A Postcard from a Russophile Stoogette named Nora Fitzgerald

One Nora Fitzgerald recently had a letter to the editor published in the Moscow Times, responding to a recent op-ed piece by Richard Lourie which exposed the naked propaganda fraud that is “Russia Beyond the Headlines,” a paid supplement churned out by the Kremlin and foisted upon financially hapless Western newspapers. What follows is the letter verbatim with our commentary in boldface following each paragraph.

Interestingly, “Russia Beyond the Headlines” doesn’t publish letters to the editor.

I am an American editor who has worked closely with Russia Beyond the Headlines, a media project produced by Rossiiskaya Gazeta that maintains a news web site and publishes foreign-language newspaper supplements. I thought Richard Lourie’s opinion piece titled “Zombie Russia” was slapdash and egregiously unfair.

She’s lying.  She’s a writer, and has published a huge amount of content on Russia Beyond the Headlines.  Now watch her be egregiously unfair in her slapdash attempt to attack Lourie.

I have had the great pleasure to work with some excellent international and Russian journalists who contribute to and edit Russia Beyond the Headlines,so I am writing this letter on their behalf.

Do you notice, dear reader, how she doesn’t care to name a single one of them?

There was one clumsily edited sentence about bin Laden that shouldn’t have appeared. Otherwise, Lourie was displeased by the Western-pleasing openness of the debut issue in The New York Times.

Clumsily edited is another lie.  As we have documented right here on this blog, the Kremlin has aggressively attempted to take credit for the killing of Bin Laden. The sentence was a mere reflection of that effort. It was not by any means a mere clumsy accident, it was a clear attempt to make Americans believe Russians are on their side, when in fact Russians are America’s vile enemies and are lead by a proud KGB spy.

If Lourie had done his research, he would have known that his stories have been republished in Russia Beyond the Headlines. Does this mean that he is also a tool of the Kremlin?

That’s another lie.  Inserting “Richard Lourie” into the search engine at RBTH produces only one article in their database by Lourie, and it was published nearly three years ago. In that article, not a single critical word is said about the Putin regime.

Russia Beyond the Headlines gets state funding just like the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe. The goal of the service is to tell great stories about Russia. Yes, the editors have gone out of their way to create a climate of open conversation and debate with diverse views. The idea that this openness is a devious plot by the Russian state to deceive the world about the problems within the Russian government strikes me as a little, well, conspiratorial. Lourie should know that most of our writers are experienced, independent journalists.

Lots of people would think that the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio Free Europe (and Voice of America for that matter) probably don’t describe the countries they represent warts and all as well as a non-state-funded entity might.  Why is it so hard for Ms. Fitzgerald to admit that might be the case with RBTH as well? Is this dingbat really suggesting it doesn’t matter at all that RBTH is bought and paid for by a government ruled by a proud KGB spy that does not allow any serious opposition parties, stuffs ballot boxes with impunity, seethes with anti-Western venom and routinely jails and murders its critics?

She then totally ignores Lourie’s point, that RBTH is painting Russia as being far more open to the West than it really is, and thereby creating a false impression of Russian attitudes towards the West, in order to lull the West into inaction in regard to Russian cold-war aggression and anti-democracy policies.

I am writing this for the young editors burning the midnight oil in the Moscow office and every independent freelancer who has done a well-written story for Russia Beyond the Headlines on topics as diverse as the Khimki forest controversy, closed cities, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, the Yandex initial public offering and expatriate life. The service’s opinion writers offer views and analysis from a wide range on the political spectrum.

More totally shameless lies.  First of all, how about having RBTH publish something written by Nemtsov rather than about him? Why does she choose to ignore that RBTH has never done so?  Then, if you put “Boris Nemtsov” into the RBTH search engine, the most recent relevant hit you get is an article about Nemtsov by Eugene Ivanov, a pathological Russophile shil, which is headlined “the liberals’ last stand.”  Search as we might, we could not find a single article devoted to praising Nemtsov in the way Ivanov attacks him.

In one feature on Russia Beyond the Headlines titled “From Oil Tycoon to Imprisoned Muse,” an independent reporter explored the fact that former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky has become an inspiration to artists and the subject of film. Lourie saw this story, including a quote from writer Boris Akunin, as more proof of the elaborate Kremlin plot.

