Moscow Nights

A screenshot of the end credits to the 9 March 2017 episode of The Big Bang Theory, as translated here.

‘”Meduza,” whom I have every reason to trust . . .”

Western “observers” of Russian politics have the strangest notions of which Russian sources can be trusted. I was told earlier today, by a subscriber to the late Louis Proyect’s Marxmail list, that if I (meaning me, the guy who lived in Russia for twenty years) wanted to know what was really happening in Russia nowadays, I should read Boris Kagarlitsky.

Meduza, who in the halcyon pre-war days discredited themselves so many times, but especially when they destroyed the burgeoning grassroots solidarity campaign in support of the Network Case defendants by publishing a thoroughly scurrilous “investigative report” implicating some of the defendants in an unsolved double murder.

— Boris Kagarlitsky, the man who in 2014 did more than anyone else to peddle to gullible westerners the obnoxious hogwash that the Russian takeover of parts of the Donbas was really a grassroots populist uprising against the bad guys in Kyiv, a man whose flimsy “institute” and odious opinion website Rabkor were financed directly by the Kremlin back in the days when the Kremlin still regarded him as a useful idiot. (The Kremlin doesn’t see him that way anymore, clearly, but now it should be too late for him to redeem himself in the eyes of progressive humanity.” ||| TRR


Belly Dance

Source: Vit Ivanov, “Belly dance performed in camouflage Z-suits in Kurgan,” YouTube, 20 July 2022
“A video appeared a Kurgan community social media page, showing on which four women performing a belly dance with the letter Z on their backs. The footage was published on the community page ‘Oh, Kurgan’ on the VKontakte social network.”

I was alerted to this video by the Facebook feed of 7 x 7, an independent Russian media outlet that focuses on grassroots regional news, who described it as follows:

Kurgan residents perform belly dance in camouflage Z-suits

The students of the Roksolana Belly Dance Studio, along with their coach Tatiana Bikbova, performed a number at Museum Night. They even received a letter of thanks from the Kurgan Museum Association for their performance.

Video courtesy of Tatiana Bikbova’s social media page


100% of my female friends are feminists and activists. A significant portion of my friends are involved in social theater. And it would be great if everyone [in Russia] was like that. But it is obvious that this would be a false extrapolation.

When I say that the Russian people don’t give a shit about the war, a murmur of indignation arises: “But here, on Facebook, they do give a shit!” But if we look closely at Facebook, we see that it has only 9 million users in the Russian Federation. And we definitely filter our friends in terms of their views.

You know who gives a shit? Georgians give a shit. I visit a pediatrician, and she has children’s drawings hanging above her desk. [One of them featured] a yellow field, a blue sky, and the slogan “Stop Russia” [in English]. A female friend of mine goes to see a a fifty-year-old female GP, and she outlines a plan for an armed uprising to my friend. Over the last six months in Georgia, I have not met a single person who would say “I have nothing to do with politics” or “Where have you been for eight years?” Young Georgians understand Russian history better than Russians do and can tell you what kind of education one or another Russian political spin doctor had. These have been random [encounters], not friends from FB.

When I [was] going to Russia, the highway in the south [of the country] was full of military vehicles marked with the Z. The vehicles going in both directions had black license plates [indicating they belonged to the Russian military]. They slept in the parking lot next to me. Then I got to Petersburg, which has always been my home. And there [were] 5 million people walking around as if nothing [was] happening at all. Nothing had changed at all.

Nothing changed when elections were abolished. Nor when people were jailed [for protests and other political crimes]. Nor when Crimea was hijacked. And especially now.

And a hundred of our friends do not affect the result in any way.

Source: Leda Garina, Facebook, 10 September 2022. Ms. Garina is a theater director and feminist activist from Petersburg, currently living in Tbilisi, who recently traveled back home to regain custody of her teenaged daughter. Translated by the Russian Reader