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Russia / February 1, 2012

Adam Curtis, the British filmmaker whose many great films and blog posts for the BBC we’ve been ramming down our readers’ throats (in the parlance of our times) lo these past few years, has a new piece about Russian politics, punk and avant-garde that is a must-read. It’s the only work I’ve ever read that makes sense of Edward Limonov—the former eXile columnist and leader of the radical opposition—and places Limonov and his Kremlin nemesis, Vladislav Surkov, in the context of Russia’s post-Communist politics, and Russia’s wild punk rock avant-garde.

It’s rare, as in “non-existent” rare, to read a Westerner who grasps the surface barbarism and extremism of Russian politics and art, and rarer that they can place Limonov’s role in it—Curtis manages this feat, and it’s quite an ambitious piece for a blog post. Middlebrows have spent the past couple of decades trying to fit their favorite worthless narrative frame over post-Soviet Russia—Weimar Germany, post-war West Germany, Nazi Germany, the anti-Germany—and even though none of those silly comparisons ever explained anything to anyone, they never tired of using them to misunderstand Russia. One of those cliche-peddling middlebrows who peddled the whole line of bad references and historical analogies is our old nemesis Michael McFaul—recently named the US Ambassador to Russia.

Which begs the ol’ question: “If yer so smart, why ain’t you Ambassador?”

Yeah, well, Joshua Foust is winning too.

Back to Curtis: After tracing the rise of Russia’s punk/maximalist avant-garde, Curtis introduces Limonov the political radical, and Yegor Letov, the (now deceased) god of Russian punk:

One of the first members of the National Bolshevik Party was the punk legend Yegor Letov – leader of GrOb (he was member number 4). Then Sergey Kuryokhin – the leader of the Popular Mechanics band joined and the party soon became a home to many members of the 1980s avant garde music scene.

You can watch some footage of Letov playing at an NBP rally here.

Together they reached back into the past – and borrowed, as punk had done, from fascist and revolutionary aesthetics (and even further – both Limonov and Letov idolised Mayakovsky), in order to invent dramatic ways of confronting contemporary smug westernised culture. They also associated with some very nasty people who took nationalism to racist and xenophobic extremes.

To western liberals who want to spread democracy round the world someone like Limonov is a frightening alien because he is reawakening the dangerous force of nationalism. But he in turn sees western liberals as fools who have been duped, and are really the unwitting agents of a corrupt economic global elite. Limonov believes that the only way to confront that corruption is to harness a force that appeals to the mass of the people.

Here are some glimpses of Limonov and his party on a march called by the communist party in 1997 as President Yeltsin was letting the oligarchs loot Russia – Limonov’s young supporters mingling with the old communists. One of the National Bolshevik Party banners has a fantastic slogan.


But there was another route that this generation took.

The key figure is a man called Vladislav Surkov. He is half-Russian, half-Chechen. He was born in the provinces, but like all the others he came to Moscow in the 1980s.

And this is where Curtis’ post gets even more interesting, original–and deadly accurate.

A day in the life of Edward Limonov: Outside a Moscow court

Reading Adam Curtis’ piece brought back a lot of memories: The first GrOb concert I went to in Moscow in 1993 with Dr. Dolan and some of my Russian banker friends (they were graduates of the journalism and literary institutes but went into banking for the same reason we now have to), a concert that quickly devolved into a riot, OMON troops firing shotguns to scare the punks, pummeling them with truncheons (Vova, my banker buddy, saved me from an OMONets who was running up behind me with his truncheon cocked over his head), the punks charging at the OMONtsi and setting a tramvai car on fire on its tracks as their one riot trophy…

Curtis’ article also reminded me of a strange meeting I had in 2000, when Taibbi and I were in the US promoting our book, The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia. We met with a recently-retired American intelligence official who fed us some stories about yet more foul corruption that Clinton, Gore and their investment banker friends were mixed up in in the Yeltsin Clusterfuck that the Clinton/Rubin people were so deeply involved in, and criminally culpable in. Towards the end of our lunch, the mysterious, extremely grim retired intel official got even more grim and and serious, and told us to keep an eye on Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin’s PR “Wizard of Oz” whose trajectory Curtis contrasts so perceptively with Limonov’s. From my memory of that meeting, the intel guy told us that in the summer of 1999, Surkov had arranged a crucial, highly secret meeting in a Spanish coastal resort involving Boris Berezovsky, then-FSB chief Vladimir Putin, and a top Chechen rebel leader, possibly Shamil Basaev or one of his surrogates.

