Voices from Russia

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Myths about Russia: Can One Believe Western Media “Translations” of Putin?

00 USA Russia flags. Putin quote. 27.09.12


The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, when arguing with Sophists, the PR managers of his time, tried to persuade them that BEING is more important than SEEMING. Why? Because, Socrates believed, the fallacious nature of “seeming wise whilst not being wise” would sooner or later show itself. His opponents, the Sophists, retorted by saying that words were always subject to interpretation, so, someone controlling interpretation would sooner or later control reality. In our times, Sophists would probably find their golden age, as people twist words and images in unimaginable ways. However, two stories do stand out. One is the story of the Western media’s interpretation of Putin’s comments on gays in Russia. The second one is the same media’s interpretation of the events in Kiev (instead of a neo-Nazi pogrom, we get “a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrators”).

Here is the Moscow Times former editor-in-chief Lynn Berry charging on Putin’s answer to the question on the law against gay propaganda among minors. As one may see from this recording of Putin’s speech, President Putin went out of his way to show the most open attitude possible:

We have no prohibition of non-traditional forms of sexual interaction between people, we only prohibit propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia, I’d stress it, among minors. These are two absolutely different things. Absolutely different things… prohibition of certain relationships, and prohibition of propaganda of these relationships. We don’t prohibit anything, we don’t arrest anyone, you can’t be made responsible for these relationships. This makes us different from many countries in the world, including the USA, where some states still list non-traditional sexual orientation formally as a crime. We don’t have anything like that, that’s why everyone can feel himself or herself free and unrestrained, just leave the children in peace, please.

So, what does Berry write for the AP, for lots of newspapers which consider this agency’s information objective? Right, she makes the headline “Russian President Putin Links Gays to Paedophiles“. Then, just two lines down the text, Berry heaps one more lie on top of the first one… “He defended Russia’s anti-gay law by equating gays with paedophiles and said Russia needs to ‘cleanse’ itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate”. This is a classical case of sophistical manipulation, even if a very crude one. The two verbs “to link” and “to equate”… are they synonyms? No. If you link one thing to another one, that doesn’t mean you equate these two things. If some twisted mind could still see a “linkage” between paedophilia and homosexuality in what Putin said, then, that same twisted mind shouldn’t see an “equation” here, unless that mind is completely dishonest… even with itself. Of course, seeing an “anti-gay law” in a law that speaks about a fine for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”… this is a manipulation, a dishonest and arbitrary interpretation of a text. However, this manipulation is already so “mainstream”, so ingrained in the reader’s conscience, that Berry doesn’t even bother to give any proof for it, besides citing some “international outcry”, obviously provoked by articles with an equally neoliberal attitude to their subject.

Of course, Putin never suggested “cleansing” the country of homosexuality… but hey, this is Russia; you can say whatever you want about it with complete impunity. Berry seized the opportunity, writing that Putin suggested that gays were more likely to abuse children (there are no quotation marks… for the simple reason that Putin never made such a suggestion). This isn’t the first case when the Western media get the wrong end of the stick on Putin’s words (or those of Slobodan Milošević or Vladimír Mečiar, for instance), for it ascribes to itself the right to be the “translator” of things the leaders of other countries say. These “translators” follow a principle… if reality doesn’t correspond to Western stereotypes (which we, the media, formed)… then, so much worse for the reality.

From dishonest media handling there is just one small step to crude political mistakes. Everyone must have forgotten how columnists from the Washington Post or the New York Times were discussing the amounts of weapons of mass destruction at Saddam Hussein’s disposal before the USA invaded Iraq in 2003. Similarly respected publications were counting the months (if not days) which were left to Assad’s power just before the Syrian Civil War started in 2011. Now, the war has been on for almost three years; none of these so-called “experts” resigned or got the boot for these miscalculations.