Once again, this reptile totally ignores Lourie’s point, which was that the article about Khodorkovsky trivialized him into a quaint cartoon character inspiring artists rather than a figure like Nelson Mandella.  Will RBTH report that Khodorkovsky has just been labeled a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International? We don’t think so.

This is zombie thinking on deadline. The only thing Lourie can accuse Russia Beyond the Headlines of is being passionate about Russia.

Yes, RBTH is “passionate” about Russia in exactly the same way that Stalin was passionate, and that its paymaster Vladimir Putin is passionate. 

49 responses to “A Postcard from a Russophile Stoogette named Nora Fitzgerald

  1. So when are you going to cover the European Court’s recent ruling that the prosecution of Khodorkovsky wasn’t political?

    • Your link goes nowhere, just like you.

      When are you going to stop lying? The court formally found that Khodorkovsky’s rights were violated in his prosecution. It did not find the prosecution was not political, it found Khodorkovsky had not presented “incontestable proof” that it was. It said that his treatment by the Kremlin was “inhuman” (ouch!). Khodorkovsky was not permitted to leave Russia to testify before the court, of course. Your illiteracy is rivaled only by your mendacity.

      When are you going to cover Amnesty International’s awarding Khodorkovsky Prisoner of Conscience status? Or how about the World Bank’s denunciation of Putin’s economic performance? Ever?

      By the way, thanks for confirming that Ms. Fitzgerald repeatedly lied and that her actions are indefensible by trying to change the subject.

      • His link works fine for me:


        Russia’s trial of oil magnate Khodorkovsky not political, court rules

        European court award businessman damages for violation of rights but says political claims are unproven

        • We didn’t mean the link was broken, you butt-scratching baboon, but that it was totally dishonest. And nothing you say is to the contrary.

          Again: The court did NOT rule that the conviction was “not political.” It ruled that Khodorkovsky, WHO DID NOT EVEN SPEAK IN THE COURT, had not shown “incontrovertable proof” that it WAS political. It’s almost impossible to show that. Have YOU ever done it? The court CONVICTED the Russian government of treating Khodorkovsky in an “inhumane” manner and of violating his legal rights. As such, it condemned the entire Russian justice system.

          It makes little difference what reasons motivated the Kremlin to act so barbarically. What matters is that it did, and that the court so found. Yet, the barbarism continues.

          • Which part of The Guardian sentence “European court award businessman damages for violation of rights but says political claims are unproven” do you find “dishonest”, you butt-licking poodle?

            • Again, your illiteracy is the main obstacle. We did not say that the Guardian’s article was dishonest (though the headline is very misleading), we said that Anatoly’s attempt to claim it supports the conclusion that the court had ruled the charges were not political was dishonest.

              You should learn to read before you try to write.

      • When are you going to cover Amnesty International’s awarding Khodorkovsky Prisoner of Conscience status?

        As requested, mentioned in my most recent recent post (“Given Free Publicity On NTV, Khodorkovsky Only Incriminates Himself Further”). ;)

        • It’s not what we would call reporting. You don’t (a) link to Amnesty’s declaration or (b) comment on it in any way, you merely mention that somebody else mentioned it. Most people would say that AI calling MK a POC is pretty damned harmful to the Russian government’s reputation, especially coming on the heels of the European court’s ruling that MK’s legal rights were repeatedly violated. But the world has no idea what Sublime Idiot thinks.

          Then, you don’t mention that Khodorkovsky has now been spirited away to a secret location without notice or explanation to either his attorneys or his family.

          You also totally ignore two critical points: (a) Khodorkovsky was accused of stealing ALL the oil YUKOS produced and (b) he was accused of acts which MANY oligarchs close to Putin have also committed but not been prosecuted for.

          In other words, typical worthless pseudo-journalism from you.

    • I read the ruling as meaning that he failed to prove, in the legal sense, that it was political. It’s very difficult to prove it because of course he was unable to get necessary discovery. Failng to prove it legally is very different from it not having been political

      • You are correct, for once. I personally have no doubt that Khodorkovsky’s sentence was politically motivated.

