Category Archives: blog news

LR Welcomes Visitor #3,000,000

On Tuesday, August 30, 2011, La Russophobe was pleased to welcome visitor number three million to our blog.  Over the course of five years since our blog was founded we have averaged 600,000 visitors and 10,000 comments per year.  We remain the only major Russia blog on the planet which openly shares our traffic and comment data with our readers, and we remain unrivaled in our ability to provoke and educate a wide range of readers from across the globe about the topic of Russian politics, as well as in our ability to reach into and influence Russia itself.  No other Russia blog has shown our longevity, consistency and stamina to date, and no other Russia blog has contributed as many translations from Russian sources or achieved comparable influence in the mainstream media (we’ve even been cited as authority by the lofty likes of the New York Review of Books!).  Our readers are as much a part of LR as our contributors and editors, so pat yourself on the back, and let’s redouble our efforts to challenge the satanic evil that is the neo-Soviet dictatorship!

EDITORIAL: LR rates the Russia Blogs

EDITORIAL

LR rates the Russia Blogs

Happy birthday to us! This month, La Russophobe turns five years old, a mighty milestone, ancient in blog years.

It’s April, the month of our founding, and a young LR’s head turns once again to thoughts of blog ratings.  As we did last year at this time we offer our “top ten” list of the best Russia blogs on this planet.

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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.

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Interview: Julia Ioffe at the New Yorker

Julia Ioffe

In a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine, Russia blogger Julia Ioffe wrote about the Russian teen who created Chatroulette.  Ioffe also answered questions from the magazine’s readers in a live chat.  Here is the transcript:

JULIA IOFFE: Hello, everyone! Julia Ioffe here, and very happy to be here. Can’t wait to get at some of these questions.

QUESTION FROM ARUIZCAMACHO: Your portrait of Ternovskiy’s first acquaintance with America is very poignant. Have you kept in touch with him? How’s he adjusting to his new country lately?

JULIA IOFFE: Yes, I’ve tried to stay in touch with Andrey, partially because it’s hard to just let go of an interesting person you get to know so well by reporting a story. It was also especially interesting to me to hear how he was adjusting to America given his high hopes for the place. At first, and especially after he got to San Francisco, he seemed to swoon a bit. Then as reality hit—meetings, the need to work and improve the site, the loneliness of turning 18 without your family—he cooled to it and told me that America is just like everywhere else—boring.

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EDITORIAL: LR Rates the Russia Blogs

EDITORIAL

LR Rates the Russia Blogs

It goes without saying, of course, that La Russophobe is the best Russia blog in the known universe.  Considering the amount of original content (including translations), overall traffic and comment traffic, no other blog in existence can touch us.

But what about the others? Just because we’re the best doesn’t mean there aren’t a signficant number of other important Russia blogs out there, and today we take time out to recognize them. The comforting fact is that even if this blog were to go dark tomorrow by some malignant act of the Putin Kremlin, perusing these other ten blogs together would be a perfectly adequate substitute for LR. Each of them offers its own unique and uniquely valuable contribution to the world’s understanding of the true nature of Russia.

In rank order the top ten English-language Russia blogs in the world today based on our criteria (again:  amount of original content, comment and overall traffic and contribution to the world’s insight and understanding of Russia) are as follows:

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EDITORIAL: Happy Birthday to LR!

EDTIORIAL

Happy Birthday to LR!

Four years ago today, this blog was born.

We published three posts that day, April 2, 2006. One was an introduction to our blog, one was about Russia’s dismal performance at the World Figure Skating Championships that year, and one concerned the corrupt nexus between Vladimir Putin and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.  Both substantive topics proved to be themes to which we would return many times over the next four years.  Our seminal original post came out a few days later, and addressed “the felonious fraud that is Victor Yanukovich.”

Since then, this blog has grown from total obscurity to become one of the most potent sources of information about Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship in the world. We have been visited more than 2 million times as per our public visitation counter, and received more than 40,000 comments.  We’ve created over 7,500 web pages, and they’ve been viewed nearly 4 million times.  No other Russia politics blog on this planet can make those claims.

Our contribution to the understanding of Russia cannot be disputed.

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LR Welcomes her 2,000,000th Visit!

On March 17th, two weeks shy of its fourth birthday, this blog was pleased to welcome it’s 2,000,000th visit.  No Russia politics blog in world history has ever posted 2 million visits on a public counter, so this is a milestone not just for us but for Russia blogs in general.  We would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank all those who have supported our efforts with their visits, their publicity efforts, their invaluable comments and the their contribution of blog posts.  This milestone is as much their achievement as it is ours. And we would like to urge each one of you, as we challenge ourselves, to redouble our efforts, since the battle with neo-Soviet Russia is far from over.  Nonetheless, our impressive progress makes it clear that it is a battle we can win.

EDITORIAL: How We’re Doing

EDITORIAL

How We’re Doing

Our first year on WordPress ends with a bang

Our first year on WordPress ends with a bang

This month marks our one-year anniversary here on the WordPress server.  We take this opportunity to offer a little review of our progress in our new home, where by and large we are very happy.

Last month, as the graph above shows, we set another new record for most visits to the blog in a month, with 117,480 in total.  In seven of the past eleven months, we had likewise set new records for monthly visitation, breaking the 100,000 threshold for the first time two months ago.  In less than one year here on WordPress, our monthly visitation has doubled.  We are on pace to become the first English-language Russia politics blog ever to post 1,000,000 visits on a public counter by the end of this month.

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EDITORIAL: Another Major LR Milestone

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EDITORIAL 

Another Major LR Milestone

May 2009 was the best month we’ve ever had here at La Russophobe in terms of visitation.  Every week during the month our traffic increased significantly from the week before, meaning we set  a new all-time record every seven days.  For the first time ever, we were visited more than 25,000 times in a single week, and by month’s end, for the first time ever, we had been visted more than 100,000 times in a single month! On top of all that, at mid-month (as we reported then) we received one-millionth visit.  Wow. What a month!

And there’s more.

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EDITORIAL: Our One-Millionth Visitor

one_million

EDITORIAL

Our One Millionth Visitor

We are pleased to announce that since being founded a little over three years ago by a single determined writer named Kim Zigfeld, this blog has now  — as of 3 pm EST Monday, May 11th —  been visited over one million times.  We warmly thank all the readers who have supported us and the contributors who bring you our content.  This achievement, of course, belongs as much to them as it does to us. 

Web pages we have created have now been opened nearly two million times (each visitor usually opens at least two pages per visit).  Our work has been cited by a wide variety of much larger publications, from the snooty New York Review of Books to the pugnacious Little Green Footballs and everyone in between, from the Associated Press to the Moscow Times.  Kim has gone on to write inspiring regular Russia columns for two gigantic mainstream Internet publications, Pajamas Media and the American Thinker. 

And that, if we may say so, is only the beginning of a long, impressive list of our achievements to date.  Even more to the point,though:  You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

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LR Index: The Top 10 Russia Blogs in the English Language

We’ve conducted another of our occasional reviews of Russia blog performance data. There are two main sources of data about such performance; Technorati provides data about links between blogs and “favorites” by readers, whilst Alexa provides data about visitation.

To compile our review we collect four types of data:

  • linking blogs (a measure of blogosphere interest)
  • links from blogs (a measure of blogosphere loyalty)
  • traffic (a measure of interest level among readers)
  • favorites (a measure of loyalty among readers)

Then we rank the top ten blogs according to each criteria, awarding 10 points to the top blog in each category, 9 points for second place, and so on. Finally we tabulate scores for each blog and rank them by score in what we call the LR Index, published below (followed by the base data in each category).

We are delighted to announce something that will get under the skin of the Russia apologist filth even more than our own influence, namely that Robert Amsterdam, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s lawyer, is now the undisputed king of Russia blogs according to the latest LR Index (LRI). His blog was also a finalist in last year’s Weblog awards, the sole Russia blog to be considered for such an honor, clearly cementing its place as the top dog, to say nothing of blogger Robert Amsterdam’s regular appearances on television and in the news media. Given that ideologically Amsterdam’s blog is the spitting image of this one, we couldn’t be more delighted at the ability of this powerful lawyer to inject his blog into the international discussion on Russia. Producing original video content and a wealth of translation materials, carrying the fight to the Kremlin as no other, Amsterdam is clearly the cream of the Russia blog crop. It’s always been our dream that our agenda would be driven onto the front pages of the world’s newspapers by mainstream figures, and now it is happening! Hooray!

Honorable mention should go to three other blogs:

  • La Russophobe now divides its content between three different blogs (this one, Publius Pundit and Pajamas Media), the only blog in the top ten to do so. If the traffic and Technorati data for all three blogs were combined (as well as the traffic done by our backup blog, which is quite significant), we would dominate all blogs.
  • Both Edward Lucas and Mark MacKinnon recently published books about Russia; none of the other bloggers on the list, not even Amsterdam, can brag about such an accomplishment. Lucas also regularly publishes commentary and reporting on Russia in major British newspapers, to an even greater extent than Amsterdam. Kim Zigfeld will soon be publishing a review of both books on Pajamas Media.

Also noteworthy is that the venal “Copydude” blog is a now a dead link, yet another Russophile institution we’ve seen into its grave (remember “Russian Blog”?). Still more encouraging is that the even more loathsome Russia Blog is mightily in decline, having dropped out of the top three and hopefully bound for the ash heap of history. Good riddance! It’s a pretty conclusive statement about the level of fraud that reprehensible institution in engaging in that though Technorati data shows it is clearly in decline it still leads all blogs in traffic as recorded by Alexa, indicating that quite simply they are manufacturing their traffic artificially (the pathetic number of comments they receive is further conclusive proof of this fact) — and the same goes for Russian Spy, hardly a significant factor in the Russia conversation. Russia Blog is just as dishonest in its actual content; there’s simply no market for a ridiculous pile of neo-Soviet lies, and the blogosphere is properly euthanizing this malignant effort, the only one of its its type in the top 10. People don’t want to be lied to, especially not in such an embarrassingly lame manner. One can also point to the humiliating failure of Russophile wacko Petter LaVelle’s blog at Russia Today, which has only been linked to on Technorati a pathetic two times and was canceled by RT for a time. His own blog was an equally ridiculous disaster, and he operates a “discussion group” on Google that he doesn’t even have the guts to publicly display. These are the depths to which apology for dictatorship has sunk where Russia is concerned these days. With “friends” like LaVelle, Russia needs no enemies (and yes, we’re spelling his filth-laden name wrong on purpose).

Note too that Vilhelm Konnander and Sean’s Russia blog have no registration at all for traffic on Alexa, meaning that their level of visitation is too insignificant for Alexa to measure. By contrast, Lex Libertas and Copydude (even though it doesn’t exist any longer) have traffic that registers on Alexa, but their Technorati data is too minor to make the top ten. Thus, we’ve designated Konnander and Sean’s with an * in the Technorati sections to note that they have no place in the top 10 for traffic, and we’ve included Technorti data for Copydude and Lex Libertas even though their stats preclude them from top-10 consideration on the LRI. In other words, there really aren’t ten “top” Russia blogs in the English-speaking world, but only eight, an indication of the fact that most of the world simply couldn’t care less about Russia. (It should also be noted that Sean’s Russia blog has changed its address, which tends to dilute its Technorati data to some extent.)

LR Index: Top 10 Russia Blogs in the English Blogosphere
(ties broken based on linking blogs)
#1 Robert Amsterdam LRI 36 (10 + 10 + 9 + 7)

#2 La Russophobe LRI 34 (9 + 9 + 10 + 6)

#3 Siberian Light LRI 30 (7 + 8 + 7 + 8)

#4 Russia Blog LRI 28 (8 + 7 + 3 + 10)

#5 Edward Lucas LRI 20 (6 + 5 + 6 + 3)

#6 *Vilhelm Konnander LRI 16 (5 + 3 + 8 + 0)

#7 Russian Spy LRI 13 (2 + 1 + 1 + 9)

#7 *Sean’s Russia Blog LRI 13 (1 + 6 + 6 + 0)

#9 Mark MacKinnon LRI 12 (4 + 4 + 2 + 2)

#9 White Sun of the Desert LRI 12 (3 + 2 + 2 + 5)


Links (Blogosphere Interest)

Robert Amsterdam 250

La Russophobe 167

Russia Blog 157

Siberian Light 123

Edward Lucas 59

Vilhelm Konnander 51*

Mark MacKinnon 43

White Sun of the Desert 36

Russian Spy 33

Sean’s Russia Blog 25*

*(Lex Libertas) 6

*(Copydude)(dead link) 11

Links from Blogs (Blogger Loyalty)

Robert Amsterdam 1,330

La Russophobe 1,008

Siberian Light 966

Russia Blog 765

Sean’s Russia Blog 582*

Edward Lucas 495

Mark MacKinnon 302

Vilhelm Konnander 241*

White Sun of the Desert 223

Russian Spy 198

*(Copydude)(dead link) 174

*(Lex Libertas) 124

Favorites (Reader Loyalty)
(ties are broken based on traffic data but same points are given to each)

Russia Blog 6

*(Copydude)(dead link) 4

Traffic (Reader Interest)

Russia Blog 244,001

Russian Spy 306,641

Siberian Light 311,125

Robert Amsterdam 414,808

La Russophobe 793,269

White Sun of the Desert 1,366,751

Lex Libertas 1,687,226

Edward Lucas 2,291,820

Mark MacKinnon 3,032,150

*Copydude(dead link) 7,859,020

Tracking the Blogosphere: Quarterly Update

We are #1!