A reader can look at video of Ukrainian policemen being burnt alive by people the Western media calls “peaceful protesters”, who happened to have a strange peaceful taste for Molotov cocktails. However, in the mainstream Western media, you’ll only read about the “draconian laws” of the Ukrainian government, which doesn’t allow arsonists and other “protesters” to wear masks at their rallies. Worse, the Washington Post calls these pogrom-makers “opposition militants bolstered by government-sponsored provocateurs” and bemoaned the fact that these over-emotional youngsters “tarnished the previously peaceful character of the protest movement” (for those interested in the “previously peaceful” beatings of policemen and destruction of statues, it’s enough to watch video of the Euromaidan activities in December 2013… especially, the shots of the storming of the presidential administration).

Hence, the US State Department’s grotesque reaction to events in Kiev, blaming the violence on the government’s failure to “acknowledge legitimate grievances of the people” and praising the opposition. Of course, the Washington Post knows everything about other countries; it describes Belarus as “an autocratic Kremlin colony” (the problem with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is that he seems to be no one’s viceroy). The WP is never too shy to draw conclusions from its omniscience; calling for sanctions against Yanukovich if he “uses violence against the protesters” (I wonder if people burning policemen in Washington DC would get bouquets of flowers) {BTW… Molotov cocktails are ILLEGAL in the USA, which makes the Kiev rioters mere CRIMINALS… just sayin’: editor}. A long time ago, the Founding Fathers called on America to lead other countries by example. It’s a pity that this example is getting more and more “lost in translation”… translation that we get from the likes of Lynn Berry. This translation of reality looks more and more like manipulation.

23 January 2014

Dmitri Babich

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

What more need I add? Both sides of the American political spectrum engage in the same sort of lies… both the Washington Post and Washington Examiner lie about the Ukrainian situation, as do Fox News and MSNBC/CNN. You’d think that the country’s in flames. The rioting remains limited, it’s in a small area in central Kiev and in certain perpetually gnarly areas in the Western Ukraine. The only area to have unrest outside of the Far West was something in Sumy, and that’s all. That is, most of the country (and Kiev) is going about its normal business. The Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea resolved:

We propose halting government outlays in regions that waive the rule of law, until we restore constitutional order there. The very basis of a constitutional state and the system of state power is under threat. The rioters claim that they’re “taking power into their own hands”. They obey the decisions of a self-proclaimed “People’s Rada”; they’ve already started forming illegitimate bodies of public authority.

This is truth. The rioters are criminal elements intent on overthrowing the legitimate government. That is, the USA WANTS chaos and bloodshed, if it results in more profits for American crapitalists. When you tune into the Fox News/CNN duopoly, when you listen to the rubbish spouted by ignorant, ridiculous, and self-serving ranters such as Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin (“Rush stuck in his thumb, pulled out 400 million plums, ‘Gee, what a good boy am I'”), that’s what you advocate, too. There’s no getting away from it. The sheer stupidity and evil of it all reeks to high heaven (do note that it doesn’t deter the American Hard Right from embracing it though… it speaks volumes as to their intelligence and character, doesn’t it?).

What’s sad is that’s no real spectrum amongst the media in the USA. It’s all either Hard Right neoliberalism (“conservatism”) or Centrist neoliberalism (“liberalism”). There’s no Conservatism (in the legitimist Burkean/Bismarckian sense); there’s no Leftism (in the socialist Marxist/Fabian sense). That is, neither the “Right” or the “Left” of this supposed dichotomy are really in opposition… both are in favour of a neoliberal society, the only disagreement is over how much of a role Multinational Corporations will play in decision-making. That’s why “Progressivism” fails on all counts… it’s a non-answer to made-up “problems”. For instance, look at the inane proposals for “income redistribution” from upper-middle class “Progressives”… all they do is to take from the middle to give to the lower. They don’t touch the rich or upper-middles… “Why, that’d be unfair! We EARNED it”. Of course, most decent folk reject such nonsense (as do I and most Leftists). We need a REAL Left solution… which would target the REAL exploiters, not poor sods making a living. However, with the media the way it is, it leaves people uninformed, ergo, they’re unarmed and helpless.

