist Anna Politskaya and crusading Bank of Russia official Andrei Kozlov. It would be easier to believe in the Kremlin’s innocence if it expressed more interest in solving these cases. Instead, in the Litvinenko affair for example, the Kremlin is being obstructive. One of the reasons for failing to co-operate with British authorities may be that Britain has offered refuge to other former executives of Yukos.

Why should we care about Mr. Khodorkovsky? Because his persecution is a straw in a very dangerous wind. As Mr. Khodorkovsy’s defence team point out, “The weak responses to Russia’s backsliding have been a shocking surrender to sinister forces within the Russian leadership, and an overt signal to them that their belligerent authoritarianism will be tolerated — in exchange for preferential treatment in energy relations.”

Mr. Putin said before Mr. Khodorkovsky’s trial and imprisonment that Russia would not allow businessmen to influence political life. He suggested that anybody who disagreed should look to the example of others who had tried and failed. “Some are gone forever,” he said, “and others are far away.” Perhaps the wonder is that Mr. Khodorkovsky is still only “far away” rather than “gone forever.” All civilized people should press for his release.

The eXile puts its big stupid foot in its mouth . . . AGAIN!

LR is delighted to report the following amusing evidence of more hysterical lies in print from the eXile, and kindly thanks eXile for its running free commercials for this blog (though the latter isn’t worth that much given their puny circulation, all free publicity is always welcome).

In a recent post about the eXile’s first story about us, we wrote this:

La Russophobe is proudly awaiting the day, several weeks hence, when she records the 100,000th page view at this blog (we’re now at 90,000). A “page view” is not the same as a visit, one visit can generate more than one page view depending on the interest level of the visitor, so it’s a more general indication of how the blog is being received by its audience. But it’s still a really big number for a little specialist blog like this, and it’s going to come before we’re even one year old. Readers should be just as pleased as LR, since they are responsible for the number as much as LR is. When this day arrives, it’ll be the biggest milestone in the history of this blog to date, so naturally we are on pins and needles. Perhaps it’s because any hopeful sign where Russia is concerned, in the midst of so very much darkness, is so valuable.

Without even trying to check the facts, the eXile then published a second story about us and therein reported this claim from an anonymous Russophile maniac “reader” in a pathetic attempt to spew more childish venom at this blog:

. . . but I did notice this: “La Russophobe is proudly awaiting the day, several weeks hence, when she records the 100,000th page view at this blog (we’re now at 90,000).” They claim to have close to 90,000 views…but this print screen taken today (Jan. 30th, 2007) clearly shows a substantially less amount. Are they really this stupid?” [LR had to insert the quotes properly around our words, the stupid “reader” couldn’t even remember to put them in, or else the eXile improperly deleted them]

They even go to the trouble of posting a screen shot of this blog, but they don’t go as far as to read their own screenshot. The screen shot they post clearly shows the blog’s counter, which shows VISITS not PAGE VIEWS. In the post the eXile “reader” was referring to, LR was talking about PAGE VIEWS, not the VISITS displayed on the public counter. La Russophobe has never claimed to have more VISITS than are shown on her counter, but to the contrary regularly updates readers on the accurate figure, and neither the anonymous letter-writer nor the eXile have any evidence to the contrary. In La Russophobe‘s post about the eXile, she clearly explained the difference between page views and visits. The eXile and it’s reader simply ignored this information and told a ridiculous, propagandistic lie about LR. To repeat: A “page view” counts the number of times a web page created by this blog has been viewed by a reader. A “visit” counts the number of times a readers accesses the blog. One “visit” can therefore result in more than one “page view” just like picking up a book can result in reading more than one page. More than one post (in fact, usually 10-20 of the most recent) can be read on the main web page of this blog, but to read prior posts one must open those web pages.

Here’s a screenshot of their post:


Here’s a screenshot of LR’s tracking data screen taken on Sunday Feburary 11, 2007, at 9 am, which shows the difference between “page views” and “visits” — maybe pictures are easier for certain of the eXile’s ape-like readers and staff to understand than words:

As of this date/time, LR had 96,228 PAGE VIEWS and 46,467 VISITS. This is far more published daily traffic than any other blog of its kind in the world — another fact the eXile and its “reader” choose to ignore. As any ape can see, our average of 877 page views per day means we will reach 100,000 page views over the course of the next few days, just as we said we would. We’re also glad to have this excuse to mention that our average visits per day has risen above 400 for the first time this week, while our average length of visitation is an impressively long 5 minutes 24 seconds. In the next few days we will reach the milestone of 50,000 visits.

To quote the eXile: “Are they really this stupid?”

