Streetwise Professor

July 25, 2010

Chekist Karaoke

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 5:08 pm

Every once in awhile there are stories that capture a major difference in mindset between Russia and the US (or the West, generally).  This is one of those stories:

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he has met the Russian agents recently deported from the US – and claimed they were living “tough lives” and had been “betrayed”.

. . . .

ked whether he had sung karaoke with them, Mr Putin said: “We did, but not with a karaoke box. We sang to live music and we sang ‘Where the Motherland Begins’ and other such songs.”

The song became hugely popular after it featured in a 1960s film about a Russian spy working in Nazi Germany.

I can’t imagine a western president or prime minister doing such a thing.  Cordell Hull’s statement that “gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail” was an extreme, but for the most part American, and most western European statesmen view espionage as something of a necessary evil, and certainly consider those who practice it as rather unsavory.  A karaoke party with spies is almost beyond imagining.

But, it goes to prove the accuracy of LR’s characterization of Putin as a “proud KGB spy.”

The song they sang is also very, very revealing.  It is of the Soviet era.  Moreover, the implicit equation of spying in the US with spying in Nazi German speaks volumes about the attitudes of the Russian security services–and those in government that are just spies seconded to other posts.

Finally, this is choice:

Mr Putin went on to say that the spy swap with the US had come about as a result of “betrayal”.

“Traitors always end badly. They finish up as drunks, addicts, on the street,” he said.

And when asked by reporters if Moscow was planning to take revenge, he said it was incorrect to ask about it.

“It cannot be solved at a press conference. They live by their own laws, and all special services are well aware of these laws,” he said.

Drunks?  Nah, that would be too easy.  The last two paragraphs are rather ominous.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.  Don’t believe in bonhomie between leaders at press conferences (at least I presume he’s referring to Obama-Medvedev conviviality).  I get the definite “payback is a bitch but we don’t talk about it” and “resets only go so far” feel.

The definitive attribution of the capture to betrayal is also very interesting.  I don’t know whether to believe it–it could be easier to blame something like this on betrayal than to an error in the SVR or the effectiveness of US counterintelligence–but knowing Putin it suggests that drunkeness and addiction may be the last thing some people have to worry about.

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  1. That’s the problem with being a Western chauvinist – one can never appreciate diverse cultural traditions (including humor) for what they are and laugh along with them. One is left permanently sour, devoid of human feeling, arrogant, and furiously projecting one’s own complexes onto the Other.

    And, the Americans don’t do espionage gladly stuff is gold – really, I don’t know where to start. Do you still live in the 19th century? The NSA are the world’s biggest spy agency.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — July 25, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  2. Funny thing is, many Russian uber-patriots are convinced that Putin is a Western agent.

    Comment by So? — July 26, 2010 @ 2:41 am

  3. SO, you ought to chat with some actual Russians before speaking for them. A lot of Russians didn’t find Mr P’s comments amusing or even as an attempt at humor. In fact, a number of them thought that the last comment was an admission about the Litvinenko murder. Not much of a yuckety yuck.

    Comment by mossy — July 26, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  4. S/O–just when it seems like you have some potential, there you go again, indulging your inner tool.

    For starters, the first f*cking sentence of the post was that there were differences between Russians and Westerners. And if you can point out an example of an American or European leader singing campfire songs with humint agents . . . I’m all eyes/ears.

    And the only humor in the episode was unintentional. It was not some pomo ironist performance art put on by Putin.

    Your “Other”routine is so infantile. It plays well in Berkeley, I’m sure. In the real world, not so much.

    Re the NSA. Thanks for proving my point. That’s the bloodless, technocratic American approach to intelligence that has been the norm especially post-Carter/Stansfield Turner/Church Committee. There’s a difference between espionage, emphasizing human intelligence, and signals/electronic intelligence of the type NSA does. The whole reason that the US moved so strongly in that direction, at great cost to the effectiveness of its intelligence, is a strong distaste for espionage and human intelligence. Again, thanks for unintentionally making my point for me.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — July 26, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  5. To continue the never-ending saga of La Russophobe’s stupidity, let’s look at the latest:

    Stacy said: “I have no evidence that Putin is a racist or committed any crime.”

