INTERVIEW: Russia Blogger Mark Adomanis

Mark Adomanis is a 25-year old writer based in Washington DC who holds degrees in Russian studies from both Harvard and Oxford. He blogs about Russia on the same True/Slant website that also publishes one of our favorite Russia bloggers, Julia Ioffe, and came to our attention with some comments on her blog. Some Russophiles call him a CIA spy, while some Russophobes think he’s a KGB plant.  Recently, La Russophobe sat down (virtually) with Adomanis to pick his brain on the man called Vladimir Putin, focusing on political murders, corruption, elections and economics.

Mark Adomanis

LA RUSSOPHOBE: We’ll start right out with the question that gives rise to our interest in this interview. In a March 24, 2010 post on your blog, debating with fellow True/Slant blogger Barrett Brown, you stated: “Some of us already knew about the [Moscow apartment] bombings and Putin’s role in them! Some of us have known about them for over a decade, since they happened in 1999!” There are those who would argue that, regardless of any other factors, if Putin had any role in the murder of nearly 300 Russian citizens and injuring over 600 others, he should never have become “president,” and indeed should have been prosecuted and jailed. Do you disagree?

MARK ADOMANIS: I think “should” is the operative word here. Should Putin have become president if he had a role in the 1999 apartment bombings? No I suppose he “should” not have. But he did. Moreover, when Putin became president he had the full backing and support of Yeltsin and his close advisers (particularly Boris Berezovsky.). In a perfect world I suppose that all of the people responsible for the apartment bombings would be rotting in jail, but the world, and Russia in particular, is exceedingly far from being perfect.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Sergei Yushenkov, who took the lead in an informal investigation of the apartment bombings that sprouted when the official inquiry was stonewalled, and Yuri Shchekochikhin, a key staff member of Yushenkov’s committee, were murdered in 2003, in the run-up to Putin’s reelection bid, before they could complete their work. Do you believe Putin had any role in those killings, or do you think they came as a complete surprise to him?

MARK ADOMANIS: I don’t see why the only two options are that either Putin is personally responsible for these killings or that they came as “complete surprise” to him. I’d be pretty surprised if Putin had any direct involvement in ordering or carrying out these killings, he seems far too clever for that sort of thing, but I’d also be surprised if he was totally flabbergasted by them. You can, accurately I think, fault Putin for creating a general political and social atmosphere where such attacks are possible, but I don’t think he bears personal responsibility: the killer was probably some level-level FSB type who was trying to “impress” his superiors by disposing of people considered dangerous to the governing power structure.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Can’t you also fault Putin for failing to root out that FSB killer?

MARK ADOMANIS: Yes, I suppose you can. However I also suppose that in any rational calculus of priorities in early 2000’s Russia (remember the country was basically bankrupt, was naturally shrinking by the better part of a million people a year, and was fighting a shooting war in Chechnya) “catching murderers of liberal opposition journalists” was pretty far down the list. As I said, states are nasty, brutal, things, and it doesn’t shock me when people who openly oppose them have bad things happen to them.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Shortly after Yushenkov and Shchekochikhin were killed, their committee’s lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin was arrested, and days later dissident oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky (rumors were flying that he’d challenge for the presidency) was taken in. It’s obvious that Putin called those shots, for political reasons, isn’t it?

MARK ADOMANIS: Trepashkin seems to be a pretty small fish for Putin to become personally involved with. As in the previous answer, my guess is that his arrest was probably the result of low-level functionaries trying to “impress” their superiors and demonstrate their worth. However, yes, I think it’s abundantly clear that Khodorkovsky’s arrest was ordered by Putin and was directly related to politics and, more particularly, to his open challenge to the Kremlin.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Human rights and democracy crusader Galina Starovoitova was murdered a couple of months after Putin was suddenly placed in charge of the KGB (we’ll get to why you think he got that promotion later). In your view, did Putin have any role in that killing?

MARK ADOMANIS: I don’t have any knowledge of the circumstances of Galina Starovoitova’s murder and don’t want to give the impression that I do.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: What about KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko, murdered in London with radioactive poisoning while crusading to draw attention to the bombings? Was that a surprise to Putin?

MARK ADOMANIS: I’ve read a bit about Litvinenko’s murder and certainly find Russian involvement in it plausible (if not proven beyond any doubt) though the whole story does seem to be a pretty bizarre one. So, yes, I suppose that Litvinenko’s death didn’t come as a huge shock to Putin.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: You’ve written that you think the story of Putin’s involvement in some or all of the killings we just discussed is old news. Are you sure of that? Isn’t it the case that, even in Russia itself, Putin’s popularity in polls is indicative that the public is still very much in the dark? After all, what would it say about the people of Russia if, knowing Putin had played a roll in murdering hundreds of his fellow citizens, he was still viewed with adoration? Is the Russia you know capable of that level of barbarism?

MARK ADOMANIS: Yes, I am quite certain that those killings are old news. I honestly don’t know how much more coverage they could receive. Any minimally inquisitive person with an internet connection can pull up hundreds upon hundreds of stories about all of these murders and assassinations. I think most Russians simply don’t care about most of what you’ve asked about or, if they do care, view the matter in an entirely different light. Arresting Khodorkovsky, for example, (which I assume you think was a reprehensible thing to do) was probably the single most popular thing Putin did during his two terms as president: Khororkovsky was loathed by the great majority of citizens who (rightly, in my humble view) saw him not as a crusader for democracy but as a two-bit swindler and thief who had gotten rich while the country collapsed and people died in the streets.

As for what all of this says about Russians, it says that, like all people, they are somewhat credulous, uninquisitive, and easily distracted. People like to believe in pleasant-sounding myths and are almost always unwilling to confront information that doesn’t fit with their preconceived worldview. So most Russians, I imagine, would simply ignore most of what you’ve talked about so far and instead focus on the improved economy, raised living standards, etc.

And concerning “barbarism:” all states are violent and nasty things and the Russian state has historically been nastier and more violent than most. Having done my best to read history, I am never shocked by mankind’s essentially unlimited capacities for brutality, cruelty, and stupidity.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: But the vast majority of Russians don’t have an internet connection, and if they did they could not afford to use it much and they would lack the English language skills to fully exploit it.  “All people” don’t live in a state like Russia where the government directly controls all the national TV networks, which provide the vast majority of citizens with their news.  Are you aware of any data showing that a majority of Russians know about the series of murders aimed at those who tried to investigate the apartment bombings?  Has Russian national TV ever covered them, to your knowledge?

MARK ADOMANIS: Well something like 33% (and growing) of the Russian population has an internet connection and the liberal opposition, even by the most generous reckoning, can count on maybe 15% of the population’s support. Internet penetration has been exploding in Russia over the past decade and during that time opposition to Putin has, if anything, been shrinking, so I don’t think that “knowledge from the internet” is quite the elixir to pro-Putin sentiment that you might expect it to be. My Russian-language columns on the INOSMI website attract what appears to be a lively and energetic following, and the opinions expressed there by the Russian readership are (as one would expect in any country) all over the map politically: some thing I’m a Kremlin whore, some thing I’m a Washington whore, and a plurality seem to think I have some vague idea what I’m talking about.

As for media coverage of the bombings, they (the bombings) occurred when Putin had not yet consolidated his position, that is when Russia’s media was still “free.” Of course at the time rich and powerful people like Boris Berezovsky, who was then a major Putin ally, told their stable of bought-and-paid-for journalists to shut their mouths and, these journalists mostly obeyed the orders they were given.

I also specifically stated that people like to believe in “pleasant-sounding myths.” So, no, I don’t know the exact percentage of Russians who know about the murders, but I don’t think it matters: the narrative of Putin as savior of the nation is, at this point, strong enough to endure almost any revelation.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: OK, let’s shift gears from murder to corruption. A wealth of international studies reveal that Russia is one of the most corrupt major nations on the planet, something that’s no news to anyone who’s spent much time living there. Do you believe that Vladimir Putin himself is immune from this national plague, or do you think he’s lining his pockets just like everyone else?

