Reading on Russia Roundup #35

Clickbait culture and groupthink mentality leading to the collapse of journalism? (Salon)

Journalism’s reputation is in the toilet — and for good reason.

There was a time when journalists engaged in painstaking fact-checking and verification before publishing a story. That fact-checking and investigation went on until the journalist reached the point of confidence that there was something solid to report on. Sometimes this process went on for months — sometimes even years.

There was also a time when a “scoop” didn’t mean an unnamed intelligence source dropped a helpful hint into a journalist’s lap only to see it appear in print, framed as gospel truth, a few hours later.

Those times have passed.

The NYT story on “Trump associates” and Russian spooks: some questions (Mark Galeotti)

The latest story about Trump-Russia links comes from the New York Times and says that according to anonymous “current and former American officials”, “at least three” “members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates” “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. Sounds very alarming, but the lack of any real information, the anonymous sourcing, and the minimal digging from the NYT means that it is all terribly insubstantial. It could be a massive story, it could be a trivial nothing (or a smear) – as is, we do not yet know enough to say. The result is that this is another one of those stories that really tell us more about ourselves than anything else, as we see in it what we expect or want to see.

Why there will be no revolution in Russia (RBTH)

Spoilers! Article doesn’t explain why.

Dmitry Monastyrsky – Macro insect photography [images]

More about Russia and less about Flynn? (The American Conservative)

The story on the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is somewhat like peeling an onion, with each layer revealing something new. To be sure, I am delighted to see Flynn gone, both because of his clearly expressed desire to confront Iran and his inaccurate characterization of Islam. But Flynn’s departure will no doubt be exploited by many to justify increased hostility toward Russia, which is neither justified by circumstances nor in America’s long-term interests.


Other stuff

Found! The oldest J.T. protoputin known to man. Pencil and pen on a library checkout list, circa 2014. You (well, I) can tell it’s a protoputin drawing because its features remain in the unstable region between realistic and my more cartoony style to which Putin drawings eventually converged.




  1. 1) Re: The NYT story on “Trump associates” and Russian spooks: some questions (Mark Galeotti)

    Usual boilertape, but!

    “Instead – and I say this as someone with absolutely no liking for the Trump regime – this is essentially a political hit.”

    Mark Galeotti calls the current government in the US “the Trump Regime”! Yeee-haw!

    2) Re: “Why there will be no Revolution”

    Tl;dr – article full of false equivalences, author is a pathetic kreakl.

    That there are certain forces in Russia (and among our “foreign partners”) that would nothing better to stage a coup (and this would be a coup, not a revolution) against the “Regime” there is no doubt. Also without doubt that they are disappointed that their wish won’t be granted anytime soon. Naturally, they are asking themselves – why? All in order to rectify such “mistakes” and plow further with attempts to destabilize Russia and have a Maidan-style “performance” here.

    Yeah, suuuuuure – no difference between Russian Empire in early 1917 and Russian Federation in 2017… well, besides the First World War thingy, which resulted in, literally, millions of dead, maimed and wounded and huge territorial losses. For kreakl there is no difference between a real trade blockade (i.e. – virtually absolute) and the fact that he nowadays can’t eat his beloved jamon. And the way how he computes the buying value of the ruble in 1917 paints him as yet another humanitariy (I’m one also, so I have the “Hu” word privilege!) which also, shyly and conscientiously avoids such topics as the prices and availability of goods and services in Petrograd c. 1917, let alone the living, medical and social conditions for the working class people of the era, where 50+ people of factory workers and their family were living in one room of specially constructed barracks nearby the factory – and that’s only if their owner was “good” and “generous”.

    Oh, and Nicholas II and Putin – totally the same person with the same track record! Абсолютли!

    I honestly don’t understand all those morons who ask the people on the street about their life, getting “Life is tough” answer and then demanding for said people to jump on barricades and stage the Revolution. Newsflash! People all around the globe (probably!) are having tough lives and are not entirely satisfied with their government. But why it’s found perfectly acceptable to nudge Russians in the revolutionary direction, but not the others? Why we won’t do the same thing in, say, US of A, and when we, inevitable, get the same answers (i.e. that ordinary people won’t go and die on barricades or stage a Revolution) we will start bemoaning “servility” and “mental slavishness” of These People, who don’t want to Fight For Freedom ™?

