EDITORIAL: Russia’s Total, Olympian, Collapse


Russia’s Total, Olympian, Collapse

Even for a country whose history is littered with as many humiliating, disgraceful moments as Russia’s, the 2010 Winter Olympics were a startling new low.  As we’ve often said, sport is a perfect metaphor for wider failure on the part of Russia’s incompetent Kremlin, and there are signs of a silver lining for Russia in this disaster:  The government is catching plenty of flak from outraged, humiliated citizens, who at least for a few moments can see their naked emperor in all his inglorious shame, despite furious neo-Soviet attempts to lie, rationalize and otherwise explain away this pathetic failure.  All intelligent Russians are asking:  If the Kremlin has bungled Olympics preparation this badly, isn’t it possible it is bungling other things as well, things we don’t know about because the Kremlin won’t say? Whether Russians will carry this through to regime change is, of course, anybody’s guess.

Russians bragged about their expectation of a whopping 30 medals at the Vancouver Olympiad.  In the last go-round, 2006 in Italy, Russia had collected 22 medals, 8 of them gold, so arrogant, preening Russians were expecting more than a one-third improvement on the way to the Sochi games of 2014 that Russia, if the world continues its insanity, will host.  It sounded like crazily demented bluster to many of us, but we gave Russia the benefit of the doubt and waited to be impressed as Russia walked the walk.  We remained silent.

Yet, when the dust had settled, Russian athletes clutched just 15 total medals, only 3 of them gold, a one-third reduction in total medals, the exact opposite of what Russians had claimed would occur, and a two-thirds reduction in gold medals.  The USA, by contrast, won 25 medals in 2006, and improved to a whopping, devastating 37 medals in Vancouver, significantly enhancing its own medal count without any advance bluster.  In other words, it was the USA, not Russia, that ended the games actually doing what Russia had claimed, holding more than 30 Olympic medals.  Ouch.

Russia did not even make the top 10 in the gold medal count, coming in at #11,  and placed 6th in the total medal count — Russian officials had openly admitted that anything worse than 4th place would have meant absolute failure for Russia at the games. The US finished in dominant first place in the count, with three times more gold medals and more than twice as many total medals as Russia. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

And even if Russia had actually won the 30 or more medals it planned on (something neither Russia nor the USSR had ever done), the Olympiad would still have resulted in shame and disgrace for Russia beyond the worst stereotypes imaginable.  One need look no further than the appalling misconduct and failure of Russian figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko to see the evidence.

Touted as one of Russia’s leading sportsmen, Plushenko engaged in shockingly vulgar taunting of his American rival before the medal contest was waged, lost, then made things even worse by shabbily attacking the victorious American like a thug from the gutter.  Plushenko claimed that the American did not deserve to win gold because he did not perform a “quadruple” spin during his routine, but in fact the evidence shows with absolute clarity that long before the contest was staged the judges had already decided that the showy move was not essential to win.  Even Russian experts agreed that Plushenko’s performance was inferior to the American. Faced with this proof, Plushenko cracked up completely and awarded himself a “platinum medal.”  The media reaction was beyond scathing (phrases like “sore loser” and “whiny little bitch” were flying).

Plushenko was simply out-skated by his American opponent, and bitterly lashed out, unable to accept reality. And why should he, when his own government supported his shocking, vulgar antics.  KGB strongman Vladimir Putin himself lashed out at the “anti-Russian” judges who “stole” Plushenko’s victory.  Pravda was even more crude and pathetic.  We find it genuinely sad that Russians can’t understand how these petty, neo-Soviet antics make them appear before a slack-jawed world.  It seems the Russian dictionary lacks an entry under “sportsmanship.” Maybe, the word doesn’t even exist in the Russian language.

And then it got worse. Oh, so very much worse.

Plushenko, at least, took home a silver medal.  In Russia’s most prized event, pairs figure skating, Russia did not manage any medal at all and the female half of its most potent team was . . . Japanese!  In ice dancing, Russia settled for a pathetic bronze medal while watching Americans and Canadians take silver and gold respectively with performances that left the Russian pair eating dust.

There was more failure for Russia across the board in Vancouver, and before the first week was even out there was vicious Stalinesque sniping back home looking for scapegoats after a prediction had been made that Russia would take down 30 medals and had collected only a measly four.  Even we Russophobes were embarrassed for Russia by Plushenko’s cowardly, childish behavior.

Russia failed to take any medal in the individual biathalon events, previously a Russian strong point, and its athletes blamed the weather.  It was non-competitive in ladies figure skating, and it lost an early men’s match in hockey to Slovakia.  Its women’s hockey team was brutally crushed by the United States and then by tiny Finland and then by even tinier Switzerland.  Yes, Switzerland beat Russia in hockey.  Ouch.  By the end of the first week, Russian athletes had humiliated themselves in every event where they were viewed as highly competitive, every event that Russians held in highest regard, and failed to take any gold medal in figure skating for the first time in half a century.

