Welcome dear reader, to Russia Without BS. Here you will find dissections of various media distortions or myths about Russia from both within and without the Russian Federation. As an American who has been living in Russia since 2006, I started this blog because I was sick of seeing a total disconnect between the image of Russia outside its borders and the real situation “on the ground.”
More importantly, I was totally fed up with people taking advantage of the rift between Russia and the rest of the world to impress their audience with ridiculous fantasies and imaginary adventures passed off as being real. Visa regulations, prices, and a steep language barrier make Russia inaccessible to many people, and thus it provides some individuals with very favorable conditions for deception. Journalists and individuals have been known to weave all kinds of lurid and thrilling tales involving secret agents, surveillance, wild parties, ridiculously beautiful women who are simultaneously perfect for both marriage and one-night-stands, gangsters, and of course the omnipotent hand of “ex-KGB agent” Vladimir Putin can be found behind every little event, no matter how insignificant. The person without experience and first-hand knowledge of Russia is often at the mercy of these charlatans.
Lastly, journalism on Russia is bound to be biased, one way or the other. In every major international story on Russia you will usually find one or two sane, sober articles discussing the issue at hand, but they will be but islands in a sea of either “pro-West” or “pro-Russia (i.e. pro-Kremlin)” propaganda pieces with little in the way of critical thinking. Both sides will accuse one another of bias without addressing their own and often those who do attempt to analyze the issues carefully will be accused of being either pro-Kremlin or pro-Western by the appropriate corresponding side. Failure to agree with even one conclusion of a pro-Kremlin piece puts you firmly in the Western camp, and the same when dealing with Western media article makes you a pro-Putin hack. There are is no in-between in their book. I have my political beliefs but as it turns out, I have no stake in the delusions of Russian or Western “liberals”, nor those of the self-proclaimed “Russophiles”(many of whom aren’t Russian at all) or their pro-Kremlin ilk. If the first article you see on here is criticizing the Kremlin, the next may be a thorough takedown of an article written by a member of the opposition. My policy is that if I see bullshit that doesn’t correspond to reality, I’m going to my best to take it down.