Interview: La Russophobe

La Russophobe exploded onto the Russian blogging scene in April last year and, since then has been offending Russiophiles left, right and centre with her opinions on Russia. Her views are strong, and she doesn’t hold back in expressing them.

Possibly the subject of more hate mail and invective than even Putin himself on his best days, a fevered, not to mention demented, race is now on to discover the true identity of La Russophobe.

Well, I can’t give you a name, but I can give you a bit more of an insight as to what motivates La Russophobe. In a Siberian Light exclusive, I present her first interview, which is as combative as you would expect.

1. Why did you start blogging?

La RussophobeBefore answering, let me extend a warm welcome back to the blogosphere to Siberian Light. A little while ago a new blog called ZheZhe appeared on the scene purporting to be neither Russophobe nor Russophile but in search of a golden mean. It turned out to be a lie. The publisher was a member of Peter Lavelle’s Russophile cabal and would go on to assist the venal Julia Svetlichnaya in her smear campaign against the heroic Alexander Litvinenko. But I think that SL actually is what ZheZhe only claimed to be, and that’s a welcome addition to the effort to understand Russia. That’s also by way of background for your Question #16, lest my fans be disappointed.As for Question #1, you could say that when Victor Yushchenko was poisoned while running for the presidency of the Ukraine as an anti-Russia candidate, this was the straw that broke La Russophobe�s back. I was so horrified by this blatant act of aggression obviously perpetrated by the Kremlin against a perceived obstacle to Russian dominance in Urkaine, and even more by the West�s failure to react with appropriate vigor, that I realized new sources of information were needed and that I could not just sit by and hope they would appear. La Russophobe was created to try to establish one such source of information. If we look at the period from the poisoning of Yushchenko to the poisoning of Litvinenko, it’s a period of pure horror. And I fear it’s only the beginning.

2. What are your goals for La Russophobe?

To be put out of business. I�m not blogging because I want to but because I have to. Nothing would please me more than for Russians to cut the legs from under me by depriving me of the basis for my criticism and making the blog obsolete. I don�t even want any credit. I just want them to knock it off.

3. What have been your best and worst blogging experiences so far?

The best experience has been the willingness of readers to contribute content to the blog and to thereby develop its reach, as well as watching the explosive growth of the readership. I particularly commend our translator, who has already opened a number of windows for non-Russian speakers, most importantly with his brilliant translation of the lengthy “Spare Organs” piece from Novaya Gazeta. Frankly, the blog wasn�t created to attract large numbers of readers but merely to establish a database that could be used by those who need it. But it�s very comforting to find out how many people seriously oppose the end of democracy in Russia and want to do what they can to help. The worst experience, crude hate mail from Russophile maniacs aside, was the original Blogger engine, which was ridiculously laborious and cumbersome to use. They�ve made major improvements, but the system still needs to add quite a number of features. Granted it’s free, but it’s very un-Google-like. I�m tempted to relocate, but I figure there must be something useful in being part of Google�s umbrella and besides I�m too busy to make the effort right now. I�ve gone out of my way to try to support Blogger by requiring commenters to be members, but I�m not sure they�ve met me half way.

4. Which blogs about Russia and the former Soviet Union do you most enjoy reading?

Two I consider indispensable, David McDuff�s �A Day at a Time� and Robert Amsterdam�s eponymous blog. He�s Mikhail Khodorkovsky�s lawyer. And Siberian Light of course, where I�m frequently a commenter (much more frequently than at either of the other two, they have fairly restrictive polices and don�t seem to have commenting as their goal). And I�m a contributor at Publius Pundit, which I feel offers by far the best comprehensive review of challenges to democracy in the blogosphere, not limited to Russia. It seems to me that there�s a niche to be filled for someone who would create a blog whose sole purpose would be to serve as a conversation forum for Russia bloggers. Maybe one of your readers will seize the initiative. Also, I think there�s a need for a blog to coordinate the expansion of Wikipedia to include more information about Russia�s dissidents. I�m loathe to do this myself, because I�d be accused of bias, but somebody really should.

5. What first sparked your interest in Russia?

The fall of the Berlin Wall. Like many people, I guess, I�d been told that Russia was a nation of democrats just waiting for a chance to show themselves, so I expected great things when the Wall fell and I tried to do what I could to be of assistance in the transition. This included spending a good bit of time in Russia working on such projects. But it turns out that Russians have far less interest in something new and different than we were lead to believe. The errors in assessing the Russia question in the wake of the USSR�s collapse are clear evidence of the need for the blogosphere, as a way of introducing new ideas and calling the conventional wisdom to account for its errors.

6. What do you love about Russia? What do you hate?

I love the minority of Russian people who, against all odds and heedless of the cost, like Anna Politkovskaya, struggle almost quixotically for something better in Russia. I hate the ones who, like Vladimir Putin, are betraying Russia�s past and destroying its future, and even more I hate the ones who sit on the sidelines watching him do so. Martin Luther King had the same attitude towards the KKK and what he called �white moderates,� and I never really understood his feelings until I started blogging. The moderates are really quite infuriating and harmful, more so than the rabid nationalists. Beyond that, as you know, the list of things I hate about Russia is quite voluminous. There’s a top 10 list at the top of my sidebar for those who are interested, and it’s by now grown to almost two dozen items. In essence, La Russophobe is trying to save the minority from the majority in Russia, and we think that’s a fight worth waging.

7. If you could recommend one book about Russia, what would it be?

I�d say the �Gulag Archipelago� by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, because if that won�t warn you off a return to the Soviet way of doing things, nothing will. For a light version, �One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.� Let me also mention some movies for the American crowd disinclined to reading about Russia: Nikita Mikhailkov’s “Burned by the Sun”, Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Inner Circle” and Lukas Moodysson’s “Lilya 4-ever.”

8. What is your favourite place in Russia? Is there anywhere you haven’t been yet, but would love to visit?

For favorite, a truly remote country dacha in the middle of the summer filled with a large group of lightly intoxicated Russians, preferably as far removed from a nuclear station as possible, preferably in the area where Turgenev and Tolstoy lived. For future visit: Lake Baikal. The place I’d least like to visit, but probably ought to, is the radioactive wasteland known as Chelyabinsk.

9. If you could invite three Russians, past or present, to a dinner party, who would they be?

Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko and Vladimir Putin.

10. On balance, do you think Vladimir Putin’s Presidency has been good or bad for Russia?

Putin is by far the worst ruler Russia has ever had, because he cloaks his harmful actions in a sham democracy and thereby poisons the well of Russian attitudes towards democracy. I think anyone who sees a proud KGB spy as a transitional figure on a journey to democracy is quite mad. Yuri Andropov, the other KGB spy to rule Russia, held power for less than two years. Who would have dreamed that elections would be the means of setting a new KGB record? Putin will hold it for at least eight, and will in all probability, in some form, retain power until his demise (just like Stalin and Brezhnev). Russia is a shadow of its former self, not strong enough to live through Putin if he rules to old age. If he does, he will leave Russia as, in the words of Atlantic magazine, �Zaire with permafrost.� When he first came to power, it was possible to believe Stalin represented the future for Russia. From day one, it was clear Putin represented only the failed past.

