Daily Archives: June 3, 2007

The Sunday Photos: YouTube Edition

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow my country down!
Simpsons on the Neo-Soviet Union

The Sunday Photos: How Many Words is this one Worth?

The only thing missing is a target with Litvinenko’s face on it (or Politkovskaya’s, or . . . )

Sex in the Neo-Soviet City

Moscow Does not Believe in Tears tips La Russophobe to the following item from the features section of the Moscow Times:

Following last weekend’s violent attacks on gay rights protesters, Moscow’s largest club, B1 Maximum, will host a pop and rock event called “March of the Sexual Majority” on Wednesday. Its poster has the slogan “For the sake of life on Earth!” and shows a cartoon image of a man and woman holding hands, with a white circle marking the woman’s womb.

The event is organized by Alexei Kortnev, lead singer of the veteran rock band Neschastny Sluchai, which headlines the event, along with actors Mikhail Shirvindt and Igor Zolotovitsky. Among the other participants are Channel One presenter Valdis Pelsh, who is a former member of Neschastny Sluchai, the bands Khoronko Orchestra and Bi-2, and singer Irina Bogushevskaya.

Speaking by telephone on Wednesday, Kortnev said that the timing of the event just over a week after the gay rights protest in central Moscow was a “very sad coincidence” since the concert had been planned four months ago. “We are categorically against the violent putting down of the protest,” he said, calling it a “disgraceful punch-up.”

“I’m not against those people, we’re not against those people,” Kortnev said. “We are against the active popularization of homosexual values among young people.” Such popularization was growing very quickly, he said. “Primarily it’s on the stage and in pop music.”

He complained of “an erosion of the difference between men and girls” and “an assiduous denial of our sexual nature.”

The event will include games related to the topic, such as a contest in which audience members demonstrate their knowledge of how to use a condom correctly. The contest will be called “Stretch out the Pleasure,” Kortnev said, consulting television presenter Pelsh at the other end of the line.

To show that the organizers do not support the official reaction to the gay parade, plans for the concert include a sketch in which gay protesters beat up OMON riot police, Kortnev said.

The event did not receive state funding, Kortnev said, although he added that its aims fit well with President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to increase the birthrate. Tickets cost from 600 rubles ($23) to 4,000 rubles. The Russian Orthodox Church is not involved, he said, pointing out that “half the musicians taking part are atheists.”

The event’s poster had to be changed after a complaint from the Moscow city advertising committee, Kortnev said. It originally showed drawings of a man and a woman with a hint at sexual organs. “They asked us to put on pants, so we did,” the singer said laughing.

The idea of holding concerts to promote heterosexuality first came up about 10 years ago, Kortnev said, but it was only recently that the musicians revived it. They have lined up similar concerts in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. If the B1 Maximum concert goes well, the musicians plan to hold another event at the Malaya Sportivnaya Arena at Luzhniki stadium.

The venue that now holds B1 Maximum was the scene of a protest by Russian Orthodox activists in April 2006. The club, then known as La Guardia, was holding a gay night when protestors blocked the entrance shouting anti-gay slogans and holding icons.

Kortnev said he did not expect gay rights activists to picket the March of the Sexual Majority. “I don’t think that there is anything here that they could protest against.”

Berezovsky Funding Other Russia? If only it were true . . .

The following transcript and audio file is from a dinner in London with Boris Berezovsky which was attended by several journalists, including Jimmy Burns of the Financial Times.

JB The Financial Times’ Jimmy Burns

BB Boris Berezovsky

JB: Mr Berezovsky, you were asked, or the audience was asked before what they felt about you being here in this country. The fact is that you were given refugee status. One of the reasons you were given it was that you felt your life was threatened. My first question is whether you believe your life is in danger in this country and whether it will be in even more danger if you go back to Russia? And secondly whether you are currently funding the Other Russia coalition?

BB: Okay, the first question. Definitely I don’t feel safe. And definitely I don’t want to present myself as a brave man who isn’t afraid of anything. I tell you that my way of life, I didn’t choose in 2000. I chose it much earlier, definitely in 1996, let’s say, when I took the decision to support Yeltsin against Zyuganov. Yet in spite of all polls predicting Zyuganov as a winner in Russia I just thought, well, if he [Yeltsin] is going to lose I will be killed, without any doubt. And not only me, all the people, all this group of people, close to Yeltsin, who decided to support him. It means that this feeling of danger started a long time before I moved to this country. Definitely what happened with Litvinenko created more of a mental problem or a real problem of safety, because it’s very important to understand that really, at least for me, Putin is prepared to give orders to kill anyone that he defines as an enemy of Russia, definitely. I’m not an enemy of Russia, I think that I’m one of the biggest supporters of Russia. Putin is an enemy of Russia; this is really a contradiction. And nevertheless I tell you that I believe in the power of the police here, Scotland Yard and the people who definitely understand that my case is special and they have helped me when I moved to this country in 2001. In 2002 two policemen came to my home and in front of my lawyer said that there is a plot to kill me by Chechens who they think were initiated by Moscow and so … and that’s okay, it’s like I never thought that I took the wrong decision and I am absolutely sure that what I did in 1996 and 1999 and when I took the decision to leave Russia it was my view, my personal will, and I just want to say that I would do the same absolutely if time was turned back.