    To prove that Putin is a racist or committed a racist crime, LR points to her own editorial earlier on that same page: “American NAZIs proclaim their love for Putin’s racist state!!”. Unfortunately for LR, her only evidence about “American NAZIs” loving Putin or the Russian state is based on a comment form some anonymous person named RoadtoValhalla14, and it is not known who or what he/she is, nor can it be ruled out that he/she is a front for La Russophobe herself acting as a provocateur.

    What is especially touching in LR’s post is that her entire evidence of the alleged racism on the part of the Russian state is based on the following phrase:

    We’ve previously reported on how right-wing lunatics like Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul and David Duke wet themselves when thinking about the racist dictatorship that is Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

    What LR doesn’t realize is that David Duke is a former freely elected state congressman in the state of Louisiana, and Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul were highly popular presidential candidates in USA, with the libertarian Ron Paul still serving as a US congressman. She doesn’t even realize that if anything, her guilt-by-reference “evidence” condemns her own fellow Americans, not the Russians.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 27, 2010 @ 12:20 am

  6. WRT US, why spy on governments when you can buy them? I’m not bothered by Putin’s glorification of spies. (As if he was one. Who exactly did he spy on in Dresden?). I’m bothered by the fact that he’s become a shameless camera whore. He jumped the shark circa 2007. When does he have the time to do actual work, when he is always saving tiger cubs, diving to the bottom of Baikal, rapping with da youth, etc., and yet looks fresh as a pickle? Medvedev, OTOH, often looks downright haggard.

    Comment by So? — July 27, 2010 @ 1:20 am

  7. Further commentary on La Russophobe’s articles:

    La Russophobe wrote about the Vancouver Olympics: “Actually, at the last Olympic Games Russians were proved to have been the very worst cheater of all nations present

    A lie. Not a single Russian athlete was caught at cheating at the Vancouver Olympic Games. Not one.

    La Russophobe continued: “And thanks for admitting that no Russian would win the TDF. They didn’t. Not even a top-three finish.”

    Wrong. Denis Menchov just finished in 3rd place in Tour de France, just 2 minutes behind the winner:

    Denis Menchov didn’t make as many headlines as Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck or Lance Armstrong. But Menchov did ride an amazing 2010 Tour de France and finished on the podium. Menchov took third.

    The best American finished only in 10th place, 12 minutes behind the winner and 10 minutes behind Menchov. And keep in mind that USA’s population is more than twice that of Russia.

    As far as American cyclists are concerned, virtually all their achievements in TDF in the last 20 years are due to doping and cheating:

    Lance Armstrong – accused of constant cheating by his own American teammates Frankie Andreu and Floyd Landis, currently under investigation by the US criminal authorities

    Frankie Andreu – convicted dope using cheat

    Tyler Hamilton – convicted dope using cheat

    Floyd Landis – “won” TDF but was convicted dope using cheating and had his TDF crown taken away

    George Hincapie – alleged by former U.S. Postal teammate Floyd Landis to have participated in systematic doping in the early 2000s

    US Postal Office team – entire team engaged in non-stop doping

    La Russophobe continued: “Much less did any Russian even dream of repeat wins like Armstrong, the greatest biker in the history of the world.

    Of course not. Armstrong won by doping. Why would Russians dream of imitating a despicable doping cheat like Armstrong?

    La Russophobe continued: “ Russia has never produced one such figure in any of the leading athletic contests in world history.

    You are very ignorant. Here are just a few examples of famous Russian/Soviet athletes. And keep in mind that the entire USSR had a smaller population than USA:

    Lev Yashin – the greatest goalie in history, European champion, bronze medalist of the World Cup

    Vladislav Tretiak – greatest goalie – 3 Olympic Gold medals
    Kharlamov, Fetisov, Konstantinov, Bure, Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Firsov, etc – great hockey players

    Larissa Latynina – won more Olympic medals than anybody: 18 medals, of which 9 are gold
    Olga Korbut – 4 Olympic Gold medals
    Nikolay Andranov – the greatest male gymnast in history, 15 Olympic medals, 7 gold
    Boris Shakhlin — winner of 13 Olympic medals, 7 gold
    Alexei Nemov – 12 Olympic medals
    Viktor Chukarin – 11 Olympic medals, 7 gold
    Polina Astakhova – 10 Olympic medals, 5 gold
    Alexander Dityatin – – 10 Olympic medals
    Ludmila Tourischeva — 9 Olympic medals
    Nellie Kim — 5 Olympic Gold medals

