Kremlin Oligarch Brutally Censors Long-Suffering Russian Media (From Printing Gratuitous Profanities)

Imagine a respected American financial newspaper such as the WSJ writes an article investigating elections fraud in favor of the Democrats. To illustrate the rightness of their point, they include a photo of a ballot for the Republicans that – they allege – wasn’t tallied by the dodgy Solyndra machines rolled out for use in California in 2012. The ballot has “Obama, Go Fuck Yourself!” written out in big red letters. The captions below read: “Correctly filled out ballot, ruled spoiled.” A few days later, the newspaper’s owner fires a high-ranking editor and a CEO at the paper, noting that the publication of that photo “bordered on petty hooliganism.” The paper then apologizes to its readers and advertising partners. The Russian business paper Vedomosti titles its account of this episode “Washington Editor Fired Over Election Coverage”, while Russia Today does a documentary on the retreat of press freedoms in America without even bothering to mention the source of the controversy. You’d think this was a case of severe journalistic bias and incompetence in Russia, no?

I’m glad you do, because this is basically the saga of Kommersant Vlast’s publication of its investigation on falsifications in the Russian legislative elections. It has not been removed from the Internet, to the contrary you can still read it on their site and comment on it. It is an extensive work, titled “United Stuffers” (a play on United Russia) featuring a collection of twelve articles. The only part of it that was subject to “censorship” – and the reason given by its tycoon owner Alisher Usmanov for the dismissal of the editor who approved it – is the photograph below:


The literal translation is different, it sounds something along the lines of “Putin go to the cock” but the meaning is as above. Okay, you might think this is edgy, controversial stuff; perhaps grounds for a warning, but probably not a firing. But then consider the caption: “Correctly filled out ballot, ruled spoiled.” If you think this is anything but a double entendre used by an editor to spell out his feelings for Putin, I have a bridge to sell you to Russky Island. Needless to say, whatever your personal feelings about swearwords, there is no doubt that this would be completely unacceptable in a major newspapers in reference to any Western political leader. This is the Russian version of the NYT we’re talking about, not The eXile.

What this would have looked like in the US… How long would the editor who approved the photo to the right keep his job? Hmm… a few minutes?

It is telling that even in the comments to the article (which was left unchanged apart from the removal of the offending photo) most readers – and Kommersant’s readers tend to be relatively liberal – agree that it was unacceptable.

And now you can’t find Putin’s cock on Kommersant! (Yes, the file was literally called that)

Incidentally, this particular article itself was about the voting in London. It was pretty interesting. Our good man Andrei Sidelnikov, the Strategy-31 Abroad organizer whom I’ve written about here, makes an appearance. There were clear violations of the electoral law (e.g. anti-United Russia political campaign materials close to the polling station). The ballot with big orange letters “addressed personally to the Prime Minister” (as the writer calls the ballot that is the subject of this post) was marked spoiled, which apparently is “in contradiction of the law” because, despite its defacement, there was nonetheless a clear cross next to Yabloko. Nonetheless, that one “stolen” vote didn’t stop Yabloko from voting 43% of the vote in that station, followed by 21% for the Communists, 16% for Fair Russia, and 10% for United Russia. Pretty much what one can expect of Londongrad.

Courtesy of our Strategy-31 Abroad friends and great champions of free elections like Berezovsky.

In reality, this entire ridiculous episode was made out to be like Putin’s oligarch henchmen clamping down on Russian criticism of the elections (which in reality has been widespread and with no serious consequences for the journalists involved to date).

Possibly the most dishonest reporting of this came via The Telegraph (Russian media tycoon Alisher Usmanov fires two after reporting election fraud), which implies that journalists were fired for fulfilling their journalistic duties whereas the actual facts of the matter is that it was a senior editor and business manager getting the boot for things like breaking Kommersant’s own code of conduct. The other photo that The Telegraph alleges the Kremlin / Usmanov took a dislike to – “another photograph from London of a spray-painted image of Putin with the slogan in English “Public Enemy No. 1″” – was unaffected and remains online.

