Throwing in the towel

Well as is typically the case when you live in Russia, there must be a dire personal crisis every few months. It seems I’m being let go in March. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but the economy being what it is I cannot afford to go around trying to build up my teaching contacts again, as if that would help at all during this crisis.

I believe that the only thing I can do at this point is pack it in and leave as soon as possible. I’ll continue with the blog as long as I’m here, and I may continue it “in exile” for a while, but unless there’s any money in it I doubt it.

To be honest I’m tired. I’ve come to realize that everything I do here is pointless- this is not the real world. I cannot raise a family here. There are no causes I can fight for, no banner I can rally to. I am already living in exile, in a sort of bubble, and have been for many years. While I have achieved a great deal, especially considering my humble background, I cannot advance any further so long as I am here.

Though this isn’t exactly goodbye yet, I want to thank all the readers and commentators who put this blog on the map. This blog got me published, on TV, and a job in a field that I never would have been able to get into without it. While I may be losing that job, I would have been far worse off without it. This blog made me a professional writer, and your attention and support is the reason I kept at it.

The Indiegogo campaign is still active; your support will help Russia Without BS stay in business as long as possible. Of course I appreciate your words of support as well as any job offers, recommendations, or requests for information.

I don’t know when the end will be, but I wanted you, the readers, to know ahead of time that it’s coming. Sooner or later this was bound to happen.

Thanks again for your attention and support.



19 thoughts on “Throwing in the towel

  1. Chukuriuk

    Sorry I discovered your work so late. I’ve enjoyed reading here for the last several weeks.
    As for leaving Russia, I suspect that now is the time. “Hoorah-patriotism” seems to be getting worse, and has lasted far longer, than it ever was in the US under W (and I thought that was bad). Enlightenment thought in whatever form is in total retreat in Russia and will soon be deep in hibernation. Channel your energy into a worthwhile project elsewhere.
    Thanks again, and good luck.

  2. das rumpsteak

    Sorry to hear about your job. Will you be returning to the US, or elsewhere?

    I hope you can find the motivation and resources to continue writing your blog – I find it very interesting (and often entertaining) and it’s valuable to hear the views of somebody who has actually lived and worked in Russia for an extended period in the current climate.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Without any particular offer, I’ll be moving back to the US. If I were single I’d probably head back to Prague or Kyiv, but being married means there are visa issues.

  3. Bandersnatch

    I wish you wouldn’t quit it, you could transition into American issues I suppose. I’ve built my mornings around reading your posts. It is a ritual for me. One I will be sad to lose.

  4. Dimitri

    I saw this coming for a while, and was wondering when the other shoe would drop. I suspect things in Russia will be getting worse over the coming year, so probably it is better to leave now, during the relative calm before the storm.

    You’re a good writer. I hope, selfishly, you will keep this blog alive. If not, please continue in some fashion (the podcast?) to keep your thoughts out there. Many people, me included, will seek you out to hear your thoughts.

  5. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    oh my god! it’s over? nooooooooooo!!! 🙂 😦 ‘kay, i just want to say i’ve loved your blog for quite a while now, and i’ve been poring over the older stuff lately too: your article “wither pickup artistry: advice for young men” was absolutely brilliant and SO needed since pickup “artistry” is such bullsh*t (even though i’ve never tried it). and your nuanced, and to me, extremely balanced articles here on all things russia are so very much appreciated, cheers to you. and hopefully you come back to your homeland – you have obviously and for good reason become jaded, i mean, for god’s sake, you’re no longer into the great battles against germany of moscow, stalingrad, and kursk anymore, so it’s definitely time for you to come home. is your wife russian? if she is, hopefully she’ll be thrilled by the shiny, “metropolitan”, good ol’ USA – i’m canadian by the way, and the only place i’ve been to, is new zealand with my nana when i was 16 – i’m now 37 years old, and i’ve never left home, and i’ve never had a job, and i’m still living with my parents (i have really really bad “Pure-O” OCD). anyway, blah blah blah, for me David M Glantz is my favorite author of the epic battles the russians and ukranians fought against the german wackos, so if you haven’t read him, read him, and regain your enthusiasm (if that’s even possible, i don’t know) – anyway, glantz is superior to all the others. anyway, true cheers to you, and good luck too. (you should hear any recording of prokofiev’s sixth piano sonata before you say farewell to mother russia) cheers. and i like putin, but you’re right: f*ck him, i think he has become spoiled and lazy, and is obviously (so obviously) f*cking that super-extremely-extremely-hot “tatar” former gymnast or whatever she was – as i’m sure you know, she’s in “politics” now. and it’s sad that the russian people have become such sheep – the western ukranian maidan people are useful sheep too, oh yes they are:

    – and my “fellow” canadians are timid, naive, comfortable, little “protestant”, humanitarian, righteous tw*ts: and these are the most horrible kind of sheep. good god – shut the hell up michael. bye.