And the second question. I split my support of revolution in Russia into two subjects. The first one is to help people in the west to understand that Putin is not a friend of the west; that Putin is a real danger to the west. And I spent a lot of money, a lot of time, to help you [the British], if it’s possible to say so, to understand that Putin’s Russia is dangerous. Dangerous for the west. And definitely I put myself as a target to destroy his image in the west. But it’s absolutely open opposition. The second is that I tried to organise a political party in Russia, three of us, Mr Yushenkov, Mr Golovlyov and me, they came to France. They were members of the Russian parliament. And we decided to build a party. Two of them were killed. I am still here. And I understood that time, that this way of open opposition doesn’t work, at least for me. And that’s the reason why I decided to choose the other way. I really support the opposition of Russian sometimes through the fund of civil liberties, which I created in 2000 in New York, in America, and a branch was in Russia. There are now branches in the Ukraine, in Latvia, and definitely I use my time, my money, to support the opposition of Russia.

JB: Are you funding the Other Russia coalition?

BB: Yes.

Here’s what “Other Russia” itself has to say about it:

No Ties with Berezovsky

The Kremlin believes that if you repeat a lie enough at least some people will believe it. (Perhaps more than some if you have total control of the mass media.) But the constant allegations that Other Russia is funded or otherwise supported by exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky grew stale long ago. The latest round of this old game has been started by the Financial Times and an impromptu interview with Berezovsky in London. Based on the noisy and distracted nature of the interview it’s obvious to us Berezovsky did not understand the question being asked at the end, which he took as asking for confirmation that he funded the opposition in Russia. (The audio file is available, but cuts off abruptly after the desired answer is received so we are left in the dark regarding any clarification.)

When he found out what was being said about his remarks, Berezovsky quickly denied supporting Other Russia and denied claiming to have said he did. We are quite certain that had the interviewer added something such as “Kasparov” or otherwise made it clear — perhaps speaking in Russian instead of challenging Berezovsky’s English in a noisy room — this latest farce could have been avoided. Or are we supposed to believe that after repeated denials, Berezovsky would suddenly change his mind and confess to a “crime” he did not commit? And that he would do this one week after he stated in an interview with the Russian National Journal that he had “never given a penny” to Other Russia and had “never been asked to”? Such behavior is well below the journalistic standards of the Financial Times. The Other Russia coalition yet again denies any involvement with Berezovsky, as today’s statements from Garry Kasparov and United Civil Front executive director Denis Bilunov make clear.

Thanks to reader Zaxi, who has pointed to a page from Berezovsky’s blog in Russian in which, on May 28, 2007, two days before the FT article appeared, he viciously attacked Other Russia for allowing the nomination of Bukovsky as a presidential candidate (LR reported on this previously), arguing that it might divide the anti-Putin forces (LR advanced this same argument). He stated that OR was too divided, confused and selfish and declared he would not “support” them any longer (it’s not clear whether this term had anything to do with money). It’s a gross lapse in journalism on the part of the Financial Times that Berezovsky’s blog statement wasn’t even mentioned, much less explored. It is of course quite strange that the FT only published a one-word answer with no followup, so it seems Mr. Berezovsky may have been misquoted, and if so as far as we’re concerned that’s a pity. Other Russia can’t afford to be so choosy as to refuse support from any quarter it can, and Berezovsky should be filling Other Russia’s coffers if he isn’t already. As anyone who knows the first thing about Russia knows only too well, beggars can’t be choosers. It’s a sad commentary on the state of modern Russia that one of its greatest champions of liberty might be a mafia don,but better some opposition than none at all, which is what we would otherwise get from the cowardly, selfish and moronic majority of people of Russia, those who favor the malignant little troll that prowls the Kremlin with 70% plus approval even as he provokes a new cold war, sees 1 million lost from the population every year, AIDS rampant and $2.50/hour average wages. It’s sad, but it doesn’t make it any less of a fact. La Russophobe has no hesitation in saying that she would prefer to see Russia governed by a mafia don rather than a person who spent his whole life in the KGB any day of the week, if that is the only choice she is given. Just as America made common cause with the scum-sucking Bolsheviks in World War II against Germany, it can make common cause with Berezovsky against the evil incarnate of Putin — if that is the only choice the cowardly “good people” of Russia provide.