Today we offer our quarterly report on the state of the English-language Russia blogosphere in the form of the LR Blog Index for July 1, 2007 (the last index was published three months ago). The LR blog index has been expanded in scope and now consists of six factors (as compared to the previous three) and includes the top 20 blogs (as compared to the previous top 16). We publish it in draft form today so that we may be advised of any errors we have made and correct them, and we appreciate all such notices from bloggers and readers either by e-mail or a comment on this post. Of course, we would also love to know if we’ve overlooked a blog that has the credentials for inclusion, and it couldn’t hurt to recommend a blog in the comments section even if it lacks credentials. There may be a genius laboring in obscurity! If so we must root her out!

Based on this analysis, La Russophobe is clearly the #1 English-language Russia politics blog in the world without qualification, with 115 total points compared to 106 for second-place Russia Blog. Robert Amsterdam is hot on the heels of Russia Blog in third place, poised to overtake those scum-sucking Russophile propagandists at any moment. Go get ’em, Robert! His blog has made amazing strides in a short period of time, showing that respect and support for his client Mikhail Khodorkovsky is deep and wide.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike any other blog listed here, La Russophobe frequently diverts her content to Publius Pundit, and none of the activity generated there is considered in these rankings. Were it included, then it would be even more emphatically clear that LR is the number one blogging institution on the planet where Russia is concerned — indeed, holding a dominant position in the marketplace of ideas. As we’ve said before, these achievements are are much those of you the reader, and especially our many contributors, as they are of the publisher and staff of the blog itself.

The six factors we used to rank and compare the English-language Russia blogs are:

A. Total Technorati linking blogs
B. Technorati linking blogs per month of existence
C. Total links from Technorati blogs
D. Technorati blog links per month of existence
E. Total Technorati favorites
F. Alexa Traffic

Each blog in the survey is ranked for each factor (the data and points score in each category follows each blog’s name, with a hyperlink to the source), and then the six ranks are added to form a total score. Blogs are then ranked by total score to form the LR Index shown below, which is followed by the supporting data. We note with pleasure that it is just about time to say “goodbye” to one the blogs we formerly listed, Accidental Russophile (good riddance would be a more apt term for that loathsome and contemptible institution of lies and propaganda), moribund since November 2006 and now being passed on the stat list by newcomer Mark MacKinnon (best performer of the new additions) and old fogie Ruminations on Russia, which are now added to the list along with the Russophile garbage known as Krasnodar Today (spouted by a businessman trying to curry favor with the Putin clan). Another disgusting Russophile screed, Russian Blog, is also long-term moribund and fading fast into obscurity, more good news as far as we are concerned. Conversely, we are delighted to welcome relative newcomer Darkness at Noon, which has jumped onto 11th place on the Technorati links list, leapfrogging old timers like White Sun of the Desert and Lex Libertas (due in no small part to being promoted here on La Russophobe).

LR Blog Index for July 1, 2007

#1 — La Russophobe 115 (19+18+20+20+20+18)

#2 — Russia Blog 106 (20+15+18+16+17+20)

#3 — Robert Amsterdam 103 (18+20+12+18+19+16)

*

#4 — Sean’s Russia Blog 93 (15+13+19+19+16+11)

#5 — Edward Lucas 92 (16+14+17+15+16+14)

*

#6 — Siberian Light 84 (17+9+16+8+16+19)

#7 — Russian Spy 81 (12+16+10+17+9+17)

*

#8 — Very Russian Tochka 72 (14+17+5+12+9+15)

#9 — Vilhelm Konnander 70 (13+11+14+14+18+0)

*

#10 — White Sun of the Desert 60 (9+8+11+10+9+13)

#10 — Copydude 60 (7+10+8+13+12+10)

*

#12 — Mark MacKinnon 55 (3+17+3+13+9+10)

#13 — Russian Blog 53 (6+4+15+11+17+0)

*

#14 — Scraps of Moscow 43 (11+6+9+5+12+0)

#14 — Darkness at Noon 43 (10+19+2+7+5+0)

#16 — Accidental Russophile 40 (3+5+7+9+16+0)

*

#17 — Lex Libertas 37 (8+3+6+3+5+12)

#18 — A Step at a Time 31 (5+2+13+6+5+0)

*

#19 — Ruminations on Russia 19 (4+1+4+1+9+0)

#20 — Krasnodar Today 13 (1+9+1+2+0+0)


________________________________________________

SUPPORTING STATISTICS

A: Top 20 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Technorati Links

Russia Blog 152 (20)

La Russophobe 136 (19)

Robert Amsterdam 134 (18)

Siberian Light 118 (17)

Edward Lucas 117 (16)

Sean’s Russia Blog 92 (15)

Very Russian Tochka 69 (14)

Vilhelm Konnander 66 (13)

Russian Spy 66 (12)

Scraps of Moscow 66 (11)

Darkness at Noon 61 (10)

White Sun of the Desert 55 (9)

Lex Libertas 54 (8)

Copydude 53 (7)

Russian Blog 44 (6)

A Step at a Time 38 (5)

Ruminations on Russia 34 (4)

Mark MacKinnon 31 (3)

Accidental Russophile 30 (2)

Krasnodar Today 30 (1)

NOTE: The above index above shows the level of interest expressed by the blogosphere as a whole in the individual listed blogs. This measure isn’t really fair to younger blogs, but it gives credit where credit is due for longevity. It is offset by measure B, which factors in age. Ties are broken by referring to the total number of links from its linking blogs that each blog has received.

B: Top 20 Russia Blogs Ranked by

Technorati Links Factored by Age

Robert Amsterdam 13.4 (134/10) (20)

Darkness at Noon 12.2 (61/5) (19)

La Russophobe 9.0 (136/15) (18)

Mark MacKinnon 7.8 (31/4) (17)

Very Russian Tochka 6.9 (69/10) (16)

Russian Spy 7.3 (66/9) (15)

Russia Blog 5.6 (152/27) (14)

Edward Lucas 4.9 (117/24) (13)

Sean’s Russia Blog 4.4 (92/21) (12)

Vilhelm Konnander 3.9 (66/17) (11)

Copydude 3.8 (53/14) (10)

Siberian Light 2.74 (118/43) (9)

Krasnodar Today 2.72 (30/11) (8)

White Sun of the Desert 2.5 (55/22) (7)

Scraps of Moscow 2.0 (66/33) (6)

Accidental Russophile 1.6 (30/19) (5)

Russian Blog 1.5 (44/30) (4)

Lex Libertas 1.1 (54/49) (3)

A Step at a Time 1.0 (38/37) (2)

Ruminations on Russia 0.6 (34/52) (1)

NOTE: The index above shows the level of interest expressed by the blogosphere in the individual blogs factored by age, expressed as links from blogs per month of existence, meaning that it is a fair comparison of older to newer blogs.

C: Top 20 Russia Blogs Ranked

by Total Links from Technorati Blogs

La Russophobe 1,914 (20)

Sean’s Russia Blog 956 (19)

Russia Blog 953 (18)

Edward Lucas 801 (17)

Siberian Light 605 (16)

Russian Blog 499 (15)

Vilhelm Konnander 469 (14)

A Step at a Time 446 (13)

Robert Amsterdam 448 (12)

White Sun of the Desert 397 (11)

Russian Spy 386 (10)

Scraps of Moscow 368 (9)

Copydude 332 (8)

Accidental Russophile 283 (7)

Lex Libertas 264 (6)

Very Russian Tochka 195 (5)

Ruminations on Russia 150 (4)

Mark MacKinnon 99 (3)

Darkness at Noon 61 (2)

Krasnodar Today 53 (1)

NOTE: The index above shows the level of interest expressed by the universe of blogs that link to a given blog in that blog, i.e., how often they refer to it (it could generally be described as customer loyalty). It is unfair to younger blogs in the same way that the linking blog count is, and is counterbalanced in the same way.

D: Top 20 Russia Blogs Ranked by
Total Links from Technorati Blogs factored by Age

La Russophobe 127 (1,914/15) (20)

Sean’s Russia Blog 46 (956/21) (19)

Robert Amsterdam 45 (448/10) (18)

Russian Spy 44 (386/9) (17)

Russia Blog 35 (953/27) (16)

Edward Lucas 33 (801/24) (15)

Vilhelm Konnander 28 (469/17) (14)

Mark MacKinnon 25 (99/4) (13)

Copydude 24 (332/14) (12)

Very Russian Tochka 20 (195/10) (11)

Russian Blog 18.4 (499/27) (10)

White Sun of the Desert 18.04 (397/22) (9)

Accidental Russophile 15 (283/19) (8)

Siberian Light 14 (605/43) (7)

Darkness at Noon 12.2 (61/5) (6)

A Step at a Time 12.0 (446/37) (5)

Scraps of Moscow 11 (368/33) (4)

Lex Libertas 5.3 (264/49) (3)

Krasnodar Today 4.8 (53/11) (2)

Ruminations on Russia 3 (150/52) (1)

E: Top 20 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by

Number of Technorati Favorites

Russia Blog 3 (12)

Scraps of Moscow 3 (12)

Copydude 3 (12)

Very Russian Tochka 2 (9)

Lex Libertas 1 (5)

A Step at a Time 1 (5)

Darkness at Noon 1 (5)

Krasnodar Today 0 (0)

NOTE: “Favorites” is a category recently highlighed by Technorati in its format revisions recently, so we include it. Ties are awarded the same amount of points to emphasize the importance attributable to each favorite, something that requires special effort by a reader.

F: Top 12* Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Traffic (Alexa)

Russia Blog 390,548* (20)

Siberian Light 627,396 (19)

La Russophobe 686,228 (18)

Russian Spy 729,280 (17)

Robert Amsterdam 1,274,735 (16)

Very Russian Tochka 2,415,893 (15)

Edward Lucas 2,476,947 (14)

White Sun of the Desert 2,748,736 (13)

Lex Libertas 3,130,585 (12)

Sean’s Russia Blog 4,300,307 (11)

Mark MacKinnon 5,724,648 (10)

Copydude 7,073,568 (9)

NOTE: Only 12 of the top 20 blogs identified by Technorati links have cognizable traffic as reproted by Alexa. Therefore, eight of the blogs receive zeros in this category.

*La Russophobe continues to question the legitimacy of Russia Blog’s traffic, which is utterly inconsistent with its number of Technorati linking blogs and the amount of comments its receives. We believe there is every possiblity that Russia Blog is using spam technology to artificially inflate its traffic in the same way that English Russia does, and Russia Blog has done nothing to dispel this appearance.




Tracking the Blogosphere: An Update Introducing the LR Index

Having taken it upon ourselves to adopt the claim that we are the “#1 independent English-language Russian politics blog in the world, it is of course incumbent upon us to document that claim with careful research. One month ago, we published the results of a major study doing just that. Herein, we continue that effort.

As readers interested in such things may know, some time ago La Russophobe noted the claim of Russia Blog that it was be the most trafficked Russian politics blog in the world, with thousands of visitors every day, several times more than any other Russia blog (and indeed perhaps more than all the rest put together). So it was perhaps surprising to some to learn, when La Russophobe published her landmark study one month ago, that Russia Blog had virtually the same number of Technorati-recognized linking blogs as La Russophobe. In other words, despite all that traffic, the blogsophere in its wisdom simply heaved a giant sigh at the buffoons from the Discovery Institute. Here is that ranking, updated for the latest information (as of April 2, one month from our last data collection, with the prior data following in parenthesis and ties broken by referring to total number of links from blogs):

Top 16 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Technorati Links

Russia Blog 139 (115)

La Russophobe 122 (107)

Sean’s Russia Blog 84 (74)

Edward Lucas 83 (71)

Siberian Light 76 (58)

Robert Amsterdam 75 (59)

Very Russian Tochka 75 (66)

Vilhelm Konnander 69 (58)

Lex Libertas 66 (64)

Russian Blog 59 (70)

Russian Spy 53 (52)

A Step at a Time 44 (47)

White Sun of the Desert 43 (45)

Accidental Russophile 37 (38)

Copydude 35 (35)

Scraps of Moscow 35 (28)

Now, let’s refine this data a bit. If we do, Russia Blog’s traffic information rings even more hollow.

While the Technorati index measures total present total influence in the blogosphere, it ignores link-generating power (and the potential for future influence it implies) because it doesn’t take any account of a blog’s age. In other words, it’s to some extent misleading to compare the number of links collected by a one-year-old blog to those collected by a two-year-old blog, since the latter has had much more time to collect links than the former.

Therefore, LR has adjusted the Technorati-based ranking she previously reported to account for blog age. Here’s the ranking for link-generating power based on updated link numbers shown above through the end of March . In parenthesis are the blog’s total links and its age in months; the number to the left of the parenthesis is the quotient of those two numbers, the link-age index by which the blogs are re-ranked, with ties again broken by referring to total links from linking blogs.

