A New Low for Russian “Journalism”
Why is Alexei Pushkov smiling?
We did not imagine we would be called upon to comment on the arrest for sexual assault of former IMF chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, but a shockingly unprofessional op-ed about him in the Moscow Times gives us no choice but to do so.
In a profoundly ironic moment, the article accuses the U.S. of arresting Strauss-Kahn based on false charges in order to serve its own “propaganda” interests, yet the article was written by Alexei Pushkov, who hosts a political show on Kremlin-controlled television and earns his living as a professor of diplomacy at a state-controlled university. He is also a regular columnist for state-sponsored propaganda outlet Russia Today. Not once does he pause to alert readers to his own potential propaganda bias.
And it’s clear why Pushkov wants to make this attack: In the service of his Kremlin masters, he wants to deflect attention from the Kremlin’s outrageous misconduct in the Magnitsky and Khodorkovsky cases. It would be one thing if he at least told the truth about DSK in attempting to offer his propaganda, but his text is loaded with lies and misinformation that would make Stalin proud.
The basic errors of journalism in Pushkov’s essay are so many and so shocking that they recall the era of Soviet “journalism” when pro-government lies were policy.
The Rat Bastard Named Vladislav Surkov
That’s Vladislav Surkov you see standing at the lectern in the photograph at the left, the bright red lectern emblazoned with the word “NASHI.” Nashi, meaning “us Slavic Russians,” is the Putin youth cult founded by Surkov several years ago to emulate the Hiterjugend created in Nazi Germany. He fondly refers to his creation as the “combat detachment of our political system.”
From the lectern Surkov told the Nashi cultists to “train their muscles” in preparation for the upcoming presidential elections in Russia which in his words “must be won by [Dmitri] Medvedev, [Vladimir] Putin and United Russia.”
One Nora Fitzgerald recently had a letter to the editor published in the Moscow Times, responding to a recent op-ed piece by Richard Lourie which exposed the naked propaganda fraud that is “Russia Beyond the Headlines,” a paid supplement churned out by the Kremlin and foisted upon financially hapless Western newspapers. What follows is the letter verbatim with our commentary in boldface following each paragraph.
Interestingly, “Russia Beyond the Headlines” doesn’t publish letters to the editor.
Medvedev the Marauder
Russia’s so-called “president” Dmitri Medvedev announced feverishly a few days ago that he was sending out a “Mercader” to deal with the “traitor” who exposed the Anna Chapman spy clan under deep cover in the United States. As a result of that scandal, of course, Russia was totally humiliated before the entire world. We offer further insights about the debacle in a post from the head of Agentura.ru in this very issue.
Medvedev was referring to “Ramón Mercader, the secret agent sent by Joseph Stalin to kill archrival Leon Trotsky with an ice pick.” That’s right, Medvedev was openly patterning himself after Josef Stalin, and bragging about it in public. Lest you think the world saw this as another silly Russian joke, the “traitor” was soon under FBI protection.
Posted in editorial, espionage, medvedev, neo-soviet crackdown, potemkin villages, propaganda, russia
Tagged Anna Chapman, dmitry medvedev, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Ramón Mercader, russia, vladimir putin
The Lying Bastards at Voice of Russia
Even by the appalling standards of neo-Soviet pseudo-journalism, the lapdog cretins at the Voice of Russia radio propaganda network operated by the Putin Kremlin deserve some special kind of prize.
The willingness of these mendacious bastards to lie openly, shamelessly and repeatedly, regardless of how obvious it may be that they are doing so, bespeaks mental illness. They are so utterly removed from any vague sense of reality or ethics that it is possible to believe they have not yet heard about the failure and collapse of the USSR.
Here is the report on last week’s regional “elections” by Voice of Russia, for instance:
Arkady Dvorkovich, Lying Bastard
Arkady Dvorkovich: Pretty scary looking, huh?
