The Russophile Guide to Style.
Having spent a good bit of time observing Russophiles feverishly attempting to rationalize and defend the failed Putin dictatorship, we feel we are now in a position to offer some conclusions about their style of work.
It’s really quite simple: Russia is never wrong because Vladimir Putin is a god.
If you provide Russophiles, for instance, with a a list of countries to which Russia is compared unfavorably, their response will be that unless Russia is the very last on the list, it’s doing just fine. Thus, for example, if shown (as we did in a recent issue) that Russians pay more than 29 of 32 countries studied for IKEA products, even though they are located right next door to IKEA’s home country of Sweden, Russophiles will say it doesn’t matter because Japan pays more. Never mind that Japan has nearly the same population as Russia packed into 99.9% less territory, making rents astronomical. Never mind that the standard of living in Japan is immeasurably higher than in Russia, never mind that Russians live in abject poverty compared to the wealthy Japanese. As long as Russia is not the very worst, Putin is a brilliant genius because under any other leader, it would be the very worst. Same holds true for Russia’s similar position, third from worst, on a list of world nations ranked by suicide rate.
And what happens if Russia is actually dead last on such a list? The response is transparently predictable. In that case, the Russophile will scream “Russophobia!” They will claim that this list was prepared in furtherance of a vast Russophobic conspiracy of lies designed to keep Russia down. They will launch vicious personal smears against whoever may have dared to publish such a list, and dismiss it out of hand. Never mind that the Putin government itself is run by a clan of proud KGB spies, whose propaganda the Russophiles bleat as if it were text from the Holy Koran. Never mind how international or scientific the data they have seen may be, never mind how obvious it might be that the data is correct. Transparency International, for instance, often finds that Russian corruption leads the world in certain categories. They’re Russophobes, and that’s that.
It’s at this point that the Russophile efforts become genuinely hilariously deranged. You will see them search for typos in the text, and finding one they will declare that the entire content must be rubbished. If Transparency International spells the name of a Russian city wrong, or of Human Rights Watch transposes a couple of digits, this is sure and certain proof of the utter incompetence of the author. These tactics are only funny, however, if you don’t realize that they are exactly the same tactics that were used in Soviet times to attack writers like Isaac Babel and Mikhail Bulgakov and Boris Pasternak and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, killing some, driving others to suicide or exile, and silencing all. Ultimately, these tactics cost millions of Russian lives and the collapse of the USSR.
There are, of course, times when the Russophile tactics don’t work. Most of the time, actually. Folks like Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova and Stanislav Markelov and Alexander Litvinenko tell such scintillating stories, with such unimpeachable sources, that the braying nonsense of the uneducated Russophile idiots is only funny when compared to it. Then, of course, they move on to phase 3, extermination. The most sure and certain proof of their being wrong, they fail to notice, is the fact that they cannot respond to their critics with anything except the assassin’s bullet.