Much the same is occurring with the Seraphim Storheim  affair. The OCA apparat lies by omission and by lawyerly parsing. Indeed, notice what the judge said about Storheim:

I don’t believe the testimony of the accused. The accused wasn’t credible about his behaviour. He … provided nonsensical answers and wasn’t consistent in his version of events. … He loves to parse words and concepts. Other times, he’d provide nonsensical answers. I reject his evidence entirely.

This wasn’t a journalist writing an article. This was a judge, in a court of law, speaking on the record. In short, Mr Justice Mainella called Seraphim Storheim a liar… and by extension, he also implied that it meant those who supported him in the OCA apparat. We all know how the First Families denied many the Mysteries under suspicious circumstances (quite often, the pious explanation is that the person involved wasn’t “repentant”, they wouldn’t “take responsibility” for their actions). Do note how that’s flipped on its head for the First Families and those they favour. “Ignore the court! Ignore the judge! Ignore the verdict! You must love the sinner, forgive them, and accept the fact that they’ll suffer no consequence at all for their actions”. I’ll be frank… such a construct is evil and beyond the pale… I’m NOT alone in thinking that way. There’ll be “interesting times” ahead…


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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cat Busted Ferrying Pot to Cons in Moldova Prison

00 Cat Criminals in Moldova. 20.10.13



They busted a cat for smuggling pot into a prison in Moldova. Prison guards became suspicious about the feline, which routinely entered and left the prison through a hole in a fence, when they noticed its odd collar. On closer inspection, they found two packets of marijuana attached to it. On Friday, the Department of Penitentiary Institutions said that someone in the village of Pruncul used the cat as a courier to supply inmates with dope at the local prison. Whoever the human was, this wasn’t a first regarding cat couriers at lockups. In June, guards caught a cat carrying mobile phones and chargers taped to its belly to inmates in Penal Colony Nr 1 near the city of Syktyvkar in northern Russia.


Prison guards nabbed an audacious cat after they caught it red-handed trying to smuggle two bags of cannabis into a prison in Moldova. Now, the prison authorities are looking for the moggy‘s trainer, who they believe may live in the nearby village of Pruncul, supplying inmates with illegal drugs for some time. Prison officers became suspicious of the grey and white cat, which regularly came and went through a hole in the fence, when they noticed it was wearing a peculiar collar. When they apprehended the cat, they found two packets of marijuana attached to it. The Justice Ministry posted a video of the find online. It showed one officer gently stroking the bemused cat whilst removing the purple collar. Then, a second officer cut through two lumps in the collar, to reveal cannabis in its herb form. Yesterday, the Department of Penitentiary Institutions said that someone in the nearby village of Pruncul was using the cat as a courier to supply inmates with the drug at Penitenciarului Nr 9 prison.

It isn’t the first time that someone used cats in Eastern Europe to evade capture by prison authorities. In June, guards caught a cat carrying mobile phones and chargers taped to its belly to inmates in Penal Colony Nr 1 near the city of Syktyvkar in northern Russia. In August last year, police in Rostov Oblast foiled a plot to use a cat to smuggle heroin into a prison, according to a report in the Moscow Times. Inmates took the cat out of the prison following their release, smuggling the animal out in their bags, giving it to drug dealers waiting outside. Then, they stuffed the drug into the cat’s collar, and released the animal, which sneaked back into the prison. In a similar case in 2010, a prison do killed a heroin-carrying cat whilst trying to enter a prison in Tatarstan. Inmates in Arapiraca, in Brazil’s northeastern Alagoas state, also used these evasion tactics. Earlier this year, guards caught a cat trying to slip through the gates with tools, including a saw and a drill, tapped to its body.