A recent analogue in Western coverage of the Russian media’s “persecution” is the case of the translator who left Inosmi because – according to him – they forbade him from translating “harsh stories” about Putin and United Russia (or to least not feature those stories on the front page). His case was likewise championed in the Western media as evidence of the endless and permanent disintegration of media freedoms in Russia. My guess is that he thought his job sucked and decided to go out with a bang. Whatever the case, a single visit to Inosmi and use of Google Translate will reveal thus story for the absurdity it is; Inosmi not only posts regularly anti-UR and anti-Putin material but positively delights in doing so as it provokes the most voluminous and salacious responses from its varied audience.

Now that’s a wise and tasteful vote.

There are two further points I want to make.

First, Kommersant is privately owned, and theoretically Usmanov can hire and fire pretty much as he pleases. Though parts of his career are shady to say the least, his claims that he does not interfere in Kommersant’s editorial policy are valid, as evidenced by the fact that they had some of the best and most critical coverage of the elections and falsifications. But weren’t the Western commentariat claiming that all Russian media is Kremlin-controlled anyway? Ah, but Usmanov is an oligarch who serves the Kremlin, so there’s no difference. Not unlike our free and independent watchdog press. (To appreciate the scorn in that last reference just read any Glenn Greenwald article on the Western media).

Second, it is especially ironic to see these criticisms coming from American media, where many journalists have been dismissed for far more circumspect criticism of Israel (i.e. not using schoolyard insults) or trying to consider Arab or Islamist viewpoints (not endorse them; just consider them on their own merits). As a general rule the mass media is subservient to the taboos established by power in all societies, but I would venture to say that in 2011 the Russian media, especially print media, has proven to be a much better watchdog of freedoms – as evidenced by the generally excellent coverage of the elections and protests – than has been the case in the US (and much of the West) for years. Which reminds me. Shouldn’t outlets like the WSJ or NYT be covering shit like this as opposed to Russian editors losing their jobs for acting like teenagers?

I guess not. A Russian editors’ obsession with Putin’s cock is far more important.


  1. Yes, the file was literally called that

    No it wasn’t, the screenshot you posted is fake. The file was (and is) actually called KMO_126398_00063_1_t210.jpg

  2. Nemtsov also defaced his own ballot, and seems to have checked off every name on the list, so vote-counters would have no choice but to discard it (one less vote for Yabloko, I guess):

  3. I think that most TV media people in America are aware that they live in a gilded cage. Having a tattle-tale suckup personality profile and a distinct lack of talent might be essential to surviving the eternal scrutinization of the editor in chief. That would be the raging, screaming, coke-snorting, pseudo-intellectual hedonist sitting in the control booth. The guy who plays dominance games and applies loyalty litmus tests. The guy that supports the Yukos criminals. The guy who never stops acting like Wile E. Coyote in the pursuit of Putin…must get Putin.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    The Moscow News has done a story on this, reporting that journalists are up in arms in Moscow over this matter, protesting about yet more censorship of any criticism of Putin and offering solidarity to their proffessional colleagues whose freedoms have been curtailed.

    Funny thing is though, in its article “Kommersant sackings show media limits”, the Moscow News thought fit to report the wording of the spoiled ballot paper thus: “Putin [expletive] off!”.

    I wrote to MN comments that appears below the article in question, asking why they thought it necessary to censor the offensive English word that is part of a near equivalent English expletive expression to that which was written on the Russian ballot paper, suggesting that writing the word “fuck” was perhaps considered by them to be unsuitable for their publication, and if so – why.

    They did not print my letter.

    • Yes, like the Guardian, only sympathetic or irrelevant comments will be tolerated. Anything that puts things in perspective or undermines the credibility of these rags is to be censored. Real censorship and not propaganda BS like this whole farce.

