I try to limit my attacks on this blog to people’s work, rather than them as a person. If their work reveals something extremely disturbing about them, or something about their life is relevant to the point I’m arguing against, I will bring that up. More importantly, the people I criticize are typically public figures and media personalities. They wanted the spotlight. If at any time the reader finds this entry unfair or mean-spirited, please keep in mind that it is about a man who has gone to great lengths to garner attention, and who has, with unbelievable social ineptitude, decided to put much of his intimate personal life online for the world to see. That man, and I use the term loosely, is Graham Phillips, a stringer for RT.
Recently I was made aware of Mr. Phillips, and was appalled by what I saw on his personal blog. I was bidden to do something about this, but I knew that after what I had seen, anything I wrote about him would inevitably degenerate into a long incoherent rant, based largely on personal experience with people like him. Then a miracle happened. I was saved by Buzzfeed. Yeah, that Buzzfeed. Check it out.
You might be wondering as to what it is about Phillips that had me so enraged. Well if you don’t want to read the entire Buzzfeed article, take a look at this excerpt.
Eventually, Phillips began documenting his life and thoughts on a blog, Brit in Ukraine, which he saw as a springboard for his writing career. Entries about prostitutes, students who moonlight as escorts, foreign-bride hunters, and other “sexpats” suggest he enjoyed a second adolescence common among Western expats in Ukraine. Many of them, however, are written with a naive candor that makes him out to be less a conventional sex tourist than a man simply gaping in awe through a window into a new, scuzzy world.
One, “Prostitutes and Me,” recounts his experiences with paying for sex in Amsterdam. The first encounter leaves him feeling he and “Natasha” were “like kindred spirits,” he writes. “A new high had replaced the drugs, and I exhaled ‘I love prostitutes’ into an appreciative Amsterdam night.” Two subsequent visits to other women, however, are so clinical that he swears off the practice entirely. Beyond that, Phillips’ interest in the sex trade seemingly borders on the scientific. Another multi-part series of entries details the history of the River Palace, a floating brothel on the Dnieper River linked to the son of Ukraine’s former president, complete with interviews with prostitutes and johns. (Phillips says this was the only time he visited.) “Ukraine speaks to the wildness in me,” Phillips said.
By the time mass protests in Kiev against then-President Viktor Yanukovych broke out last December, however, Phillips’ time in Ukraine had, by his own admission, “completely flopped.” He was unemployed. An e-book he wrote accusing a Ukrainian internet bride of murdering her British husband was withdrawn after her new boyfriend threatened legal action. Another, about an American fruitlessly searching for a Ukrainian bride for 15 years, never came to fruition. A serious relationship with a Ukrainian woman collapsed when Phillips failed to commit to marriage, souring irreparably shortly afterward when he failed to share her embrace of the protest movement.
In case the reader is wondering, yes, I read all but one of the entries mentioned in that excerpt after a friend had tipped me off to this scumbag. In his account of the experience with the prostitute in Amsterdam, I noted how he sounded just as delusional and self-absorbed as your typical “john.” I’ve probably never mentioned in on this blog before, but years ago I did a lot of research into the issue of women trafficking and sex slavery, and not the way Phillips did. People like Phillips see the smiling faces and don’t question what goes on behind the scenes. He mentions that his “Natasha” was from some town in Russia he couldn’t remember. Why she left that town and found herself in prostitution was apparently of no concern to our happy customer. Again, if the reader finds this too personal, keep in mind this is all based on his own writing from his own blog. It’s fair game. As for the stories of his girlfriends, he not only posted the details of their relationship on his blog, but he even included pics of their SMS conversations.