Top 16 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by

Technorati Links Factored by Age

Robert Amsterdam 10.7 (75/7)

Very Russian Tochka 10.7 (75/7)

La Russophobe 10.2 (122/12)

Russian Spy 8.8 (53/6)

Russia Blog 5.8 (139/24)

Vilhelm Konnander 4.9 (69/14)

Sean’s Russia Blog 4.7 (84/18)

Edward Lucas 4.0 (84/21)

Copydude 3.2 (35/11)

Accidental Russophile 2.3 (38/16)

Russian Blog 2.2 (59/27)

White Sun of the Desert 2.2 (43/19)

Siberian Light 1.9 (76/40)

Lex Libertas 1.4 (66/46)

A Step at a Time 1.3 (44/34)

Scraps of Moscow 1.2 (35/30)

As you can see, using this analysis, Russia Blog drops out of first place and falls to fifth. Given the fact that the vast majority of links received by Very Russian Tochka are freak occurrences having nothing to do with Russian politics, one must be very impressed by the performance of La Russophobe’s favorite blog (apart from LR of course), the one operated by Mikhail Khodorokovsky’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam – it is the true #1 in this category right now, not only because his links are far more genuine but because he has significantly more links from his linking blogs than VRT from its group. Way to go, Robert! It should be noted that some blogs, like Siberian Light and Accidental Russophile, may be argued to suffer a bit under this analysis from being moribund for a while; on the other hand, Siberian Light benefits from being the recipient of a freak traffic upsurge and the links that went with it, so it is probably a wash in that blog’s case.

While we are at it, we may as well update the Alexa traffic data from last month as well:

Top 12 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Traffic (Alexa)

Siberian Light 182,688 (was #2) +1

Russia Blog 456,842 (was #3) +1

La Russophobe 995,009 (was #5) +2

White Sun of the Desert 1,702,866 (was #7) +3

Russian Spy 1,909,149 (was #4) -1

Very Russian Tochka 2,001,312 (was #1) -5

Robert Amsterdam 2,446,880 (was #8) +1

Edward Lucas 2,694,546 (was #10) +2

Russian Blog 2,839,468 (was #9) +/-0

Lex Libertas 3,026,394 (was #6) -3

Copydude 4,406,855 (was #12) +1

Sean’s Russia Blog 5,050,738 (was #11) -1

As previously noted, the traffic figures for two blogs are warped by freak occurrences. Both Siberian Light and Very Russian Tochka experienced a brief period when their blog’s received a giant amount of traffic which was not sustained over time. Alexa data covers a period of three months, so the freak occurrence for VRT has now been cleansed from their system, resulting in that blog’s precipitous fall in the ranking. SL’s freak occurrence will not clear the system until the end of next month, hence it now occupies the #1 spot. By May, traffic figures will be comparable for all blogs assuming no further freak occurrences (and remembering that Alexa’s data is far from perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got). As previously noted, four of the top 16 Technorati blogs do not have cognizable Alexa traffic.

We now have three different lists rank-ordering the 16 English-language Russia politics blogs that are in the Technorati top 125,000 of all blogs in the world. We can combine these three lists and get a cumulative score for each blog, ranking them on that basis. We can assign 16 points to the #1 blog on each list, 15 to the #2, and so on down to the bottom, then we can add up the three point scores for each blog and thus compare them in the broadest way possible (the highest possible score would be 48). If we do, here’s the result, what we will call the “LR Blog Index” (the scores shown in parenthesis are for total Technorati links, Technorati links per month of existence and Alexa traffic, in that order).

LR Blog Index for April 5, 2007

Russia Blog 44 (16+13+15)

La Russophobe 43 (15+14+14)

*

Very Russian Tochka 37 (11+15+11)

Robert Amsterdam 36 (10+16+10)

Siberian Light 33 (12+5+16)

Edward Lucas 32 (13+10+9)

Russian Spy 31 (6+13+12)

Sean’s Russia Blog 30 (14+11+5)

*

White Sun of the Desert 23 (4+6+13)

Russian Blog 22 (7+7+8)

Vilhelm Konnander 21 (9+12+0)

*

Lex Libertas 19 (8+4+7)

Copydude 17 (2+9+6)

Accidental Russophile 11 (3+8+0)

*

A Step at a Time 8 (5+3+0)

Scraps of Moscow 3 (1+2+0)

It should be noted that the rankings for Siberian Light, Russian Spy and Very Russian Tochka are open to debate. It can be argued that the scores for SL and VRT are too generous. Although, as noted above, VRT’s freak traffic has cleared the Alexa system, a huge number of its links are due to that freak event (they have nothing to do with Russian politics), and its large number of such links combined with its young age skews the results. SL’s freak event has not cleared the Alexa system, skewing its score for traffic.

Comments on how our methodology might be improved are greatly appreciated, as are notices of errors in our calculations; apologies in advance for any inadvertent errors in crunching the numbers, which we will immediately correct upon notice.

Conclusions? Two. (1) La Russophobe and Russia Blog virtually tied on the LR Index even though Russia Blog is much older and supported by a huge wealthy organization and put out by a paid publisher. This indicates that the traffic passing through Russia Blog is largely empty and illusory, totally failing to generate the kind of profile in the blogosphere that it logically should. (2) More importantly, LR is head and shoulders above every other independent English-language Russian politics blog in the world on the LR Index, and hence solidly entitled to her claim of being #1 among them.

LR’s leadership is also clearly seen, of course, in the fact that it is only she, over the course of many years that the Russia blogosphere has existed, who makes reports of this kind available.

UPDATE: Commenter Andy has ferreted out the age of Russian Spy as being six months, so the data above has been adjusted accordingly. RS rockets up the LR index to nudge Sean’s Russia Blog down into 8th place from 7th, taking the #7 spot for itself. More importantly, RS knocks Russia Blog down from 4th place to 5th on the adjusted Technorati index, making its traffic even more hollow than before. As we’ve said before, however, it’s quite stretchings things to consider RS to be a true blog; if it is, the Moscow Times would have that claim too, and it would defeat all rivals easily. Also interesting to note that under new Kremlin policies reported on Publius Pundit, RS could be required to register as a “newspaper” in Russia and fined or closed if it failed to get government imprimatur.

Oborona Website Back in Action

LR is pleased to report that Oborona’s website is back up in operation now (Russian language only for now, but we are working on trying to get them to translate). Click the logo above to visit their site, click the text link to read our prior report on Oborona).

Ura! Russia Journal Returns!

One of the first sidebar links posted by La Russophobe after she was born into the world was to Russia Journal, a Russia-based newspaper that was a competitor of the Moscow Times and Moscow News and was published by Ajay Goyal, a long-time Russia resident. Unfortunately, perhaps in yet another example of Kremlin-inspired attacks on the blogosphere, Russia Journal became moribund after a savage cyber attack on its data bases.

LR is therefore delighted to announce Ajay’s return to the blogophere. Here’s his announcement:

Friends:

I am writing to introduce a new Russian news service at The Russia Journal

The service has been in the making for over a year and now that its been rolled out, many new features will be added over the next few weeks. The power of web 2.0 is truly amazing and enormous and you can see its performance in full at this web site.

More than 2,000 web sites and news media are trawled by a news bot to bring Russia related news and information to you on this site. By end April, more than 5,000 sites will be added. Video, audio, blog and other multimedia content will also be linked.

The service is moderated by Ms. Elena Kobyakina in London at

editor@therussiajournal.com

feel free to send your suggestions and comments to her.

For RJ editorial, analysis and opinions please visit www.russiajournal.com We have also decided to pass this web site to a new Moscow based entrepreneur who is committing improved content and continuing commitment to quality.

I hope you find this very unique product and service useful.


Ajay Goyal

LR is delighted to be able to link once again to active content from Russia Journal and is hoping to be able to persuade Ajay to tell the story of Russia Journal on these pages in the future, as well as to pen a guest column from time to time. His important voice and insights were sorely missed while they were away.

Tracking the SL Interviews: LR & SL have the last laugh

As avid readers of the Russia blogosphere may know, senior Russia blogger Andy Young is currently in the midst of publishing an ambitious set of interviews with Russia blog publishers on his own blog Siberian Light. When he gets finished, LR intends to turn the tables and interview Andy. He started (naturally!) with La Russophobe, moved on to White Sun of the Desert, and most recently focused on Copydude. In the interim, he also interviewed fanatical blog reader and all-around- Russophilenutjob Mike Averko, apparently to get an outside (way, way outside) perspective (some people might question the propriety of interviewing a mere reader before finishing with the actual writers, some might even say it’s a bit disrespectful to those hardworking bloggers who’ve not yet been interviewed, but Andy is a bit of an iconoclast who doesn’t concern himself with issues of that kind — an admirable trait).

It’s worth noting that the interview of “Copydude” doesn’t give the publisher of that (disgraceful) blog’s real name, nor does the “about” section on Copydude’s blog itself. That’s just for the information of some wackos (Andy has properly called them “demented”) who criticize the use of anonymity on this blog. The publisher of Russian Blog (known only by the first name “Konstantin”) is also anonymous, as are millions of other bloggers. There’s nothing the least bit wrong with anonymity (without it we’d be missing quite a lot of the world’s great literature), so there’s no reason why Russian Blog and Copydude shouldn’t be anonymous — and the same goes for LR’s contributors, should they desire to be so.

Let’s take a look at the reception these four interviews have received so far, shall we?

To start with, La Russophobe‘s interview has received nearly twice as many comments as all of the other three interviews combined, as the list below shows:

Comments Received

La Russophobe (63)*
Mike Averko (22)
Copydude (13)
White Sun of the Desert (7)

*This doesn’t count Andy’s followup post “Why I interviewed La Russophobe,” which generated an additional 23 comments, for a total of 86 so far. What’s more, a number of the comments on the other three posts were written in response to comments made about them by La Russophobe. So, all told, LR has generated upwards of 100 comments for Andy’s blog as the result of this series.

One must also suggest that since the level of interest achieved by Copydude and White Sun, both critics of LR, was exceeded by that of a mere reader, they perhaps need to get their act together. In that respect, at least, Andy’s decision to interview the reader first seems to have been justifiable.

Next, let’s Google the four interviews and see how many hits we get, shall we?

Google Hits

So this time, LR receives nearly ten times as much attention as the other three interviews put together.

After Andy published his interview with LR, a few of her Russophile critics wrote furious letters demanding to know why he dared to do such an “outrageous” thing, calling it a “waste of time.” This prompted Andy, as noted above, to issue a second post explaining his purpose. Well, it appears that the question of “why” Andy interviewed LR, and why he interviewed her first, has been definitively answered by the data given above. One could add, of course, that there is no other independent Russia blog which has close to as many Technorati links, Google hits or published regular traffic as LR does. In fact, given all this, it seems like the better question to ask would be why anyone would be simpleton enough to question Andy’s decision in the first place — and if anything, one might ask why Andy chose to interview anybody else. But then, the demented Russophile minions rarely care to ask good questions. They seem to prefer watching Russia slip beneath the waves.

LR on WordPress

For security purposes, La Russophobe is constructing a backup blog on WordPress.com. All of LR’s archives have now been uploaded to WordPress and can be viewed there, but no new content will appear on WordPress for now (although archival material will continue to be uploaded on a regular basis). New content will appear only on this blog, until further notice.

WordPress has a number of interesting features not (yet) offered by blogger, including the ability to split long posts with a jump page (reducing scrolling on the main page) and the ability to apply custom design features. Therefore, it’s possible that LR will move to WordPress and begin placing new content there at some point in the future. Readers, of course, will be notified.

Meanwhile, another interesting feature of WordPress is that it provides a tally of comments; all the comments on this blog have been uploaded to WordPress along with the content. LR was surprised to learn that she has received a total of 2,298 comments to date, over the course of 11 months (we think there’s a way to display this information on the blog, but we haven’t figured out how yet; if anybody knows, please tell us). That works out to an average of over 200 comments per month or nearly 7 comments on this blog every single day. Given the fact that for much of our history we have required blogger membership prior to commenting, a major obstacle not present on any other Russia blog we know of, and given the fact that we post much more than any other Russia blog and therefore posts don’t stay on the main page nearly as long as elsewhere, we think this is an amazing testament to reader interest and support and we humbly express our thanks to all readers who have commented in the past. It’s not our goal to be a discussion forum, but we are always glad to hear from readers both by comment form and by e-mail (where we received the vast majority of feedback on the blog).

LR on WordPress is a work in progress. It’s very clunky right now and not really meant be seen, but reader comments as to the design are still welcome. If you’d like to see a certain feature on the blog, do tell us.