      • alexander mercouris says:

        For anyone interested, the Guardian announced today major cuts in the size of the newspaper as it struggles with a £40 million a year loss. I heard it said somewhere (though I doubt that it is actually true) that the Scott trust that owns the Guardian will completely run out of money in about 3 years if losses continue at the present rate.

        Like most newspapers in Britain the Guardian has been losing readers for a long time and recently the pace at which it has been losing readers has been accelerating. Undoubtedly the internet and competition from its own website are a factor. However I have no doubt that its pronounced rightward shift over the last 20 or so years have played a part. The Guardian remained a strong supporter of Tony Blair long after he became discredited, was heavily involved in right wing plots against Blair’s successor Gordon Brown (who was perceived as more left wing) and in the 2010 election notoriously supported the Liberal Democrats instead of Labour. Its Russian coverage is in my opinion simply a reflection of its shift to the right. This has upset much of its traditional left wing readership, which in now abandoning it in droves.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    After over 40 years of reading it, I finally abandonded the Guardian the other week after having read the latest anti-Russia onslaught off its “international affairs” columnist. I should have done this long ago, in view of the fact that that newspaper still employs as head of its Moscow bureau the infamous russophobe plagiarist, Luke Harding, which person recently displayed the depth of his powers of argument against a contribution that I had made in the Guardian feature “Comment Is Free” by suggesting that I may be employed by the FSB.

    In fact, as regards Russian issues, “Comment Is Free” now has many contributors who still, it seems, search regularly under their beds for “Reds”. Perhaps this is partly a result of the “Times” paywall, but it is also noticeable that there appears to be a hardcore of anti-Russia commentators that log into “Comment Is Free” who are US citizens or who hail from the Baltic States. Are they hirelings of the CIA or MI6, I wonder?

    Of course, these people have a “right” to comment freely, but it has begun to get ever more noticeable in recent years that the Guardian is more and more willing to censor comments concerning Russian issues and, in particular, any reference made concerning the probity of its Moscow bureau chief.

    However, the russophobic comments that appear in the Guardian pale into insignificance (sometimes) when compared to those that appear in the Daily Telegraph, where last week some profound thinker took the trouble to post the comment “The only good Russians are dead ones”. That’s not the first time that I’ve seen that posted to the Telegraph, nor is it the first time that I’ve seen such a comment remain undeleted. It seems that in the UK now, one can voice the most obnoxious and intolerant opinions concerning Russians and fear no legal consequences; if, however, that Telegraph commentator had written, for example, “The only good Pakistanis/Arabs/Jews/Negroes etc. are dead ones”, his comment would have been removed and there may very well have been a criminal investigation into ascertaining his identity: he almost certainly would have been charged under the present British “race laws” if he had said “The only good Pakistanis/Arabs/Jews/Negroes etc. are dead ones”in a public place. But “Russians” (россияне really) don’t count.

    Shaun Walker of the Independent is another Russia correspondent that seems to be a man driven with a mission. On the other hand, Mary Dejevsky, chief editorial writer of the Independent and well-respected commentator on Russia, the EU and the US, who has worked as a foreign correspondent in Washington, Paris and Moscow, has often given very balanced reports concerning Russia: her article on the Litvinenko case (“The Litvinenko files: Was he really murdered?” – remains one of the few in the West that does not scream out the it-was-ex-KGB-spy-Putin-who-ordered-Litvinenko’s-death-at-the-hands-of-brutal-FSB-thugs line. For all her efforts at striving for objectivity in her reporting of Russian matters, however, Dejevsky has come under attack from russophobes with accusations that her employer is a Russian oligarch and that she is just writing to order. “She’s also got a ‘Russian’ name as well”, as some of the Little Englander russophobes have been quick to point out, so she must be on the FSB-payroll.