11. Do you think Russia will ever embrace the style of representative democracy now favoured in (most of) the rest of Europe?

Not unless it is led to the well by a revolutionary equal to Lenin and as steeped in the West as Lenin was and ten times more courageous. I’d be happy if Russia would just adopt the physician’s maxim for its government: “Do no harm.”

12. Do you think the average Russian’s life today is better, or worse than it was in 1989? Why?

Russians are far worse off now than they were in 1989, because now they lack the �thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.� Russia was suffering in 1989, but it had hope for something different from its failed past. Now, Russia is a hopeless wreck on the verge of returning to the days of Soviet automatons and without even the vibrant dissident class it had then. In other words, “Zaire with permafrost.” What can you say about the election and reelection of a proud KGB spy only a few years after that organization’s brutal and barbaric reign ended in the USSR�s total collapse. There has never been a darker moment in Russian history than right now, and that�s really saying something. The worst problem by far is the oil, which provides the Kremlin with enough money to rule and denies the impetus to reform.

13. If you could advise the Russian government to do one thing, what would it be?

Have Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Putin switch places.

14. Russia has developed a much more assertive and confrontational approach to foreign policy over the past couple of years, particularly in its near abroad. From Russia’s perspective, what do you think are the benefits and drawbacks of this approach?

Russia gains nothing. But the Kremlin gains the ability to polarize and terrorize the population, and to whip up nationalist frenzy. These things take the public�s eyes off the Kremlin�s multitude of quantitative failures (I thank Siberian Light for linking to my attempt to document these in my recent �report card� post) and in particular its biggest one, provoking a new cold war with the United States. The USSR, with a much bigger population and economy and with many alliances, didn�t survive the first one. What will happen to lonely diminished Russia? It�s not hard to guess. The five most important words for understanding Russia are: �Pride goeth before a fall.� I think there is an analogy to the American Civil War, with Russia in the role of the South and the U.S. in the role of the North. No matter how clever Russia is or how hard it fights, if it chooses confrontation it will be crushed. But Russia has always had a problem accepting reality, as did the South. The consequences are devastating.

15. What changes in policy (if any) do you think the European Union should implement to deal with Russia’s increasing dominance over energy supplies?

Obviously, the EU should diversify and wean itself from the Russian sources of energy as Russia tries to do in this century with oil and gas what it tried in the last century with ICBM�s and tanks. It should view Russia�s clumsy recent actions as a godsend, a wakeup call that a better regime that Putin�s might not have delivered. If the EU moves away from fossil fuels entirely, that would be a big boon to the environment as well. But the EU should also realize that the Kremlin�s power is based on selling fossil fuels to Europe, and this gives the EU considerable power. It should galvanize behind NATO and use that power, especially to tell the Kremlin that places like Ukraine and Georgia are off limits. Russia’s “sphere of influence” stops at Chechnya.

16. You are known for being forthright in your views, and for not holding back in your criticism of other bloggers – indeed, you were once memorably described as the ‘enfant-terrible’ of Russia blogging. What do you feel are the benefits of this direct approach to blogging, and to commenting on others blogs. Are there any drawbacks?

There are lots of benefits and very few drawbacks. I’d focus on four key benefits. First, there is exposing hypocrisy. You’d be amazed at how many people attack La Russophobe for judging Russia too harshly while they themselves judge La Russophobe in exactly the same way. They call for tolerance on Russia, yet show none for La Russophobe. Second, one of the things I might have mentioned as a goal of the blog is to make it very clear to the Russia-watching world, especially the academic and establishment types, that there now is a stiff price to pay for issuing pro-Kremlin propaganda and for playing fast and loose with facts while doing so. It�s true I�m faulted for being so acerbic, but what the critics don�t mention is that the accuracy of my reporting is almost never faulted or even questioned because it�s quite solid. This leaves the Kremlin�s apologists no choice but to try to focus on my style, and I take that as a huge compliment. And what they also don�t recognize is that there is a method to my madness. The harshness of my rhetoric means that these folks (for instance, the ones who said that given a fair chance, Russians would build democracy) know they�d better be careful about what they say or else a certain kind of web page is going to appear and follow them for the rest of their careers. I scare the bejesus out of those folks, and I think it�s a useful service. They’re watching their Ps and Qs now, in a way they’ve never done before. Third, I�d also point out that adherents of the acerbic style like Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern have enjoyed rather large audiences, and having an audience is useful. A great deal of commentary on Russia is profoundly boring. Say what you like about LR, it’s far from boring. Fourth, if anyone can demonstrate that being soft-spoken and respectful has produced any positive results in Russia in terms of reform, I�d be glad to consider a change. As far as I can tell, the KGB loves it when we mince words and delay action. When the KGB is happy, I�m not. Drawbacks? Sure. Malcolm X suffered lots of drawbacks, including the ultimate one. There are probably some people who are reluctant to join forces with LR because of its confrontational attitude, and we make enemies. But into every life a little rain must fall, and I’m not sure how many of those lost friends would be essentially useless fair-weather allies. I reject the idea that harsh words can turn a friend into an enemy. I think the very notion that Russia would stop moving down the path to dicatorship if we just spoke more nicely is silly. It’s Chamberlain talking.

17. You focus a heavily on the negative side of Russia. Do you think there is anything that Putin’s government has done right?

That�s like asking if there were things Hitler did right. Sure. He made the trains run on time. He gave Germans a renewed nationalistic pride following the humiliation of World War I. Probably the slave owners in the American south did things �right� too. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t right to offer both groups only battle. Anna Politkovskaya said of Putin: �I have wondered a great deal about why I am so intolerant of Putin. Quite simply, I am a 45-year-old Muscovite who observed the Soviet Union at its most disgraceful in the 1970s and 1980s. Putin has, by chance, gotten his hands on enormous power and has used it to catastrophic effect. I dislike him because he does not like people. He despises us. He sees us a means to his ends, a means for the achievement and retention fo personal power, no more than that. Accordingly, he believes he can do anything he likes with us, play with us as he sees fit, destroy us as he sees fit. We are nobody, while he whom chance has enabled to clamber to the top of the pile is today Tsar and God. In Russia we have had leaders with this outlook before. It led to tragedy, to bloodshed on a vast scale, to civil wars. I want no more of that.� I would turn your question around and ask: What could Putin possibly do that could even begin to make up for that? Yevgenia Albats has written that if Putin really loved Russia, he would have refused power and condemned his own resume. I think one of the most bizarre facts of modern Russian life is how Russians, saying they despised Boris Yeltsin, still anointed Yeltsin�s hand-picked successor, Putin, and favor him with 70%+ approval ratings every though the average wage is $2.50 per hour and the population falls by 1 million every year. That�s the Russian onion for you! Like Anna, I want no more of that. One thing that should be made very clear is that Putin has had nothing to do with Russia’s economic upsurge, which is solely due to the accident of rising oil prices and means virtually nothing in real terms to Russia’s vast population. In my view, his policy failures would vastly outnumber and outweigh his successes even without the democracy issue, and when that’s brought into play you have the worst ruler Russia has ever seen, the squanderer of Russia’s biggest opportunity. But I should also be clear in saying that the primary blame for Putin does not lie with Putin, it lies with the people who elected and re-elected him.

