Responses to Common Russophobe “Arguments”

At certain venues, “Russophiles” take a lot of flak for holding the beliefs and worldviews that they do. Many of their “arguments” can be predicted in advance based on prior experience. I’ve compiled a list of quick rebuttals to some common Russophobe accusations and insinuations so that we don’t have to waste our time formulating unique responses. It’s not quite as good as my idea for a machine that could automatically write refutations to standard Russophobic tripe, but it’s a start.

“Real Russia” Arguments

Have you ever lived in Russia? Clearly not, because you do not understand what real life is like there. As such, your opinions are ignorable.

Frankly, where I live and for what reasons is none of your business. In any case, I fail to see the necessity of living in a country to have a valid opinion on it, provided said opinion is founded on facts and logic. If anything, missing out on participation in a nation’s social and cultural life also implies bypassing its specific national passions and blinkers, enabling one to bring a more nuanced, dispassionate and comparative critique to the table.

But for the record, I have been to Russia numerous times and I’ve known and talked to many Russians. It is clear that many live hard lives, and that the prevalence of material poverty is much higher than in the developed world – but exactly where did I claim otherwise?

On the other hand I do know that the West is not without its problems and that the common Russian conception of the United States as a land of limitless milk and honey is inaccurate. (Of course, Russian views of the West are as binaried as vice-versa – the idea that the US is a vast ghetto ruled by a small imperialist clique deadset on destroying Russia is equally absurd).

I also realize, I daresay to a greater extent than Russians living in Russia, that on average their living standards have improved greatly since 1998. Though they may go on about how inflation and bureaucracy makes their lives unbearable, it does not resound well when set against their new cars parked outside (automobile ownership exploded in the 2000’s).

This is an excellent example of creeping normalcy – some Russians fail to appreciate the strong secular trend towards improving average living standards, focusing more on present day concerns like rising prices and poor government services.

Nor is this improvement limited to Moscow and the rich, as some Russophobes like to assert. Statistics hint that the economic revival is broadbased across regions and social classes, and I can personally confirm that even small, depressed towns like Kolomna and Volokolamsk have seen vigorous economic expansion during the last decade.

What a load of head-in-the-clouds nonsense. Real Russians will laugh in your face after reading your stuff.

This is a variant of the you-can’t-have-an-opinion-on-Russia-until-you’ve-lived-there argument covered above. Not only is it refuted likewise, but the reality is that, in a sense, I am actually the Anglophone voice of Russia’s silent majority, which is patriotic and conservative. (To the contrary, liberast (”liberal”) critics of the “bloody regime” fail to appreciate that they are a small minority and are commonly viewed as arrogant hypocrites outside the salons of the International Republican Institute, e.g. within the “real” Russia that they profess to speak for).

In my experience a fair number of Russians agree with me and have written in to thank me for my work. One example was a Russian university student in Brighton, the UK, who contacted me on behalf of the Russian Society there to request permission to print out and distribute copies of my Top 10 Russophobe Myths article during a talk by veteran hate-monger Ed Lucas. My work has been picked up by the good folks at InoForum.Ru (they translate foreign Russophobic articles into Russian), who wrote of me: “как вероятно, и следовало ожидать, автор по происхождению русский” (”as was likely, and to be expected, the author was of Russian origin”). That is perhaps the firmest evidence yet that I’m not a typical befuddled foreigner when it comes to Russia.

So you’re sitting warm and safe in a Western country with rule of law, and you dare defend the Putinocracy that denies Russians bread and kills the heroic journalists and liberals struggling to change things for the better?

1) How do you know I’m warm and safe? In any case, it’s supposed to be a free country.

2) Assumption that “Putinocracy” is worse than any realistic alternatives. Said assumption is invalid due to its reliance on truthiness, which is a logical fallacy.

3) You might think removing “Putinocracy” is good. Do “real” Russians agree with you? Why are your ideas and underlying values more correct than those of ordinary Russians, especially since it is they who have to live in Russia and deal with the consequences? (This only works if they’re foreign Russophobes).

4) And see the other points about the “Real Russia” Arguments made above.

“Love it then go there” Argument

If you think Russia is so much better, why don’t you get the hell out of our country and go live there?

This is a close relative of the “Real Russia” Arguments, implying that if you think Russia is so good – please go there and experience certain disillusionment!

It is invalid for many of the same reasons as the “Real Russia” Arguments. First, who I am, where I live and what flavor of ice cream I like has zero bearing on the validity of any arguments I make about Russia or indeed almost everything else. Second, I never argued that Russia is better (or worse) than any other country – this is a rather pointless exercise given the huge impact of unquantifiable cultural factors and specific circumstances to any such judgment, making it subjective in the extreme. Third, such “arguments” typically mistake a policy of correcting certain gross misconceptions about Russia – challenging the Western media’s self-appointed role as judge, jury and executioner regarding it – with believing that it is the best thing since sliced white bread.

And I can even address this issue directly, even though the above more than counters the argument. The most obvious reasons a “Russophile” might not live in Russia include things such as: emigration from there at a young age; no citizenship; no Russian language skills; cautious attitude towards making cardinal changes in life; leaving behind accumulated social investments in the country he/she resides (friends, work, gf / bf, spouse, children, etc).

A typical example of such an “argument” comes from the commentator Michel at Streetwise Professor’s blog:

The point is quite simple, if someone is from country X, speaks the language of country X and presumably has the citizenship of country X, I cannot understand why they would want to live in country Z if they believe that country X’s future is so much brighter. You have described to us the coming utopia of a prosperous Russia fueled by nanotechnological innovation. If you truly believe what you say, again why would you live in the United States? Reason dictates that you would seek to live in Russia.

Not really, for the aforementioned reasons. In addition, he totally misinterprets my view re-Russia and the US. I am of the belief that Russia’s recent state funding efforts into nanotechnology are an excellent idea because it is a sunrise industry that could lead to an economic breakthrough and will develop internal technological capabilities; left to purely market forces, historical experience indicates Russia will continue degenerating into a depopulating resource appendage of the industrialized world. That said, the US is already prosperous (albeit with dark clouds ahead), and to take his specific example, the US already has a substantial lead in nanotechnology over Russia, which has only recently resumed its old game of state-directed catch-up.