Writing on Huffington Post last week Arkady Dvorkovich, the chief economic adviser to Russia’s sham “president” Dima Medvedev, spewed forth a torrent of shameless lies and distortions about Medvedev’s record on technology innovation.
Dvorkovich listed seven specific alleged achievements of the Medvedev regime, each one more specious and dishonest than the next. Here his what he said in his own malignant words:
An Idiotic, Lying Jackass is blogging at “A Good Treaty“
A new Russia blog has appeared by the name of “A Good Treaty.” Its purpose is to offer one-sided propaganda in support of the notion that Barack Obama’s sham treaty on nuclear weapons with Russia is a good idea and should be ratified as the U.S. Senate considers the document. Is the blogger on the Obama payroll? Or the Kremlin’s? Or both? You be the judge. Let us introduce you to it.
First of all, it’s beloved by the Russophile maggots, of course. Interestingly, not one of them chooses to make the criticism of “A Good Treaty” that they level at us, namely that some of us are anonymous. It’s just fine with the Russophile scum that AGT is anonymous, because it’s only a bad thing to be anonymous if you criticize the Putin regime. If you work hard to justify it, and the Obama administration’s appeasement of it, then nothing else matters. Got that?
Second of all, the blogger who writes AGT is stunningly lazy, dishonest and stupid, even by Russophile standards. In a post on the vast expansion of the KGB’s power to arrest and harass, the blogger claims the new law is no worse than America’s Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of 9/11. It appears, based on this pseudo-scholarship, that the blogger got the degree he lauds on his blog (but that nobody, of course, can confirm) from a box of Cracker Jacks.
Needless to say, s/he ignores an avalanche of facts:
Paul Goble reports:
As a result of fires and drought, this year’s grain harvest in the Russian Federation will be much smaller than normal, a development that has prompted Moscow to impose an embargo on grain exports, pushed prices for bread upwards even in the Russian capital, and sparked fears that the country faces hunger.
Such fears have no objective basis, President Dmitry Medvedev said, suggesting that recent rises in prices for bread – up 10 to 15 percent in some stores – reflected the fact that “the market sometimes behaves according to its own laws” and “psychopathic scenarios arise.”
In an interview published in Svobodnaya Pressa, Yevgeny Gontmakher, the deputy director of the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, comments that “of course, there will not be hunger in Russia,” but he adds that does not mean the current situation will not have some serious negative consequences.
Some thoughts on Russia Today‘s Tomorrow
by Ethan S. Burger
Exclusive to La Russophobe
The Russian people have not experienced any significant benefit from the symbolic pressing of the “reset” button in U.S.-Russian relations. Just ask any Russian citizen what they think about the necessity of urging the work force to stay home or establishing 120 “anti-smog centers” in Moscow as a result of the fires near the capital. This situation in Moscow is being well reported by the foreign press and Russia Today, can the same be said of the state-owned media?
I have often wondered what the Russian leadership thinks it gains from placing special supplements of Russia Today in major newspapers like The Washington Post and the New York Times. Most U.S. newspapers are struggling, as Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in The New Yorker, this did not prevent The Washington Post from undertaking a comprehensive investigation analysis of the wasteful homeland security complex (both governmental and private-sector, largely government-funded) that has emerged post 9/11. It is doubtful that any Russian media outlet that reaches a large segment of the population would ever have the courage to undertake a comparable effort about the fires currently spreading through the country.
Posted in burger, journalism, journalists, propaganda, russia
Tagged al-Qaeda, Deutsche Welle, ethan burger, Great Britain, New York Times, russia, russia today, United States, voice of america, Washington Post
In Putin’s Russia, Welcome back to the USSR
We can’t help but wonder how the world in general and Russia in particular would have reacted if, during his presidency, George Bush had circulated a list of 25,000 young people who the White House identified as America’s “most talented youth,” young people who would receive overt favoritism in education and employment from the very highest levels of the U.S. government — and every one of the names was drawn from extreme right-wing political organizations like the John Birch Society and the KKK.