LR’s Supporters vs. the Chekisti in the Russian Blogosphere

La Russophobe‘s translator has been visiting the Russian blogosphere to review its reactions to his translations published on this blog. Here is his initial report. Particuarly noteworthy is the ability of clever Russians to realize that this blog, far from hating Russians, loves them much more than the Russophiles who are trying to destroy them, led by the malignant little troll in the Kremlin; they are also clever enough to realize that belief in “russophobes” — like belief in Ded Moroz, the Easter Rabbit, and the democratic intentions of a proud KGB spy — is illusory, in an fact self-imposed flattery that Russians are important enough to be hated. Worst of all is the simply insane notion that criticism of Russians is racial. Dark-skinned people can be just as much “Russian” as the Slavs (at least in English they can).

The Chekisti Win Again… Or Maybe Not?

One Week on a RuNet Forum

 

On February 19, 2007 La Russophobe published a link to a list of suspected members of FSB Internet-harassment Brigades and their associates, located on a forum of the online journal Yezhednevniy Zhurnal (YeZh). Unbeknownst to LR at the time, however, just two days earlier the site administrator had terminated this forum with the following announcement:

Старый17.02.2007, 21:09

#2992

Fea vbmenu_register(“postmenu_476075”, true);

Administrator


Аватар для Fea

Регистрация: 22.09.2006

Сообщения: 286
Thanks: 1
Thanked 694 Times in 253 Posts

Вес репутации: 100 Fea отключил(а) отображение уровня репутации

По умолчанию


Принято решение запретить юзеру zasdevushka публиковать сообщения и темы подобного характера.

Тема закрыта.

Fea вне форума

Thanks


Translation: The decision has been made to prohibit user Zasdevushka from publicizing this information and topics of a similar character. This topic is closed.”

Continue reading

LR’s Supporters vs. the Chekisti in the Russian Blogosphere

La Russophobe‘s translator has been visiting the Russian blogosphere to review its reactions to his translations published on this blog. Here is his initial report. Particuarly noteworthy is the ability of clever Russians to realize that this blog, far from hating Russians, loves them much more than the Russophiles who are trying to destroy them, led by the malignant little troll in the Kremlin; they are also clever enough to realize that belief in “russophobes” — like belief in Ded Moroz, the Easter Rabbit, and the democratic intentions of a proud KGB spy — is illusory, in an fact self-imposed flattery that Russians are important enough to be hated. Worst of all is the simply insane notion that criticism of Russians is racial. Dark-skinned people can be just as much “Russian” as the Slavs (at least in English they can).

The Chekisti Win Again… Or Maybe Not?

One Week on a RuNet Forum

On February 19, 2007 La Russophobe published a link to a list of suspected members of FSB Internet-harassment Brigades and their associates, located on a forum of the online journal Yezhednevniy Zhurnal (YeZh). Unbeknownst to LR at the time, however, just two days earlier the site administrator had terminated this forum with the following announcement:

Старый17.02.2007, 21:09

#2992

Fea vbmenu_register(“postmenu_476075”, true);

Administrator


Аватар для Fea

Регистрация: 22.09.2006

Сообщения: 286
Thanks: 1
Thanked 694 Times in 253 Posts

Вес репутации: 100 Fea отключил(а) отображение уровня репутации

По умолчанию


Принято решение запретить юзеру zasdevushka публиковать сообщения и темы подобного характера.

Тема закрыта.

Fea вне форума

Thanks


Translation: The decision has been made to prohibit user Zasdevushka from publicizing this information and topics of a similar character. This topic is closed.”

By way of background, the forum was titled, “Battle Without Rules” (Borba bez pravil), started by user “Zasdevushka”on January 10, 2007 when she posted her first “List of Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices”. At the time it was started, the thread enjoyed the full support of the YeZh site administrator, who gave Zasdevushka a “half smiley” Cool grade for her first posting. As one might expect, Zasdevushka’s “modest undertaking” immediately drew an enormous number of responses, from both supporters and opponents — the latter including some of the nicknames that were on her list. As one can see from the final posting, over a five-week period the thread accumulated 2,992 postings, and was quite active to the last day of its existence.

In short, it looked like the “Commissars of the Internet” had won again.

The Pro-Democracy Partisans Fight Back

After the closure of Chekist Provocateurs List forum, Zasdevushka and her pro-democracy cohorts continued posting on other forums, more or less as if nothing had happened. On February 22, one of them, nicknamed “Korchagin”, posted the following congratulatory message on a different YeZh forum, noting that Zasdevushka’s list had been linked to by La Russophobe:

Zasdevushka can be proud.

Her list of “Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices” has attracted the interest of American Internet users. Here is what the popular American Internet site La Russophobe is saying:

The site also published an English translation of an article that had previously circulated on the RuNet, “Commissars of the Internet: The FSB at the Computer”.

The remainder of Korchagin’s post gave a condensed version of LR’s introduction to the “Commissars of the Internet” article and Zasdevushka’s list, including the note that one of the personalities on the list, “ENOT/EHOT”, has made regular, obnoxious appearances on American sites, and that another Russian-language site, had also linked to and commented on LR’s translation of the “Commissars” article.

Parrying the Foil

Over the next few days after Korchagin’s post, Zasdevushka and her fellow pro-democracy participants on the forum were attacked by several readers who claimed to be offended by the LR link. One reader, “Foil”, called her to task repeatedly for being proud to be associated with a site that called itself “La Russophobe”. Zasdevushka gave the following replies:

1.

Quote (from “Foil”):

How could any responsible person be gladdened by a favorable evaluation of their work from someone or something with the name “Russophobe”? If you were admired by a blog named “Cannibal” would you be proud of that too?

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Any information in this world should be evaluated by only one criterion: whether it is true or false. In this context, it is absolutely irrelevant who gave the information and under what name (“Russophobe”, “Cannibal”, “KGB Spy” or “Communist”).

But as long as we’re on the subject, if you would like to try and understand why the reference has the name “Russophobe”, you might acquaint yourself with the explanation (I too was at first shocked by this name, so I looked it up and found it)

2.

Foil seemed to concede Zasdevushka’s point about the name La Russophobe not necessarily being meant to betaken at face value. But he continued his attack nonetheless.

Quote (from “Foil”):

“It may be that the name ‘Russophobe’ or ‘Cannibal’ might not carry so much meaning, and in a certain sense might be taken ironically. But the point is that the reference was made to your ‘List’, and was given in a tacitly approving context. My view and the view of many other participants in this forum toward your brainchild is well-known. I think it was created on the basis of fascist principles. In this sense both the tacit approval of your work by the cited resource and your pride at this evaluation speak volumes about you and this resource.”

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Wonderful. Now we’re having a serious conversation. (Incidentally, it was immediately clear to me that the name of the site “Russophobe” is in fact an ironic usage and that they are in no way Russophobes. Such people don’t exist in the real world in any event, with the exception perhaps of a few really sick individuals, but these bugaboos are held up by our own more-or-less educated sick individuals (including one now-deceased mathematician) and picked up by our leaders to help them to pull the wool over our eyes – in the Soviet era they called it the “capitalist encirclement”.) I wanted you to say it, you said it, and it’s much to your credit that you did. Now further. You and a lot of other people may have had some very negative views of my list, but you couldn’t have helped but notice (unless you kept your eyes closed) that a significant number of participants had a distinctly favorable view of it as well. Hence, my take on your remarks about the “favorable” view of the site “La Russophobe” toward my list is only that it (like the view of many participants here) does not agree with your point of view, nothing more, nothing less. So allow me to continue to take pride in the positive view of my undertaking held by a large portion of readers “here” and the above-mentioned site “over there”.

P.S. – Incidentally, regarding your use of the term “fascist principles” with regard to my modest undertaking: In my view, the term “fascist principles” would incomparably better fit the practice of our ruling structures to mobilize, at taxpayers’ expense, a large number of personnel (the Web Brigade), who day and night , under the guise of being private individuals, try to beat over the head those they are ordered to beat by the authorities. Now that is a typical fascist practice.

Following the Money

After the above exchange, “Foil” went on to counter-claim, “Даже если допустить наличие бригад, оплата пиар-услуг по продвижению чего либо не может являться фашизмом ни по какому его пределению.” Essentially, Foil is here saying that there is nothing “fascist” about a Brigade receiving money for “PR services” – including, presumably (since this is what Zasdevushka was specifically talking about), posting messages on forums on behalf of government interests; pretending to be a private citizen; attacking the viewpoints and dignity of private individuals; and being paid for these “services” by the unwitting Russian taxpayer. Indeed, Foil’s outburst would seem to speak volumes about the values, mores and sense of entitlement of the Brigade and its supporters in Russian society.

Joining the Battle

Reading the YeZh forum, we can see that some things have in fact changed since the “Commissars of the Internet” article was first written in 2003. Most significantly, the pro-democracy forum participants are banding together and sticking up for each other. The day before Korchagin posted his congratulations to Zasdevushka, a brigadnik/accomplice, “RealDorum”, wrote an abusive piece in response to another mention of the Brigade, in which he asked, “Are you completely out of mind? Don’t you realize that your search for Brigades places you on the same list with searchers from the Washington Obkom?” (TN: “Obkom” is short for the Soviet “oblastniy komitet”, or regional committee/government; here, it appears to have taken on a slang meaning to refer to parts of the U.S. government that might be viewed as meddling in Russian internal affairs.) A different pro-democracy participant, Ommsi, responded immediately: “You listen up, fool, it’s by and large intelligent people who gather here. If you want to behave like a barbarian, do it in the space under the gate…”

Conclusion

So, which side is winning? Clearly, the pro-democracy side is losing battle after battle on the RuNet, as their threads are shut down, members are banned or censured by increasingly hostile site administrators, and the Kremlin ratchets up its spending on “PR services” (read: Brigade payrolls) ahead of the 2008 elections.

But the pro-democracy side is also forcing the Brigade and its supporters, bit by bit, to reveal their methodologies, as well as where their money is coming from, and the methods and justifications by which it is arriving. Somewhat to their credit, some of the brigadniki seem to believe they are doing nothing wrong, and even seem anxious to come in from the cold, perhaps as“PR professionals” of some sort. One can almost hear their Kremlin handlers wincing (“Doh!”) as these ingénue agents of influence try to explain themselves. But with every closed forum, every nakedly biased action by a site administrator, every abusive outburst by a Brigade member or supporter, every revelation of government “active measures” on the Internet, the Russian public cannot help but see more clearly that the Putin administration is taking them straight back to the bad old days of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin PR strategists may yet find themselves quoting Hannibal: “Another such victory and I’ll be undone completely.”

* * *

P.S. — The date on which the “Battle Without Rules” thread was closed – one day before LR published her link to the list – is a little suspicious. There were no especially sharp exchanges on the site in the days before it was closed, and no new names had been added to the list in the previous few weeks. It might also be worth noting that LR was notified of the existence of the list via her Yahoo email account one day before the thread was closed. Considering Putin’s well-known paranoid complexes, would it be paranoid on our part to suppose he and his tribe might view LR as a growing threat?

LR’s Supporters vs. the Chekisti in the Russian Blogosphere

La Russophobe‘s translator has been visiting the Russian blogosphere to review its reactions to his translations published on this blog. Here is his initial report. Particuarly noteworthy is the ability of clever Russians to realize that this blog, far from hating Russians, loves them much more than the Russophiles who are trying to destroy them, led by the malignant little troll in the Kremlin; they are also clever enough to realize that belief in “russophobes” — like belief in Ded Moroz, the Easter Rabbit, and the democratic intentions of a proud KGB spy — is illusory, in an fact self-imposed flattery that Russians are important enough to be hated. Worst of all is the simply insane notion that criticism of Russians is racial. Dark-skinned people can be just as much “Russian” as the Slavs (at least in English they can).

The Chekisti Win Again… Or Maybe Not?

One Week on a RuNet Forum

On February 19, 2007 La Russophobe published a link to a list of suspected members of FSB Internet-harassment Brigades and their associates, located on a forum of the online journal Yezhednevniy Zhurnal (YeZh). Unbeknownst to LR at the time, however, just two days earlier the site administrator had terminated this forum with the following announcement:

Старый17.02.2007, 21:09

#2992

Fea vbmenu_register(“postmenu_476075”, true);

Administrator


Аватар для Fea

Регистрация: 22.09.2006

Сообщения: 286
Thanks: 1
Thanked 694 Times in 253 Posts

Вес репутации: 100 Fea отключил(а) отображение уровня репутации

По умолчанию


Принято решение запретить юзеру zasdevushka публиковать сообщения и темы подобного характера.

Тема закрыта.

Fea вне форума

Thanks


Translation: The decision has been made to prohibit user Zasdevushka from publicizing this information and topics of a similar character. This topic is closed.”

By way of background, the forum was titled, “Battle Without Rules” (Borba bez pravil), started by user “Zasdevushka”on January 10, 2007 when she posted her first “List of Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices”. At the time it was started, the thread enjoyed the full support of the YeZh site administrator, who gave Zasdevushka a “half smiley” Cool grade for her first posting. As one might expect, Zasdevushka’s “modest undertaking” immediately drew an enormous number of responses, from both supporters and opponents — the latter including some of the nicknames that were on her list. As one can see from the final posting, over a five-week period the thread accumulated 2,992 postings, and was quite active to the last day of its existence.

In short, it looked like the “Commissars of the Internet” had won again.