Will they apologize and correct their error? Don’t they see it as even a little bit embarrassing to rely on an anonymous reader whilst criticizing this blog for using anonymity? It seems unlikely.

This is what Russia has to rely on for its champions. Sad, isn’t it?

Likely it means nothing to the eXile that it prints boldfaced lies, since neither the eXile nor it’s “readers” are interested in annoying things like ethics or reputation or facts. They’re just a bunch of monkeys having fun scratching themselves and watching each other urinate. Even so, it’s really quite amazing that having had its website up for so many years, the eXile editors could still be oblivious of the difference between a “page view” and a “visit.” Incidentally, La Russophobe, which has existed for just 11 months, has roughly the same number of links from blogs as does the eXile website according to Technorati even though eXile’s website has been up for many, many years.

Amusing, too, that they still haven’t got the guts to link to our posts about them. They must be really scared of them, apparently. On the other hand, if they had linked to them then their “readers” could have seen for themselves what an amazingly silly lie they were reporting, so perhaps they were being smart not to post a link.

Net result: eXile goes the way of all things in Russia.

Two other bizarre claims in the eXile require brief comment:

First, the eXile also stated of LR’s publisher: “. . . she foolishly admitted, in her trademark mix of middlebrow thickness and moral righteousness, that yes, Kim Zigfield is a pseudonym, but after all, ‘Did ‘Huckelberry Finn’ lack credibility because the author used a pen name?’ You read that, and you start to feel so bad you think maybe you should just leave her alone.” That’s a simply a lie. “Kim Zigfield” is not even the proper spelling of the name of the publisher of this blog, and she has never “admitted” in any forum that the proper spelling “Kim Zigfeld” is a pseudonym (note that the eXile makes no attempt to cite a source). We’ve merely said that we allow many people who write for this blog to be anonymous, and that there’s nothing wrong with anonymity, lots of people do it, including famous writers like Joe Klein in Primary Colors and Sam Clemens in Huckleberry Finn. That’s to say nothing of every single newspaper in Russia. Dozens of people submit content to this blog which is published anonymously, and we don’t think there’s a thing wrong with that. The most important reason for anonymity is that we don’t try to hold our credentials above anyone else’s. We simply report the facts and analyze them, and let the strength of our analysis alone support us. The eXile obviously agrees, otherwise it wouldn’t write about us in an article with no byline relying on anonymous sources as it has done now not once but twice. We must say, it’s really weird that the eXile thinks it would somehow be “bad” for the name of a contributor to become known. Nothing bad happened to Joe Klein when his identity was revealed, nor to anyone else in a similar position that we’ve ever heard of. Apparently, this is the only thing the pathetic little scribblers at the eXile can think of to use to attack us, just like tiny children. In other words, they can’t lay a glove on the substance of our content — which would be high praise, if they weren’t such morons.

Second, the eXile ignorantly accused LR of engaging in “ethnic hatred.” Russian isn’t an ethnicity or a race, it’s just a nationality. Lot’s of difference races and ethnicities can be Russian (at least according to Russian law). When one is anti-American, as the eXile is, that isn’t ethnic hatred or racism. It’s just hatred of a nationality. And sometimes (though it’s obviously impossible for apes like those at the eXile to understand) that hatred is born of love, the desire to see a people not destroy themselves. eXile types wouldn’t understand that, because almost everything they do helps speed the day when Russia will go the way of the dodo (including helpling Westerners find mail-order brides in Russia). The eXile’s hatred of America is born of a desire to destroy the country that spurned its staff. LR’s hatred of Russia is born of a desire to save it from destruction.

Being so delighted with all this free publicity, LR is inclined to try to reciprocate with a little favor. The eXile expresses a desire to know what the “Real Russia Project” is, since it got a letter about LR from Yuri Mamchur, its “director” (LR must doff her hat to the eXile’s mocking of Director Mamchur’s decorating his e-mail with lots of smiley faces and saying it’s never heard of his project; LR must also admit that eXile did, on the second try, manage to post a picture of a fat ass — nice job, boys, knew you could do it eventually). LR can help shed light on eXile’s question, as her readers know. Mr. Mamchur, as LR has previously reported, works for an organization called the “Discovery Institute” whose purpose is to ban the teaching of evolution in American schools in favor of teaching “intelligent design.” It is the sponsor of the “Real Russia Project,” which by attempting to flatter the Russians with plenty of Russophelia is attempting to ingratiate itself with them so as to seek the abolution of evolution teaching, in favor of “intelligent design,” in Russian schools as well. The organization is mired in all kinds of ethical problems, as LR has previously reported.

LR is sure that eXile will be pleased to know that’s who constitutes its readership.