Just ask “Other Russia” how many people come forth to support them when the risk their lives and freedom holding marches. Ask them how many join hands (or even write letters) to protest when they get their skulls cracked open and thrown into prison for peacefully expressing their dissent. Only after that can anyone judge Mr. Berezovsky, or any other Russian prepared to risk something to stop the second coming of the USSR.

The Sunday Funnies

From Ellustrator, no English required.

This is another real gem from the pen of Ellustrator. Notice how
blithely Putin doesn’t notice he’s vacuuming a corpse. Source: Ellustrator.

This one comes to us from the blogger at Moscow Does not Believe in Tears. It shows one of Russia’s scumbag stormtroopers, known as “OMON” (written “OMOH” in Russian script) standing in front of a mirror, where his organization’s name turns into “HOMO” (as in sexual, meanwhile they are the ones cracking the pink skulls all over Moscow). Source unknown.

Kasparov Shows his Poetic Side

The Russian online newspaper GNI.ru comments on a TV appearance by Garry Kasparov in Russia (you can click through the link to watch a 30-minute video, in Russian of course). From their tone, it’s clear they are Kremlin-friendly and think they’ve found something that will harm Kasparov. This is classic Russian stupidity. First, by attacking him, they’re confirming Putin is vulnerable to him (or he could just be ignored). Second, they seem to have forgotten Putin’s long legacy of obscene remarks, including rough slang and jokes about rape. And third, if this is the best they can do to attack Garry, he’s got to be more rock solid than even LR imagined. Our staff translation:

Kasparov Lets the Expletives Fly

Garry Kasparov effectively refuted adage about talented people being able to do anything well. Having won the world chess championship, Kasparov hasn’t fared as well in the world of high politics. In a live broadcast on St. Petersburg local television channel, the ex-chess player hysterically responded in x-rated manner in response to journalists’ questions. The program, Two on One, has a reputation for generating sensational broadcasts, and draws a large audience.

Kasparov arrived for his interview and began to expound upon his thesis that Vladimir Putin and his team are establishing a dictatorship and unaccountable to the people. One of his interlocutors asked how Kasparov could complain that Mikhail Khodorkovsky was a victim of shadowy government forces when he himself was engaged in shadowy business machinations. At that point, the image of a suave, cultured intellectual which Kasparov has long cultivated seemed to vanish, being replaced by a shrieking, hysterical street punk. The outpour begins at the sixth minute of the interview, bleeped out for the sake of decorum.

Kasparov’s only mistake was in realizing that not even in Russian, with its vast array of filthy terms, can one discover the appropriate language to describe what is going on behind the walls of the Putin Kremlin. We need to see much more of this side of Garry’s character, the combative spunk that indicates he can stand toe to toe with Vladimir “ha-ha rape is so funny” Putin and give as good as he gets. That’s something Grigory “milquetoast” Yavlinsky could never manage, and it’s a key reason that he disappeared from the radar. And Russia needs to invent some new “mat” that will do justice to the likes of that malignant little troll scurrying about in the Kremlin.

Annals of Shamapova

We continue to see Maria Sharapova as being the luckiest human being on the face of the earth. Her good fortune in the draw at the French Open this week is quite mind-bloggling.

The four most dangerous players on the tour right now are Justinne Henin Hardenne (world #1), Serena Williams (winner of the first grand slam this year, in Australia), her sister Venus Williams (who set the record in her second match for the fastest serve ever struck by a woman in a main-draw match, at 128 mph easily rivaling that of many male professionals), and the hottest player on the tour at the moment, Serbian Jelena Yankovic (#1 on the 2007 calendar year rankings).

And guess what? Every single one of these four players was placed on the opposite side of the French Open draw from Shamapova. To reach the finals, the only significant players Shampova’d need to beat would be Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, the greatest choke player in the history of the sport, especially on her home turf at Stade Roland Garros, and fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is beginning to rival Mauresmo for that title having lost all four of the finals events she’s reached on tour this year.

World #2 Shamapova was placed in position where, assuming Mauresmo choked and lost (which she already has done, going out in her third match in straight sets to a Czech not ranked in the world’s top 20), Shamapova could easily end up facing another lame Russian pretender in three of her first five matches and, at most, have to play a single serious non-Russian opponent — and only upon reaching the finals, where she’d face a player who had just had to slug it out against at least one of the four most dangerous women in the event, maybe more.

This comes on the heels of being somehow magically air-lifted out of Siberia, handed a U.S. green card (on who knows what basis) and then being given free tennis lessons at the world’s #1 academy in Florida (among other places). She’s the ultimate personification of the Russian tradition of form over substance, illusion over reality, pretending failure is success.

June 2, 2007 — Contents


(1) Crazed Putin on the Quixotic Warpath

(2) Russians on Democracy via DAN

(3) Yet Another Humiliating Failing Grade for Russia

(4) Annals of Russian Nuclear Waste . . . ummm . . . uh oh . . .

(5) USDOS on Neo-Soviet Russia

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