Before his big match with Canada, Russia’s top Olympian, hockey star Alex Ovechkin, stated:  “We have probably the best country in the world. Everything is the best: hockey players, cars, girls.” Now nobody, of course, can argue that the Lada, Volga and Zhiguli are far superior to the Mercedez, Lexus and Corvette.  But as for the hockey players, it turned out that Ovechkin had spoken too soon.

In the middle of the second week of the Olympiad, the Russian men’s hockey team faced Canada in a quarter-finals elimination match. For only the second time in the past half century, the Russia side allowed four goals in a single period, the first. By the end of the second, Canada’s advantage was even larger than it had been after that historic first, up 4 goals compared to 3.  The game had become an utter rout as Canada overwhelmed the hapless Russians in checking, muscling them off the puck and driving it again and again past the clueless Russian goalie.  Russia never closed the four-goal gap, ultimately getting blown off the ice in one of the country’s most humiliating athletic defeats in its entire history.

It was only the second time in half a century that Russia had lost to Canada at the Olympics in hockey.  Russia had been out-shot 28-42.  An ocean of red-shirted Canadian fans in the stands went wild with jubilation. Russia would have no medal at all when, weeks before, its nationalists had arrogantly predicted gold.  One dejected Russian player called it the country’s worst sport’s perfomance ever.  The Wall Street Journal quoted Anton Berdov, a 22-year-old producer of television commercials, analyzing the debacle:   “Maybe it’s because we’re Russians.  For two years our guys are world champions, so they think they’re stars and lose their team spirit. It’s unbelievable, but this is the Russian mentality.”

Finally, so-called “president” Dima Medvedev put a sour cherry on this fetid sundae of failure by refusing to attend the closing ceremonies to claim the Olympic flag for Sochi, yet another shocking display of childish misconduct.

There is simply no way that Russia’s performance in the run-up to the Olympics it will host could have been any worse.  Russia disgraced itself before the eyes of a slack-jawed world in every way imaginable, setting historic records for failure and poor sportsmanship, and it crawled away from the games with its tail between its legs.

This is what Vladimir Putin hath wrought.  If Russians make him president for life, this is their future. The choice is theirs to make.

72 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia’s Total, Olympian, Collapse

  1. A country’s overall value is not necessarily that strongly tied to sports performance. I know some think it is a very firm indicator of other things but I’m thinking it may not be quite as black and white as all that, even if true in general. India and France here come to mind. If you can’t stand the British well they invented most sports. Are they the world’s best country? Some would disagree. It must be said that the Russians may now be paying for the very high and silly emphasis that THEY placed on sports during the Soviet period. In other words they started it and some on this blog may be finishing it.

    • Of course sport is not necessarily an indicator of the overall performance of a country. In the case of Russia, it definitely is. This is because the Russians have been traditionally very strong in winter sports and they have made a big fuzz over their expected success, as LR points out rightly. So if the result is so poor, one can ask what the reason is.

      My guess: They don’t put the mone y into sports any more, as they used in Siviet Union, and the involved bureaucrats prefer to steal the remaning budget.

  2. Sergey Shelukhin

    Actually your link shows Russia as 6th, but that’s not the point. I realise yu LR, too, long for glorious Soviet past, when in the US team called beating Soviet team a “miracle” still remembered 30 years after! With glorious American medal count you cannot help but notice on thing – this medal count finally, 5 games after USSR collapsed, let Americans overcome the Soviet total medal count; that of course not counting the Russian medals, if you add these to USSR ones, US is still far behind. Bearing all that in mind, I cannot but agree with you wholeheartedly, LR – what is Putin doing with the country? This shame and stark humiliation we can bear no more! We want back our full Iron Curtain, suppression of free speech and planned economy – maybe then we’ll start dominating in hockey again. Thanks for support in this noble cause, LR :)


    Actually, you illiterate GOON, we WROTE that Russia was 11th in GOLD MEDALS and 6th overall. If you can’t read, you probably should not try to write!

    As for the rest of your incoherent gibberish, we feel your pain.

    • Yep, Sergey, it’s true; the USSR’s self image depended on what the USA thought of it. Well done! Ever imagined what the world would be like if it were the other way round?

    • It’s all very simple. It was easy for professionals on the state payroll to beat college students in hockey, figure skating, skiing, you name it. But when professionals are officially allowed, and other country send their professionals too, then of course it’s a different story.

      Sports and medals are not really important. But Russia chose to make it important by unleashing an ugly super-aggressive “patriotic” campaign. Is there a normal country where the prime minister would make himself a judge of figure skating? I realize that Putin is an ugly thug, but still, doesn’t he have anything more important to do?

      • Sergey Shelukhin

        Care to check who won, for example, world championships after professionals were allowed in the 70ies? Mostly USSR again!
        My point was actually that LR again shows him/herself as a moron – “Russia performed bad at the Olympics therefore Putin sucks”. So, does s/he want Russia to go back to times where we performed best at the Olympics? Yet another irrelevant rant from LR!

        • As for Olympics, professionals were allowed for the first time in the 90’s not 70’s. As for world championships, in hockey, for example, the NHL players usually did not play.