    Dejevsky also regularly appears on radio and television and writes articles for the New Statesman and In 2005 she took part in a debate, arguing in favour of the motion “Putin is the best hope for Russian liberalism” and put forward that elections had been free, fair and democratic under Putin. Apart from taking into consideration Putin’s popularity, she also pointed out that neither of the two liberal parties had won any measure of the vote, nor were there any particularly strong challengers to Putin . Dejevsky claimed in the debate that it was the presence of the opposition that placed constraints on Putin’s ability to plough a reformist furrow because this opposition came from conservative and nationalist forces (see

    I have been waiting for some time now for a Dejevsky article concerning the recent events in Russia to appear in the Independent. None has so far been forthcoming. Has someone put the blocks on her objective reporting of Russian affairs, I wonder?

    • Thanks for the heads up on the hate comment. More Russians need to be aware how much the west cares about them.

      • alexander mercouris says:

        Dear Moscow Exile,

        I agree with all of this. I also agree with you point that abuse of Russia and of Russians is the one form of ethnic abuse that we tolerate in today’s Britain.

        By the way the Guardian editorial today, purportedly about the murder of a journalist in Dagestan, refers to today’s Russia as a “slimy, bloody place”.

    • “Dejevsky has come under attack from russophobes with accusations that her employer is a Russian oligarch and that she is just writing to order. “She’s also got a ‘Russian’ name as well”, as some of the Little Englander russophobes have been quick to point out, so she must be on the FSB-payroll.”

      Well I can’t expect she would have gained very many friends among the Little Englanders with this recent article of hers just over a week ago:–and-cameron-is-the-man-to-do-it-6274279.html

      Not only is she on the payroll of the FSB it seems, but she must also have some fat paychecks coming from Brussels! 🙂 Imagine the nerve of her! Suggesting that the Conservatives essentially sell their souls to those damned Continental devils! And lest we forget, Russia is on the Continent.

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    In answer to that retard’s comment that the only good Russians are dead ones, I felt inclined to respond “including my wife and three children?”

    I thought otherwise, though, for why waste my time in replying to people who are devoured by so much hatred? I once replied in such a fashion to another Telegraph reader who thought it better that no Russians exist, only to receive the retort that I must have married a “Russian mail-order whore” because I was incapeable of finding a “good English wife”. Reply not deleted, of course.

    The thing that really amazes me about these British russophobes, and I’m sure that this applies to the majority of US russophobes as well, is that I am absolutely certain that they have never suffered any direct injury at the hands of a Russian citizen. British russophobes love to talk about the “Blitz” and of how, when the Soviet Union was fascist Germany’s “ally”, the UK “stood alone” from May 1940 until June 1941 against fascism in Europe (more exactly, on the Atlantic Ocean, for a very short while in Greece and Crete, and in Egypt, Abyssinia, Libya, the Lebanon, Syria and Iraq). In those theatres of war, horrors certainly must have been perpetrated and endured; when, however, the scale of belligerence and degree of ideologically driven malevolence and criminality that took place as a result of the fascist invasion of the USSR is compared with the results of fascist aggression in the West, then what happened in the West between September 1939 and June 1941 pales into insignificance.

    Call it the “Russian Soul” if you will, but I have never ever during the near 20 years that I have lived in Russia experienced such malevolence directed by Russian citizens against Germans as that which I regularly hear and read about, spoken and expressed by my fellow countrymen and directed against Russians. Most of the most obnoxious russophobes that I have come across in the UK have not even met a Russian. I first noticed this when my wife and I were visiting the UK on honeymoon, as it were. At different hotels across the UK I was often politely asked, when not in the company of my wife, where she was from. My wife speaks English fluently, but with a slight accent that nobody in the UK has ever been able to identify. On learning that my spouse is Russian, every one of my inerlocutors expressed great surprise, adding that she neither looked nor sounded like a Russian. And the atmosphere chilled. When I asked them if they had ever met a Russian, the answer was always in the negative (this was 17 years ago, mind you); when I asked them what a Russian accent sounded like, I usually got a rendition of what I call “Hollywood Slav” as used by Vlad Dracula in horror films.

    Dracula was, of course, a Romanian or Wallachian or whatever. But what does that matter? He was one of “them” from the East, one of the necessary enemy that must exist in a state of everlasting belligerence.