We all know what happened shortly after this alleged meeting: Yeltsin appointed Putin as his new prime minister, Basaev’s Chechen separatist rebels launched an invasion into the Russian republic of Dagestan, and then terror spread across Moscow and Russia: apartment buildings started blowing up, killing hundreds of Russians, sparking Putin’s invasion of Russia. Putin’s rating shot up from about 3% to the most popular Russian politician of the past decade.

A little over a year after Putin’s invasion of Chechnya, Limonov was jailed, becoming Vladimir Putin’s first political prisoner; when Limonov eventually beat the rap and was released from prison in mid-2003, he emerged bigger than ever, the most powerful leader of the nascent democratic opposition, so powerful that even US-backed chess champion Garry Kasparov formed an alliance with Limonov, because Limonov was the only opposition figure in Russia with real followers. And more importantly, Limonov was the only opposition figure who had worked out a real oppositional politics: radical, novel, theatrical, and inspirational.

Curtis’s piece on Russia focuses more the early radical-right aesthetics of Limonov’s politics, when his punk influences were more apparent (Curtis himself first emerged in the late 70s punk avant-garde as part of a movement that included the Gang of Four, around the time that Limonov was involved in the first wave of New York’s punk scene). But Limonov’s prison experience affected his politics as much as the new political environment he faced after he was released from prison–a new political reality molded largely by Surkov.

I asked Limonov about what happened to that punk-fascist element in the National-Bolsheviks after he got out of jail… and he told me: “Why would we bother playing with fascism anymore when the Kremlin is already fascist? We are an opposition party. And today the most radical position of all is to fight for democracy and elections–against Putin’s fascism. It’s far-right fascism that is banal and oppressive now.”

To quote Yegor Letov’s great anthem: “Я всегда буду против!” (“I will always be anti-!”)

To Limonov’s credit, he called out exactly what the Medvedev presidency would be like in his last column for The eXile before we were shut down by the Kremlin. While Council on Foreign Relations types kept holding out the absurd hope that they could split the “liberal” Medvedev from the “revanchist” Putin, Limonov laid out clearly what to expect from Medvedev back in the spring of 2008:

“Who is Mister Medvedev?” Mr. Medvedev is not a political figure, he is a practically unknown bureaucrat, one of a huge crowd of bureaucrats surrounding Putin. If the elected president had been named Zyuganov or Yavlinski or Kasparov or even Limonov, nobody in Russia would have asked a question: “Who is that man?” Because these are political leaders, actors in Russian political play. They are known to general population. Mr. Medvedev, on the contrary, is not known, or wasn’t known, at all. Mr. Medvedev is not a leader of political party, he is not a member of political party, so he is not a political man. We can guess that he is a member of Putin’s circle of close friends, a member of some inner circle. If he is to be appointed to the post of guarding of their interests, we are guessing that Mr. Medvedev is trusted by Mr. Putin’s group and Mr. Putin himself.

So the answer to the question of “Who is Mister Medvedev?” is shamelessly simple. He is a guardian of Mr. Putin’s property and of property of members Mr. Putin’s group. In Russian criminal world could be found an exact definition of Mr. Medvedev’s role: he is “smotriaschiy”—the caretaker, somebody who is looking after the property and after interests of the criminal group. I didn’t say that Mr. Medvedev is a criminal himself, he is wearing expensive suites and expensive ties, I said that he is chosen to be the caretaker who looks after interests of Mr. Putin group.

