Tag Archives: Europe

Your liberal order sucks

A lot of folks seem to appreciate my tough love for Russia. Specifically, when I point out that the negative attitude many countries have towards Russia and the preference its neighbors have towards the West isn’t in fact due to some kind of American mind-control conspiracy but rather the behavior of the Russian government and the society it has built over the years. Essentially it’s a matter of projection- they can’t face their own problems so they imagine that they must be coming from outside. Well guess what, me hearties- this doesn’t just apply to Russia.

Today’s one of those days when I have to write a post that gives you an idea as to why I’m not getting invitations to speak at conferences. Honestly I’ve been trying to write this post for some time now, ever since Brexit. I’ve written about Brexit before, but I wanted to go beyond that particular event and tackle the Chicken Littles clucking about how the “liberal order” is being destroyed and of course it’s all Putin’s fault. For all you defenders of the “international liberal order” out there let me dump the bucket of ice water on your head. Your liberal order is failing because quite frankly, it sucks, and people are getting tired of it. Even its many accomplishments are negated by the fact that many in your societies can’t even appreciate and enjoy them, and this is largely due to your corporate-dominated, largely unregulated, for-profit media.

The reason I’ve been holding off on this article for a while is because I was reading a lot of other articles for inspiration and I couldn’t decide which one or ones to comment on. Luckily, this week I found one that seems to fit the bill perfectly. The headline says it all- the EU had it coming. Sure, you can blame it on right-wing nationalism and xenophobia; It’s a step in the right direction as opposed to blaming Putin. But did it ever occur to anyone to ask why nationalism and xenophobia were on the rise in the first place?

Sure, in a modern capitalist society people want a sense of identity, to be a part of something like a nation. But there’s a much more important factor I believe- nationalism implies, if not flat out declares, that members of the “nation” will get preferential treatment. Resources, jobs, social spending, they’ll all be spent on members of the nation instead of immigrants or foreign superstates. This is has serious appeal, regardless of whether or not right-wing demagogues ever deliver on their promises or have any actual coherent plan at all (HINT: They don’t). Take it from my personal experience- people don’t become far-rightists overnight. It starts with alienation, lack of purpose and hope for the future, and most of all, the idea that other, undeserving people are getting something that “should” be rightfully yours. It comes from a desire to avoid being on the bottom of society, incidentally the part of society many liberal pundits have no connection to.

Alas, the “end of history” crowd, the capitalists, the investors, the politicians, and the professionals who served them were not concerned about this social phenomenon. Indeed many of them at one time or another dabbled in racism, xenophobia, nationalism, or right-wing populism of some sort. As far as they were concerned, there was no alternative to their enlightened, perpetual rule, and because modern globalization was good for them they assumed it must be good for everybody.Much like American Democrats in the early 90’s, they seem to have decided that the working classes would have no choice but to accept them regardless of their platform.

And speaking of working classes. I also find it rather amusing that around the time of the economic crisis it really seemed to me that the European ruling class in particular embarked upon a campaign of anti-Communist hysteria rivaling that of the Cold War if not exceeding it at times. I’m not sure what the exact motives were here, but there is great irony in watching their liberal order get assailed not by leftist and Communists, but rather by far right-wing extremists who mouth the same arguments and liken the EU to the Soviet Union.

Speaking from a materialist point of view, I acknowledge the superiority of the liberal order, or at least the ideal version of it that its advocates put forth. I will not deny any of its real accomplishments. Nor will I deny its superiority to the non-alternatives we’ve seen so far. That being said, it is a highly flawed system and it is starting to crack under the weight of its own contradictions. If you are unable to convince large swaths of your own population that your system is superior to the alternatives, that’s your failure. You need to own it and stop blaming Putin like some kind of Eurovatnik.

Personally I don’t think you can ultimately resolve those contradictions. I think the whole system needs to change. If we don’t build a real alternative, then a continent of corrupt kleptocracies and national rivalries might just be the outcome. Sure, Mr. Putin and his gang of thieves, should they still be around at the time, will certainly take advantage of the opportunities such an outcome would provide. But they won’t be able to claim credit for destroying the EU. Only Europeans are capable of doing that.




The Mandatory Brexit Article

Everyone knows the best way to start off anything is with an explicit disclaimer, so here it goes.

