La Russophobe has received the following letter from the goons at Russia Blog as a comment to her most recent Sunday Funnies post (unfortunately, it wasn’t actually about that post, but rather a response to a prior post exposing an error on Russia Blog involving a Russian film at the Academy Awards). Following is her response:
Dear Kim Zigfield/Oliver Bronson/Lenard Daulton,
We’re flattered by all the attention you’ve lavished on Russia Blog lately, and we’re glad we don’t have to seek it out by hurling insults or calling anyone who disagrees with us schoolyard names. In fact, we noticed from “Lenard’s” comment on our Simpsons post that someone didn’t appreciate our joke about the “neo Soviet Union”.
I noticed that you claimed that your site received 10,000 visitors last month. That’s nice, we get about 2,000 visitors everyday, with 4,000 page views. We get a lot more comments from real live human beings as well.
As for 9 Rota, I did write about its box office record-setting ($20 million – more than double its budget) box office and DVD ($2 million) receipts in Russia, back in March 2006. You must have missed it.
I know that you would simply claim that these numbers are fake or paid for, since I got them from the Russian press, but there it is.
We have received many comments from fans of this film outside of Russia, and 9 Rota is available on DVD with English subtitles from Amazon.com. Our post on the Russian miniseries Brigada also received comments from all over the world, not just Russians.
Again, as with my statement to you that I couldn’t possibly fact check every single COMMENT on Russia Blog (which you immediately distorted into a confession that I don’t fact check posts), it seems you are distorting what we actually said, which is that 9 Rota was Russia’s nominee to be submitted in the category of Best Foreign Film.
BTW, Bondarchuk’s follow up movie, Zhara, also was a smash hit at the Russian box office. I watched it in Moscow, right after I had some powdered sugar in my tea. The young star of that movie, Timati, has a hit hip hop album called Black Star. In one of his songs, he slams Putin by name. Personally, Black Star is my favorite Russian CD. But we know from reading your blog that Russians are all racists and there is no freedom of speech in Russia, right?
(a real person using his real name :)
Gosh, I guess I should be flattered by the attention of such a big, powerful blog as Russia Blog. Am I really so important as to deserve such a long letter? If so, then I’ve really arrived! Thanks for the compliment!
Let’s clear up a few basic things first, then I’ll address the substance of your comment.
Number one, my name is spelled “Zigfeld” not “Zigfield.” That’s a matter of public record. Very sloppy of you, Charlie.
Number two, your comment is spam. If you wanted to comment on our post about your claims concerning this Russian film, you should have done so on that post. I request that you not spam my blog again.
Number three, your comment is the height of hypocrisy. You’ve disallowed me from commenting on your blog (because you’re a pathetic coward) yet you feel you have a right to leave comments on my blog (as you can see, I have no problem publishing them even more prominently than you placed them). Even more hypocritical is your statement about “hurling insults or calling anyone who disagrees with us schoolyard names.” Can’t you see that you’re doing exactly the same thing yourself? You’re repeating the ridiculous, paranoid statements of Mike Averko about “Oliver Bronsen” which are fired at us as personal insults even while claiming this practice is wrong. Hypocrisy AND paranoia! Really quite an impressive neo-Soviet display. Stick to the facts, can’t you Charlie? Set a good example. Maybe we’ll be able to learn something from you! By the way, it’s rather odd that you would repeat Mike Averko’s charges since, as we understand it, you’ve fired him. If that’s true, all of us here at LR congratulate you on that decision, and admire it greatly. We look forward to more such brilliant moves in the future.
Number four, when you say you’re “flattered by all the attention you’ve lavished on Russia Blog lately”, I say you’re lying, not once but twice. I say that Russia Blog has not received a lot of attention on this blog recently, its content has been discussed three times in the last six months amid hundreds and hundreds of posts, nothing for a blog with so much traffic as you claim and far less than we’ve discussed other blogs, such as Robert Amsterdam and David McDuff. I also say you’re not “flattered” (implying happy) but annoyed and critical. In other words, this is more of the loose, unsourced drivel that readers have come to expect from Russia Blog. Do you stand behind your statements?