Personally, I expect from Mr. Medvedev nothing. The most probable behavior will be filling advice-orders from Mr. Putin. Because Mr. Putin’s group is constructed in the same manner as all groups of power are constructed in Russia, including criminal groups. Leader, “Chief Papa”, is a head of a group, even if he will have no official post, he will forever be father to the group—a “papa.” Putin is “papa” in his group, just for now it is more convenient to group interests that Mr. Medvedev will hold post of President of Russia. “Papa” Putin will for a time hold the second post in the State, the post of Prime Minister. But, one should understand, Putin will be second on the state hierarchy. Inside the group hierarchy, Putin will always be “papa.” As in all closed societies, “papa” will stay “papa” until his physical death. That is what one should keep in mind when thinking about Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Putin.

Is it possible that Mr. Medvedev will rebel against “papa” Putin? It is highly unlikely. Because such a rebellion will overturn the closed society-group of Putin. Such rebellion will work against interest of all members of a group. Mr. Medvedev was, I presume, chosen exactly for his obedience to “papa” personally, and for his obedience to the laws of the Putin’s group. …I can only applaud that wise decision. He is the best choice for Putin’s group.

But, of course, the main interests of general population is to get rid of Mr. Putin’s as soon as possible. “Papa” is good for his group, but for us he is not “papa.”

When the four Kremlin agents visited The eXile’s offices in June 2008, the first thing they asked me about was Edward Limonov. It’s easy to see why.

Limonov and Kasparov

While we’re on the subject of Limonov, I want to repost one of my favorite of all of his eXile columns here. If you think you can pigeonhole Limonov, first read this great piece—you can’t understand Limonov, the appeal of the National-Bolsheviks and the Russian mindset, without understanding the sheer energy and pride in Russian self-hatred—or what looks to Westerners like self-hatred:

Through Black Glasses (Limonov on Russia)

By Edward Limonov

Russian nation was created by Russian climate and Russian blood.

Contrary to common misconception, Russians living on territory of Russian Federation are not of Slavic blood. The ancient inhabitants of Kiev’s principate were Slavic people, that’s true.

When Moscow principality was created a few centuries later in the 14th century, its population was overwhelmingly Urgo-Finns. Descendants of Kiev’s genealogical tree, their princes were originally of Slavic blood. But when Kiev’s armies moved north with their small troops, they conquered enormous vast variety of Finnish tribes who lived on enormous territory of European Russia. Only aristocrats of Russia were originally Slavs. Simple folk were descendants of Finns. That is why it is practically no different between “Chuvash” and “Finn.” And that is why Serbs are so different from Russians. Because Serbs are Slavs.

Russians are a depressive tribe because of centuries they were living in shadows of moisty forests. Russians are as unhappy with alcohol as Finns are.

So, forget about Slavs. When you will adopt my vision of Russian history, and of Russians, you will understand who Russians are.

I am the best Russian writer, but I am forced to confess that I hate Russian language. Russian words are painfully long, they remind me of naked slimy worms. You know, those pink awful creatures that you can see on some hot summer night on path you walk. Worms get out of soil to copulate under the moonlight. Russian words are copulating on my table every day and night. I am looking at them with hate and I am screaming. I am gnashing my teeth. Why should put “icheskaya” to the end of “social” in “Social Republic?” Seven letters I am adding for what fuck? Fucking “icheskaya!” Hysterical, hystericheskii laugh goes out of me when I am imaging those fucking Urgo-Finns in their shadowy forests. They move in slow motion, they take their time. Why wasn’t I born in a clear lucid language dealing in “Achtung!” and “Shnell?” And when I think that Russians are only a handful of 142 million readers, it’s really depressing for a writer.

The so called “Russian Soul” can be also explained by origins of the Russian people. Proverbial slowness of Finns (“hot Finnish lads!”) can be seen as phenomenon of Russian soul. Enigmatical Russian Soul is simply Russian man, uncertain, slow to decide, hesitating, never sure of itself, never sure of its own decision. Forest man with a milky skin, with thin blond hair. Not a Slav, but a Finn, Finn, Finn! And don’t accuse me of racism. Happily we have Turks and all sorts of Mongols amongst us. But the sick from alcoholism urban Russian Europeans are descendants of native Urgo-Finns and their tribes. They have shadowy mysterious souls because for hundred generations their ancestors were living by the river banks in the forests. They like to get drunk and to weep. Of too many trees, of too much of river’s water the Russian Soul is created.

