Get ready for the PETRO-RUBLE!

I’m sorry I just cannot leave this alone. As I am currently covering the downfall of the Russian ruble, this video from about seven months ago has become especially hilarious.  Watch Max Kaiser tell us how the dollar is about to collapse following the switch-over to other currencies for energy trading. Yes, it’s probably dollar-collapse prediction number 14,346,982,456,291, only this time it’s comes with the laughably-idiotic-in-hindsight proposition that the ruble will take the dollar’s place.  Sorry, Max.

Just for a little context, note that according to the energy deal he’s talking about, China is actually paying for natural gas in dollars. Supposedly Russia recently floated the idea of China paying in rubles again, but once again China has refused. As is typically the case, Russia’s media simply doesn’t understand that the rest of the world just isn’t interested in Russia’s “special path” or its “historical mission” to constantly “oppose” the Anglo-American-Atlanticist Zionist conspiracy. China’s relationship with the United States is extremely profitable for China, hence their reluctance to engage in any real fuck America activities.

Look, Max, we all make bad predictions at times. I was skeptical about the involvement of Russian forces in the Donbass at first, if only because the amount of evidence in the early stage was somewhat slim. As I got more information I admitted and corrected my mistake. You goldbugs on the other hand have been predicting the dollarpocalypse for literally decades and yet where is it? Maybe you should dial it back a bit.

That advice also goes for:

-People who insist that the US is on the verge of declaring martial law. “I’m telling you people! Just one more false flag terrorist attack and they’ll be dragging you out of your homes and throwing into the FEMA camps!”

-People who predict WWIII over diplomatic tit-for-tats.

-People predicting a revolution in Russia as a result of the falling ruble. Yes, it will eventually happen, but most Russians are still in blame America mode right now.

-The Western news media every time there’s a new “epidemic,” e.g. ebola, swine flu, bird flu, SARS, etc.

One-sided War

Many things which might come as a surprise to foreigners are taken for granted in Russia. There’s the idea that BRICS represents some kind of anti-American alliance, like a 21st century Warsaw Pact. There’s the idea that the Crimea was always Russian and thus the annexation justified, though Russia hadn’t even raised the issue in the international arena until after their coup de main in March of this year. Then of course there’s the idea of the “information war.” The information war is the justification for consolidating the media under state control and using ever-increasing regulations to censor or seriously hamper any independent media source.

For some unknown reason, the degenerate, near-death USA doesn’t really act like it’s fighting the information war, at least within its own borders. After all, there’s RT, the propaganda service of Russia, which has its own offices in the US. No attempt has been made to block Voice of Russia, or any of the American-based Russia fans such as “the Saker”(there’s a piece of work, let me tell ya). As far as anti-government media goes in the US, most of AM talk radio and a massive portion of internet media are dedicated to accusing the president of everything from being born in a foreign country to being the instrument of a global Communist conspiracy to destroy the United States. That’s in addition to a left wing media which still reminds millions of Americans about things such as drone strikes, Snowden’s revelations, torture, and the country’s failure to reign in police brutality. America’s information warriors must be incompetent because they have failed to implement anything like the kind of measures Russia’s government routinely approves. In fact America’s information war specialists are so incompetent, so obviously asleep at the switch, that it’s a miracle Russia’s propaganda, in conjunction with local fifth column organs have somehow thus far failed to incite mass unrest throughout America’s major cities. How couldn’t there be a real American maidan, given the lackadaisical attitude shown by America’s government when it comes to the information war?

All joking aside, like most Kremlin memes the information war really only makes sense within one of the various fantastical narratives which exist in Russia. This “war” is being waged mostly by one side- Russia. Oh, does that raise the hairs on the back of your neck? Allow me to explain then.

Recently I wrote about an incident where a Russian TV channel falsified a video so as to make it appear that a father had painted the walls of his 11-year-old son’s room with cartoon drawings of naked men. In reality, the home video was used in a commercial for a graphics company called Fathead, and the real image the kid was gasping at was in fact a giant picture of a monster truck. I was happy to learn that Fathead is suing the Russian TV channel shortly after the story broke. Thus far, the TV channel’s response was that it was an “accident.” They accidentally edited an altered a video so as to insert cartoons of naked men, aired in a news piece about how sexually degenerate the West supposedly is. Sounds plausible.

