Vicky Cristina Petersburg

vicky cristina barcelona

Barcelona should be compared with St. Petersburg rather than with Moscow. The city really resembles Russia’s cultural capital. It has its own language (the press is sold in two languages: Spanish and Catalan), its own traditions, its own attitude to bullfighting (bluntly negative), its own modernist architectural masterpieces, its own neverending construction project (the Sagrada Família), and many other things of its own, something most of the locals do not hesitate to declare openly by hanging the Catalan flag on every balcony, thus demonstrating their own importance and independence.
Salfetki, July 23, 2017

What is this inveterate world traveler on about?

Do Petersburgers have a bluntly negative attitude to bullfighting? Is there bullfighting in Petersburg? (No.)

Do they hang the offical Petersburg or Ingrian flags on their balconies? Do they even hang the Russian flag on their balconies? Do they feel independent from the rest of Russia? (For the most part, no.)

What neverending construction project does Salfetki have in mind?

On the other hand, Petersburg does have modernist architectural masterpieces, but almost without exception they are either ignored altogether or roundly abused.

Maybe there was something to the Soviet policy of keeping the vast majority of its extraordinarily happy socialist subjects locked up inside the country’s endless expanses, because now that Russians (with money) are free to travel the world, especially Europe, all they can see and want to see is either social collapse and rampant Islamization (the first of which they signally fail to notice at home, as they also fail to notice Russia’s rather large NATIVE Muslim population) or a different version of the Motherland, as in this woebegone travelogue.

salfetki-sexy girlfriend in barcelona with Fjällräven backpackSalfetki’s sexy girlfriend on the streets of Barcelona (or is it Petersburg?)—sporting a Fjällräven knapsack, of course.

It is true there are two languages in Petersburg (and the rest of urbanized Russia, as far as I know), although the second language does not have its own press per se. It is more of a patois, like the one spoken by Alex and his pals in A Clockwork Orange. You encounter truckloads of it on social media and trendy websites like The Village (whose blatantly English moniker is hardly accidental).

You also see a lot of it on the streets, as I did yesterday.

novy chiken gurme ekzotik

In Petersburg patois, the sign reads, “Novy Chiken Gurme Ekzotik.” This translates into English as “New Chicken Gourmet Exotic.” TRR

Photos by Salfetki and the Russian Reader

Germany Going Down the Tubes, or, Lies Come in All Sizes

Greg Yudin
September 2, 2015
Facebook

Excellent, just excellent. I look and see that Ulyana Skoibeda has published a diary about how terrible life is in Germany [in the mass circulation newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda]. I think, what is this crap? What would Skoibeda know about Germany? I have a look: the entire structure of their propaganda and the stuff of which it is made are visible after three paragraphs.

b_2a67b16725839005f2a25b51ebfa9bb8
Ulyana Skoibeda (center) and friends

The diary’s author is a certain Galina Ivanova, who moved to Germany but is now escaping it in horror at the influx of immigrants and the inaction of Germans. Since the text is executed in the “eyewitness” genre, it has immediately become wildly popular. To drive the point home, Skoibeda has supplied the diary entries with “links to major German media and speeches by officials.” She is thus hinting that every piece of evidence of Europe’s disintegration is backed up with a reference in perfect German. This is not the story of the three-year-old boy, allegedly crucified in Slovyansk by Ukrainian soldiers, but since proven a fake, she seems to say. You won’t nitpick this one to death.

What is great is that if you follow these links and start reading, you will find that almost all of them are total lies. And the lies come in all sizes. Some of the links lead to off-topic stuff like poverty statistics. Or, for example, the diary’s author angrily reports that Muslims have been abusing Germans to such an extent that “in many school cafeterias, pork sausages, salami, and pâté have been banned.” The link leads to a story about a crazy Egyptian family who asked a court to ban pork dishes. This happened in Vienna (which, for Skoibeda’s information, is in Austria) and was laughed off by the local legal community. But does it really take much to scare Russian readers?

Or, for example, there is a tear-jerking story about German pensioners having to dig in trash urns to collect empty bottles. The link is to an item in Die Republikaner in which there is not a single (!) mention of pensioners. The item itself is about how a society in which people are forced to collect bottles (by the way, have you never seen such a society outside of Germany?) should deal with this rather than facilitating the collection of bottles.

And then there is the top of this pop chart, which, of course, consists in the fact that the majority of the links in the text (including the links to newspapers, officials, and various sensational news items) in fact lead to one and the same site, Netzplanet, a collective right-wing blog that went online two years ago. The bloggers there complain about immigrants and scare each other over Islamization. Their Facebook page has already been blocked because its owners were not willing to provide the necessary information about themselves. The site itself is registered to a company in Panama. I won’t go on.

No “Galina Ivanova” really exists, of course. (In any case, it wasn’t she who wrote this text, unless Galina Ivanova is Skoibeda’s real name.) Because at any newspaper, even this one, there are fact checkers, and if Skoibeda really had been sent a “diary with links,” she would have found people with a knowledge of German and verified the information.

But the miserable PR people and degenerates from the security service who were given the task of collecting facts about problems with immigrants in Germany do exist. And they blew it. And now Skoibeda’s byline is attached to an article with a thousand proofs that she lies.

I always recommend the first thing university students do is learn foreign languages. Because you are surrounded by tons of people who intend to mess with your brains, and your own government is engaged in this above all. It is not the gullible who are most easily manipulated, but those who don’t know how to check things. Languages are the best chance of navigating the world on one’s own. It is impossible to know all languages, but if you know one foreign language, and your friend knows another one, the government will find it much harder to put one over on you. That is exactly why our MPs are so keen to ban the study of foreign languages in schools. Then Skoibeda will be able to tell readers that people with dogs’ heads inhabit Europe.

Greg Yudin is a research fellow and lecturer at The Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Photo courtesy of Trud.ru. Translated by The Russian Reader