MARK ADOMANIS: I have no specialized knowledge of Putin’s personal corruption, or the lack thereof. As best I can tell, anyone who actually possess such knowledge has kept their mouth very tightly shut (which is probably a wise thing to do). I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Putin has done a bit, or even quite a lot, of pocket lining, but that is an utterly unexceptional and banal thing for a politician.  Much more important than the reality of Putin’s corruption/lack of corruption is the image he has created as being personally honest, competent, and above the fray. This is an immediately recognizable Russian tradition, the “good tsar,” who is aware of corruption, crime, and other bad things abut is unable to effectively deal with them due to incompetent underlings. Putin’s reputation as a personally honest and upstanding leader seems to have a fair bit of staying power in Russia, and my guess is that it would take quite a lot to unravel it.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: As we understand your answer, you’re saying you have no reason to think Putin is personally any less corrupt than his countrymen, who are among the most corrupt people on this planet. Do you mean to say you think a person who openly accused Putin of personal corruption might be killed?  Are you seriously suggesting that you don’t think Putin has lined his personal pockets any more than Barack Obama or Gordon Brown or Nikolas Sarkozy have done while in office?

MARK ADOMANIS: Would someone who accused Putin of corruption necessarily be killed? Well no, the guy who openly accused him of pocketing $40 billion through corrupt gas and oil deals is still alive and kicking. But it’s never a wise idea to insult the governing power structure, particularly in a traditionally hierarchical and autocratic society like Russia.  As for Putin’s corruption vis-a-vis Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, or Nicholas Sarkozy, I really have no idea of the exact quantitative relationship. I would guess that his level of corruption, whatever it may be, is as much within the “rules of the game” in Russia as Obama’s, Brown’s, or Sarkozy’s are in their own countries. These sorts of norms differ radically from country to country and, to use a somewhat hackish example, a bribe that in the Netherlands may appear to be an outrageous sign of almost unimaginable corruption and decay may, in Italy, be a totally normal and unexceptional part of doing business. It all depends what country you’re talking about, and in Russia Putin is very firmly within the mainstream (and has even positioned himself publicly as a politician who is more honest than most).

LA RUSSOPHOBE: We think the strangest single fact about today’s Russia is that while Russians loathed Boris Yetlsin they did not hesitate to hand power to his hand-picked successor, Putin. You’ve written that Putin suddenly became head of the KGB, prime minister and then president all in the stunning space of less than two years “so Yeltsin could protect the fantastically large sums of ill-gotten money belonging to his ‘family’ of close associates.” As such, as the direct result of what you’ve called “mind-bending corruption” in the Yeltsin era, isn’t Putin disqualified from holding office, especially since he’s blocked so many candidates, including his own former prime minister, from opposing him at the polls? Isn’t Putin illegitimate by any rational standard?

MARK ADOMANIS: Yeltsin and his family” thought that Putin would be a complacent yes-man: that he would be easily manipulable, that he wouldn’t make any dramatic changes, and that he would basically do whatever the oligarchs told him. They thought wrong. Putin was many things, some good some bad, but he was very clearly not Berezovsky’s bag man, and a great deal of his popularity is due do the fact that he very publicly stood up to the corrupt gaggle of kleptocrats who surrounded and controlled Yeltsin.

As for Putin’s “legitimacy” my opinion doesn’t have any significance whatsoever: he’s in power, he doesn’t have any plans to leave, and, most importantly of all, the majority of the Russian population appears to approve of him. I try to deal with the world as it is, and the idea that Putin or Medvedev will in the near future be displaced by Nemtsov, Illarionov, or any of Russia’s liberal opposition is farcical because those “politicians” have negligible support among Russia’s populace. Putin was able to swipe aside the liberals so easily, and with such few consequences, because of the simple fact that very few Russians want anything to do with them. Unless that changes, the present power structure will enjoy a sort of legitimacy by default because there is no effective opposition to it.

I’ve said time and again that Putin and Medvedev’s fates are almost entirely dependent on the performance of Russia’s economy. If it continues to grow and living standards continue to improve modestly, neither of which seems unlikely because Russia’s economy is still several generations behind the advanced Western countries, then their “legitimacy,” such as it is, will be safe. If Russia’s economy enters a long period of stagnation or decline, then all bets are off and I’d expect there to be some sort of social/political cataclysm.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Are you saying the concept of morality has no significance for you where the goverment of nations is concerned?  Out of curiosity, why do you think Russians endorsed Putin rather than rejecting him as the hated Yeltsin’s stooge?

MARK ADOMANIS: Morality as defined by whom?  As defined by Washington I would argue that “morality” (i.e. “the US get to do whatever it wants, and everyone else has to abide by ‘the rules'”) has no meaning whatsoever: the list of double standards embraced and or ignored by the US has grown far too long to even bother recounting. I would love it if some rational calculus of “morality” would govern international relations, as it would probably make the world a much more decent place, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for this to occur.

As for why Russians endorsed Putin rather than “rejecting him as the hated Yeltin’s stooge” I would say because Putin very publicly and very deliberately acted to avoid being seen as Yeltsin’s stooge. He took on people like Berezovsky (who was basically running the government during large sections of Yeltsin’s presidency) and Khodorkovsky (who was also very friendly with good old Boris) and openly humiliated them. He also made it very widely and publicly known that the oligarchs who had grown accustomed to calling the shots, were on notice and would be dealt with harshly if they stepped out of line. The Russian public, by all accounts, was smitten by this.

I’d also add that Putin was young, sober, and seemingly intelligent, while Yeltsin had been a tragicomic farce of a bumbling drunken idiot. There are other many other reasons for Putin’s popularity, but the shaming of the oligarchs and the image of sobriety and youth vis-a-vis the drunkenness and decay of Yeltsin are, I think the primary ones.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: If you could name the man or woman who would succeed Dmitri Medvedev as “president” of Russia, who would you select and why

MARK ADOMANIS: This answer reflects my own narrow specialty, but if I had to choose anyone it would be Tatiana Golikova, the minister of health and social development. She is, or at the very least appears to be, a forward looking, intelligent, honest, competent, dedicated, and rational woman of a rather liberal outlook, with significant experience in understanding how the Russian state actually functions, who has done quite a lot to improve the lives of ordinary citizens. While Russia’s healthcare system is still rather ramshackle it’s in a lot better shape now than it was before she took over its management, and she seems to understand the pressing need to safeguard the country’s human capital.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: The United Nations recently published a report indicating that if the status quo ante continues Russia will exhaust its oil and gas reserves by 2070. Not surprising, then, that Russia is feverishly looking for ways to drill the Arctic seabed. As we see it, Putin has failed to diversify Russia’s economy to anticipate the crisis that is coming on energy because of two factors. First he’s too busy waging a new cold war against the West he learned to hate in the KGB, and second to do so would create multiple new centers of power that could threaten his government. What’s your take?

MARK ADOMANIS: I haven’t heard of this UN report, but I’m not sure why you regard it as gospel truth (I’m going to assume that vehemently disagree with UN-produced reports about Iraq, Guantanamo, Israel, etc.). Even if the report is 100% accurate, 2070 isn’t exactly around the corner: given the resource scarcity which is steadily becoming more apparent, I’d imagine that Russia is going to earn a fairly large chunk of change selling its energy resources before everything is all said and done.

I think you vastly overestimate the personal role of Vladimir Putin in Russia’s economic development. Allow me to go slightly off topic for a second by looking at Ukraine. That country is much more democratic and liberal than Russia, but its economic performance has, by any rational standard, been abysmal: it’s GDP per-capita is less than half of Russia’s, it grew more slowly than Russia did after the 1998-9 financial crisis, experienced a much more severe recession in 2008-9, and is set to experience slower growth in 2010. Has Ukraine succeeded in diversifying its economy? Absolutely not, the country is today in 2010 almost entirely dependent on metallurgical production in general and steel in particular. This is not because Ukraine’s political elite is anti-Western or evil, but because the country inherited an almost cartoonishly wasteful and inefficient economy from the Soviets. Russia inherited a similarly dreadful economic structure, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that the country is still overwhelmingly dependent on energy exports (it has been similarly dependent on such exports since the early 1970’s).

