Reading on Russia Roundup #12

Russia’s new propagandists. The Carnegie Moscow Center presents an opinion piece on the makeup of the “New Propagandists” dominating state television. According to Andrey Arkhangelsky, their ideology consists of a mishmash of imperial, Soviet and archaic ideas; they are united by a rejection of modernity (aka “common indignation at the existing world order”); and their intellectual weakness is that they must link Russian success to the failure of the West and democracy. Tell me something I don’t know. /sarc

Kennan Institute/Russia File. Senior Fellow Maxim Trudolyubov tries to answer the question “why do the US and Russia get each other wrong?” The article‘s not too bad, but predictably much of the blame is placed on Russia.

Russia Direct on the Orlando shooting. Notice how the tune has changed: post-Orlando, it’s Putin who’s trying to mend ties with the US but the propaganda machine has brainwashed Russians with so much anti-Americanism that rapprochement will be near impossible.

A distinct voice in the echo chamber? On Tuesday, Ambassador Jack Matlock testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Read his full testimony here.

Addendum: Gilbert Doctorow reviews the controversial film The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes. I wish I could see the film myself.




  1. “Russia Direct on the Orlando shooting. Notice how the tune has changed: post-Orlando, it’s Putin who’s trying to mend ties with the US but the propaganda machine has brainwashed Russians with so much anti-Americanism that rapprochement will be near impossible.”

    A quick one here.

    Dear J.T.! Do you really consider this to be true?


      • Just you didn’t provide any quote marks, so I thought for a moment that instead of just “re-telling” the gyst of this by all means outstanding article, you are in fact expressing your own opinion.

        What is yor opinion, btw?


        • Oh, no! I wouldn’t write off a nation like that. I was merely pointing out what appeared to be a tonal shift in this article compared to other RD articles including ones written by the same author.
          My opinion on the issue, like my opinion on many other issues, is still being consolidated. I’ve been reluctant to share my raw opinion on this blog because I’m not in the mood to make enemies (not that my opinion is inflammatory or anyth.) The best I can offer is fragments of my opinion. Do I strongly condemn the terrorist act? Of course. Am I an LGBT activist who scoffs at any Russian show of solidarity? No. Do I deny the existence of anti-Americanism/anti-American propaganda in Russia? No. Do I think the Russian people are brainwashed? No. Do I think the Orlando massacre could provide an opportunity for even minor rapprochement between the US and Russia and cooperation on fighting terrorism? Maybe. I’m cautious there. Simply put, I need more information. I feel only a Russian living in Russia (like yourself) would able to gauge the prevalence of anti-US sentiment the Russia Direct article claims is there.


  2. And now – my opinion on that. For what it’s worth (not much, I guess)

    [Sees a soapbox. Kicks it, climbs atop an armoured car instead]

    I, like millions of kids of my age, grew up in 1990s-2000s. It was less than perfect and peaceful time for Russia. Like – really shitty was there, so shitty that we came up with the expression “Those who survived the Rough 90s” as a joke.

    I remember what I was doing when the terrorists captured the theatre on Dubrovka in Moscow. It was late at night, I was home alone. I was on a “sick leave”, not worrying about coming to school tomorrow. Instead I had our crappy PC for all my nefarious purposes – like playing Sid Meyer’s Colonization and having to restart that constantly crashing unholy cross between a vacuum cleaner and a bucket with bolts that was our PC. After one such crashing, I decided to watch a TV instead. That’s when I found out that every single channel sans MTV was talking about the hostage crisis.

    Next day I felt genuinely ill – either because of staying awake all night and flaunting doctor’s regulations on more sleep and full rest, or because of what I was watching.

    I got better. I thought of myself as “inoculated” of the things to come – the attack on rock-fest “Krilya” (which my eldest brother wanted to visit but decided not to a week before) in 2003, Beslan, the bombing of two planes in air, Moscow Metro bombings in 2004, attack on Cherkizovsky open air market in 2006 – and many, many others.

    I thought myself perfectly capable of carrying on with my everyday activities despite all of that, not brooding and thinking much about that. Terrorist acts have lost any shock value. I was no longer a wide-eyed kid who on 12 September 2001 would come to school and discuss during the breaks not the last episode of our favorite animated series, but retell with a profound sense of shock and disbelief the news reports and live video feed of the WTC buildings rammed by terrorist guided planes in America– and listening to the same tale told by your friends and classmates. Back then in 2001 there was this naïve hope that now the West and Americans will “see the light” and finally begin feeling the same thing that we were feeling since this whole mess with Chechnya began. That now, finally, western press and our shamelessly pro-Western liberals will stop calling Chechen and other terrorists “freedom fighters”.

