Voices from Russia

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Jabberwocky Lives Next to Porky… Nuttiness po-Ukrainsky: German Media sez Kiev Junta Bans Depardieu Movies

00 ukrainian media. where will we pour out our shit now. 240615


On Saturday, according to German tabloid Bild, the Ukrainian Ministry of Cultural Affairs introduced a blacklist of pro-Kremlin actors and singers, and legendary French-born movie star Gérard Depardieu happens to be one of the unfortunate 13 celebrities banned by the junta. “The Ukrainian 13” does sound a bit like a blockbuster title, but the junta wasn’t joking when it released a list of celebrities banned from Ukrainian television, radio broadcasts, and movie theatres. The new list only adds to more than 100 Russian films and television shows prohibited in the Ukraine since 2014, as the junta is gradually trying to stamp out Russian pop culture. Depardieu wasn’t on the list by mistake. It’s no secret that the junta banned the 66-year-old star from entering the Ukraine for five years in July. However, Ukrainian Culture Minister I G Kirilenko said that the sanctions wouldn’t affect Depardieu’s films. It seems that the time has come, and from now on, they won’t even allow Depardieu on the screens.

Gérard Depardieu became a huge international star at young age, featured in such films as The Man in the Iron Mask, Les Misérables, and Green Card. In 2013, the actor left France in protest against a proposed new top tax rate of 75 percent. President V V Putin granted him Russian citizenship, and Depardieu adopted Russia as his new homeland. His Russian citizenship didn’t outrage the junta; they stamped him as a “threat to national security” due to his frank comments on Ukraine’s integrity and his close relations with the Kremlin, with President Putin, in particular. At a film festival in Latvia in 2014, Depardieu said, “I love Russia and the Ukraine, which is part of Russia”… this could be the main reason Kiev is so displeased with him. Since the pro-western junta came to power in Kiev, such comment is enough to turn someone into persona non grata.

Amongst other banned celebrities is 77-year-old Russian singer and legislator I D Kobzon, known as the “Soviet Frank Sinatra”. Previously, he had his European assets frozen and the EU banned him from travel to Europe for his alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis {Iosif Davydovich is a Donetsk homie and he’s given much humanitarian aid to his hometown: editor}. Besides this, Ukrainian intelligence agencies submitted another list of 500 more international celebrities that they think that the junta should ban from the Ukraine.

10 August 2015

Sputnik International



Wednesday, 23 October 2013

23 October 2013. Have a RUSSIAN Smile… How the Russians (Along with Help from Will Smith and Gérard Depardieu) Foiled the Space Aliens

00 Russia Day. The alien invasion. Part 1. 23.10.13


00 Russia Day. The alien invasion. Part 2. 23.10.13


Who woulda thunk it? The Earth’s secret weapon is… VODKA! Its most expert practitioners, the Russians, wield it… gee, the aliens won’t have a chance trying to outdrink a bunch of Russkie topers (with a little help from the Polacks and Serbs, who’re just as wild n’ wooly partiers as we are)! Get a load of the penultimate frame… Medvedev in a telnyashka waving about a bottle of hooch… that’s priceless…



On 12 June, Russia gets ready to celebrate Russia Day. All is set when a giant alien spaceship enters the Earth’s orbit and prepares to attack Russia. President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and French actor Gérard Depardieu are in charge of saving the country and the entire world from an alien invasion. Luckily, for them, Independence Day veteran Will Smith happens to be in Russia for the promotional tour of his latest movie… all is set for yet another inter-space battle of epic proportions. Will our heroes succeed?

In the middle of the Russia Day celebrations on 12 June, a giant alien spaceship threatened the country. Hollywood actor Will Smith, in Moscow on a promotional tour, tries to fight back (Independence Day-style, of course!), but he’s taken as a prisoner. It’s now up to French actor Gérard Depardieu, who recently acquired Russian citizenship, to save Will Smith and the entire country from an alien invasion. He hides inside a matryoshka Trojan horse with a stash of party supplies… will his ingenious plan work?

11/12 June 2013

Russia Behind the Headlines



Thursday, 18 July 2013

Why J-Lo Is More Ethical Than Our Greatest Statesmen

01 Mammon


I’m not sure when I first became aware of the oeuvre of the “singer” Jennifer Lopez… she of the two-note vocal range… but it may well have been when I was living in Kazakhstan in late 1999. As the new millennium approached, her track Waiting for Tonight was in heavy rotation on the German music channel I got with my satellite TV package. It was utterly rotten, but better than the works of Die Fantastischen Vier (click here), so I sometimes let it play out. Anyway, that early association of J-Lo + Central Asian autocracy might explain why I was neither shocked nor all that bothered when word got out that Jenny from the Block performed for Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the dictator of Turkmenistan. I mean… commercial pop star accepts cash for performance… whoa, stop the presses!