As for the “new cold war” I think that such a concept is almost perfectly useless for understanding Russian behavior. Russia is about to conclude a visa-free travel agreement, and possibly agree on the construction of a nuclear power plant, with Turkey, which has been a member in good standing of NATO for over fifty years. I humbly suggest that such agreements would never in a million years have been considered during the actual cold war.

Further, I’d add that ideology was an absolutely critical component of the original cold war, and that it is completely missing from Russia’s present political system.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: We realize this question is somewhat ironic because of our own reputation for tough rhetoric, but even by our standards some of your blog posts seem rather reckless in their use of language. In particular, in one blog post you referred to tireless scholar Paul Goble, who’s been recognized for his Russia reporting by the New York Times and the Moscow Times among others, as a “whore.” As we see it, Goble does almost no editorializing and performs a very valuable service reviewing the Russian press for non-speakers of Russian. In hindsight, wouldn’t you agree that language was ill-advised and poorly reflects on your academic institutions, and could be misconstrued to imply you are an admirer and friend of Putin?

MARK ADOMANIS: I purposefully make no mention of my previous academic institutions on the “about me” section in my blog because I think they have no relevance whatsoever. I write what I write, and my writing’s accuracy or inaccuracy isn’t in the least bit impacted by the fact that I have “Harvard” written on a piece of paper lying somewhere in my closet. I learned a very long time ago that many deeply stupid and foolish people hail from “elite” universities, and that I should concern myself more with working hard than with patting myself on the back for having a certain name on my transcripts. People are welcome to imply whatever they please about my writing and my positions vis-a-vi Putin: I will let my analysis speak for itself.

As for Paul Goble, I have no problem with my description of him. His job is to studiously dig through rags like Novaya Gazeta, find the most unhinged anti-Putin rants he can lay his hands on, translate them, and then print them as “authoritative” sources. His editorializing takes place through his choice of content, which is inevitably alarmist and hysterical in tone (and frequently revealed to be extremely inaccurate). I’m just amazed that after all these years he still has the patience to churn out amount of content he does so I can at least admire his persistence.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: For the record, your blog instructs those who are intersted in your background to Google you and find out, and they easily can.  Do you mean by referring to Novaya Gazeta as a “rag” some form of disparagement?  Many of its reporters have been killed because of their writing, of course.  Can you name a more important public critic of the Putin regime in the Russian media than Novaya Gazeta?

MARK ADOMANIS: I suppose I could actively try to purge the web of sites that mention where I went to school, but I don’t have the time, skill, or effort to do so. If people are REALLY interested in knowing where I went to school, good for them, they’re welcome to look, but I won’t preemptively wave my diploma in anyone’s face because, frankly, it doesn’t impact any of the matters at hand. Being “anti-Putin” and being “accurate” are two very different things. Novaya Gazeta is unremittingly anti-Putin but, in my brief experiences with the paper, they are almost unremittingly wrong. I remember reading somewhere, perhaps it was The Exile or perhaps Sean Guillory, that Politkovskaya was “a very admirable, a very brave, and very loopy woman” and I suppose that would be my reaction to the general cast of liberal opposition journalists: I immensely respect the sheer bravery and physical courage it takes to be a reporter in Russia, but, for whatever reason, a lot of what they write is just crap. I fervently wish that Russia had a more competent opposition, but all indications are that it remains wrapped up in totally discredited and radically unpopular 1990’s market bolshevism.

LA RUSSOPHOBE:  You called Goble a whore, which implies he’s being paid to criticize the Kremlin by somebody. By whom, and how do you know?

MARK ADOMANIS: The guy has been in the employ of the US government for several decades. Is it really so completely impossible, radical, and counter-intuitive to think that he’s being paid to criticize one of the US government’s major foreign antagonists? But OK maybe “whore” was a stretch. How about “factually challenged” or “constantly inaccurate” or “alarmist and hysterical,” would those descriptions be more palatable? In my experience reading Goble is (much like Russian manufacturing in the 1990’s) negative value added: you understand less about Russia after reading his columns than you did before doing so.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Are you saying you think the New York Times and the Moscow Times are both foolish to recognize Goble’s work?  Can you name any other blogger who provides as much translation from Russia media into English as Goble?  Shouldn’t bloggers be encouraged to do so, rather than discouraged?

MARK ADOMANIS: So the New York Times is suddenly a beacon of truth for you? I was pretty sure you regarded the New York Times as a degenerate haven of liberal traitors, but maybe your estimation of its editorial orientation has changed.  As for encouraging or discouraging bloggers, I have never said that Paul Goble should be banned, or that he shouldn’t be allowed to write, I have merely said that, since he is always wrong about everything, anyone who cares about actually understanding Russia should not pay him much mind since his analytical track record is so abysmal. But if he wants to keep churning out alarmist screeds stating that Russia is going to collapse next Thursday at 8:45 am, he is more than welcome to do so. This is (for now) a free country, and anyone can say whatever they want about anything.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: If you don’t mind, let’s get personal. How much time have you spent in Russia? What cities have you visited? Would you say you have close personal friends there? What’s the nicest thing that happened do you while in Russia, and what’s the worst?

MARK ADOMANIS: I really don’t see how this is relevant. I very openly, and deliberately, state that people should judge my writing on its own merits and on its accuracy. I have been to Russia (like most Western visitors to Petersburg and Moscow) for several weeks to do some thesis research but don’t consider my experiences there terribly relevant to my writing because I didn’t get to do as much traveling as I would have liked to. Several people whom I consider close personal friends live and work in Russia, and several other friends were born and raised there, and I trust that they will let me know if my writing/analysis ever gets too far out of line.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Last question. Our perception is that those who see your blog as an endorsement of the Putin government are way off base. As we understand it, you’re a natural contrarian and delight in being politically incorrect, and you are peeved by any statement you view as inaccurate, even if it’s a negative comment about a monster like, say, Stalin, and it’s these factors that give rise to your many statements which appear to defend Putin. Are we off base or are they? Would you consider spending a little more time in the future bursting balloons Putin’s supporters have inflated as well as those from his critics?

MARK ADOMANIS: I was raised to value truth, and I consider it to be an absolute defense in all cases. I was also raised/born with a deeply ingrained disgust with falsehood, particularly lies that are deliberately told. I don’t know exactly why, but people who lie really drive me batty, and I expect this comes out in my writing. One of the things I consider most reprehensible about Soviet Communism was its deeply ingrained mendacity – its inability to tell the truth about anything of importance (Robert Conquest’s writing does a particularly good job of unmasking the rank untruth of Stalinism) . But lies are lies are lies: they are bad if told by communist apparatchiks, and just as bad when relayed by employees of Radio Free Europe. I don’t have any “side” nor do I play for any “team” so I’ll just do my best to call things as I see it and apologize when I’m wrong.

When I was researching and writing my thesis I was appalled by the sloppiness and factual inaccuracy of many Western analyses of Russian demographics: it took all of 30 minutes of real, legitimate, research to see that much of what was being described in the US media was simply not true. I was also surprised by the utter contempt demonstrated by serious academics towards the more alarmist media outlets. In short: I don’t think it’s particularly challenging to criticize Vladimir Putin’s record as prime minister, I myself have done this more than once (and in my Russian-language column on the INOSMI website been called, among other things, a “Baltic provocateur,” a “Greek spy,” a prostitute, and a CIA agent), so I have exceedingly little patience when people insist on doing it in a hackneyed and dishonest manner.