    Yeah – naïve. I know. We were kids. And our government? It was naïve too. Like a kid.

    As I said – I *thought* that from now on I was inoculated from feeling anything about any terrorist attack unless it might affect me directly. On 27 of March 2010 I was in “Biblio Globus” bookstore in central Moscow on the meeting and signing session with Neal Gaiman. I didn’t get a chance to ask him a question (“Why you are not Russophobic and portray Russian elements in your works in such unstereotyped way?”), only got my cope of “The Graveyard Book” signed.

    Two days later there was an explosion on Lubyanka metro station – the one I went to 2 days prior to reach the “Biblio Globus”. The same day was the explosion on “Park Kulturi” – one of the busiest stations, that I have to use regularly. 41 killed, 85 wounded and maimed.

    I felt like crap for days to come. For the first time in my life I felt unease while riding a metro train car. I was scanning them for people with big bags as if they might be potential bombers. I was looking up if some “face of Kavkaz nationality” would board the same train car as me. The news in day to come were chokefull of new accounts of terrorist attacks and bombings in North Caucasus. 2010 was one of the worst years with plenty of terrorist attacks all around.

    Strangely enough – I was totally fine by April 2010, when the Polish president’s plane crashed near Smolensk. The very same day I became a net “Russia Watcher” and reader of foreign blogs and news sites about Russia. But, the thing is – I got better. And once again, probably naïve, consider myself “inoculated” of the future crap to come.

    I remember all of that, J.T. What I don’t remember though is Western landmarks highlighted in Russian tricolor after Moscow metro bombing in 2010. I don’t remember hash-tag #JeSuisDomodedovo after 2011 attack on Domodedovo airport near Moscow, that left 37 dead and 130 maimed and wounded. I don’t remember in 2013 the outrage of the “Free World’s” leaders, when bombs killed 7 and wounded 37 in a bus, killed 16 and wounded 25 in a trolleybus and the one in train station killed 18 more in Volgograd (former Stalingrad) – they were too busy badmouthing our “anti-gay legislation”, Snowden’s “defection” and upcoming Sochi Olympics. I don’t remember Westerners (and our liberasts) changing their avatars on social media and forums en masse after A321 plane was bombed above the Sinai last year. 217 passengers and 7 crewmembers died that day.

    I already said that I was by then a “Russia Watcher” – but from the other side of the fence. So I remember other things. I remember gloating – barely suppressed in the articles of the Free and Independent Western Democratic Media ™ and unabashedly open in comment sections and forum posts. I remember the ever grooving wave of Russophobia, which was always present even before this whole mess with Ukraine. I remember getting into a shouting match on MSN comment section with people, who called me (despite that I was a “closeted Russian” at that time) “Ivan” and calling Chechen terrorists “peaceful framers who only want their land back” (c) – all of that well before I became an official “Russia Watcher” (and lost my password to MSNBC account).

    Maybe we, Russians, are slow learners. Not all of us know English, or any other foreign languages, and even if some people do know, they don’t spend their days reading foreign news on-line (and comment sections). But a lot of us, net savvy new gen young people who grew up in “Free Russia”, do know foreign languages. Some of those who know foreign languages often translate articles from the foreign Media, for all of us to “enjoy” (see, e.g., InoSMI site).

    In the end, we Russians, learned to hate like the Westerners do. We can be assholes too. *I*’m an asshole and a troll, when the mood strikes me. I admit this. And, no, I won’t apologize. Like, ever.

    I was in Army, less than 3 months before my de-mobilization, when I heard about the Boston marathon attack. I was bringing in some important looking papers to HQ and on the way back came to chat with a guy serving in the Personnel Department. On the way back, when I was passing the duty-guard room, I stopped when I heard the TV news host announcing that a Boston marathon was bombed. A friend of mine went to Boston a couple of days earlier on a business trip. Upon returning back to barracks I sent him SMS asking if he is okay. He was okay and already back in Russia. Later I learned that the bombers were Chechens. This time I had no naïve hopes that the West will “see the light” and express solidarity with Russia.