Then, of course, we live in a terrible climate. We have eight months of winter and only four of summer. This summer, however, can be called a “summer” only such on condition that you have never travelled abroad. The lack of sunshine is chronic on the Russia’s territory. Everything is explained by its climate and the Urgo-Finn blood. Even more, the blood is explained by the climate. It moves slowly because of the freeze. No sunshine makes our kids look sad. When I was young, I thought almost everyday why “we Slavs” (I thought we were Slavic people) living in such an unhuman, uncomfortable climate? Why we didn’t move out of that terrible territory? However, I had tried to move. Our national ideas for centuries was to move south. We fought First World War to capture the the straights of Bosphorus and Dardanelles. We didn’t get it, alas. (Before that, in January of 1878, we were some kilometers from Istanbul-Constantinople before English bastards intervened.) Russian man carries all weight of his climate on itself. My deepest belief is that Russia should swallow Kazakhstan territory if we want our children to have sunshine.

Russian women are very, very bad. The worst of all. Russian women is like the Russian Government. Most Russian women at least are good looking when they are in their twenties. Some Russian women are gorgeously beautiful. But they are bad. They are treacherous because they have no moral principles. Christian faith was eliminated during existence of the Soviet Union so nobody taught Russian women morals. No such discipline was taught in Soviet schools. Russian woman hates man because she is envying him. She wants to be as brutal and stupid as him, she wants to lay on a divan doing nothing as man does, but she has less possibilities. Russian woman is disastrous, relationships with her destined to be tragedy. There is no way that you will end happily. You must subjugate her. If not, she will subjugate you. On both occasions, you will lose. Don’t forget that abortions and divorces were permitted even in Stalin’s Russia, so our country educated women as bitches. Millions of bitches walking our streets. I am absolutely and positively on the side of Muslim strict code of behavior for women. Their system of separation of sexes if effective and healthy.

Russian Government is bloody beast eating human flesh. It is deeply medieval in its principle conceptions. Russian Government strongly believed that Russians are subjects of Russian Government, that they are its property, that Russians should be physically punished for not showing proper respect for its Government. European Governments behave cruelly towards foreign populations, towards Yugoslavs or toward Iraqis. But Russian Government represses its own citizens. Russian Government never said one honest word. Blatant lies, we, citizens, hear from Government. They terrorize us.

Their instrument are police, brutal and unhuman, just millions of scoundrels dressed in grey uniforms. And judges: archaic men and women with terrible medieval faces and black souls under their judges clothes.

As you understand, my view of Russia is macabre, like Lovecraft’s work. I hope country will change soon, I am working for it. Then I will look at my country through rosy tinted glasses. Just wait.

Would you like to know more? Read the Adam Curtis piece “The Years of Stagnation and the Poodles of Power” from his BBC blog. Also read Mark Ames article “The Think-Tank Archipelago: Adam Curtis on how Libertarian Think-Tanks Crippled Thinking”.

For more background, read the Vanity Fair feature on The eXile, Limonov and Russia: “Lost Exile”.

Would you like to know more? Buy The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia co-authored by Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi (Grove).


Click the cover & buy the book!


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Add your own

  • 1. FilRebo  |  February 1st, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    So that means Limonka is not a far-rightist but just a plain punkist? Whose personal ideology can be basically summed up in a word “anti-“?

    On the other hand, it’s been good and a long time since “Mankind’s Only Alternative” got out something about the Lemon. Reminds me of someone’s comment on an article about December’s protests calling for another Limonka article.

  • 2. Marcus McSpartacus  |  February 1st, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Fuckin’ A.

  • 3. Markus  |  February 1st, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Hate to say it but Russians are slavs. Studied this in university. Bulgarians are the Urgo-Fins.

  • 4. Sour Grapes  |  February 1st, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    No, no .. really, … Ames … “If yer so smart, why ain’t you the Ambassador?

  • 5. COCKSON  |  February 1st, 2012 at 9:32 pm


  • 6. Dimitri Ratz  |  February 1st, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    God I’m in my 30s, seems just yesterday I was a kid in the 80s. Anyway, I’m not disputing Edwards claim about Uralic roots, but the princes of Kiev’s tree were originally Viking, not Slavs… Have no idea why Limonov would stoop so low trying to make Russians more Slavic than they really are for political gain.