At the present time the overwhelming majority of stories in the Western media are virulently anti-Putin. I honestly can’t think of a single remotely prominent English-language media figure who regards Putin with anything but disgust. Since my writing is targeted at an English-speaking audience and deals largely with English-language media I’m not even sure which “Pro-Putin” figures I would target. But rest assured, if Joe Biden wakes up tomorrow morning and for some reason starts singing hosannas to Vladimir Putin I’ll be the very first person to call him an idiot.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Well, here’s two suggestions as to who you could target. First, the Russia Today propaganda network. Second, Pat Buchanan.  How about spending some time exposing the pro-Russia “whore” that is Russia Today and/or Buchanan?

MARK ADOMANIS: Russia Today is pretty openly associated with the Kremlin, and I don’t think they really even make a pretense of hiding this. They also enjoy a qualitatively different level of exposure that places like Fox News or CNN.

As for Pat Buchanan, I truthfully don’t remember any “pro-Putin” pieces of his, but I do remember some pretty wacky stuff about Sarah Palin and the Second World War. I really don’t know what to think of Buchanan, he seems to be motivated almost entirely by resentment and emotion and to not have even a minimally consistent political philosophy. The only remotely identifiable set of positions to which he ascribes is Roman Catholicism, and I imagine his strongly felt religious identity would sharply limit his Russophilia. But I suppose I could pay closer attention to his columns and occasionally call him out for his dastardly pro-Kremlin ways.

LA RUSSOPHOBE: Thanks for your time, Mark. And good luck with your blog!

MARK ADOMANIS: Thank you for the interview, I hope I was able to explain myself clearly.


101 responses to “INTERVIEW: Russia Blogger Mark Adomanis

  1. Voice of Reason

    I am thoroughly impressed. This is by far the best entry in the history of this blog. One can almost feel intelligence, integrity, competency, honesty and good will radiate from this article.

  2. Question:
    Is this Mark Adomanis. an American born person, of Greek heritage and last name?

    Otherwise, I do heartily agree with a few of his oft repeated positions: .. that present Russia and everything and everyone in it, are NOT fully understood or truly accurately described by those outside of it., neither by the western news media nor governments nor ALMOST anyone. Yes, that is absolutely true. (Yet, by those inside of it, as by the native dissidents, in my view, THEY DO understand their own country!, contrary to his, outsider’s view!…and so do SOME astute western informed analysts!). But, otherwise, I find his mindset as just too blind, too excusing of the current regime over there, and also just too anti-American, to be totally believable.
    But, sure, that same mindset, IS exactly how so many Russians also think. About that, he is very much an expert. In those things, he really does understand Russians, which is no compliment to them, however. It makes them seem…hopeless.
    He is not a truthful observer, though, and too, he himself is an armchair FOREIGN to Russia, comfortably sitting in America, intellectual SNOB, know-it-all.
    By his words, he knows NOTHING! after all is said.
    Certainly, he has no solutions as to how to improve what is lacking in present Russia, …he just accepts it as it is.
    Perhaps, he really wants it to just continue as it is?….and America to wither away and die off?
    And he speaks like a hater of America? So, what is he doing in our country???
    I cannot see him, as how he wants us to see him as, a contrarian truth-seeker,etc.
    That is just his cover, his false persona, perhaps his personal ego-trip?
    By his own pathetic words of criticism of Paul Goble and of others who are critical of Putin, for example, I truly wonder how much the FSB pays him?
    And for his sake, I hope he gets his pay in dollars not rubles!
    I wouldn’t trust him, as far as either his accuracy or his honesty, …as far as I could pick him up and throw him!
    If it walks like a duck…….and quacks like a duck…it IS…a duck!
    And this duck is a clever Kremlin pro-Putin apparachnik.

    • Voice of Reason

      And he speaks like a hater of America? So, what is he doing in our country???

      I agree. America is a country of ultimate freedom and democracy, and all those Americans, who criticize their government, should be immediately deported, especially Americans with Greek last names like George Stephanopolis and Mark Adomnais.

      America – agree with the Government or face deportation!

      • You ment to say:

        America – freely agree with the Government or face deportation!

        • Voice of Reason

          Конечно. На добровольно-принудительной основе.

        • Do you know a single case when an American citizen was deported for disagreeing with the government? I only know about Emma Goldman case, but she was not a citizen I think. By the way, Mr. Psalomschick aka Brother Daniel is not a government, so why are you equating disagreeing with him to disagreeing with the government. Do you think it’s a fair play on your part?

          • May I interrupt and just name several where they American citizen were just f*cking killed by the govrnment for their political views?

  3. My last name is not Greek but Lithuanian, so my treachery runs deeper than any of you could possibly realize.

    • Here they say you’re Greek, that means you’re Greek.

    • Hey, Mike, BTW, did you ever encountered the man that ran “the exile”?

    • Voice of Reason

      What difference does it make: Greek or Lithuanian? If your name is not Smith (or if it is but you are good at basketball) – you are not a real American and should be deported back to Russia.

      If you persist – post your birth certificate (and not from Hawaii!), your last tax return, and a notarized note from your priest that you are not a Muslim and don’t have any Kenyan ancestry or Greek tendencies.

    • To: ‘Mark Adomanis”:

      I only asked a question, ..IF Mark Adomanis (you?) were of Greek heritage, as the name sounds Greekish, that’s all. I did not make ANY negative connection IF it was. So, why read something into my words, which is not there?But yes, my other thought was that it might be of Lithuanian decent.
      I like Greeks and Lithuanians, of whom I have known many Greeks and only a few Lithuanians, (the Letts-?).
      What I don’t like about him, (or you), is what he says, not his blood/name heritage.
      Your words indicate a disloyal person, living in my country, yet a traitor and enemy of my country. And, YES, you should be stripped of your American citenzenship, and then…deported!
      Go and live in your Putin’s Russia!
      Your words are pure sedition! and the words of treachery and betrayal.
      You are not grateful to America for ANYTHING! are you?
      And your scholastic credentials are, BOGUS and laughable.
      About all I can agree with in your interview here, are some of your wise observations about our universal common human nature, (sometimes labeled, ‘the human condition’), and the fact that the average Russian, is really not that different in his responses to …life’s problems, but simply that he does what he HAS to, to survive, etc, as do other people in other lands, etc. YET, Russia has such a violent negative history, that one fears that real progress there, may not ever happen.
      And, Sir! you condone the current Putin regime, MUCH TOO MUCH!
      PLEASE leave MY country!
      Again, dear trolling Putler goons here, NOBODY! said, your’re ‘Greek’!
      What you are, is offensive.

      • To sum up Psalomschick:

        To: ‘Mark Adomanis”:

        Your words indicate a disloyal person, living in my country, yet a traitor and enemy of my country. And, YES, you should be stripped of your American citenzenship, and then…deported!

  4. The pathetic self styled FSB- goon have new instructions !

    Wilfred Graham Burchett wasn’t so “Lucky”

    (check it on Wikipedia, Mark Adomanis !), that is not a particularly impressive figure. At all.

    His previous protests” were pitifully small and completely ineffective.

    In a confidential report, Russia outlined a shift toward a more pragmatic foreign policy aimed at building closer ties with the U.S. and Europe to help modernize its outdated industries.

    The program detailed a shift away from the more confrontational line the Kremlin had taken in past years. It singled out the Obama administration for praise for its more cooperative approach to Moscow.

    A Russian official confirmed the authenticity of the document, which was addressed to President Dmitry Medvedev by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. It was first reported Monday by Russian Newsweek, which ran the document’s full text on its website.

    • Voice of Reason

      Can we ask the FBI or the Arizona police to investigate this traitor Mark Adomanis to see if any of his namesakes have ever taught any other genealogy classes or conducted similar treasonous anti-American activities?

      In fact, Adomanez sounds like a Hispanic name to me. He should be deported immediately.

      • Dear Voice of Unreason:

        Why doesn’t the FBI investigate YOU?
        Your moniker sounds like an alias.
        Criminals and foreign agents use aliases.
        But you are most likely not an American traitor, but an out and out, FSB agent.
        Are you?
        You mispelled, Adomanis!
        Get your story straight, for once.

