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Friday, May 19, 2006

Mike Averko: A Legend in his Own (Neo-Soviet) Mind

Writing on Russia Blog, ardent Russophile nutjob Mike Averko seeks to rationalize racism in Russia. His obscene enabling drivel, as much as anything else, illustrates why no progress is being made in Russia to relieve the suffering of racially oppressed minorities. Nonethless, La Russophobe can't help but be encouraged by Averko, since if he's the best the neo-Soviet Union can do, it won't last half as long as the first version.

Identifying himself on Russia Blog, Averko states: "Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst whose commentary has appeared in Eurasian Home, Johnson's Russia List, Intelligent.Ru, The Moscow Times, New York Times and Newsday."

What Averko doesn't care to mention is that when he says his "commentary has appeared in the New York Times" he means that the paper has published some of his letters to the editor. The same thing goes for The Moscow Times and Newsday, the only professional journalism outlets he mentions. Not one of them has ever paid Averko a cent for his scribblings, they have merely published his letters -- in the New York Times' case, nine since 1993 or on average 0.69 per year. It's apparently quite a niche market to rituallistically defend and rationalize the rise of the neo-Soviet Union, suprisingly few people are willing to write such letters these days, making those who do stand out from the crowd. But, Does it make you a "foreign policy analyst" because you have letters to the editor published? La Russophobe will have to start referring to herself that way, if it does.

La Russophobe dares to imagine how Averko rushes to the kiosk when an issue containing a letter he has written comes out, 0.69 times per year, purchases 50 copies and then cuts out the letters and wallpapers his tiny tenament room with them, eerily reminiscent of Travis Bickel in Taxi Driver. "Are you talking to ME?" As La Russophobe imagines it, Averko then sits down in the lotus position, the room lit by a single candle beneath a large photo of Stalin, and intones his mantra several thousand times: "I am a journalist.........I am a journalist .........I am a journalist ........." until he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he heads out to his day job flipping hamburgers at Wendy's.

This is not to say, though, that Averko doesn't have ambition. Not content with 0.69 letters to the editor per year in the New York Times, he hopes one day to move on to better things, namely, as he stated on Russia Blog, becoming an employee of state-sponsored Russian television's Russia Today propaganda campaign. Unfortunately, they won't return his calls no matter how much he begs on Russia Blog (in a comment attached to an article about Lenin's corpse on Russia Blog, Averko pleads forelornly and pathetically with the site's authors, who he has heard are about to entertain an exectutive from Russia Today: "Upon his visit to Seattle, please try to make Russia Today News Director Anton Verstakov make me an offer I can't refuse. I should be hitting against big league pitching.")

In another blog, a truly scary Russian Orthodox propaganda outlet, Averko is modestly identified as follows by the author of the blog, a card-carrying maniac (have a look at the blog contents if you don't believe La Russophobe, it is spurned even by many hard-core Russophile wackos):

Mike Averko is a New York based Russia scholar. As one of the few honest voices on Russian politics left in America, his future among the mainstream Russia watchers is strongly in doubt. In the name of democracy, honest media watchers are silenced and bullied into submission. Averko shows no signs of giving in, but there’s no doubt his life will continue to get more difficult. His blog can be found at http://averko.blogspot.com, and most of the content is strongly endorsed by this web project.
But wait a minute! I thought we just read that Averko had a great future in mainstream Russia watching! Didn't he just get finished telling us that his "commentary has appeared in Eurasian Home, Johnson's Russia List, Intelligent.Ru, The Moscow Times, New York Times and Newsday"??? Oh yeah, that's right, that was just letters to the editor. Meanwhile, he's moved from mere "analyst" to "scholar." I wonder how long it will be before he's Master of the Universe?