          The USSR always had good professional players disguised as amateurs, and of course they had advantage. My point was, however, that the whole thing became really competitive after other countries started sending professionals too

        • Hey Sergey S. why only go backwards to the 70’s – but no need for you to answer this question, as it is normal for you Soviet commo’s, not to answer the comment raised as it refers to the current times – instead why not go back to the 30’s, when your beloved country was ‘zilch’ in any sporting field.

  3. Triumph of the U.S.A. over Russia in the Winter Olympics is a VERY new thing if you have not checked history; in fact it´s so new we are referring to a thing that came with the XXI century.

    [Note that i am strictly referring to Russia in winter olympics and not the former USSR; the former Soviet sports machinery did a short work of the U.S. in winter games, as it did in the vast majority of the summer games].

    And you are wrong: this is not the worst Russian performance in Winter Olympics; the lowest low so far happened at Salt Lake City 2002, where only 13 medals were won.

    Yes, this [2010] is a poor Russian performance in winter olympics, but let me tell you that your “celebration” of America´s first place on the medal table in Vancouver is just about as ridiculous, arrogant, petulant, childish, and stupid as all those promises and lies from the Russian bureaucrats and/or Plushenko´s behavior at the competition. So in the end, you are not that different from those abhorrent Russian you dislike so much.

    Your utilization of math to serve your purposes here is likewise funny, quote:

    “The US finished in dominant first place in the count, with three times more gold medals and more than twice as many total medals as Russia. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.”

    LOL! Twice as many total medals as Russia…yeah, yeah, correct, and i do praise Americas´performance, but now that you seem to be fond of math, America must work harder to surpass what the USSR did at Innsbruck 1976, with 27 medals against 7 American medal…almost 4 times as many total medals as the U.S.A., or what about the Calgary games in 1988, 29 Soviet medals against 6 American medals, nearly 5 times as many total medals as America!!!!

    And Russia [after the soviet break up] surpassed the U.S. at Lillehammer 94 and Nagano 98.

    Well done for America at Vancouver, awful Russian performance.

    But i know triumph over Russia at the Winter games is so new its like a new toy for you and that´s why you lose control of your emotions when making your editorials.

    • Come on make up your mind. Instead of saying as in your 2nd paragraph “Note that i am strictly referring to Russia in winter olympics and not the former USSR” and then giving the total lie in the 7th paragraph by saying “America must work harder to surpass what the USSR did at Innsbruck 1976,”. Now come on you lying dodo this blog is about your beloved present day ruSSia!, and not your (again) beloved uSSr.

      When the chips are down, don’t lie to concoct an image that seems to support your tunnel vision, as by doing so you wrongly assume that the average anti ruSSia or anti uSSr person is dumber then you. Nothing, but nothing can be so far from the truth.

      The truth, in fact, is the exact opposite baboon boy, so I suggest that it is YOU who should not lose control of your emotions when replying to La Russophobe’s comments.

      Finally I find it ridiculous that you criticize La Russophobe’s use of maths in counting the medals won and then you go and do the exact same thing. A classic example of the age old communists ” ‘do as I say and not as I do’ or better still ‘one rule for us and another for you’ “.

  4. RV wrote:
    [Is there a normal country where the prime minister would make himself a judge of figure skating?]

    Of course not. Only American Presidents from Texas have the competency to judge figure skating:


    Sale, Pelletier share gold with Russian pair

    In Washington, President Bush said, “I do think it’s the right thing to award two gold medals for the skaters.”

  5. Moreover, where did Putin act as a figure skaitng judge? Here is what he actually wrote in his telegram:

    «Примите искренние поздравления с великолепным выступлением на XXI Олимпийских зимних играх — Ваше «серебро» стоит «золота». Вы смогли преодолеть все трудности и преграды, совершили смелый, решительный поступок — с блеском вернулись в большой спорт, показали сложнейшую программу на льду Ванкувера. Любители фигурного катания, все российские болельщики искренне восхищаются Вашим отточенным мастерством и безукоризненным художественным вкусом, отдают должное присущим Вам настоящим бойцовским качествам, мужеству и воле к победе. Желаю успехов, благополучия и всего самого доброго. Молодец!»,

    “I would like to sincerely congratulate you on the great Olympic performance — your silver is worth gold. You were able to overcome all the difficulties and obstacles in your brave comeback to big sports competition and performed an extremely complicated program on the Vancouver ice. Fans of figure skating, all Russian fans truly admire your well-honed skills and impeccable artistic taste, and pay tribute to your fighting spirit, courage and the will to win. I wish you success, prosperity and all the best. Well done! ”

    This is a very typical telegram that congratulates athletes, actors, artists etc for their accomplishments. Where did Putin pass any judgment on figure skating? When he called Plushenko’s program “artistic and well-honed”? What’s so inappropriate about it?