The Pro-Democracy Partisans Fight Back

After the closure of Chekist Provocateurs List forum, Zasdevushka and her pro-democracy cohorts continued posting on other forums, more or less as if nothing had happened. On February 22, one of them, nicknamed “Korchagin”, posted the following congratulatory message on a different YeZh forum, noting that Zasdevushka’s list had been linked to by La Russophobe:

Zasdevushka can be proud.

Her list of “Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices” has attracted the interest of American Internet users. Here is what the popular American Internet site La Russophobe is saying:

The site also published an English translation of an article that had previously circulated on the RuNet, “Commissars of the Internet: The FSB at the Computer”.

The remainder of Korchagin’s post gave a condensed version of LR’s introduction to the “Commissars of the Internet” article and Zasdevushka’s list, including the note that one of the personalities on the list, “ENOT/EHOT”, has made regular, obnoxious appearances on American sites, and that another Russian-language site, had also linked to and commented on LR’s translation of the “Commissars” article.

Parrying the Foil

Over the next few days after Korchagin’s post, Zasdevushka and her fellow pro-democracy participants on the forum were attacked by several readers who claimed to be offended by the LR link. One reader, “Foil”, called her to task repeatedly for being proud to be associated with a site that called itself “La Russophobe”. Zasdevushka gave the following replies:

1.

Quote (from “Foil”):

How could any responsible person be gladdened by a favorable evaluation of their work from someone or something with the name “Russophobe”? If you were admired by a blog named “Cannibal” would you be proud of that too?

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Any information in this world should be evaluated by only one criterion: whether it is true or false. In this context, it is absolutely irrelevant who gave the information and under what name (“Russophobe”, “Cannibal”, “KGB Spy” or “Communist”).

But as long as we’re on the subject, if you would like to try and understand why the reference has the name “Russophobe”, you might acquaint yourself with the explanation (I too was at first shocked by this name, so I looked it up and found it)

2.

Foil seemed to concede Zasdevushka’s point about the name La Russophobe not necessarily being meant to betaken at face value. But he continued his attack nonetheless.

Quote (from “Foil”):

“It may be that the name ‘Russophobe’ or ‘Cannibal’ might not carry so much meaning, and in a certain sense might be taken ironically. But the point is that the reference was made to your ‘List’, and was given in a tacitly approving context. My view and the view of many other participants in this forum toward your brainchild is well-known. I think it was created on the basis of fascist principles. In this sense both the tacit approval of your work by the cited resource and your pride at this evaluation speak volumes about you and this resource.”

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Wonderful. Now we’re having a serious conversation. (Incidentally, it was immediately clear to me that the name of the site “Russophobe” is in fact an ironic usage and that they are in no way Russophobes. Such people don’t exist in the real world in any event, with the exception perhaps of a few really sick individuals, but these bugaboos are held up by our own more-or-less educated sick individuals (including one now-deceased mathematician) and picked up by our leaders to help them to pull the wool over our eyes – in the Soviet era they called it the “capitalist encirclement”.) I wanted you to say it, you said it, and it’s much to your credit that you did. Now further. You and a lot of other people may have had some very negative views of my list, but you couldn’t have helped but notice (unless you kept your eyes closed) that a significant number of participants had a distinctly favorable view of it as well. Hence, my take on your remarks about the “favorable” view of the site “La Russophobe” toward my list is only that it (like the view of many participants here) does not agree with your point of view, nothing more, nothing less. So allow me to continue to take pride in the positive view of my undertaking held by a large portion of readers “here” and the above-mentioned site “over there”.

P.S. – Incidentally, regarding your use of the term “fascist principles” with regard to my modest undertaking: In my view, the term “fascist principles” would incomparably better fit the practice of our ruling structures to mobilize, at taxpayers’ expense, a large number of personnel (the Web Brigade), who day and night , under the guise of being private individuals, try to beat over the head those they are ordered to beat by the authorities. Now that is a typical fascist practice.

Following the Money

After the above exchange, “Foil” went on to counter-claim, “Даже если допустить наличие бригад, оплата пиар-услуг по продвижению чего либо не может являться фашизмом ни по какому его пределению.” Essentially, Foil is here saying that there is nothing “fascist” about a Brigade receiving money for “PR services” – including, presumably (since this is what Zasdevushka was specifically talking about), posting messages on forums on behalf of government interests; pretending to be a private citizen; attacking the viewpoints and dignity of private individuals; and being paid for these “services” by the unwitting Russian taxpayer. Indeed, Foil’s outburst would seem to speak volumes about the values, mores and sense of entitlement of the Brigade and its supporters in Russian society.

Joining the Battle

Reading the YeZh forum, we can see that some things have in fact changed since the “Commissars of the Internet” article was first written in 2003. Most significantly, the pro-democracy forum participants are banding together and sticking up for each other. The day before Korchagin posted his congratulations to Zasdevushka, a brigadnik/accomplice, “RealDorum”, wrote an abusive piece in response to another mention of the Brigade, in which he asked, “Are you completely out of mind? Don’t you realize that your search for Brigades places you on the same list with searchers from the Washington Obkom?” (TN: “Obkom” is short for the Soviet “oblastniy komitet”, or regional committee/government; here, it appears to have taken on a slang meaning to refer to parts of the U.S. government that might be viewed as meddling in Russian internal affairs.) A different pro-democracy participant, Ommsi, responded immediately: “You listen up, fool, it’s by and large intelligent people who gather here. If you want to behave like a barbarian, do it in the space under the gate…”

Conclusion

So, which side is winning? Clearly, the pro-democracy side is losing battle after battle on the RuNet, as their threads are shut down, members are banned or censured by increasingly hostile site administrators, and the Kremlin ratchets up its spending on “PR services” (read: Brigade payrolls) ahead of the 2008 elections.

But the pro-democracy side is also forcing the Brigade and its supporters, bit by bit, to reveal their methodologies, as well as where their money is coming from, and the methods and justifications by which it is arriving. Somewhat to their credit, some of the brigadniki seem to believe they are doing nothing wrong, and even seem anxious to come in from the cold, perhaps as“PR professionals” of some sort. One can almost hear their Kremlin handlers wincing (“Doh!”) as these ingénue agents of influence try to explain themselves. But with every closed forum, every nakedly biased action by a site administrator, every abusive outburst by a Brigade member or supporter, every revelation of government “active measures” on the Internet, the Russian public cannot help but see more clearly that the Putin administration is taking them straight back to the bad old days of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin PR strategists may yet find themselves quoting Hannibal: “Another such victory and I’ll be undone completely.”

* * *

P.S. — The date on which the “Battle Without Rules” thread was closed – one day before LR published her link to the list – is a little suspicious. There were no especially sharp exchanges on the site in the days before it was closed, and no new names had been added to the list in the previous few weeks. It might also be worth noting that LR was notified of the existence of the list via her Yahoo email account one day before the thread was closed. Considering Putin’s well-known paranoid complexes, would it be paranoid on our part to suppose he and his tribe might view LR as a growing threat?

LR’s Supporters vs. the Chekisti in the Russian Blogosphere

La Russophobe‘s translator has been visiting the Russian blogosphere to review its reactions to his translations published on this blog. Here is his initial report. Particuarly noteworthy is the ability of clever Russians to realize that this blog, far from hating Russians, loves them much more than the Russophiles who are trying to destroy them, led by the malignant little troll in the Kremlin; they are also clever enough to realize that belief in “russophobes” — like belief in Ded Moroz, the Easter Rabbit, and the democratic intentions of a proud KGB spy — is illusory, in an fact self-imposed flattery that Russians are important enough to be hated. Worst of all is the simply insane notion that criticism of Russians is racial. Dark-skinned people can be just as much “Russian” as the Slavs (at least in English they can).

The Chekisti Win Again… Or Maybe Not?

One Week on a RuNet Forum

On February 19, 2007 La Russophobe published a link to a list of suspected members of FSB Internet-harassment Brigades and their associates, located on a forum of the online journal Yezhednevniy Zhurnal (YeZh). Unbeknownst to LR at the time, however, just two days earlier the site administrator had terminated this forum with the following announcement:

Старый17.02.2007, 21:09

#2992

Fea vbmenu_register(“postmenu_476075”, true);

Administrator


Аватар для Fea

Регистрация: 22.09.2006

Сообщения: 286
Thanks: 1
Thanked 694 Times in 253 Posts

Вес репутации: 100 Fea отключил(а) отображение уровня репутации

По умолчанию


Принято решение запретить юзеру zasdevushka публиковать сообщения и темы подобного характера.

Тема закрыта.

Fea вне форума

Thanks


Translation: The decision has been made to prohibit user Zasdevushka from publicizing this information and topics of a similar character. This topic is closed.”

By way of background, the forum was titled, “Battle Without Rules” (Borba bez pravil), started by user “Zasdevushka”on January 10, 2007 when she posted her first “List of Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices”. At the time it was started, the thread enjoyed the full support of the YeZh site administrator, who gave Zasdevushka a “half smiley” Cool grade for her first posting. As one might expect, Zasdevushka’s “modest undertaking” immediately drew an enormous number of responses, from both supporters and opponents — the latter including some of the nicknames that were on her list. As one can see from the final posting, over a five-week period the thread accumulated 2,992 postings, and was quite active to the last day of its existence.

In short, it looked like the “Commissars of the Internet” had won again.

The Pro-Democracy Partisans Fight Back

After the closure of Chekist Provocateurs List forum, Zasdevushka and her pro-democracy cohorts continued posting on other forums, more or less as if nothing had happened. On February 22, one of them, nicknamed “Korchagin”, posted the following congratulatory message on a different YeZh forum, noting that Zasdevushka’s list had been linked to by La Russophobe:

Zasdevushka can be proud.

Her list of “Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices” has attracted the interest of American Internet users. Here is what the popular American Internet site La Russophobe is saying:

The site also published an English translation of an article that had previously circulated on the RuNet, “Commissars of the Internet: The FSB at the Computer”.

The remainder of Korchagin’s post gave a condensed version of LR’s introduction to the “Commissars of the Internet” article and Zasdevushka’s list, including the note that one of the personalities on the list, “ENOT/EHOT”, has made regular, obnoxious appearances on American sites, and that another Russian-language site, had also linked to and commented on LR’s translation of the “Commissars” article.

Parrying the Foil

Over the next few days after Korchagin’s post, Zasdevushka and her fellow pro-democracy participants on the forum were attacked by several readers who claimed to be offended by the LR link. One reader, “Foil”, called her to task repeatedly for being proud to be associated with a site that called itself “La Russophobe”. Zasdevushka gave the following replies:

1.

Quote (from “Foil”):

How could any responsible person be gladdened by a favorable evaluation of their work from someone or something with the name “Russophobe”? If you were admired by a blog named “Cannibal” would you be proud of that too?

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Any information in this world should be evaluated by only one criterion: whether it is true or false. In this context, it is absolutely irrelevant who gave the information and under what name (“Russophobe”, “Cannibal”, “KGB Spy” or “Communist”).

But as long as we’re on the subject, if you would like to try and understand why the reference has the name “Russophobe”, you might acquaint yourself with the explanation (I too was at first shocked by this name, so I looked it up and found it)

2.

Foil seemed to concede Zasdevushka’s point about the name La Russophobe not necessarily being meant to betaken at face value. But he continued his attack nonetheless.

Quote (from “Foil”):

“It may be that the name ‘Russophobe’ or ‘Cannibal’ might not carry so much meaning, and in a certain sense might be taken ironically. But the point is that the reference was made to your ‘List’, and was given in a tacitly approving context. My view and the view of many other participants in this forum toward your brainchild is well-known. I think it was created on the basis of fascist principles. In this sense both the tacit approval of your work by the cited resource and your pride at this evaluation speak volumes about you and this resource.”

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Wonderful. Now we’re having a serious conversation. (Incidentally, it was immediately clear to me that the name of the site “Russophobe” is in fact an ironic usage and that they are in no way Russophobes. Such people don’t exist in the real world in any event, with the exception perhaps of a few really sick individuals, but these bugaboos are held up by our own more-or-less educated sick individuals (including one now-deceased mathematician) and picked up by our leaders to help them to pull the wool over our eyes – in the Soviet era they called it the “capitalist encirclement”.) I wanted you to say it, you said it, and it’s much to your credit that you did. Now further. You and a lot of other people may have had some very negative views of my list, but you couldn’t have helped but notice (unless you kept your eyes closed) that a significant number of participants had a distinctly favorable view of it as well. Hence, my take on your remarks about the “favorable” view of the site “La Russophobe” toward my list is only that it (like the view of many participants here) does not agree with your point of view, nothing more, nothing less. So allow me to continue to take pride in the positive view of my undertaking held by a large portion of readers “here” and the above-mentioned site “over there”.

P.S. – Incidentally, regarding your use of the term “fascist principles” with regard to my modest undertaking: In my view, the term “fascist principles” would incomparably better fit the practice of our ruling structures to mobilize, at taxpayers’ expense, a large number of personnel (the Web Brigade), who day and night , under the guise of being private individuals, try to beat over the head those they are ordered to beat by the authorities. Now that is a typical fascist practice.