  • 7. Marcos Navarro  |  February 1st, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Just google haplotype maps, Russians have more in common with Finns than anyone else.

    And why the fuck would Bulgarians be Finns? Way back in the day they may have had Khans, but they essentially played the role of the Kievan nobility in Russia.

  • 8. Anton  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 12:29 am

    The Russians affectionally call us Finns ‘tsuhnas’. Here is a typical Russian tsuhna-joke:

    A…… very….. fast…. Finnish….. boy.

    Mr Lemon’s style of writin is definately Russian, NOT Finnish. Like a true poet he is contradicting himself BIG TIME.

    Imagine an Indian wagging his head and saying: I am vedy convinceed dat I am not an adyan but that acdually I aam a nigger

    Talk about slavishly Slavish style: Ah, my language is a copulating worm… Ah, our women are so immoral… (Cherry Orchard, anyone?) Ah, we’re but mere tsuhnas… Ah…

    A Finnish diplomat was complaining in the 50’s that it’s impossible to talk busines with Russian delegates. All they do is get drunk and start arguing wether God exists or not.

  • 9. euro-dude  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Another old ethnic heritage idea, is that the Russians – Slavs – blonde northern whoever – are really descended from ancient Troy and the Trojans of Homer’s Iliad.

    Helen of Troy – ‘so beautiful’ = sexy Russian ancestress babe.

    After being conquered by the Greeks, it is said the surviving fair-skinned Trojans mostly went north, aside from Aeneas helping found Rome.

    But a few Trojans went west to near-empty land at the other end of the Mediterranean, which is why Portuguese sounds like Russian and Slavic languages – though the language professors tut-tut and deny this connection which seems obvious to many listeners, and even though Iberian archaeology connects to Homer’s Mideast.

    As long as ethnic heritage theories are being spun, the Trojans – Slavs – Russians theory might as well be included. Hot babes in ancient times, hot babes today.

  • 10. Lavrentij "Anarchy99" Lemko  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 5:09 am

    No, we Carpatho-Rusyns are the true Slavs. The Serbs, Croatians, Macedonians are Thracian, Dacians, and Illyrians; the Slovaks and Czechs are Germano-Celts with some Slavic blood; the Poles are Poles; the Russians are mainly former Tatars, Scythians, and mongrel people who formerly spoke Finno-Ugric languages like Mari-El and Mordvin. We split off from the Balts through linguistic innovation, drift, isolation, similar to organic system of evolution, mutation. Lithuanian peasant can comprehend basic Sanskrit. But Bulgars = Volga, yes. That was small admixture to Thracian/Dacian/Roman blood. Your fellow tribesmen still live in the pine forests of Koz’modem’jansk. We are all mongrels. Hybrid vigor! May your immunity be strong!


    Lavrentij Lemko


    Russkie tend to think that the Finns are hopeless drunks, but nothing hits home quite like a person or people so similar to oneself.

  • 11. Lavrentij "Anarchy99" Lemko  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 5:25 am

    @Dmitry yet the English and Irish are no more Germanic than the Celts, Romans, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, vikingr, and Normans who conquered them. Haplotype-wise they are closer to the Basques, the residue of ice age refugium and the landbridge that once connected the islands.

  • 12. gc  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 5:43 am

    @ 8

    “Talk about slavishly Slavish style: Ah, my language is a copulating worm… Ah, our women are so immoral… (Cherry Orchard, anyone?) Ah, we’re but mere tsuhnas… Ah…

    A Finnish diplomat was complaining in the 50′s that it’s impossible to talk busines with Russian delegates. All they do is get drunk and start arguing wether God exists or not.”

    That’s because the Finns are really Swedes.

  • 13. Henry  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 6:49 am

    “Hate to say it but Russians are slavs. Studied this in university. Bulgarians are the Urgo-Fins.”

    Haha, was it some backwood Bulgarian university, perhaps? Of course, you shouldn’t take the Limonov piece at face value, let alone take it at face value and be SO WRONG YOURSELF. It’s Hungarians who speak a Finno-UGRIC language. And that tells very little of the genetic and cultural history, anyway.