    Plushenko came back to the sport after almost 4 years of retirement and in a few months whipped himself into a great form that allowed him to mount two great mistake-free programs and to win a silver medal, making his total to be 1 gold and 2 silver medals over three Olympics. It is an unprecedented accomplishment in modern men’s skating. Thus, Plushenko’s medal is indeed worth gold. The expression “is worth gold” is very common in the Russian language, especially when talking about sports. For example:


    Russia’s “Bronze in Euro 2008 is Worth Gold

    STRASBOURG, June 27 – RIA Novosti. “Bronze” of the soccer team at Euro 2008 is worth “gold”, said Vice Speaker of the PACE, the head of the International Committee of the Federation Council Mikhail Margelov. “I am proud of our players, and Guus Hiddink is the best coach of our time”.



    Winning 4 of 5 matches, host Russia sensationally won second place in the “Grand Prix” -2009. And could take and the first – had they converted one of the two matchballs in the game with Brazil. This was the first official tournament of our team under the guidance of new coach Vladimir Kuzyutkina. SUCH SILVER IS WORTH GOLD.

    But where did Putin say that Lysicek didn’t deserve his gold? The problem here is that sport coverage is so politicised and mean-spirited here in USA that the US media takes everything in this mean spirit, even standard and innocent Russian expressions.

    • Well, I don’t know what a “typical telegram” congratulating actors looks. I’ve never sent pr received one. I am not used to the idea that the government congratulates actors with anything, and if the White House sends telegrams, they would be private. Of course there are a few exceptions every year for 3 or 5 people getting awards at the Kennedy Center.

      But when Putin says that “silver” is worth as much as “gold,” he acts as a judge awarding the first place to the sore loser who actually was second.

      Last time I checked, the second place is not the same as the first. It’s worse. The fact that other Russian morons say this on other occasions does not change this.

      By the way, what makes you such an expert on the Russian language to tell us what this expression means? Are you a trained professional linguist? Or maybe you are something else?

      • Here in Croatia the government also anually awards the best performing sportsmen or sports teams with money. The range of the awards is 4000 to 30000 euros per person. Not much, but it’s still a recognition of their sporting efforts and their contribution to Croatia’s popularity abroad, since succesful sportsmen are a good advertisement for a country.

        And there’s nothing unusual about the phrase “stoit zolota” ie. “worth of gold”. It is a phrase used in everyday speech in Slavic countries, meaning something very valuable. The Croatian cognate would be “zlata vrijedan”(zlato=zoloto=gold).
        In Croatian and Czech there is also “he/she has hands of gold” meaning he/she’s a very skilled person. “A golden man”, “a golden child” is a good person etc.

  6. RuSSians are born to lose. But they are champions to start wars, rape women and children and to drink vodka.

    • This is not right at all: finnish abos are the world champions in drinking vodka, and yankees from Pindostan (Russian name for US) started more wars than any country. As far as rapes concerned, you poor guy… Never come to Russia again.

      • The only vodka drinkers in Finland are RuSSian refugees (now prostitutes and criminals) who escaped poor RuSSia, Stalin and during the last 10 years, SS-Putler. Eventhough RuSSians are extremely hated fascists in Finland. You are hated everywhere, you insane murderers and rapers.

        RuSSia in Vancouver was again catastrophere. But maybe SS-Putler, that bald dwarf who likes to kiss young boys in public, can suck your and Arthuretta’s (our Kremlin friend) dick. RuSSians are born to lose.

        • It’s known that Finns aren’t fond of Russians, yet for some reason you’ve been letting your governments have a very submissive relationship with the Soviet Union, and then Russia. The cowardly and appeasing attitude towards Russia shown by France, Germany and Italy has often been called the “Finlandization” of European foreign policy. Finland needs to put an end to that.

          • You’re right. Fortunately, Finland will have a new government in 2011 and Finland’s very RuSSian-friendly president Mrs. Tarja Halonen will finish in the beginning of 2012. “Finlandization” in Finland will be over very soon. Everybody who thought that vodka-drinking murderers and rapers could change don’t think that anymore. Everybody have seen SS-Putler and they remember RuSSian aggression in Georgia in 2008.

            The only “people” who think that the Finns like RuSSians, are RuSSians.

            • Maurizio Palotta

              Anybody who puts the word people in quotations like you did (“people”) to describe a nation, and speaks about a nation with such level of hate is just as bad of a Nazi.

              • If you like RuSSians that much Finland can send you unemployed, lazy vodka-drinking RuSSian refugees to contaminate your beautiful country (suppose you’re an Italian). You will get some more criminals and prostitutes. Finland don’t need and don’t want RuSSians to stay in Finland, if Italy wants Finland can send you them to Italy because they don’t want to go back to RuSSia. Prego mille !

            • Fortunately, Ari’s posts here are not representative of his country. I’ve visited Helsinki recently, and the attitude towards Russian is extremely good and hospitable, despite the old grudges. The Finns, in the main, have been able to turn the page and to make Helsinki and the rest of the country a wonderful place for the Russians to visit and to do business.

              • Well, when I visited Helsinki, and regions north, I found exactly the opposite AT.

