Pass the Salt, and Try Not to Make a Fool of Yourself

Uncle Volodya says, "I laughed, I cried; it became a part of me"

The Russian Flag, seen on the doors of the staff car of the Russian President in "Salt" (who is actually from Poland)

It’s funny, the way things take on momentum against your will, and get bigger even as they pick up speed, like a snowball rolling downhill. La Russophobe started writing foolishness for a hobby in 2006 and now, 4 years later, foolishness seems to have taken over her entire personality. If this gigantic ball of stupidity is any standard of measure, there should be some people waiting for her just outside, with a white coat that only has one sleeve.

The poster-child for Nuts Everywhere wants you to believe that the recently-released action blockbuster “Salt” has obvious parallels in reality – notably, that the entirely fictional events portrayed by actors and actresses in this film are representative of the lives of the Russian “spy ring” exposed in the United States this year, although none were charged with espionage. Oh, and that “The world of Russia shown in this film….is as (sic) world of horrific violence and self-destruction, of pathological ideological hatred, of crime and corruption beyond all human imagining”, despite the film having been shot entirely in New York and Washington. Of a cast of 101, only 2 are actually Russians – there are as many Poles in this movie as Russians. The Russian president (Olek Krupa) is Polish. Did I mention this film was a work of fiction? Or that it was originally cast for a male lead (Tom Cruise)? Or that shooting began in 2009, when the real-life “spy ring” was still completely anymous (except to the FBI, who followed them around for years; perhaps the FBI were consultants for the film)?

Sigh. I suppose since we’re here, we may as well take a look at these allegations. All right, lets see……Evelyn Salt, the lead in the film, is a CIA agent who would presumably be the parallel for Anna Chapman (no relation) in the real-life “spy drama”. Well, considering the life of a realty-firm manager is unlikely to offer the excitement of being a CIA agent, are there any parallels at all? Hmmm…. well, the film synopsis says Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) comes into possession of the knowledge that there is a plot to assassinate the visiting Russian president (who is actually a Pole). Off the top of my head, I’d say information like that would be classified. Anna Chapman knew no classified information at all; or if she did, she never told anyone, including her bosses, which would make her kind of a loser spy. CIA agent Evelyn Salt is highly regarded by her supervisors. I hate to belabour the point, but what would most supervisors think of a real spy who never gave them any secrets? Evelyn Salt, in the chase scenes, jumps from the back of one tractor-trailer to another while both are moving at highway spreeds. Anna Chapman? I’m afraid not. Evelyn Salt and a supposed NATO mole who is in reality a Russian double-agent (I guess that would make him a mole-mole) go to the White House, detonate a bomb and start shooting the place up – they pursue the President and his (yes, it’s still a man) bodyguards to the secret bunker, where Salt kills all his bodyguards. Anna Chapman? Never did anything like that, I’m afraid. After knocking the President unconscious, the real Russian agent begins to initiate a nuclear missile launch against Tehran and Mecca. Secret Service agents break in and arrest Evelyn Salt, letting the agent go, but Salt jumps him and strangles him with her chains. Anna Chapman? Ha, ha, ha…..sorry.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that La Russophobe has not seen the film. Or she did, but ate some bad popcorn which made her see “pathological ideological hatred, crime and corruption beyond all human imagining” in what was basically a fairly-predictable escapist action flick.

What do the papers say (after things calmed down a little) about the elite “spy ring”? Well, for starters, that they were instructed not to seek government jobs, because their cover stories likely would not stand up under examination. Remember, this is the same government in which Sarah Palin was the governor of an entire state; someone who thinks she understands Russian policies because you can see Russia from Alaska. Uh huh. The “spies”, we’re told, received instructions that sounded pretty much like a job assignment for journalists – try to obtain information that is unknown to the public but revealed in private by sources close to State Department, government, major think tanks. Their actual efforts had more in common with lobbyists than espionage agents.

This should not suggest that there are not real spies in the United States. There are. And they have done serious damage. To date, though, there haven’t been any movies made that dramatize their activities to the extent that they’ve been noticed by La Russophobe.

Maybe I’ll make one. I think I’ll call it “Kosher Salt”.