Following the Money

After the above exchange, “Foil” went on to counter-claim, “Даже если допустить наличие бригад, оплата пиар-услуг по продвижению чего либо не может являться фашизмом ни по какому его пределению.” Essentially, Foil is here saying that there is nothing “fascist” about a Brigade receiving money for “PR services” – including, presumably (since this is what Zasdevushka was specifically talking about), posting messages on forums on behalf of government interests; pretending to be a private citizen; attacking the viewpoints and dignity of private individuals; and being paid for these “services” by the unwitting Russian taxpayer. Indeed, Foil’s outburst would seem to speak volumes about the values, mores and sense of entitlement of the Brigade and its supporters in Russian society.

Joining the Battle

Reading the YeZh forum, we can see that some things have in fact changed since the “Commissars of the Internet” article was first written in 2003. Most significantly, the pro-democracy forum participants are banding together and sticking up for each other. The day before Korchagin posted his congratulations to Zasdevushka, a brigadnik/accomplice, “RealDorum”, wrote an abusive piece in response to another mention of the Brigade, in which he asked, “Are you completely out of mind? Don’t you realize that your search for Brigades places you on the same list with searchers from the Washington Obkom?” (TN: “Obkom” is short for the Soviet “oblastniy komitet”, or regional committee/government; here, it appears to have taken on a slang meaning to refer to parts of the U.S. government that might be viewed as meddling in Russian internal affairs.) A different pro-democracy participant, Ommsi, responded immediately: “You listen up, fool, it’s by and large intelligent people who gather here. If you want to behave like a barbarian, do it in the space under the gate…”

Conclusion

So, which side is winning? Clearly, the pro-democracy side is losing battle after battle on the RuNet, as their threads are shut down, members are banned or censured by increasingly hostile site administrators, and the Kremlin ratchets up its spending on “PR services” (read: Brigade payrolls) ahead of the 2008 elections.

But the pro-democracy side is also forcing the Brigade and its supporters, bit by bit, to reveal their methodologies, as well as where their money is coming from, and the methods and justifications by which it is arriving. Somewhat to their credit, some of the brigadniki seem to believe they are doing nothing wrong, and even seem anxious to come in from the cold, perhaps as“PR professionals” of some sort. One can almost hear their Kremlin handlers wincing (“Doh!”) as these ingénue agents of influence try to explain themselves. But with every closed forum, every nakedly biased action by a site administrator, every abusive outburst by a Brigade member or supporter, every revelation of government “active measures” on the Internet, the Russian public cannot help but see more clearly that the Putin administration is taking them straight back to the bad old days of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin PR strategists may yet find themselves quoting Hannibal: “Another such victory and I’ll be undone completely.”

* * *

P.S. — The date on which the “Battle Without Rules” thread was closed – one day before LR published her link to the list – is a little suspicious. There were no especially sharp exchanges on the site in the days before it was closed, and no new names had been added to the list in the previous few weeks. It might also be worth noting that LR was notified of the existence of the list via her Yahoo email account one day before the thread was closed. Considering Putin’s well-known paranoid complexes, would it be paranoid on our part to suppose he and his tribe might view LR as a growing threat?

LR’s Supporters vs. the Chekisti in the Russian Blogosphere

La Russophobe‘s translator has been visiting the Russian blogosphere to review its reactions to his translations published on this blog. Here is his initial report. Particuarly noteworthy is the ability of clever Russians to realize that this blog, far from hating Russians, loves them much more than the Russophiles who are trying to destroy them, led by the malignant little troll in the Kremlin; they are also clever enough to realize that belief in “russophobes” — like belief in Ded Moroz, the Easter Rabbit, and the democratic intentions of a proud KGB spy — is illusory, in an fact self-imposed flattery that Russians are important enough to be hated. Worst of all is the simply insane notion that criticism of Russians is racial. Dark-skinned people can be just as much “Russian” as the Slavs (at least in English they can).

The Chekisti Win Again… Or Maybe Not?

One Week on a RuNet Forum

On February 19, 2007 La Russophobe published a link to a list of suspected members of FSB Internet-harassment Brigades and their associates, located on a forum of the online journal Yezhednevniy Zhurnal (YeZh). Unbeknownst to LR at the time, however, just two days earlier the site administrator had terminated this forum with the following announcement:

Старый17.02.2007, 21:09

#2992

Fea vbmenu_register(“postmenu_476075”, true);

Administrator


Аватар для Fea

Регистрация: 22.09.2006

Сообщения: 286
Thanks: 1
Thanked 694 Times in 253 Posts

Вес репутации: 100 Fea отключил(а) отображение уровня репутации

По умолчанию


Принято решение запретить юзеру zasdevushka публиковать сообщения и темы подобного характера.

Тема закрыта.

Fea вне форума

Thanks


Translation: The decision has been made to prohibit user Zasdevushka from publicizing this information and topics of a similar character. This topic is closed.”

By way of background, the forum was titled, “Battle Without Rules” (Borba bez pravil), started by user “Zasdevushka”on January 10, 2007 when she posted her first “List of Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices”. At the time it was started, the thread enjoyed the full support of the YeZh site administrator, who gave Zasdevushka a “half smiley” Cool grade for her first posting. As one might expect, Zasdevushka’s “modest undertaking” immediately drew an enormous number of responses, from both supporters and opponents — the latter including some of the nicknames that were on her list. As one can see from the final posting, over a five-week period the thread accumulated 2,992 postings, and was quite active to the last day of its existence.

In short, it looked like the “Commissars of the Internet” had won again.

The Pro-Democracy Partisans Fight Back

After the closure of Chekist Provocateurs List forum, Zasdevushka and her pro-democracy cohorts continued posting on other forums, more or less as if nothing had happened. On February 22, one of them, nicknamed “Korchagin”, posted the following congratulatory message on a different YeZh forum, noting that Zasdevushka’s list had been linked to by La Russophobe:

Zasdevushka can be proud.

Her list of “Chekist Provocateurs and Their Accomplices” has attracted the interest of American Internet users. Here is what the popular American Internet site La Russophobe is saying:

The site also published an English translation of an article that had previously circulated on the RuNet, “Commissars of the Internet: The FSB at the Computer”.

The remainder of Korchagin’s post gave a condensed version of LR’s introduction to the “Commissars of the Internet” article and Zasdevushka’s list, including the note that one of the personalities on the list, “ENOT/EHOT”, has made regular, obnoxious appearances on American sites, and that another Russian-language site, had also linked to and commented on LR’s translation of the “Commissars” article.

Parrying the Foil

Over the next few days after Korchagin’s post, Zasdevushka and her fellow pro-democracy participants on the forum were attacked by several readers who claimed to be offended by the LR link. One reader, “Foil”, called her to task repeatedly for being proud to be associated with a site that called itself “La Russophobe”. Zasdevushka gave the following replies:

1.

Quote (from “Foil”):

How could any responsible person be gladdened by a favorable evaluation of their work from someone or something with the name “Russophobe”? If you were admired by a blog named “Cannibal” would you be proud of that too?

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Any information in this world should be evaluated by only one criterion: whether it is true or false. In this context, it is absolutely irrelevant who gave the information and under what name (“Russophobe”, “Cannibal”, “KGB Spy” or “Communist”).

But as long as we’re on the subject, if you would like to try and understand why the reference has the name “Russophobe”, you might acquaint yourself with the explanation (I too was at first shocked by this name, so I looked it up and found it)

2.

Foil seemed to concede Zasdevushka’s point about the name La Russophobe not necessarily being meant to betaken at face value. But he continued his attack nonetheless.

Quote (from “Foil”):

“It may be that the name ‘Russophobe’ or ‘Cannibal’ might not carry so much meaning, and in a certain sense might be taken ironically. But the point is that the reference was made to your ‘List’, and was given in a tacitly approving context. My view and the view of many other participants in this forum toward your brainchild is well-known. I think it was created on the basis of fascist principles. In this sense both the tacit approval of your work by the cited resource and your pride at this evaluation speak volumes about you and this resource.”

Post (by “Vasdevushka”):

Wonderful. Now we’re having a serious conversation. (Incidentally, it was immediately clear to me that the name of the site “Russophobe” is in fact an ironic usage and that they are in no way Russophobes. Such people don’t exist in the real world in any event, with the exception perhaps of a few really sick individuals, but these bugaboos are held up by our own more-or-less educated sick individuals (including one now-deceased mathematician) and picked up by our leaders to help them to pull the wool over our eyes – in the Soviet era they called it the “capitalist encirclement”.) I wanted you to say it, you said it, and it’s much to your credit that you did. Now further. You and a lot of other people may have had some very negative views of my list, but you couldn’t have helped but notice (unless you kept your eyes closed) that a significant number of participants had a distinctly favorable view of it as well. Hence, my take on your remarks about the “favorable” view of the site “La Russophobe” toward my list is only that it (like the view of many participants here) does not agree with your point of view, nothing more, nothing less. So allow me to continue to take pride in the positive view of my undertaking held by a large portion of readers “here” and the above-mentioned site “over there”.

P.S. – Incidentally, regarding your use of the term “fascist principles” with regard to my modest undertaking: In my view, the term “fascist principles” would incomparably better fit the practice of our ruling structures to mobilize, at taxpayers’ expense, a large number of personnel (the Web Brigade), who day and night , under the guise of being private individuals, try to beat over the head those they are ordered to beat by the authorities. Now that is a typical fascist practice.

Following the Money

After the above exchange, “Foil” went on to counter-claim, “Даже если допустить наличие бригад, оплата пиар-услуг по продвижению чего либо не может являться фашизмом ни по какому его пределению.” Essentially, Foil is here saying that there is nothing “fascist” about a Brigade receiving money for “PR services” – including, presumably (since this is what Zasdevushka was specifically talking about), posting messages on forums on behalf of government interests; pretending to be a private citizen; attacking the viewpoints and dignity of private individuals; and being paid for these “services” by the unwitting Russian taxpayer. Indeed, Foil’s outburst would seem to speak volumes about the values, mores and sense of entitlement of the Brigade and its supporters in Russian society.

Joining the Battle

Reading the YeZh forum, we can see that some things have in fact changed since the “Commissars of the Internet” article was first written in 2003. Most significantly, the pro-democracy forum participants are banding together and sticking up for each other. The day before Korchagin posted his congratulations to Zasdevushka, a brigadnik/accomplice, “RealDorum”, wrote an abusive piece in response to another mention of the Brigade, in which he asked, “Are you completely out of mind? Don’t you realize that your search for Brigades places you on the same list with searchers from the Washington Obkom?” (TN: “Obkom” is short for the Soviet “oblastniy komitet”, or regional committee/government; here, it appears to have taken on a slang meaning to refer to parts of the U.S. government that might be viewed as meddling in Russian internal affairs.) A different pro-democracy participant, Ommsi, responded immediately: “You listen up, fool, it’s by and large intelligent people who gather here. If you want to behave like a barbarian, do it in the space under the gate…”

Conclusion

So, which side is winning? Clearly, the pro-democracy side is losing battle after battle on the RuNet, as their threads are shut down, members are banned or censured by increasingly hostile site administrators, and the Kremlin ratchets up its spending on “PR services” (read: Brigade payrolls) ahead of the 2008 elections.

But the pro-democracy side is also forcing the Brigade and its supporters, bit by bit, to reveal their methodologies, as well as where their money is coming from, and the methods and justifications by which it is arriving. Somewhat to their credit, some of the brigadniki seem to believe they are doing nothing wrong, and even seem anxious to come in from the cold, perhaps as“PR professionals” of some sort. One can almost hear their Kremlin handlers wincing (“Doh!”) as these ingénue agents of influence try to explain themselves. But with every closed forum, every nakedly biased action by a site administrator, every abusive outburst by a Brigade member or supporter, every revelation of government “active measures” on the Internet, the Russian public cannot help but see more clearly that the Putin administration is taking them straight back to the bad old days of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin PR strategists may yet find themselves quoting Hannibal: “Another such victory and I’ll be undone completely.”

* * *

P.S. — The date on which the “Battle Without Rules” thread was closed – one day before LR published her link to the list – is a little suspicious. There were no especially sharp exchanges on the site in the days before it was closed, and no new names had been added to the list in the previous few weeks. It might also be worth noting that LR was notified of the existence of the list via her Yahoo email account one day before the thread was closed. Considering Putin’s well-known paranoid complexes, would it be paranoid on our part to suppose he and his tribe might view LR as a growing threat?

Tracking the Russia Blogosphere


La Russophobe has undertaken a study of the English-language Russia blogosphere which offers the following insights which may be of interest to readers and bloggers alike (click here to visit a cool interactive map of the blogosphere, pictured above). Naturally, if we have omitted any blog which deserves inclusion, we’d love to know. One that’s missing for sure is the Russia page of the mighty Global Voices megablog (top 300 blogs in the world), but it appears that this page doesn’t have an independent identity in the tracking world.

First, we offer a listing of blogs in English that focus primarily on analyzing Russian politics, ranked by the number of other recognized blogs that have linked to them, as measured by Technorati.com — a measure of influence in the blogosophere (basically, this is a list of all such blogs ranked in the top 100,000 by Technorati, with the top Russia blogs in the top 30,000 range of all blogs of any kind in the world).