                Finns intensely dislike the Russians, especially the immigrants who bring nothing but social problems with them. There are many historical reasons for this, such as over 100 years of Russian occupation, the Russian invasion of 1939-40 and the resulting ethnic cleansing of the Finnish population of Karelia etc.

                “International poll: Anti-Russian sentiment runs very strong in Finland
                Only Kosovo has more negative attitude

                An extensive poll conducted by Gallup International reveals that attitudes toward Russia are exceptionally negative in Finland. In Europe, the Finns’ negative perception of Russia is exceeded only by residents of Kosovo.
                The study, which focused on global attitudes toward the members of the G-8 group of industrialised countries, involved interviews with more than 50,000 people, including 621 Finns.

                In other countries as well, Russia appeared to be the least popular G-8 country globally: only 31% of all respondents took a positive view of Russia. The United States was the second-least-popular, with just 40% of respondents indicating a positive view.
                Nevertheless, the Finns’ anti-Russian sentiment was in a class of its own. Differences with other Western countries in Europe, and even with former Soviet satellites, were considerable.

                In Finland 62% of respondents had a “very negative” or “fairly negative” view of Russia. Coming behind Finland were the Czech Republic and Switzerland, where the figure was 42%.
                The only place in Europe where attitudes toward Russia were even more negative was Kosovo – 73%. Serbia is seen as a traditional enemy by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians, and Russia has been Serbia’s supporter in recent conflicts.

                Just nine percent of Finns say that they have a very positive or fairly positive attitude toward Russia. This was matched only by Turkey and Japan. ”


                Try again AT, you are so good at making yourself look like a complete idiot.

                • Andrew, you’ll have to make allowances for or excuse AT, as he has his head so far up his backside that it’s actually sickening, as all he sees is his rosy self and and rosy beloved ruSSia.

                  • Well, my head is just fine, and I had a wonderful time in Helsinki. Andrew probably hung out with the wrong kind of Finns. There are many Finns who speak Russian in Helsinki, plenty of Russian restaurants, quite a lot of businesses owned by Russian businessmen. I must admit, many people said that their old parents had a grudge against the Russian, but this generation is dying out.

                    • Ari Virtanen

                      Truth hurts. RuSSians are extremely hated fascists all over Finland among with younger and older genarations. (see the link above Andrew posted for details).

                    • Nah, not really. By the way I’m going there again. Nice food. Nice people. Many Russians actually.

        • What about huge drunk crowds of finns in S.-Petersburg? finns simply cannot drink at home now (as the alcohol is so expensive), so they use any opportunity to drink like pigs away from Finland.

          “Eventhough RuSSians are extremely hated fascists in Finland.”

          You are the main finnish fascist, according to your claims. Finland was one of the Russian colonies and I guess this bothers you until now.

          “RuSSians are born to lose. ”

          And you are born to win, finnish macho? Where are your olympic medals then? What a joke, Jussi Pekkonen and Pekka Jussinen will never win! Finns are way too slow for sports — they start running in 20 seconds after the start gun.

          “You are hated everywhere, you insane murderers and rapers.” You are sick and have to go to psychologist. Finns do not hate Russians, I know this as I was in Finland many times, so whatever you say is your own hatred, poor finnish guy.

          • Truth hurts. RuSSians are extremely hated fascists all over Finland (see the link above Andrew posted for details). We know it’s very hard to realise that the RuSSians are hated everywhere, nobody likes you, you corrupted and isolated rapers and murderers.

            You’re right, maybe the Finns are born to win: at least they crushed RuSSians brutally in Vancouver. Btw. Finnish population is 5,3 million, RuSSian: 142 million. Still the Finns manage to crush RuSSians every time. Why is it so ? Maybe Putler and Medvedev should resign ? You RuSSian scums are born to lose.

            • They are hated by fascist ugly finnSS like you, dude. Finnish population is so dwarf (with so large territory) because you drunk too much, so its your own fault. You have a village “culture”, no world-class writers or musicians, no world-class science, nothing at all. And most of all, finnSS are sooooo boring.

              “You’re right, maybe the Finns are born to win: at least they crushed RuSSians brutally in Vancouver.”

              Yes, very brutal — no gold medal for Pekka and Jussi this time…

              “Still the Finns manage to crush RuSSians every time. ”

              He-he, this is a joke. Pekkas could never win Russians. Where they crush them? Only in drinking, maybe.

              • I’m no expert on Finnish culture, but when it comes to contemporary authors, film directors, or musicians, I can think of more Finns than Russians. Aki Kaurismaki for example is one of my favourite directors, you should check him out, most of his movies feature Russian characters by the way.
                And I think more people would prefer to get bored in Helsinki than get mugged or knifed in Moscow :)

                • I don’t know Aki Kaurismaki, but apparently, he is not top of the world as he didn’t get any Oscar. Among contemporary Russians, there are several film directors who have won Oscars including Bondarchuk (1968), Menshov (1980), and Michalkov (1994). But I mean the whole history: tell me, did the finns have any writer of the calibre of Dostoevsky of Chekhov? Did they have great composers of the calibre of Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky, Stravinsky, or Rachmaninoff? Did they have any scientist whom you can compare to Mendeleev or Landau? The answer is: NO — Finland sucks.