This entry was posted in La Russophobe, Russia, Spies, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Pass the Salt, and Try Not to Make a Fool of Yourself

  1. That was an LR classic. I could hear the gurgling of the bongwater in its basement as I was reading it.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, it contained almost every one of her cherished cliches. I think the only one she missed is low life expectancy, and she probably couldn’t figure out how to work it in. Low life expectancy is kind of an occupational hazard for spies.

      What a dull world it would be without nuts like her.

  2. sharko says:

    I don’t follow LR, but I assume this person does not speak Russian, has never really been there, but is tapped into the same energy source other obsessives use to argue about – say – Sawyer and Kate or Kate and Jack.

    • marknesop says:

      Hey, Sharko; I couldn’t say for sure, because she goes to great lengths to hide all personal details, but I believe she can speak Russian. She claims her blog is maintained by a “team” although the commentary and “editorials” all bear the same venomous stamp. She does occasionally use a translator, Dave Essel, which makes me think her own Russian is clumsy and laborious. She says her “team” all have spent time in Russia, with a composite time of 10 years, but I doubt that. She just seems to be an American with a rudimentary knowledge of Russia (maybe been there, maybe not) who has an abiding, vituperative loathing of it and its people, and who delights in mocking them and pissing all over anything they’re proud of. She’s likely a Republican, maybe even a Teabagger, because she hates Obama nearly as much as she hates Russia. She only seems to write about a quarter of her material herself, the rest is copy-and-paste from the Moscow Times, Novaya Gazeta and occasionally Kommersant.

      I don’t know where she gets the energy to stoke her hate, but some suggest there is a political dimension, with support from the Jamestown Foundation. They’re a Washington-based think tank, which was founded to support Russian dissidents. La Russophobe makes an excellent blunt instrument with which to beat the current Russian government. It’s a perfect marriage – they don’t care about her unsophisticated message and slobbering hatred, and she shares their aim of generating propaganda to encourage dissent and destabilize the government. I doubt many Russians are fooled.

      • sharko says:

        Well, it’s a scary thought that he/she/it works for both a think tank of the intelligence community and supposed “citizens journalism” website like Pajamas Media. Every word about Russia’s pervasive intelligence community is hypocritical (especially since the US government now employs some 800,000 people to spy on other citizens).

        • marknesop says:

          Too true, Blue. Pajamas Media makes me laugh; what responsible media outlet employs a “Russian correspondent” who’s located in New York? They’re just an anti-Obama hate incubator that reminds me of Rush Limbaugh turned into letters.

          Mike Averko sent me a couple of links a few posts back, where he and La Russophobe were invited to appear on a discussion panel to be aired on BBC. She bowed out, saying she would not appear where she might have to be in the same room as him, and that she “wouldn’t demean herself”. Of course, she just doesn’t want anyone to know who she is – to the best of my knowledge, she’s never appeared in public identified as La Russophobe. There’s some speculation that she’s actually Catherine Fitzpatrick of “Minding Russia”, and it’s true the two share a common sarcastic, venomous tone as well as a pathological hatred of Russia. It’s also true Fitzpatrick maintains multiple blogs, at least 5, so it could easily be her. It’s just not that important.

          • sharko says:

            She could write a whole article on the murder of Paul Klebnikov and not once mention Berezovsky or Listyev. Amazing journalism.

          • Misha says:

            Hi Mark

            For clarity sake, I was on that BBC World service radio program from my home. My understanding is that he/she/it would’ve been able to maintain an anonymous standing. In short, there was a punk out.

            As is, that show featured Bukovsky, Khrushcheva, Zagorski and yours truly. I was allowed to speak the most, being that I was in the minority. Being raised on NY talk radio, I’d an advantage of sorts. The format of that show was what some might term as polite interruption. I like informal but respectful enough give and take. I play to win. Using ice hockey terminology, I prefer a good all around game, inclusive of clean body checking. On the other hand, if things get chippy and the ref isn’t calling penalties, I can sink to that level and beat the chumps at what they instigated.

            There was a bit of a spark when I took issue with Khrushcheva’s negative view of Russia readopting the two headed eagle. She was on at my suggestion. Prior to that show’s airing, the BBC person in contact with me asked for my recommendations of English speaking Russians who disagree with me. Along with Khrushcheva – I recall Latynina, Gessen and Albats being among my other choices.