On the Orthodoxy blog, Averko attacks Johnson's Russia List as follows: "JRL remains one of the better English language sources of information regarding Russia. That's not meant so much as a compliment, but, an indictment on how bad Anglo-American mass media has been on the subject. There is no question, either though the direct agency of Mr. Johnson or though pressure from his employers, that the content of the JRL is extremely biased and slanted, and that this tendency is becoming more pronounced. I have complained about this to Mr. Johnson, citing specific examples, and I’m still waiting for a response. His lack of concern for his readers input suggests that his problem lies with his employers rather than himself, but this is merely speculation." Note the classic Soviet propaganda technique: Seem to be reasonable, praising Mr. Johnson at first, then go for the jugular in a way you hope nobody will notice.

The author of the Orthodoxy blog, apparently less well schooled in propaganda, has
this to say about the venerable Mr. Johnson:
David Johnson is the editor, and an employee of the Global Security Institute, a rather obnoxious, albeit wealthy, left-wing research institute. The GSI has close ties with the super-elite in Washington, recently honoring the “contributions” of Marxist billionaire Ted Turner, giving him something called the Alan Cranston Peace Award (the unlamented Senator Cranston (D-CA) was likely the major voice for Marxism in the U.S. Senate.) The GSI is very close to the UN organization and the World Court. The GSI is funded in part by the shadowy Schooner Capital group of Boston, MA, an international investment firm. Now, GSI is also heavily funded by another leftist front, The MacArthur Foundation. These people have a major presence in Russia (cf. Macfound.ru), and published nothing in English dealing with their activities there. Primarily, though, they are funding anti-Putin and anti-nationalist efforts, along with literally hundreds of other multi-million dollr foundations and PR firms. Whether or not they are working in concert with the CIA and Soros is a matter for speculation, though my contacts in Moscow suggest that they are (and they are far from alone in this).
In a May 15, 1995 letter to the New York Times, Averko stated: "I admit to a Russocentric bias. It's time to recognize that the Polish, Hungarian and West Ukrainian bias is no more legitimate." That just about says it all: Averko's views are fundamentally illegitimate and even he seems to recognize it, the frenzied pathological rantings of a crazed Russophile propagandist watching Russia slip slowly under the waves for the final time, watching every prediction of his despised "Russia haters" come cruelly true.

In the Russia Blog article seeking to deflect attention from pogroms in Russia in classic neo-Soviet style, Averko refers to "the unfortunate problem of racism in Russia" -- as if it was just a case of bad luck, like an unfortunate case of dandruff. He leads his article with a photograph of Africans and Russians protesting race violence, as if there were some kind of widespread public activism among Slavs in Russia to stand against pogroms. If that is so, just try to name the Slavic Martin Luther King!

Without citing a shred of evidence to support him much less even mentioning the recent spate of race killings across Russia in any detail, Averko states: "Like most matters pertaining to Russia, I remain a great optimist that the racism situation in Russia will decline." He then attempts to show how unfair people are being in complaining about racism in Russia, arguing that Slovenia and Japan are just as racist as Russia is and yet nobody seems to care. His facts documenting race killings in Japan and Slovenia? It's this: "Ninety percent ethnic Slovenian Slovenia is reluctant to permit one mosque in its capital for its Muslim inhabitants. The reluctance on the part of many Slovenians is frankly stated (they view Islam as part of a historically overbearing influence of occupation). Over the years, I've heard (from friends who lived in Japan) and read numerous accounts which suggest that many Japanese have a definite disdain for a good many non-Japanese." If you can find evidence of murders and attempted murders in there anywhere, you're a better reader than La Russophobe. If you do manage to find them, ask yourself whether the parents of defenseless dark-skinned children murdered in Russia will feel better knowing about them.