        • That’s a bold admission. Isn’t it a problem for you if the Russian government, barely removed from the dark Soviet period and ruled by a proud KGB spy, is making political arrests?

          • Of course it is. If you behaved nicely and didn’t write insults towards Russian culture, sports and food, I would be agreeing on most of your serious posts.

            • But we write those insults for very good reasons. Russians need to be jolted out of their illusions about how great they are in order to understand the need to put forth the hard work necessary to actually become great. Russian culture, sports and food have the same weaknesses (in most of the world, they are a joke at best) that the government itself has, for the same reason: That Russians won’t accept fault and make changes. We are holding their nose to the grindstone.

              • LR, I did not see this post when I wrote mine. Your premise appears to be false to me. The only end you will achieve is to insult the Russian posters into being defensive. Yes, in the best case, this motivates people start up their own blogs exposing how wrong some of the articles are. On the other hand, however, in the process of trying to prove some of your obviously ridiculous posts wrong, people actually tend to be distracted from issues that deserve legitimate criticism and deserve such from most thinking Russians. One can always achieve more through engagement than through confrontation. In my posts, for example, I mainly tried to explain why the current system has high genuine support among the Russians rather than to defend the system. In the confrontation setting that prevails at this site, however, the typical reaction to this attempts is “how much Putin pays you for posting here”. And the understanding why people support the regime is, I think, crucial in building strong legitimate critical arguments against it.

              • If you think that your insults towards Russian culture and sports are helpful to your stated goal of making Russians change their political attitudes, you are mistaken.

                As a typical Russian reader comes to your blog, he first sees some political anti-Putin articles and says: “This blog is interesting!”. And then he sees one of your illogical and insulting articles on Russian tennis, culture and food and says: “This is a very bigoted and silly blog. I don’t trust it any longer” and he leaves forever.

                Have you noticed that your blog doesn’t reach Russians in Russia? For example, all of the commenters here live outside of Russia. There was one exception – Igor Fazyev – but he is long since abandoned you.

                As my father used to say: “He who doesn’t seek friendship with others, is his own worst enemy”.

            • Well, it is rather a case of selective justice rather than a political arrest. In my view, in practical terms, there are more positives than negatives for Russia in Mr. K’s demise, which, however, cannot be said about his continued imprisonment. And yes, if Ms. LR was lambasting Russia’s lack of institutions and rule of law rather than harping on the stupidity of the Russians and insinuating about the Russian food, culture and sports, if she was not overtly supporting people for whom “slit-eye Asian” and “Finno-Ugric” are insults, then the discussion would be much more civilized here, and the trolls would avoid this site. But, I get, a civilized discussion is not the object. The site is based on the false premise that Russians can be insulted into being politically active, or critical of their system or whatever…

              • You can’t call our premise false until you have a better solution. Russians are hurtling towards self destruction and our tactic is direct confrontation. We don’t see you doing anything more effective.

                • And how do you measure your own effectiveness? In my view, attacking the Russian regime in the areas where it actually delivers (economic impact, social and political stability, improving demographics, public safety and personal freedoms), you undermine your reputation and fail to criticize effectively what should be criticized (the failed attempts to institutionalize governance and the related absence of the rule of law, the excessive centralization of power in combination leading to further inefficience in governance and corruption, limited freedom of speech making the discussion of the above problems difficult. By making your site a haven for people who base all their judements about Russia based on pure hatred, racism and narrow-mindedness, you really compromize the idea of criticizing the system. Any legitimate arguments lose their legitimacy as soon as mccusa who addresses the Russians as “slit-eye Asian shitty trash” starts supporting them.

                  • It’s quite simple, really. Links, visitation and comments. Try to find another English language blog that has more, you’ll be looking the rest of your life.

                    And don’t forget we also publish a great deal of content on the American Thinker and Pajamas Media blogs.