Number five, your comment arrived at quite a convenient moment since, as you can see from the post before this one, LR has been working on fleshing out the data concerning traffic to blogs and explained it, along with lots of other interesting information about the blogosphere, proving once again that it’s LR who occupies the leadership position in this universe. Happy reading! What you seem to overlook when you mention your traffic is that before this post nobody could have any idea what traffic you have because you don’t have the guts to put a public counter on your blog. As you can see from the data, our two blogs have basically the same number of blogs linking to them, and I have far more links from my group of blogs than you have from yours. Given the fact that you are financed by a substantial organization and LR is not, and given the fact that your blog has had far more time to generate interest than mine, I’d say my performance is far more impressive than yours. But that’s for readers to decide, and I’ve said from the beginning that my only goal is document facts, not to attract traffic. I leave you to becoming the McDonald’s of Russia Blogs, if that’s your goal you’re welcome to it. I sure can’t hope to compete with you in spending money on the blog, and I don’t want to. I’d also point out that since I have far more legitimate traffic than any other blog of our kind, your gratuitous comment disparaging my traffic is also an attack on all the bloggers beneath me. Since I think every single one of them operates a better blog than yours, I’m offended on their behalf. Meanwhile, I’d like to issue you a challenge: Post a public counter, and publish the data as to how much time an average Russia Blog reader spends at your blog, as I’ve previously done. You see, I think you are using commercial traffic generation tactics to lure in unsuspecting visitors from the Internet, people who have no real interest in what you are doing and who leave virtually as soon as they arrive (the same thing English Russia does). But I’d be happy to be proved wrong. I’d like to see as much interest as possible generated in the nightmare that is becoming neo-Soviet Russia. Needless to say, it must be rather annoying to your accountants at Russia blog that LR has basically the same cash valuation as the one they pay big bucks to produce, so I can understand your annoyance.
Number six, your statement about the comments your blog has received is bizarre, in fact hallucinatory. Between February 20th and today, the last two weeks, Russia blog has posted 11 times. Those 11 posts have to date generated 23 comments, including four posts with zero comments. That’s an average of two comments each. If you think that’s impressive for a blog with 2,000 visits per day, you’re even more of a psychopath than I thought. What’s more, I’ve said from the beginning that it isn’t the purpose of this blog to generate comments. As a gesture of loyalty to my blog host, I’ve made it very difficult for anyone to comment on the blog, they have to register both Blogger first. This is a matter of public record, and you are highly dishonest to fail to mention it. It’s also highly disingenuous for you to fail to mention that posts written by me on your blog set records for comments, and that there are many posts on this blog that have dozens of comments. Finally, you might like to know that, just for instance, Michelle Malkin has over 100,000 visitors to her blog each day and not a single comment. She doesn’t allow them. Maybe you think that proves your blog is more “successful” than hers. If so, your head needs work, dude.
Now, as for the substance of your comment: As for Russia Blog’s statement about “Ninth Company,” not only are its words are clearly quoted in my post, I posted a SCREEN SHOT of your words and linked to them. Here is what you wrote:
“join us for a screening of one of the films nominated for the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, 9th Company – a Russian blockbuster about the Soviet war in Afghanistan”
In fact, the film was NOT “nominated for the 2007 Oscar” it was nominated for a nomination. It was then rejected. Your statement was flatly false. I know that this is inconsistent with your prior post, I so stated in my post. This proves you knew the truth, yet you hyped your film with a dishonest statement anyway, making things worse not better. You really ought to have actually read what I wrote before commenting on it. Your statement is unquestionably false and, as far as we can tell, you have neither apologized nor corrected, but rather attempted to rationalize and explain. Shame on you, Charlie. It’s clear to us that Russia blog won’t stand behind the statements it makes and that nobody can rely on them. Why can’t you just say: “Russia Blog was wrong and apologizes for the error” and thank me for helpfully pointing it out to you?
As for your documenting of your claim about “Ninth Company being a blockbuster (a) I missed this because you didn’t link to it in the post LR was commenting on (you might consider linking to your prior posts when you discuss the same issue again, it’s considered standard practice in the blogging industry — see, you’d put the link behind the word “blockbuster” in your text, cool how that works isn’t it?) and (b) the post you link to doesn’t contain any source material for your claim about the box office receipts (I’ve noticed that it’s a disturbing pattern at Russia Blog that you don’t link to source material to support your factual claims) and neither does your letter, and (c) if you think that generating $20 million in box-office reciepts is justification for calling a movie a “blockbuster” it’s clear proof that you need to buck up your standards a bit. Which I’ve been saying for quite some time now, of course. Please post a link to the source material you relied on for the box office receipts of “Ninth Company.” If it was the Russian press as you say, most people know that the Russian press is often unreliable (being controlled by the state and for sale to the highest bidder) so the source material is even more crucial in that case. Otherwise, readers can’t possibly judge whether your statement is reliable or not.