    The Kiev princes were Varangians, most likely of Swedish Viking origin. They were called the Rus’ people which is where the term Russian and its variants derive from (and weirdly, where the Finnish word for the Swedish derives). Their subject population consisted ethnically of Eastern Slavic and Finno-Ugric people.

  • 14. DeeboCools  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Ha ha! There’s only one kind of white man- devils.

    Speaking of Russia stealing Kazakhstan’s sunshine, it’s currently -4 degrees (F) in Aktau, Kazakhstan with a high of 0 degrees. I programmed the countries weather into my phone when I saw that the striking oil-workers were wearing more clothing than I’d ever seen.

    Nice post- I thought it was just a re-post of Adam Curtis so it was cool to read some original material and repostings since I’m a post-russia eXiled reader.

  • 15. Henry  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    “That’s because the Finns are really Swedes.”

    What a compliment! I consider Swedes the real übermensch of our pre-modern and modern times. As Vikings they germinated the seeds for the unlikeliest of great nations, Russia, an absurd mess populated by lazy and hysterical Slavs, wood-dwelling Finns and efficiently breeding, warlike Caucasian tribes. As 17th century imperialists they conquered most of modern Nord- und Mitteleuropa, but seeing the weeping and teeth-gnashing of nations of mixed culture, race and religion, voluntarily drew back to hone their awesomeness with projects like perfecting first capitalism, then socialism.

    Or then you could just call them the Gladstone Gander’s of Europe, as we do in Finland.

  • 16. Cum  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    That Curtis post has some fascinating info on Limonov’s personal history. He rubbed shoulders with some of the NY classic punk rock scene’s greatest icons – that was some much needed context I had no idea about. It provides a historical link that helps me make sense of some of the more… threatening… imagery used in NBP propaganda.

  • 17. Henry  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Cum, don’t think you can ever “make sense” of what Curtis calls Russian maximalism. They’re fucking nuts, that’s all. Just be glad they’re not living next to you.

  • 18. bread  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    “No, we Carpatho-Rusyns are the true Slavs.”

    No, Central Europe has always been a catchment for all the horsey warriors from the steppes. Living just beyond the borders of civilization, your great, great, etc. grandmothers were likely raped by Huns. Tests confirm that Central Europeans have the most Central Asian DNA.

  • 19. Gustavo "Newt 2012" Millebrad  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Dear eXholes,
    Ruotsi unite!
    – Edmund Dorkey, Gustavo Millebrand, Lavrentij “Anarchy99″ Lemko”, and rav. Shabbath Schmully

  • 20. gatorade  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 2:07 am

    That was really wonderful. Also its fun to say anything about genetic heritage on the internet to get a good debate about who is from a warrior and who is a bad creature of the forest

  • 21. Dtd  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 6:35 am

    So, no hat tip?

    I guess I can (and did) just assume that the Rev. Ames had already heard about it.

    I was kinda proud that I had tracked down a decent Limonov/Russian Opposition Politics (with a fuckin Ames quote!) article without hearing it here first.

    Love and Respect to the AEC!


    P.S. So, maybe no hat tip. How about a minor boon from the AEC? Does it even have powers over non-trolls? We eXiled comments section followers are engaged in a very esoteric mythology.


  • 22. Jumppu  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Can anybody out there in the civilized world imagine what it is to live between the %&¤%%¤# swedes and the (&¤&&%¤ russkies?

  • 23. Timur  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 10:14 am

    At least Russians are 1/2 aryan onthe male side. Of course since every other Steppe tribe was mostly Aryan, its hard to say WHICH tribe they come from. The bestsource is anatole Klyosov.
    Regarding the statement on Women, you are exactly right, but then that is the nature of all healthy humans, to try to dominate. And that is why I also favour ISlam, because of its wise fear of female sexuality and mentality.

  • 24. Anton  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Genetically Finns are very close to Swedes, yes. Not that it matters, either way. Culturally the Nordic countries are very much alike, too:

    “If you are interested in horrible places, I can recommend Denmark. No one starves. Everyone lives in small, pretty houses. But no one is rich, no one has a chance to a life in luxury, and everyone is depressed. Everyone lives in their small well-organized cells with their Danish furniture and their lovely lamps, without which they would go mad,” V.S. Naipaul.