    Irina Rodnina – the greatest modern figure skater – 3 Olympic Gold medals
    Urmanov, Petrenko, Yagudin, Plyushcnko, Kulik, Baiul, Pakhomova and many dozens and dozens of Olympic gold medalists

    Cross-Country Skiing
    Lyubov Yegorova – 6 Olympic Gold medals, 9 total
    Raisa Smetanina — – 10 Olympic medals, 4 Gold
    Galina Kulakova — – 4 Olympic Gold medals, 8 total
    Larisa Lazutina — 5 Olympic Gold medals
    Nikolay Zimyatov – 4 Olympic Gold medals

    Speed skating
    Lidia Skoblikova — 6 Olympic Gold medals
    Yevgeny Grishin – 4 Olympic Gold medals

    Stanislav Pozdniakov – 4 Olympic Gold medals
    Elena Novikova 4 Olympic Gold medals
    Viktor Sidyak – 4 Olympic Gold medals
    Vladimir Nazlymov – 6 Olympic medal, 3 golds
    Viktor Krovopuskov – 4 Olympic Gold medals

    Alexander Tikhonov – 4 Olympic Gold medals
    Anfisa Reztsova – 3 Olympic Gold medals

    Vladimir Salnikov — 4 Olympic Gold medals
    Alexander Popov – 4 Olympic Gold medals

    Valentyn Mankin – Sailing – 3 Olympic Gold medals

    Valery Borzov – greatest sprinter, 2 Olympic gold medals, 1 silver
    Viktor Saneyev – triple jump – 3 Olympic Gold medals
    Tatyana Kazankina – running – 3 Olympic Gold medals

    Lyudmila Khvedosyuk-Pinaeva – 3 Olympic Gold medals
    Sergei Chukhray – Canoeing – 3 Olympic Gold medals
    Vladymir Morozov – Canoeing 3 Olympic Gold medals

    Vyacheslav Ivanov 3 Olympic Gold medals

    Alexander Medved 3 Olympic Gold medals
    Buvaisar Saitiev – 3 Olympic Gold medals
    Alexander Karelin – 3 Olympic Gold medals

    USSR/Russian men – 4 Olympic Gold medals, 6 total
    USSR/Russian women – 2 Olympic Gold medals, 5 total

    USSR/Russian women – 4 Olympic Gold medals, 5 silver
    USSR/Russian men – 3 Olympic Gold medals, 8 total

    In fact, among the top 20 Olympic medal winners, almost half are from Russia/USSR.

    La Russophobe continued: “Your lies are really quite silly and neo-Soviet in character.

    You are a little spoiled child.


    Let’s see if she deletes my comments

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 27, 2010 @ 2:09 am

  8. Uh, Mr Bender, did you, um, notice that this blog is called the Streetwise Professor and not La Russophobe? And that the blogger is a he not a she? And that the topic was spy games and singing around the campfire?

    SO, Putin has ALWAYS been a shameless camera whore. We’ve been watching him chew out bureaucrats, call up statistics, look pensive, look powerful, fly fighter planes, drive race cars etc etc etc from about the 3rd month of his presidency. The point is he was singing Soviet songs with the boys and girls, from an era when Russia was the USSR and had an entire different ideology. Or at least that’s the story. That’s pretty weird. And it’s pretty weird to brag about it.

    Comment by mossy — July 27, 2010 @ 2:43 am

  9. I don’t see the problem of singing Soviet songs. They’re catchy, see:

    Comment by Richard — July 27, 2010 @ 4:29 am

  10. Let’s be clear about a couple of things:

    (1) Vladimir Putin HIMSELF SENT these spies to the USA.

    (2) Putin DENIED that they were spies when they were caught.

    In light of these two facts, Putin publicly singing “patriotic” songs with this rabble could not send a clearer message: “I hate America. I have always hated America. I was raised to hate America. I will do all I can as long as I can to destroy America, even if I destroy Russia in the process, just as the USSR was destroyed.”