                  “And I think more people would prefer to get bored in Helsinki than get mugged or knifed in Moscow :)”

                  Come on, Moscow is 5 times more save than LA and 100 times than Rio. I’m sure more people (excluding retarded larussophobes) will chose Moscow.

                  • I’m sure Moscow is safer than Rio, but we were talking about Finland, not Brazil. Chekhov and Dostoevsky were great, and so were a lot of Russian composers (Mussorgsky is my favourite), but we aren’t living in the 19h century anymore. I’m sure there are plenty of great contemporary Russian writers, but to be honest I can’t think of any who are well known outside Russia. But that’s beside the point, I’m no expert on Russian literature, the bottom line is that it’s kinda ridiculous to say that Finland is a dump or that it has no culture. As an outsider, it seems to me that Finland has been pretty successful in exporting its culture, especially having in mind its small population. And everyone knows Finland is a neat place, it’s one of the most prosperous countries in Europe.

      • Gregor,
        Nice try, Pindostan – my foot – there is one problem – NOBODY in the US pays attention to a thrid-world country with ageing nukes and starving population. I don’t remember seeing anything on Russia for a long time on TV or Radio; and those pathetic attempts to play a super power – have some selfrespect please.

        • Well, in US you cannot see much about the rest of the world as well. Americans are proudly focused on themselves. If you ask 20 people randomly what is the capital of Canada, they will tell you “Toronto” or “Quebec”, many will also think that Canada is one of the US states. Most of Amis are lame in geography and culture, following your former leader Bush, who once asked “Are there blacks in Brazil?”, and who mixed up Australia and Austria.

          Regarding “starving population” — don’t watch conservative propaganda TV channels at night, otherwise everybody who visited Russia recently will laugh when hearing something like this.

          • Gregor,

            Nice try – Travel, if you find a road that is, to places in Siberia and you will see hungry, sick, undernourished people. Obviously, 90% of Russian territory is off limit for that very reason. Apparently in places near the Chinese border poor russian women marry Chinese to get a decent housing in the Chinese side. But that’s natural you Russian are Eurasian anyway. You have to be born slaves like all Russian to accept the standard of living lower than Uganda and never rebelled. By the way, your argument about randomly asked question is simply beyond stupidity.

            A good news, Russia will increase its population – the Russian pilots are coming back home from Iran!!!

  7. Russia only has 4 years to prepare for Sochi and the signs are not good. Russia should have done much better in Vancouver; they could now end up humiliated in their own backyard.

    Britain was 4th overall in the summer Olympics, our best ever result, and this shows that we started preparing for London 2012 years ago, for Russia it could be a matter of too little to late.

    Britain only won 1 gold medal in Vancouver but it didn’t course any fuss, but Russia judges the health of the nation by its sporting success or in this case failure. All in all Vancouver was a miserable disaster for Russia, questions will be asked, Putin will no doubt line up some poor “smuck” to take the blame.

    • You are right, they are wasting no time lining up the “schmucks” to take the blame for it all.

      Medvedev is wasting no time. This from today’s

      “Дмитрий Медведев потребовал, чтобы лица, ответственные за подготовку олимпийской сборной к Играм в Ванкувере, написали заявление об уходе. Президент России также призвал кардинальным образом изменить подготовку спортсменов, а председатель Госдумы Борис Грызлов назвал итоги выступления национальной олимпийской команды в Ванкувере системным провалом.”

      Medvedev asked for the resignation of the person/people responsible for preparing the Russian Olympic team to resign and call for the complete revamping of the way in which Russia prepares it athletes. They finish this paragraph with a quote from a Duma official saying that the Vancouver results are an indicator of system failure.

      Source: http://www.olympics10.ru/articles/2010/03/a_3331716.shtml

      • If only one day Russians would realize that it’s the job of Medvedev and Putin to pick the right people, not to fire the wrong ones, and that if their hand-picked selections mess up then THEY are responsible and THEY (Putvedev) are the ones who need to go.

      • How can he demand their resignation? Are they all state employees? If yes, I can see the point, but in this case, what kind of country would have athletes and others on payroll when the whole country is on the verge of bankruptcy

  8. Oh, come one. Does it really matter how many medals Russia won? USSR won a lot of medals but life was so miserable for people living there including sportsmen who won those medals. Maybe worse performance at winter olympics is a good sign that Russia is on the way of becoming normal country where more money gets to pockets of its citizens rather than to crazy sports projects, sending dogs, monkeys and people to space faster than anyone, building nuclear weapons, etc.

    Please answer my other question, which is little bit off topic (sorry for that).

    I am in no way supporter of Putin regime. My question is not to show it in better view. I am just really very curious about one thing.

    Why is it thay two leading countries in the world by the number of its citizens in jails are Russia and USA.

