Featured Articles

A Short Guide to Lazy Russia Journalism

To commemorate the final closure of the Da Russophile blog and its permanent transfer and redirection to this site, here is a reprint of an excellent article by Nils van der Vegte (with a little editing from myself) that appeared in Jon Hellevig’s and Alexandre Latsa’s 2012 anthology on Putin’s New Russia. Truly Will Rogers’ […]

Propaganda and the Narrative

I assume that most of the people who read this blog agree that a great deal of what might be called the “Standard Western Media Narrative on Ukraine” could better be termed propaganda. That is to say that it is a constructed narrative designed to produce deep-rooted convictions. Or, more bluntly, constructed lies and selected […]

“Everything is Annihilated”: The Economic Split of Ukraine

The attention of political analysts around the world is focused on the events in Ukraine. But at a certain moment, the fires die out and the riots subside – what will remain are the dry statistics. Translator’s notes: This is a translation of a post on the weblog “Sputnik and Pogrom”, the authors can be […]

Book Review: John Durant – The Paleo Manifesto

“The Paleo Manifesto” by John Durant, published in 2013. Rating: 5/5. Most books on the paleo diet follow a set pattern: An inspirational story about how the author wrecked his health with junk food or vegetarianism before the caveman came riding on a white horse to the rescue; an explanation of why, contrary to the […]

Translation: Vadim Gorshenin – “McCain Looked for a Kremlin Mouthpiece”

In response to Putin’s (in)famous NYT op-ed, McCain told CNN he’d love to reciprocate on Pravda. He was probably surprised when they agreed to it – but he may not have gotten quite what he expected, according to Pravda.ru’s chief Vadim Gorshenin. “McCain Looked for a Kremlin Mouthpiece, and was not Mistaken” The Chairman of […]

A Game of Homs

What striking about Syria is how so many people insist on speaking about it in profoundly moralistic, Manichaean terms. This is complete nonsense, given that its civil war isn’t a showdown between democracy and dictatorship, but an ethnic and religious conflict. Here’s a more realistic guide: The Assad regime The rhetoric: He kills his own people! […]

A Conversation with Weiss

As far as I understand, Michael D. Weiss is one of those neocons who loves Guantanamo but has a special soft spot in his heart for those Muslims who happen to be fighting Russia or some other state that the US doesn’t like much. When he isn’t chumming it up with his jihadist pals in […]

An Examination of Navalny’s Trial and Conviction

The Western narrative on the Navalny case is that it was a selective and political prosecution on trumped up charges. I think that to a significant (but NOT full) extent that this interpretation is basically correct. So given the paucity of convincing counter-narratives, I was extremely pleased to see that Alexander Mercouris, a British lawyer who […]

Translation: Jews, Journalists, and Dead Kittens

Battle of the hacks! In response to Alexei Pankin calling him an anti-Semite in The Moscow Times, Oleg Kashin pens a tongue in cheek response telling him to imagine a kitten dying every time he abuses an overworn cliche. On the Horrors of Anti-Semitism In which Oleg Kashin gives some advice to the politologists. The editors asked […]

Translation: Why Didn’t Transparency International Reveal Russia’s Bribery Data?

Why was there no bribery incidence data for Russia in Transparency International’s international survey of 2013? Andrey Kamenetsky at Odnako connects the dots to argue that it was simply because the results were too inconvenient to serve as propaganda. A Crisis of Zombification: How Transparency International failed on The Russia Corruption Rating Dear Readers! In July there […]

Translation: Is Putin a KGB Agent, a Hipster, or a Mensch?

In his Odnako blog Evgeny Super asks why Putin’s image seems to be improving of late. Turned off by the propaganda against the Russian President, he argues, Westerners are beginning to give him grudging respect. The Russian President’s Demonic Image Collapses in the Western Media Literally from the very first day of President Vladimir Putin’s […]

From Russia To Russabia? Not Anytime Soon

Faced with the utter failure of their doom-laden projections for Russia’s population future to describe reality – it’s population is now not only growing in absolute terms, but even barring migration its number of births now virtually equals the number of deaths – the more guttural elements of the interwebs are now resorting to another […]

Lessons From The Snowden Affair

(1) Just as with Manning, it is beyond dispute that Snowden broke US law. As such, the US government is perfectly entitled to try to apprehend him (on its own soil), request his extradition, and prosecute him. This is quite perpendicular to whether Snowden’s leaks were morally “justified” or not. In some sense, they were. […]

Mark Adomanis: Do As US Officials Say, Or Else!…

Mark Adomanis thinks Russia should extradite – or at least expel – Edward Snowden because… get this, it’s current stance (i.e. leaving him in at Sheremetyevo Airport, an international territory) constitutes “trolling” of the US. This is, to be quite frank, a rather strange argument. Would the US extradite a Russian Snowden? To even ask the […]

Translation: Egor Kholmogorov – Europe’s Week of Human Sacrifice

Russian conservative Egor Holmogorov argues that Muslim immigrants in Europe and Russia can’t have their cake and eat it too: Either they take responsibility for “lone wolf” terrorists, or they stop demanding privileges as a community. Human Sacrifices Europe has just undergone a week of human sacrifices. 1 The French writer Dominique Venner committed suicide […]

Russia Needs To Develop Its “Hard” Soft Power

My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel: I think we have to make a distinction here between “soft” soft power and “hard” soft power. The US’ “soft” soft power is, of course, overwhelming. By “soft” soft power, I mean its accumulated cultural capital: The popularity of the English language, Hollywood, the Ivy League, Apple and American […]

Translation: Pressure on the Square

Were the events at Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, on May 6, 2012, the results of a police provocation, or were “opposition” provocateurs, either willingly or unwittingly acting in the interests of foreign powers, responsible? Kommersant’s Grigory Tumanov and Vyacheslav Kozlov try to find out. Pressure on the Square Could it have been calculated beforehand what would […]

Translation: A Pity the Nazis didn’t Make Lampshades out of Today’s Liberals

In one of the most scandalous op-eds of the year, KP’s Ulyana Skoybeda takes the liberal Leonid Gozman to task for equating SMERSH with the SS. The original byline was later toned down, and the author offered a partial – and some insist, halfhearted – apology. The Politician Leonid Gozman Says: “A Nice Uniform is the […]

Translation: Bolotnaya Prisoner tells of Georgian Money and Revolution

Olesya Gerasimenko interviews Konstantin Lebedev, recently convicted of planning riots at the Bolotnaya rally of 6 May, 2012 and given a 2.5 year prison sentence. After his plea bargain and shocking confessions, his former comrades now call him a traitor. Konstantin Lebedev – “I Don’t Consider Myself a Traitor” Were you pleased with the sentence? […]

Book Review: Benjamin Schwartz – In Search Of Wealth And Power

In Search of Wealth and Power by Benjamin Schwartz, published in 1964. Rating: 4/5. In Search of Wealth and Power is a very dense but richly rewarding tome by Benjamin Schwartz, a noted China scholar. He focuses on the life of the translator Yan Fu to illustrate the culture clashes that arose when traditional Chinese civilization came into […]