    Putin is squandering billions on cold war while Russians starve, their roads melt, and they don’t rank in the top 125 nations on the planet for life expectancy.

    How sick can you get? There’s sick, and then there’s Russian sick.

    Comment by La Russophobe — July 27, 2010 @ 6:16 am

  11. Mossy,

    I am a big opponent of most of Putin”s internal policies. So, I am not going to defend them.

    In terms of the despicable FBI circus over the “highly trained Russian spies who couldn’t discover not a single secret in 20 years”, I expressed my disgust in an earlier thread here. Suffices to say that the “ringleader” – Anna Chapman – accused of “secretly assuming a new last name and hiding her Russian origins” – is 28 years old, was 8 when this “ring” started, changed her last name to Chapman because she married a British chap (man) named Chapman in Moscow and spent all her free time conversing in Russian at the Russian version of the Facebook and shuttling between London, Moscow and New York.

    Now about Soviet patriotic songs. There used to be two kinds: the official kind that had heavy uninteresting melodies and boring lyrics about the wonders of socialism and communism. These songs were often sung at official Communist celebrations and nowhere else. They are by now forgotten. But there was another kind of patriotic songs: set to hauntingly beautifu music, they were not about politics, they didn’t praise Communism or Comrade Stalin or Lenin. They were about the beauty of Russian lakes and meadows, about brides receiving a “Dear John” letter form the battlefront, about soldiers who survived the War only to discover that the enemy had burned his wife and children alive in their home. Few Russians can listen without tears to the famous Cranes about the posibility that when soldiers and non-soldiers die, we don’t disappear but become cranes and
    Mark Naumovich Bernes was a Soviet actor and singer of Jewish ancestry, who performed some of the most poignant songs to come out of the World War II, including Tyomnaya noch (1943) and Cranes (1969). By his voice and singing style, he is similar to American performers Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, being the first Soviet crooner. In 1969, Mark Bernes was dying from lung cancer. In the summer of 1969, he recorded his last song Ballad About the Cranes, which became his testament before death. Bernes sang that the soldiers that perished in war turned into cranes who fly over thir loved ones they had left down on the Earth. He sang that the cranes are still in their flight and that soon, he will join their ranks. On August 16, Mark Bernes died. Ballad About the Cranes was played at his funeral.

    The song “‘Where the Motherland Begins” was also Mark Bernes’ song, written for him by great Jewish composer Basner and Jewish poet Matusovsky. Translated, the world say:

    With what does the homeland begin?
    With pictures in your alphabet book?
    With good an loyal friends
    Living across the street?

    Or maybe it begins
    With the song our mother sang when we were babies?
    Or maybe it begins with first spring song of the starling bird?
    Or with the neverending Rural road?

    Such Russian patriotic songs are pacifist and teach that patriotism means the love for one’s parents, friends and the nature.

    I find it amazing that Craig thinks that US leaders would never sing such songs. That’s really too bad. Maybe if they did sing these peaceful patriotic songs, America would not be such a warmongering nation? And maybe we wouldn’t be hearing about more and more war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan every day? Just take a look at the hateful paranoid warmongering lyrics that the political leaders and average citizens sing almost every day in our national anthems. Here are some phrases from the American anthem:

    “bombs bursting in air”
    “Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes”
    “Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave”

    “Then conquer we must”


    I am not quite sure which of the two groups – Native Americans or British people or both – this anthem intends to conquer, terrorize and exterminate, but the Brits’ are almost as militaristic and paranoid in their own anthem:

    ” God save our gracious Queen,
    Long live our noble Queen,
    O Lord, our God, arise,
    Scatter her enemies,
    And make them fall.
    Confound their politics,
    Frustrate their knavish tricks,
    On Thee our hopes we fix,
    God save us all. ”

    Of course, nothing can compare with the French anthem in the amount of hatred and the volume of blood:

    Against us, tyranny’s
    Bloody banner is raised,
    Do you hear, in the countryside,
    Wailing of those ferocious soldiers?
    They are coming right into your arms
    To slay your sons and wives!

    Let’s march, let’s march!
    May an impure blood
    Water our furrows!