                    • The amount of materials and links on the topic indeed points out you have substantial resources to dedicate to the topic. Your publications on the American Thinker and Pajamas Media are, well, content also, no doubt. If you measure effectiveness by the amount of content, then yes you are effective, but less so than, say Google or Yandex. My problem is what you do with this information. For some reason I do not doubt that you understand that Russia’s regime is not an economic failure and is not authoritarian. You clearly realize Russians are (i) more affluent and more free than they have ever been; (ii) more affluent and more free than their other ex-USSR neighbors and (iii) during the last 10 years, live better and longer every year and expect to do that in the future. These three factors clearly outweigh all the serious problems that exist in the country in all areas. No thinking person, I think, doubts that things could have been improving much faster if Russia had insitutionalized power and completely unrestrained freedom of speech. That Russia could be comparing itself to France and the United States now rather than with Georgia and Ukraine if this was the case. Everyone understands, however, that getting these in place involves risks, which can jeopardize the above-mentioned (i), (ii) and (iii), and everyone is paranoid of losing the (i), (ii) and (iii) in Russia. There is nothing idiotic, self-destructing or “sheeplish” in this. That’s why, I think that, in any criticisms of the Russian system, it is vitally important to acknowledge the (i), (ii) and (iii), as well as to pay respect to the Russians. This, however, should in no way prevent pointing out that (a) Russia has failed to catch up economically with the poorest of the nations it wants to be compared with, and the “catching up” process is slow; (b) the system is helpless in fighting corruption and (c) there are few functional institutions in place. This makes life in Russia difficult, despite growth in wealth, and despite the fact that all the everyday freedoms are there for most people. This would work much better than lambasting my favorite pelmeni and borsch and trying to convince the Russians and the world that life standards have not been growing in that country. The former leads to defensiveness, the latter is not true and undermines the legitimate points in your message.

              • Yes, it was a selective arrest based on politics. Khodorkovsky tried to oppose Putin politically. That’s why he was selected: to teach a lesson to other oligarchs not to mess with Putin.

                • Clearly so. But oligarchs are citizens too. Don’t they have a right to participate in political life, openly, without fear and intimidation? Are the notions of due process and equality before the law so alien to Russians and their culture? If so, is that the culture that LR should not insult?

                  • @RV: Why are you asking me? As I said, I too am outraged by this issue.

                    • I am glad, I mean it. In that case, maybe, there is hope you might see the light one day

                    • @RV: I oppose almost everything about Putin’s domestic policies. It is the attacks on the Russian foreign polices and on sports, culture, women and food that I resent. And I am not alone.

                    • Yes Maimuni, we all know how you are a big fan of Russian led ethnic cleansing in Moldova and Georgia, the supply of weapons to groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida in Iraq, the Taleban et al, and Russian diplomatic and military support for the Syrian and Iranian regimes which both use massive and lethal force to suppress their own citizens.

                • Maimuni,
                  The golden rule of your beloved Putin to silence opposition, is to start at the top and then work y his way down to silence the rest.

                  He, “SS Obersturmbannfuehrer” ie Lt Colonel V. V. Putin had the best teachers of two worlds! The Stasi and the KGB.

                  Hells bells child, with instructors like that any imbecile can be the next ” ‘fuehrer/vozd’ for life of that banana republic they call ruSSia.

                  And for those lucky Muscali? Siberian Kolyma!!, here we come , the next generation of “sheeple”! who have won a free ticket to those Arctic steppes and all that vacant land and empty ‘igloos’.What more do you want??

  2. AT ,
    It’s not Finno – Ugric , it’s Ugro – Finnish . And the country is not ” Russia ”
    it is Moksel , your historic , proper name , not the one that your son killing
    mad man of an ” emperor ” created . If you consider your proper roots and
    history an insult ,so be it , but stop pretending and stealing ” your history ”
    from your neighbors and calling yourselves Slavic . The sooner you
    moscovites revise your claimes to your history and culture , the sooner you admit to the great lie that is ” Russia ” , the sooner you will be able to come
    to grips with the reality that you have been living a lie for centuries and
    finaly move forward , otherwise you are destined to founder down history’s
    path as a undefined mythical entity ; the Russian Federation .

    • On October 22, 1721, the ever-expanding Muscovite state was officially renamed into the Russian Empire and its people were called Russians instead of the earlier known names that the world knew them by “Moscovites”, “Moskali” and “Moscvyny.”