In short, my argument is not that Russia is better than the US and everyone else. It’s that Russia is not as bad or doomed as portrayed in the West.

Re-SWP himself in On Russophobia.

Put differently, given the choice between living in the US and living in Russia–even holding my material standard of living constant–I would choose the US every day without a second thought. Which raises an interesting issue, DR. I see from your blog that you live in California. That’s what’s called voting with your feet. Or as economists phrase it, revealed preference. It speaks volumes.

My response was: We aren’t discussing which country is better in general, let alone which is better for me in particular. The US has a diversified, 13tn $ economy that attracts skilled workers from across the entire world, since nowhere else contains the same huge spectrum of opportunities. That many Russians live and work in the US does not justify (or invalidate) Russophobia any more than the presence of hundreds of different ethnic groups has bearing on their original homelands – which is to say, not at all.

Then there are the pure psychopaths like Michael Vilkin, again at SWP.

Also, why the hell you live in the US if you so much hate this country?
Why don’t you just deport yourself back to Russia, – the country you love so much ?

His only mitigating quality is that he lets his colors – racist, anti-Semitic and genocidal – show freely. (See the full post and comments, they are simultaneously hilarious and quite disturbing).

“Kremlin Shill” Argument

You are under FSB control, tasked with sugarcoating the thugs and kleptocrats who rule Russia to a Western audience. Looks like the Kremlin, having consolidated its control over the Russian media, is now going online. Why should I trust anything you say?

First, who I work for is utterly immaterial, since appeal to motive is a formal logical fallacy. You can gauge how reliable and trustworthy I am simply by reading my posts, most of whose assertions are meticulously sourced.

Obviously, I have no way of refuting this particular assertion (although I’d sure be glad if you could drop me a hint as to where I may collect my paycheck). This is not to say, however, that accusing me of working for the Kremlin is a wise move. It probably isn’t. If your sole basis for slandering me is that you don’t like what I write, then do you realize that you undermine your own claim about the Kremlin’s alleged control of the Russian media? (presumably, you don’t like what they have to say either).

“Whataboutism” Argument

Your arguments are a classic example of whataboutism – deny the problem and insist it’s worse in the West anyway.

And what about it?

This is a childish and circular argument at best; at worst, the squeal of the exposed hypocrite.

I agree that this argument should not be used to deflect genuine criticism from (many) Russian shortcomings. However, as soon as the focus shifts to scoring cheap political points – and that is the modus operandi of almost everyone accusing their opponents of whataboutism – using this rebuttal becomes fair game.

“Hypocrisy” Argument

You criticize the Western media for being biased against Russia, but you are no better yourself – doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?

First, I believe I source and justify my arguments better than the typical Russophobic drivel you find in the Western media. Second, I openly admit to being biased – see Da Russophile’s creed – and as such I am not a hypocrite. Actually, scratch that. I am a hypocrite. There. But paradoxically, my confession of hypocrisy is self-refuting. This is a step civilized society never makes, for civilization is systematic hypocrisy.

Associations Arguments

These are too easy to refute. Association fallacy

It is really weird seeing a liberal Californian godless commie side blindly defend Putin and his fascist regime like the “useful idiots” of yore.

I would note that “useful idiot” does not appear in any of Lenin’s writings, nor was he ever alleged to have used the term by his acquaintances. The bulk of the evidence indicates that this was nothing more than a right-wing fabrication to smear American liberals and leftists in the heated atmosphere of the Cold War. But I guess pointing this out makes me a “useful idiot” in the Russophobes’ Orwellian bizzaro-world, right?

The main reason I feel the need to “defend” the Russian government is because of my perception that much of the Western commentary on it is ignorant, cynical and at times outright spiteful; that they grossly exaggerate some of its salient features into the realm of absurdity (e.g. labeling its semi-authoritarian Gaullist political system as “autocratic” or “fascist”); and that the Western media’s lack of balance and integrity damages both Russia and ultimately, their own states.

Oh, and by the way – this is an association fallacy.

For a liberal Californian godless commie, you sure keep some odd bedfellows in your blind defense of Putinocracy.

Here is a hilarious example from the commentator rtyb at Streetwise Professor’s blog:

DR [i.e. me], the association of you and [Charles] Ganske has become comical at this point. You and your defense of communism, artificial wombs and homosexuality compared with Ganske’s world of Intelligent Design, death for homosexuals and women who have abortions and an overall hatred of feminism… okey dokey- Because you are HERE, in the UNITED STATES, you are free to believe whatever you wish and scream it out loud…. I just think the alliance is hilarious- It would make a great reality show. Ganske and DR… like the new Odd Couple-

OK. And how is this in any way relevant?

Russia Blog has never espoused a theocratic agenda. What it does promote, from what I’ve read there, is greater US-Russian understanding and cooperation. I support that and I am totally cool with them publishing or republishing my articles, both in service of that goal, and to get greater publicity for my own work, because let’s face it, Sublime Oblivion doesn’t have a tenth of the influence and reach RB has.

Its contributors range from Soviet-era dissidents like Edward Lozansky to the fund manager Eric Kraus who believes the best long-term investment lies in canned food, guns and land in New Zealand. Perhaps some of them are religious fundamentalists. Perhaps some are Martians? I don’t know, and what’s more, I couldn’t care less.

Even if they do get funding from the creationist Discovery Institute, it’s pretty obvious that DI’s religious projects are strictly compartmentalized from RB and I for one would have no problems taking money from them should they offer it with no strings attached.

Finally, there’s the whataboutist counter-argument: Russophobes too are a very mixed company, ranging from Eurocommie Trotskyists to hardline neocons.

Oh, and by the way – this is an association fallacy.

“Potemkin” Argument

Russian is a doomed Potemkin country – as soon as oil prices fall, the plaster will peel away and Russia will fragment and collapse, just like your pathetic defense of it.

Before, I’d have pointed out that this “argument” suffers from the truthiness fallacy and overall it has, at best, a neutral track record historically (just how many times did the Economist predict the dissolution of Russia?). This makes it useless as a tool of prediction, and therefore theory.