Well, that’s exactly the kind of list that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin officially received last week from his NASHI political cult as they held their annual retreat of indoctrination and scheming, funded by millions of dollars desperately needed federal funds. Just as in Soviet times, the Putin regime is creating an elite society like the Communist Party and making membership a prerequisite to advancement in the halls of business, politics and industry, the better to control the actions of the mass population. With every day that passes, Russia is more and more fully neo-Soviet.
Heroic Russian human rights activist Marina Litvinenko expressed the horror of the civilized world towards these proceedings:
Danila Bochkarev, Neo-Soviet Bag Man
Danila Bochkarev, neo-Soviet bagman
It’s been some time since we’ve had occasion to write about a scum-sucking Russophile reptile attempting to insinuate his views into mainstream political culture, and that’s a good thing.
As the Putin regime becomes more and more openly and horrifyingly neo-Soviet in character, even the craziest of these cockroaches becomes more and more wary of opening his mouth in public for fear of the humiliation the next day may bring.
But someone named Danila Bochkarev, representing something called the EastWest Institute, remains shameless.
The Writing on the Russian Wall
Last week in Russia, billboards were going up and they were coming down.
In Omsk, a billboard advertising a children’s theater piece which declared “We await you, merry gnome!” was hastily ripped down in anticipation of Russian “president” Dima Medvedev’s visit, lest the diminutive little president take offense. If that sort of behavior reminds you of the insanity that went on during the time of Josef Stalin, you’re not alone. Some idiotic Russophile commentators would like to paint Dima as some sort of “liberal,” but it’s perfectly clear his own countrymen don’t see him that way. If they did, the merry gnome would still be merry.
And speaking of Stalin, in Moscow, city workers were rushing to throw up billboards praising the contribution of Josef Stalin, the worst killer of Russians in world history, to the Soviet military effort in World War II, in celebration of the Russian “victory” in that conflict. Human rights leader Lyudmila Alexeeva put it bluntly: “Stalin is a criminal, and it is a shame to advertise his regime that killed millions of people.”
With all due respect to Ms. Alexeeva, we’d choose a bit stronger word than “shame.” Perhaps “atrocity” or “abomination” or simply “crime.”
Alexei Bayer, writing in the Moscow Times:
Four years ago during the XX Winter Olympics, the Russia House was by far the hottest party venue in Turin. It even had an open-air ice skating rink on the roof, where skaters were treated to free shots of vodka and an unending parade of scantily clad young women. There were plenty of brutish middle-aged men, too, but they somehow seemed less scary — and therefore more fascinating — since then-
President Vladimir Putin had curbed the excesses of Russia’s wild capitalism.
Michael Bohm, opinion page editor of the Moscow Times, writing for the paper:
A year after former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested on fraud charges, Baikal Finance Group — a mysterious company with a share capital of only 10,000 rubles ($330) — acquired Yukos’ largest subsidiary, Yuganskneftegaz, for $9.3 billion in an “auction” consisting of only one bidder. After Yuganskneftegaz was sold four days later to state-controlled Rosneft, Andrei Illarionov, economic adviser to then-President Vladimir Putin, called the state expropriation of Yukos “the Biggest Scam of the Year” in his annual year-end list of Russia’s worst events. When Illarionov announced his 2009 list in late December, he should have added another award and given it to Putin: “the Best PR Project of the Decade.”
The Yukos scam was “legal nihilism” par excellence, but most Russians have a completely different version of the event. The Kremlin’s 180-degree PR spin on the Yukos nationalization should be a case study for any nation aspiring to create a Ministry of Truth. As Putin explained in his December call-in show, the Yukos affair was not government expropriation at all, but a way to give money that Yukos “stole from the people” back to the people by helping them buy new homes and repair old ones. Putin, it turns out, is also Russia’s Robin Hood. War is peace. Ignorance is strength.