This particular episode was amusing, but far less entertaining was a piece that ran on Russian TV a short time earlier. Airing on the Russian show “However” was Russia’s 67th alternate explanation as to the destruction of Malaysian passenger airliner MH17 over Eastern Ukraine. Supposedly a “graduate of MIT,” named George Bilt, provided Russian intelligence with photos from a “foreign satellite.” Lucky for Putin, the satellite just happened to catch a Ukrainian Mig-29 fighter firing a missile at MH-17. Naturally the photo was quickly busted as a fake, and the mysterious George Bilt has never been found. I’m sure he must have been hanging out with that Spanish air traffic controller who happened to be working in Kyiv’s Boryspil airport that fateful day, i.e. the subject of one of the Russian media’s earlier bullshit claims about the disaster.

Neither of these incidents are even remotely isolated. Stopfake.org documents dozens of fake stories, videos, and photographs from Russia’s media every week. These usually involve photoshopped pictures, misrepresented videos, or photographs from other conflicts presented as being from Ukraine. It is important to note that to date, I’ve yet to see any effort from Russia’s side to defend these phony photos and stories. Instead of answering, they just put out more. Which country is waging an information war again?

Now I ask a very simple question: Where is the Western equivalent to this? If Russia has to do this because of the information war, where is America’s ridiculously fake video that justifies this? Commentators, don’t be shy. Please show me how the Western media has faked satellite photos, cited Russians who don’t exist, or deliberately altered videos to show how degenerate Russia is. This is and information war, is it not? That means we should see this kind of thing coming from both sides.

Off the top of my head, the closest I can come to finding anything approaching Russia’s propaganda consists of two examples. First, there’s Timothy Snyder, who really makes no attempt to sound objective or even accurate in his prosaic defense of Maidan. Objective facts already condemn Russia, there is no need to weave a fairy tale as Snyder did in his ridiculous coverage of the event. Plenty of other Western journalists were far more objective, noting the presence of far right-wing extremists, and soberly pointing out that the EU association agreement wasn’t an automatic way out of Ukraine’s troubles. Even in the case of Snyder’s work, however, there was concrete truth in some of his conclusions. His allegation that Putin was afraid of having democracy so close to his borders is definitely a sound argument. It’s even more threatening to him that this theoretical democracy would inevitably encompass millions of Russians. His regime depends on the idea that the Russian people are different, and the form of government they have suits them. A successful Ukraine with democratic norms and a developing economy would seriously challenge that narrative. Even a hack like Snyder can see that.

The second example I thought of was the alleged radio intercepts that supposedly revealed two pro-Russian rebels panicking over the realization that they’d shot down a civilian plane. If any Western media sources aired that without using words like “allegedly,” they would be guilty of potentially passing on Ukrainian propaganda. Obviously even a Russian-speaking person such as myself could not accurately identify the two men on the recording. Even if that recording was faked, that’s on the Ukrainian government, and any news editor who didn’t make sure his reporters used terms like “alleged” or “supposed” when reporting on the matter.

Both of those examples are quite mild. We have a delusional, romantic professor embellishing a protest movement, and we have a voice recording that could have been faked, but which is ultimately irrelevant due to the overwhelming amount of other, more concrete evidence implicating the rebels in the destruction of the Malaysian airplane.

Thus again do I repeat my demand: Show me America’s equivalent to the video with the phony wall paintings. Show me the video where we see a phony satellite photo shooting down MH17. Show us a Ukrainian woman talking about how Donbass rebels crucified a small boy. Show us scenes from the set of a film being presented as evidence of rebel atrocities. Is this not an information war? Does this war not entail offensives on both sides?

Of course the information war is just another example of Russian projection. They tell themselves there’s an information war, and therefore they are justified in lying and fabricating videos and photo, just as they are justified in clamping down on media organs or journalists who get too troublesome. Since there is no objective truth, there’s no way anyone opposing the government could possibly claim that they deserve to be heard simply because they are presenting facts or they are able to back their claims with evidence. There is no need to back up things with evidence because truth doesn’t matter. Only winning the information war matters.

Has the US media falsely reported information in the past? Absolutely. Has it skewed stories, displayed bias, and helped sell bad policy to the American people? Yes, numerous times. Usually the problem with the American media stems from the desire for access, ratings, circulation, profits, etc., as well as laziness, reliance on experts without digging deeper, and so on.  What you don’t generally see are major American media outlets deliberately producing and airing specially-faked videos as true stories on a regular basis.  Disagree? Again, there’s the comments section. Give me the American equivalent of the satellite image story, or the wall with naked men story, or the woman who claimed to see Ukrainian soldiers crucify a little boy. All media lies, right? It’s all the same, right?