    The reality of a crappy world we live in, J.T., is that there is an information war going on. Information war against Russia is just one front of this World War, waged by the very experienced, well equipped and supplied Western Independent Media ™. In the world we live in people are divided into “ours/nashi” and “not ours/ne nashi”. This is reality. When a terrorist attack happened in Mumbai in 2008 (175 dead) there wasn’t grief from the “Free World” public – nearly immediately the comment sections exploded into call-centers jokes. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria – and now even NATO member Turkey – are routinely wrecked by terrorist attacks often claiming HUNDREDS of lives at once. Even Israel, where terror acts are part and parcel of their everyday life does not receive any special attention from the world media.

    Where were Federica Mogherini’s crocodile’s tears, when she became oh-so-convenient tearful after Brussels attacks, when people were dying in other parts of the world – like during Odessan massacre two years ago?

    The answer? Those dead are worthless dead. Charlied Hebdo, Parisian dead in 2015, Brussels’ dad in 2016 and, now, Orlando’s dead are valuable dead. To show that you are a civilized person (or, as the proper English gentleman commanding Indian soldiers would put it in 19th century – “A honorary white man”) you must go full #JeSuis, change your avatar, write a tearful post/comment. Be mainstream to show you loyalty. No, we don’t guarantee that we will also mourn the dead in your country should you show solidarity with us now. But you must. To quote the (in)famous declaration of War on Terror by the president Bush following 9/11 – “Those who are not with us is against us”.

    I feel nothing about Orlando massacre, J.T. The people who died here mean nothing for me. As people who die daily in Donbass from Ukrainian shelling of the “separs” probably mean nothing to you and many others in the West. Because they in both cases are not ours/ne nashi. This is the simple truth.

    As for the article in question. Russia Insider is thoroughly handshakable, pro-liberast, anti-Putin Russophobic rag. I don’t read it regularly, but the article don’t look as something “new” or “standing out” for me. Dear author, who is one of their resident self-hating liberast Rosiyane is having trouble that the Russian state exists at all. This is intolerable aberration for him. Monsieur “Tsvetkov” uses the word “propaganda” 5 times in his rather short article. But what is this “anti-American” propaganda he is talking about? It seems, that everyone in the West agrees that “Kremlin pushes propaganda to further its agenda” (c) but when asked to provide a single example of said propaganda the minds of individuals asked go full BSOD.

    As a Russian living in Russia and reading, listening and watching Russian media (obligatory – “Kremlin controlled” ™) I’m not aware of any “anti-American propaganda”. Do the people even know the definition of the word “propaganda”? Meanwhile, I constantly read the Free and Democratic Western Press. They are not shy about their anti-Russian propaganda. And disagreeing with their positions in comment section gets you labeled as Putin’s useful idiot and victim of Kremlenite propaganda.

    We are sanctioned thanks to the USA. USA supports the current regime in Kiev. USA supports “moderate terrori islamis rebels” in Syria and wants to topple Assad. USA stages provocative army maneuvers in Baltics and accuses *us* of being aggressive. US president, members of military and political elite in the West have called Russia as the main enemy and rival, while notoriously ignoring Islamist terror. First thing State Dept. spokesman Kirby (a true heir for the Great and Mighty Jen Psaki!) said after the Orlando shooting, was that “We are deeply concerned with the LGBT rights in Russia”.

    Do we, Russians (sans Monsieur “Tsvetkov”) look like терпилы for you? There is only so much a person can tolerate. After all these, after everything said and done, do you really expect Russians to fall on their knees and start literally “pay and repent” for our collective crimes (as defined by the West), while singing hosannas for the Western way of life and showing an ultimate solidarity with everything happening there?

    Monsieur “Tsvetkov” quotes (un-linked) “anti-American” sayings. Meanwhile he says nothing about Russophobia. He, apparently, scoffs at the idea expressed in one of the quotes, that “ The U.S. purposely created ISIS”, believing it to be a deranged Kremlenite propaganda. Well – you can excuse him. Eric Prince’s Obama and Clinton Are Complicit in Creating ISIS was published 2 days after his own article. And while you can argue with the direct complicity of the US government in creating of the Daesh, there is no doubt in their support of the “moderates” who then oh-so-conveniently switch sides – or give up US made and provided weapons to the an-Nusra front or ISIS. Am I brainwashed for stating that?

    Of course there won’t be a rapprochement after Orlando attack between the US and Russia! Because, let’s face it, the “War on Terror” was (and still is) a joke. It was never really taken seriously. Instead of killing the bastards, the West has become a true connoisseur of various types of shit, considering that allying itself with terrorist sponsoring and supplying states (Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE) while using some of the Islamists as their proxies won’t come back haunting them later. I mean – remember Afghanistan? What a glorious peremoga was it for the Free World and Democracy when the Soviets finally abandoned it, pushed back by the glorious freedom fighters and John Rambo. Surely, there were no unintended consequences after that. Right? Uh, right?..