        • Voice of Reason

          Psalomschik (“Psalm Singer”) wrote: “Criminals and foreign agents use aliases. Why doesn’t the FBI investigate YOU?

          For your own sake, I sure hope that “Psalomschik” is your real name.

          • Psalomschick,

            Have you noticed how Voice of unbelievably stupid Reason, like the true brain damaged, FSB mole that he is. Never answers a question, instead he replies to a question with another and totally irrelevant question.

            Just like a true soviet commie fascist propagandist goon!

            And to top it all of he thinks he’s smart – how wrong he is, but then all self portraits are always well and self colored – pure red in this case.

            You are right in the number of aliases he dreams up – ReTaRd was a classic beauty, so appropriate in his case. I guess he is the one that, like a criminal and foreign agent, has a lot to hide!

        • Voice of Reason

          Speaking about Trepashkin, here the video interview in which he tells the a fascinating story as to how the famous “press conference” by Litvnenko was organized by Berezovsky in order to clear the way for Putin to become head of FSB, and how later Putin refused to be Berezovsky’s puppet any longer and turned against Litvinenko as an undesirable witness.

        • Yes, investigate both Voice and Mark. And throw both out of the free state of America.

      • Voice of Reason

        I bet that he is worse than Adomanez. He is probably Hadomanez, with “H” being silent in Spanish.

        What are you hiding, Hadomanez? What exactly is your “H” silent about? Putler’s and Obamayomama’s crimes? How much does Obama’s KGB pay you to keep your “H” silent?

  5. Pingback: Interview with La Russophobe - Mark Adomanis - On Russia - True/Slant

  6. Voice of Reason

    Psalomschik wrote: “If it walks like a duck…….and quacks like a duck…it IS…a duck!

    A Beijing duck perhaps?

    And this duck is a clever Kremlin pro-Putin apparachnik. YUCK!

    Aaaah… Then it must be a Muscovy duck:

    Chorus: What the f_ck!
    We must rake muck
    To teach this duck
    How to quack!
    Psalomschik: “YUCK!

  7. Voice of Reason

    Psalomschik wrote: “You mispelled, Adomanis!

    What does the word “mispelled” mean?

    English is not your native tongue, is it?

    You are a living illustration to the word “irony”.

    • Somehow I have gotten a notion that you have immigrated to the United States. I am virtually certain it’s true. If so, you really are not in a position to criticize Daniel for his command of the English language

      • Voice of Reason

        Why would it be OK for him to criticize my joke of turning the Lithuanian name “Adomanis” into the Hispanic name “Adomanez”, and not OK for me to laugh at him misspelling the very word “misspell”?

        Why does russophonia always go hand-in-hand with mental retardation and total cluelessness?

        • “Why does russophonia always go hand-in-hand with mental retardation and total cluelessness?”

          VoR, you aren’t suggesting here that native speakers of Russian are mentally retarded and totally clueless, are you? The irony of this typographical error just about matches Psalomschick’s. But lest I give the impression that I am defending this Psalomschick fellow, I’d like to point out that his extremely negative attitude toward US citizens like Adomanis for being critical of their nation’s government is an example of precisely the kind of anti-liberal intolerance that continues to hold Russia back. Both Adomanis and Psalomschick ought to recognize and respect their good fortune at having been born in a society that defends their freedom to espouse whatever opinion they so choose, even if it is inimical to that very same freedom.

          • Voice of Reason


            I had pressed the “n” key instead of the “b” key which is next to it. Indeed, I meant “russophobia” not “russophonia”, although it is quite amusing that it came out as a legitimate word.

            And you are right: making fun of others’ misspellings is the lowest form of life. I myself did it only to retaliate for Psalomschik’s “criticism” of my joke with converting the name “Adomanis” to “Adomanez”, which he mistook for a “misspelling”.

            And indeed, Psalomschik and most other russophobes here are practicing the same form of intolerance to other people’s opinions and to the freedom of speech that was so typical of both the Soviet Union and McCartheist(sp?) USA that is still quite common among older Russians.

            It is no accident that Russia-haters are themselves Soviet-style haters of free speech. The same way, the biggest haters of communism were fascists, and vice verse. This goes to the good old Hegelian dialectic principle of the unity and the struggle of opposites. Or, as electromagnetism says, opposites attract and similarities repel each other.

            Right-wing bigots hate left-wing bigots because they see their own worst qualities in them. What unites them is their bigotry and intolerance, including intolerance towards each other.

            • Well put, but you might well add: their communitarianism, etatism, contempt for the rule of law, contempt for civil rights and liberties, anti-capitalism, racialism, utopianism, cults of machismo and personality, the terroristic use of violence for political gain, secret police forces and jingoism. With all of this in common, Fascists and Communists can be justifiably placed on the same side of most alternative political spectrums.


              The abuses that occurred as a result of the populist impulse of McCarthyism, however, pale in comparison to the horrors of Stalinist oppression. It is no wonder then that the older generation of Russians have remained so entranced by the spell of the latter. Their political convictions seem to be the product of a kind of natural selection. They were given a choice: submit or be destroyed. Clearly, most of them submitted and have since made a habit of it. Consequently, it may well be that Russia cannot be expected to join the rest of Europe as a free civil society until these elderly exemplars of servility have passed on. Should we expect more courage and dignity from Russia’s youth? Of course we should! This blog, it seems to me, is about challenging Russian people with deliberately inflammatory rhetoric to stand up to their government (which makes one wonder why it is in English). All too often it degenerates into ridiculous bouts of name-calling and racistic accusations of racism. You are right, VoR: we need free, open debate to move forward. The logical next step, then, is to free the Russian press (i.e. topple Putin’s regime).

              • Voice of Reason


                The Russian press is already free. And so are radio, books and internet. The only medium that needs liberation (or at least diversification of views) is major TV networks: ORT, RTR, NTV and CTV.

                This blog, it seems to me, is about challenging Russian people with deliberately inflammatory rhetoric to stand up to their government

                This blog is too devoted to insulting the Russian culture, Russian sports, Russian women and even Russian food for any Russian to warm up to it. If you keep on gloating as to how athletically inept I am, how ugly my daughter is, how my food stinks, how my music makes you puke, and claim that all my numerous victories are “fraud” – I am not going to be inclined to listen to your advice how to improve my life, am I? I am just going to say: “You hate me because you envy me”, and I will treat everything that you tell me as sour grapes. The very first entries of LR blog included childish attacks on Sharapova and on Russian sports and culture. The common opinion is that LR hates Russia as an extension of her envy towards Sharapova.

                • If Russia’s major television networks are in need of liberation, which they are, then the Russian press is not free. As for radio, Ekho Moskvy is the only station I know of that isn’t under Kremlin control. I’d be more inclined to consider Russia’s newspapers free if the oppositionist journalists who write for them didn’t have the habit of being assassinated with impunity.

                  Your critique of this blog’s puerile polemics against Russian culture and sport, however, is undoubtedly correct. That aspect of La Russophobe is utterly counter-productive. A strict focus on real political issues would go a long way in preventing the loss in credibility this blog suffers when its authors descend into silly accusations of poor taste, &c..

                  • Voice of Reason

                    Passenger wrote: “ As for radio, Ekho Moskvy is the only station I know of that isn’t under Kremlin control.

                    What do you mean? There are thousands of radio stations in Russia, and almost none of them are under Kremlin control.

                    Of course, like everywhere else, most radio stations are music stations or devoted to empty chat/humour or business news, and don’t deal in politics.

                    I know three radio networks inside Russia devoted to political news: Echo of Moscow(73,82 FM), Radio Liberty (68.3 FM), Deutsche Welle (693 AM), Radio France internationale (1188 AM).

                    Are they non-governmental? No. Deutsche Welle is operated by the German government. Radio France internationale – by the French government. And Radio Liberty is owned and funded by the US Congress and operated by the CIA. So, it has always been a major spy and propaganda media organization.