But Fedia Kriukov has a much wittier response:

Every time Count Potemkin is mentioned, it is always a veiled compliment. Because what is Count Potemkin famous for, besides being one of the lovers of Catherine the Great? He oversaw the development of huge newly conquered areas of Russia from scratch and turned them into its most flourishing provinces. What the foreigners enviously referred to as “Potemkin villages” were in fact real, as is well known to any serious student of history…

So what exactly is the real meaning of the adjective “Potemkin”? It is something that is so amazing you don’t want to believe it’s true, but nevertheless it is. So what [does the] phrases “Potemkin country”…really tell us? [It] tell us that [said critic] stands completely in awe of Russia. Either that, or he is an utter fool who tries to use historical allusions he doesn’t understand.

“You are a [insert ad hominem]” Arguments

Here are some examples that have been directed against me:

sick person; merciless; uncivilized; trouble free American; “great” expert on Russian life; primitive; loser; out of touch asshole; insane; Kremlin shill; Great Russian chauvinist; little rooskie sovok…[your] English is a bit better than most, but they like to vary their styles, from broken English, to attempted hipness and glibness; your attitude is as vacuous as always; by being relentlessly one-eyed in your support of a totally corrupt and pretty immoral regime show a wilful blindness that undermines your credibility as a serious analyst; Ignorant, Arrogant, Effluent; I suspect you are FSB funded or at the very least an amoral Putin lackey; narcissistic personality disorder/delusions of grandeur; by every metric Communism was an abysmal failure that extracted a terrible price on people, a price that is still ongoing in Russia…astounding that a human mind can still defend that failed “ism”; your little vanity site is an intellectually impoverished affair; moronic luddite; you make me sad. I know great Russians. You are not one of them; I’m simply educated and clearly, you’re not; amoral fascist; he’s an an amoral creep with an agenda and ignorable; remind me my twelve years old niece; My problem with you has always been my perception of your lack of morality; MOVE BACK TO RUSSIA DR! UNTIL THEN, STFU; trolling around Google and spouting cherry picked stats; Do you realize that you have egomania and delusions of grandeur oozing out of your slimey pores?; Sir, you are a full-bore psychopath; just get lost you pathetic loser; Sublime Moron; Russophile cockroach; the most freakishly incompetent idiot; crazed, senile; totally inane, breathing the Kremlin glue; permanent gadfly or sociopath; you are either a paid shill, or more likely, a Russian version of a plastic Paddy; Judging by your mighty logical skills, you must be a humanities undergrad, right?; Russian agent; I just hope that one day all enemy agents will be round up and drowned during waterboarding, or whatever is the correct term. You, sublime, should be the first on the list of enemy propaganda combatants; human trash; I believe that not only anarchists should be rounded up, but Russian agents also. And Russian agents should be drowned during waterboarding, – or simply drowned; Sub, one day early in the morning they will come for you, and you will take part in activities to solve the world poverty. I hope; You are uneducated and dumb, are you not?; You would sit on the porch as a porch monkey you really are; Russian propaganda agent; brain-damaged commie porch monkey; You don’t have any roots in this country, You are like one of those weeds that do not develop deep roots; they grow everywhere and are native nowhere, You are a human weed without the roots, You are a piece of human trash that America collects from all over the world; ein strammer Putin-soldat; ape-like ignorance of SUBLIME DURAK; shameless, malignant dishonesty of this nastly little reptile ought not to be tolerated by civlized people; creepy neo-stalinist; insane idiot; “a deranged Russophile who LIVES in the United States, does NOT hold a Russian passport and who is far too much of a coward to ever move back to Russia (not that you could ever go back since you have a British passport!)”; seek treatment for your mental illness there; a deranged, pathological, Russian nationalist (what a joke) who does not even hold a Russia passport!(bigger joke); a man-child living in the US with a British passport…

Собака лает, караван идет. (The dog barks, the caravan moves on).


  1. PS. I would appreciate more examples of typical Russophobe “arguments” (strawman, red herring, etc) from SO’s readers. (But not to be confused with Russophobe Myths, which are their misconceptions about Russia and as such a different kettle of fish).

  2. At times, the two have a bit of a mesh.

    As a case in point, when correcting a misinformed and negative view of contemporary Russia, one can be periodically met with the stated impression that he/she must be of a politically left viewpoint.

    Such a faulty observation is typically expressed by non-left leaning folks, in an intended way to disparage a view with a label. (You leftist blah, blah, blah.)

    This situation involves a certain kind of “Russophobe” argument with a strawman, red herring aspect and myth (pro-Russian automatically equals left leaning).

    Among the more astute of “Russia watchers,” there’s an understanding that there’s left and right antipathy towards Russia, as well as left and right support of that country. There’re also folks not neatly fitting into the understood descriptions of left and right.

    A number of astute Russia watchers will dismiss the simplistic thinking of the sample stated at the top of this note. At the same time, it’s a reality (in the form of a false perception) which is out there. In this sense, it’s incorrect to believe that it should be left unopposed. Public opinion is often influenced by what many don’t know, in relation to what’s frequently stated with little if any challenge.

    The mentioned “whataboutism” term seems to be popular (if not concocted) in some neocon leaning circles. It’s used by them in instances where there’s dislike/disagreement with a given comparison. This doesn’t stop them from making faulty comparisons.

  3. Relative to my last set of comments, during the Cold War, it wasn’t uncommon for White Russians in America to be recipients of the “Commie” tag, on the basis that they were of Ruussian origin.

    Like I said, this way of seeing things (pro-Russian by definition suggesting a certain political grouping) is still out there with the masses.

    As indicated, this can get overlooked by some of the relatively choice few who are better informed on the subject matter – and don’t really deal as much with the masses on such topics (instead having a more restricted discourse).

  4. Eugene Ivanov says:


    Great stuff! My only problem with your piece is that you make your opponents sound much more intelligent that they really are 🙂

    As for the names, my favorite is still the one the possessed Kim Ziegfield called me at an occasion: “a nasty little insect.” Wear this as a badge of honor.


    • My only problem with your piece is that you make your opponents sound much more intelligent that they really are

      Really!? 😯 They sound pretty dumb to me.

      Re-insults, I think Peter Lavelle getting called a high paid propaganda master by a certain “Boris from London” takes the cake.