    Oceania vs. Eurasia anyone?

    • alexander mercouris says:

      Dear Moscow Exile,

      Again I agree with all of this.

      I too find it baffling why so many people in the US and Britain are so Russophobic. If say a Pole or a Czech is a Russophobe well their countries have had a long history with Russia which has not always been happy but why people in Britain and the US should feel so hostile towards Russians and Russia, a country that has never done or intended them harm, I cannot think. It almost has a pathological quality. Somewhere recently I speculated that Russophobia in western Europe has taken the place that anti Semitism once had. Both are irrational and both atttribured malevolent and conspiratorial intentions upon the objects of their hatred. One day someone looking back on this time might discuss whether this is so.

      Best Wishes!

    • Actually Moscow Exile, I think I might have an idea as to why this Russophobia exists. I believe the primary basis for it is ignorance. You alluded to it yourself; most of the persons who inquired about your wife expressed surprise and apparently that she “neither looked nor sounded Russian”. Yet they also tell you that they have never met a Russian (so of course they don’t really have any idea how Russians look or sound since they’ve never met one). What they were really saying (even if they weren’t aware of it) was that she “neither looked nor sounded like my mental image of Russian which is based almost primarily on Hollywood and occasionally newspapers and propaganda from the Cold War”.

      Ignorance is a powerful force and I recall an episode some time ago which provided an amazing example of just how powerful and widespread it is. It was at a party and one of my friends was going off to study at a campus located in another territory (I’m West Indian and there is a university with main campuses in three of the territories with the other dozen or so territories also contributing to its cost). I recall that at this party a small group of about 20 or so were talking with this friend and giving well wishes and so forth, but then they started to warn this friend about the other island in which this campus was located and pretty much the whole group (to varying degrees) expressed the sentiment that persons from that island didn’t like persons from our island. Interestingly, through my own knowledge and through a few questions in cases where I did not know for certain, I ascertained that out of the group only 1 of them had actually been to the island in question before and at the time he had actually had no trouble with public officials (customs, police, etc) from that island and the only problem experienced was with the hotel he stayed at. The rest had never set foot on that island. Later, a few others (who had been to the island) and I (who have never been) set the record straight for our friend and encouraged them to keep an open mind and not to buy into the negative hype and told our friend that everything would be just fine as many, many others had gone before and had no problems. As it turns out we were right and our friend went there and had a great time. However I’m now certain that had our little group not help clear the cobwebs of ignorance what would have happened was that she may have had a great time, but she may also have psyched herself into such a frame of mind that:

      – she would have read negative connotations into neutral or innocent comments by persons she had come across on that island

      – she would have gone there with a confrontational attitude (in preparation to defend against any perceived dislike) and as a result would have gotten into the very confrontations that she would have been trying to mentally guard herself against (possibly through a misunderstanding resulting from her reading negative connotations into neutral/innocent comments or actions as outlined above).