  6. cheesyname44

    I am sorry that it ended up like this, and I wish you well. Your articles I found to be very helpful in providing another narrative to help balance against other, much larger news sources. I will continue to follow the blog via rss, please do post if you continue your writing in some other form elsewhere.

  7. gunlord500

    Aw man, that’s a shame. I’m sorry to hear circumstances have forced you to do this, but you gotta do what you gotta do; providing for your family’s the most important thing. I hope you don’t stop writing, though. If you come to the US and then decide to launch a new blog on whatever subject, be sure to let us know!

  8. Asehpe

    Like everybody else, I am also sorry to hear about your problems. I haven’t been following your blog for very long — I wish I had found it earlier — but it has provided many fresh insights into Russia, and also into the US (where I lived longer than in Ukraine). As others said above, I hope you’ll continue the blog, even if not in Russia. But frankly, you’re enough of a good writer that I’d enjoy whatever topics you chose to write about, be they Russia-related or not. Keep up the good work!

  9. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    dear mr james kovpak, you’re weirdly (kinda) just like this guy named anatoly karlin (EXCEPT he’s a pro-russia, russian, living in your country) and like you, he is VERY ARTICULATE, and believe it or not, very nuanced for a “russian nationalist”. he says of himself:

    “As regards Russian politics, I make no secret that I’m a pro-Putin conservative. That said, my views are moderate – while Western media coverage of Russia may be woefully biased and frequently malicious, there are certainly plenty of things to criticize about Russia and Russians.
    However, they must be grounded in in statistics, an appreciation of the viewpoints of ordinary Russians, and a judicious comparative perspective (which is NOT equivalent to “moral relativism” or “whataboutism” as many of the more hardcore Russophobe propagandists claim). I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley. One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.”

    kovpak, i know this is only a fantasy, but i dream of you and him going at it somehow (!!!) you two would be WORTHY ADVERSARIES, truly. with him i SOMETIMES agree very much, or, totally and completely DISAGREE – there’s never any middle ground. anyway, this guy is a bloody genius to me for just this 1 article of his that i read and will never forget – it’s titled “Categorizing the Russia Debate, a Very Brief History of Russia-Watching”.

    here it is from his site,


    and please don’t quit this blog, continue it somehow when you are back in the united states. you don’t have to write about russia either, write about anything, you are that TALENTED, but even more important than that, informative, nuanced, and lucid. send in a resume (your blog!) to someone at and write for them. i know, i am naive. and hopefully you don’t have children that get in the way of work options. good luck.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Thank you for your support, but I’m afraid you misread me if you find me to be similar to Mr. Karlin. That might have been true when I was 18-23, when I wasn’t living in Russia, but not now.

      Mr. Russophile is happy to be a cheerleader for Putin because he isn’t forced to deal with any of the negative consequences of his mismanagement. So when people who actually live in Russia complain, he can call them Russophobes.

      That brings me to his article, which is nothing but a false dichotomy and a strawman. He says Russophobes hate their country(even though many of them live in Russia while he doesn’t), but Russophiles are all deep thinkers who truly understand Russia on its own terms, even if they don’t live there and prefer to stay in the decaying West.

      On that note, I find his hodge-podge “neo-reactionary” ideology funny because this is an ideology which can easily be summed up by saying: “I don’t know dick about history.” They love that Spenglerian view about Russia saving the West from its madness, and yet Russia today is still far behind the West today as it was back then when reactionaries were fapping to it in some cases as much as 100 years ago. And what was it that brought Russia into the 20th century? Oh right, Western-imported Marxist materialism. And as that state came to increasingly reject that view and replace it with traditional Russian ideas- surprise! It declined and eventually collapsed. I’m starting to notice a pattern here.

      I’m also skeptical of his “conservatism” in light of his naive belief in the “red pill” philosophy. Red pillers are basically the post-high school equivalent of those 14-year olds who tell you sex tales that always involve girls you wouldn’t know, because, like, they’re from out of state and they met at summer camp.

      It seems Karlin might be one of those pro-Putin “conservatives” who believes he stands up for traditional values because he condemns women for being “loose,” yet still sees nothing wrong with a man seeking casual sex with them. With real traditional conservatives, there’s at least something respectable in their self-denial and discipline which go hand-in-hand with conservative chastity.

      Lastly, though he admires Russia, he is so incredibly American with his explanation of his religious beliefs. He “considers” himself a member of the Orthodox church? Do they know that? Do they get to decide? Doctrine is a hell of a lot more important with Catholicism and Orthodoxy. None of this “Oh I like to mix in a little Gnosticism here and there.” By that logic my wife and I can call ourselves members of the Sunni Islamic Ummah, even though I had bacon for breakfast this morning and never seriously said the Shahadda or did daily prayers.

      He is indeed articulate, but I notice these Russophiles tend to use eloquence for evil purposes, namely obfuscation and distraction. This seems to be a feature of these “Dark Enlightenment”, neo-reactionaries. They know that if they’re forced to speak in concrete terms, they’ll be pinned to the wall and destroyed by anyone with decent historical knowledge. Therefore they go into post modernism and in some case poetry and purple prose.