Said no one ever…

A common pattern you see from Putin worshipers, be they Russian or foreigner, is that the engage in strawman tactics to an alarming degree. Why do I say alarming? Well the traditional example of a strawman technique is the deliberate rephrasing of someone’s argument so as to refute it more easily.  You set up a strawman and knock it down. Putin fans on the other hand, do more than that. They set up their man of straw, dress him from head to toe, set up a table and chairs, and then engage in long, philosophical debates with their new best friend.

This is the inevitable result of an ideological school of thought which originates in Russia, spreads through the internet, but spends very little time actually engaging with its opponents.  Here it is possible to be a respected expert on America and its politics, without having ever visited the US or even being able to speak English. When you spend all your time “opposing” people without ever actually engaging with any of their stated ideas, you’re in for trouble as you drift further and further away from reality.

My inspiration for writing this piece comes from an article I was reading on Sputnik. Once again we have yet another “geopolitical expert,” and once again he repeats the standard “Eurasianist/ultra-conservative/traditionalist monarchist/INSERT CONTRIVED MADE-UP IDEOLOGY HERE boilerplate, that the evil “West” thinks all political systems should be the same. This is a common thread you hear from many sources, be they Russian hacks like Romanov or Markov, or foreigners like Tim Kirby and Mark Sleboda. Again and again you’re told that the West wants all countries to be the same, and they’re mad at Russia because Russia’s “going its own way.”

I can think of nothing worse than basing your political arguments off of something so demonstrably false. If we were only to look at constitutions and actual structure, we would immediately see that there are vast differences between the governments of the US, Canada, UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Japan, Spain, South Korea, and Poland, just to name a few.  When we actually examine the finer points of their politics, the spectrum, the approach to issues, and their values, the differences widen even further.  In the US, suggesting a state-based solution to a social problem is anathema. In other countries state involvement would be the logical, go-to answer. In the American right, homophobia is clothed in the language of conservative family values. In some European states, homophobia is cited by the far right as a justification for denying Muslims their civil rights.  The Czech Republic is a very cosmopolitan, liberal society, whereas Poland is justifiably called conservative both in law and in social outlook.  And Japan? Well Japan is Japan. What moron would dare suggest that Japan is somehow identical in outlook and cultural traditions to the United States, for example?

According to these geopolitical experts, NATO and the EU exist to enforce this political-cultural hegemony on the rest of the world. If that is the case though, they’re doing a pretty bad job seeing that they can’t even manage to pull this off even among their own members. Neither Brussels, nor the US, have had much luck bullying NATO/EU member Poland into being more tolerant of gays, abortion, or birth control. In fact, the United States itself could take some lessons from Russia when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. Yes, that was a bit of a digression, but I just can’t resist pointing out a Russian advantage that the Russophiles and pro-Kremlin ideologues can’t proudly claim.  Returning to the point, not only has the Evil American empire failed to enforce its degenerate cultural-political hegemony on its supposed puppet states in NATO and the EU, but it also hasn’t managed to wield its influence over staunch allies like Kuwait, UAE, or Saudi Arabia.

In regards to Russia, virtually nothing has been done to put political pressure on the country until 2012, with the passing of the Magnitsky Act. Even this bill, hypocritical, selective, and provocative as it was, merely sanctioned specific individuals. Prior to that, American and Western investors were happy to dump money into Russia by the boatload, only to take it out in almost the same volume starting in 2013. If, as Russian leaders assert, the sanctions today are aimed at forcing Russia to undergo some kind of political change and have nothing to do with Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we must then ask why these countries did nothing to Russia before. In fact they were doing the exact opposite- rewarding Russia via investment and cooperation. This is, after all, why Russia was the “R” in BRICS.  Did they need a pretext? We’ve got pretexts they could have used.

The Second Chechen War- This was Putin’s war, and the West had an opportune time to nip Russia’s alleged renaissance in the bud while it was still weak. They could have recognized Chechnya and slapped Russia with sanctions, yet they did neither.