I’m not for Brexit. I see a lot of problems with the European Union but I haven’t really seen much in the way of solutions from so-called Euroskeptics. You could rightly say that were I a UK citizen, I probably would have voted Remain. So again- I’m not in favor of Brexit. 

That being said, I think a bit of an autopsy is in order, and unlike most commentators who seem to be harping on about how “the racists won” and “Putin is celebrating,” I think it makes a lot more sense to discuss the failures of the pro-EU side lest this same pattern be repeated across Europe. If that sounds like rubbing salt in Remain’s wounds, too bad. On this blog I constantly write about how the Russian government has no accountability and doesn’t brook internal dissent and many of you cheer me on for it. Now I’m applying the same logic to the EU and the Remainers. Deal with it.

The REAL culprit

First of all let me say that I know who’s really responsible for this disaster, if only indirectly. I learned about him in 2008. Here’s your scapegoat right here, Remainers:



Yes, this is a real thing that exists- Captain Euro. Take Captain America and make him about 1,000 times lamer. How lame exactly? This says it all:


I’m not well versed on Italian politics but I do know this: If you are “working” with Matteo Renzi, if you are doing anything at all with Matteo Renzi, you are lame, period. Case in point.

In fact, to truly measure exactly how lame Captain Euro is, let us compare him to Captain America.


Captain America: Born Steve Rogers, a morally upstanding young man from Brooklyn who wanted nothing more than to serve his country in WWII but could not due to his physical weakness.

Captain Euro: Son of an ethnic German Croat who was dogged to his dying day with accusations that he had been a member of the notorious anti-partisan 7th Waffen SS “Prinz Eugen” division. The father maintained that he had only served as a divisional staff clerk.

Origin story

Captain America: Thanks to an experimental serum, Rogers gains super strength and regenerative properties.

Captain Euro: Professor of paleontology who had to have one of his knees replaced with a “metal alloy joint” after a car accident. I’m not even joking here. Read it for yourself. No, the joint isn’t made from the strongest material on Earth. No, it doesn’t allow him for fire missiles out of his leg. But the biography assures us that he remains in “peak physical condition…” for a professor, I guess.


Captain America: Motivated by hatred of bullies, Nazis, and supervillains.

Captain Euro: Was apparently motivated to “fight” for European unity after witnessing the horrors that befell Yugoslavia in the 1990’s. Somehow missed the fact that both the 90’s Yugoslav wars and the ethnic violence which took place in WWII-era Yugoslavia can be traced to heavy-handed attempts to force several different nationalities together into one country without taking into account those nationalities’ specific concerns.

Special abilities

Captain America: Super strength and athletic endurance. Literally punched out Adolf Hitler, who later elected to commit suicide rather than face the shame of living after being so humiliated in front of his most trusted SS guards.

Captain Euro: An extensive knowledge of trade law and legislative procedure.


Captain America: A shield made of the strongest metal on Earth which also returns to his hand like a boomerang in violation of all known laws of physics.

Captain Euro: Vespa scooter. I already told you the artificial knee joint doesn’t do anything. Don’t have a pen with you? Captain Euro’s got you covered.


Captain America: The Avengers, a group of the most powerful superheroes on Earth.

Captain Euro: Faceless bureaucrats.

Likelihood of hanging out with Matteo Renzi

Captain America: “I don’t know who that is but he sounds lame.”

Captain Euro: “We’re going to the street food festival later this afternoon. I call him ‘Matt,’ actually.”


Alright, you get the idea. This may be a joke, but it is a joke that contains a key truth as to why Brexit succeeded, at least in my opinion.

The anti-establishment campaign

In the wake of Brexit’s win one phrase I’ve often seen is “anti-establishment campaign.” It’s being brandished about as if the Brexit crowd somehow cheated by framing their campaign in such a way. The obvious problem is that when EU supporters point this out, they’re essentially identifying themselves as the establishment or pro-establishment.

It is a fact that many ordinary people who support the EU are well aware of its problems. They express disagreement with some of its policies and acknowledge that some of its practices are ridiculous. On the other hand, the EU’s most fervent defenders often come off as ridiculous romantics or authoritarian schoolmarms ready to scold anyone who expresses dissent toward the idea of “Europe.” Timothy Snyder is a good example of the former, while Anne Applebaum is the latter.