            Pajamas Media seems to have a neocon slant. Check this piece out on Russia from an academic who has been affiliated with CUNY:

            http://pajamasmedia.com/ronradosh/2008/12/30/the-rebirth-of-the-stalin-cult/

            Look forward to your upcoming posts.

            • marknesop says:

              Thanks for the clarification, Mike; I obviously misunderstood. Yes, in that format she would have been able to remain anonymous. I guessed you weren’t in the studio, but I must have been thinking of television, where all the participants are visible in their own little square. Better you than me – I get angry when people just talk over you, louder and louder until you have to stop and let them take over. Being angry is no way to appear on a talk show, because those who can’t keep their temper are usually assessed to have lost the debate. Similarly, those who can never get a word in edgewise are guaranteed to.

              What, if you can recall, was the substance of the objection to the two-headed eagle? It has a foundation in history, and looks cool.

              Pajamas Media seems to have a neocon slant the way a cat seems to be fond of the company of mice. It’s where hard-righties go to die – I quite expect Glenn Beck to show up there as a columnist. Well, not really, I guess; they probably couldn’t afford him. Anyway, they all sound like Teabaggers, with their endless clamor about Obama taking away their freedoms and destroying America. That type is never happier than when America and its leader are hated by the rest of the world, because they equate hatred and repugnance with envy and respect. If they weren’t already suspicious of Obama because of his colour and his politics, they’d hate him simply because the rest of the world likes and respects him.

              Every time they start to go to town on Stalin, there should be somebody right there to remind them forcefully that Stalin got a great deal more western support than Putin has.

              • Misha says:

                Mark, what you said was someone else’s impression in one of the two links concerning that BBC show.

                The basis for keeping cool is to not get mad, but even. This is often easier said than done.

                Talk radio from the home is much easier than a live TV stint and/or a panel appearance, followed by questions which aren’t known in advance. I’ve been adept on the latter as well.

                For me, the frustrating part isn’t getting enough at bats. Homerun hitters can’t hit homeruns sitting on the bench. Regular game situations sharpen your skills. All of us vary in interests and skills. People who appear great in writing aren’t necessarily adept at live point-counterpoint exchanges and vice-versa. Some of us are great at both.

                At one point during that show, she suddenly brought up the two headed eagle as a symbol of Russia not progressing forward – but going back in a negative way. There’re different kinds of “Russophiles” out there. I’m one who doesn’t see the pre-1917 period with such negativity as some others. This doesn’t mean that I overlook the negatives. There’re also different views of the Soviet period.

                It’s a plus for Russia to take the best aspects of its past and mesh it with present day realities.

                Along with the British lion, the Polish, German and Austrian eagles continue on. There’s no reason why the Russian two headed eagle shouldn’t be readopted. In addition to its historical significance, it visually symbolizes a simultaneous East-West approach.

          • I have nothing to do with La Russophobe and have no idea who that person is.

            I don’t have any venomous hate for Russia. My children are half-Russian. I’ve followed Russian affairs my whole life, and I speak and read Russian. Being critical of the government of Russia isn’t hate of Russia.

  3. Natalie says:

    Hi, Mark. I’ve been lurking your blog for a little while but haven’t commented yet. I share your amusement (for lack of a better word) about La Russophobe. I had a bit of a tussle with her back in March of 2009. If you’re interested, you can read about it here and here.

    I saw the film Salt and I liked it, mostly because I thought it was entertaining. Luckily, I’m not delusional enough to believe that the film has any basis in reality. Regarding the Poles in the film, the Orlov guy (the defector who walks in in the beginning of the film), is played by a Pole as well.

    • marknesop says:

      Hi, Natalie! Yes, I remember the occasion well – I sympathized with you at the time, because if I recall correctly, the issue of contention was a book you recommended. Of course there was an immediate pile-on, started by that idiot Wal, because they believe they’re already smart enough, thank you. It was also the occasion of my first comment on your blog.

      I haven’t seen the film, all the inside info I got on it came from the synopsis and from trailers. But shooting started well before the “spy ring” was known to anyone but the FBI. Quite a few people commented on the timing of its release, but from the viewpoint that it was slick marketing to so advantage oneself of an opportunity. Nobody else I know of suggested it was representative of actual events. She’s a crackpot, for sure.

      Nice to hear from you, I visit your blog often and enjoy your humour!