    What does this horde of slaves,
    Of traitors and conjured kings want?
    For whom are these ignoble trammels,
    These long-prepared fetters?
    Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
    What fury it must arouse!

    What! Foreign cohorts
    Would make law in our homes!
    What! These mercenary phalanxes
    Would strike down our proud warriors!

    Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
    The shame of all parties,
    Tremble! Your patricidal schemes
    Will finally receive their prizes!
    Everyone is a soldier to combat you…
    Against you, all ready to fight!

    But these bloodthirsty despots,
    But these accomplices of Bouillé,
    All these tigers who, mercilessly,
    Rip their mother’s breast!

    ets, etc, and so on, and so on, more murder, more blood, more ripping of mothers’ breasts with bayonettes…

    No wonder the Americans and Western Europeans have the most militaristic cultures.

    As far as the World War II goes, Russians, Ukrainians (except for the western provinces), Jews and others have a different perspective on Nazi Germany than Craig or most other russophobes. Russians are not objective. They don’t view Hitler as a man who did some bad things but also did some good things. Believe me, in Russia, Hitler is Devil incarnate. Thus, unlike Craig, anti-Nazi intelligence officers like the famous Richard Sorge – the subject of the movie in question – are revered as “good guys”. To Russians, these classic spy movies are what classic Westerns are to Americans. In the old Westerns, Americans cheer for the “good guys” – white cowboys – to exterminate the evil Native Americans and Mexicans and expropriate their land. In the old Soviet spy movies, the “good guys” – Soviet spies – foil the plans of “bad guys” – Nazi Germans – to conquer the World, thus helping the Red Army to defeat the Nazis and to liberate concentration camps. The vast majority of producers, directors, editors, composers, poets, etc that produced such movies were Jewish, and these movies acted as a release valve for the tragedy that every Ashkenazi Jew carries in his heart over the Holocaust.

    And I hope that unlike Craig, US Presidents will understand that it is not evil to fight the Nazis and it was not evil to spy on them in order to defeat them. In fact, I also hope that Craig too will some day understand that those, who spied and fought against on the Nazis, were “good guys”, even better guys than those movie cowboys that exterminated Indians and stole their lands.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 27, 2010 @ 7:30 am

  12. BTW, here is the video of this song using fragments from the movie:
    ? ???? ?????????? ?????? (?????? ????? ??????????)

    Here is another video, produced in Israel:
    ? ???? ?????????? ?????? – Where homeland begins

    And here is another song from the same movie:
    ?????? ?? ?????

    The same song but in the modern arrangement by the famous Russian-Israeli musician Maxim Leonidov:
    ?????? ???????? ????????? – ?????? ?? ?????

    Here is another war song – a simple waltz – that will never die, written by the same people who wrote “Katyusha”: Matvey Blanter and Mikhail Isakovsky:
    ??????? ???????? – ? ???? ????????????

    One more:

    These songs are immortal.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 27, 2010 @ 8:05 am

  13. Of course, the deepest war songs were written by the greatest poet of the 20th century: Vladimir Vysotsky:
    ???????? – ???????? ??????
    ?? ?? ???????? ?? ???

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 27, 2010 @ 8:55 am

  14. Some other good ones:

    Cossacks’ jamming: (sung in Ukrainian with photos of Russian based Cossacks)

    Some classical old school: (takes a few seconds to get going) (Prussian)

    Comment by Siegfried — July 27, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  15. “Such Russian patriotic songs are pacifist and teach that patriotism means the love for one’s parents, friends and the nature.” “No wonder the Americans and Western Europeans have the most militaristic cultures.” Oh, give me a friggin’ break.
    So you’ve shown us that you can cherry-pick lovely Russian songs and mean, nasty English, American and French songs. So what? The point is not that the songs are lovely. Or that people sing them because they have pretty melodies. The point is that Putin sat around singing Soviet patriotic songs, including one from a movie about spying on foreigners. He didn’t sing patriotic Russian songs. He didn’t sing folk songs. He didn’t sing pop songs. And he praised the agents, promised them a happy future, and predicted a nasty end to the “betrayers.” This would be like Obama sitting down with the two guys who went from Russian prisons to the US, watched Red Dawn with them, and then bragged about that and how they were now going to live the life of Riley.