Snyder, somewhat odd for an American, has such glowing praise for “Europe” as the salvation of humanity you’d almost think he’s Captain Euro’s secret identity. Applebaum, on the other hand, chides the Greeks to accept austerity because their country’s economic woes are their own fault. It doesn’t matter that at times these people make valid points. What matters is how they are perceived as a whole.

Snyder, Applebaum, and much of the pro-EU crowd often come off as though they’re proud to be part of “the establishment,” as though there’s nothing wrong with this image. It’s like some kind of Christian youth group telling teens about how “cool” it is to obey your parents and practice abstinence until marriage.

Meanwhile you’ve got Russia and the Euroskeptics playing the role of the rebellious bad boys. It doesn’t matter that Russia is ruled by an authoritarian regime far more restrictive than any European democracy however flawed. It doesn’t matter that dissent, which is seen as rebellious and admirable in Western countries is considered treason in Russia. It’s the image that matters.

The irony here is that it really isn’t hard to deflate Russia’s carefully-constructed rebel image- all it takes is more education on Russian politics and comparing the reaction to dissent in the West to that it Russia, something I do all the time here. Unfortunately many of the EU cheerleaders prefer to defend the status quo and establishment outright. Is it really so surprising that they lost?

The Putin factor

Probably one of the dumbest, most inexplicable tactics of the Remain supporters was to tie in Vladimir Putin with Brexit. Basically the propaganda went like this: “Russia is supporting Brexit! If you vote Leave, Vladimir Putin will be happy! You don’t want to make Vladimir Putin happy, do you?!”

There are several things wrong with this argument. The first is that most of the people who voted for Leave probably never really gave a fuck about Vladimir Putin or Russia. See unemployment, lack of opportunities, and austerity tend to make it difficult for people to care about issues far beyond their immediate surroundings. Yes, they are extremely cynical. You know what is also cynical? The free-market-uber-alles policies that came to dominate most of the industrialized world since the 1980’s. When your society celebrates making profit above all else without any regard for the consequences, don’t be so shocked that the people on the receiving end suddenly don’t care too much about the human rights of people in far away countries. Add to that a long, avoidable war which was sparked by the most cynical manipulation, and you get an audience willing to listen to anyone who gives a voice to their anger.

It seems the Remain campaign’s rhetoric about Putin was supposed to work something like this:

“What? Vladimir Putin wants Brexit? He’s a right muppet! I’m switching my vote to Remain!”

In reality probably went more like this:

“What? Vladimir Putin wants Brexit? We have an ally abroad! My government seems not to like him so he must be wonderful!” 

All the rhetoric about Putin and Russia did nothing but cement a relationship between the former and the Euroskeptics, who seem to be doubling down on their love for the midget. This also helps the Kremlin media, which can use this hysteria as “proof” that they are having an impact, thus justifying their over-inflated budgets from which they can siphon off money.

For those flogging the Putin-Euroskeptic connections, here’s a reality check: The European Union had major problems before Russia’s “soft power offensive” in recent years, before RT was founded, even before Putin became president. Many of these far right parties existed long before then as well, and their arguments were the same. Rather than address the roots of this problem and find the factors leading to the rise of the far right, it would seem that the establishment preferred to turn a blind eye and then, when it became clear how influential these parties had become, blame Russia.

As for the real relationship between Putin and the European Union, it’s a bit complicated. On one hand, Russia’s elite wants to continue squirreling away its stolen wealth in the West. I’m sure a number of them also want to have nice places to “retire” to when Russians get fed up, grow spines, and the lynch mobs start converging on Rublevka. Yes, instability in the European Union will help make this possible as smaller countries with economic woes will be more receptive to working with corrupt Russian officials.

One the other hand, Russia is not the Soviet Union. It is integrated into the global economy and what power it amassed in the 2000’s was based on this fact. Burning down the EU is essentially they same as railing against the US. It will eventually come back on Russia. Instability in the EU will lead to economic crisis which means less investment.

Of course this situation will be bad for everyone all around, but the bottom line is that Putin doesn’t “win.” He never “wins.” He just loses more slowly, usually thanks to his opponents blunders.

Blaming democracy

The EU has often been accused, either rightly or wrongly, of being anti-democratic. It certainly doesn’t help when some Remain supporters have come out in denouncing referendums. This has been accompanied by typical liberal elitism, blaming the unwashed masses for being “uninformed” and easily duped by demagogues without any self-awareness as to what they were specifically doing to appeal to those same masses and to counter the rhetoric of said demagogues.