18. What would turn you into a Russophile?

See answer to #13 above.

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63 Responses

  1. Lyndon says:

    Andy, what a coup! Great interview “get,” as I think they say in the business. And interesting and mostly reserved responses from LR. I especially liked the response to #13. Well done.

  2. Patrick says:

    Great interview. Well done my friend , well done. LR you get better everyday..

  3. Unfortunately any pretence at an underlying intellectual basis for LaR is entirely undermined by LaR’s complete failure to read and comprehend most of the posts on which “she” comments.

    Abuse gets “her” nowhere and “she” is now permanently banned from commenting on Ruminations.

  4. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Dear Andy/Siberian Light,

    its my first time visiting your site, courtesy of a referral from La Russophobe. After a quick look around it does seem to be quite balanced and a genuine information centre for Russian affairs.

    Which leaves me absolutely baffled as to why you would actually have anything to do with La Russophobe.

    La Russophobe, to start with, is not a provider of information in any sense at all, which she claims to be. Even a cursory look at her blogsite reveals how extraordinarily biased and hate filled she is. She provides info from other places e.g. the Moscow Times and puts ridiculous, outrageous spin on it.
    But before getting into the spin, please indulge me and let me highlight an example of the nonsense on the site. This from ”Russia open Declares Cold War on USA”etc

    ”Has the US overstepped its borders even in Russia? Why yes, apparently it has invaded that country too, and China, and “every” other country in the world. Gracious. But if the U.S. is as powerful as all that and ill-intentioned, shouldn’t the president of Russia be at least a bit less provocative in his remarks? After all, his country is already losing 1 million from the population every year and working for $2.50 an hour on average. It seems not. Just call him Vladimir Quixputin, sacrificing Russia to rid the world of the evil of America.”

    Could this statement, regarding Putin’s slamming of US foreign policy, be any more ridiculous or off the point? At no stage in his speech did Putin say the US invaded Russia. He said the US had overstepped its borders illegally. Which it has – the US is in Iraq without a UN security council mandate and that is illegal, end of story. Here and all through the site she goes off into stupid tangents that bear no relation whatsoever to the actual news piece she has copied and pasted. The above is an example of one of many such posts. What precisely was wrong with what Putin said in Munich? Did he actually say anything innaccurate? No, he didnt. He didnt declare any Cold War either as she says. He said what the EU(by which I mean the old EU, France and Germany and Italy, not the bloody Baltics or Poland who are biased against Russia anyway), China, India, Russia and I daresay many other countries have felt like saying for a long time. That there is finally a serious counter to the United States developing simply cannot be a bad thing. And putting in nonsense about Russian domestic problems e.g. low wages has simply got nothing to do with happened in Munich. The US has massive overseas debt problems, a huge trade defecit and is hopeless mired in Iraq. Surely, by La Russophobes logic, then the US shouldnt make any provocative statements either? Are only countries with perfect domestic bliss allowed to make statements at international conferences? So that’d be Norway, Switzerland and maybe Lichtenstein talking. And that’d be it.

    Now, onto spin. A number of weeks ago myself and another man, Sergei Varjinskii, began to ask La Russophobe questions about her postings that she didnt like. La Russophobe’s offical line is that she is a provider of information. As you can see clearly from the above quote, that is not information. That is OPINION. There’s a huge difference which La Russophobe doesnt seem to understand. If you are putting your opinions out there, and surely the Internet is ”out there”, then anyone is entitled to challenge those opinions. And most reasonable people, when challenged, respond appropriately.
    She doesnt simply provide info. She writes all over it and the opinion is hugely biased. When La Russophobe couldnt answer the questions, which I asked repeatedly, she simply resorted to calling me drunk and an agent for the Kremlin(I wish, it would mean I wouldnt have to apply for a visa every year) and got into some ridiculous blogger arguement about being known by Robert Amsterdam with Sergei. She then banned us because I posted the hard questions on several of her postings. Here are the questions I repeatedly put to her regarding some of her postings. I asked her to explain the following(I wrote these to her):

    ”Cruelty to Disabled”- contains no actually evidence of cruelty, does however talk a lot about TOILETS and incompetence by staff of Lufthansa the German airline at Sheremetyevo-2.
    ”Rocket disaster” -criticises unmanned Russian rocket crash whilst ignoring fatal US shuttle disasters
    ”Annals of Sharapova” -groundlessly and libellously labels international tennis star Masha Sharapova a slut.
    ”Russia and 9/11” -actually implicates Russia in the 9/11 events, ignoring the fact that Putin himself warned Bush days before that something very big was about to happen -the Russians just didnt know what it was.(source ”Kremlin Rising” by Peter Baker, Washington Post ex-Moscow correspondent)
    ”Mobile phone glut” -blames Russian economy for waning of mobile market in Russia, ignoring that mobile companies world wide are shedding jobs and cutting back due to poor sales.

    This is a typical response I got from LR:
    IRISHMAN:

    Dude, don’t drink and post. Do you REALLY think that the tone and substance of your comments (no links, no value added to the blog, childishing ranting and crude thug-like language) would cause us to want to enter into a dialogue with you?

    What does it tell you that we allow you to post here and don’t feel the need to respond?

    Think about it, you ape.

    2/09/2007 5:55 AM

    Readers, does this constitute a reasonable answer to the queries a put to her? The criticism I put to her requires no references to any other site because she didnt establish her own arguements in these posts in the first place. Also, they are just common sense. Russians simply are not cruel to disabled people. There’s a huge difference between lack of money/equipment and actual cruelty, which is a willful act. As for space disasters, ask yourself this, would you rather go into space on the shuttle with the Americans or with the Russians in a Soyuz capsule? It doesnt even need answering in the light of recent events.
    Such duplicity,lies and bias are rife throughout her site and again I reiterate my suprise that your site would have anything to do with her. She’s been banned from forums on the Moscow Times and now Ruminations as well. I saw her totally ridiculed on a tennis fan site, who knew a clown when they read one. Her response to questions is to simply call people apes, drunk, stupid, morons etc. Ask yourself this, is someone who questions your opinion an ape, just because you dont like the question, or in her case, are unable to answer because her opinion isnt grounded in fact?

    To readers of Siberian Light, thanks for reading and my apologies for being long winded. And if your purpose is to analyse and question things about Russia, is La Russophobe really someone you want something to do with? Is she really a help?