I’m delighted to know about the “Black Star” CD. Not being a fan of rap music, I hadn’t heard of it. I notice you have a post up on Russia Blog right now which mentions Timati. Oddly, though, you don’t quote his statement about Putin, instead you quote him saying ” You can’t understand Russia with [your] mind, You can only believe in it and trust it.” That sounds like apologizing for Putin, not calling for a challenge to him. To me, it sounds like propaganda, and maybe a misrepresentation of Timati’s position. Won’t you please write a new post and quote Timati on Putin. We’d love to link to it!
As for your statement that LR has written “Russians are all racists and there is no freedom of speech in Russia,” I challenge you to document your claim. It’s quite outrageous that you don’t try to quote LR exactly and link to the statement, very unprofessional, exactly what readers have come to expect from Russia Blog. LR has never stated that “Russians are all racists” nor have I. But we’ve certainly said that Russia is an overwhelming racist society and that Russians who will stand against racism are a tiny minority. LR has never stated that “there is no freedom of speech in Russia.” Anna Politikovskaya spoke freely. But she wasn’t allowed to reach a major audience, and she was killed for her trouble. LR has written that freedom of speech is seriously endangered in Russia, not dead, and that is why it is urgent to fight against the Kremlin’s efforts to further curtail it. Charlie, if you can’t even try to fairly characterize what LR has said, how dare you complain that we are unfair to anybody or suggest that we should change our ways? Shame on you, dear.
Finally, a few questions for you Charlie:
(a) Do you personally believe that the teaching of intelligent design should replace the teaching of evolution in Russian schools?
(b) Did Discovery Institute have any involvement, of any kind, in the recent lawsuit by a Russian student to ban the teaching of evolution in Russian schools?
(c) Does Discovery Institute or the Real Russia Project receive any funding from any entity connected to the Russian government, including Russia Today television?
(d) We can’t find anybody who’s ever heard about the Russian university that Yuri Mamchur says he graduated from. Could you please tell us more about it? Also, please tell us what university he is pursuing his graduate degree at, and how far along he is. Georgtown University has told us that “Yuri Y. Mamchur was enrolled in a Non-degree Program through the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University during the Spring semester of 2004″ but we can’t find out anything about his actual degree work as touted by Discovery Institute
(f) Why is Discovery Institute funding Russia Blog a/k/a The Real Russia Project? Is it using your blog’s drone of Russophelia to try to ingratiate itself with Russians so that it can influence them to ban the teaching of evolution?
We’ll be happy to post your answers here (as a comment to this post, not some other one) or to read them on Russia Blog.
Very truly yours,
PS: The affinity of people at Russia Blog to decorate their messages with smiley faces has recently been ridiculed by the eXile. Maybe you might want to think about trying to present a slightly more serious image for your blog if you want to be taken seriously. On the other hand, this blog has also been ridiculed by the eXile, so welcome to the club! Maybe it means you are on the right track after all!
PPS: What do you mean by referring to yourself as a “real person” using your “real name”? Are you implying that Kim Zigfeld isn’t a real person using her real name.?If so, do have the courage to say so clearly, and state the basis for your claim. Then, are you implying that you have some kind of problem with certain posters on this blog being anonymous, which they certainly are? If so, you might want to explore the Russian media. There are many reporters at major Russian newspapers who are anonymous. Joe Klein anonymously wrote “Primary Colors.” Alexander Pope anonymously wrote “Essay on Man.” History is chock full of such examples. Come to think of it, the eXile’s recent posts about LR were anonymous and relied on anonymous sources (oddly, Yuri Mamchur seems to have approved of that). Are you so unable to deal with the substance of our comments about Russia Blog that you have to try to change the subject? If so, we’re delighted. That’s one of the reasons we allow anonymity on this blog! If you are really committed to full public disclosure, I assume you won’t hesitate to answer the background questions I’ve asked above. For your information, another reason that some authors rely on anonymity is to avoid artificially inflating the importance of their views. For instance, Joe Klein is a political reporter, and if he had disclosed that fact then it might have artificially inflated the sales of “Primary Colors” and caused people to judge it beyond its four corners. In that way, being anonymous is more honest than being public. It forces readers to judge your work based on its own merit and nothing more. LR is just a bunch of ordinary people, not claiming to be backed up by any “institute” like you are, putting my views out there for what they are worth, and always sourcing them to published material. That’s what blogs are for. You might be interested to know that senior Russian blogger Andy Young called the effort by eXile to “discover our true identity” a “demented” enterprise (as you know, Yuri Mamchur participated in it). You conceal lots of information about your blog from readers, and are far more anonymous than LR in many ways. Certainly, the facts you report are far, far less reliable.
PPS: If you really do have a problem with anonymity, then presumably you’ll ban all anonymous comments on your blog in the future, and require authentication with a picture ID. Right?