Next, we offer a listing of the same blogs reorganized by the total number of links each has received from the group of blogs that link to them. This measures how interested each of those linking blogs are in the blog, and changes the rankings signficantly.

Then, we offer a listing of the same type of blogs ranked by traffic (visitation and page views), as measured by Alexa.com — a measure of popularity among readers (basically, this is a list of all such blogs ranked in the top 5 million by Alexa, with the top Russia blogs in the top 500,000 range of all blogs in the world). Each blog name is hyperlinked to the Technorati or Alexa data page where the relevant statistics about that blog can be found. This changes the rankings significantly a second time. Note that Alexa’s data is really only an educated guess, but it appears to be the best guess available.

Finally, we translate the Technorati data into a cash value for each blog, the amount for which it could theoretically be sold on the open market. Based on this data, one could say that the market capitalization of the Russia blogs (how much they would theoretically sell for combined) is in excess of half a million dollars. To know how impressive that is, you’d have to collect the same data for the same number of top blogs about other countries an compare the valuation. We invite someone to undertake this task.

The data shows that it’s obviously necessary to review both links and traffic in order to assess a blog’s significance; Vilhelm Konnander, for instance, ranks highly in links but is off the scale in terms of traffic. Conversely, Russian Spy has a very large amount of traffic but relatively little concrete interest in the blogsophere to show for it. The results also show that there is no independent English-language Russia politics blog which can compete with La Russophobe in terms of a combination of consistent traffic and links from other blogs. That is why we call ourselves the #1 independent English-language Russia politics blog in the world! The only blog which can compete with La Russophobe when comparing linking blogs and traffic is Russia Blog (now “the Real Russia Project“), and that entity is funded by a large institution (one dedicated, it should be noted, to banning the teaching of evolution and replacing it with the teaching of “intelligent design”) and which likely engages in commercial traffic generation techniques. It’s publishers are paid a salary to create and promote it (for this reason, it can easily be argued that it doesn’t even belong in this study). Nonetheless, Russia Blog has received only about 300 total links from blogs whilst LR has received over 1,500 links from blogs, and the two have basically the same number of linking blogs even though Russia Blog has existed much longer than LR so Russia Blog has had much more time to generate them. LR currently has over 60,000 Google hits, while “Real Russia Project” has less than 600 (granted, LR has existed longer than RRP, but “Yuri Mamchur” has been the boss of Russia Blog from day 1 and has currently less than 13,000 Google hits. In other words, Russia Blog’s traffic is completely empty, basically a bait-and-switch charade — a classic Russophile illusion (and in that way, quite fitting). LR has the most published visitation after the much older Siberian Light (Russia Blog has no public counter and, apart from a freak Internet event, LR’s regular daily traffic exceeds SL’s as well) and the most links from blogs of any blog listed below. In short, if LR were funded the way Russia Blog is, her traffic data would grind Russia Blog into the dust.

Finally, and perhaps most important, our study clearly shows that Russia is not a major topic in the blogosphere, meaning that all bloggers should view all blogs as being welcome. Interestingly, LR has blogrolled all the blogs listed below, but not all of them have blogrolled her (even though she’s obviously the most potent force in the Russia blogosphere today). There are less than 1,200 blogs in the world that Technorati has tagged to Russia (and a goodly number of these blogs are in Russian and can’t be read by other speakers — the number one Russian-lanaguge blog is Anton Nossik, editor of the Moscow News and a major organizing force in the Russian Internet). By contrast, there are more than twice that many blogs tagged to tiny England, roughly 2,500 tagged to Germany, nearly 5,000 tagged to France, and 7,000 tagged to Japan (Canada and China also have over 7,000 blogs each). The U.S. has more blogs than all of those countries combined. There is no more emphatic evidence of the extent to which Russia has alienated the entire world than these basic facts, which clearly show the world wants little to do with Russia. That’s fitting of course, since every day Russians show they want little to do with the world — well, until they start starving, that is. Of course, it’s also clear proof of the ridiculous lie that the Internet is significant in Russia; the vast majority of Russians, earning an average of $2.50 per hour, simply can’t afford to access it, and free access is simply unavailable.

All of the following data was accurate to the best of our knowledge on March 2nd. We apologize for any errors or outdated information and will be happy to update/correct if notified. Be sure to read the explanatory notes under each item before drawing any final conclusions about the results.

Top 16 Russia Blogs Ranked by Linking Blogs (Technorati)

Russia Blog 115

La Russophobe 107

Sean’s Russia Blog 74

Edward Lucas 71

Russian Blog 70

Very Russian Tochka 66

Lex Libertas 64

Robert Amsterdam 59

Siberian Light 58

Vilhelm Konnander 58

Russian Spy 52

A Step at a Time 47

White Sun of the Desert 45

Accidental Russophile 38

Copydude 35

Scraps of Moscow 28


EXPLATORY NOTES:

[1] Two photoblogs, which do not engage in political commentary, have been omitted from this listing, but they are very significant and bear mention: They are English Russia (2,502 linking blogs) and Moscow in my Eyes (118 linking blogs). They are excluded not merely because they do not engage in political commentary, but because English Russia generates links and traffic by means of spam and because Moscow in my Eyes has not posted since September 2006.

[2] Edward Lucas, Vilhelm Konnander and David Mcduff (A Day at a Time) do not confine themselves to the topic of Russia in any systematic way, but Russia dominates their discussion. We feel it is more than appropriate to include them in this group.

[3] Accidental Russophile is moribund. Very Russian Tochka has not posted since February 4th. Scraps of Moscow and Siberian Light have just emerged from long periods of dormancy. Russian Blog posts only occasionally. Thus, the group of actively posting English-language Russia politics blogs is extremely small, and active bloggers ought to do all they can to encourage new entries.

[4] The tie between Vilhelm Konnander and Siberian Light has been broken by looking at total links from blogs, where VK has 128 while SL has 233

[5] The links collected by Russian Blog and Very Russian Tochka are misleading. Unlike the others, the vast majority of links collected by these two blogs are due to a single frivolous post having nothing to do with political analysis. In the case of Russian Blog, it was post about how to drink vodka without getting drunk. In the case of Very Russian Tochka, it was a post about how to tell a painting was made by an insane person (a question which turned out to be a scam).

[6] It’s questionable whether Russian Spy belongs on this list. LR has it designated on her blogroll as a web resource rather than a blog, given its newspaper format and advertising for mail-order brides similar to that of the eXile. We consider it to have been included for informational purposes only.

Top 16 Russia Blogs Ranked by Links from Blogs (Technorati)

La Russophobe 1,507

Russia Blog 302

Russian Spy 301

Edward Lucas 248

Siberian Light 229

Sean’s Russia Blog 213

Robert Amsterdam 187

White Sun of the Desert 181

A Step at a Time 175

Copydude 173

Very Russian Tochka 130

Vilhelm Konnander 130

Russian Blog 122

Lex Libertas 103

Accidental Russophile 94

Scraps of Moscow 94

EXPLANATORY NOTES

[1] There is a tie between Very Russian Tochka and Vilhelm Konnander which has been broken by referring to each blog’s total number of linking blogs, where VRT leads. However, since as noted above VRT’s links are largely unrelated to Russia and due to a single freakish post, Vilhelm’s number of links are a that much more impressive because they are wholly genuine. The Accidental Russophile vs. Scraps of Moscow tie was broken the same way.

Top 12 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Traffic (Alexa)

Very Russian Tochka 78,458

Siberian Light 208,084

Russia Blog 541,609

Russian Spy 1,130,755

La Russophobe 1,397,769

Lex Libertas 2,216,958

White Sun of the Desert 2,307,800

Robert Amsterdam 2,480,904

Russian Blog 2,651,110

Edward Lucas 3,288,059

Sean’s Russia Blog 4,234,450

Copydude 4,477,871

EXPANATORY NOTES:

[1] The traffic rankings for Very Russian Tochka and Siberian Light are the result of an anomaly. In each case, a single post on the blog was picked up by a global engine that generated a freakishly large amount of traffic during a very limited period of time, skewing the results. In both cases, the posts in question were not original but copied from another blog and then noticed by the engines.

[2] The traffic for Russia Blog is the result of the fact that, unlike any other blog on the list, Russia Blog is institutionally funded and engages in commercial traffic generation. As for Russian Spy, see note [7] above.

[3] Vilhelm Konnander, A Step at a Time, Accidental Russophile and Scraps of Moscow have no data from Alexa. Appparently, Alexa’s methodology does not produce meaningful traffic results for these sites. However, Alexa’s methodology is not foolproof, see note [4] below.

[4] Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users. The information is sorted, sifted, anonymized, counted, and computed, until, finally, they get the traffic rankings shown in the Alexa service. More information about the process can be found here. Since the data is based on the toolbar, it is only one type of sample and could be skewed if a given blogger tends for some reason to attract readers who don’t use the Alexa bar in a represenative way. The best way to judge traffic is by referring to a public counter, but of the 16 major Technorati-listed blogs less than half (only La Russophobe, Siberian Light, Sean’s Russia Blog, Edward Lucas, Accidental Russophile and Russian Blog) maintain public counters. La Russophobe’s counter shows by far the highest amount of traffic, but the counters do not cover the same period of time. Alexa warns: “Generally, Traffic Rankings of 100,000+ should be regarded as not reliable because the amount of data we receive is not statistically significant. Conversely, the more traffic a site receives (the closer it gets to the number 1 position), the more reliable its Traffic Ranking becomes.” However, Technorati links to Alexa, and it is apparently the only credible universal source of blog traffic data. If anybody knows a better source of traffic ranking information, please clue us in!

Finally, blogger Dane Carleson offers a formula to calculate the financial value of a blog using a link-to-dollar ratio relied upon in the Internet industry and based on Technorati’s data. Here are the results for the blogs above, ranked by market value (bloggers are advised that if you run your blog through Dane’s converter he will the provide you with HTML code so that you can post a running tally in your blog’s sidebar; LR has done so):

Top 16 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Market Value (Carleson)


Russia Blog-$64,357.56
La Russophobe-$60,405.78

Sean’s Russia Blog-$43,469.58
Edward Lucas-$40,082.34

Russian Blog-$39,517.80
Very Russian Tochka-$37,259.64
Lex Libertas-$36,130.56
Robert Amsterdam-$33,872.40
Siberian Light-$32,743.32
Vilhelm Konnander-$32,743.32

Russian Spy-$29,920.62
A Step at a Time-$26,533.38
White Sun of the Desert-$25,404.30
Accidental Russophile-$21,452.52

Copydude-$19,758.90
Scraps of Moscow- $15,807.12


Russia Blog Comments on LR and She, of course Responds

La Russophobe has received the following letter from the goons at Russia Blog as a comment to her most recent Sunday Funnies post (unfortunately, it wasn’t actually about that post, but rather a response to a prior post exposing an error on Russia Blog involving a Russian film at the Academy Awards). Following is her response:

Dear Kim Zigfield/Oliver Bronson/Lenard Daulton,

We’re flattered by all the attention you’ve lavished on Russia Blog lately, and we’re glad we don’t have to seek it out by hurling insults or calling anyone who disagrees with us schoolyard names. In fact, we noticed from “Lenard’s” comment on our Simpsons post that someone didn’t appreciate our joke about the “neo Soviet Union”.

I noticed that you claimed that your site received 10,000 visitors last month. That’s nice, we get about 2,000 visitors everyday, with 4,000 page views. We get a lot more comments from real live human beings as well.

As for 9 Rota, I did write about its box office record-setting ($20 million – more than double its budget) box office and DVD ($2 million) receipts in Russia, back in March 2006. You must have missed it.

I know that you would simply claim that these numbers are fake or paid for, since I got them from the Russian press, but there it is.

We have received many comments from fans of this film outside of Russia, and 9 Rota is available on DVD with English subtitles from Amazon.com. Our post on the Russian miniseries Brigada also received comments from all over the world, not just Russians.

Again, as with my statement to you that I couldn’t possibly fact check every single COMMENT on Russia Blog (which you immediately distorted into a confession that I don’t fact check posts), it seems you are distorting what we actually said, which is that 9 Rota was Russia’s nominee to be submitted in the category of Best Foreign Film.

BTW, Bondarchuk’s follow up movie, Zhara, also was a smash hit at the Russian box office. I watched it in Moscow, right after I had some powdered sugar in my tea. The young star of that movie, Timati, has a hit hip hop album called Black Star. In one of his songs, he slams Putin by name. Personally, Black Star is my favorite Russian CD. But we know from reading your blog that Russians are all racists and there is no freedom of speech in Russia, right?

Cheers!
Charles Ganske
(a real person using his real name :)

Dear Charlie,

Gosh, I guess I should be flattered by the attention of such a big, powerful blog as Russia Blog. Am I really so important as to deserve such a long letter? If so, then I’ve really arrived! Thanks for the compliment!

Let’s clear up a few basic things first, then I’ll address the substance of your comment.

Number one, my name is spelled “Zigfeld” not “Zigfield.” That’s a matter of public record. Very sloppy of you, Charlie.