      • You mean this is the day when the Tsardom of Russia became the Russian Empire, which was about 175 years after a Grand Prince of Moscow became the Tsar of All Russa, which was a reflection that a Russian princedom of Moscow had been absorbing other Russian princedoms? Then you are right. Some Russians were known as Moscovites to the world between 1283 and 1547, for the whole 265 years, while other Russians were Vladimirites, Kievans, Novgorodians at the same time. For more than 300 years before the Princedom of Moscow and for 460 years after it Moscovites, Moskali and Moskvyny did not constitute a separate political entity from other Russian polities. No, seriously, do I even have to say what is common knowledge, just because LES lives on another planet?

    • Alex, the sooner y0u read up some serious books on history, genetics and linguistics the soonder you will be able to come to grips with the reality. Meanwhile, by calling the world’s largest country by territory, the world’s 9th largest economy, the world’s 56th richest country a mythical entity you sound moderately insane.

      • What is so ‘mythical’ about russia, I wonder – obosranye uborneye ili pianye golodnye riaby, ili asiatytsheskiye vory. By the way, russia is only slightly smaller than USA and Canada put together.

  3. Moscow court sentences blogger Alexei Dudko to six years in colony

    His blogs:

    His former website was http://ingushetia.org/ – sort of continuation of ingushetia.ru, after its owners Yevlovyev and Aushev were both murdered (one shot in the head in police custody and one then assassinated by the so-called “unknown assailants” in a highway drive-by shooting from a machine gun on his car) and the website was banned and its url was taken away by General Yevkurov (it’s now an official website of the “Ingush government” mafia).

    Freedom of speech, Russian way.

  4. @LR: I know you have the power of deleting my reply here, but I am still posting it:

    Delusions? Please name just one other English-language Russia blog that is more successful in challenging the Putin regime than ours.

    Unfortunately, few Russians read in English, and many of those who do – are already anti-Putin.

    We are a sensation in Russia specifically because we are unafraid to confront Russian sacred cows, and have been translated into Russian by INOSMI many times:

    A “sensation”? Of the 6 Russian links that you gave me, there a total of 27 readeer comments, and all 27 out of these 27 are extremely negative. Here are a few of them translated:


    “Are they serious?”

    “I can’t understand what kind of a society they have (in America). Do they seriously write and discuss this stuff? I expected the russophobia in America to be on a sophisticated level, but this is the level of tree stumps. Are they really so stupid, or is this a joke?”

    “They are brainwashed people, I pity them”

    “They have a great skill at putting everything on its head”

    “Total retards!”

    “By translating them, we give weight to them in their own eyes and provide them with advertising. The best way to argue with them is to ignore them and forget their existence. Who cares about some blog?”


    “The author should be sent to a doctor”

    “The author should be immediately exiled to Detroit, after that – to Khanty-Mansiysk!”

    “Such authors should be hanged by their Faberge eggs/balls. And while they are hanging, they should be read history of WWII”


    “I didn’t get this article. A child can disprove all the arguments in it. Where are the facts? Very, very weak”

    “The author cannot count. Conclusion: the author is a loser and scum. He is envious of successful people, who can make money with their own brains.”

    • You are really a very stupid person. This blog isn’t aimed at Russians, it’s aimed at English speakers who are being urged to oppose Putin by all means possible and to protect themselves from the threat Putin poses to their way of life, just as Ronald Reagan once urged them to do. THAT’S WHY WE BLOG IN ENGLISH, YOU IGNORAMUS. If our primary purpose was to influence Russians, WE’D BLOG IN RUSSIAN.

      Many Russians love us, however, for example those who admire Oleg Kozlovsly, who we brought to international fame. Nonetheless, we don’t particuarly want to air our views in front of Russians who already agree with us, we want to confront those who don’t. We don’t want to preach to the choir, what is the point? As a sideline to our main purpose, influencing US and Western policy towards Russia, we want to confront a wide Russian audience with the truth, and that is exactly what we have accomplished, to a FAR greater extent than ANY other English-language blog.

      The reason we have been translated into Russian is because we are provocative and get under the skin of Russians. That’s success. If we weren’t successful, we would not be translated. The notion that our words would magically change masses of Russians who support a proud KGB spy into his foes is absurd on its face. We make it quite clear that we doubt Russians are capable of such intelligence and courage, but still we want to give them the chance to prove us wrong.