    Ger O’Brien,
    Tsvetnoi Bulvar,
    Moscow

  5. Lyndon says:

    The Ruminator’s comment is correct (as well as being short and to the point). Ger is correct also, although in a somewhat lengthier fashion (not that I’m one to talk).

    To be clear about my comment above (since someone elsewhere has tried to use it to associate me with LR), I was congratulating Andy for getting LR to come out of her shell a bit. “Well done” applies to Andy’s coverage, although I guess it may just feed the madness. And #13 is, after all, interesting. I don’t really think VVP should be in the slammer, but it would be interesting to see MBKh in the Kremlin – or at least to have seen him have the chance to make a run for it.

  6. Yuri Mordin says:

    Ruminator wrote:

    “Unfortunately any pretence at an underlying intellectual basis for LaR is entirely undermined by LaR’s complete failure to read and comprehend most of the posts on which “she” comments.

    _________________________________________________________

    http://www.zhezhe.us/2006/12/12/the-nyt-vs-putin-and-ex-german-chancellor-schroder

    Check out LR’s comments on the emails from Julia Svetlichnaya published on Zhe Zhe http://www.zhezhe.us/2006/12/19/a-message-from-julia-svetlichnaya-re-litvinenko and http://www.zhezhe.us/2007/01/10/more-email-from-julia-svetlichnaya

    Regarding Svetlichnaya the times published the following in its 18 February 2007 edition:

    “We are happy to make it clear that Ms Svetlichnaja has never worked for a state-owned Russian company and we accept that she was not part of any Kremlin-inspired campaign to discredit Mr Litvinenko. We apologise for any distress our report caused her.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1400785.ece

  7. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Well said Yuri. Another load of La Russo-rubbish exposed. I see in her comments on your site she accused the editor of libelling a British journalist. Which is hilarious, as she actually refers to Maria Sharapova as a slut on her own site, without a shred of evidence -surely that is libel too? Maybe not in her warped mind

  8. Tim Newman says:

    Which it has – the US is in Iraq without a UN security council mandate and that is illegal, end of story.

    This is incorrect. The US is in Iraq with a UN security council mandate.

  9. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Admittedly you are correct in saying that RIGHT NOW they are legally in Iraq, but they were not from the start.

    The United States does not and never had a UN mandate to ”attack” Iraq which is what happened. Resolution 1441 outlined the conditions which Iraq had to obey to avoid a possible further resolution which MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE granted permission for military action. Such a resolution never came, inspite of the US and Britain trying to force one, because France voted against a resolution allowing military action and Russia either voted against or abstained(i cant remember which).
    Resolution 1441 is here:
    http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/682/26/PDF/N0268226.pdf?OpenElement

    Resolutions allowing America to continue to try to clean up the mess it has made in Iraq came after the invasion. So technically when the US invaded with Britain, they broke the law. They had no specific mandate to attack Iraq. The British Attorney General was asked prior to the invasion whether he thought the war would be legal or not – it was speculated by the British press that he was forced to re-write his opinion when his original view didnt toe the Downing Street line. It was a unilateral illegal action which the US are paying dearly for now.
    Its bad to be bad and poor afterwards, as we say in Ireland.

  10. GER O'BRIEN says:

    By the way Tim, did the US find the Weapons of Mass Destruction yet?

    No?
    Funny, that.

    There’s no chance the US government lied or anything, is there?

    Gosh no, such a thought to have! The Americans are too honest for that.

  11. Tim Newman says:

    Admittedly you are correct in saying that RIGHT NOW they are legally in Iraq, but they were not from the start.

    That’s right. The US did not have mandate from the UN security council to invade Iraq, but they subsequently got one to remain. Given that Russia voted in favour of this mandate at the UN security council, I find it odd that Putin is now accusing the Americans of overstepping their borders by being in Iraq. ONe would have thought that if the Russians didn’t think the Americans should be there at all they would have opposed the UN resolution giving them a mandate to remain.

    There is therefore a rather glaring inconsistency between Russia’s actions in the UN security council and the recent speech by its president which will probably result in the latter not being taken very seriously by some.

  12. Andy says:

    Personally (just to throw a spanner in the works) I think there was a legal basis for the decision to invade – specifically in UN Security Council Resolution 678, which contains the following (never rescinded) provision:

    “Authorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the above-mentioned resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area;”

    Whether the invasion was either morally justified, or a good idea, is a whole other question…

  13. RUMINATOR:

    I have to say I find your comment rather hypocritical. You wrote a post savagly attacking an article in the Economist by famed Russia correspondent Edward Lucas which reported that “thinking London” was now turning against Russia. Specifically, among other things, you wrote that the article was “complete heap of shit which pretends to be a piece of journalism.” You also implied that “thinking London” lacks morality. In doing so, you undermined the Kremlin-critical position and bolstered the pro-Kremlin side.

    All I did in response was to point out that you have a vested interest in foreigners not turning against Russia because you make your living there. I wrote: “It’s disappointing that you fail to examine your own biases in this matter. How will the rejection of Russia by Britain affect your personal income? The fact that you need to raise the name Scooter Libby to defend your position on Russia is pretty clear proof of how untenable it is.”

    I fail to see how you can possibly consider this “abuse” and even if it were so considered your own post is far, far more abusive of your target, making you seem rather hypocritical indeed.

  14. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Tim – Russia and everybody else voted AFTER the US had invaded for resolutions aimed at them cleaning up the mess they had already made. France and Russia DID NOT vote for America’s initial attack and invasion- they pointedly refused(hence all the stupid ‘freedom fries’ jokes etc), which is precisely when they ‘overstepped’ their borders. If attacking and occupying another country without obtaining a resolution first isnt overstepping borders, then I really dont know what is.
    Andy -fair point. But a court battle over the resolutions would be interesting. And unless I’m mistaken, Hans Blix wanted more inspections so technically the resolution you mentioned perhaps wasnt fully exhausted? Anyway the Americans were hasty at least. Hopefully it’ll all be over soon.

    La Russophobe – as usual ridiculous attacks on foreigners living and working in Russia. Does the fact that you live and most likly earn your living in the US not give you a vested interested in defending the US too? You continuously call it the greatest country on earth. Sounds like a paradise with no problems listening to you. You seem to think it has God given right to open its mouth and interfere everywhere it wants. It has a right alright, but its not God-given, more like given by the other guy living ”downstairs”. You are one of the worst, most stupid hypocrits I’ve ever come across. You seem to think we’re all in cahoots with the government because we live and work in Russia. Its just ridiculous. The only involvement I have with the Russian state is getting my visa once a year and my registration. You’d want your head examined. I’m actually convinced that you are mentally ill as a result of some massive trauma that happened to you and you need help. Am not joking at all.

  15. IRISHMAN (GER):

    Why don’t you tell people that you spammed my blog by repeatedly placing a copy of the same comment on many different posts for harrassment purposes, and then refused to apologize, resulting in my banning you from commenting as a result?

