Lies and Deceit at Russia Blog
On September 19th of this year that venal and mendacious reptile Yuri Mamchur, publisher of the pro-Kremlin propaganda exercise known as Russia Blog and funded by the corrupt Discovery Institute (put his name into the search engine in our sidebar, or Google him, to read our prior commentary about his activities if you are not already familiar), published a post touting a 20% gain on the RTS index of the Russian stock market, to nearly 1,300. Calling the gains a “historic rebound,” Mamchur quoted Andrei Stoyanov of UK Rosbank stating: “The situation looks very positive and suggests very fast growth of Russian stock. The growth in the next several weeks might be in the range of 70-100%.” He quoted Igor Duel of the Russian Bank of Development stating: “Market players expect the average index growth to go up by nearly a third in the next three months.” Not a word was said by Mamchur about how the Kremlin had shut down the markets and then fueled them with piles of its own cash in order to create the illusion of “rebound.”
As you may already know, these predictions didn’t exactly pan out. Would it surprise you to learn that Mamchur wasn’t all that inclined to tell his readers anything about it when they didn’t?
Since the date of Mamchur’s post, you may be interested to know, Russia Blog’s content has generated less than 50 comments. Our posts during that same period have generated more than 600 comments. That means our daily rate of comment is ten times — yes, ten times — higher than Russia Blog’s. What’s more, even though this blog address has only been active for four months now, Google shows it has collected 211 unique links from other blogs in that time. Russia Blog, by contrast, has only collected 252 unique links over the course of more than three years. That means we’re attracting links at the rate of 1.73 per day, while Russia Blog is attracting them at the rate of 0.23 per day — a rate 7.5 times lower than ours and fully consistent with the disparity in comments. And Discovery Institute is paying Mamchur for this “result”!
So, it’s quite clear that the world is obviously getting increasingly wise to the absurd lies that Russia Blog spews forth, thanks in no small part to Russia’s unmasking via its barbaric behavior in Georgia, and that mendacity is nowhere better demonstrated than in regard to Mamchur’s stock market “reporting.” What actually happened over the course of the next six weeks following his “historic rebound” gibberish, of course, was just a bit different from those projections Mamchur breathlessly repeated. In fact, nearly the exact opposite of what Mamchur’s sources predicted actually came to pass. The market plunged below 600, losing a stunning 64% of its value. And indeed the losses could have been far greater had the Kremlin itself not begun using the national savings account to buy up unwanted shares and repeatedly shut down the market whenever it lost inconvenient amounts.
Now do you suppose, beloved and cherished reader, that Mr. Mamchur felt any need to mention any of those facts, or simply to point out just how very wrong Mssrs. Stoyanov and Duel (Russian both, just like Mamchur) turned out to be?
He did not.
Since then Russia Blog has published 24 posts. Only three of them dealt with the stock market, one of the most apocalyptic and crucial issues involving Russia in the past decade. Neither of them acknowledged the 64% loss, nor did either one acknowledge the September 19th drivel spewed out by its nasty little Kremlin collaborator (a Russia citizen who dares to attempt to give Americans advice on how to relate to Russia).
On October 6th, Mamchur admitted that the markets had sustained “perhaps the worst day in their history” and posted a 20% loss. He quoted Alexey Trunyaev of Aton Company stating: “There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t see any real reasons for growth in the near future.” But he did not say a single word about his September 19th post, much less does he link to it, and guess what reason he gives for the October 6th collapse?! Could it possibly have anything to do with any mistakes made by the Kremlin? Of course not! Lo and behold: “Russian analysts blame the crisis on the delayed legislation of America’s $700 billion bailout bill and the Fed’s apparent helplessness to stop the fall.” So it’s America’s fault, of course. And only a coincidence, apparently, that Mamchur is repeating the Kremlin’s position on the issue word for word.
Showing his profound ignorance, as indicated in the screenshot at left, click to enlarge) Mamchur stated: “The ruble-denominated RTS index dropped to 867 points while the dollar-denominated MICEX halted trading when its index dropped by 18.66%.” No, Yuri, Mr. Stock Market Expert (actually, Yuri is a composer and a pseudo tax lawyer) — the MICEX is ruble-denominated, the dollar index is the RTS. Oops.
The topic of the stock market comes up again on Russia Blog, on October 17th. On that date, Mamchur shamelessly violated copyright law by republishing entire articles from the Telegraph and the Washington Post even though Russia Blog, in a novel development, now carries paid advertising and a Paypal donation button (apparently donor support is drying up fast for this Kremlin-rationalizing den of criminal collaborators and they need to cover themselves financially). Hopefully, the copywrite owners will sue and put RB out of our misery. And the point of these articles? To indicate that only Russia’s wealthy elite feel any consequencs of the stock market collapse. Russia proper, it seems, didn’t get a scratch.
Then most recently on October 28th Mamchur wrote: “According to Reuters, The [sic] benchmark RTS index .IRTS [sic] rose 4.77 percent to 575.64 points, broadly in line with the emerging markets benchmark.” He totally ignores the fact that six of the market’s seven indices fell and the oil & gas index rose, despite plunging world oil prices, only because the Kremlin itself was buying selected items among those stocks, as we’ve previously documented (and Mamchur totally ignored the disastrous meltdown on the markets on October 24th, the prior trading day). Once again, Mamchur declines to state the amount by which the market has catastrophically fallen since he wrote about its “historic rebound” and reports only the isolated days of freakish gains instead. Even while quoting a Russian business survey which discovered that “sixty five percent of the Russian entrepreneurs do not hope to grow their businesses next year” and “40% of Russian entrepreneurs are not going to survive until the beginning of 2009” (yes, that’s right, things are so bad in Putin’s Russia that even its own sycophants have to acknowledge it to some extent) Mamchur never once considers the possiblity that his own prior analysis might have been wrong or that the Putin administration might be blameworthy in any way in regard to this shocking economic downturn.
Rather than focus on the stock market, Russia Blog chose to fill its virtual pages during these weeks with movie reviews, pictures of tourist spots, jokes and stories about Vladimir Putin’s exploits as a video judo warrior and proud tiger father. It reminds one inescapably of the way in which Soviet TV used to air the ballet whenever there was an international crisis. It says in the plaintest possible way that Russia Blog simply cannot be trusted.
Not a word on Russia Blog about how the Russian media is concealing the basic facts about the collapse from the eyes of the Russian population. Not a single sentence about any possible misstep either Vladimir Putin or Dima Medvedev might have taken that could have contributed to the crisis.
Not a peep of commentary about the Russian government’s repeated closure of the markets. Not a word about the government’s aggressive purchasing of shares to warp their value, another move aimed at creating a Potemkin bourse.
The whole thing simply swept under the frayed, filthy neo-Soviet carpet. This is what passes for “information” about Russia where Discovery Institute is concerned. And with all that said, Mamchur’s posts are noticably less pathological than they were a year ago, the obvious result of his organization having already been taken to the woodshed by its donors over its outrageous mis-reporting on the Georgia war.
Anyone who has ever donated money to Discovery Institute should be ashamed of this outrage being carried out in their names. All conservatives, in whose name DI purports to operate, should be appalled at the manner in which DI is shamelessly inviting us to sell our souls to the Russia beast. It’s time for DI’s supporters to rise up and put Russia Blog out of our misery, before they are permanetly tarred as collaborators who have undermined American national security.
As bloggers who have endorsed John McCain for president, we call upon them to do so immediately.