    Russia has about 1 mln in jails, USA about 2 mln. USA population roughly twice of Russia, so it’s almost similar.

    Why USA claims to be tha most free country in the world but put its citizens in jails at the same rate as neo-soviet Russia?

    I am in no way agressive towards US. I thinks it’s great country. But why such statistics of “jail population”?

    • We have a misguided notion of “war on drugs.” A very large number of that 2 million are in jail for drug related crimes, including simple possession. That’s the explanation of this statistics.

      It has nothing to do with being a free country — free does not mean lawless, and we have pretty draconian drug laws. While undoubtedly they have to be enforced, I think they are unreasonably severe, thanks to Bible-thumpers, our self-appointed pious guardians of public morals.

      However, due to escalating costs of imprisonment and for some other reasons, there are some signs of possible relaxation. Should that happen, the number of inmates will drop quickly.

    • I would like to comment as an American. Firstly we use a very well polished system based on habeus corpus, where after 200 years we came up with somewhat socially acceptable penitentiary system. The jails you allude to are not Federal solely (the way the are in Russia) but State, County, City etc. Besides the Federal Criminal Code we have many others that are harsher or weaker on the criminal. We use vast system of rehabilitation generally and the time served is not near as inhumane as in gulags. The jails are monitored by the authorities and human rights activists 24/7. In rare cases of the abuse of power the investigations come instantly and powerfully. Secondly, the amount of prisoners is the result of the efficiency of solving the crimes and interest of the courts to oblige the public in keeping the elements locked up. If in Russia they were able to copy our system I would assume the amount of the prison population will be 30 million. In no way I say that the should replicate the USA court/prison system-I believe in sovereign choice of the nations. But my granddad was a prisoner of gulag and my view is most likely biased.

      • I agree Val. But he asked not so much about the conditions of imprisonment but why we have such a large number of convicts. And I am convinced it’s because of our draconian drug laws. Although the efficiency of solving various crimes is pretty high, it’s true. One other reason I can think of is jailing for parole violations; many of these violations are really merely technical, but in many instance over-zealous prosecutors go after even minor violations

  9. crazy—russians are gifted athletes—only a corrupt system hellbent on promoting friends– cronyism at its worst—could screw it up. the head of russia’s olympic org is putin’s personal ski coach—-there you go.

  10. Thanks for great comments.

    You can now see some of Russia from the window of Transsiberian Railway – all the way! Check out this website:


  11. It seems to me that Russia should work on it’s attitude rather than their Olympic performance. They demonstrated to the world that they have no class whatsoever. I think they should work on being gracious in defeat as well as in victory. Plushenko was a perfect example of un-sportsman like behavior. If I was Russian I would have changed my nationaliy.

  12. Russia you have shown yourselves to be immature, pathetic and the list goes on and on. work on your sportsmanship – you need it.

  13. Hooray Russia ( or is it Ura ) ?
    I for one am extremely happy with the performance of the moscovites at the Olympics .
    For the umpteenth time they showed their
    true colors ; being what they always are : boorish
    classless , cheating scum that all too often got
    their way with the judges , the olympic officials ,
    the likes of that pathetic clown Samaranch and
    even the viewing public , who succumbed to
    glowing praises by the adoring leftist media .
    This has been going on for decades . Those
    creeps that keep referring to that abundand
    medal count of the ” good old USSR ” fail to mention , just like their lackey media , that a
    great portion of those medals were won by
    non- russians ! That did not stop the toadies
    in the media to put it all on the moscovite’s
    account .
    So now, we see the moscovites on their own ,
    and everyone can see what they are truly like
    and the picture is not pretty .
    I can see heads rolling , just like in the old days ,
    hapless trainers and coaches heading for
    ” re-training ” to the sunny slopes of Siberia .
    Good luck to them .
    As far as that cretin Ovechkin is concerned ,
    if the owner of the team he plays on , was an
    American patriot , he would buy him a one –
    way ticket to Moscovia and let him enjoy playing
    in their league . Or at least pay him in the greatest
    money in the world ; rubbles .

  14. I think that Russia is NO GOOD

    Obama WEAK

  15. BTW (i forgot to mention this important fact): Even excretion from US of Americans smells like flowers. America is the land of opportunities and future.

    Just look at that economy, manners, capital, t-shirts, jeans, goodies. American is the epitome of smart, science – the bbbbest! !!! !! ! !

    I wish Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh to overtake as the US president. Rush is better. I will vote for my fellow RUSH.

  16. I mean soo much that this is site the bbbest. Only the smartest individuals come to this site.

    When I read this site, I feel so proud. I cannot explain how proud.

    Kim Zigfeld you have created THE BEST site online regarding Russia. You translate so much and you bring good fruits to the spread of democracy.

    If only the REAGAN is still ALIVE. The only one who can replace him is DICKEY (chenney). Dicky is just inheritance of Reagan. Every US gentleman must have a hobby – and that is to love WEST and show how Russia is failure.