    If anything, the current situation shows that the West didn’t heed the words of Putin, when he said during UN late September session in 2015. The terroristic tail still wags the Western kaffir pig-dig, Mah shallah! And, no – the collective West do not understand what “they have done” (c). There were rapprochement and collective war effort between Russia and France after Paris attacks despite all the noise and hope. There were not rapprochement between the EU/NATO and Russia after Brussels attacks. Why there are people in this world, who think that NOW, of all times, there could possibly be a rapprochement and some sort of solidarity between Russia and the US?

    Nah, screw that. Let’s bash Russia for the lack of the “Universal Human Values” instead and blame it for the inevitable failure of already doomed enterprise! That’s krealk approach!

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Russia Insider is thoroughly handshakable, pro-liberast, anti-Putin Russophobic rag.”

      You meant Russia Direct, didn’t you?

      RI and RD are quite different sides.

      Otherwise, good read.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ‘And now – my opinion on that. For what it’s worth (not much, I guess)’
      You’re wrong. It IS worth a lot and you’ve given me much to think about. Give me a few years and perhaps this naivete of mine will have worn off by then.


  3. On the Orlando shooting itself. It was a cluster-fuck that such things have happened in the first place. Ever growing pile of evidence provided daily shows us how it could be if not prevented, then probably mitigated to a minimum. The shooter in question, this Mr. Mateen, was a bi-polar junky, who grew up in a family of a man who was very supportive of Taliban, and who himself, on 9/11, cheered for the terrorists. Several years later he become employed by a security firm which literally doctored his psychology eval , so that this outstanding fellow (a noted homophobe and a wife-beater) could be employed by them and, thus, get a legal permit to own and carry a gun, and have less legal issues when purchasing arms and ammo. He was investigated by the FBI for a long period and proclaimed “clean”. So, it’s a little wonder that when prior to shooting a gun store owner called a FBI about this Mateen asking for bulk ammunition and Level 3 armour (which wasn’t sold to him) the Feds just filed it “Cry Wolf Islamophobia” and ignored.

    Finally – the security of the club itself. I.e. – the total lack of it. I can’t imagine a nightclub like Pulse in Russia. Not because it was a “gay club” – there are plenty of them. I can’t imagine something so defenseless. Apparently, there was no real security. The club was guarded by an off-duty cop, who exchanged fire with Mateen, was wounded and… that’s it! That’s all security! I don’t know about Orlando, but Moscow’s night clubs sport serious security hired to work 24/7 when needed from the roughest toughest “Private Security Firms” (rus. “Частные Охранные Предприятия” aka ЧОП) where nearly all of guards have either military or police background – or both. On the entrance of your typical Moscow night club you’d find a couple of them, doing the face-control and crowd managing. You will find another one in the vestibule, and, probably, another one near the dance floor – or the bar. And there will be a command post with several guys looking at monitors feed from the cameras and a reaction group ready to be dispatched at the first notice of trouble. All of them armed – at the bare minimum with the “night sticks” and pepper sprays, at the maximum – armour-vests and pistols.

    Where was that at the Pulse?!

    I have perfectly natural for a Russian reaction to the gays – I don’t like them. I’m completely unfazed by their accusations of “homophobia”. And, no, I do not consider the “struggle for the gay rights and parades” to be a left wing. Nevertheless, I’m truly tolerant to them. I won’t lie to you and claim that I have LGBT friends or acquaintances. I tolerate them, meaning that I don’t think that they should be actively persecuted, that the homosexual activity must be legally banned and that they should be forced into the mental wards as it was in the Soviet times. This kind of opinion, as statistics shows, is shared by the vast majority of Russians. At the same time I’m of the opinion that we shouldn’t give even an inch back to the so-called “LGBT activists” (who are, as was demonstrated in the past often sponsored from abroad) – as the saying goes “if you give them a finger they will get the whole hand”. I’m against gay parades – for me the only parade possible on the streets of Russia is 9th May Victory Day parade. BUT – I’m not against any kind of LGBT “liberation” taking place beyond Russia’s borders! Because I find foreigners telling me and my government how to run our country condescending assholes, I also don’t want to tell others how to run their countries. Plus – I really don’t care. Sure – legalize everything! Just don’t pretend that things you legalize so recently are in fact some sort of “Universal Values” that should be “promoted” around the world.