      This even inspired the folks at his Russia discussion group to create a commemorative T-shirt! 😉

  5. Eugene’s comment reminds me of those who trump hit numbers in way that suggests the superiority of a certain way of viewing things.

    “Popularity” can be achieved by different means (one of many extreme examples is Charles Manson’s popularity over the majority of law abiding folks).

  6. I’m personally opposed to engagement with lr, though I’m happy to correct or challenge such quips when made by anyone with a modicum of sincerity and dignity (much to the chagrin of some poor sop on facebook…). The last bit with the ad hominen attacks is almost, dare I say it, impressive in its exhaustiveness. I don’t know if you make them out to be more or less intelligent, but I can totally see the textual foundation for some bad performance art.

    ~”rabid” “left-wing idealogue” (though thankfully not “Effluent”) a.k.a. poemless

  7. I’ve updated the page with another prominent “argument”.

    “Love it then go there” Argument

    If you think Russia is so much better, why don’t you get the hell out of our country and go live there?

    This is a close relative of the “Real Russia” Arguments, implying that if you think Russia is so good – please go there and experience certain disillusionment!

    It is invalid for many of the same reasons as the “Real Russia” Arguments. First, who I am, where I live and what flavor of ice cream I like has zero bearing on the validity of any arguments I make about Russia or indeed almost everything else. Second, I never argued that Russia is better (or worse) than any other country – this is a rather pointless exercise given the huge impact of unquantifiable cultural factors and specific circumstances to any such judgment, making it subjective in the extreme. Third, such “arguments” typically mistake a policy of correcting certain gross misconceptions about Russia – challenging the Western media’s self-appointed role as judge, jury and executioner regarding it – with believing that it is the best thing since sliced white bread.

    And I can even address this issue directly, even though the above more than counters the argument. And the most obvious reasons a “Russophile” might not live in Russia are things such as: emigration from there at a young age; no citizenship; no Russian language skills; cautious attitude towards making cardinal changes in life; leaving behind accumulated social investments in the country he/she resides (friends, work, gf / bf, spouse, children, etc)…

  8. In addition, in the US, there’s an arguably much needed awareness of views which are more understanding of Russian perceptions.

    A born and bred American with a fondness for Russia doesn’t by definition make such a person hostile to the US.

    The astute “Russia watchers” are a small % of the American population, with some of them not being particularly understanding/sympathetic to mainstream Russian views.

    These are basic and reasonable thoughts that nevertheless seem to get overlooked in some instances.

    Another otherwise obvious point is that the “love it then go there” observation can apply to a good number of Americans having an affinity for a foreign country, other than Russia.

  9. Hi Folks,

    I admire your article, Anatoly, as always.

    Let me make a minor contribution to the discussion on this page, which I hope you would find relevant here.

    As you know I was born in the USSR and I have lived for almost threescore years already here, so regarding Russia I can safely witness for the following:

    Some 20 years ago, when the Iron Curtain was still hindering personal contacts and the free exchange of information was hampered, we common people in the Soviet Union had constructed – of course! – our own set of stereotypes about the West.

    Since one of the conspicuous traits of our ethnic Russian character has been a tendency to romanticize the foreigners – especially the Europeans – so our stereotypes about the West were very “rosy”.

    Excessively rosy, I would say.

    We Russians used to consider Western Europe to be almost a paradise, while the United States to be a complete paradise on the Earth.

    At the same time, our “red commissars” used to teach us about the following:

    1. That, allegedly, there is unemployment in the West – We common Soviet citizens would laugh at that silly idea: What unemployment could ever exist in a paradise (the West)? So, we did not believe in that, especially because since 1932 in our country we had had no unemployment at all.

    2. That, allegedly, there are homeless and poor people in the West – We did not believe in that, either, because by the mid-1950s we have already re-built almost all of the 1,700 (one thousand and seven hundred) cities and towns, as well as 70,000 (seventy thousand) villages entirely devastated by the German invaders during the Great Patriotic War. Well, indeed – if we Russians had no homeless people here, how could those wretched persons exist in the rich and affluent West? Unthinkable!

    3. That, allegedly, there are a lot of people in the West who cannot afford the proper medical care – We laughed especially loudly at this commies’ assertion, because all of us Russians had always free medical care, including complicated surgical operations. Free of charge, I repeat!

    4. That, allegedly, the Higher Education in the West is very expensive – Since we in the Soviet Union had FREE Higher Education, so we did not believe that anything in the rich western “paradise” might be anyhow worse than that with us here.

    And so on, and so forth.

    Since the Iron Curtain has fallen and we have got free access to the immediate information from abroad, we have changed dramatically our stereotypes about the West.

    Now we can clearly see that there is no paradise at all there . . .

    It was a great disappointment, alas.

    Michael Kuznetsov

  10. Hi Michael

    An old one from some (stress some) 1970s era and after “refuseniks” went along the politically incorrect lines of: Life in the West wasn’t as good we thought it would be and life in the Soviet Union wasn’t as bad we thought.

    Russia and the West at large and especially Russia and the US have had periods of good relations. For me, there’s no contradiction to enjoy living in the US, while being constructively supportive of Russia.

  11. I’ll substitute emigre for refusenik. Regardless, a most interesting group, reflecting a variety of different views – contrary to some of the stereotypes I come across.

  12. Good article Anatoly

    ‘This situation involves a certain kind of “Russophobe” argument with a strawman, red herring aspect and myth (pro-Russian automatically equals left leaning).’

    The idea that one must be left wing to support Russia is indeed very common. Once someone used a quasi-argument (that Putin is like Hitler and Ossetia is the Sudetenland). When I attacked this, they responded ‘someone clearly hasn’t told Gregor that Russia isn’t socialist anymore’.

    And the Hitler/ appeasement argument is very common. Maybe it is because I am British that the ‘Hitler’ argument comes up so often in stuff I read. The British media is largely dominated by people called ‘decents’: insane neo-liberals . They are so humourlessly self-righteous that I do not know if this is their own term or one mocking them, but someone made this excellent website ( making fun of their arguments. I especially liked this:

    The flip side of this is that those of us who do not want confrontation with Russia, refused to line up to kiss Saakashvilli’s behind, are ‘appeasers’ or like ‘Chamberlain’.