Irina Yasina of the Institute for Transitional Economy, writing in the Moscow Times:
Has Russia’s economic crisis ended? That depends on whom you ask. Ask Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, or any official of his United Russia party, and you will be told, “Of course it is over.” They will even produce proof in the form of an unemployment rate that does not rise, unprecedented increases in pensions and strong growth in construction and metalworking.
Of course, all these comparisons are made with how things stood last month rather than with the country’s precrisis economic performance. Then there is another “miracle” that the government is starting to trumpet, one discovered in August 2009: an increase in Russia’s population. Unfortunately, in no month before or since have births outpaced deaths.
Ask a member of the opposition whether the crisis has ended, and you will be told that it is only just beginning. Gazprom’s production is falling at a dizzying pace, and the country’s single-industry “mono-towns” are dying.
One of Russia Today's propaganda ads, this one comparing the president of Iran with the president of the USA. How would Russians react to a similar ad from Voice of America comparing Vladimir Putin and Shamil Basayev?
The Russians are coming! The always brilliant Luke Harding, reporting for the Guardian:
They are appearing in newspapers and on posters alongside major roads in Britain. There is Barack Obama’s head, on it superimposed the image of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s leader. The slogan reads: “Who poses the greatest nuclear threat?”
For many people the answer is clear – after all, Obama hasn’t so far called for Israel to “vanish from the page of time”. But for the Kremlin the Obama image is the latest step in an ambitious attempt to create a new post-Soviet global propaganda empire.
Getting Played by Vladimir Putin
It was rather hilarious, and also a little scary, watching the world get played by Vladimir Putin over the Мульт Личности (“Cartoon of Personality” — wordplay on культ личности, personality cult) short about him and Dima Medvedev over the New Year’s holiday in Russia.
Any number of hapless morons began pontificating about the possibility that the short was an indication of some new form of glasnost on the part of the neo-Soviet Kremlin. It was, of course, the exact opposite, and only an idiot or a person utterly unfamiliar with the Putin regime and the content of the short could think otherwise.
Ian Pryde, founder and CEO of Eurasia Strategy & Communications (ESC) in Moscow, Adam Fuss, senior vice president of ESC North America, and Laura Mitchell, managing director of ESC North America, writing in the Moscow Times:
Ever since the young and energetic Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev became president, the issue of rebranding Russia has been actively discussed. In a Dec. 10 Moscow Times comment, “Rebranding Russia From Communism to Cool,” Andrej Krickovic and Steven Weber rightly highlighted the country’s totally unsuccessful efforts since 2005 to improve its image and reputation abroad. But even if implemented, their proposal to rebrand Russia based on eco-friendliness, multiculturalism and resilience is wedded to an outdated view of public relations, image and branding.
The Stupidest Thing yet written about Putin’s Russia?
Famously unafraid of sticking its neck out, this blog would like to nominate for consideration as the stupidest thing yet written about Vladimir Putin’s Russia a Moscow Times op-ed column entitled “Rebranding Russia from Communism to Cool” by Andrej Krickovic, a research fellow at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California Berkeley, and Steven Weber, a professor of management and senior research fellow at the Infrastructure Research Center at the Skolkovo School of Management in Moscow.
After proving that Russia’s PR work under Vladimir Putin has been an abject failure as if it were a revelation, when in fact it’s something everyone in the world, even Russians, knows perfectly well, the authors then suggest three “narratives” that Russia could use to market itself to the West: Multicultural Russia, Ecological Russia and Resilient Russia. Each one is stupider and more inconceivable than the last.
The Moscow Times reports:
The prime minister broke his call-in show records, discussing gold teeth and his love for animals and granting a birthday wish.
Rostov resident Tatyana Romanenko probably had a dream birthday Thursday, when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin bestowed his congratulations on her in a nationally televised show.