    • marknesop says:

      Hello again, Natalie; on review, it seems we were talking about different events (relating to your tilting against the La Russophobe windmill, or windbag, as the case may be). The discussion, as I remember, was Harrison Salisbury’s “The 900 Days”, on the siege of Leningrad. You mentioned another book, and got some smart remark from Wal about how he had visited your blog, but it appeared to have been stricken by a virus that made all the text into stupid things. I remember La Russophobe’s comment was “very witty, Wal”. I didn’t think it was witty and said so, which commenced an increasingly nasty exchange. At that time, I left a brief comment on your blog. It would have been considerably later than the two events you cited.

      • Natalie says:

        Yes, I believe I remember the book incident you’re talking about–was it involving Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Young Stalin? I remember once I left a comment on LR (can’t remember what it was about) and someone clicked through to my blog and saw an interview with Simon Sebag Montefiore I mentioned. Said individual therefore concluded that I’m a Stalinist because I adored the book Young Stalin. Most rational people realize how ridiculous this argument is, being that Young Stalin is not in any way pro-Stalin, nor did I express pro-Stalin statements.

        Anyway, keep up the good work on your blog. I enjoy it a lot.

        • marknesop says:

          Thanks, Natalie; I tried to find the actual duel of the minds, but I couldn’t – it would have been about a year later than the ones you linked, probably spring this year. You didn’t mention “Young Stalin”; the quarrel started when you mentioned another book, and asked (politely, I thought) if anyone had read it. It wasn’t during the discussion of the siege of Leningrad, because I found that conversation and it’s not there. Anyway, you mentioned this book (I believe you mentioned professor somebody), and Wal jumped in with some insulting comments about your blog, then of course LR was there to hold his coat and egg him on. Young Stalin might have provoked it, but he didn’t mention it, just made that vapid joke about there being a virus on your blog that turned everything to childish nonsense. I just remember that it was your mention of a book (not Young Stalin, I’m pretty sure, although it might have been) that started the mockery.

          Those were her glory days, when commenters like you and I and RTR (later Voice of Reason) and Dmitry argued with the russophobe sycophants and sometimes drove her comments into the 80’s. If you look now, few of them go past 10, and often several of those are faithful Robert, rabbiting on about Chechnya regardless what the subject is.

      • I agree with Natalie – great blog. No doubt in the Top 10 nowadays.

        One question. Are you considering diversifying from bashing LR? With the departure (banning) of the Russophiles, its comments threads – traditionally the site’s most “interesting” content, IMO – have degenerated from being fun to read to Russophobe circle jerks. As for the posts, they look more and more regurgitated. Even the Google bombings / character assassination attempts have largely withered away (compared with previous years).

        I get the impression that debunking LR nowadays is just flogging a dead horse and that your time and skills may perhaps be better served by expanding your media criticism to non-LR outlets.

      • PS. A (dead) blog you might be interested in checking out, if you haven’t already: Fedia Kriukov’s Russia in the Media.

        The premier blog for debunking Russophobe drivel in the media is currently RPOV, but their style is too officialese. The Russia-watching blogosphere could do with a more informal and entertaining voice like yours.

        • marknesop says:

          Thanks, Anatoly! Praise from the premiere academic blogger (or at least in the top 3 for intellectuals) is praise indeed, I can feel my collar tightening as my head swells. I originally started it solely to lay the smackdown on LR. I don’t really know any other major irritants – have you any suggestions? I stumbled across La Russophobe quite by accident when I was doing a Google search for “Sochi 2014 souvenirs”, looking for a backpack for my wife. Prior to that I was not involved in blogging at all.

          It’s funny you should refer to the present blog as a Russophobe circle-jerk, because that’s just what I said would happen to it without a little dissenting opinion. I believe I said “circle-jerk echo chamber of like-minded hatemongers”, but close enough to what you said. I was making a pitch to prevent getting banned, so I could continue commenting because I was too lazy to start a blog, and didn’t really know how. I got banned anyway, obviously.

          If you can think of any suitable targets, I will certainly try my best. I will be busy for a couple of days with work, although I will check in evenings, but I don’t expect to post anything new until Wednesday at the earliest. Thanks for your kind encouragement!

          • Misha says:

            Mark, great to see that you know Natalie.

            Hi Natalie! Thanks again for posting those pix of St. Pete at your blog.

