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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Exposing Fraud At Russia Blog

As readers of La Russophobe may already know, on April 15th Russia Blog posted a story about Easter Cakes, showing a picture of one topped with powdered sugar. The next day, La Russophobe posted a comment in which she stated: "In my experience in Russia, powdered sugar is almost unheard of and virtually impossible to buy in stores."

The editor, Yuri Mamchur, responded by stating: "I'm sorry Kim, but I didn't read your comment past the fact that 'one can't find powdered sugar in Russia...' Tons of powdered sugar everywhere in USSR and in Russia."

La Russophobe then asked Yuri to tell her where he'd been able to buy powdered sugar. She felt he was lying about having first hand knowledge of the availability of powdered sugar, and believed he had never purchased a single ounce of powdered sugar anywhere in Russia in his whole life. She thought that he was just making another one of the haughty, insular, knee-jerk pro-Russia statements that has drawn huckster Mike Averko to his fold. Yuri's assistant Charlie Ganske then confirmed that Yuri was right, but when pressed he admitted to La Russophobe in in e-mail that he had never even been to Russia, and was simply relying upon Yuri's undocumented word.

On April 24th, La Russophobe wrote an e-mail to Charlie and stated: "Yuri said powdered sugar has always been widely available in European Russia. I demand you tell me what cities Yuri has purchased powdered sugar in. I want to say in the clearest terms that I've tried to do it in many cities remote from Moscow and I don't believe Yuri has done the same. If he has, wonderful, I can learn something. If not, he must admit he's spoken without personal knowledge. If you don't answer me, I'll disengage from Russiablog (and I'm responsible for 50% of the comment traffic on your blog), out you on my blog."

On April 25th, Charlie responded with an e-mail to La Russophobe where he tersely stated "please do so." La Russophobe replied the same day with one word: "Done." That same day, La Russophobe published an expose of the whole matter on this blog.

Then, on April 26th, Yuri and Charlie tried to cover their tracks and pretend that it was they who decided to stop La Russophobe from posting (vaguely neo-Soviet, isn't it?), so they wouldn't have to explain the true reason for her disappearance. In a cowardly manner, without notifying La Russophobe, Yuri posted a comment to one of his posts (not even an actual post itself) stating: "While we're on this topic of media ownership and content control – RussiaBlog's editors have decided not to post any more comments from our reader and former contributor Kim Zigfeld. We made this decision due to the sheer daily volume of her comments (which she constantly demanded we respond to and fact check or rebut) and frequent abusive language directed towards us and our readers." Ironically, the post in question touts Yuri's hosting of Anton Verstakov, director of Russia's state-funded propaganda media campaign "Russia Today."

Not surprisingly, Russia Blog never told La Russophobe that this message had been posted, much less did it give her a chance to tell her side of the story. In fact, La Russophobe did not even find out the message was there until Mike Averko circulated an e-mail about her stating that she had been "booted off" Russia Blog. This came as news to her, so she asked Charlie, who then pointed her to the April 26th post.

Apparently, Russia Blog considers being called to account for factual misrepresentations to be some form of "abuse" (Yuri once said on the blog that "Americans are 95% of the crowd" visiting the Lenin mausoleum, and refused to correct the record when called on it; even Mike Averko agreed this statement was ridiculous). How neo-Soviet can you get? Readers of Russia Blog should, of course, be wary of placing any reliance on material found there given that this is its editorial policy.

Meanwhile, Yuri and Charlie left both of La Russophobe's posts on their blog (one about Maria Sharapova and one about Victor Yanukovich) without asking La Russophobe whether they could do so. Not suprising, since these posts generated a huge amount of comment to which Yuri responded by stating on April 18th, a few days after La Russophobe got involved with his site: "We are delighted to see the increased traffic and comments on Russia Blog." Naturally, not a word of thanks was offered to La Russophobe for being the sole reason that this increased traffic and comment pattern occurred.

La Russophobe also asked Charlie to correct Russia Blog's grossly misleading identification of Mike Averko as having submitted commentary to the New York Times, when in fact all he has done is write letters to the editor. Charlie ignored the request.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many wonder why you never answered or commented on this post about you, and I am one of them.

http://konstantin2005.blogspot.com/2006/05/case-of-kim-f.html
Was it too harsh? You wrote an entire article about some powdered sugar, this is weird and you seemed too scared to even say a single word about that post!
Enjoy reading it!

La Russophobe said...

Your comment is typically Russian, you recognize that I've never seen this post before (you certainly don't ask me whether I have, and you've certainly never told me about it before) and ask me to "enjoy reading it" but you then blame me for not responding to it. In other words, you're a classic psycho. But now that you HAVE ask, I will have a look at it and make the response you have requested. La Russophobe is nothing if not responsive to reader concerns.

La Russophobe said...

As promised, La Rusophobe's reply has been posted. In the future, you might want to advise Konstantin that if he's looking to get a reply he should probably try to spell my name right (I'm Kim Z not Kim F) and maybe at least try to say something substantive rather than making a pure personal attack of a childish, boring, cowardly type. I rarely notice such pathetic efforts.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Russophobe:
I am Belarusian, but most people celebrate the same Orthodox Easter. It is really impossible to buy powdered sugar except for tiny packages (and this is vanilla sugar), but it is easily done: just grind usual sugar the same way you grind coffee beans!

La Russophobe said...

Hello Anonymous: Thanks for the tip! And how do Belarussians grind coffee beans? Are they widely available?

La Russophobe said...

ANONYMOUS: My response per your request has been up for some time now, yet there has been no response. Therefore, I assume whatever criticism you had of me is now applicable to Konstantin, and you will voice it, right? Talk about "weird" -- complaining about no response and then making none is rather hypocritical, isn't it?

For the resonse, see:

http://russophobe.blogspot.com/2006/05/la-
russophobe-responds-to-russian-blog.html