    Incidentally, Pat Buchanan wrote the perfect rebuttal to this argument, stating that Chamberlain’s greatest mistake was making offers he couldn’t honour to unstable, expansionist regimes. Incidentally, many Americans also frequently speak of ‘Chamberlain at Munich’, perhaps without knowing that they were uninterested in Europe at the time.

    I think British Russophobia is in a sense more disturbing than American, because I think there is an element of displacement. Anyone who questions the free market/ the USA is attacked, yet Britain increasingly resembles a poor imitation of America (to paraphrase an old Soviet joke, the British and Americans are very similar, because the Americans think America is the greatest country on earth and the British think that America is the greatest country on earth). Vladimir Putin brought to his people a message of national pride. Whilst he saw a massive increase in the Middle Class and small businesses, he does not have a religious belief in the Free Market. For this he is pilloried as a nationalist/ fascist/ communist by the British media, perhaps out of anger that Russia has achieved so much whilst Britain has been stagnating.

    ‘One example was a Russian university student in Brighton, the UK, who contacted me on behalf of the Russian Society there to request permission to print out and distribute copies of my Top 10 Russophobe Myths article during a talk by veteran hate-monger Ed Lucas’

    Good to hear. But Ed’s own words often trip him up. I especially liked the way that he plugged his book in The Guardian and The Times simultaneously. In The Guardian, he wrote ‘capitalism is amoral almost immoral’, whilst the focus in The Times was Bad Vlad’s shameful treatment of Khodorkhovsky.

    Incidentally, one more ‘argument’ I often see is that being pro-Russian means disloyalty to one’s own country. In fact, those who want to force Britain into confrontations are generally those who want to enslave the British people. Our so-called ‘war on terror’ could better be described as a ‘war on British liberty’. Sometimes I wonder if our leaders have read 1984 for all the wrong reasons…

    Lastly, I find the term ‘Russophobe’ itself slightly questionable. Whilst La Russophobe seems to be just that, it seems that the majority of Russophobes believe that ‘Vladimir Putin’ has been rolling back liberty, capitalism and democracy. Implicitly this offers blind faith in the neo-liberal Yeltsin who never had a democracy, who shelled his own parliament, who destroyed Russia’s economy, who was re-elected entirely through lies and who was largely responsible for the mess in Chechnya.

    • While I am glad to have found Da Russophile, I object to the use by both AK and others to describe the West as having “free market” societies. As a “White” (see the 5 types), I know darned well that mid-19th Century thinkers such as Marx planted the seeds of American “Progressivism” which has eaten away at freedom here – market and otherwise. Free markets are those in which the government does not intervene. That “robber barons” bought politicians in the late 19th Century in the U.S. is not “free market” but, as in Russia of recent years, a form of corruption. Americans in the first 2/3 of the 19th Century followed the MYOB – with their neighbors and other countries. America’s Founders (for the most part) believed in the ideal of “trade with everyone and leave their internal affairs to themselves”. It was messianic, watered-down Marxism that combined with America’s (and Britain’s) Protestantism that lead to a reinterpretation of Tocqueville’s comment about what made America exceptional (which was about the individual American’s giving respect to others, until there was reason to do otherwise, up front and without reference to station in life or hierarchy). “American Exceptionalism”, as it has been interpreted in more recent times, is about “spreading democracy” – an interventionist form of left liberalism.

      And as for AK’s dismissal of the “Stalin is worse than Hitler”, the fact that a) he was a Georgian and b) his policies – economic and social (e.g., resettlement, the root of arrests sending millions to the Gulag as well as collectivization) – did lead to tens of millions of deaths. That is different from gas chambers, yes, but “worse” is a subjective evaluation. As someone who thinks causing death (and Stalin was a true believer, so the whole “breaking eggs” – euphemism for causing deaths – was something he took to heart – if “class enemies” couldn’t be taught through maltreatment to conform to the then-new Socialist reality and died, oh, well , , , ), I think there is no difference. The “worse” is simply numerical – Stalin managed to cause more death among his own fellow imperial citizens than Hitler.

      The world would be a much freer place if everyone at every level pursued MYOB as their philosophy rather than encouraging control-freakishness to “better” Man or Man’s condition. It is sad that the West fell victim to Marx and other “Progressive” ideas – ideas which simply meant changing the people populating the aristocracy . . . proving that the feudal aristocrats right all along: those preaching against them merely wanted to change places with them (now it parades as “meritocracy”, but it still means a small “enlightened” elite dominates and controls the “masses” – former peasant serfs).

  13. @Gregor,

    Excellent comment raising a lot of thought-provoking points. I agree with most of them.

    Re-Hitler. Forgot to add that one – will do so soon. Perhaps Eugene did have a point with me making them sound much more intelligent than they really are. 😉 Because in this case the refutation is really simple – Godwin’s Law. 🙂

    Re-GB vs USA. Having lived for a while in both countries, I can totally see what you’re getting at. GB has degraded to a much lower level than the US. Despite the fact university tuition is much more affordable in the UK, significantly fewer go there than in the US and education and science are dissed, indicating a certain lack of drive for improvement. (Somewhat disturbingly, according to polls it is British youth which is the age group least receptive to Darwin’s theory of evolution).

    The political system is closed to those outside the clique and is presided over by the “Anglo-Marxist” unelected dictator Brown (to shamelessly borrow from Stan Mishin). For all the worship of the free market, the state share of GDP is metastasizing and government intrusion into all spheres of life is increasing under the guise of “anti-terrorism”, “diversity”, “political correctness”, etc (best symbolized by the ubiquitous video surveillance system and national database wet dreams). But this is all, of course, perfectly rational from the point of view of a government that is dead-set on transforming GB into a latter-day GDR.

    At least in the US there are things like state rights, traditions of independence, gun rights, etc, to combat this. These elements were always weaker much weaker in GB, and have been further dismantled. (Even Obama snubs Britain – remember his DVD gifts to Brown? lol). I think the people “feel” this, on an instinctive level, which may explain the recent huge popularity gains of the Conservatives and UKIP (albeit I’m not sure how much of an improvement over Labour they’ll really be).

    Re-pro Russia = disloyalty. I think that would mostly come under the “Love it then go there” Argument.