Yes, yes, I know, Berdymukhamedov’s a nasty man. That’s true. However, you know what? I recall that when I was in Kazakhstan, Vanessa-Mae (click here)… now largely forgotten, but at that time considered a superhot pop/classical act… played in the capital Astana during the New Year celebrations and nobody cared. Indeed, lots of pop stars have performed for shady types in oppressive post-Soviet régimes for two decades now. Nevertheless, since J-Lo isn’t yet totally washed up, all of a sudden, it’s news. Of course, J-Lo’s entourage claimed that she wouldn’t have performed for Berdymukhamedov had she known who he is… apparently none of them heard of this thing called “Google”. Then, a human rights organisation revealed that she’s raked in as much as 10 million bucks (325 million Roubles. 7.7 million Euros. 6.6 million UK Pounds) over the years performing in Azerbaijan, Belarus, and elsewhere, and has even serenaded the ever-charming Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya, so the professed innocence seems dubious.

Of course, she’s hardly alone in her penchant for entertaining dodgy geezers… Beyonce and Mariah Carey once sang for members of Gaddafi’s family; Sting hung out with Islam Karimov’s daughter for ca$h; and lots of celebrities chilled at Kadyrov’s expense, from Hilary Swank to Gérard Xavier Marcel Depardieu. It’s the same story every time (unless you’re Depardieu, who doesn’t care)… “Oh, I didn’t know…” even as they’re trousering a wad of dollars, which some later gave away out of sincere regret/for face-saving PR (delete as appropriate). You can believe their claims of ignorance if you like, but, you know, Gaddafi was kind of famous, and, as I said, there’s this thing called Google…

The selectiveness of the outrage bothers me. You see, all of these celebrities are clear about what they do… they perform for money. J-Lo is a businesswoman and she does business in dodgy places, like ExxonMobil or Coke or Apple. However, she’s a trivial person; she doesn’t matter. If we’re going to savage her, then, there are some bigger targets we ought to focus on first. Like Tony Blair, for instance… his consulting agency Tony Blair Associates is currently advising the government of Kazakhstan in exchange for buckets of cash. That’s much dodgier than an aging single mother of two dancing for some khan in the desert; indeed, dancing for the khan is more honourable… it’s an ancient art and comes free of Tony Blair’s self-righteous, self-exculpatory blather.

What about Bill Clinton, everybody’s favourite vegan ex-president? He makes millions each year blathering away to foreigners; a speech from Clinton can cost you half a million bucks (16.25 million Roubles. 400,000 Euros. 325,000 UK Pounds), and he won’t even put on a skin-tight sparkly dress for you. Sometimes, he talks to Canadians and Swedes, but if the payday is good enough, he’ll jet off to Saudi Arabia, a country so oppressive it makes Turkmenistan look like a San Francisco nudist colony circa 1968. The rulers of assorted oppressive oil-rich regimes gain a lot of cachet by hosting Clinton. What prestige did Berdymukhamedov gain by having the fading singer of Love Don’t Cost a Thing mime on stage for him? Zero.

Then, there’s Al Gore, who hates global warming so much that he sold his rubbish TV station to the Emir of Qatar for 500 million USD (16.25 billion Roubles. 380 million Euros. 330 million UK Pounds), and I needn’t add that the champion greenhouse-gas-generating emir isn’t known for his progressive views either. Sure, Gore got a bit of stick for that, but not enough. That’s not fair. Has J-Lo spent her career banging on about human rights in Central Asia only to turn against everything she’d ever said as soon as the payout was awesome enough? No. On the other hand, Al Gore smeared himself with filthy lucre as quick as he could.

Let’s be reasonable here. J-Lo is paid to entertain. Sometimes, she entertains unpleasant people. However, she’s got a toy boy… she has to keep him in bling, you understand, and, at least, she works hard for an hour or so on stage to get her money. Compare that with some of the most respected, allegedly enlightened statesmen of our age who’ll spout platitudes at just about any old thug if the bucks are big enough. I know who I think is more honest.

17 July 2013

Daniel Kalder



Sunday, 13 January 2013

13 January 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Depardieumania

00 Sergei Yolkin. Depardieumania. 2013


Sergei Yolkin



Gérard Depardieu decided to move after new French President François Hollande introduced tax reforms that imposed a marginal tax rate of 75 percent on income over a million Euros (40.57 million Roubles. 1.34 million USD. 830,000 UK Pounds) a year. On 3 January 2013, Depardieu became a Russian citizen.

10 January 2013

Sergei Yolkin




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