    Why don’t you tell people that Varjinskii posted a boldfaced lie on my blog, saying that Robert Amsterdam has never heard of me when in fact he has devoted several posts to me and has me blogrolled, then refused to apologize when I confronted him?

    Why don’t you quote your own personal abuse of me in comments you have made on my blog rather than paraphrasing to hide that abuse?

    Is it because you are a fundamentally dishonest person and a propagandist?

  16. YURI MORDIN:

    I’m not sure what your intended point is about Julia Svetlichnaya, but let me clarify a few things about that issue:

    1. The serious questions about her credibility and potential bias were raised not by the Times but by Aftenposten. In fact, it’s still quite unclear exactly what the Times said about Julia, and no link is given in the correction you point to.

    2. The Times has only said that they don’t have the proof to refute Julia’s claims, they haven’t said they know she is telling the truth. Since they didn’t write the stories or do the research, that’s hardly surprising. What’s more, it’s perfectly possible that Julia was manipulated by a KGB svengali as opposed to being a knowing agent. It’s also quite possible that she’s just very deeply confused.

    3. Julia has threatened legal action against Aftenposten. She hasn’t taken any so far. Meanwhile, she herself has libeled that paper by accusing them of being Hitler sympathizers, not something an innocent person would likely do while defending themselves from charges they know have no basis.

    4. In the posts you cite, I’ve asked Julia many basic questions which she has refused to answer. Many weeks have passed since I asked. The response is only silence. This is suspicious on its face. Just for instance: (a) She claims to have been critical of the Kremlin in the past, not a friend. If so, where is the published evidence of that criticism? (b) How did she make contact with Litvinenko and why, since he appears totally unrelated to her disseration research? (c) Why is she working with a communist extremist who changed his name? (d) Why doesn’t she release her source material, if she has it (audio and video tapes)? (e) Who owns the Russia-connected companies she’s worked for, and why was her name on a government-controlled website as an officer?

    5. Let me be perfectly clear in saying that all I’ve done is to raise questions about Julia’s motivations in attacking Litvinenko, and she’s done virtually nothing to answer them. Nobody would be better pleased than me to learn that Julia is not someone to be counted among the Kremlin’s henchmen or stooges, they’ve got plenty already. But so far, I’ve seen absolutely no evidence that Julia has ever done anything, before or after Litvinenko, to support the cause of democracy in Russia.

  17. Read LaRussophobe daily and frequently.

  18. Andrew Waller says:

    The wack job is not exactly a great draw Andy.

  19. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Dear LR,

    You are absolutely correct. I did personally abuse you, in exactly the same manner you abuse Sharapova(you actually refer to her as a slut) and the ordinary people of Russia( you call them drunks, whores etc). You’re only getting back what you dish out so stand up and take it like a grown woman.

    Secondly I posted those questions because I knew you hadnt the courage of your own convictions to stand up for those posts. Because you know what you said is inaccurate and full of spin. I LIVE IN RUSSIA. I KNOW MANY MORE RUSSIANS THAN YOU DO. And I simply could not tolerate the rubbish and LIES you have posted. I forced you into a corner and you had no way out but to ban me, like the coward that you are. ”Russia hates families””country full of whores” etc. Do you know something LR, you are a scumbag and thats the only polite word for you. Pardon me readers of Siberian Light, but it had to be said. When questions dont suit you LR, as is the case 99% of the time, you run away like the ill-informed fool that you are. Your only fans are twats who have likely never set foot on Russian soil much less no anything about it. Any sentinent being out there who knows anything about Russia should be ashamed of their life to have anything to do with you.
    More Rubbish: ”Russians dont dislike Yeltsin, they voted for whom he chose” – are you actually joking everyone? I make a point of asking Russians that I know and knew if they liked Yeltsin cos like a lot of Westerners I did like him. I must have asked about 200 Russians. NOT A SINGLE ONE HAS EVER SAID THEY LIKED BORIS YELTSIN. He’s an object of hatred, disgust, shame and worst of all in Russia, outright scorn. People voted for Putin because they(a) didnt want to queue for bread again, which they feared might happen under Zuyganov and (b) they have nothing but contempt for Yavlinsky, who couldnt win an argument with himself never mind an election. Russians dont like weaklings. Its just a fact. Not very pc, eh? WELCOME TO RUSSIA LR. One of these days you’ll listen to an actual Russia-based Russian and learn something about the country.
    Your profile is hilarious by the way. Woody Guthrie, you think the Russians will like it? I’m still cringing with embarrasment for you after reading that one. Yeah, they’d sure love to hear that one collecting the medals at the Olympics.
    Still running from the questions I asked you I notice? And above, the only one muddying the waters is you. The Times of London has said that Svetlichnaya did not work for a Russian state-owned company. Just accept, like any decent person, that you are wrong. Most of us grow up in our twenties, clearly you havent.
    As for Sergei and you , who cares about which blogger knows which blogger? It sounds like an argument a child would have over a toy. Who actually cares about this rubbish? You seem to have some sick paranoia about being known by this and that person.

    Ger

    ps apologies again Andy and Siberian Light for this row. But its time people understood this woman really is warped.

  20. GER O'BRIEN says:

    I withdraw the above ‘scumbag’ remark which was out of order.

  21. Andy says:

    Thanks Ger – I appreciate that.

    Normally, I’m pretty intolerant of personal insults in the comments – and will delete offending comments if I feel that they have crossed the boundary from critical debate into name calling. (I won’t go so far as to actually ban anyone from commenting entirely, though).

    However given the subject matter of the interview, I’ve decided to leave this particular comments thread entirely un-moderated.

  22. GER O'BRIEN says:

    No problem. I was well offside. She does inspire such attack though. And the funny thing is, she thinks its because she’s right and has hit a nerve, when most of the time its the opposite, she is WRONG but has still hit a nerve!

  23. Rebecca says:

    Good Grief! Can open, worms everywhere! Has it ever occured to anyone to just disengage with LR and let her tire herself out?

  24. Misha says:

    Great point Rebecca!

    See:

    http://seansrusskiiblog.blogspot.com/

    A considerably more honest and informative venue than the scenario of playing host to someone constantly distorting reality with half truths.

    I like your site and previous work Andy. IMHO, this isn’t your finest hour

  25. Andy says:

    Is this my finest hour, or not? Well, I’m biased, so I should probably leave that for others to judge.

    But I would ask that anyone who wants to make judgement does so in the context of the series of interviews as a whole, which will seek to showcase the wide variety of Russia bloggers that are out there, rather than leap to conclusions based on just this one interview.

  26. Sean says:

    I for one applaud Andy for featuring LR, though I share many of the criticisms of her warped sense of reality. I think that Siberian Light’s rejection of the whole the Russophile/Russophobe polarization is one of its greatest merits.

  27. Lyndon says:

    Sean, amen (or, as supporters of an infamous American distorter of the truth used to say, “megadittos”). Neither an unabashed ‘phile nor a merciless ‘phobe be. If that makes sense.

