Liberal Butthurt Over The Depardieu Defection

I had great fun observing the fallout over Depardieu’s “defection” to Russia. The reason for the apostrophes is of course because it had nothing to do with it. It was Depardieu trolling Hollande and the French “Socialists”, and Putin trolling Westerners and his own homegrown “democratic journalists.” (Or maybe not? In any case, I for one have a difficult time comprehending why anyone would care so much.) This trolling was both entertaining and successful, because it elicited so, so much beautiful rage and loathing from all our favorite quarters.

The Western press

Predictable enough, coverage of this on the right-wing sites like the Wall Street Journal was schizophrenic. After all the writers and readers have to decide on who they hate more: Socialist France or Putin’s Russia? Of course the faux-left/neoliberal press like Le Monde and The Guardian had no such problems. They went stark raving apoplectic:

Gérard Depardieu isn’t enough to change Russia’s image by our good friend Andrew Ryvkin: “The actor may be taking Russian citizenship, but convincing citizens life is better than in the west is a difficult PR exercise” – I hardly think that was ever the point.

Gérard Depardieu joins very small club of adoptive Russian citizens, by Howard Amos: “Few foreigners seek Russian citizenship and even fewer are granted it, with the tide generally going in the opposite direction.” Ah, the (completely discredited) Sixth Wave of Emigration trope. What makes this especially funny is that 300k-400k Brits leave Britain every year, whereas the equivalent figure for Russia (with more than 2x the population) is slightly above 100,000 this year.

But best of all was the Guardian’s caption competition to the above photo. Here are some of the Guardian picks:

Après moi le beluga…?

Gerard announces the closure of several Parisian Boulangeries.

The hilarity of this is that the Guardian is a major mouthpiece for “fat acceptance”; indeed, it is not atypical for its contributors to write inanities like this: “While obese is a medical term, fat is the language of the bully. It’s not a word doctors should use.”

While I certainly have no problem with making fun of fat apologists and their enablers, but what’s hilarious is that the Guardian CiF is notoriously censorious and would have surely deleted those comments had they been directed at anyone the Guardian likes for violating its “community standards.”

Western democratic journalists

Unfortunately even many otherwise reasonable people were ridiculously outraged.

Mark Adomanis started out well:

But then he too went weird.

As the details of his newly minted Russian citizenship Depardieu has (justifiably!) been roundly condemned by right, left, center, and everywhere in between.

Quite a change from this in 2010, no?: “All of the US-run freedom indices aren’t merely slanted (that’s to be expected) but usually also have some truly weird crap thrown in the mix.” 😉

Russian liberals

Via politrash, who noted that writing this much have torn the democratic journalist in question (Gleb Razdolnov) to pieces: Please Answer, Depardieu!… (Open Letter)

A must-read for anyone interested in Russian liberal psychology. Go to your Google Translate.

And Depardieu knows all the correct things to say to troll and wind them up even further.

In a class of its own: Julia Ioffe

Gerard Depardieu’s Russian Citizenship Is a Passport to a Westerner’s Playground for TNR.

Days earlier, Putin, by presidential fiat, had extended Russian citizenship to Depardieu, who recently declared that he would abandon his native France, allegedly because of high taxes: Russia’s flat 13 percent tax rate looked a lot better than Francois Hollande’s now defunct proposal to raise taxes to 75 percent for those making over 1 million euros.

Minor point, perhaps, but NOT defunct.

The inaugural trip to Mordovia, observers noted, was a strange choice given what the republic is generally known for: penal colonies. The Mordovian economy subsists almost entirely on these alone; roads are merely strings connecting the colonies, some of which date back to Stalin. Most visitors to Mordovia are likely to see not yodeling singers in colorful frocks, but a depressed region where the free population seems split into two camps: the prison guards, and the day drinkers.

I have no doubt that Depardieu didn’t see and will not see this side of Mordovia, nor will he have met with the region’s most famous inmate, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, of the band Pussy Riot.

The state of Oklahoma, generally known for the Trail of Tears. Southern Poland, generally known for Auschwitz. Nanking, generally known for its rape. Any others you can think of?

Nor will Depardieu see Russia as it exists for 99.9 percent of his now fellow countrymen. As Putin’s pet, he will be shielded from the collapsing infrastructure and a ramshackle poverty inexplicable for a country that pumps more oil than Saudi Arabia. He will never have to go to a poorly trained, overworked, and underpaid Russian doctor who would likely misdiagnose him anyway. He will never get caught in the teeth of the corrupt justice system; he won’t be extorted for bribes, whether or not he runs afoul of the law.

So specifically Russian. But the best is yet to come:

Of course, this can be said of any wealthy Russian, or any celebrity anywhere in the world. The difference here is the orientalism of such Western men—and they are always, always men—who decamp to Russia and praise the place for its freedom and simplicity. The women, they say, are more beautiful and better (read: more sparsely) dressed, more deferential to men (especially men with money), and always aim to please, sexually.

Because ugly, badly dressed, rude, frigid, and – incidentally – worse paid relative to men is a far superior lifestyle?

