The Evolution of a BS Story

Hey did you hear that Putin has ordered state officials to bring their loved ones back to Russia amid a rising threat of a Third World War? If you read The Daily Mail Online you probably did. No doubt you’re probably reading this blog post on a short break before you get back to constructing your own private bomb shelter. If that’s the case, I’ve got good news for you- the story is bullshit.

First of all, here’s the same story from Meduza, which is based on the same source, Notice that the issue of war isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Meduza article. In fact, war is only mentioned one time in the original article, as a minor point compared to the repeated scandals about the children and relatives of Russia’s elite living luxurious lives in the West.

What you have just witnessed, dear reader, is how a minor story based on highly questionable unnamed sources evolves into panic-mongering clickbait about nuclear war. I too had been asked by someone to write up a story based on the piece in Znak, but quickly decided to kill it when I saw the paucity of sources. I’m only including that personal anecdote in hopes that others will follow the example the next time a sensationalist story like this one pops up.

On the topic of nuclear war I will say this. The children and relatives of the Russian elite would probably rather die in a nuclear holocaust than be pried from their luxury flats in London or their Brooklyn lofts and forced to live in Russia, even for their last days on Earth. Nuclear war these days isn’t just a matter of mutually assured destruction, but for the Russian elite it’s the end of any reason to live even if one survives. What is the point of surviving if, in the end, not only has your own country been reduced to ash (and it will be, Mr. Kiselyov, rest assured of that), but all those glitzy upscale shopping centers and night clubs have also been destroyed by your own warheads? Why go on living when you cannot lord your wealth over the people from whom you stole it?

Supposing there had been a nuclear war between the US and USSR, both countries at least had their own self-sufficient systems. In this way the survivors could hypothetically rebuild according to their own structures, laws, etc., paving the way for all kinds of post-apocalyptic tales. This is not the case today; Russia is integrated into the global economy. As such, it can be severely wounded without its enemies even firing a shot. The idea that the Russian ruling class has recently been imbued with a sense of genuine patriotism and plans to make Russia self-sufficient is nothing but a laughable delusion in the minds of “geopolitical experts.” Their very class existence is rooted in access to Western wealth, Western luxury, Western credit, and so on.

Lastly, it is true that Russia has been engaging in a lot of war-mongering hysteria lately, but I think there’s a logical reason for this. Russia’s antics are that of an unruly teenager craving attention. They want to be seen as a great power and as a spoiler when it comes to the plans of Western countries, in particular the United States. But what is happening right now can most likely be pinned on one thing- the US presidential election. They no doubt correctly calculated that Obama would not take any significant action that might hurt his party’s chances in November, and they’re going to try to get away with everything they can before mom and dad get home, so to speak.

I have no doubt that they’ll continue their current behavior for some time after the election, and possibly into the next administration as well, but I’m predicting the possibility of a noticeable plateau in Kremlin bullshit some time in 2017. Everything points to a Clinton victory at the moment, and they’ve done much to piss her off throughout this campaign. It will be a fresh administration and the US can levy  more sanctions on Russia without any significant losses from the pathetic “counter-sanctions,” unlike little European nations that will throw Ukraine under the bus just to sell their fucking cheese to Russia.

So yeah, we’re in the middle of a “New Cold War,” but this one’s going to be much shorter and sadder than the last.


30 thoughts on “The Evolution of a BS Story

  1. gbd_crwx

    Well, regarding the presindental election I think you might have a point. The troll activity have been extremely high on the guardian website, and somewhat more refined compared to when the Ukrainian crisis was more hot. I wonder how productive it will be in the long run though. If the EU-countries were to increase their military spending and towards fighting a full spectrum war they should be able to easily outspend RF.

    And when we are mentioning the EU, I have been seriously wondering if May´s push for a hard brexit is really aimed at presenting such a unpalatable deal that remain will be the outcome anyway.

  2. Mr. Hack

    ‘the pathetic “counter-sanctions,” unlike little European nations that will throw Ukraine under the bus just to sell their fucking cheese to Russia.;

    Even France quickly learned that there are other alternate buyers for its cheese, when it recently sold its two Mistral aircraft carriers to Egypt.