  28. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Rebecca is right in her comment. I think if people start to ignore her, she is doomed. Only today she posted an actually interesting piece translated from Russian about ‘brigades’ of nationalists and other less than desirables visiting forums and toeing the government line, firing abuse at liberals etc.
    But she couldnt resist commenting- as her other personality, Penny -that people who visit her site and criticise her are likely part of such ‘brigades’. How sad and pathetic but it was obviously coming. Therefore anyone who has a go at her is working for the Kremlin(or an idiot indeed). The sad thing is she probably believes this to be true herself. Such propaganda, lies and nonsense the Soviets at their best could not produce. She mimics entirely the fictional Russia she loves to hate.

  29. GER: If she’s right, why do you keep speaking? And as I undestand it, it’s OK for YOU to engage it personal abuse, but not ME. That’s a really convenient viewpoint, I must say.

  30. SEAN:

    Warped sense of reality? My my, we do have a big opinion of ourselves, don’t we, if we feel entitled to decide for other people what “reality” is. Would you like to send me to a psychiatric hospital where my views can be adjusted to match your own?

    I wonder: If in 1992 someone said that in 2000 Russians would elect a proud KGB spy president, and he’d then (a) kill Anna Politikovskaya (b) seize control of TV news (c) destroy all opposition political parties (d) end local elections and (e) enjoy 70% popularity while doing so, what would people have said then about that view?

    Interestingly, you might like to know that the vast majority of Americans view Marxism and atheism as “warped views of reality.” Do you agree with them? Shall we now decide that the majority wins, and your views must be adjusted if you don’t agree?

  31. LYNDON: You mean the one who played a key role in delivering the U.S. House to the Republicans for the first time in 50 years? Gosh, how I’d hate to be like him! Whereas you, with your tight grip on “reality,” have so much more influence. Maybe one day I’ll grow up to be just like Lyndon!

  32. Lyndon says:

    Maybe you will.

    I don’t think I tried to assert any sort of influence. That’s more your style. Come to think of it, the LR shtick is sort of like talk radio.

  33. LYNDON: A pity you didn’t read my interview as carefully as you might have. I said so myself in black and white (see #16). You can laud “the best and the brightest” all you like, but Rush didn’t launch the Bay of Pigs and Imus didn’t attack Vietnam, now did they? Erudition only goes so far. Don’t forget, Bush graduated from Harvard AND Yale. If you don’t have any influence and don’t want any, that’s fine, but maybe you shouldn’t comment on that topic then. Perhaps you don’t understand it as well as you might.

  34. Lyndon says:

    A pity indeed.

    And while I agree that the talk-radio, smashmouth approach is effective in building an audience and perhaps in raising awareness of your target issues, I don’t think such an approach leads to good policy decisions on complex issues. I’m not sure where I lauded the “best and brightest,” but I’d certainly rather have JFK in the White House than Rush Limbaugh, Bay of Pigs notwithstanding.

  35. GER O'BRIEN says:

    LR, in 1992 most Russians didnt know where the next loaf of bread was coming from, you’d need a wheelbarrow to cart around $100 dollars worth of roubles and if you opened a kiosk selling nappies without permission from the local gangster you’d end up in the Moscow River. And it wouldnt be for pleasure boating either. Inspite of what YOU believe, Russians are perfectly happy that Boris Yelstin is gone and also that they can physically carry enough money for their shopping in their wallet.
    Unlike the US, Russia is paying its debts, is not reliant on constant foreign investment to keep its economy afloat and is not hopelessly mired in a fraudulent war in the Middle East.
    There’s no doubt to western ears the scrapping OF gubernatorial elections was shocking. But a lot of ordinary Russians(i actually live in Russia, unlike you, remember?) seem to think otherwise. In many provinces(with some notable exceptions e.g. Nemstov in Nizhny Novgorod) the local administrations could not be any more incompetent or corrupt. For several years running the heating was switched off in Primorskii Krai because the regional government hadnt paid the power bills and the handling of emergencies by incompetent leaders, especially in the South, was shocking. Also, Russians were pestered by these elections -non-stop broadcasts on local tv, endless advertising of candidates, Russians didnt want that anymore. There’s no doubt the end of these elections conveniently further centralised power in Moscow, but there’s no doubt also Putin wants competent people in the provinces to balance the books and run these places properly.
    The problem with you LR is like a bull you only see black and white and there is much more to Russia than you think. Also, like so many American anti-Russians, you fail to grasp the most fundamental of all facts – Russians are not and DO NOT CARE TO BE like westerners. They might like the clothes, the cars etc, but they are not like us. And no amount of your rants will ever change that. Why dont you do yourself a favour and take up some useful hobby, like furniture restoration , etc?

    Ger

    by the way you are perfectly entitled to insult me as much as you want. You might as well, seeing as you’re so bad at dealing with valid questions.

  36. Texaco says:

    I just tried to leave this comment on her blog after the third installment of “birgades.” I don’t know if it will be approved by the mental case. So i leave it here….

    [Remainder of comment deleted].

    Andy writes: I’ve removed the rest of Texaco’s comment, as I don’t feel that the comments of individual posts on Siberian Light are an appropriate forum to post responses to individual posts on other weblogs. Especially when the comment has only just been submitted and the weblog’s owner has not been given sufficient time to moderate the comment.

    For info, the post Texaco wants to comment on is at La Russophobe: Commissars of the Internet, Part 1, Installment 3. I’m sure that his comment will appear there in due course if you wish to read it.

    Additionally, Texaco, whatever your personal opinions of La Russophobe’s mental health, I’d ask you not to express them in the form of a personal insult.

    I would have informed you of this by email, Texaco, but the email address you provided was texaco@texaco.com.

  37. Vladislav Tretiak says:

    More questions for La Russophobe –

    1. Why do you not reveal your identity rather than hide behind a pseudonym or pseudonyms? No other blogger feels the need to remain anonymous and David Johnson even publishes his home address in his JRL.

    2. What is your educational background?

    3. Are you employed, and if so what is your current profession?

    4. How many hours a day do you spend researching and writing posts for La Russophobe?

    5. How many hours a day do you spend commenting on, or responding to comments on La Russophobe and other Russia-themed blogs?

    6. How many other people, if any, are involved with La Russophobe either on a daily basis or as needed?

  38. VLADISLAV TRETIAK:

    Is that your real name? If not, you’re a hypocrite. If so, prove it.

    Why do you ask me a bunch of questions without telling me why you want to know? Why do you feel the need to be so secretive?

    1. (a) Who says Kim Zigfeld is a pseudonym? I’ve never said so. How dare you make this assumption without first asking me whether it is the case or not? I demand an apology. (b) Why doesn’t Konstantin of Russian Blog tell us his full real name? Why didn’t Joe Klein of “Primary Colors” tell us? Why did Alexander Pope and Samuel Clemmens publish anonymously? Why do hundreds of Russian journalists write anonymously in newsprint every day of the week? Why do so many people (maybe even you) who comment on blogs do so anonymously? I suggest you research the subject and report back to us. There are lots of excellent reasons for anonymity, and I for one have no problem with it. Therefore, I freely offer it to contributors to my blog if desired.