                    But are pro-Putin? Hardly. Although some of the anti-Russians lies coming form Liberty Radio do make their listeners lose respect for USA.

                    So, Russia has a major FM news station operated by the CIA. How many FSB-operated radio stations do they allow in USA? :-)

                    I’d be more inclined to consider Russia’s newspapers free if the oppositionist journalists who write for them didn’t have the habit of being assassinated with impunity.

                    Well, reporting on corruption in Chechnya is dangerous to your life. But it is hardly surprising. Many Muslim societies are very special. You criticize Muslims (except the westernized societies in parts of Central Asia and in Tatarstan/Bashkiria) at your own peril, as a few Danish cartoonists can tell you. Or take the imprisonment and the consequent murder of an Armenian journalist in Turkey, who dared to mention the Armenian holocaust.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Make it four.

                    • “I know three radio networks inside Russia devoted to political news: Echo of Moscow(73,82 FM), Radio Liberty (68.3 FM), Deutsche Welle (693 AM), Radio France internationale (1188 AM).”

                      City FM, Finam FM, Mayak, Russian news service, Silver rain.

                    • Radio Liberty, Deutsche Welle, and Radio France Internationale broadcast in Russia, but they aren’t “Russian”–they are American, German, and French, respectively. Silver Rain Radio is apolitical pop-culture entertainment. As for the Russian News Service, it is required to comply with an absurd “50 percent positive” rule:

                      As such, “Echo of Moscow, an irreverent and edgy news station that often provides a forum for opposition voices, [i]s the only independent radio news outlet in Russia with a national reach.”

                      Television and radio are largely state-controlled in Russia–owned by corporations known to be in United Russia’s pocket–and the internet is next. Wake up guys! The rest of the world recognizes, acknowledges and condemns what is going on in Putin’s Russia as an attack on press freedom. It’s nothing personal–you are not nearly as envied or hated as you seem to think–but you do need to bloody stand up for yourselves if you don’t want to see things get a whole lot worse for Russia and her neighbors. Intelligent observers from across the globe see Russia as a nation with brilliant potential (you are widely admired!), but Putin’s regime is out to self-servingly stifle every last bit of it.

  8. Pingback: The Adomanis interview : 6309

  9. Voice of unbelievably stupid Reason,

    Back at what you are superb at – STUPIDITY, so what if Psalomschick, “mispelled” the word ‘misspelled’. Anyone with half a brain – which obviously you don’t even possess – would have got the gist of what he was trying to convey, rather then being small, pedantic and petty minded like you are and again tried to turn a mole hill into a mountain.

    Besides you ruSSian goon! you, you of all people, should talk about English spelling correctness, when you yourself make so many errors of context and spelling to boot.

    Your “You are a living illustration to the word “irony”. is just utter trash. As it is you that obviously does not understand the meaning of the word “irony”. Go and look it up in the Oxford dictionary, before putting stupid brain to pen and paper.

  10. I think Mr. Adomanis needs to spend more time in Russia. As Churchill said, Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. A few weeks in Moscow is not going get you one side full of color squares on your rubrik’s cube.

    • Voice of Reason


      How many hours (if any) has our own “expert on Russia” – La Russophobe, Kim Zigfeld – spent in Russia?


      The team that publishes LR has logged more than two decades in-country, no member less than a year.

    • Voice of Reason

      It is hard to imagine how it can be that a team that claims knowledge of Russian, is incapable of translating very straightforward articles in Russian. For example:

      Svanidze Speaks: Another Original LR Translation

      La Russophobe‘s in-house translator offers a short article from Nikolai Svanidze

      LR’s Translator offers the following observations:

      “I honestly couldn’t understand what point Svanidze was trying to make in the first half of the next to last paragraph, even after I read it aloud to myself several times. So I just gave him a very literal translation and moved on”

      Don’t be modest, “translator”. Your entire translation of this article is “literal” in the sense of being produced with the help from Google Translator. But even in your literal translation of the first half of the next to last paragraph, you managed to screw up. For example, take the very first phrase in this first half of the next to last paragraph: “И вот тут — Белоруссия. Прямо, так сказать, к Христову дню. ” Very literal translation: ” “And here comes Belarus. So to say, just in time for Christmas.

      The meaning of this first half of the next to last paragraph is clear: by strong-arming Belarus over the gas price during the Christmas break, Russia has damaged its reputation as a reliable gas supplier with the rest of Europe.

      The “very literal translation” given by our fearless translator is: “And now, Belarus. Right for the groin, so to speak.” In other words, the translator thinks that the literal translation of “Christmas” is “groin”. Ouch! Right for the groin, so to speak.

      To demonstrate that his incompetence is not limited just to translation and genitalia, but extends into politics, the “translator” opines:

      The article itself seemed a little cobbled together and inverted, with the less significant issue (the spat with Belarus) tacked on at the end and seemingly elevated above the significance of the Litvinenko murder

      Yes, how surprising! The issues of Russian gas relations with Europe and of highly complicated and urgent relations with Russia’s closes economic, cultural and military partner – Belarus – is treated with importance! :-)

      Her translator’s admission that he doesn’t understand the article that he has translated, is met by LR with full understanding, who assures him that it is very common for her not to understand what the Russian press and the Russian writers say, and blames the Russian authors for here incompetence:

      LR: It’s not at all uncommon to encounter purely incomprehensible gibberish in the Russian press, even from a high-ranking figure like Svanidze.

      It is also telling that this “team” doesn’t want to deal with Russians, as the very same translator confides in his/her explanation as to why he is so bad at translating from Russian:

      I’ll definitely cross the street to avoid having to deal with Russians.

      Or we can recall how the “team” at LR mistook the name of the hockey team Vityaz from the city of Chekhov to be a player named “Vityaz Chekhov” until RV corrected it:

      RV // January 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm
      LR: Correction. According to the link you provided, Vyataz Chekhov is not a specific player, it’s the name of the team

      And so on.

  11. It’s impossible he can’t, he suffers from lack of gray matter, is an inveterate lying goon that deludes himself with grandeur by thinking he has brains. Plus HIS PERCEIVED command of the English language is pathetic and leaves a hell of a lot to be desired!

    He IS a real laughing ruSSian troll, that makes the average person think “if Russia is like this guy, then no wonder it is in such a mess.” – LOL

  12. Am Greek and very proud that we are consider pro-Russian.


    Obviously you have been taking economics advice from the Russians!

  13. On September 25, 1939,the kremlin proposed to Hitler that the Soviet Union take Lithuania. This was agreed; in exchange the Germans would take large areas of Poland formerly allocated to the Soviet Union, and a bounty of $7,500,000 in gold.

    In a similar manner, Lithuania, with a population of 2,575,363, was forced to sign an agreement on October 10th. On October 11, a high ranking N K V D officer gave his signature to:
    ORDER NO. 001223

    Regarding the procedure for carrying out the deportation of anti-Soviet Elements from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

    This document unexpectedly became accessible to historians when it fell into the hands of the Germans when they invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

    It stated that they were to break into designated houses, assembling families in single rooms. Locked doors were to be smashed in and protesting neighbors dispersed. Transported in carts or trucks to the nearest railway station, the prisoners’ departure was to be rigorously guarded by NKVD troops. At the station the head of each family was to be skillfully separated from his wife and children, and loaded into a separate truck.

    In Lithuania, on the night of June 14-15, 1941, 30,455 members of the Lithuanian intelligentsia (national guard, civil servants etc.) were deported to Siberia. When the Germans advanced in 1941, the kremlin had the approximately 5,000 political prisoners still held in Lithuanian jails executed.

    Before the Soviets returned in 1944, approximately 80,000 Lithuanians managed to escape, but 60,000 were deported to Siberia. In 1945 – 1946 approximately 145,000 Lithuanians were deported. Another 60,O00 were deported in March of 1949 because of collectivization.

