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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Latynina on KGB Mindreaders

Writing in the Moscow Times, hero journalist Yulia Latynina exposes yet another ridiculous neo-Soviet fraud:

During a televised call-in session with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, an engineer from Novosibirsk asked Putin what he thought about former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's comment that Russia "unjustly controls" too many natural resources in Siberia. Putin responded that he was unfamiliar with the statement, but that he knew "some politicians play with such ideas in their heads."

Question: Where did an ordinary guy like this engineer learn about Albright's phrase?

The first mention of that phrase was made in June 2005, when a contributor to an Internet site calling herself -- or himself -- "Nataly1001" wrote the following: "Albright said that there can be no discussion of worldwide justice as long as a territory like Siberia is owned by a single country."

A heated discussion followed on the site. Skeptics demanded that Nataly1001 provide the source for her quote, while others cried, "You are quoting Zbigniew Brzezinski, not Albright!" In the end, the exact source of the quote was never found.

Nonetheless, Alexei Pushkov, the host of the television program "Postscript," chose to believe Nataly1001's assertion -- with or without a verifiable source. "The quote that Siberia is too large a territory to belong to a single state has been attributed to Madeleine Albright," Pushkov said on his June 14, 2005, program. "And even if she didn't say it exactly like that, she probably thought it, or else some other bright American was thinking it."

From that time forward, people have` referred to that "Postscript" episode as a rock-solid, credible source.

Whatever the case, I'll set the reader's mind at ease: It was, in fact, Albright's phrase. This can be concluded from an interview with Major General Boris Ratnikov, published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Dec. 22, 2006. The interview was titled, "The Secret Service Has Read Albright's Mind."

It just so happens that Ratnikov commanded a secret mind-reading division that could have been called "subliminal intelligence." So, on the eve of the war in Yugoslavia, the general, seemingly in an attempt to get more stars on his epaulet, claimed to have "hooked up to Albright's subconscious mind."

"We detected a pathological hatred of Slavs in Madame Albright's thoughts," Ratnikov said. "She is outraged that Russia holds the world's largest natural resources reserves."

The KGB actively used this "technology" of spreading disinformation in the 1970s. First, certain information was presented in foreign communist newspapers as "suppositions." Then a Soviet paper repeated the same information verbatim, quoting the foreign article as its reliable source. After that, this information was officially presented as a "well-known truth" to the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Now the Internet has taken the place of newspapers in disseminating disinformation, but the technique is the same. The disinformation is planted by an anonymous source. It acquires legitimacy after a snowball effect takes place when references and cross-references to the disinformation multiply exponentially, thus giving the information credibility.

In this case, the final stage of legitimization came when an ordinary Siberian engineer mentioned the quote that so many people had attributed to Albright. The engineer completed the loop by kindly passing the information along to Putin.

But judging from the president's reaction, he had already been briefed on Albright. Surely Putin has also been warned that the United States is on the verge of starting a war to seize Siberia's oil and gas resources, that there were plans in place to assassinate him during his recent visit to Iran and that Washington is plotting a subversive Orange Revolution for Russia. Only the secret services can save Putin and Russia from all of these dangers because they are the only ones who possess extrasensory perception, which will allow them to penetrate into the inner minds of all of Russia's adversaries.

This is what Russia has come to. Sad, isn't it? And the saddest thing of all is that it's all quite Freudian, since if the U.S. owned Siberia Russia would surely attack it as an unfair attempt to dominate the globe.


Anonymous said...

LR, would you be kind enough to answer me this: Why is it that Moscow News keeps watering down and dumbing-down Latynina and everyone else who is trying to tell the truth about Russia? What Putin actually said, as Latynina quoted him in the Russian version of this article at, was:

«Это, на мой взгляд, такая политическая эротика, которая, может быть, кому-нибудь и может доставить удовольствие, но вряд ли приведет к положительному результату", — отметил президент.

Basically, Putin said Albright was a purveyor of "political pornography" for the practical equivalent of masturbators. That is a long goddamn long way from "some politicians play with such ideas in their heads" -- to the point that the latter is a simply dishonest translation of Putin and, I assume, Latynina. It is a crude, stupid man's way to talk about the (even supposed) words of a former senior diplomat. And although not central to the main theme of the article (which was basically to give yet another example of The Lie as Russian National Idea), it is a great example of Putin showing his true colors, and Latynina had a reason for quoting him in full.

Obviously, someone at MT is seeking to soften Putin's rougher edges for a Western audience. But doesn't MT (or Latynina) care at all that they are being used in this way? Evidently not.

Artfldgr said...

Obviously, someone at MT is seeking to soften Putin's rougher edges for a Western audience. But doesn't MT (or Latynina) care at all that they are being used in this way? Evidently not.

interesting... however, by what do you say "evidently not". LaRussophobe has put up a list of over 200 dead journalists...

in such a system one cant use actions as a determination of care. it would be like watching 12 armed men hurting one man, and then judging someone on the side as not caring for jumping in against the twelve armed men and unarmed themselves.

the west (which i am not saying is you), likes to project conditinos and limitations they have to russia as it it has the same limitations. such is the ignorance of totalitarianism, and such.

i would say that a major portion of the russian populatino of average people (the lumpen proletariat), know they are being used, and used poorly... but their inaction and such against a regime that has no limitations other than material/opertional, is a testimony to their sanity, not their compassion.

Anonymous said...

Translation is an art that comes with a code of ethics. One should do it right - to the best of one's abilities - or not at all. If Latynina agreed to a watered-down version of her article in order not to antagonize the authorities (entirely possible), fine. But if MT mistranslated Latynina in order not to antagonize the authorities, that is not at all okay, it is a violation of the sacred trust that exists between translator and the writer of the original. To violate that trust for political expediency is just plain wrong, whether you are laboring under a totalitarian system or not. The proper thing to do, if you think producing a faithful translation will land you in more trouble with the authorities than you can bear, is simply to not do the translation.

We could speculate all day long about what MT's intentions were in watering down the insulting, boorish language of Putin. (Brevity? -- but the MT article was about the same length, so no.) I would like to hear MT's explanation.

La Russophobe said...


Thanks for the tip! This will likely be the subject of a future editorial piece. It's our view that the MT is under considerable pressure from the Kremlin, as we've said before we see it as the canary in the mineshaft, and seems to be gradually diluting much of its coverage (letters to the editor were abolished long ago, as was its forum). As things stand now, it's inevitable that it will be shut down on way or another, sooner rather than later.