      It is said that people fear what they do not know and it is so true. Unlike the situation I related though what seems to have happened in Britain is that the ignorance has been fed by an almost rabid media/yellow journalism, an upper class prejudice and lots of historical circumstance to turn fear-based ignorance into a full blown phobia. At least with the situation regarding my friend the consensus among the ignorant was that the other islanders didn’t like us, but there was no hate for the other islanders (indeed we all seem to get along when it comes to some things like music, athletics and cricket) but more of an atmosphere of just plain ol’ bitching and rivalry (and I detected an undertone of jealousy) much like one might experience in the situation between town-dwellers and countryside-dwellers or between two cities (or even within cities such as between Manchester United and Manchester City), regions (Yorkshire and Lancashire) or states (New South Wales and Victoria) with a history of rivalry. With Britain, the attitude towards Russia and Russians is complicated by former imperial rivalry (The Great Game and so on), anticommunism, the intervention in the Russian Civil War and the Cold War. So the media can and often does refer to these past themes in relating to Russia at present (even when they have practically nothing to do with the current situation) and this does nothing to end the ignorance. Strangely enough despite the past rivalry, Russia and the UK have only fought twice from what I understand (in 1807-1812 with minor naval engagements as part of the Napoleonic Wars and in the Crimean War in the 1850s). That Britain has fought with other countries just as frequently if not far more often in the past (against Germany twice and more recently, against the United States twice (during American independence and the war of 1812), against France so many times it isn’t worth it to count…) seems not to have generated the same kind of phobia against these nations. It actually seems like wars do not figure very prominently in the Russophobia (as there is often very little reference to the Crimean War or the 1807-1812 war), but rather it seems like the threat of war is what figures more prominently – so with the Great Game there was the threat of war over India and with the Cold War there was the threat of war generally – coupled with little interaction with Russians themselves (unlike the situations with America, France and Germany where there is a lot more interaction between Britons and citizens of those countries). Old habits die hard and 40 years of Cold War indoctrination followed by an earlier period of 20 years of anticommunist/anti-Bolshevik Russia indoctrination (with only a break of about 4-5 years between the two periods) means that quite a number of people in Britain have literally grown up never knowing Russia as anything else other than some enemy with a mass of nameless, faceless people who were at times depicted as automaton-like communist drones. In essence Russians became dehumanized. And the problem isn’t going to go away because the phobia is like a psychological virus spread by verbal diarrhoea. One person infected with the phobia only has to open his mouth and spout some rubbish and before you know it, other persons who are ignorant (but who may not have the phobia) are now repeating the nonsense.

      I doubt this will go away any time soon because the cure for it would be large scale interaction between the populations. As an aside, I believe this is partly why some nationalists the world over tend to be very anti-immigration and in favour of tightening border controls even for visitors – if freedom of migration and ease of travel are allowed then everyday people will see that the message of the nationalists is rubbish and that the other people they rail against aren’t actually all plotting to take over your country, steal your food and jobs and rape your women.

      • Cold war was a war. Without many British deaths but with a lot of sacrifice.

        • Sorry, I don’t buy that. The Cold War was not a war in the proper sense (and I don’t use words so loosely that they begin to lose their meaning). The Cold War was a period of heightened tensions punctuated by actual wars (Korea, Vietnam, other places around the world) but was not a war itself.

          The term itself is a sort of oxymoron invented by George Orwell in 1945 (who specifically defined it as “a peace that is no peace”) and then used later in 1947 by Bernard Baruch to describe the geopolitics of the era.

    • You may like to know that the Battle of Britain in 1940 was fought with 10 Polish-speaking RAF squadrons and 2 RAF squadrons manned by pilots from the old Czechoslovakia.

      The RAF squadron that scored the highest number of hits during that battle was RAF No 303 Polish Fighter Squadron or the Tadeusz Kosciuszko squadron. Two pilots (one Polish, one Czech) between them scored 32 hits. This information is available on Wikipedia.

      Next time you hear someone abusing Polish or Czech migrants in the United Kingdom, you can tell them all about how Poles and Czechs helped to save your country’s sorry arse against Hitler.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Agree absoutely, Hunter!

    By the way, that 1807-1812 war between the UK and Russia was only a war on paper: after the French victory at Austerlitz in 1806 against the joint forces of the Rusian and Austrian Empires and further French victories that year against Prussia at Jena-Auerstedt and against Russia in 1807 at Friedland, the Russians had been reluctantly drawn into Buonaparte’s “Continental System”, which excluded the UK and its allies of course. The Russians then became the allies of the French Empire- on paper at least – and a state of war consequently ensued between the UK and the Russian Empire, with hardly a shot being fired by both belligerents. (One or two very small naval engagements in the Baltic, that’s all.) As soon as Buonaparte decided to attack the Russian Empire in 1812, Russia and the UK became allies against a common enemy – the French Empire. The parallels with the situation between the UK and the USSR prior to the fascist invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 are evident: from 1939 until 1941 the Soviet Union was considered by the UK to be an ally of fascist Germany, although no acts of belligerence occured between UK and Soviet forces during that period; as soon as fascist Germany attacked the USSR, the UK immediately declared its wish to form an alliance with the Soviet Union against the common fascist foe.