  14. Don’t you find it interesting that both Mark Adomanis and Anatoly Karlin, both so enamored with RuSSha and Putler, nevertheless live in the West and trust everything they are told by their friends(hm) and by the russkie government. I can assure you that a couple of years living as ordinary people live there and you’ll be cured. My daughter and her friends, all foreign correspondents came to Rasha with great enthusiasm, believing that the country is finally on the right track. A couple of years was enough to realize that Rasha is becoming neo-soviet and people who let it happen again deserve it.

    • Voice of Reason


      Don’t you find it interesting that Yulia Latynina, Julia Ioffe, Boris Nemtsov, Valeria Novodvorskaya and millions of other Russians, so enamored with USA and Obama, nevertheless live in Russia and trust everything they are told by their friends(hm) and by the amerikanskie government.

      Do you want them to be deported from Russia?

  15. isn’t it true that most Russians living in the US are actually predominantly Jewish, and not real RUSSIAN Russians?

    • Sure thing, they are unreal Russian Russians. I mean a real Russian Russian compared to the American unreal Russian Russian is more Russian that an unreal American Russian Russian, because the Russian Russian which used to be Russian Russian but left for America becomes comparatively more American Russian Russian that the genuine Russian Russian, thus less a Russian Russian. A part of his Russian Russianness vanishes, and is turned into a American Russian Russianness.

      Just like American American, like Mike Adomanris becomes less American American moving to Russia.

      Ever heard of ethnicity and nationality, dear British Britons? When would that be when you start to use the word “Russian” for any one of them, not both simultaneously?

      Vertex , don’t think it’s personal. It’s just about the way everybody uses the word “Russian” in English.

    • Sure it’s true. At least Gentile Russians did not consider them Russians so no wonder they escaped from all that anti-Semitic persecution.

  16. I am very ashamed to be a Russian today.

    Another black Russian citizen has been killed by racist pigs.


    A black actor who appeared in popular Soviet films has died in the northern Russian city of Saint Petersburg after being brutally beaten in a suspected racist attack, officials said Monday.

    “Tito Romalio, 59, died on May 11 in Alexandrovskaya hospital after being beaten by a 43-year-old Russian in a street in the north of the city following a conflict. The suspect was arrested,” a local police spokesman said.

  17. Umm, judging by the name of the murderer (Khamza Yenikeyev) you should have been more ashamed to be Tartar.

    The murderer said he was asking for a cell phone from Tito to make a call, when the actor answered “in a rude way”, and then they had an argument that ended with Khamza beating Tito. Yenikeyev, 43, a shop guard, was drunk during the accident.

    In no way I’m against Tartars. And this was not that all Tartars or all Russians have anything about black people. And I have seen several posts on other blogs where Tartars themselves condemn this murder.

    I just don’t agree that was about “Russian” racism (because you use Russian as ethnonym here, right?).

    • So Tartars are not Russian then?

      Oh thats right, you are a racist Russian.

      Maybe you should give the Tartars their independence then?

      • Did I ever told you you are an idiot?

        Did you ever wonder what the words “ethnicity” and “nationality” mean?

        Did you ever thought of some “Georgians” are actually Mengrel? Or Armenian? Or Jews?

        But have you ever heard of a racism over nationality, not ethnicity, genius? Say, “American racism” among Asian US nationals? Or “British racism” among British Pakistanis? “Russian racism” among Tatars Russian citizens? “French racism” among Arabs French nationals?

        You are an idiot.

        • No, just winding you up, its sooo easy.

          However, Tartars are classed as being Russian, they have been Russian for centuries.

          If a Tartar living in Russia, and born in Russia, commits a racist murder, that means it is a Russian racist murder.

          But as I said, if you don’t consider Tartars to be Russian, why don’t you give them their independence and stop occupying their lands?

          As for “British racism” or “American racism” amongst ethnic minorities, yes it does happen.

          It is a quite common occurrence amongst people from immigrant communities to be racist towards the next wave of immigration, in that they are trying to hard to “prove themselves”.

          Kind of silly really, but it does happen a lot unfortunately.

        • By the way, try saying to a Mingrelian that they are “not Georgian” and see what reaction you get.

          Coming from a Russian racist such as yourself, the statement is likely to get you in quite a serious spot of trouble.

          Mingrelians consider themselves to be “the best Georgians”

          • Sunshine,

            But this doesn’t change the fact that you do not understand the difference between ethnicity and nationality.

            Tartars are classed as being Russian, they have been Russian for centuries

            You are laughable. They are Russian citizens, but less ethnically they are Tatars.

            If a Tartar living in Russia, and born in Russia, commits a racist murder, that means it is a Russian racist murder.

            You should describe to a Tatar why they are all racists, aha.

            As for “British racism” or “American racism” amongst ethnic minorities, yes it does happen.

            Sure thing, boy. American Chinese beating Canadian Chinese for racist reasons. They are non-citizens of US, after all!

            Dude, you ever wondered why “racism” is called so?:)

            And what do all these excuses of yours have to do with a Tatar Russian citizen killing Brazilian Russian citizen?

            Ohm dude, I feel there’s a great mess in your head. Believe me, you need to study, just take books and read, read, read very much about how human societies function, before you would begin to understand anything about this world.

            • I never said all Tatars were racist, but if a Tatar who is a Russian citizen commits a racist murder, then it is a racist murder by a Russian citizen, and a blot on the country at large.

              Interesting how Russia is the home of so many neo-nazis (probably yourself included D-tard)

              However, my example of racism amongst longer settled immigrant communities towards more recent communities is valid, you are just being a retard for misinterpreting it.

              If a Chinese American is racist towards a latino immigrant, that is a case of American racism, as the person is a US citizen.

              If a Tatar is racist towards an African, Caucasian, or central Asian immigrant to Russia, that is Russian racism.

              Race is a funny thing, I know many people born in Russia, but from ethnic minorites, who consider themselves “Russian” in all respects, culturally and nationally.

              Most of them are racist towards the former republics, and identify themselves as Russians.

          • Mingrelians consider themselves to be “the best Georgians”

            While you definitely do not speak of the ethnos (it’s “Kartvel”, and not “Georgian”), you must be speaking of Mingrelians who consider themselves to be “the best Georgian citizens”.

            I thought there were no “first class” (Mingrels), or “2nd-class”, say, Meskhetians (Meskhi). But now I looked it up in the internets and see I was wrong – they are really a “2nd class Georgians” compared to the 3rd class ethnic Abkhaz or Armenian Georgians.

            So yes, in a sence you were right – Mingrelians are really the “best”, 1st value class Georgians.

            • No, there is no grading of citizens in Georgia.

              Besides, in Georgia, ethnic minorities such as Ossetians and Azeri’s can choose to attend schools where core subjects are taught in their native languages.

              Compare this to Russia where Putin/Medvedev have banned the teaching of the “national component” from state schools.

              Russia has 2nd and 3rd class citizens, not Georgia.

              • Besides, in Georgia, ethnic minorities such as Ossetians and Azeri’s can choose to attend schools where core subjects are taught in their native languages.

                Oh, my, but that’s what they call freedom. Is it, I may study in my own language without fear of being thrown to a prison in a freedom-loving state of Georgia? Wow, I mean, wow that’s sure a democracy!

                Compare this to Russia where Putin/Medvedev have banned the teaching of the “national component” from state schools.

                Yes, baby, just ask these ethnic Russian Tatars, they sure know no kid in Russia may get education in Tatar language – we’re not democratic Georgia, no way:D

          • Voice of Reason

            Yes, Georgians keep a very strict and detailed racial hierarchy as to which of them is better than others. Of course, each Georgian tribe considers themselves to be racially superior not only to non-Georgians but to other Georgians as well.

            • Not really, in fact it is similar to the regionalism you find in many other European states.

              Not to mention the attitude of Muscovites and others.