  • 25. Punjabi From Karachi  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I was reading this and getting happy over this two weeks ago, and was sure that you guys would run across it. Also Curtis, I think, was sending you guys a compliment for sending alll these readers his way.

    What surprises me is how you guys learnt of Curtis’ past. That impresses me, no end. Will now look up The Gang of Four.

  • 26. Punjabi From Karachi  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 11:40 am

    And BY THE WAY, the weekend I found Curtis’ Poodles of Power post, I had Yulia Dyagileva’s punk-folk song on repeat all of Sunday

  • 27. Punjabi From Karachi  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    You guys have to comment on Adam Curtis’ thesis that Limonov has been bypassed by the opposition movement itself.

  • 28. old exile fan  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Finns are only part of Finno Ugric tribes. All of Siberia is dotted with their tribes and south of Finns are their close relatives – Estonians. All of these tribes inhabited this vast area from the Lappland, from Baltic Coast to almost to Kamchatka. Then the Mongols came effed up the pretty babes and you know the rest – today you have Putin and the nasty rooskies. Fouling up almost 1/6 of the planet.

  • 29. FilRebo  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 3:43 pm


    I still do think that Limonka is important for the current opposition movement. I can’t think of anyone else who can match his “guile” and “ruthlessness” when it comes to opposition work. The closest I might think who can match him on this is Udalcov. Navalny? He has to be more than who he is (or portrayed) right now.

  • 30. Dimitri Ratz  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    While on the subject of EU bettering Russia, as well as Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Kyrgizia, and company) Russia shouldn’t be ungrateful like the Iraqis for the democracy they received or about to receive. It’s just rude for the Federation to ignore countless European tax euros spent on supporting Russia’s main opposition Communists. Based on the best of intentions, to flower Russian economy, and selflessly just to benefit Russia for everyday Russian citizen, even in its time of financial strain France and to a lesser extent Germany are looking out for their Russian neighbor. This April 22nd, because right now it’s too close to Vilentines Day, Eastern Europe and even Central Asia need to embrace None Government Organizations, and give a little of the love of Democracy back to France, Sarcozy specifically. Sarcozy, French president and the most influential politicial in European Union, with German President Makrael a very far second. Sarcozy single handedly solved the budget reform by finding people’ willingess to retire little bit later, replaced his wife and married a hot model, single handedly bitch slapped Gudafi in Libya, won the argument with Turks by making their side of the Armenian argument a legal offense in France and funding Syrian freedom to make the Mediterranean Sea a feel good all NATO pond. Beloved by all, Russia should take this opportunity to show it has learned about democracy, and it needs to show by acts rather then lip service. With Russian Riviera, I mean French Riviera populated by many Central as well as Eastern Europeans, need to explore what residents can contribute to the Great Nation of France in it’s coming election in April. Wouldn’t it be great if the Russian hand were to stretch out with love for French democracy, give a little back to it’s Communist, or Socialist Party. Perhaps help get Holland get elected there, not the country, lastname Hollande, and I’m sure Sorcozy deserves a nice vacation after all his hard work. Plus this will solve the Greek problem, brining France in line and to better agreement with it’s smaller members. Hungary won’t feel so out of place trying to keep the retirement for it’s judges at 60 anymore. One might say the smaller countries in EU will once more flourish, and it seems it’s a small price for all of the countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to pay for all the benefits they’ve been reaping at EUs cost.

  • 31. darthfader  |  February 4th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    You did a good turn by putting up The Mayfair Set in your feed. I’ve got everyone I know watching it now.

  • 32. Kolë Kurtesi  |  February 5th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Limonov is Rusky dog who shoot gun on Sarajevo! Rusky fascist christian orthodox “writer” fire on great Muslim city Sarajevo.

    Limonov is bad like Putin. Thank God for good American leader George Bush who help my country Kosova.

    Die Limonov! Long live Kosova!