    China we need to bomb. I mean that is the only solution. Or maybe arm Taiwan to the teeth so they kill between themselved. Maybe provoke Tibet. They got away with this olympic just because there was earthquake, but at least we setup Georgia party.

    When Georgia and US were humiliated by Russia, I (together with my friends from Washington elite) fell sick to our stomaches.

    How? Why? We trained Saakashvili to win. Best training, but they took our Hummers. They steal (Russians). If Russians do not return these Hummers we need to bomb them with nukes.

    Saakashvili should be US president. Not RUSH.

  17. “Ian”‘s comments must be examples of that famous Russian humour Arthur was talking about some time ago. Russian humour reminds me of this:

    And why do so many Russian commenters on this blog have phoney English names? Ian, Arthur, Gordon, Michael Tal etc. Is Ian short for Aliosha or Vyacheslav?

    • [And why do so many Russian commenters on this blog have phoney English names? Ian, Arthur, Gordon, Michael Tal etc. Is Ian short for Aliosha or Vyacheslav?]

      Ian would be Ivan (John) in Russian. Aliosha is a short form of Alexander, a greek name, and Vyacheslav is an ancinet Slavic name, cognate to Croat and Czech V(i)entseslav (Wenceslaus).
      Russian “ya” is often a rendition of ancient Slavic “en” nasal vowel.

      And that walking chair image is kind of funny, don’t you think?

  18. Who cares about the medal count?

    The US is going to cease to exist soon, so go masturbate with your TV dinner.

  19. [To speak about any Olympic host this way, much less a docile, self-effacing place like Canada, is the act of a true barbarian, and Russia has humiliated itself before the world by doing so.]

    Are you equating some opinion of some guy named Timothy BANCROFT- HINCHEY (clearly, not even a Russian), published in a minor league newspaper Pravda, owned by the Communist(!) opposition party, to the opinion of the ENTIRE RUSSIA? Wow.

    Looks like this Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY fellow is some bloke living in UK:


    This would be as insane as, say, equating your own opinions in this blog with those of, say, the President of the United States.

    And speaking of that, here are some of the complaints that you yourself launched at Canada’s Olympics:



    When one reflects on the serious difficulties already experienced by Canada while playing host this year, one cannot help but think Russia is engaged in a fool’s errand.

    At the opening ceremonies, one of the four cauldrons of fire that were supposed to rise dramatically from below the stage to be lit by a famous athlete experienced a mechanical failure.

    Then a Georgian luge athlete was killed during a practice run, a crucial safety wall having been left unbuilt on a track that was horrifically dangerous, producing unheardof speeds.

    Next, snow conditions deteriorated so much that a key skiing venue had to be closed to spectators because of the danger, and the world’s most famous halfpipe snowboarders began ridiculing the condition of their apparatus.

    And finally, there was a total failure of ice maintenance at the speed-skating oval, resulting in a delay of hours as coaches complained vehemently about danger to their athletes from improperly prepared rink surfaces.

    Oh, and that was all on the opening weekend alone.

    • Wow Arthuretta, spamming again?

      • Now, I often do not agree with Arthur, but why are you insulting him by feminizing his (nick)name? Isn’t that somewhat sexist? It’s like calling him a girl or a p****.

        • Why? Because Andrew is very insecure in his sexuality and seems to be preoccupied with homosexuality and with “outing” gays.

          • No Arthur, just because you were calling me Andrea.

            However, it seems to be you that has a predilection for homosexuality, after all, calling me gay because I like Serena Williams is a bit odd really….

  20. When it comes to sports, I think that the Soviet system produced better sportsmen than the current Russian system, despite all accusations of Soviet cheating (contemporary Russians cheat too).

    I think Russians have become too relaxed. For example there was that Russian biathlete (can’t remember his name) whose rifle fell from his back because the rifle had a bad belt (or strap-on? What’s the right word?). Nobody checked the rifle before the competition. That’s not a sign of technical failure, only pure neglect.

    Somebody from the Russian team wasn’t doing his job. On the other hand, Belarus, a country trapped in Soviet times (and propably still using Soviet methods of training and funding sports), did remarkably well relative to its size.

    A Croatian commentary has called Sergey Novikov, the Belarusan biathlete who won a silver medal, a “great example of the old Russian school”. Belarus is more true to Russian sports tradition than Russia itself.

    • [For example there was that Russian biathlete (can’t remember his name) whose rifle fell from his back because the rifle had a bad belt (or strap-on? What’s the right word?). Nobody checked the rifle before the competition. That’s not a sign of technical failure, only pure neglect. ]

      No. That’s not the correct story. What happened was that he fell, and it was this fall that caused the strap to snap/break.

      You have to remember that the temperature was too high and the snow was too soft , causing many athletes to fall. For example, the greatest female skier, Petra Majdic, from your own neck of the woods, also fell and broke her ribs.

  21. One little quibble.

    “The US finished in dominant first place in the (gold) count, with three times more gold medals and more than twice as many total medals as Russia.”

    Actually, US ended in third place for gold medals after Canada and Germany. The US did get the most silver medals. Nice try, America, but thats second place.

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