              • if a Tatar who is a Russian citizen commits a racist murder, then it is a racist murder by a Russian citizen, and a blot on the country at large

                If an Albanian Serbian citizen engages in an ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo, that’s sure a Serbian racism, and a blot on Serbia at large, what would you think? Welcome to the Andrew in Wonderland world!

                Race is a funny thing, I know many people born in Russia, but from ethnic minorites, who consider themselves “Russian” in all respects, culturally and nationally.

                My, oh my. “Race” is surely a funny thing. And a name of the article you should read, right after finishing the aritcles named after funny things”ethnicity” and “citizenship”.

                Just to make sure you don’t speak of “Russian race” next time you’d decide to write something clever.

      • Francis Smyth-Beresford

        Tartars are not Russian. Tartar is a condiment made with green relish and mayonnaise, commonly served with fried fish. The people of Tatarstan are Tatars.

      • Voice of Reason

        Andrew wrote: “So Tartars are not Russian then? Oh thats right, you are a racist Russian. Maybe you should give the Tartars their independence then?

        Andrew on April 28, 2010 at 10:36 am: “Stalin, his father was Ossetian by the way

        Andrew on April 12, 2010 at 6:05 am: “Stalin was also half Ossetian remember.

        So Ossetians are not Georgian then? Oh thats right, you are a racist Georgian. Maybe you should give the Ossetians their independence then?

  18. Regarding the report on Russia’s declining energy reserves Mark responded

    “Even if the report is 100% accurate, 2070 isn’t exactly around the corner: given the resource scarcity which is steadily becoming more apparent, I’d imagine that Russia is going to earn a fairly large chunk of change selling its energy resources before everything is all said and done”.

    Marks dismissive tone misses the point.Russias known oil reserves will be used up by 2070, Russia is earning a “chunk” of money but at $70+ per barrel its well below what Russia needs to meet its budget requirements, last week Russia borrowed $2.1 billion from the financial markets the largest sum borrowed in a single week by Russia since the 1990’s, even the Russian government has stated it expects to borrow $17 billion this year (and the rest) to fill the fiscal hole left by the low oil price.

    Russia has only the worlds 8th largest oil reserve (79 billion barrels) but is the worlds largest producer outstripping Saudi Arabia in 2009, yet even though Russia produces a staggering 10 million barrels per day it still can not generate enough revenue to meet its budget requirements. And lets be honest Russia does not spend a fortune modernizing its crumbling infrastructure.

    Russia’s oil production will begin to decline; this is “inevitable”. Another problem Russia has is that much of its oil is under permafrost and in inaccessible locations making it expensive to extract, and at current price levels a large proportion is not economically viable. Russia needs the price of crude to rise to around $100 per barrel to attract investors.

    Russia is drawing off a vast quantity of its best reserves and selling it off at bargain basement prices. This is not good business practice, but what else does Russia have to offer???.(Not much).

  19. His name sounds Jewish, his surname could probably be Lithuanian, but the truly common form of this surname I have heard in Lithuania is no Adomanis, but Adomonis or Adamonis. Adam could be a Jewish name the kinda Lithuanian surname could be made from.
    He sounds like somebody who does not value morality, therefore I don’t value him as any kind of fighter, rather as a defender of Putin, his Co, corruption, real politics. He could be paid by FSB, imo. I don’t know, of course. But he’s no moral authority of any kind to me, not a seeker of justice and not anyone who would try to make any good change (if not paid), so not really interesting. He could serve anyone if paid. YUCK. And I’d feel better if I’d find out that he has not had and does not have much to do with my country (Lithuania) during his life.

  20. This Adomanis would be a perfect traitor of Lithuania or any other country, since he never gives any moral judgement, even if asked nor seeks for any improvement of the bad things he kinda aknowledges, kinda denies (depends on who would read him, such a snake).

  21. “Morality as defined by whom? As defined by Washington I would argue that…”
    Which normal unbiased good person would think of Washington’s politicians right after the word morality is mentioned?
    This reaction of him was so Russian/Soviet/KGB?FSB servile reflex, lol.

    • Which normal unbiased good person would think of Washington’s politicians right after the word morality is mentioned?

      Er, every? I mean, they are all beacons of freedom and an example to the world, aren’t they?

  22. Russians give no thought to restraining their leadership with laws and indepedeant judges.

    Poor Adomanus is in some way under the thumb of the Russian authorities. Nevertheless the bloggers will over time have a positive effect.

    Also on another subject the whole of Europe including the UK and France is loaded with shale gas. [Source: No Hot Air — a UK blog]

  23. Well, I give up on this article,
    I just now composed a long response to my critics here, and a thank you for La Russophobe’s valuable interview with this Mark Adomanis, but then your wordpress (?) said that : ‘it looks like you said this before’, and my comment got your automated axe.
    So be it, I give up. Let the trolling goons have their way.
    Born, Sweet Singer Psalomschick, Daniel

  24. I was wondering…I also want to write a CIA-supported blog, what do I have to do?

  25. Pingback: On the Inexhaustible Subject of the Russians - Barrett Brown - The Great Pundit Hunt - True/Slant

  26. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Russia: La Russophobe Interviews Mark Adomanis

  27. I like your style so much, I am your honest reader.

  28. “I purposefully make no mention of my previous academic institutions on the “about me” section in my blog because I think they have no relevance whatsoever. I write what I write, and my writing’s accuracy or inaccuracy isn’t in the least bit impacted by the fact that I have “Harvard” written on a piece of paper lying somewhere in my closet. … I will let my analysis speak for itself.”

    Mark is a smart fellow, but he needs to stop kidding himself. Without the pedigrees it is unlikely that he would have been able to write at Truth/Slant, or land an RT interview, or get attention from LR or anyone else. We live in a world with lots of opinions, and his is just one of many. He admits his experience in Russia is thin — so why the attention?

  29. Pingback: Official Russia | Russia: La Russophobe Interviews Mark Adomanis

  30. Pingback: Official Russia | Russia Blog Weekly Roundup

  31. Thanks, good job.

  32. Pingback: New Russia Blogs to Watch

  33. Pingback: Official Russia | New Russia Blogs to Watch

  34. Mark, a lot of people in the UK and US are beginning to feel ‘old soviet thug-minded emotionally retarded’ (NOT MY WORDS!) ‘oligarchs’ have been investing in private training of professionals who have massive social influence on the west, how true would you say that is, if at all true? How much do or would these oligarchs truly want to invest in the west or are they simply fat-cats toying with the public in this regard (as is generally believed (due to some very unusual heavy-handed authoritarian tactics from proferssionals in the UK, especially against vulnerable people)) Thanks for your view on this?

  35. Pingback: Would Russia still be Russia Without Siberia? | al fin next level

  36. “Julia, I was really left rather mystified by this piece. I fail to see how what RT does (relatively non-hackish government-suppoting propaganda) is in any way distinguishable from the activity of Agence France Presse, Radio Free Liberty, the BBC, or any of the other Western government funded media outlets. And the less said about Fox News, the better. Now, is RT a haven of sparkling professionalism, fearless truth-telling, and no-holds-barred reporting? No, I suppose it’s not, but what outlets would you feel comfortable putting in that category? The standards of US television “journalism,” if they still exist, are so uniformly reprehensible that it really takes a leap of faith to suggest that our media outlets are somehow categorically different from those ignorant fools laboring at RT. I mean come on, have you actually watched Fox News (the US’ most popular cable betwork) lately? Unless the RT people are running around naked with their hair on fire, they could hardly evidence less of a respect for truth, honesty, or the most basic precepts of journalism. That RT is a government mouthpiece, and that its reports should be treated with skepticism, is a given. But governments have always had mouthpieces and they always will. Compared to Western countries, Russia is poor and ramshackle, and it’s therefor not at all surprising that its pet media outlet is often not quite as flashy or presentable as RFE/RL, the BBC, etc. #2″
    Posted by Mark Adomanis, CJR on Tue 28 Sep 2010 at 02:37 PM – See more at:


    I rest my case.

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