    Comment by mossy — July 27, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  16. SO, you ought to chat with some actual Russians before speaking for them.

    mossy, since in your world actual Russians = fanatically pro-Western Russians who loathe their own country, I don’t see much point to that.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — July 27, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

  17. Not that I support the following: if not already done, an outfit like the Open Society Institute can fund Russian musicians composing music with a PC (to Western neolibs, neocons and flat out Russia haters) message.

    Note how such orgs. treat other types of national expression coming from some other peoples.

    Comment by Siegfried — July 27, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  18. To Mossy,

    Your reply to me puzzled me in its absence of logic. You have twisted and spun everything.

    So you’ve shown us that you can cherry-pick lovely Russian songs and mean, nasty English, American and French songs. So what?

    Are you serious? I didn’t “cherry-pick mean, nasty English, American and French songs.” I quoted national anthems. Do you understand the concept of the national anthem? it is the most important song in the country. Every American, Brit and Frenchman – especially Presidents/PMs and other political leaders – sings these lyrics many-many times each year.

    And I didn’t ” cherry-pick lovely Russian songs”. We are talking about one particular song – “Where homeland begins” – that Putin sang. It has a beautiful (to Russians) melody and very normal, inoffensive peace-loving lyrics. So, what’s wrong with singing it? My own parents were anti-Soviet dissidents and they sang it.

    The point is that Putin sat around singing Soviet patriotic songs,…

    Yes, it is patriotic. Yes, it is a song. Yes, it was written by two Jews and sung by a third Jew during the Soviet period of 1917-1991. But it is not a “Soviet patriotic” song. It says nothing about Lenin, Stalin, communism, socialism or collectivization. It doesn’t even mention Soviet Union. It is a universal song, saying that patriotism means love for parents, neighbors and friends; love for the countryside; and love for one’s own language, books and learning. The lyrics apply to any country. Here is a YouTube video applied to Israeli patriotism:

    It has received 37,223 views so far. Ironically, the singer of that particular version is an Estonian: Georg Ots.

    He didn’t sing patriotic Russian songs…

    This is not a patriotic Russian song?! Why? Because you don’t consider Russian Jews to be Russians?

    What do you mean by “patriotic Russian songs”? Songs like “God save the Czar”? Very few popular songs in Russia, USA or anywhere else pre-date 1917. The vast majority of the popular songs were written after 1917.

    He didn’t sing folk songs. He didn’t sing pop songs…

    Yes, he did. “Where homeland begins” is a stereotypical pop song. To this day, it remains in the top 100 all-time most popular pop songs to listen and in the top 20 to sing, not only in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, but even as far as Israel. What are the most popular Russian pop songs in America?

    1. “Moscow Nights” – a patriotic song about the majestic beauty of Russian countryside, a song of equal level of “patriotism” as “”Where homeland begins”.

    2. “Katyusha” – a very patriotic song about a girl writing a letter to her beloved, a soldier, telling him to defend his country. It is infinitely more military-related that “Where homeland begins”.

    …including one from a movie about spying on foreigners.

    First of all, what difference does it make for what movie genre this song was originally written for? Most people don’t even remember which movie it came from. What matters are the words, which are good.

    Second, the “foreigners” that you are talking about are German Nazis! I am trying to be as polite as I can, but anybody who considers it wrong to resist the Nazis and to spy on them – he is a degenerate neo-Nazi in my book.

    Look, I can’t say that this is the first time I read somebody condemn anti-Nazi resistance. I have been around Usenet long enough to encounter many posts from white supremacists. But even they, when condemning anti-Nazi resistance, acknowledge that their view is in the minority in America. But you and Craig say that it is bad to spy on the Nazis with such aplomb, as if such opinion is commonplace in America. Isn’t it considered noble to have spied against the Nazi, or is my perception of the American public opinion skewed by the fact that many of my friends are Jewish-Americans and thus hate the Nazis?

    Third, don’t Americans and Brits enjoy listening to and singing songs from movies about spying on foreigners? Take the master spy Bond, for example. James Bond. Agent 007. Stirred not shaken. There is a whole slew of songs from his movies that became highly popular. Many-many dozens, including one that I like a lot:
    Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better

    Here is a Wikipedia article on them:

    Would it be wrong for a US President to sing this song just because it originally comes from a movie about spying on foreigners?!