The sad truth is that Graham Phillips is just an example of a larger problem, one which egotistical nationalists in places like Ukraine and Russia don’t want to talk about, no doubt because it is so humiliating. Basically, Phillips does not see Ukrainian and Russian women as human. They are toys to be bought and sold and put on display on your blog. That is why he put all the details, including private conversations, up on a blog for the world to see. That’s why he shares his sick fantasy with a Russian prostitute. The horrible truth is that Graham is not alone. Since the fall of the USSR, economic devastation and instability have proven quite advantageous to those Western men who are so unlucky with love. They will claim that these women are “unspoiled,” more intelligent, and so on, but in the end it boils down to “I’m going to find someone who will have to fuck me because her country’s gone to shit or is going there soon.” If you ever talk to these guys you’ll definitely get a predatory and self-entitled vibe off of them. And in case you are curious, no, most of the time they aren’t actually getting laid with all those exotic women they brag about. I’ve had the unfortunate but retrospectively hilarious experience of watching guys like this “in the field,” so to speak, and it’s downright pathetic. Let me put it this way. There’s a reason these guys pay for sex.
There are a number of things we can learn from the saga of Graham Phillips, Evader of Trip-Flares. First off, I need to say that there is absolutely no reason why this sort of behavior should be associated with RT, or Russophiles in general. There are plenty of Graham Phillipses out there who support the Russian opposition or Euromaidan and the new Kiev government. Having made this clear, the lesson the reader needs to get from this is that one should always be wary of these male expats who profess their love for Russia or Ukraine. It doesn’t matter if they’re a Putin apologist talking about all great things he’s done and is doing for Russia or a Euromaidan cheerleader preaching the gospel of Ukrainian European integration. Whatever the case, these people don’t care about Russia or Ukraine. They don’t want either country to be more stable or more prosperous. That would be a disaster for them.
You see, reader, if Ukraine or Russia became more prosperous and economically stable, with plenty of opportunities for all citizens, boys like Phillips would be shit out of luck. Women would feel more free to tell them to fuck off, instead of wondering whether they should suppress their instincts in the hope that they might find a ticket out of a dead end life in a crumbling country. No, in a better Russia or Ukraine, those women would be far more choosy. I can see what these men would be saying right now. “Something’s wrong with Ukrainian women! They got Westernized! Really? The same thing happened to Russian women! They’re spoiled! They don’t even respond when I send them 300 private messages telling them how beautiful they are and how I have my own house in Peoria, Illinois! Who do those stuck up bitches think they are! I’m going to move to a country where the women are more traditional and know how to treat a man! I’m moving to Bangladesh!”
It’s actually bigger than just expats. When we hear European and Western politicians talking about how important it is that Ukraine be “part of Europe,” we would do well to question how Europe has dealt with the issue of women trafficking thus far. After all, many of those trafficked or poor women end up in Europe’s brothels. As this has been the case since 1991, possibly sooner in some cases, one wonders as to exactly how concerned the European Union is for Ukrainian welfare, particularly considering the inevitable austerity that is about to be imposed on the former Soviet republic. Same goes for Russia, whose government has done virtually nothing to improve the reputation of its women, and in fact has even promoted negative stereotypes on numerous occasions. Also suffice to say here that all the talk of Russia being a more traditional society with wholesome family values is bullshit, but to be fair, it’s bullshit pretty much anywhere.
So word of the wise, especially for those who might encounter an expat some day. If someone’s political rants and opinions are punctuated by fanciful tales of sexcapades, keep that in mind when judging their devotion to their professed values or ideology. Lastly, let me deflect ignorant accusations of “puritanism” by pointing out that this isn’t about “sex” per se. This is about how one human being treats another. Men and women should be able to have sex with whom they want, whenever they want, under the condition of mutual consent. This is not the same as using others’ national misfortune as a lever with which one can take advantage of them, and then creepily exposing that relationship to the entire world and smearing half of an entire country with disgusting stereotypes. It’s not the same as buying and selling another human’s body for profit. Even if one disputes the idea that there is anything immoral about either of those practices, it does totally shatter one’s claims to caring about the welfare of the people in question or, as is so often the case in Russophiles, “traditional values.” By all means, you chase all the mail order brides you want and fuck as many prostituted women as you can afford, but you don’t get to lecture me about what is best for Ukraine or Russia.