      If Martin Luther King were brought back to life and started blogging in Russian about race justice, he’d be attacked and perhaps killed. That would certainly not prove he was wrong. Think about it, creep. If you can think.

      Thanks for admitting you can’t point to ANY English langauge blog that is more influential in attacking Putin than us!

  5. larussophobe | June 11, 2011 at 10:26 am
    You are an absolute liar and jackass. Our blog reaches more Russians than any other English-language Russia politics blog and more Russians read our blog than any other nation. We are a sensation in Russia

    larussophobe | June 13, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    You are really a very stupid person. This blog isn’t aimed at Russians, it’s aimed at English speakers

    Make up your mind.

    • You are an illiterate ape. There is no contradiction between those two statements. We do NOT seek Russian readers, but we have them anyway, just as we do NOT seek comments, but still generate them. We are BY FAR the most well-known English-language Russia blog among Russians because we tell the truth about Russia as no other English-language blog does.

      You should learn to read before you try to write.

      • Ok, so the intention behind writing insults and providing one-sided information is not because you think that “Russians need to be jolted out of their illusions”. The intention is to use this propaganda to dupe English speakers into thinking that they should “protect themselves from the threat Putin poses to their way of life”. Wouldn’t English-speakers be better off in deciding what they should and should not do if they had objective information about the positives and negatives of the system, the real reasons why most Russians support it, its real weaknesses and negatives?

    • @LR: As we have established, the reaction in Russia towards your blog is almost uniformly that of disdain. You do have a chance to hook non-Russians and Russian emigrants, but your silly posts on food, tennis, culture, Russian Beauty etc — they turn off the critically thinking readers, leaving you stuck with the likes of Bohdan, Andrew and Mccusa.

      • You forgot about yourself, the biggest idiot of them all!

        You are truly psychotic! OUR attitudes TOWARDS RUSSIANS is nearly universal disdain. We despise their outrageous cowardice, mendacity, evil and self-destruction. We confront and attack them every day of the week. Why should their attitude towards us be any different? We don’t want Russian approval unless/until Russians face facts and reform. Your comments are delusional and imply that you think YOU could make a more effective blog than this one. If so, WHERE IS IT, creep?

        We are using the “scared straight” approach to Russia. We believe that all approaches should be tried, and we are by far the best at this approach. Until you can show better success with another approach, your comments are insipid and not worth reading.

        What we’ve established is that NOBODY is doing a better job of calling for reform in Russia than we are, NOBODY is more influential with Russians than we are. We are greatly admired by Russians who seek to confront Putin, and of course we are hated by the rest, the vast majority of virulently evil Russians who actively support Putin just as they supported Stalin, and turned in their neighbors who did not.

        And that you have the intelligence of a turnip.

  6. AK states that Russia is “ii) more affluent and more free than their other ex-USSR neighbors” If this is so why do not the Russians who are privilleged to live in Latvia not return to their motherland?

    • First, get your letters straight. AT and AK are different posters. Admittedly, the Baltics are the exception, which I pointed out in my other posts repeatedly. Before the crisis, the economic performance of those has been stellar. By the end of this year, I am afraid, the Latvian GDP per capita will be quite close to that of Russia, unfortunately not as a result of Russia’s exceptional performance, however. Also, the rate of Latvia’s on-going demographic collapse suggests that the Latvian Russians are actively participating in trading the privilege of living in Latvia for a privilege of living elsewhere.

  7. I’m asking myself which impact RBTH might have. What does the Kermlin expect? I know that the journalists working in the concerned publications, those which carry RBTH, are extremely unhappy about this deal. But this coming from the advertising department and they can’t do anything about it but stating that this is a paid supplement and has nothing to do with the newspapers line. (And some have done so).

    But what about the newspaper readers? Everybody knows that most of them are throwing any supplement into the bin, especially if it’s about countries. Those who are not interested won’t bother at all and those who are interested in a certain country are looking for independent information, not for PR articles.

    RBTH doesn’t come across as a normal supplement, it is designed as a “newspaper within the newspaper”, but is this enough to give credibility? After all this is probably rather expensive. The Kremlin has a tendency to waste a lot of money for zero impact projects.

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