    2. Are you asking because you want to attack me on personal grounds, being unable to deal with the substance of my reporting? If so, your question is highly offensive. For your information, I specifically make no reference to this topic because I have no desire to artificially bolster my views. They stand on their own for what they are worth. I find it very irritating when people say “you must listen to me because I graduated from Harvard” and I think it drives “ordinary” people, whose insights are often much more valuable, away from the conversation.

    3. See #2.

    4. I don’t keep track (I don’t get paid to do it, I’m a volunteer). In my opinion, only a psychopath would do so, and your question is quite odd.

    5. See #4.

    6. Dozens and dozens.

    — Kim Zigfeld

  39. Hey ANDY, is this a record for number of comments on a single post at your blog? If so, do I perhaps qualify for some sort of prize? 😉

    As a challenge to your readers, I might point out that I think a goodly number of commenters have overlooked a valuable opportunity to put in their own answers to some of the interesting questions you’ve asked, in addition to expressing their notions about LR. One can’t help but see this failure as rather convincing proof of hypocrisy on the part of some who, while they attack LR for attacking Russia, choose to only attakc LR and thereby miss opportunities to contribute material of substance themselves. And in fact, in a larger sense, it’s a rather interesting case study for the point I made in answering question #16, that certain people fail to show the same kind of tolerance towards LR that they demand LR show towards Russia. I believe my thesis has (once again) been proven correct.

  40. Andy says:

    I think it most likely is the most commented upon post, although I don’t keep a record so can’t be sure.

    No prize though – sorry. I’m mean like that.

  41. GER O'BRIEN says:

    LR -hold on a second. Russia is a country, you are a person. There is bad AND good in Russia, whereas in you there is ONLY BAD. You havent a good thing to say about anything. You say why dont we show tolerance towards you when we show it towards Russia. Its very simple- you have nothing going for you. I’ve been looking at some of your stuff on your site and other sites and your comments truly are shocking. Here’s a list of some of the names you’ve used on people who dont tow your line:
    ‘moron’,'(pathetic)idiot’,’fool’, ‘brazen liar’,’whores'(referring to Russian women and how they dress) and lastly in this small representative list, ‘slut’, which you call Maria Sharapova.

    Sounds very tolerant readers, doesnt it?

    Also, your own hypocrisy is breathtaking. Back on your own site you say there’s nothing wrong with anonymity and that you practice it and yet above you lambast Vladislav for asking about your fake name(or rather, half fake name…) Are you ‘not right in the head’ as we Irish say, or as the Russians say ‘is your roof sliding off’?)) Are you so dumb or pig headed as not to see your own double standards?
    There are not dozens of people working on your site. The sickening self righteous style of writing from you is the same all over. Its obviously the work of just one person. And lastly, you criticise(with validity) Vladislav’s question about education. Yet in one of your own posts about Mark Ames you sanctimoniously attack Ames on educational grounds because of a piece he wrote about two men with PhDs, the thrust of which was that his education was inferior to that of the two PhDs and therefore his opinion was worth much less. I’d have far more respect for a Russia based expat’s opinion on Russian matters than some arts degree waffler sitting on his arse in the US talking through his backside about Rossiya, who wouldnt know borsh from bloody solyanka.
    At this stage I’m starting to wonder if you are actually a huge practical joke designed just to get us all worked up. I’m not joking at all when I say that.

  42. Misha says:

    Perhaps against my better judgment, I cite this from Global Voices:

    http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/02/22/russia-reactions-to-larussophobes-interview/

    Some really hardcore stuff is due out shortly.

  43. qwerty says:

    Ger, I really admire you for your determination to defend Russia against LR. But is it worth it? I tend to agree that she is a practical joke, and maybe the purpose is anti-russophobic, after all? I mean that anyone in their right mind can see deficiencies in her reasoning. I loved the interview, and I just laughed at the responses. My favourite is that she will turn Russophile if Khodorkovsky becomes president – apparently she expects that he will turn around the Russian cuisine, among other things. For those who don’t know – this is one of the reasons she hates Russia, how about it? I only read her because I am a fan of Mark Ames’s site where they make fun of her, and boy was it worth it! I had a great laugh at her blog… In Russia, if she we a true person, we would just have pity for the poor spinster, to put it somewhat in the Mark’s style.

    Dear LR, if you ever read this: please don’t bother to respond, for I really don’t care. Thanks for the good laughs, anyway.

  44. GER O'BRIEN says:

    qwerty,

    thanks for the support! I dont have a whole lot of it here! I asked her all these questions on her own site and she banned me and another guy, Sergei Varginskiy, who totally humiliated her by actually getting a letter from the Austrian tourist board which ruined one of her posts, totally exposing it as lies(she claimed that some Austrian resort was going to have a quota of Russian visitors). What gets me about this whole blog stuff, which I’m new to, is that someone can be such a sad individual and so consummed with hatred to even bother posting this stuff. Her interview shows she understands NOTHING of Russia at all. Khodorkovsky, President? I have more chance and I’m Irish. The Russians just wouldnt have it, never mind President Putin! Go look at her profile. She suggests replacing the Russian anthem with a Woodie Guthrie song. I kid you not. Sometimes I really do think she just someones idea of humour. There cant be someone so mad, stupid, rude,ignorant of Russia and tasteless. There just can be! It must be make believe! Of course, all of us eXile readers are morons. She misses the point completely. It also pisses her off totally that I’m Irish -she claims to have studied there and probably has happy memories of getting drunk there, a major pastime back in the old country. That someone who is neither American nor Russian criticises her bothers her greatly.

    Ger

    ps dont bother replying LR, like Qwerty I dont care what you have to say cos its all utter shite anyway as we say in Ireland.

  45. Will says:

    Take a look at yourselves guys. What sad specimens. You can’t answer facts so you stoop to insults and character assasination.

    LR publishes a very detailed collection of articles on Russia today. If you ignore her admittedly sometimes intemperate comments you are left face to face with a damming indictment of the state of Russia today,

    ….Written by OTHERS, not by her.

    Because you can’t answer that you (those of you who aren’t already working for the FSB professionally and posing as LR critics)just start throwing insults about.

    If you deleted every comment LR had made on her blog you would be left with material which was no less horrifying, even if a little less colourfully presented.

    Any intelligent observer of the howls of rage generated by the LR interview would presume, as I do, that those shouting loudest are trying to psyche themselves up into some mutual cameraderie of victimhood and outrage. What you need to realise is that that is NOT the same as being in the right, even if it gives you a cosy feeling of being part of the same tribe.

    Guys it won’t wash.

    (By the way some of your names sound as real as the ones of those “Westerners” who write opinion pieces for Pravda.)

    [Flash of insight….. maybe you are the same?]