The war in Georgia- The OSCE findings regarding this war were fairly balanced in favor of Russia, seeing as how the Georgians were indisputably responsible for starting the conflict. Still, since Russian troops did temporarily occupy Georgian soil, this would have been a great time to hit them with sanctions while the economy was in trouble.

The 2011 elections/protests- Western diplomats expressed concern for the protesters and allegations of election fraud, but ultimately made no threats against Russia. What an opportune time to launch a “color revolution” while people were actually in the streets.  No? No sanctions? Nothing? Oh, okay.

Gay propaganda/adoption law- Supposedly the West is really angry at Russia for upholding “traditional values,” and they want to force Russia to have mandatory non-stop gay parades just like in their degenerate countries. And yet nothing significant was done in response to these laws, which were inspired incidentally by an American activist.

The truth is that the idea of the West trying to some how cow and tame Russia is in fact a self-fulfilling prophesy that Putin has provoked to bolster his popularity. He has no other way of doing so. He provokes and provokes until there’s finally a response, as in 2014, and then the response serves as proof of what he’s been babbling about for years. But of course the West had many far more opportune times to pressure Russia, and it didn’t.

We must ask then, what exactly do these geopolitical wonks mean when they talk about Russia’s special path and the West allegedly trying to make Russia “the same?”  Since the leading governments of the so-called “West” are all different both in structure and in terms of politics, is it something else they are trying to force on Russia? What do all those countries have in common? Oh…Right…Their leaders change from time to time. To varying degrees, citizens of most industrialized countries have the ability to hold their politicians accountable in one way or another. Russians are denied this right.

What about the culture argument? Another common thread you often hear is that “the West/liberals/etc.” think that all humans are interchangeable and that cultural differences don’t exist. I’ve yet to hear any liberal or opposition supporter in Russia ever make this claim, and indeed the range of people who oppose Putin is quite varied indeed.  I remember the bizarre experience I had last time I encountered a Kremlin supporter making this argument. He kept insisting that Russia was right because there are cultural differences. I pointed out to him that I never denied the existence of cultural differences or the influence they have on society, but in spite of the vast cultural differences one might find between Japan and Poland, all these countries provide their citizens with a modicum of rights which just happen to be missing in Russia. In reality, the difference isn’t the culture, but rather the presence in Russia of a small political clique built up around one man and their desire to live the most luxurious lifestyles. Incidentally, my interlocutor in that conversation does not prefer Russia’s oh-so-unique culture for himself, Russian though he is. That is just for the Russian masses, who apparently need it.

Rest assured that most arguments with these people will result in them utterly ignoring your arguments in favor of the ones they have specially made for themselves. If you point out that Western governments are not identical in any sense other than that they aren’t controlled by one man and his personal friends, they’ll still say that the West is trying to enforce one political system on the world. If you point out that you certainly don’t deny the existence of cultural differences, but that at the same time they don’t justify stripping people of their human dignity, they’ll just drone on about you not understanding the importance of culture.  It’s understandable how this mentality exists among Russian ideologues, as they are part of the Russian post-modernist system that declares: “there is no objective truth.” What I find fascinating, however, is that the same adolescent-boy style of arguing finds so much purchase in other countries, and manifests itself in such uniform ways to the point where you can almost predict every argument they might make. According to the modern Russian philosophy, there is no point in debate. If you can, you use state authority to ban viewpoints you don’t want to hear. Outside of Russia, you simply argue against a carefully constructed phony opponent, and ignore the person who is actually talking to you. Since there is no truth, there is no need for debate, ergo there is no need for actual living, breathing, opponents.

Can’t make this up

So this story caught my eye, and I go ahead and click the link.   It leads me to an idiotic blog called “Fort Russ.”  The site’s slogan is “Read what Russia Reads.” They aren’t kidding. Below is the headline of the story I found.

Ukrainian Students Gave Away “The Blood of Russian Babies” Juice for Free at a School Fundraiser

Do I even need to point out that there are no photos or sources to back this up? No? Good.

I’ll give them this much- that is what Russia reads. Tactically this is a huge mistake, however.  The only thing that keeps Russia from becoming a worldwide laughing stock is that for the most part, its propaganda wizards are at least smart enough to keep a certain measure of separation between the bullshit they export abroad, and the next-level, cutting edge water buffalo shit they dump on their own population.  Never the twain should meet.