First of all this is ridiculously hypocritical. After all, Ireland approved the Lisbon treaty after holding a second referendum. Was that the will of the people or the unwashed masses being duped by demagogues? My point is that even when you’re right, you can’t start demonizing democracy just because it doesn’t go your way. And do I even need to point out that we wouldn’t be hearing any of this anti-referendum rhetoric had Remain won? Jesus, it’s Eurovision all over again!

True, democracy without law can degenerate into mob rule, but that’s not what happened here. The Brexit referendum was conducted in agreement with British laws and regulations. It was announced far in advance and carried out according to plan. These facts alone make it very different from some other “referendums” in recent years. It’s also worth pointing out that Maidan, which EU cheerleaders love to condescendingly mischaracterize as “Ukrainians dying to join Europe,” could rightly be called “mob rule.” In this context it matters little that Yanukovych basically drove the situation to that point; what matters is you can’t condemn Brexit and praise Maidan just because one went the way you wanted and the other didn’t.

Sadly the ruling class and specifically the right-wing of that class has a major advantage in capitalist society. They are able to take advantage of liberal inability to solve the contradictions of their capitalist system in order to whip up hysteria against the political establishment. If they are successful, as with Brexit, they’re able to get liberals themselves railing against democracy. Whichever way things go, democracy loses and the world moves closer to authoritarian society. Cynicism strangles ideals.

It’s so common these days to see people making anti-democratic arguments based on oblivious statements like “people are stupid.” Well let me ask- what have you done to inform people? What are you doing in your daily life to dispel myths and misconceptions that people have about politics, economics, history, and so forth? Yes, there are masses of so-called “low information voters” out there. But here’s the thing- people are only going to be informed about politics if they are made to feel responsible. If you don’t encourage them to vote, support a candidate, join a party, or otherwise participate directly in politics, they aren’t going to take the interest because many of them are too busy working 9-10 hours a day just to make ends meet. That’s thanks to your system.

As an American, I’m floored that liberals can’t understand Trump’s popularity when they did virtually nothing to remedy the needs of America’s working class- they simply assumed they had their support and that was the end of it. Now they expect someone working at Subway to dig into world politics and understand why Donald Trump can’t actually deliver on any of his idiotic promises, or understand why those promises are idiotic in the first place.

You can talk about human rights, European unity, and rule of law all you like, but the problem is that millions of citizens cannot eat those things. They cannot live in “European values.” It doesn’t matter what your intentions were. It doesn’t matter that you think you were doing what’s best for them. All that matters is how your actions and words are perceived by others- the only thing we can actually see in the real world.

In the end, there are two paths lying in front of EU supporters. One path is that of finger-pointing and blame shifting. “It was Putin! It was those dastardly demagogues! Our people are too stupid!” The other path is that of responsibility, reform, and making good on those values Europe supposedly stands for. Brexit is a historic blow and a major defeat for the idea of a united Europe, but it was a defeat rooted in arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence. Defeat, however, has a certain positive quality- it’s highly educational, much more so than victory. So the EU can either learn from this defeat and change its ways for the better, or it can keep making blunder after blunder until it falls apart.






The Price of Integrity

So here’s how I lost an easy 12,000 rubles. I know what some of you might be wondering- How much is that, exactly?  Well to be sure it’s around $185 at the moment and I always need rubles to avoid getting screwed by bad exchange rates if I have to use my dollar-account card. More importantly, it would entail almost no work.

In case I hadn’t mentioned it before, I have done some voice over and dubbing work here in Russia. I did a couple bit parts in two mini-series episodes for First Channel back in 2007, for which I was handsomely paid, and I’ve done some voice over for investment videos as well as a demo reel for the entertainment channel STS.  It’s good work when you can get it, assuming you can really call it work. Most of the time is consumed by simply waiting around while everything is set up, or waiting your turn while another voice actor is reading their lines.

Two days ago I was thrilled when an acquaintance of mine told me someone had contact him looking for an American who could do proofreading, translation, and most importantly, dubbing work. Even better, he told me that he thought they needed someone with military history expertise. This couldn’t be more perfect. Apparently  it is for some program called “Military Secret” on Ren TV. I’ve never heard of it since I don’t watch TV, but I was thrilled to get an email from his contact.