    As regards the “Great Game”, hardly a shot was fired between the two imperial competitors during the whole period of confrontation, although there was plenty of skulduggery and numerous assassinations between hired agents of both contesting parties. In fact, whenever Imperial Russian Army officers and officers of the British Raj met, and they did frequently in order to perform joint surveying programmes in disputed border areas in the Hindu Kush, they got on like the proverbial house on fire. That was because they were of the same class and had the same interests: they were members of the upper middle-class or low ranking aristocracy; they were European imperialists with a “mission”; they enjoyed hunting and shooting and “the great outdoors”.

    During most of the 19th century and the period of its eastern expansion, the Russian Empire regularly gave signals that it might move into the North West Frontier territories of the British Indian Raj but in reality was never able to do so: it had enough problems containing the Caucasus, for one thing, to say nothing of the overwhelming logistical problems that a 19th century Russian Imperial army would have had to face in undertaking a campaign whose lines of communications would have stretched from Kabul to St. Petersburg. The British, on the other hand, could send reinforcements by sea to India in a minimum time of 6 weeks. These Russian moves, ostensibly against the British Raj, were always a distraction from Russia’s prime objective of seizing the Porte. For their part, the British sabre rattlers in India always sent dire warnings to London of impending Russian aggression against India in order to gain support for their belief that only the presence of ever more European troops in the subcontinent could hold the masses there in subservience and secure the Raj against outside (ie Russian) aggression: they maintained that the key to British control over India was the awe that Indians had for the European military, whereas the British Indian Civil Service maintained that the truth of the matter as regards how a tiny minority of Europeans could hold India in its sway was because the mass of peasants there preferred the administration of the Raj and the taxes fairly imposed by them to administrations and taxation undertaken by scores of tiny states run by petty princes with expensive life styles: in other words, the mass of Indians, the peasantry, collaborated with the British administration, something that 20th Indian nationalists refuse to accept. However, for most if not all of the 19th century, most, if not all “Indians” would have found it difficult to associate themselves with a national identity, albeit that they clearly recognised Europeans as being from an alien culture.

    The only real shooting war that has ever taken place between the UK and Russia occurred in the Crimea (1853-1856), and that was because Russia almost managed to seize Constantinople as result of one of its numerous and mostly successful wars with the Ottoman Empire. Russian access to the Mediterranean in 1853 was something that neither the French nor British would tolerate: they had just built the Suez canal, and they didn’t like the idea of a Russian fleet cruising around its entrance. So ordinary men died in a stupid war because of perceived threats to the imperial ambitions of the UK and France and the imperal ambitions of Russia.

    Three years of warfare in the middle of the 19th century, yet most of my fellow countrymen believe that the Russians are “the enemy”!

    • “Three years of warfare in the middle of the 19th century, yet most of my fellow countrymen believe that the Russians are “the enemy”! ”

      Quite true Moscow Exile, but as I stated earlier I think it has been the nearly 70 years of government and media inspired indoctrination (first against the Bolsheviks from 1918 to 1941 then with a brief pause during the War from 1941 to 1945 and then against the Soviet Union during the Cold War from 1946/1947 to 1991) based on the threat of war (during the Cold War) and the threat of communist revolution (after 1918) that has lead to most Britons thinking Russians are the enemy.

      As you pointed out in another comment, any kind of commentary that doesn’t toe the line of “Russians are evil and out to kill everyone and are planning on using their oil as a weapon, the primitive brutes!” will elicit harsh responses. Dejevsky’s writings in particular can’t attract much sympathy from the Little Englander crowd, especially since (as I noted in another response to a different post of yours) she had the temerity to write about the contradiction between Britain staying out of the euro but wishing to have a say in eurozone meetings and then she had the gall to suggest that Britain should simply join the euro….