    Oh, and this quote:

    “One hundred years ago, protestors, the majority of whom were atheists, nearly destroyed the cathedral.”

    A majority of atheists… among the workers and soldiers… in 1917 Petrograd…


    Here I can only quote the most well known phrase by Sergei Lavrov: “Д…, б…ть!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Mark Galeotti calls the current government in the US “the Trump Regime”! Yeee-haw! “

      Thus proving that it’s not the perceived democratic-ness of the whole system that matters when applying the “regime” label, but whether or not the speaker likes whoever is running said system. Granted, I’m not a Trump supporter either, but at least I’m consistent and call every nat’l government a “government”.

      Re: “Why there will be no revolution”

      Article suffers from poor execution of the so-called “journalistic formula”: where the writer makes a few key arguments and then turns his focus to people’s life situations as if to prove the arguments, but the interrelation stays on a purely emotional level. Also interesting how Levkovich speaks to three people and then extrapolates their responses to all of Russian society. Pretty big leap there!


      • Just googled this Levkovich. It’s so predictable, that’s not funny anymore. I mean – this kind of thing can, in theory, “hook you up” to the intellectual laziness one day, seeing as every single time you read a typical article by a typical kreakl you assume (even without bothering to fact-check) all possible clichés about the author… and you will undoubtedly be proven right, because our kreakls ARE walking clichés.

        Oh, where to begin? Levkovich writes to the “Snob” magazine – a vomitoid rag-paper by and for the urbanite “elite” of hip and kewl. All the usual activity for the eternally kvetching oppos – protests, on-line feces-hurling, fake news, whining, whining, whining… He describes himself as “the former journalist”, he worked a short stint in Russian “Rolling Stone” magazine in 2008, but it’s anyone’s guess how he does support himself since 2013 (what – “Russia Beyond the Headlines” is sooooo generous?). Another place where Levkovich’s articles are always welcome – Garry Kasparov’s site and on various Ukrainian news (pardon for the word “news”) sites as well.

        Even before all hell broke lose in 2014, Levkovich became a very dubious personality even by the so-called Russian liberal’s standards, when Vladimir Pozner himself called Levkovich “unhandshakable”

        The LJ of this self-described egoist consists just a little bit less than entirely of pro-Maidan and anti-Russian posts, and this one is a typical. Thankfully, inactive since late 2014. At the same time – he was interviewed by the Ukrainian channels (the one to 112tv is especially… shining example) and also interviewed several times “a hero of Maidan” – but only the best ones, like Dmitro Yarosh, the leader of the radical nationalist “Right Sektor” (the one who cry “One Language, One Nation, Ukraine – above all, Moskals – to the knives!”) whom he absolutely adored. And, yes – Levkovich participated both in Bolotnaya protests and in Maidan, although he is a “Moskal” himself (of Jewish descent).

        He, quite predictably, fully supported convicted terrorist Sentsov (Ukrainian so-called “film director”, who was nearly successful in execution of an arson attack in Crimea), wept bitterly that “a hundred of us can’t blow up Kremlin” or “storm the prison where Sentsov is kept”, but that they can “create a lustration lists for the future generations”. In his interviews calls the life in This Country “a life under occupation”.

        To recap – if there is anywhere a platonic ideal of the kreaklian fifth columnist, who is always ready to spit and hate one’s country and who adores said country’s enemies, Levkovich, doubtless, should serve as illustration. He and the likes of him confirm, that – yes, there are such thing as the national traitors. Yet, “The Bloody Regime” does not jail him, or repress him, or even makes his life “so unbearable”, that he’d live in exile in oh-so-democratic Ukraine instead. The last one is particularly notable, because the Ukraine is the place where a Revolution of Dignity (so dear to Levkovich’s heart) did happen, while in totalitarian Mordor of Russia people refuse to fight and die for that. Hmm, I wonder – why?

        The fact that the Enlightened West ™ uses members of this so-called Russian liberal Pandemonium to enact its propaganda warfare shows that either it is the West that’s absolutely moronic, or it’s intended audience.


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