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Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Mailbag: A Russia Blog Rat Speaks His "Mind"

Letters, we get letters, we get lots of cards and letters every day

The following missive appeared in our mailbox on Wednesday, July 18th, the same day we published this post (dateline Thursday) criticizing the reporting on Russophile propaganda machine Russia Blog based on the analysis of the Ruminations on Russia blog.

Dear "Kim,"

I think you must read Russia Blog more than I do, because Vlad's post was up for probably less than twenty minutes. But still, I'm really flattered that you check our site that often. As for all the personal attacks - well, no one has any idea if you've ever been to Russia. And I do agree with Vladimir that anonymity does lend itself to being more hateful online, as both you and this other fellow have demonstrated.

Sincerely Yours,

Charles Ganske
Editor, Russia Blog

Here is La Russophobe publisher Kim Zigfeld's response:

Dear Mr. Ganske,

Looks like we really hit a nerve with our latest expose of your shoddy propaganda exercise, didn't we? Thanks for confirming it in writing.

Also, thanks for confirming how "up" we are on what is going on in the blogosphere. Please do tell your friends and neighbors. We definitely do keep close tabs on the outrageous lies you tell over at Russia Blog, we make a point of it. And in return we are delighted to compliment you on being such an avid reader of La Russophobe, since your e-mail appeared in our inbox scant seconds after we posted our comments about your blog.

Finally, thanks for giving me a wonderful excuse to rip Russia Blog yet another new one, just as I'd hoped you'd do.

Now, to respond to your "substantive" points:

You are not qualified to edit a blog about Russia, and everybody who knows Russia knows that (the blogger at Ruminations on Russia, who lives there, certainly made it quite clear if there was any doubt). As far as I know, you're the only person in the English-speaking blogosphere who occupies a position of authority without having such credentials and as such you stand out like a sore большой палец. Instead of trying to defend your qualifications, which don't exist, you therefore try to change the subject to my qualifications. That's the most pathetic kind of neo-Soviet propaganda tactic, and the fact that you could think it might work with me only goes to prove how utterly lost you really are. I'm actually a bit surprised to find out you are so small-minded. This kind of "thinking" brought down the USSR, and it will just as surely bring down Russia and Russia Blog.

Think about it, Mr. Ganske: Does the fact that I'm not qualified to edit a Russia blog mean that you are? Only the most ignorant kind of child would think so. Basically, what you've done is to admit that you are not qualified, and to argue that since I'm not qualified either, it's OK for you not to be. It's classic neo-Soviet stupidity, exactly the kind that drove Soviet Russia right into the ground.

Think about it, Mr. Ganske: If you lack any credentials in Russian life and culture, how would you know whether I have them or not? Not exactly logical, is it?

That said, your statement is completely detached from any vague conception of the truth. Even my worst enemies know full well that I speak Russian and have lived extensively in the country. They attack me for my alleged "bias" and "hatred" as well as my claimed lack of intelligence, not my knowledge and experience with Russia. A huge number of my readers and contributors are Russians. Again, the fact that you don't comprehend this basic fact only goes to show how utterly detached you are from reality, and how unreliable your crazy propaganda exercise at Russia Blog really is. Like most Russophiles, you're pathetically lost in a world of your own imagining.

Now, it turns out, your credentials as an economics and business analyst are also being called into question -- by someone who is, in fact, doing business in Russia. I can't say I'm surprised by this revelation, nor am I surprised at your reaction. I will say in your defense that the sad thing is that no matter how lame your credentials and analysis are, the credentials and analysis of Yuri Mamchur, Russia Blog's publisher, are infinitely more lame (as we've documented here on this blog st some length, they're actually bogus). Though you have no first hand knowledge of Russia, at least you're not a Kremlin stooge (just the lackey of a stooge). In this arena what Russia Blog is doing is all the more sordid and unsavory, since you are using your blog to help line the pockets of Mr. Kuznetsov by spewing ridiculous lies about the Russian economy to unsuspecting investors. One day you should look up the term "conflict of interest" and reflect on its meaning -- but first, of course, you'd have to come to grips with the term "ethics."

As Ruminations on Russia has brilliantly and succinctly exposed, the only people who respect what Russia Blog is doing are lay people with no real knowledge of Russia (i.e., victims) and rabid Russophile idealogues. Your content is devoid of sourcing, devoid of critical analysis, and devoid of real knowledge of what is happening on the ground in Russia today. Pure and simple, it's propaganda -- just as ROR very accurately said it was. And just like the USSR, you think you can fool people with it. Sorry, Charlie. That boat has sailed.

Given the wacko ideology (the loathsome concept of teaching "intelligent design" in public schools, just for instance) that underlies the bizarre propaganda entity, Discovery Institute, which financially supports Russia Blog, none of the foregoing is the least bit surprising to me or to anyone else. You're merely doing what such folks have always done, playing fast and loose with the facts in order to advance a bald ideological agenda and hoping nobody will notice. Unfortunately for you, jig's up -- they have, and will continue to, right up until your blog goes the way of the USSR.