    That said, as with the “Hitler Argument” I think I’ll stilll create a separate entry for it too. The refutation is obvious, I think. If I’m disloyal by being pro-Russia, i.e. by holding an opinion, then what does that make of Western claims of freedom of thought or speech? And isn’t that one of the key foundations of your claims of Western moral superiority?

    Of course their riposte would be that freedom of thought is OK, but they and society have a perfect right to shout me down into oblivion. Which really demonstrates a deep truth about the West…it’s as totalitarian a system as any other, it’s just that its means of control are far more subtle and deeply embedded than elsewhere, and hence its far more powerful. Far more totalitarian.

    The Russian writer Victor Pelevin has an excellent (and rather earthy) way of describing this paradox. I wish I could find a translation somewhere. The main point is that an “open society” is rather like the bacteria on a healthy digestive tract – it functions well, an evolved organism, and quickly suppresses anything new or strange by itself (presumably anarchists, Marxists, anti-globalists, “anti-decents”, etc), not requiring any orders from above. When Russia overdosed up on the pill of neo-liberal extremism in the 1990’s, its digestive system broke down and it ended up in a world of shit.

    Демократия, либерализм — это все слова на вывеске, она правильно сказала. А реальность похожа, извините за выражение, на микрофлору кишечника. У вас на Западе все микробы уравновешивают друг друга, это веками складывалось. Каждый тихо вырабатывает сероводород и помалкивает. Все настроено, как часы, полный баланс и саморегуляция пищеварения, а сверху — корпоративные медиа, которые ежедневно смачивают это свежей слюной. Вот такой организм и называется открытым обществом — на фиг ему закрываться, он сам кого хочешь закроет за два вылета. А нам запустили в живот палочку Коха — еще разобраться надо, кстати, из какой лаборатории, — против которой ни антител не было, ни других микробов, чтобы хоть как-то ее сдержать. И такой понос начался, что триста миллиардов баксов вытекло, прежде чем мы только понимать начали, в чем дело. И вариантов нам оставили два — или полностью и навсегда вытечь через неустановленную жопу, или долго-долго принимать антибиотики, а потом осторожно и медленно начать все заново. Но уже не так. – Victor Pelevin.

  14. Gregor

    An interesting breakdown on so-called “Russophobes” concerns the issue of just how great is Russia feared as opposed to either not particularly liked or both.

    For years, I heard that supporting a certain country other than the US serves America’s best interests. Hence, the “fifth column” claim is rejected in such an instance. In the post-Soviet era, some folks in the West now take a similar view relative to Russia. Still yet, others give lip service to that idea. The issues of NATO expansion and the implementation of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic relate to the last point. The supposed non-“Russophobes” supporting these stances say that such policies aren’t intended to be against Russia, whereas the “Russophobes” state differently. IMO, the position of these non-“Russophobes” is greatly influenced by the greater clout that “Russophobes” have in the West over “Russophiles.”

    A good book on a subject you raise is: John Howes Gleason’s “The Genesis of Russophibia in Great Britian,” Octagon Books, NY, 1972.

    The thought of this book brings to mind how some suggestively characterize Russia as being inherently expansionist and in conflict with the West. People thinking along these lines have lumped Red and White Russians as one. Among some other sources, I came across a pro-Captive Nations Committee book which is very clear in this sentiment.

    Never mind that Russia hasn’t fully acknowledged the referendums in South Ossetia and Pridnestrovie, which call for these two disputed territories to reunify with Russia. Offhand, a recent public opinion poll suggests (if I’m not mistaken) that if anything, Ukraine’s citizenry tends to be more interested in closer Russo-Ukrainian ties than how most Russinas feel on the subject. The “imperial” thinking on such matter often seems to be greater among some Western based neocon leaning observers – who look at events in places like Moldova and Ukraine as a chessboard like Russia-West competition.

    On your referencing of Lucas: if I correctly recall, he uncritically cited Ann Applebaums’s view that Russia should be firmly dealt with now before it might be too late.

  15. Re: Last Set of Comments

    For clarity sake: “People thinking along these lines have broadly and negatively lumped Red and White Russians as one.” IN PLACE OF: People thinking along these lines have lumped Red and White Russians as one.

    This view pertains to Tukachevsky’s oberservation on why a Polish-White alliance failed to materialize.

  16. I would add, incidentally, that there are many wonderful and friendly people in Britain. Sadly, vast numbers are immensely incurious and more interested in watching the lives of others than in living valuable meaningful lives. Then there is the political class, which seems to consist of ignorant sociopaths who live in a cave and only speak to one another. However, there are also many excellent thinkers, though they are largely ignored by the mainstream.

    I’d strongly recommend every documentary by Adam Curtis. These are available on youtube and google video. His best is The Trap. As he says:

    ‘Our government depends upon a simplistic economic model of human beings’ (to bring freedom)

    That brings me to this point:

    ‘For all the worship of the free market, the state share of GDP is metastasizing’

    This is very true. The unbelievably annoying Brit journalist Andrew Sullivan would often speak of ‘the magic of the free market’, which seems a common British perception. The invisible hand has magically created numerous concrete blocks full of life-threatening foods. But is this really such a triumph? And is the free market so magical that it can find meaningful employment for the millions of innumerate and illiterate people that our schools churn out?

    The free market is regarded in a religious sense as being the protector of liberties when Britain comes out very badly in this regard.

    ‘Even Obama snubs Britain – remember his DVD gifts to Brown? Lol’

    Yes, it was amusing to see a Bush stooge receiving thorough public humiliation. It just demonstrates how the FPTP system can distort perception of a country. The strange irony is that when Britain really was heavily indebted to the USA, Harold Wilson was very cunning in trying not to antagonise the hippies whilst stopping the USA from pulling the plug on our economy. As a historian I feel proud of our history, but despair of where we are going.

    ‘I think the people “feel” this, on an instinctive level, which may explain the recent huge popularity gains of the Conservatives and UKIP (albeit I’m not sure how much of an improvement over Labour they’ll really be).’

    None at all in the case of the Conservatives. When Boris Johnson was made mayor of London, he immediately expanded the CCTV system. The Conservatives are even more dogmatically pro-American and pro-NATO. David Cameron even said that Saakashvilli’s NATO application should be accelerated for his Ossetian handiwork.