  • 33. Whyawannaknow  |  February 6th, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for the mention of “Pussy Riot” performing “Putin Pissed Himself” in Red Squarw a bit back… They were knd enough to provide an English translation of the lyrics:

    Puting Pissed Himself

    A columnn of protesters is walking towards Kremlin
    Windows in the KGB office are exploding
    Bitches are pissing themselves behind the red walls
    The Riot declare the Abortion of the System!

    Attack at dawn? I won’t mind
    For your and our freedom – punish with a whip
    Madonna the honored will teach us how to fight
    Magdalina the Femenist went to a protest march

    Riot in Russia – charisma of protest
    Riot in Russia – putin pissed himself
    Riot in Russia – we exist
    Riot in Russia – RIOT, RIOT

    Take to the streets
    Live on the Red
    Show the freedom
    Of Civil Anger

    Discontent with the culture of male hysteria
    Wild leaderism eating away at the brains
    Orthodox religion of the stiff penis
    The patients are being asked to conform

    The regime is heading towards censoring dreams
    The time has come for an explosive clash
    A bunch of bitches of the sexist regime
    Ask for forgiveness of the feminist wedge

    Riot in Russia – charisma of protest
    Riot in Russia – putin pissed himself
    Riot in Russia – we exist
    Riot in Russia – RIOT, RIOT

    Take to the streets
    Live on the Red
    Show the freedom
    Of Civil Anger

  • 34. The Black Monk  |  February 7th, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Re: origins

    Genetically Russians form two clusters. North of Moscow they are a Finnish-Slav hybrid, south of Moscow they are basically indistinguishable from Ukrainians and Poles.

    Culturally, they have inherited much from their Mongol teachers, particyularly in the realm of politics, making them tougher and more ruthless (and thus much more successful) than any Slavs or Finns.

  • 35. Anton  |  February 7th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Black Monk, aren’t you the one who fed that poor mentally unstable gúy fantasies of omnipotence and grandeur in that short story by one Russian writer? You’re at it again: ‘…and thus more succesful.’ Yeah right.

  • 36. Anton  |  February 11th, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Description of a Russian device called the ‘ass-buzzer’: It a) won’t fit in your ass, and b) it doesn’t buzz.

    That’s Russian ‘succes’ in a nutshelf.

  • 37. Marcus Bradley Nestor -11/25/1968  |  February 20th, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    This is either the least appropriate place to make this comment or the most appropriate, but how can anyone utter the phrase “punk rock avant garde” with a straight face? “Punk rock”, as it quickly came to be called, was perhaps, once upon a brief time in the 70’s”, the avant garde. Perhaps limited to the context of Russian Culture and Politics which i admittedly know nothing about, this characterization is appropriate. WRT U.S and western European Culture “punk rock” was nihilistic and shocking, but never avant garde. It acheived its goal of commodification and commercial fetchiszation so quickly that in terms of music, which are the only terms i care about WRT Rock-n-roll, that it cant even be truly said to have been a movement; it was more like a “swindle”. It had no lasting artistic value, it had very little at all to begin with. The gimmick of making nothing into something only works once, even so, its (ironic) reputation as “anti establishment” or more luaghably “revolutionary” is persistent. That persistence alone, in the face of the truth reeks of marketing industry utility. I wont hide the fact that despite a short flirtation with it in the early 80’s, i personally dislike it in all of is various manifestations, which is a shame because i Love Rock and most of the music of the Rock era.

  • 38. Totor  |  February 24th, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Leave the old punk alone and listen to “suck you dry” by Mudhoney. Limo is good as a friend, but a failure as a politician. An eternal teenager with whom you cannot but feel empathy. Romantic loser, ok. He might have some good insight sometimes, but his ideas, er… laughable!

  • 39. Father Frank Gelli  |  March 24th, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Absolutely fantastic! Hot as hell! Or love! Or…whatever! This chap Limonov is great! God save Holy Russia! As to the Finns…I have got to know them.(I was in love with a Bielo-Russian once. Wow! Best sex time of my life!)

  • 40. José-Dominique  |  November 1st, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    For more information about Eduard Limonov, see the site TOUT SUR LIMONOV, with a lot of new informations, photos, videos, etc :

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