Romanenko, who turned 55, asked Putin for his best wishes in one of the more than 2 million e-mails, phone calls and text messages received by his aides in the run-up to his call-in show. Putin, known to send birthday wishes only to his peers, like Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko or prominent arts and political figures, read out the request from a blue folder where he kept a few messages that he had personally chosen.
On Russian Ignorance and Hypocrisy
One of the most striking impressions left upon those of us who have spent time living in Russia is that, while Russians portray and imagine themselves as erudite, cosmopolitan and educated they are in fact among the most crudely ignorant people on the face of the earth. Racism, including open lynchings of blacks, flows through Russia is it were still mired in the last century. The Internet is repressed, political life is non-existent, and the great artists who once characterized the upper echelons of Russian society have long since passed from the scene.
It may be for this reason that Russians hate foreigners so much, and constantly tell themselves that foreigners hate and misunderstand them right back. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, as three news stories from just the last week alone clearly show.
Streetwise Professor tips us to a recent report from Reuters which concludes that the Kremlin’s neo-Soviet nationalization of resources has made the country “uninsurable.” The reports states:
Madagascar, Ecuador, Kyrgystan and others have also seen examples of expropriation or effectively forced renegotiation that have worried insurers. However, in some other countries — such as Brazil or South Africa — a slight rise in leftist rhetoric has had less impact on premiums. The industry is particularly concerned over risks in Russia, where extractive projects have become almost uninsurable.
This is what Vladimir Putin has done to his country. It is uninsurable (which means that normal business can’t be done there) and it is mentioned over and over again in the same breath as Ecuador. And in fact, it makes Ecuador look good by comparison. Putin’s Russia is degenerating by the minute into a banana republic, except that instead of fruit Russia has natural gas.
The Horror of Neo-Soviet Russia
Two reports from opposite sides of European Russia last week, one from The Other Russia and one from FinRosForum, depict the true horror of the neo-Soviet state being built by proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin.
Russia watchers well remember the horrifying specter several years ago of a ghoul-like Putin, in full view of cameras and in broad daylight, pulling up the shirt of a little boy he had never met and kissing him on the stomach. Now, Putin intends to express his love for children in a more literary manner. As shown above, a publisher in Saratov (near Kazakhstan) is releasing a book called “Putinyata,” which combines the Russian dictator’s name with the word for “boys.” It’s full of poems just like those that were written about Stalin and Lenin in Soviet times, and is meant to be read by children. The poems are about the heroic patriotism of Vladimir Putin (with praise for Lenin and Stalin thrown in for good measure).
Likhachev and his Lies
Vasily Likhachev, Neo-Soviet Con Artist
According to Vasily Likhachev, formerly Russia’s ambassador to the European Union and now a member of the Federation Council (appointed lackeys of dictator Vladimir Putin), we here at La Russophobe are like AIDS and we need to be wiped out.
When you hear something like that coming from a Russian about critics of the Kremlin, you cannot but hear the echoes of Josef Stalin, a man who could only win arguments at gunpoint because there simply was no factual basis to his position.
Just look at the man! He looks exactly like the crude, violent thug he is, exactly the sort of person Vladimir Putin has filled the halls of power with, exactly the kind who brough the USSR quickly to its knees before the eyes of a slackjawed world.
Please Stop Lying, Mr. Putin!
Last month, as Russia posted its worst-ever quarter of economic contraction, Vladimir Putin and his spinmasters were saying the worst was over. They said the economy had hit rock bottom, and would turn upwards in coming months. They said that even though Russia’s second-quarter contraction was a horrifying 10%, the contraction would radically diminish in the second half of the year, leaving Russia with an 8% recession by year’s end and growth in 2010.
It was, of course, all lies. Though Russia’s economic contraction in July (9.3%) was less than in June (10.1%) compared to one year ago, the figures for August soared back up to 10.5%, the worst performance of the last three months. Retail sales plunged likewise, their steepest one-month drop in a decade.