In another article on Russia Blog, Averko defends the Russian Orthodox Church, praising the Orthodoxy blog that just happens to praise him as a demi-god, without even mentioning its recent stand against AIDS education or its failure to criticize the war in Chechnya, to say nothing of its bold attacks on competing religions in Russia. Averko states: "Whether during pre-Soviet, Soviet and post Soviet times, one can find plenty of negative commentary about the ROC. Much of the criticism comes from non-ROC sources." This is goofy even by Averko standards. Apparently, no criticizm of the Church can be valid unless it comes from the Church itself, and since the Church isn't criticizing itself that means things are just fine. Any critique from someone outside the church is based on ignorance, and hence worthless. In other words, Averko is a neo-Stalinist of the first order. He characterizes the insane Orthodoxy blog like this: "I'm not in agreement with all of Dr. Johnson's views. My commentary at his site (and elsewhere) confirms this point. I understand how many people might choose to tune him out altogether. I decline to do so, in recognition of the man's intellect, which includes a keen knowledge of various historical, religious and political issues." Can you imagine someone talking about the KKK the way Averko talks about "Dr. Johnson" and then claiming to be reasonable? Hard to do, isn't it?

You do have to give Averko credit, though, for having slavishly studied the crude, failed propaganda tactics of the Soviet Union. Writing about Ukraine's Yulia Timosheko in Russia Blog (yes, Russia Blog seems to be rather fond of this lunatic's rantings), Averko states: "A Ukrainian-American acquaintance of mine recently likened Ukrainian political figure Yulia Tymoshenko to a Stalinist because the name of her party (Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc) has a cult of personality aspect. I nevertheless shy away from the loaded Stalinist label." Translation: "I'M not saying she's a Stalinist, mind you, though other people might be." That's classic Sovietspeak. Averko has also attacked the other axis of anti-Russia sentiment in Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko and his wife (again, of course, in Russia Blog). But you won't hear a peep from him about convicted criminal Victor Yanukovich (unless of course it is to defend him from a "Russia-hater" like La Russophobe).

Averko also claimed in a comment on Russia Blog that "over the past ten years the Russian average life expectancy has risen in a proportionately higher number than in the U.S." As always, this ridiculous claim was totally unsourced, so La Russophobe wrote to the editors of Russia Blog on April 22nd asking them to require Averko to document his claim, since she knows that according to the Population Reference Bureau:
By 1998, life expectancy for both sexes had recovered about half of the decline, and the gap had narrowed to 11.6 years before falling again following the 1998 collapse of the Russian ruble. By 2000, male life expectancy had fallen to 59.0 years and female life expectancy to 72.2 years, with the gap increasing to 13.2 years, nearly back to the level at the depth of the Russian mortality crisis.
She also knew that the average life expectancy for U.S. residents in 2003 increased by nearly four months to an average of 77.6 years from an average of 77.3 years in 2002 , whereas in January 2003, the St. Petersburg Times reported that since 2000, the average life expectancy for Russian men had fallen by 15 days, while the number for women had increased by almost two months. She was also aware that Russia ranks 151st out of 226 countries surveyed on adult life expectancy. Perhaps not suprisingly, the editors didn't call for any proof.

This absurd undocumented claim came just before Averko accused Johnson's Russia List, on the same Russia Blog, of "cronyism and political bias" simply because it does not publish his insane drivel with the same regularity as the New York Times (i.e., 0.69 posts per year). He also sought to tar JRL contributors generally, writing: "JRL regulars aren't my intellectual superiors." La Russophobe did not realize, of course, that Russia Blog's committment to the facts would naturally be rather tenuous, or else it wouldn't be publishing Averko in the first place, and no such documentation to support the outrageous, propagandistic claim was ever produced.

Averko spends quite a lot of time haunting various obscure blogs and racking up more "publications" he can brag about. On Frontpagemag.com for instance there was this from Analyst Averko: "He carries on like a bed wettin, panty wearin sissy boy of a freak." That was the sum total of his insightful comments. And there was also "Subject: RE: Censoring schmuckos Comment: Cowardly deviants." Yup, that again was the whole post. Sure seems like serious journalism to La Russophobe.