The last time I did voice over work, which coincidentally was before the ruble started to capsize, I was paid 10,000 rubles for reading the equivalent of maybe 2-3 pages. This was eight pages and the ruble went potato so I decided to give myself a “raise” by asking for 12,000. No problem, she says. Everything’s ready for the next day, which is the day I’m posting this, incidentally. This is awesome. Just one more thing, I ask to read the texts ahead of time, especially since she said they’d need to be corrected.  I download the texts. I open one of them.

What follows are several excerpts from the text they wanted me to read. I did not proofread the text, so everything you see is how it originally appears in the document. I only added a little commentary in bold.

If you consider this as revolting and perverted, understand that you will be seen as an intolerant, shallow person who should visit a psychiatrist. Because it is the very thing you have just thought of. It is a virile member. But at the same time it is a usual playground slide. You don’t believe it? Take a closer look! A boy of five is sliding out of the very place, right there! This playground slide is located in Norway. And it was put there in order to bring up children in a proper way, not to feel shy, but to be developed. Are you shocked??? Well, if so, it means that you are “backward” and are not able to appreciate the results of modern civilization. Not long ago Europeans decided to civilize their citizens from the cradle in order to reduce the number of such stupid people.

The smallest children are taught the core values through the examples of toy animals.
Look! This French book is under the title «Little Fox Jean has two Mums». And here is a story about a baby penguin called “The tango of two fathers, why not”. Preschool teachers in kindergartens read such books to children.

By the way, they do not fabricate the manner in which they act, but they use special methods and techniques which are being worked out in ministries!!!

And this is the same situation in Germany. Look, the pupils of one German school changed over. In honor of Gender Equality Day boys and girls were cross-dressed. Everybody took part, both teachers and students, because, according to the Europeans’ opinion, it helps to reach mutual understanding.

If you are shocked by all of this, that handicraft and PE teachers can come to school in a skirt, with makeup and high heels, and a teacher of math can come to school wearing men’s trousers and false beard, then it means that you are “backward.” LGBT ideologists are sure that a man in his infancy is a neuter. That’s why later it can choose, who it wants to be: he, she or it.

That is probably the reason why the director of the kindergarten, Lotta Reijalin, considers this procedure to be the most democratic.

Lotta Rajalin Director of Egalia 2:04 We are not going to change boys to girls, girls to boys. That’s, of course, not what we are going to do. 2:10 (book overlap) But we’d like to give every human being 2:12 (without overlap) the same rights, the same possibilities, the same responsibilities. And that is the question of democracy. 2:21  (Note the person they are talking to clearly says  they are not trying to change anyone’s gender, only guarantee equal rights -Jim)

Here is how this democracy looks in reality. Kids play with neuter dolls and read books about a boy who loved pink and a dress with white polka dots.  (Children always play with ‘neuter’ dolls; most dolls are not anatomically correct. If they were, Ren TV would be all over it. -Jim)
Boys must play in a doll kitchen equally with girls, and girls must build cities with LEGO construction blocks.  (The horror! The horror! -Jim)

And German teenagers at the age of 13 get such odd questionnaires where they are offered to think: do they belong to the right gender? Here are several questions.

When and why did you decide to be heterosexual? Isn’t heterosexuality only a phase which you’ll overcome? Is it possible that your heterosexuality is the result of the neurotic fear of the people the same gender with you?”… (I think it’s obvious that these questions are probably intended to make heterosexual youth think about what gay and lesbian youth experience. It’s pointing out that just as they don’t decide to be heterosexual and it’s not a phase, the same goes for homosexuality. You think Russia’s media would be overjoyed to learn that you can’t turn people into homosexuals, but strangely no.  -Jim)

You must admit that such questions are difficult to make out by adults, say nothing of seventh graders.

How did it happen that conservative Europe, having honored family traditions and traditional values, came down to accept the freedom of minorities, as well as the legitimation of the corruption of children in kindergartens?? The fact of the matter is that nowadays many followers of non-traditional euro values are in the halls of power, as the analysts say.

They try to make neuters of modern children, who fell victims to the doctrine accepted in 1995. It is the year when the transformation of a person into mysterious “it” began. In Peking during the UN World Conference, the notion “sex” was changed to “gender” owing to the representatives of non-traditional orientation. It would seem at the time like nothing special. But many psychologists and sociologists say that it can lead to the crash of human civilization.