            Pardon the repetition Mark on my part in terms of what follows. LR doesn’t deserve so much time. There’s plenty of other more pertinent stuff to go after.

            This includes some source material which (comparatively speaking) have received kid gloves treatment. Establishment cover-ups and wannabe sucking up to the existing high profile imperfections is an issue.

            You deserve much better than an acknowledgement from LR.

            • Misha says:

              Mark

              Following up on my last set of comments, here’s a link of some early day obsession over Sharapova:

              http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/9232-17.cfm

              I suspect this was written before some lauded “experts” were involved with “Russia watching.” The hysterical idiocy of the above linked article is quite easy to debunk. Note who apparently thought it was worthy enough for posting. Hence: is the issue of lousy coverage so much the kooks expressing such thoughts or the elitny propping them over some (dare I say) better material?

              Seeing how the article is linked, a few replies:

              – Numerous non-Russian athletes live and train in other countries. Sharapova is very much a Russian who acknowledges herself as such. Unlike some past and present players on the tour, she chooses to be listed as representing the country of her birth. There’s a top rated “French” player who is Russian born. During the period of Russia’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sharapova accepted the role of the lead Russian athlete used to promote that now failed attempt.

              – Tennis rankings are based on a consistency level over a given period. A player winning one major tournament while bombing out of others and/or not regularly competing in tournaments is subject to not getting as high a rating as a player who finishes near the top of every tournament played, while not winning any of them. Sharapova, Vogue Magazine and the Russian Tennis Federation didn’t set the standards for rating the top player. Regarding these standards, Sharapova clearly qualified for a number one rating based on the number of tournaments she played during that period, relative to her results when matched against other players.

              – It’s suggested that Sharapova gets more coverage than others because of her good looks. In supporting this contention, reference is made to another Russian player, the since retired (from the sport) Anastasia Myskhina. Myskhina is quite attractive in her own right. At the time, tennis experts universally agreed that Sharapova is the more talented of the two.

              – The snide remark that Sharapova’s number one ranking is on par with Vladimir Putin somehow manipulating an otherwise undeserving Russia
              into the G-8 is factually off. Russia was in the G-8 prior to Putin’s presidency. One can ask why Italy and Canada are in that organization of supposedly leading world economies?

              – Issue is raised on why the families of the referenced Russian Little League baseball team were denied visas to see their kids play in Williamsport. Perhaps there’s a growing authoritarian anti-Russian streak permeating in the US. Around the time of the above linked piece, there was a shameful ABC News Nightline Chechen separatist friendly feature with the late terrorist Shamil Basayev. NightLine was more accommodating to the Soviet view during the Cold War when compared to how it has generally treated post Soviet mainstream Russian views (instead preferring the likes of Masha Gessen and Pavel Felgenhauer).

              • marknesop says:

                Wow. What an asshole. I read the live – at the time – coverage from Wimbledon the year Sharapova smashed Venus Williams, and it said she was an excellent player who ran her opponent all over the court until she was too tired to fight any more. But what’s largely overlooked is what Johnnie-come-latelies Russian women are to the sport – the reason they didn’t win any tournaments for such a long time is due to how recently it became a popular sport for women in Russia. It’s very unfortunate that all the Russian stars have to move to the U.S. to get proper training and adequate support (are you listening, Mr. Putin?), but Russia doesn’t throw a lot of money or attention their way.

                Russian women dominate the sport, unquestionably. There are more Russians in the top 20 than any other nation. The example I like to use is that of Michael Schumacher, for years the unquestioned champion of Formula One racing and in the opinion of many, the greatest driver the world has ever seen. Would it have made sense to suggest that Germans dominated Formula One racing? Of course not – Schumacher was the only German in the top 10, and the United Kingdom was dominant, although it did not have the current champion.

                Serena Williams is a fantastic athlete, but there’s nobody coming up behind her for America. Venus is flagging, and eventually Serena must, too – professional sports doesn’t have too many Grannies or Grandpas.

                Still, characters like La Russophobe continue to mock the notion that Russians dominate the sport, because the current champion is American. I suppose when she finally loses, she’ll fall back on the Russians’ American training, and tout that as the reason for their success.

                • Misha says:

                  Once again Mark, consider the source who felt that hysterically idiotic piece was worth running.

                  There’re numerous other examples which don’t involve that particular crank.