    ‘The political system is closed to those outside the clique and is presided over by the
    “Anglo-Marxist” unelected dictator Brown (to shamelessly borrow from Stan Mishin)’

    Uh, I’d be wary of following ‘Mat’ as his American admirers call him. Whilst I have no time for Marx, I do not think we can blame him for what is happening in Britain. It is just a strange irony that (to paraphrase Dante) neo-liberalism could do what Marxism cannot: destroy a national identity, good manners, Christianity and regard for liberty.

    ‘Which really demonstrates a deep truth about the West…it’s as totalitarian a system as any other, it’s just that its means of control are far more subtle and deeply embedded than elsewhere, and hence its far more powerful. Far more totalitarian.’

    In fact this is more evidence of the ‘invisible hand’ than our wonderful retail sector. My own views on the British media were greatly affected by the Litvinenko affair. Shortly before he was killed, I was very sorry to hear of Politkovskaya’s death. Whilst I often defend Russia this is not to deny that I feel strongly critical of some aspects of the regime: especially the war in Chechnya.

    However, when I heard that a great dissident called ‘Litvinenko’ had been murdered, I had no clue who it was. Then I heard he had a good friend called ‘Berezovsky’. An ‘émigré’ and ‘dissident’.

    In fact, it felt like (to further the disease analogy) Russia had sneezed on us, and we had inherited Soviet style propaganda. Litvinenko (whose death I would not wish on anyone) had links to organised crime in Italy, Russia and the Ukraine. Yet comrade Pavlik-, I mean Mr Litvinenko, was universally praised as a hero. Berezovsky is a famous scum bag, yet he was given the francophone White Russian title of ‘émigré’.

    Again, this proves Eugene’s point. The ‘argument’ that ‘Vladimir Putin’ is a dictator who has been bumping off ‘émigré dissidents’ is like a very, very, bad detective novel. Or a detective novel without a detective, where a suspect is murdered by an irrational baying mob, without a detective to determine means or motive.


    My own feeling about this is more anthropological. The very same people who would scoff at the religious right for their belief that Israel should cause trouble with its neighbours so that it can be showered with fire and brimstone, often have a secular view that is broadly similar. I have a Georgian friend. We politely disagree about politics. But I loath Saakashvilli because I want peace between the two Orthodox states, which should be brothers. I have no doubt that the very people who gushingly praise Georgia as a bastion of capitalist liberal democracy are the very same who would see it consigned to the flames if it benefited neo-liberalism; the neo-liberal view of Georgia is a secular counterpart to the dispensationalist view of Israel.

    If there was a coup in Russia, such as Berezovsky promised, and by some chance a pro-Western puppet like Yeltsin did take charge, I’m sure we’d read gushing articles about Russia. But if (using a very unlikely thought experiment) the Americans hated China and the Russians under said puppet invaded China and were massacred, that would be regarded as an acceptable sacrifice.

    Incidently, Mat Rodina is a case in point. Stanislav Mishin is amusingly opinionated if rather scattershot writer. Yet after Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage praised his journalism, he receives grovelling comments from neo-liberal Republicans who don’t even seem to understand his message. If Savage/Limbaugh criticised him as an anti-American ‘nationalist’ they’d no doubt send him hate mail.

    • Thanks for that info Gregor, I could not explain the sudden upsurge of rural America on Mat Rodina. What is however puzzling is to me is why would a man like Limbaugh (Savage seems more plausible) praise Stas’ blog?

  17. Gregor

    IMO, SM has a somewhat entertainingly shtick aspect. All in all, I’m glad he’s out there. I see where he can annoy some folks in a way that can be reasonably criticized. On the other hand, that issue applies to a good number of other folks as well.

    Some RFE/RL personalities see fit to link a certain venue. With that in mind, I think it’s bogus to say that’s okay while seeking to bash and/or ostracize someone like SM – who I view as a comparatively better option to the unspecified certain venue mentioned in this note.

    As I’ve indicated elsewhere: one is free to choose what is and isn’t so valid from any given source. Who agrees 100% with what anyone says?

    • Thank you Michael.

      And for the record, for Christ’s sakes, I hope to dear God, that absolutely no one ever fully 100% agrees with me. I do not want to be around a weak willed, slavering person like that.

      As I first told my sergeants and my junior officers and then the people I managed in business: I do not know everything, so do not kiss my arse. If you think I am wrong, say so, I will consider it, but the last decision is mine, since it is equally my behind that hangs to the results of that decision.

  18. Michael

    I largely agree with your opinion on Stanislav Mishin. He is an amusing and sometimes extremely interesting blogger, though some of his pieces are poorly sourced and unlikely.

    However, I was referring more to some of the very extreme, fawning comments that he seems to get recently, especially by those who say they voted for McCain. Given that Mishin thinks McCain is a demented Marxist it is rather bizarre. It is even stranger because I think Mishin wants to provoke rather than create consensus with his opinions.

    Let’s just hope he doesn’t go the way of another Russian anarcho-capitalist and develop ‘a commune’ of uncritical admirers 😉

    • @Gregor,

      Do you really think me scattershot? Yes, I have many interests and read a lot and have seen a lot and try not to pigeonhole myself.

      Some of the comments I have received are rather interesting, from paleocons, but the ones from fundamentalist missionaries is down right odd. Obviously they did not bother to go past one maybe two articles to believe I support any of the fundamentalists period, even more so in their attempts to creatively destroy my culture and worse the Orthodox Faith.

      • Hi Stas
        I do think that your theory of Anglo-Marxism is rather stretched. It is an interesting ‘thought experiment’ because the Anglosphere is far from being as free and ‘libertarian’ as the media makes out, but there is no real connection between the works of Karl Marx and the views of Bush/ Obama/ Cheney.

        Can I recommend you read an excellent book called Black Mass by John Gray? He is himself a classical liberal but he demonstrates that under Thatcher and other neo-liberals, the classical liberal ideal was artificially imposed to such an extent that it took more government regulation to keep it in place than it took away from the Keynsian systems it replaced.

        Other than that, there is a lot of interest in your website. Pleased to hear you see a connection with Scotland. Sadly I think our country is collapsing, but traditionally I think there was a bond.