19 October 2013



Daily Mail (London)


Saturday, 28 April 2012

28 April 2012. Who Woulda Thunk It… This Image is from the Pro-Zapadnik “Moscow Times”


This image came from the Moscow Times… you heard me right… the rabidly pro-Western, reliably pro-Corporate, and smarmily Russophobic newspaper. This photo truly gives you an idea of how many people showed up for the molieben. Indeed, 65,000 may be an underestimate. One wonders why the OCA and the ROCOR don’t want to publicly support the Mother Church. The choice is simple, do we support His Holiness and a “Nation Under God”, or, do we support the Western Neoliberal (“conservative”) notion that “Greed is Good” and the “Race Goes to the Swiftest?” We can have one or the other… but not both. We CAN choose… will it be the Lady (Justice and Cooperation) or the Tiger (Oppression and Greed)? It IS up to us…


Thursday, 10 June 2010

Church Wants End to Darwin School “Monopoly”

Editor’s Foreword:

There is a solecism in the second sentence that was in the original, so, I had to post it “as is”. Here is the sentence as it stands:

The time has come for the monopoly of Darwinism and the deceptive idea that science in general contradicts religion.

This sentence is a sign of poor and hasty editing… but the Moscow Times is famous for such, that’s why it’s not one of my favoured sources (besides their Neoliberal Corporatist bias, of course). This came in on my Google Alerts twice, so, someone is trying to make a point. Rather snarky, no? They get a Special Big Green Weenie Award…



The Russian Orthodox Church (sic) has called for an end to the “monopoly of Darwinism” in schools, saying religious explanations of creation should be taught alongside evolution. “The time has come for the monopoly of Darwinism and the deceptive idea that science in general contradicts religion. These ideas should be left in the past . Darwin’s theory remains a theory. This means it should be taught to children as one of several theories, but children should know of other theories, too”, Archbishop Hilarion said on Wednesday at a lecture to Foreign Ministry officials. The atheist Soviet state used Darwin’s theory of evolution to disprove the biblical teaching that God created the world. The theory, which biologists say gives a verifiable explanation for how life forms develop through natural selection, now dominates in Russian schools, as it does in science teaching in most countries. Hilarion said the theory that one species could evolve into another had never been proven. Children “should know about the religious picture, the creation of the world, which is common to all the monotheistic religions”, he said.

Lyudmila Aleksyeva, a veteran dissident, said Russian liberals would fight any attempt to introduce religious teaching into the classroom, particularly in science. “It’s a dangerous idea, and we will do all we can to stop it”, she said. “We overcame communism as the state ideology, and certain forces want to replace it with Orthodox Christianity”. She said it was unlikely that religious teaching would replace Darwin in the national curriculum, but it could find its way into some schools with enough pressure from the church. Hilarion heads the church’s external relations department. His lecture was dedicated to fighting “fanatical secularism” of liberals hostile to religion and called for dialogue with moderate secularists and cooperation with Catholics against common foes.

10 June 2010


As quoted in Moscow Times


Editor’s Note:

There are two expat rags in English in Moscow that are of any consequence, the Moscow News and the Moscow Times. The first hews closer to the Russian reality in reporting the news, whilst the latter kisses the bum of the Western corporatist media machine. You can see that in the post above. It’s not closed down… there’s a free press in Russia. It’s simple… people don’t want to read the Western BS… they read stuff like KP and Pravda (which ain’t your daddy’s Pravda… they reinvented themselves after ’91). I can tell you that this story got NO mention in the Russian press save for a reference in NG (which is not remarkable… they have some people who lean towards the zapadnik position). What the Russian press picked up was Alfeyev shooting down a patriarch-pope confab and the story on inter-Orthodox relations. THIS is why English-speaking konvertsy never “get it”. They get their news from tainted sources, so, does it surprise you that they come to crook conclusions? Ah, yes… let’s have an example of such… there are one million people in the OCA! Paffhausen said so! Bobby K said so! It was on the English side of Pravoslavie.ru! There are two words for anything from a Western corporatist journalist on Russia (and that INCLUDES Sophia Kishkovsky at the International Herald Trib… remember that she’s Lyonyo’s daughter (she didn’t have to be any good, one of Lyonyo’s CFR buddies got her the job, no doubt)!):


As this post abundantly illustrates, take along your BS-ometer whenever you read Western reportage. Much of it can’t be described any other way. Do remember that Reuters gave crook figures on Russian population decline recently. They DO have an agenda… and it’s anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox (do also note that SVS agrees with this agenda, by the way). Bear that in mind…


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