  3. Pingback: The Evolution of a BS Story – To Inform is to Influence

  4. armoured

    There’s a fairly simple psychological aspect too: apart from probably some remaining latent hope that they can help Turmp, ratcheting things up now gives Putin the possibility to step down and back in a new ‘peace initiative’ sometime after Hillary is elected. Despite the rhetoric, I think they actually get that she’s a pragmatist at heart (perhaps with some ideological tendencies), and will have more than a few incentives to regularise things after she’s elected. Russia wants to make some quick wins (Syria – not hard given hopeless US policy), as well as set the bar for bad behaviour so low that they can ‘reset.’

      1. armoured

        True. The advantage of total control of the media, though, is you only need a few small wins/not total losses to claim you won. Plus, I strongly suspect that being seen as a ‘man of peace’ will be high on Putin’s list of auto-fellatio gratification measures, and easily accepted by the Russian public. (An aside, I’ve encountered the Russian mythology many times that ‘Russia was a less cruel nation’ than e.g. Western Europe, supposedly going back to ancient times, etc. I was surprised the first few times but eventually realised this is a real thing that kids have been taught for decades). So further spin is always possible, and starting from a ‘high’ point makes the spin easier. (Sure, we asked them to compensate us for our anti-sanctions, but we all knew that was bullshit, right?)

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        This is true. Right now they’re making all this fuss but the media always portrays it as the West forcing Russia to take these measures.

    1. gunlord500

      “I think they actually get that she’s a pragmatist at heart”

      Yeah, this is one thing I’ve been kind of confused about when looking at Russian reactions to the election. Why would they want a Trump victory? However much he might like Russia, he’s unstable enough to be a threat. Hillary, on the other hand, is at least someone you can negotiate with, if only because she’s been canny enough to hold on to political power for decades and knows where and how her bread is buttered.

      1. gbd_crwx

        Maybe to put a spanner in the works, even though the election might be sealed.

        Who knows, maybe a democratic landslide might actually be beneficial to Russian foreign relations since a President who does have her hands tied domestically actually might focusing on domestic issues instead of foreign realations. Although I don’t think this is planned by any Russian involvement in the US elections, that would be manipulations on a Palpatine scale

      2. armoured

        There’s another possibility: that they do want HRC to win, but love – love – just adore – the prospect of Trump and others starting noise or even a movement about the legitimacy of the US government and rigged elections, etc. And on paper – actually on Channel One/RT screens – they will have nice talking points: 30-40% of the electorate supports Trump, ‘media cabals’ were lined up against Trump, Trump torpedoed by ‘kompromat’, the various wikileaks lines about DNC machinations, etc. In fact, I’m willing to bet this will be the talking point not just on / , but quickly be incorporated into MID/Lavrov/Zakharova harangues.
        It might be ‘Palpatine’ to think that they planned it, but Trump’s deep-end conspiratorial ravings of the last few days will dovetail very nicely with Russian views of all politics everywhere, and attempts to bring everyone down to the same level of (il)legitimacy. And garner a fair amount of support worldwide. Let’s face it, discussions of the details of how the US system works in reality won’t get much attention in the hothouse post-election fervour, where any sense of subtlety (and likely substance) will disappear. I suspect the internal wars within the GOP won’t make US democracy look any better, either.

  5. Trump2016

    Hello Jim,

    If you hate Russia and its government so much that you have dedicated both your blog and your twitter to bashing it every day, and you like Ukraine so much that you share their propaganda videos and repost from their propaganda pages, why don’t you kindly fuck off to Ukraine or maybe back to the States where everything is going great as always?

    Best regards,
    Concerned Russian

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Looks like you’re a little confused there.

      See Russia and it’s government are two different things. If anyone hates Russia and should leave, it’s probably the Russian government. Not only do they repeatedly show utter contempt for their own people, but they actually steal from them as well.

      Only a complete idiot would seriously say I bash Russia. I’m more of a patriot than you.

    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      It’s also funny how you talk about hating Russia yet your handle is supporting a man who threatened to shoot down Russian jets simply for flying close to US ships in international waters.