                  Part of the bias relates to how LR is tolerated in a way that these venues aren’t:

                  http://www.mat-rodina.blogspot.com/

                  http://www.rusjournal.com

                • marknesop says:

                  Thanks, Mike; I’ll check those out, too. It’s those “other examples” I’m looking for. LR is tolerated only because those who disagree with her on her own blog are promptly banned and silenced, or shouted down. She does have her own little following, mainly nationalists originally from former Soviet republics who hate Russians, and continue to stroke her ego, which is massive.

                • Misha says:

                  Mark

                  Regarding your recent set of comments which I hope comes just before this one, there’re numerous “other examples” not getting critically reviewed in the high profile manner that they could and should be.

                  Among them is this venue:

                  http://www.opendemocracy.net/russia

                  One can’t help getting the impression of an inner elitny understanding of the limits tolerated for high profile critical media reviews. The definition of media being utilized includes commentary outlets that don’t offer straight news reports.

                  At the link of a venue in this set of comments, there’s one article that hyperlinks Alexander Nevsky to an idiotic LR post about this great Russian historical figure and saint in the ROC.

                  That article in question goes on to misrepresent how Russians generally view Nevsky.

                  What I’m providing you is a very minute sampling of media flaws getting no reply from the existing status quo brass.

                  In this sense, there’s no “premier” media watchdog group of former Communist bloc issues receiving ample coverage and support.

                  As a general point to what I’m saying, I close by once again noting (from another thread at your blog) that Judith Miller is now a regular panelist on Fox NewsWatch, which is a show intended to critically review the media.

                • marknesop says:

                  The foxes guarding the henhouse. All right, that’s a starting point.

                • Misha says:

                  That and a seeming unofficial across the political elitny spectrum understanding of certain limits.

                  Criticizing The Economist and LR seems to be understood as fair game unlike some other sources.

                  Figuratively speaking, there’re some folks lobbing pot shots under a shield where they don’t face the music.

                  Not to be overlooked is a constructive criticism of the high profile sources reflecting otherwise agreeable views.

                  Have you ever been frustrated with panels where one view isn’t as well represented as it could’ve been?

                  This leads to what for some is the uncomfortable matter of cronyism.

                • A necessary disclosure: Misha has beef with David Johnson. (“consider the source who felt that hysterically idiotic piece was worth running”)

            • marknesop says:

              Well, I’m certainly willing. I just haven’t looked around much beyond La Russophobe’s grating bullshit, although Anatoly is right that the readership and commentary there seems to have fallen off quite a bit. It’s not dead yet, but has certainly lost a lost of its value as an insult vehicle. I still love sticking my thumb in her eye, though. How about “Minding Russia”? That’s more or less the same claptrap, and might even be the same individual. Is it very influential, do you think? It’d have to be an English-language blog, I’d think, or I’d spend all my time translating.

  4. john says:

    Thanks for sharing. I will bookmark your website.

  5. Misha says:

    On the matter of promoting other individuals/blogs, there’s Rick Rozoff’s blog on defense issues:

    http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/

    He has an excellent email list that posts recently released articles on NATO related issues.

    Leos Tomicek made me aware of Rick’s recent appearance on RT:

    http://www.austereinsomniac.info/blog/2010/8/10/second-us-base-in-kyrgyzstan.html

    I once again note Carl Thomson:

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/carl_thomson/

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, Misha; I’ll check them out. Also, I noted by chance that Putinania ( http://putinania.wordpress.com/ ) has what appears to be an excellent breakdown of the Russian government. I haven’t had time to more than glance at it but, if current, she’s compiled a fine benchmark reference of government ministers and officials that will be a great timesaver as well as an interesting read. I recommend it, if you were not already aware of it. Best,

      Mark

      • Misha says:

        Thanks Mark.

        Awhile back, someone provided me with the ethnic breakdown of key Russian government personnel, which runs counter to the Russia is racist mantra.

        Mind you, Russia has ethnic issues. However, it’s not at the level as some propagandize. There’re parts of NY which have very touchy attitudes upon seeing Blacks in their domain.

        If not already known, here’s a French language site on Russia which might be of possible interest:

        http://alexandrelatsa.blogspot.com/

        Much of this is a simple matter of different strokes for different folks. For example, one media watching site on Russia IMO falls short in what it does and doesn’t cover and criticize.

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