UPDATE: I did some more checking and found that there was in fact a Ukrainian bake sale with such morbid names for some products. It was a dark humor attempt to poke fun at Russian propaganda, such as the infamous story about a Russian boy who was crucified by Ukrainian soldiers after retaking Slovyansk. Of course the Russian media acted predictably, presenting this as evidence of how bloodthirsty the Ukrainians are. 

Guest author Alexei Romanov:Sanctions? I SPIT ON YOUR SANCTIONS!

At least that’s what I do when I actually think about your sanctions, but I don’t. I never do! We Russians don’t care about your sanctions. We never cared. When you came out of the blue and slapped sanctions on us for no reason, we were too busy enjoying our traditional values such as rye bread, porridge, bliny, caviar, domestic violence, and adultery to care.  What a complete waste of time your sanctions are! All the more reason to remove them.

Not that it matters if you do or not, because when we think we’re right we never give up. Except in 1917. It was just a re-branding, though. Or in 1991, when we gave up again. But we only did that so as to trick you. We had to overthrow the USSR to bring back the Russian Empire. But this time we will never give up! We will tolerate any deprivation for the sake of our Great Leader Vladimir Putin, even though he and his cronies will not change their lifestyle one bit. This is the Russian way, submitting to a strong leader who occasionally throws you crumbs if you behave. Or not.  Did you really think these sanctions would work? Ridiculous! Might as well remove them. They’re so counter-productive.

Actually, when I think about these sanctions, I’m sure that they will only help Russia just as our great leader has declared. I would think that, however, if only I ever thought about the sanctions. Of course I don’t think about the sanctions, rendering the whole point moot. What utterly useless sanctions these are! Why would you even continue to enforce them if they clearly aren’t having any negative effect?  Seems like a futile effort.

Of course your sanctions, which we do not think about because of our mysterious and deeply enigmatic Russian soul, must be answered in kind. Though we are not afraid of your sanctions and they have no effect on us, we will respond with our own sanctions, which will surely affect you! That is unless you remove your sanctions, in which case we might be inclined to grant you mercy.  Only if you remove your useless, utterly ineffective sanctions, of course.

Did you forget how we defeated Hitler, who wanted to enslave our nation by giving us contested elections and same-sex marriage? Our people drew on their deep faith in the Orthodox Church and with the guidance of their profoundly religious Russian nationalist leader Ilya Ivanovich Stalin, they defeated the entire German army. In fact it is said that the Germans were demoralized by a vision of St. George which appeared in the sky before them! You Westerners, with your love of “logic” and “evidence” may scoff at that story, but there’s no such thing as objective truth! If you say something, that makes it true. And that’s why Russia will defeat your sanctions the same way it defeated Hitler and Genghis Khan! We have a special historical mission, which is to endure hardship under the unflinching yoke of a strong leader who is utterly isolated from us, for reasons which we cannot explain to you cold, reasoning Westerners.  Seriously though, remove the sanctions. It’s getting silly.

Sanctions! Laughable! If only you could see me laughing at your sanctions! Only a fool would keep these sanctions against Russia! Why don’t you stop embarrassing yourselves and just remove your sanctions. No, really, why don’t you? Come on, this isn’t funny anymore. Prices are rising. Oil keeps falling. I can barely afford buckwheat for God’s sake! Come on and remove these useless, counter-productive sanctions that hurt you more than us! Please! For the love of god! Get rid of these ridiculous sanctions!  Please! I’m begging you! I’m laughing too hard! I might die of laughter provoked by your sanctions! Stop the sanctions!  Stop!  

These people are children

Two stories from the Moscow Times serve as great examples of the child-like mentality of Russia’s leadership.  The first is about a guide for migrant workers in Russia, put out by the Orthodox Church. It offers helpful hints such as:

Don’t speak too loudly in public. Don’t wave your arms and hands on public transportation. And don’t push. 

In other words, don’t act like Russians.  Knowing full well how Russians behave in Moscow, I’d like to add my own tips to the guide for Central Asian and Caucasian immigrants. I don’t know why, however, because in my more than 8 years of experience I’ve never seen Central Asians or Caucasians engaging in any of the behaviors I’m about to list here.

-Don’t get drunk on a playground surrounded by several apartment buildings, shouting and screaming well into the night.

-Don’t get in a drunken fight with your girlfriend just below an apartment block after midnight.

-Don’t start singing your stupid football hooligan songs at 2 in the fucking morning.

-Don’t set off fireworks after midnight for no particular holiday.