    • The number of British (and American) troops that fought in Russian civil war isn’t zero by a long shot. Stalingrad for example wasn’t only occupied by the Germans and you can’t really call it a border town.

      • charly, I’m trying to look over Moscow Exile’s post where he said anything like that about the Russian Civil War but I’m not seeing it. Are you sure you aren’t confusing his referring to the only real shooting war between Russia and the UK being the Crimean War with “wars involving the UK and Russia”? Because we can’t classify British and American intervention in the Russian Civil War in the same was as Crimean War. In the Crimean War the UK and Russia were at war with each other as opposing states. In the Russian Civil War the UK was sending soldiers to fight one set of Russians (the Reds) in support of another set of Russians (the Whites). So the UK was not at war WITH Russia during the Civil War, but was engaged in war IN Russia.

        • Were does one type of conflict start and another stop. If you loose 200 soldiers and spend oodles of money like the British on a fraction which otherwise wouldn’t exist than you are part of the waring fractions. Besides one of the reasons why the US pulled out was because of the guerrilla attacks the Reds pulled of in the US (the other being the American army in Russia being into almost open rebellion)

          • “W[h]ere does one type of conflict start and another stop.”

            C’mon, surely you know the difference between a war between states and a war involving one state intervening in another state.

            In the case of a war between Russia and the United Kingdom for instance, any and every Russian in Britain could be interned as an “enemy alien”. In the case of the Civil War, there was no legal basis to intern any and every Russian except if it was found that a particular Russian living in Britain was for instance trying to stir up Revolution as during the Civil War, Russia as a state could not be considered “an enemy” and its nationals cannot be legally considered “enemy aliens”. The simple reason is that Britain would be officially assisting the government of the state that they recognized (Russia under the Whites) against a group/government that it does not recognize (the Reds) as opposed to fighting against a state and government that it does recognize (as happened with Germany in WWI for example).

            • This is legalistic arguments.

              • Well if you don’t like it I can’t help you there. But “this is legalistic arguments” isn’t really an argument in favour of your contention that there is no difference in a war between two states and a civil war with foreign intervention and seems to be more of an attempt to dismiss points you don’t agree with but for which you have no real counterargument. I’m also sure that persons who would be interned as enemy aliens in a war between states wouldn’t take your dismissal so lightly as internment is not the same as being given an all expenses paid trip to an all-inclusive resort.

                Ultimately there are major differences between foreign intervention and interstate war (one major difference being that the intervening state can end their intervention any time they choose without the need for a ceasefire or peace agreement whereas in a war between states that is never possible unless one state completely annihilates the other). If you don’t believe me, maybe you should find some persons who were involved in the decision making process for both and ask them.

              • foreign intervention == attacking a much weaker power in which the hope is to get a part of the locals to change sides or atleast don’t fight.
                interstate war == fighting a power of the same statue and there is no hope of getting the locals to stay quiet.

  8. A thought just occurred to me now about the origin of Russophobia in the UK. How extensive is the ownership of property, football clubs and other institutions in the UK by Russians and Russian oligarchs in particular?

    I know Roman Abramovich owns Chelsea Football Club, Oleg Deripaska has property in London and Berezovsky lives in London as well, and Alexander Lebedev owns The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, the London Evening Standard and i, a new newspaper. Several of these oligarchs and other wealthy expatriate Russians living in the UK have a Jewish background. So it could be that much Russophobia in the UK is, as someone said here, displaced anti-Semitism as well as general distrust of rich foreigners barging in, buying up local property and driving up property prices as a result.

    • Never thought about that aspect of it. But it seems you are on to something. The fact that a lot of these oligarchs came and started buying up local property and businesses must have got on the nerves of quite a few. I wonder if in the case of those with Jewish backgrounds there is also an undercurrent of anti-Semitism (in which case the anti-Semitism would have been partially displaced, but also partially conflated with Russophobia)….