See that? “Many psychologists and sociologists.” Would the reader be shocked to be informed that none of the “many” are named? An untranslated piece of Russian text that follows says that gender theory is not scientific but “ideological.” That’s great, because if that’s the case it means they can easily refute it by providing scientific evidence against it. Strangely, they don’t.

In case it’s not painfully obvious at this point, what we have here is another hate documentary demonizing Europeans as gender-bending perverts who corrupt little children. We’ve seen this before. The document contains some Youtube videos that supposedly serve as evidence of all this evil indoctrination, but I’m quite convinced that the interpretation of what’s going on in them is highly distorted. Moreover, one can always find all kinds of wacky ideas in the gender studies departments of universities which have absolutely no significant impact or even awareness outside of academia.

Yep, it’s this shit again.

What matters is daily life in Europe and having lived half a year in Prague and having traveled through several European countries including Germany, Austria, Poland, Spain, and the UK, I cannot recall seeing a single gay pride parade, advertisement for a gay pride parade, or anything like the kind of nonsense the Russian media can’t seem to shut the fuck up about. And while Poland is known to be very conservative, keep in mind that Spain is considered one of the world’s most gay friendly countries, and I don’t remember seeing anything that would indicate this while I was there. While I wasn’t specifically looking, I don’t remember noting any openly gay couples in Spain, let alone gay pride parades, festivals, and all the things the Russian media loves using to terrify babushkas and ignorant vatniks, some of whom live in near third-world conditions. Sure, their building may be crumbling, drunks pass out in the corridor, police hit people up for bribes, the roads are holed and the sidewalks obliterated, and the price of everyday goods continues to rise. “But at least Russian schools don’t teach their children to choose their own gender like those degenerate Europeans and Americans! They’ll pay for their lack of respect for the laws of nature! One day they’ll see! They’ll all see!” That’s the refrain the media sings.

Of course all that perversion that never stopped people like Dmitry Kiselyev, a notorious purveyor of such propaganda, from vacation in “Gayropa,” as they call it. No, it was an EU travel ban that put a stop to that. And of course Kiselyev is only one of countless Kremlin-supporting Russian businessmen, politicians, and celebrities who constantly denigrate and denounce perverted Europe while investing money there, sending their own children to study there, and spending vacations there, insofar as they are still allowed to, of course. Putin apparently isn’t concerned that his daughter living in the Netherlands might become a lesbian or a man. Foreign minister Lavrov isn’t concerned that his daughter will be similarly influenced living in the very cosmopolitan, gay friendly New York. Why aren’t Russia’s traditional values good enough for their children?

At this point I’m going to stop the rant and return to the story. Needless to say, I declined the offer. There was another text, something about how the US used a false pretext to wage war on Iraq. In other circumstances I might have read something like that, but after seeing that other piece I had no tolerance. Besides, what right has Russia to criticize the American invasion of Iraq now, as it wages a not-so-secret war against its “brother people” in Ukraine? At least the United States admitted it had gone to war. At least the country told the mothers, fathers, widows, and children that their loved ones had died in Iraq or Afghanistan, and aside from one particularly notable exception, the circumstances surrounding their deaths were explained to them.

So there went 12,000 rubles. This now makes a total of 39,000 rubles I have lost due to maintaining my integrity, the remaining 27,000 was the price of lessons with a spoiled, rich little sack of shit who loves studying abroad in the US and UK but wanted to play patriot with me while we were sitting in her incredibly luxurious apartment. I returned the pre-payment minus the cost of the lesson, having decided that such a patriot would feel far more comfortable in a Russian university. These people live at the expense of the suffering Russian people, whom they treat with utter contempt. They don’t get to be patriots.

I’m not a believer in the supernatural, but it felt like some kind of divine reward when only about an hour after turning down the offer, a publisher contacted me to say that they would be publishing an article I had submitted to them, and paying me for it as well. It’s not 12,000 rubles cash in hand, but it’s infinitely more valuable to me. Getting published is something I can be proud of, whereas lending my voice to a documentary which slanders Europeans and spreads hate would be an eternal source of shame even if my name weren’t attached to it.  Integrity is worth more than 12,000 rubles, even at 2013 exchange rates.

And of course, there are other ways to raise money on the side. Ahem…COUGH! COUGH!