His own blog, however, is apparently not doing so well. He got off to a fine start with one post in August 2005, but not much (well, nothing) since then. That one post did rack up 33 comments -- every one written by Averko himself.

On his blog, he brags about his other major publication outlet, submitting comments to forums on famous newspapers like the Guardian and the New York Times. La Russophobe has made comments in such forums too, but silly girl never realized she had become a journalist and/or analyst and/or scholar. Her resume must be updated immediately! Averko's forum writing often takes the form of innudating a forum with his own insane ramblings read by only himself, as you can see for instance here. In other words rather than create his own blog Averko simply Sovietizes forum pages belonging to others. The act of a serious journalist? You be the judge.

Basically, Averko is the perfect embodiment of the neo-Soviet man, who still believes that absurd smoke and mirrors tricks can dupe the West, and who actually believes it all himself, careening ever further out into the dark oblivion that is Russia's fate so long as the Averkos of the world purport to speak for it.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey Kim - where is my last comment? Am I sencing a little sensorship?

La Russophobe said...

comments are automatically posted and, if deleted, there is a marker.

am i sensing a little paranoia?

there are many fine doctors who can assist you.

or perhaps it's just that you're a bit uncoordinated and can't use the system properly. look homeward, angel.

Anonymous said...

An erudite and amusing analysis of Mikey's rampant egomania and baseless sense of self-importance. 95% of everything he writes is purely about himself (as if anyone is interested in that subject), the rest as you say is just semi-coherent propagandist subjective junk. As for pitching against 'big-hitters' this guy's dialectic skills are so non-existent that he wouldn't even cut it if for the Little League. He'll probably love your article though if he reads it as he is so infantiley desperate for any kind of attention or approval it's almost embarrassing to read his comments let alone reply to his asinine observations. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Your attack on Mike Averko’s resume and questioning it’s validity is completely unfounded and unfair. For the last 30 years he has delivered a copy of Pravda to my offices every day as a delivery boy, no easy feat as not just anyone gets to be a delivery boy, which validates his claim to being at the center of cutting edge journalism. He even polishes my samovar on demand, what a nice guy.

V.Putin

Tim said...

hey MORON - post my original critical comment!!!

La Russophobe said...

he TIMORON: the posts come up automatically, you obviously pushed the wrong button and failed to get your post registered. i cannot delete a post without a marker being left, and there is no marker here. if you remember what you wrote, try again. if not, it can't have been that important. remember, when you ASSUME you make an ASS out of YOU and ME.

La Russophobe said...

ANONYMOUS #1: Thanks! I realize he may enjoy the attention, same was probably true of Stalin, but as Mike shows Stalin managed to get inside a few people's heads so perhaps he should have been called on the carpet a little more. But it's a delicate balance to be sure.

ANONYMOUS #2: :) I humbly apologize, I had no idea Mike had already got as high as delivery boy and samovar-polisher. To make amends, I will take over his route for a week so he can just sit back and relax, maybe dash off a novel or two.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious and accurate. It's a shame you can't distribute this to all those that have been spammed and e-mailed by this puffed up cyber-stalker.

jibs said...

that was awesome, I hope this piece will haunt him for a long time and improve his credentials for Tiraspol Times, they need people of his calibre.

Mr. Cheeseburger 9000 said...

While I disagree with the majority of Mr. Averko's comments and "publications," I do have to respect him for believing passionately in his views. No mincing of words, that's for sure.

We need more people like him to express their views, which seems to be the logical extension of some of certain conservative politicians masked as "moderates" or "populists." By expressing his views, he actually is making the argument against them even stronger, without anyone having to say any words against it. So, Mr. Averko, keep writing! The rational world knows definitely what direction and world view it does not want to take: yours!

g-l-k said...

Thank you, LR, it's absolutely HILARIOUS! I've just discovered this post - and I really really had one of the best laughs of my life:)
Keep it up. Cheers from Moscow.