Very truly yours

Kim Zigfeld
Publisher, La Russophobe

PS: Since you seem to be against "hatefulness" and personal abuse, it's rather odd that you choose to place my name in quotation marks, and to question my credentials, clear acts of hate and personal attack. This kind of rank hypocrisy is the true mark of a Russophile sociopath. Did you think at all before you made your statement about anonymity being connected to abuse and hate? Do Howard Stern, Don Imus or Rush Limbaugh have anonymity? Maybe you don't care for their "hateful" attack style, but their audiences dwarf yours, and Yuri sure does go on and on about the size of your audience, so it must be important to you. Meanwhile, what about all the works of literature that have been published anonymously? What about the fact that anonymity is more the rule than the exception in the blogosphere, and there are lots of excellent reasons for doing it (starting with the fact that its lets the blogger's ideas stand alone, rather than trying to leverage a background or organization, something you obviously haven't got the guts for). What about the many human rights organizations (such as Global Voices) that advise bloggers how to blog anonymously so they won't be persecuted and killed like Anna Politkovskaya. Are you trying to help identify anti-Kremlin bloggers so you can help them get killed? That's pretty mean, if you are. It would make you an accomplice to murder. Do you have the guts to publicly condemn Global Voices for advising anonymous blogging? Or are you just blowing ignorant smoke? I don't recall you complaining about the hostile statements made about me by the anonymous Russophile blogger at Konstatin's Russian Blog. Did you ever do so? Or are you only annoyed when you are the one being attacked? You simply can't tell the truth or be fair, it's simply pathological. Meanwhile, apparently you are the sort of coward who thinks that Hitler and Stalin should have been met not with hatred but with kindness and understanding. Like Neville Chamberlain, you think confrontation won't work and conciliation will. He was wrong. So are you. And the hubris with which you cling to a failed world view is quite revolting.


Anonymous said...

Winston here...

As it happens, I have just come across this on the Russia Blog site today:

Who IS the 25 year old Yuri Mamchur to spit in the face of fine young Russian politicians of his age WHO I KNOW (don't accuse me of not knowing what I am talking about) who are harassed and picked on the the Russian authorities for being nothing other than the kind of democratic activists that American democracy fosters but Russian "Managed Democracy" beats the living daylights out of.

Sorry kid but you are not long out of school and it shows. You simply do not know what you are talking about.

When you go on about your Russian friends and the frequent visits you make to Moscow, I bet you are not talking to these people. I don't think they would give you the time of day anyway.

How DARE you and your invitees at the seminar cited in this link spout the rubbish you do. If you were just saying silly things about Russia that would be one thing, but there is more. Its about people not your ego, and not your blog. People. People are being persecuted NOW and are having their lives and careers destroyed for standing up to the Kremlin.

I am spluttering with rage at the drivel that these so-called experts spouted.

For example... Bill Robinson the "international attorney" states on the subject of the Moscow marches:

"Garry Kasparov, who is backed by [the exiled Russian oligarch Boris] Berezovsky, was very cagey about the way he pulled that demonstration off. [WINSTON HERE: This is rubbish!! ONLY the Kremlin are saying this. Kasyanov vehemently denies it, and has done many times. How DARE Robinson repeat such slanderous lies] You cannot have a major demonstration in any city in the world without complying with whatever the local government’s regulations are as to how and where a major demonstration may be held. He [Kasparov] was given a permit for a favored place to have his demonstration, and everyone knew where it was. He deliberately chose another location to fight the government and create a scene to get attention in the Western press. It’s that simple. We’ve never had issues in this country, have we, where we’ve had overreaction by law enforcement with respect to demonstrations, have we? This has never been a political issue…"

Can you believe this?

Now just listen to this.. He even thinks the US State Department don't know what they are talking about....

"We need to elevate the role of Russian policy, and recognize Russia as a strategic partner. Democracy is always a concern, but the primary business of U.S. foreign policy should be the foreign policy, not the domestic policy, of another country. [WINSTON again: Do I hear right? So we shouldn't have opposed Auschwitz because it was a "domestic" matter. Or the gulag?] The recent U.S. State Department report on human rights in countries, including Russia, made gratuitous comments with respect to Politkovskaya, victims of political repression, the restrictive new NGO law, and so forth. That was not helpful."

Uh? Since when is telling the truth "gratuitous"?

I could go on. And on and on. Such drivel isn't even worth the effort.

And I would add, noting that the Discovery Institute infers that it is a foundation with a strong basis in Christian belief that, as a fellow believer, I am DEEPLY ashamed by these people. Our God is a God who hates injustice, loves mercy, and has compassion on the persecuted. They appear to have none.

And I can say what I would not say to someone of no faith - that their refusal to challenge the evils of Russia today is incredibly sinful. If they claim a faith, they have a God to answer to. And I can't find anything in His book which excuses their turning their back on the suffering of others in this way.

Mark said...

Sorry you have to put up with this stuff. Wonderful blog, and I hope you don't mind, but I've used your stuff quite a bit (and linked, I might add!).

Keep up the good work!