        As to the dispensationalists who have found your blog… really weird. I guess American conservatism is in a bad way when they look to ‘Magog’ to articulate their values 😉

        • I will have to put that on my list: at present, I am reading: Shustraya Neft, Technological Failures in Warefare, Clash of Civilizations, Turtle Dove’s American Empire (very interesting series, though he underscores the fact that if the Confederacy had won, Alaska stayed Russian and the influence this would have had in the WW1 where the Union and the Central Powers were allies.) and on and off the Bible. Throw in some newspaper articles online and such and well, I’ll put it on my list, right after I finish these and start/finish Empire to Commonwealth. With all my kids, the youngest being a baby, I simply do not have the time to sit with just one book. One in each bath room, one in my bedroom, one for the business trips. I finally finished the Hobbit, it was in Russian so I am not sure how it stands against the original, but it was well translated as far as I could tell.

          Oh and in all that, I still have to work to earn the real money to keep up my excersions…plus pay for the zal..gymnasium, I love weight lifting and of course Church, never forget Church. It is a good thing, I sleep very little…about 4-5 hours a day on average.

  19. Thanks for the link Michael. I myself know little about economics, but even I could see that many of Stanislav’s fans were missing the point that he supported economic freedom from state influence but not freedom of trade.
    Not so sure if I agree with Piatik that Mishin’s readership will not last long. I thought Anatoly put it quite well above when he said that state involvement in Britain has ‘metastasized’.
    Whilst I myself think that social democracy can work well in a small country like Britain, the government and media are against it. Yet state influence just expands (often in a very unhelpful way) because capitalism is weak in Britain. There is a good argument that this is BECAUSE of the free market.

    In fact pat Buchanan in America has been making a similar argument for a long time, that protectionism could be the greatest hope for American capitalism.

    Mishin’s latest post will be rather at odds with his many fundamentalist readers… yet they seem not to have said very much so far.

  20. Gregor

    In a brief characterization and from what I’ve read from him, I very much sense that SM would describe himself along the lines of an economic patriot, with a mercantile spirit.

    As is true with others in a number of instances, SM will likely become what he makes of himself. People engaging in his kind of activity have been known to develop a period of blocks, where they seem to run in a slump or move onto other projects. For popularity sake, being a loose cannon in the way you suggest (at the end of your note) can have plusses.

    Keep in mind that there’s a gotcha factor which (comparatively speaking) goes after some views, while being rather mum with others.

    Correctly as well as questionably applied: some views are more equal than others, when it comes to receiving valid criticism. I’ve seen my share of disproportionate Mikhalkov, Russian Orthodox Church and some other bashings – whereas others are given a longer leash.

    In relationship to this observation and seeing your UK base and stance on certain views, I think you might find this link to be of possible interest:

  21. “Unlike **some** superpowers, the Russia Federation has yet to invade another country unprovoked.”

    I need to use this one…

  22. One more for you Anatoly:

    Despite being a Stalinist, Putvedev is a heartless capitalist who makes Ayn Rand look like JK Galbraith. This is evident from his terror tactic of charging the Ukraine market prices for oil. The West would NEVER EVER impoverish a poor country through charging market prices.

    Or is that a myth?

  23. Gregor, you are a gold lode.

    Will have to add that too… how about-

    MYTH: Russia is ruled over by the neo-Tsarist pan-Slav Eurasianist Soviet-nostalgic ultra-nationalist kleptocratic nepotistic Orthodox-theocrat quasi-fascist corporatist Stalinist gangster-capitalist Putin.

    REALITY: Perhaps the fact that Putin has so many ideologies ascribed to him actually means that he is extremely a-ideological and pragmatic?

  24. Re: Myths

    On the racism in Russia bit, see the below link (sent care of a friend) from today’s news about a 37-year old black man, running for regional head in the Volgograd Region – already called the “Volgograd Obama”, and looks like a winner….. another black man had run in 2008 for the regional Duma, but lost.

    This relates in part to this article and some comments made below it at:

    At times, the racism in Russia issue seems to be disproportionately covered. This isn’t said to belittle such an issue. A very multiethnic society with socioeconomic problems is likely to incur a noticeable degree of racism. All things considered, Russia isn’t so bad in this regard; with the situation likely getting better in the future.

    As someone privately communicated in response to the above linked RFE/RL article (I plan on checking on at least one of the claims):

    You might want to add that in Russia’s government there is plentiful representation of people having a non-Russian background, including such key ministers as:

    Minister of Interior (Nurgaliev)
    Minister of Economic Development (Naibullina)
    Minister of Emergency Management (Shoigu)
    Head of Intelligence Services (Fradkov)
    Numerous governors, parliamentarians, clergy and cultural leaders.

    Non-Russians like Chechens and Georgians reside all over Russia, and although there have been individual episodes of ethnic conflict, overall these non-Russians have not experienced the kind of duress that Native Americans undergo even today (reservations, restrictions in civil rights, treatment as wards of the state.) One million Georgians reside in Russia and remit money to their own country.

    Around the the time of the deportation of Crimean Tartars, there were similar population transfers of Germans out of Silesia and Eastern Prussia (in Poland after 1945) and Czechoslovakia (Sudetes) – and the big difference is that the Tartars have returned to Crimea, but Germans from Silesia and the Czech Republic have not been allowed to return to heir ancestral homes. As a group, a good number of Crimean Tartars collaborated with the Nazis and killed non-Tartars (70,000 dead) – against the prohibition by Nazi occupiers, one might add. This story was documented in an article in Foreign Affairs in the mid 1990’s.

    I agree – the allegation of mistreatment of non-Russians and others has to be forcefully addressed.

  25. BTW, I think it’s phony when some out there belittle bigotry against others, while self-righteously taking a firmer line against other forms.

  26. Chuck Pitts says:

    RTYB = [redacted], the one-time adoption “expert” who went after Angelina Jolie until she got squashed by Commenters on numerous blogs.

    See the comments for the allegations against RTYB

    RTYB’s venom is legendary over at the Streetwise Professor blog. It’s starting to look as if she may just be the front runner as the hate monger behind the infamous La Russophobe hate-blog.