  46. qwerty says:

    Ger,

    I believe there are only two ways to deal with someone like LR:

    1) ignore her completely and laugh off everything she says; just for fun, I put a comment in her blog that I completely agree with everything she says about Russia and that thanks to it now Russia seems to me quite a good country – she didn’t display this one, of course;
    2) act the same way as her. I must say she uses a classic way of dealing with criticism – maybe you’ve heard a Russian saying “?????? ???? ??? ??????”, literally “against a crow-bar, one can’t hit back”. Only, you know, this method is usually not employed by healthy, reasonable and cultured individuals, for they don’t want to degrade down to her level.

    I bet she’ll be delighted to learn that she is using the method that is best described by a Russian saying; what a pity that I don’t care what she thinks! 🙂

    Konstantin2005 has already brilliantly diagnosed her unfortunate condition: http://konstantin2005.blogspot.com/2006/09/kim-diagnosed-at-last.html

    I just think we, who are reasonable about Russia, shoud all rejoice that LR keeps writing for it will help to convert more people to Russophiles!

  47. qwerty says:

    Of course, LR has the deepest understanding of Russia among all living creatures. Anyway, where have I insulted or argued with her at all??? Can’t remember really.

    As a rule, I don’t argue with people who are so right.

  48. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Will,

    first of all, if you look at what I put to her above regarding some of the ‘facts’ on her blog, you’ll see she hasnt responded. The only one not responding to facts is LR. Time and again I have posted those questions and all I received was abuse. She is unable to answer because the stuff she has posted is innaccurate. The stuff SHE puts there. The copy and paste jobs do indeed contain useful information but the spin put on them is horrendous. If you cant see that then there’s something wrong with you. Also, half the stuff put there by Pasko and his ilk and Anna Appelbaum (married to the Polish Minister for defence, if you dont mind) – is totally biased against Russia. Some of her personal attacks are outrageous as well.
    The bottom line is that it suited the US to have Russia as it was in the mid 90s – on its knees. And that Russia is starting to slowly stand up is upsetting a lot of people.

    As for working for the FSB, Pravda…groan. Do you have any new lines instead? Here’s a line for you in Irish: ”Ta si ghoail doite agus amadan” -she’s a dried up bitch and a fool(the literal translation is too rough tp put here). If you can find someone in Pravda or the FSB that can speak Irish, then fair play to you. If not, go change your record.
    By the way Will have you ever been to Russia? If not, then shut up, you arent entitled to an opinion.

    Ger

  49. Andy says:

    Ger – anyone is entitled to an opinion here, regardless of whether they have been to Russia or not.

  50. GER O'BRIEN says:

    They are Andy but its flawed if they havent been there. Its a fact. I’ve lived here for a long time and listening to some of the crap from people who dont have word of Russian or even know Kroshka Kartochka from Yalki Palki is just mind numbing.

  51. Will says:

    Ger: Tut tut. Insults again.

    “By the way Will have you ever been to Russia? If not, then shut up, you arent entitled to an opinion.”

    Yes, I have. I am there regularly. I was in St Petersburg last week…. so perhaps you should take your own advice.

    Incidentally, your logic is completely barmy. If I haven’t visited a country I am not entitled to comment on anything that happens in it?

    Come on!

    So… for example, a nice little old lady in Cork gets her head smashed in with a bottle by a drunk. And only those who have an intimate knowledge of Ireland and can speak Irish are allowed to pronounce an opinion on the morality of such an attack??

    Listen to yourself. Did you really mean to say that? Even you can’t support that, surely?

    And once again it proves my point. If they can’t argue with facts these guys just descend to personal insult.

    I don’t need to.

  52. GER O'BRIEN says:

    All right, fair enough Will, point taken. It was wrong to have a go on the grounds of not having visited a country. But what I’m labouring to get at is that anyone who has been there or lives now in Russia can see easily that a huge quantity of LR’s stuff is way off the mark. ”Cruelty to disabled” I find especially upsetting. Khodorkovsky President? Only someone with NO knowledge of the feelings of ordinary Russians would make such a statement. Of course people are entitled to an opinion. But when its hatred, without proper knowledge of the place, which is the case with LR- then its wrong. Its obvious to me that she’s spent little or no time in Russia. And if her identity is revealed she wont be spending another day there ever again. The Russian authorities take a very dim view of being offended publicly.

    By the way I live in Tsvetnoi Bulvar in the centre of Moscow. If that isnt taking my own advice then I dont know what is.

    My point about Irish is that I AM Irish. You suggested me and querty are fake westerners like those that write in Pravda. Are you actually taking the piss out of us? I never said anything about needing to speak Irish to have an opinion. If that was the case, the Irish themselves wouldnt have an opinion cos most of us dont speak the language!(I’ve only got the basics and dirty words)

    As for arguing facts, I’ve put them repeatedly to LR both here and on her own site and she wont answer, SHE descended to personal insults.
    And if you are a Russia visitor -which I doubt actually -you would see through most of her opinions. Clearly you dont.

  53. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Ger — would you care to get in touch with me? I am living in Moscow and would love to meet with other sane ex-pats.

    Mail me at khlynov@gmail.com

    Thanks.

  54. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Dear Reluctant Moscovite,

    I’ll send you an email, thanks!

    Ger

  55. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Ger… I haven’t received anything. Here’s the e-mail once more khlynov@gmail.com.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. We could meet at one of the Kofe Khauses downtown.

    There’s a nice one around Chisty Prudy (when you go towards the Armenian embassy).

    ReluctantMuscovite

  56. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Reluctant Moscovite,

    are you male or female? It’s not often I’m asked out by blokes. Where are you from?

  57. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Ha ha, I’m a bloke, but my interest in other blokes is purely platonic — I very much prefer women, so don’t worry (or get your hopes up).

    Currently living in Moscow, details via e-mail.

  1. February 15, 2007

    Siberian Light Interviews La Russophobe…

    Andy at Siberian Light has posted a very interesting interview with La Russophobe today. Among numerous other comments, she has this to say about Europe’s dependence on Russian energy: 15. What changes in policy (if any) do you think the……

  2. February 16, 2007

    […] Courtesy of Siberian Light: […]

  3. February 16, 2007

    […] Busy again today, so have a gander at Siberian Light’s first in a planned series of interviews with Russia-focussed bloggers – this time with the entertainingly exasperation and rage-fuelled La Russophobe. […]

  4. February 17, 2007

    […] Siberian Light runs an interview with La Russophobe. Veronica Khokhlova […]

  5. February 18, 2007

    A note on why I interviewed La Russophobe…

    Since posting an interview with La Russophobe on Thursday, I’ve come in for some criticism, both in web comments, and via email. One reader was “absolutely baffled as to why you would actually have anything to do with La Russophobe”…

  6. February 23, 2007

    […] Light’s interview with La Russophobe turned out to be quite a hit: read the heated discussion in the comments section as well as a note from Andy on why he decided to do this interview. Veronica […]