      Anyway, please don’t feel I’m shooting the messenger here; I have no ill feelings towards you.

      Again, thanks for your support and rest assured that I intend to stick things out as long as possible. So far other opportunities have opened up and in the near future, I might actually be able to devote more time to the blog. I just felt I needed to put everybody on notice because months go by quickly and I didn’t want everyone to be waiting around for weeks trying to figure out what happened.

  10. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    thank you very much for your response about mr karlin, mr kovpak. very interesting though brief. i don’t really know what to say in response. i seriously can only basically write like a “bot”. anyway, i like both of you guys ideologically, you more than him ’cause he’s kinda scary, but not scary like eduard limonov. i love eduard limonov. he is so crazy, like a fox. and i’m crazy i guess. i’m of two opposable halves, LoL. but i’m stupid. you seem to be very well read too. it would be great to see you and karlin go at it just like you and “the kremlin stooge” canadian guy under his comments section did. that was great. okay. cheers from canada. i’m certainly very lucky to be a canadian even though i hate the sneaky conservative direction our country seems to be going. so sad. bye bye.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      You are too hard on yourself. It must be that Canadian modesty.

      I’m not particularly looking to get into it with Karlin, but I have a feeling one day our paths will cross somehow. It’s just hard for me to take these “neo-reactionary”/red pill types seriously.

  11. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    i am not modest at all. i can be a pathetic and terrible kinda “bot” troll too y’know. at, they didn’t like me, because i “personally” attacked mark ames in the comments section there under one of his articles. where is the old exile mark ames? he has “sold-out” a bit since he moved back to his america, and married an annoying, expat, russian, high-end-real-estate chick, well his great mentor, john dolan, aka the war nerd, starves around the world, teaching english. i don’t think karlin has been in russia for quite a while, but i don’t know. his eugenics stuff and homophobia pisses me off too. i love the way he “obfuscates”, just like i love the way slavoj zizek “obfuscates”, LoL. fascinating. i’m serious.

  12. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    the following is NOT by me,
    but i thought i’d pass it on in the name of stupidity and fun.

    thermippos – the complete dialogues:

    the scene is the agora, outside the office of the magistrate. socrates
    is on his way to answer charges of impiety. there he meets thermippos
    holding forth confidently amidst a gathering of young men. naturally,
    since death is on his mind, socrates seizes the opportunity to discuss
    the subject with a man who seems certain of everything.

    socrates: you agree, thermippos, that all men are mortal.
    thermippos: i do.
    socrates: and you agree furthermore that i am a man.
    thermippos: i have no reason to doubt it, socrates.
    socrates: surely then you agree that i am mortal.
    thermippos: i didn’t say that. you did. don’t put words in my mouth.
    socrates: i beg your pardon, thermippos, but i have simply drawn what follows.
    thermippos: strawman.
    socrates: but no true reasoner could fail –
    thermippos: ah, the no-true-macedonian fallacy.
    socrates: but, thermippos, given the logical form…
    thermippos: define “logical form”.
    socrates: … you must either accept the conclusion or reject at least
    one of the premises.
    thermippos: false dichotomy.
    socrates: i see, thermippos. you’re an idiot.
    thermippos: and that’s an ad hominem.

    socrates ad-hominems thermippos with a brick. the charges of impiety
    are dropped.

  13. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    okay everyone, mr jim/james (?) kovpak, an actual, nuanced, very decent american, is probably leaving russia, and he has become pretty-well, TOTALLY-disillusioned too – poor thing. but here are his best articles here in my opinion. check them out before this blog goes down:

    and mr kovpak, here are some words of “comfort”

    in the mind there is no absolute or free will,
    but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause,
    which has also been determined by another cause,
    & this last by another cause,
    & so on to infinity.

    man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills.

    i do not believe in freedom of the will. schopenhauer’s words: “man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills” accompany me in all situations throughout my life & reconcile me with the actions of others even if they are rather painful to me. this awareness of the lack of freedom of will preserves me from taking too seriously myself & my fellow men as acting & deciding individuals & from losing my temper.

    i am compelled to act as if free will existed, because if i wish to live in a civilized society i must act responsibly… i know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but i prefer not to take tea with him.

    night, street, lamp, drugstore,
    a dull & meaningless light.
    go on and live another quarter century –
    nothing will change. there’s no way out.

    you’ll die, then start from the beginning,
    it will repeat, just like before:
    night, icy ripples on a canal,
    drugstore, street, lamp.

  14. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    i’m an idiot. i kinda “slandered” anatoly karlin when i said he was into “eugenics stuff”. no, what i meant is that he’s into the idea of the importance of race and IQ, something that makes me recoil automatically. it’s one of the things i don’t like about him at all. anyway, blah blah. blah blah blah. i am going to stop posting comments on this great blog because they’re basically too stupid and flippant or whatever. cheers everyone!


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