    Hell, there was a time once in my life when I was genuinely sympathetic to the LGBT plight! Way back in 2007 I was dating a girl (Note to everyone: when a girl says that she is a hysteric, and her mother is hysteric too – because this runs in the family – don’t look so surprised when IT happens) who told me about Boys don’t Cry movie. Praise the Allah for his mercy and bountiful Internet, this film just “happened” to appear on my laptop. I was shocked by the story told in it. It was absolutely unthinkable violence from my point of view. Even after breaking up I still think that Nastya at least contributed something good for my personal experience and development.

    Years later I encountered LGBT activists online. Primarily – Westerner ones. It was toxic. I shed all my preconceptions of them as of being shy and suppressed minority. What I saw was a bunch of self-centered vengeful bastards of undetermined sex/gender/whatever crusading to push their agenda down everyone’s throat. For them principle “who’s not with us is against us!” was a holy (not that they were religious) truth. The final straw was when a self described (and I quote) “pansexual Androgyne Christian” with the “preferred pronouns” being they/them/their (any other form of address was reported as “misgendering” to the mods) started heaping loads of bullshit on the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War, and who implied that one of my ancestors (one of the 2 out of 21 who participated in the War and survived it) in fact was “raping his way” to Berlin. I saw the photo of the guy. He is a bespectacled fatso with long hair, who claims to suffer from “living in the closet” with his Deep South family. He has no job. No particular field of study. No particular special knowledge not Googled at the last moment to support his argument.

    I suggested that he should find a real job for himself, involving lots of physical activity. Then – perhaps – some of his constant worries and thoughts could go away. I was reported – for “misgendering” and “thinking that hard work will turn the gay away”. Resident crowd of LGBT+ activists piled on in comments to cry for my blood. The Mod who reviewed the case ban-hammered me, saying, that “when a Russian suggests hard work as a way to solve something this reminds people of gulag”. Thus I was (again) whacked by a ban-hammer. And, as some kind of Russian zek wears his prison tattoos , I wear this ban with pride.

    Saying this – no, I won’t gloat as some of my fellow countrymen did over the fact that “one faggot shot up a bunch of others” (c). We are talking about a deeply disturbed (to put it lightly) individual, who was the proponent of the radical Islam. He made a Hajj to Mecca, and then made a detour to OAE (what for?), afterwards returned back to the US to work and wield weapons. If not “teh ghays” then something different could have “triggered” him. He was disgusted to see a male gay couple kissing on the street – but he could’ve been as easily “triggered” by a sight of scantily clad Florida’s women especially in summer. Where was the guarantee that instead of a gay club that he frequented in the past he wouldn’t have attack something else entirely, on the basis that this was the biggest concentration of “sinners” and “infidels”?

    As I said – I’m in no position to tell the Americans what to do in this case. IMHO, this whole debate about firearms/immigration restriction is just a false flag used by presidential candidates to score some points. With all due respect, and not wanting to sound judgmental, I have my own thoughts on “What to do?” issue. For me, there were some clear and glaring screw ups of the US security forces, who demonstrated that the proverb about “the right hand not knowing what the left hand do” is still, sadly, true. Next – un-fuck your mental health industry. It might come as a shock for some, but – yes, some people should be institutionalized, instead of hoping that Big Pharma provided placebos drugs could “cure” a person. There was a certain degree of laxity from the local agencies as well, let alone from the security firm which employed the shooter, as well as from those who sold an addict and unstable man guns and ammo. There was an inexcusable level from the “Pulse” club administration who should have provided an appropriate security for their club. In fact – I consider them to be the guiltiest. When I read up article about the victims of Orlando shooter I found out that one of the women killed there, was a 37-year old professional club guard, who previously worked as a guard in gay clubs. Which demonstrates one damning thing – there were other gay clubs willing to employ guards on a regular basis, and not, like “Pulse” rely on off-duty cops. Finally, it won’t surprise me in the slightest that such enormous body count could be attributed to Orlando’s police sloppy job. After all it took them 3 hours to decide to finally storm the building, and there is still a possibility (mentioned in press) that a higher body count could be directly linked to the storming of the building.

    Finally – look at your famous “American Melting Pot”, which, supposedly in the ages past melted different people and ethnicities into the American Nation. I guess (but I might be completely wrong) that the fire beneath your Pot died out long time ago. I melts no more.


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