      Trump says Russia does this because they don’t “respect” the US. How do you think a hothead like Trump plans to get Russia’s respect?

    3. jon

      Jim is doing an exemplary job with his commentary on Russian politics. He’s one of the seemingly few lefties who actually gets it.

      If you don’t like it, then there is only one person in this room who needs to fuck off 😉

      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Enjoy watching your candidate go down on flames on election night. That’s just America overtly rejecting your backward, primitive ideals.

        Prepare yourself for the Great Cuckening!

  6. zephyrean

    I can tell you this: the top echelon of people who manage Russia’s overseas property are scared shitless of *something*. There’s an ongoing full-scale data collection/processing effort to find every contract, every permit, and every overseas employee and their relatives and their overseas addresses. Clerks were working until the subway was about to close, and higher-ups (who drive or get driven to work because the subway is beneath them in more ways than one) stayed overnight. Higher-ups working overtime is unprecedented; they didn’t do that even during the audit that sent some to jail.

    So it’s not just a dumb *media* rumor, something actually scared Putin’s cronies. Whether what’s scared them is substantiated I don’t know; my bet is on a dumb conspiracy theory that’s been festering inside and now burst out of some counterintelligence (haha) agency.
    (Source: a close friend who’s a clerk.)

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      It could be that they actually believe this shit, or they’re afraid of more sanctions, which is a topic that has been raised twice in recent weeks.

      That and I think there’s going to be a lot more incentive for those living abroad to keep their jobs. They know that if they are brought back to Russia, they might not be able to escape again.

    2. Mr. Hack

      Who’s supposedly conducting these draconian measures? Anything published in the media about this supposed ‘audit’? This sounds very interesting…

  7. gbd_crwx

    Jim, can I ask you a question since you are a native English speaker. I read this article about russian hacking in the guardian and found this reply in the comment section when someone suggested paper ballots ” Toss into the river the ballot boxes from precincts that favor the opposition.” Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t this word order a bit strange?

  8. ericblair

    I can tell you this: the top echelon of people who manage Russia’s overseas property are scared shitless of *something*.

    I’m wondering whether this is it: Hundreds of properties could be seized in UK corruption crackdown.

    Perhaps Russia’s (sort of) tacit support for Brexit is biting them in the ass. It sure looks like the UK is a country that is currently having serious long-term domestic problems caused by political bungling, and may be trying to focus on external tensions to distract the population. However, Russia wouldn’t have any experience with that sort of thing, would they?

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I just saw that thing yesterday. I think that might be it. It’s probably panic over that, Brexit, Panama Papers, etc. No doubt all this sabre-rattling against the West has driven some governments to subtly start asking more questions about taxes, ownership, etc. RT America, for example, is in the middle of some flap with the IRS. This hasn’t been widely publicized.

    2. Mr. Hack

      Yeah, I think that this sort of news would rattle the cages of many a corrupt Russian national who has been living the high life in London town, It sounds like some very bold measures are coming down the pike, let’s hope it’s not just a bunch of false bravado:

      ‘We will not stand by and watch criminals use the UK to launder their dirty money or fund terrorism,” said the security minister, Ben Wallace. “This legislation will ensure the UK is taking a world-leading role in cracking down on corruption and send a clear message to criminals – we will take your liberty and your money.”…We simply cannot continue to roll out the red carpet to the world’s corrupt elite wanting to lodge their illicit wealth in the UK,” said the director of Transparency International, Robert Barrington. “The UK has a responsibility to ensure that any stolen wealth flowing into the country is stopped, frozen, and ultimately returned to the people from whom it was stolen.”

      1. ericblair

        I hope so too. i think it’s the most effective thing the West can do to really take the wind out of the sails of a number of crappy governments. You can probably win big diplomatically in the post-Putin era by giving the Russian people their own money back.

        Easier said then done, though: you can imagine what kind of opposition a serious anti-corruption politician is up against, if s/he’s not compromised in the first place.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      We’ll have to keep an eye on that because recently I was told that the assets weren’t frozen, but rather that they have been told they need to find a new bank. It’s hard to say right now.


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