Number two, your comment is spam. If you wanted to comment on our post about your claims concerning this Russian film, you should have done so on that post. I request that you not spam my blog again.

Number three, your comment is the height of hypocrisy. You’ve disallowed me from commenting on your blog (because you’re a pathetic coward) yet you feel you have a right to leave comments on my blog (as you can see, I have no problem publishing them even more prominently than you placed them). Even more hypocritical is your statement about “hurling insults or calling anyone who disagrees with us schoolyard names.” Can’t you see that you’re doing exactly the same thing yourself? You’re repeating the ridiculous, paranoid statements of Mike Averko about “Oliver Bronsen” which are fired at us as personal insults even while claiming this practice is wrong. Hypocrisy AND paranoia! Really quite an impressive neo-Soviet display. Stick to the facts, can’t you Charlie? Set a good example. Maybe we’ll be able to learn something from you! By the way, it’s rather odd that you would repeat Mike Averko’s charges since, as we understand it, you’ve fired him. If that’s true, all of us here at LR congratulate you on that decision, and admire it greatly. We look forward to more such brilliant moves in the future.

Number four, when you say you’re “flattered by all the attention you’ve lavished on Russia Blog lately”, I say you’re lying, not once but twice. I say that Russia Blog has not received a lot of attention on this blog recently, its content has been discussed three times in the last six months amid hundreds and hundreds of posts, nothing for a blog with so much traffic as you claim and far less than we’ve discussed other blogs, such as Robert Amsterdam and David McDuff. I also say you’re not “flattered” (implying happy) but annoyed and critical. In other words, this is more of the loose, unsourced drivel that readers have come to expect from Russia Blog. Do you stand behind your statements?

Number five, your comment arrived at quite a convenient moment since, as you can see from the post before this one, LR has been working on fleshing out the data concerning traffic to blogs and explained it, along with lots of other interesting information about the blogosphere, proving once again that it’s LR who occupies the leadership position in this universe. Happy reading! What you seem to overlook when you mention your traffic is that before this post nobody could have any idea what traffic you have because you don’t have the guts to put a public counter on your blog. As you can see from the data, our two blogs have basically the same number of blogs linking to them, and I have far more links from my group of blogs than you have from yours. Given the fact that you are financed by a substantial organization and LR is not, and given the fact that your blog has had far more time to generate interest than mine, I’d say my performance is far more impressive than yours. But that’s for readers to decide, and I’ve said from the beginning that my only goal is document facts, not to attract traffic. I leave you to becoming the McDonald’s of Russia Blogs, if that’s your goal you’re welcome to it. I sure can’t hope to compete with you in spending money on the blog, and I don’t want to. I’d also point out that since I have far more legitimate traffic than any other blog of our kind, your gratuitous comment disparaging my traffic is also an attack on all the bloggers beneath me. Since I think every single one of them operates a better blog than yours, I’m offended on their behalf. Meanwhile, I’d like to issue you a challenge: Post a public counter, and publish the data as to how much time an average Russia Blog reader spends at your blog, as I’ve previously done. You see, I think you are using commercial traffic generation tactics to lure in unsuspecting visitors from the Internet, people who have no real interest in what you are doing and who leave virtually as soon as they arrive (the same thing English Russia does). But I’d be happy to be proved wrong. I’d like to see as much interest as possible generated in the nightmare that is becoming neo-Soviet Russia. Needless to say, it must be rather annoying to your accountants at Russia blog that LR has basically the same cash valuation as the one they pay big bucks to produce, so I can understand your annoyance.

Number six, your statement about the comments your blog has received is bizarre, in fact hallucinatory. Between February 20th and today, the last two weeks, Russia blog has posted 11 times. Those 11 posts have to date generated 23 comments, including four posts with zero comments. That’s an average of two comments each. If you think that’s impressive for a blog with 2,000 visits per day, you’re even more of a psychopath than I thought. What’s more, I’ve said from the beginning that it isn’t the purpose of this blog to generate comments. As a gesture of loyalty to my blog host, I’ve made it very difficult for anyone to comment on the blog, they have to register both Blogger first. This is a matter of public record, and you are highly dishonest to fail to mention it. It’s also highly disingenuous for you to fail to mention that posts written by me on your blog set records for comments, and that there are many posts on this blog that have dozens of comments. Finally, you might like to know that, just for instance, Michelle Malkin has over 100,000 visitors to her blog each day and not a single comment. She doesn’t allow them. Maybe you think that proves your blog is more “successful” than hers. If so, your head needs work, dude.

Now, as for the substance of your comment: As for Russia Blog’s statement about “Ninth Company,” not only are its words are clearly quoted in my post, I posted a SCREEN SHOT of your words and linked to them. Here is what you wrote:

join us for a screening of one of the films nominated for the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, 9th Company – a Russian blockbuster about the Soviet war in Afghanistan

In fact, the film was NOT “nominated for the 2007 Oscar” it was nominated for a nomination. It was then rejected. Your statement was flatly false. I know that this is inconsistent with your prior post, I so stated in my post. This proves you knew the truth, yet you hyped your film with a dishonest statement anyway, making things worse not better. You really ought to have actually read what I wrote before commenting on it. Your statement is unquestionably false and, as far as we can tell, you have neither apologized nor corrected, but rather attempted to rationalize and explain. Shame on you, Charlie. It’s clear to us that Russia blog won’t stand behind the statements it makes and that nobody can rely on them. Why can’t you just say: “Russia Blog was wrong and apologizes for the error” and thank me for helpfully pointing it out to you?

As for your documenting of your claim about “Ninth Company being a blockbuster (a) I missed this because you didn’t link to it in the post LR was commenting on (you might consider linking to your prior posts when you discuss the same issue again, it’s considered standard practice in the blogging industry — see, you’d put the link behind the word “blockbuster” in your text, cool how that works isn’t it?) and (b) the post you link to doesn’t contain any source material for your claim about the box office receipts (I’ve noticed that it’s a disturbing pattern at Russia Blog that you don’t link to source material to support your factual claims) and neither does your letter, and (c) if you think that generating $20 million in box-office reciepts is justification for calling a movie a “blockbuster” it’s clear proof that you need to buck up your standards a bit. Which I’ve been saying for quite some time now, of course. Please post a link to the source material you relied on for the box office receipts of “Ninth Company.” If it was the Russian press as you say, most people know that the Russian press is often unreliable (being controlled by the state and for sale to the highest bidder) so the source material is even more crucial in that case. Otherwise, readers can’t possibly judge whether your statement is reliable or not.

I’m delighted to know about the “Black Star” CD. Not being a fan of rap music, I hadn’t heard of it. I notice you have a post up on Russia Blog right now which mentions Timati. Oddly, though, you don’t quote his statement about Putin, instead you quote him saying ” You can’t understand Russia with [your] mind, You can only believe in it and trust it.” That sounds like apologizing for Putin, not calling for a challenge to him. To me, it sounds like propaganda, and maybe a misrepresentation of Timati’s position. Won’t you please write a new post and quote Timati on Putin. We’d love to link to it!

As for your statement that LR has written “Russians are all racists and there is no freedom of speech in Russia,” I challenge you to document your claim. It’s quite outrageous that you don’t try to quote LR exactly and link to the statement, very unprofessional, exactly what readers have come to expect from Russia Blog. LR has never stated that “Russians are all racists” nor have I. But we’ve certainly said that Russia is an overwhelming racist society and that Russians who will stand against racism are a tiny minority. LR has never stated that “there is no freedom of speech in Russia.” Anna Politikovskaya spoke freely. But she wasn’t allowed to reach a major audience, and she was killed for her trouble. LR has written that freedom of speech is seriously endangered in Russia, not dead, and that is why it is urgent to fight against the Kremlin’s efforts to further curtail it. Charlie, if you can’t even try to fairly characterize what LR has said, how dare you complain that we are unfair to anybody or suggest that we should change our ways? Shame on you, dear.

Finally, a few questions for you Charlie:

(a) Do you personally believe that the teaching of intelligent design should replace the teaching of evolution in Russian schools?
(b) Did Discovery Institute have any involvement, of any kind, in the recent lawsuit by a Russian student to ban the teaching of evolution in Russian schools?
(c) Does Discovery Institute or the Real Russia Project receive any funding from any entity connected to the Russian government, including Russia Today television?
(d) We can’t find anybody who’s ever heard about the Russian university that Yuri Mamchur says he graduated from. Could you please tell us more about it? Also, please tell us what university he is pursuing his graduate degree at, and how far along he is. Georgtown University has told us that “Yuri Y. Mamchur was enrolled in a Non-degree Program through the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University during the Spring semester of 2004″ but we can’t find out anything about his actual degree work as touted by Discovery Institute
(f) Why is Discovery Institute funding Russia Blog a/k/a The Real Russia Project? Is it using your blog’s drone of Russophelia to try to ingratiate itself with Russians so that it can influence them to ban the teaching of evolution?

We’ll be happy to post your answers here (as a comment to this post, not some other one) or to read them on Russia Blog.

Very truly yours,

Kim Zigfeld

PS: The affinity of people at Russia Blog to decorate their messages with smiley faces has recently been ridiculed by the eXile. Maybe you might want to think about trying to present a slightly more serious image for your blog if you want to be taken seriously. On the other hand, this blog has also been ridiculed by the eXile, so welcome to the club! Maybe it means you are on the right track after all!

PPS: What do you mean by referring to yourself as a “real person” using your “real name”? Are you implying that Kim Zigfeld isn’t a real person using her real name.?If so, do have the courage to say so clearly, and state the basis for your claim. Then, are you implying that you have some kind of problem with certain posters on this blog being anonymous, which they certainly are? If so, you might want to explore the Russian media. There are many reporters at major Russian newspapers who are anonymous. Joe Klein anonymously wrote “Primary Colors.” Alexander Pope anonymously wrote “Essay on Man.” History is chock full of such examples. Come to think of it, the eXile’s recent posts about LR were anonymous and relied on anonymous sources (oddly, Yuri Mamchur seems to have approved of that). Are you so unable to deal with the substance of our comments about Russia Blog that you have to try to change the subject? If so, we’re delighted. That’s one of the reasons we allow anonymity on this blog! If you are really committed to full public disclosure, I assume you won’t hesitate to answer the background questions I’ve asked above. For your information, another reason that some authors rely on anonymity is to avoid artificially inflating the importance of their views. For instance, Joe Klein is a political reporter, and if he had disclosed that fact then it might have artificially inflated the sales of “Primary Colors” and caused people to judge it beyond its four corners. In that way, being anonymous is more honest than being public. It forces readers to judge your work based on its own merit and nothing more. LR is just a bunch of ordinary people, not claiming to be backed up by any “institute” like you are, putting my views out there for what they are worth, and always sourcing them to published material. That’s what blogs are for. You might be interested to know that senior Russian blogger Andy Young called the effort by eXile to “discover our true identity” a “demented” enterprise (as you know, Yuri Mamchur participated in it). You conceal lots of information about your blog from readers, and are far more anonymous than LR in many ways. Certainly, the facts you report are far, far less reliable.

PPS: If you really do have a problem with anonymity, then presumably you’ll ban all anonymous comments on your blog in the future, and require authentication with a picture ID. Right?

Konnander Says Russia is Toasted by Global Warming no matter How you Slice it

Recent weeks have seen the welcome return to the active blogosphere of three previously moribund Russia blogs: Andy Young’s Siberian Light, Lyndon’s Scraps of Moscow and most recently Vilhelm Konnander’s Weblog: Politics and Security in Russia, Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

La Russophobe comments repeatedly on Andy’s blog, recently quoted Lyndon in her latest Publius Pundit installment, and is now pleased to tout Vilhelm’s recent analysis of the impact of global warming on Russia.

Publishing the wonderfully Photoshopped image of Vladimir “Studboy” Putin which appears above, Vilhelm first quotes Putin joking about global warming as follows: “Russia is a northern country and if temperatures get warmer by two or three degrees Celsius it’s not that bad – we could spend less on warm coats and agricultural experts say that grain harvests would increase further.” Vilhelm then points out what Putin failed to notice: that Gasprom’s export volumes to Europe are down 16% this winter because of unusually warm average temperatures and less need for heating. As Vilhelm states: “It is quite clear that if this tendency would become permanent in years to come, it would have a grossly negative impact on international gas demand and prices.” This loss in revenue would, of course, seriously undermine the Kremlin’s ability to control the country and leverage influence in the West. Vilhelm asks: “So, should we expect Gazprom executives to turn into ardent environmentalists? Will Ivanov and Medvedev campaign to stop global warming for next year’s presidential elections?” By doing so, the Kremlin could theoretically hope to continue a “cold Earth” that would demand hot prices for Russian energy. But Russia can’t play that, because doing so would require Russia itself to adopt sweeping environmental reforms which would cost far more, in creaking backwards Russia, than it could possibly hope to earn from maintained energy sales (which are finite in any case).

So, though Vilhelm doesn’t go so far as to say so, global warming may have a silver lining: It may do the neo-Soviet Union what Star Wars did to the Soviet Union and what World War I did to the Tsar.