    Extreme russophobes like yourselves expect Russians to bury and forget all the cultural works developed between 1917 and 1991 just because Russia was part of a communist dictatorship called USSR. And I surely agree that cultural works, devoted to propaganda of communist ideology, should be forgotten or at least redone. But not songs and movies about resisting the Nazis or about the love for friends or for mothers or for countryside or for books.

    Just because the government or the political system in a country during a certain period was bad, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be proud of its art or music or literature. Sure, to the narrow-minded brainwashed people on the outside, anything created in the Soviet Union may be “criminal”. Just as to some people, anything created in South Africa during the apartheid, may look “criminal”. But that’s not the case.

    Or let’s take something that’s a million times worse than even the apartheid: human slavery. Look at the United States in the 18th and 19th century, when it not only practiced slavery on a mass scale, but also exterminated Native Americans and expropriated their lands. The entire continent! What can be more despicable than that? And yet, should we ban the American anthem, that was written during those horrible times, and all other patriotic songs written before 1860s? Should we erase all mentioning of Thomas Jefferson and other American Founding Fathers because most of them owned slaves? And while owning human slaves, these hypocrites wrote that “all men are created equal”. What was the value of as black man then? Was it three fifth that of a white man? Should all pre-1860 American patriotic works be banned? You tell me.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 28, 2010 @ 1:26 am

  19. Gentlemen,

    Here is the news that exposes a REAL spy, sent by Russia to destroy America:

    MOSCOW (Dow Jones)–BP PLC’s (BP.LN) new chief executive designate Robert Dudley and outgoing incumbent Tony Hayward will travel to Russia to meet with government officials and BP’s business partners in Russia, a company spokesman said Monday.

    Hayward, who already served on the board of BP Russian joint venture TNK-BP from 2003 to 2007, will be nominated again for that board as he’s replaced by Dudley at the helm of BP Oct. 1. Hayward in the past regularly met with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, the powerful official who overseas Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s energy policy, and Hayward has a good working relationship with the energy czar, the spokesman said.

    “He was coming regularly, coming to Moscow every two or three months,” Buyanov said. He declined to comment on Hayward’s possible compensation.

    In other words, Dudley was trained in Moscow by SVR to destroy the American environment, and having succeeded, he now returns to Moscow for further training. Need I say more?

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 28, 2010 @ 3:08 am

  20. SO, where do you get this stuff? My Russian friends are not fanatically pro-Western Russians who loathe their country. They are professors and nurses and students and engineers and doctors and storekeepers. A couple of them have been to the US; a few of them have been to Europe. None of them particularly like US foreign policies, although a few have fairly nuanced understanding of them. I’m not sure I would describe any of them as “pro-Western” mostly because this is a construct that doesn’t really exist. All of them love Russia and none of them ever wants to leave.

    Because you spend most of your time trying desparately to prove that the nasty West is writing lies and propaganda about Russia, you miss the point that people here — average Russians who love their country — are getting fed up. They are fed up with the corruption. They are fed up with lack of services. They are fed up with poor medical care, or medical care that is supposedly free but costs huge sums of money. They are fed up with historical buildings being torn down to make way for elite housing. They are fed up with commuter trains that stop running and roads that are falling apart. They are really fed up with the cops, who are increasingly posing a direct danger to them and their families. They are fed up with inflation and rising utility bills. They are fed with summer camps for their children that are literally dangerous to their health. They are fed up with schools that charge tuition and then close down so that suddenly their kids don’t have diplomas. They are fed up with government cars breaking traffic laws and killing citizens. They are fed up with people buying off judges and juries. If they pay attention to the economy, they are fed up with the entire budget depending on the price of oil, and the failure to diversify the economy — which they know can’t be done as long as corruption is as outrageous as it is.

    These people don’t want to overthrow the government. They don’t want revolution (God forbid). But they do want a say in how their lives are run. You can try to marginalize them all you want by calling them names, but they aren’t going to go away.

    As far as Ostap Bender goes — do you really think anyone believes your insane demonizing of the US and BP and the West?