Without examining why Russian women might be like this, Western expats use these qualities as evidence for a quietly long-held view that feminism is the crude weapon of the ugly Western woman.


The whirl-a-gig unpredictability of the place rarely stops being fun because it’s never entirely real. In these men’s eyes, it is not lawlessness; it is freedom from annoying rules.

In my years living in Moscow, I have come across many such Western men. In Moscow, their wealth gives them the kind of reality-bending leverage that it couldn’t in New York, London, or Paris. In Moscow, their wealth—and, in Depardieu’s case, fame—made them brilliant and sexually attractive, especially to the leggy, barely legal girls from the provinces; in those Western cities, their money merely made them rich.

Okay, I think she’s basically confirmed my theory from an older post:

One thing that really stands out is that it is female Jews who dislike Russia more than anything, at least among Western journalists. As this post has already pushed well beyond all respectable limits of political correctness, I might as well go the full nine yards and outline my theory of why that is the case. In my view, the reasons are ultimately psycho-sexual. Male Jews nowadays have it good in Russia, with many Slavic girls attracted to their wealth, intelligence and impeccable charm (if not their looks). But the position of Jewesses is the inverse. They find it hard to compete with those same Slavic chicks who tend to be both hotter and much more feminine than them; nor, like Jewish guys, can they compensate with intelligence, since it is considered far less important for women. This state of affairs leads to sexual frustration and  permanent singledom (pump and dump affairs don’t count of course), which in turn gives rise to the angry radical feminism and lesbianism that oozes out of this piece by Anna Nemtsova bemoaning Russia’s “useless bachelors”. Such attitudes further increase male aversion to them, thus reinforcing their vicious cycle of singledom. And the resulting frustration indelibly seeps into their work…

Basically in Russia, Ioffe is surrounded by massively superior competition to what she’d find in her hometown, massively diminishing her relative attractiveness and male attention/commitment. This is understandably hard on the ego. In that respect, Washington DC is the polar opposite of what she’d have found in Russia.

So, no wonder that Ioffe has been so angry during her time in Russia and bugged out of the place much sooner rather than later. Why else would she spend so much column space ruing the far superior sexual choice available to expats in Russia?

I mean there’s nothing wrong with her disliking Russia for that, it’s a perfectly understandable and natural reaction. People are drawn to places where they enjoy more attention, respect, and sexual market value. That is why it is “always” male expats that enjoy the place as she points out. Whereas an American female journalist might hook up with some Latino lothario in Brazil, in Moscow she’d have to settle for beetroot-stained runts in vests and tracksuit pants.

But at least the foreign expats she is so so evidently butthurt about are, by her own admission, honest about their motivations. They want to keep 75%-13%=62% of their money, not have their cars periodically torched by “youths”, and have the freedom to look over a girl without going to jail for it.

Update: Ioffe’s reply to this post

Ouch this must have struck a nerve with her!

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Contributing to Forbes, despite Steve’s undeniable love for Moscow and its enshrining the flat tax he’s long championed into law, must’ve gotten to Mark A. after a while — though he still does good work, don’t get me wrong. It was always going to be a tightrope though between domestic liberalism and deflecting the constant charge of being a ‘Putin apologist’. Not that National “of course we’re siding with the Muslim Brotherhood — Clifford May” Review, the Weekly war whore Standard and much of what passes for mainline Republican journals these days don’t all deserve a good swift kick in the ass. If the shade of Bill Buckley were around he might consider Rich Lowry an effeminate joke in comparison to NR’s founder, who while undeniably a man of the CIA born into money was also A MAN.

    Post 2: Agree with you 100% about Russia (or more accurately, Ukraine) being the closest thing the Manosphere can find to heaven on earth (outside of Brazil, which even certain Russian oligarchs say have the more fairer women than the FSU nations) and the closest thing to hell on Earth for the modern feminist and manboob. As a married man unlike the PUAs I have no direct fleshly stake in the fight.

    Post 3: Last comment on this thread…don’t want to hog it…

    Another Ioffe piece that was very telling in its sheer anti-male and anti-man pleasing female aggression was “The Rise of Russia’s Gun Nuts” written for the same globalist Trotskyite (in the sense of promoting world revolution from Libya to Syria to Mali by military means) fake liberal rag, the New Republic.

    In the piece Ioffe poured scorn on the Russians, especially a Russian young woman, who expressed their ADMIRATION for America’s Constitution and the 2nd Amendment and said Russia should be so lucky to have its own NRA for law abiding gun owners.

    Normally Russians who love American institutions and contrast them with their own would be praised (aka liberasts), but the 2nd Amendment is a big fat exception and headache to all globalist-minded decent feminist people from D.C. to London to everywhere else the globalzis reside. The Russians quoted in the article even said it wasn’t fair that Russians should be disarmed and be unable to defend themselves from drunken or criminal police (like the crazy cop who shot several people to death at a Moscow supermarket a few years ago)! And yet they still were “gun nuts”!

    • Agreed with all this. I wonder sometimes if the undeniable shift in Mark A.’s views were one of personal conviction or a more mercenary desire to merge with the respectable mainstream.

