Browsing the web today I came upon this interview in the International Herald Tribune with ‘Tim’ the creator of the English Russia blog.
“Just imagine how many unknown stories and photos are hidden in Chinese Web sites and available only to a Chinese audience,” he wrote in an e-mail. “So we decided to start from the country we know, or, to be exact, Russia and the countries comprising the former Soviet Union.”
Tim refused to give his full name, saying by telephone that, as a serious Web designer, he did not want his name associated with the site.
There are some fascinating stats in the article. I’m green with envy at the level of traffic English Russia receives – approximately 200,000 visitors per day and, back in August this year, English Russia was the 155th most popular blog in the world, according to Technorati’s ranking. As I write this, the ranking has fallen slightly to a not at all unimpressive 242nd!
The common complaint about English Russia resurfaces – there’s nothing new on it:
“There’s nothing original,” said Mikhail Chekanov of Rambler Media, owner of the Russian search engine Rambler.ru. Chekanov said the site just picks up items from other Russian Web sites.
Interestingly, the article shied away from directly addressing copyright issues.
But the model seems to be working well enough for Tim – English Russia has earnt enough over the last year or so for him to hire his first full time employee, who spends most of his time scouring Russian websites for interesting things to post.
Perhaps “Tim” didn’t want his name used because his website is actually an NGO project with an objective of showing Russia in a negative light.
Check out the URL for the “About” page of English Russia (http://englishrussia.com/?page_id=2). Many Russians are offended by the content and tone of the blog.
La Russophobe & English Russia both have high traffic but English Russia uses the cover of “humor” to further its agenda. At least La Russophobe has the intellectual honesty to admit that it has an agenda (even if its agenda is radical).
Let’s all hope the level of dialog on Russia improves.
‘Tim’ denies being funded by or having any links to an anti-Russian NGO in the interview – although, if he did have an anti-Russian agenda, you would expect him to say that!
I must say I’ve never thought English Russia had a particularly anti-Russian agenda. Funny stuff tends to be at someone’s expense, so funny stuff about Russia is going to be mainly at the expense of Russians.
And, over the past few months there really does seem to have been a change of emphasis at English Russia, with a large increase in the number of posts that show of cool but interesting things about Russia – like unusual military equipment, historical pictures of the Soviet Union – which display the better side of Russia.
Negative? Come on, some posts are just hilarious, while some others may be a bit tasteless, but in general I am sure that that mythical “anti-Russian NGO” could find a better use for the money. If this site was named, say, English Andorra, I would dream of visiting Andorra.
I just visit the site every one or two months to browse one or two pages. Not that the photos posted represent something I see very often, quite the reverse, but I just prefer textual information to the pictorial.
Offhand, if I’m not mistaken, English Russia has been referenced by Russia Today, the English language, Russian government funded 24/7 news network.
If I correctly recall, Russia Today has picked up a few English Russia postings, which include 1970s/1980s pictures of Soviet fashion models.
Without looking more into one of Tim’s points, I get the same impressiion as Andy about English Russia.
On another mentioned point, it’s a bit of an understatement to refer to a bigoted venue as “radical.” The mentioned source often has negative statements presented like: this is what Russians really mean by…. In comparison, were that tact used against some other groups, it would be correctly termed by many as bigoted. This is to be expected from a society that uses the tame word “Russophobia” to describe what’s often (though not always) sheer bigotry.
Spare me the comeback of there being some “good Russians” like Vladimir Bukovsky. That’s on par with how some racist Whites have favorites among Blacks.
I definitely recall picking up the above link via Russia Today. Some from that era will no doubt especially appreciate the shots.
English Russia appears rather non-political.
At least once, EnglishRussia has been pushed to remove some content: late May they published some embarrassing photos of Ramzan Kadirov… several ¿days/weeks? later that entry was just erased (http://englishrussia.com/?p=953).
Not difficult to guess who is behind this likely threat…
Two of those photos:
PS: Not long time ago Google cache still showed text belonging to that post. (Notice that previous and subsequent entries are on-line following the same permalink structure: e.g: http://englishrussia.com/?p=952 & http://englishrussia.com/?p=954).
For that matter, eXile apparently took down articles critical of JRL Editor David Johnson and the late Paul Klebnikov.
I think English Russia needs to give credits where credits are due; also he should moderate or even clean the comment section he has; 90% of it consists of comments filled with the worst language I have yet to hear of so-called Americans trying to insult Russians, and the opposite . I check that blog and I like some of the stuff he posts; but sometimes the anti-Russian humor gets too silly and even ridiculous!
LS & Co.
That’s one of the pitfalls when attempting to have as fair an open door policy as possible.
I can’t help but be reminded of this exchange (particularly posts 36 @ 39):
A not so hidden message at that above link.