-Don’t be drinking a beer while you push your baby around at 11 in the morning.

-Don’t plaster metro stations with stickers bearing neo-Nazi symbols.

All of the above behaviors are common occurrences I have observed, sometimes on a daily basis, for years. In all these cases the culprits are ethnic Russians, displaying a total disregard for everyone around them.  But you immigrants, you need to make sure you don’t do these things!

One particularly idiotic passage in the guide concerns the topic of behavior toward women.

The book also warns migrants to be chivalrous toward women: “In Russia, there are many unhappy families and single women because many men die early or perish in wars and conflicts. But Russian women regard themselves highly and require respect. If someone offends them, then their male relatives and the state will defend them.”

If you counted every word I’ve ever written on this blog since its inception in September of 2013, that sum would only constitute but a fraction of the words I would need to explain how idiotic the above statement is.  First of all, what wars and conflicts are supposedly claiming young Russian men today? The whole Russian government swears up and down that it isn’t a party to the conflict in Ukraine. Also if Putin’s done so much for Russia, why are so many Russian men still apparently dying early?  Never mind that for a second. What they are leaving out is that many single women, the women that they’re so sure will get harassed by foreigners, are single because they don’t see great prospects among young Russian men. That’s not to say they can’t find adequate mates, but they just don’t find them as quickly and therefore they are single.

As for the matter of Russia defending its women, well…There’s still this.

All in all, this is just another example of how Russia’s intelligentsia, if you can call the leadership of the Orthodox church thus, is totally disconnected from reality. Many Russians have created a fantasy about themselves, which does not fool any foreigner who has encountered them on a regular basis. In the minds of many of these drooling morons, Russia is this simple, fairy tale land where men are respectable fathers and patriots, and women are demure, modest maidens waiting patiently to get married and start bearing children.  The reality is something quite different:

Treat these ladies with respect!

Treat these ladies with respect!

It is also another example of psychological projection, whereby some Russians imagine that all their social problems must come from somewhere else. If it’s not America, the Jews, the Masons, the reptilian shape-shifters, or the insidious “creative class” 5th columnists, it’s Caucasians and Central Asians. All these various groups force Russians to drink to excess in the middle of the day or into the early hours of the morning. They force them to throw their trash everywhere. They force their bureaucrats to steal money. It’s always someone else’s fault. Always.

Anyway, our next story in the Parade of Dipshittery involves the head of Russia’s drug control administration. According to his theory, Euromaidan happened because Ukraine apparently has methadone treatment, and therefore “cults” used drugs to induce people to overthrow their own government.  Let me rephrase that for the reader:  The head of Russia’s organ dedicated to the control of illegal drugs does not know how drugs work.  This is the equivalent to having a Fed chairman who says something like, “Well you’re the government right? Why don’t you just print more money? Duh!

He’s not alone though. The drug hypothesis was actually floated some time during the Maidan protests, and recently a story on Russian TV(of course) claimed that Ukrainian military personnel “injected” a teenage boy with “drugs” and sent him into separatist territory to spy for them. Many Russians apparently think this is how drugs work- you give someone some drugs, and then they become your zombie to control.

Anyone with even a basic understanding of heroin or other opiates knows that people under the influence of such drugs make poor revolutionaries. Even as cannon fodder they are pretty useless unless you are strapping them to some kind of armored vehicle to defend against shaped-charged weapons. Perhaps you can stack their passed out bodies on top of one another like sandbags, but they aren’t going to offer much protection until their dead and frozen solid. Nope, I’m just not seeing any potential military value in junkies.

This is your average dude on heroin. Somehow I don’t see him storming any barricades or doing deep, undercover espionage missions.

Well folks, what more proof do you need when I say that complete, full potato morons are in charge of Russia? This is a country where, when their currency starts to tank, one reaction from a member of the Duma is to accuse their own central bank of working for the United States.  This is a country where the president goes on TV and says that state revenue will rise thanks to the falling ruble.  This is a country where the guy in charge of combating Russia’s drug problem does not know what drugs actually do to a person.  This is a country where men occupy high academic positions as “geopolitical experts,” spending most of their time pontificating on the topic of the United States without having visited that country or even speaking English.

You achieve your position thanks to your friends, and the usefulness of your message, not by merit. Your statements need not be challenged or backed up with any evidence, because of course nobody can really know the truth!