      I hope it’s not the latter. I don’t see that working out for him. Most of his commentators are still 100% convinced he is a Kremlin agent of some sort LOL.

      As regards guns in Russia, I too admire the Second Amendment and would love to see the laws eased up there. Contrary to propaganda there is no evidence to the effect that loose gun laws lead to higher homicide rates. Sergey Roy makes the case very well here.

      Unfortunately this isn’t going to happen any time soon. 82% of Russians want prohibition. And when I posted this tweet:

      I got a couple whiny emails from butthurt Russians.

  2. Dear Anatoly,

    There’s not much I can add to this article. I too found the splenetic response to Depardieu’s “defection” totally hilarious and as you say very revealing. It never occurred to me to call it trolling but that of course is exactly what it was.

    As I don’t actually go on Twitter I had not realised that you have got under the skin of the Miriam Elder/Julia Ioffe sisterhood. Congratulations for that.

    There is one point I would make in response to Ioffe. Far from all westerners who go to Russia are male. I know three British women who’ve gone to Russia: one an academic, one a lawyer and one a businesswoman running her own business. All three have lived long periods there and the last lived there for over 10 years running a travel business as a British expat until she got married to a Greek diplomat. All three are left wing and feminist but all three have strongly positive views of the country. None of them have the issues with it that Ioffe appears to have or share Ioffe’s views about it though the most beautiful of the three (the academic) once told me that living in Russia made her know for the first time in her life what it was like to be plain. All three by the way seem to have had no trouble finding Russian boyfriends. As for male western visitors or expats in Russia, Ioffe makes a sweeping generalising about their motives which though doubtless true of some like all such generalisations is in the end unfair.

  3. Ioffe has paper thin skin. Like, hmm, Putin.

    Two peas in the same pod under other circumstances?

  4. moscowexile says

    In my 20 years of residence in the Evil Empire I have never come across this “self-loathing, bullshit pride of Russians who want so badly to be Western” that Ioffe writes about. No doubt she has met such Russians: it all depends on whom you hang out with. And even then, I feel that more and more of those who were so previously enamoured with all things Western, after having waited for a couple of hours for their first bite into a Big Mac and for their first swig of Coca-Cola, are changing their opinion, not least because of the ceaseless barrage of animosity from the West directed at all things Russian and clear evidence that US Cold War containment policies towards Russia never ended.

    Oh yes, and US girls are also mostly fat and ugly.


    • Despite a rise of anti-American, anti-Western sentiment in the last year, Russians still revere the Westerner. They solicit his expertise and even grovel in front of him, while periodically stopping to beat their chests with a thin and tinny pride; they want, in some dark, self-annihilating way, to be the Westerner, to dismiss the part of themselves that is not European as somehow shameful and backwards, while still insisting on Russia’s spiritual superiority. – Julia Ioffe, 2012.

      I don’t reproach the Russians for being what they are; what I blame them for is their desire to appear to be what we [Europeans] are… They are much less interested in being civilized then in making us believe them so… They would be quite content to be in effect more awful and barbaric than they actually are, if only others could thereby be made to believe them better and more civilized. – The Marquis de Custine, 1839.

      • Thus spake a French aristocrat at the time of the so-called Orleanist July monarchy in France, a French monarchy that had been restored in 1814 after over 25 years of war, first revolutionary and then Napoleonic, had raged throughout most of Europe from Cadiz to Moscow.

        In Custine’s imagination, the uncultured French urban mob, “les sans-cullottes”, and peasants that partook in the early part of those tumulteous revolutionary years that resulted in misery for most of Europe no doubt bore more than a passing resemblance to the huge majority of the Russian population that he beheld during his tour of the Russian Empire.

        Most of Custine’s caustic observations, however, were reserved for the Russian nobility: Russia’s aristocracy, he said, had “just enough of the gloss of European civilization to be ‘spoiled as savages’ but not enough to become cultivated men. They were like ‘trained bears who made you long for the wild ones'”.

        Clearly, Custine considered himself to be a “real” aristocrat.

        Custine very likely looked down his nose at what he perceived to be an uncultured people because he was French, a national habit of which nation that is, in my experience, still evident amongst many French citizens, whose culture is mostly consided by themselves to be the epitome of human civilization.

        Speak the words “culture” and “American” in front of most Frenchmen and observe the polite reaction.

        By the way, I’m very fond of France, its culture and its people.

        • Maquis de Custine in 1839 and Julia Ioffe in 2012. When it comes to Russophobia it’s plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

          PS: What mighty high opinions of themselves these westerners have.

          • It is true to some extent that Russians want to be western, but what irks Ioffe is that at the same time Russians have (misplaced in her opinion) pride in being above the “rotten west”… it’s this contradiction and this pride that Ioffe calls bullshit… some other analysts were comenting to this point – if Russians think the west is so rotten why make such a big deal of Depardieu’s defection, all Russian insecurities are comming to the surface here etc. Looks to me like Marquis de Custine was also saying something along these lines…
            According to Ioffe Russians should just get rid of this “bullshit” pride, thow in the towel and honestly acknowledge the superiority of the west.