    Comment by mossy — July 28, 2010 @ 3:35 am

  21. Shtick!

    Then again….

    As for anti-Western Russian government funded propaganda:


    The Anglo accented host would fit in well with CNN, PBS, NPR and the rest of English language mass media.

    The guest was given ample time to make some cogent points.

    At least you were given ample space to give a solid counterpoint.

    Comment by Siegfried — July 28, 2010 @ 3:54 am

  22. Mossy wrote: “As far as Ostap Bender goes — do you really think anyone believes your insane demonizing of the US and BP and the West?”

    “Insane”? Please share with the class what exactly you found so “insane” and “demonizing” about my joke that BP is ruining the American environment on behalf of Putin.

    And yes, my little neo-Nazi friend, 80% of Americans share my disgust for BP, while only 5% share your belief that it was wrong to spy on Nazi Germany.

    average Russians who love their country — are getting fed up. They are fed up with the corruption. … etc ”

    That is right. Russians are very upset at all those things, especially the corruption which has been plaguing Russia — along with Georgia, Ukraine and many other countries — for many centuries and will probably continue to do so for at least several decades more. And hopefully, more and more are getting fed up with Putin and his party. But that doesn’t mean that the Russians are prepared to bow down in submission to USA and NATO. And no, Ukrainians will not vote to join NATO any time soon. And as long as Georgia continues to want to be in NATO, thus accepting NATO’s theft of Kosovo from Serbia, Georgia will not be able to subjugate Ossetians and Abkhazians again like it did under Comrade Stalin. And no, Russia will not hand over its or Central Asian oil and gas to the Western oil companies without a fight. And when the US quagmire in the Middle East and Afghanistan goes into the boiling stage, Russia will demand WTO membership and the disarmament in Europe as a condition for helping USA out.

    So, don’t use Russia’s domestic problems as a pretext to thwart Russia’s interest on the international arena.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 28, 2010 @ 6:30 am

  23. Wow. So now I’m a neo-Nazi? Where did I ever say it wasn’t wrong to spy on Nazi Germany? What I did say is this: by singing a song from a Soviet movie about spying in Nazi Germany, and praising his “illegals,” Putin equates Nazi Germany with the US and implies that the US is the same kind of enemy to Russia that Nazi Germany was to the USSR. Now, if we flip back a few posts here, we see that you lot get pretty hot under the collar any time there is any correlation between the USSR and Nazi Germany. But are you saying that the US is like Nazi Germany?

    And where on earth do I use domestic problems as pretext to do anything, leave alone “thwart Russia’s interest on the international arena”?

    Sorry to be blunt, but you need some professional help here. I’m out of this round. I don’t argue with crazy people.

    Comment by mossy — July 28, 2010 @ 8:23 am

  24. Mossy wrote: “Wow. So now I’m a neo-Nazi? Where did I ever say it wasn’t wrong to spy on Nazi Germany?

    Nowhere. You said it wasn’t wrong to spy on Nazi Germany. You said the very opposite: that it was wrong to spy on Nazi Germany. And I found this disgusting.

    Sorry to be blunt, but you need some professional help here.

    No. The real problem here is that your brain is not designed for the task of thinking.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 28, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

  25. Oops. Correction:

    Mossy wrote: “Wow. So now I’m a neo-Nazi? Where did I ever say it wasn’t wrong to spy on Nazi Germany?

    Nowhere did you say it wasn’t wrong to spy on Nazi Germany. You said the very opposite: that it was wrong to spy on Nazi Germany. And I found this disgusting.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — July 28, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

  26. Looks like Ostap is being his usual retarded self.

    Yes Hitler was evil, Nazi Germany was evil, but so was Soviet Russia.

    As for Ostap the retards comments that Russia was “part of the Soviet Union”, wrong as usual.

    Russia WAS the Soviet Union, Russia was the evil heart of the Soviet Union, the USSR was run for the benefit of Russia, and was simply a continuation of the Tsarist Russian empire.

    Lets also not forget Yagoda, who was responsible for over 10,000,000 deaths.

    Soviet Russia killed far more people than Nazi Germany, but you defend it to the hilt Ostap.

    How many chekists are there in your family tree?

    Comment by Andrew — August 5, 2010 @ 12:55 am

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