Issue #26/81, January 26 - February 1, 2000  smlogo.gif





Dear Sir or Sirs: I recently encountered your old Oligarchy Game rules/board in the "vault" section on your website. I printed off the board immediatly, and as you can image the glowing anticipation I felt was destroyed when upon discovering I couldn’t read any of the damned print.

I tried to "expand" the board through a cheesy shareware graphic program, but this only made things worse. Words became completely eligible. The Tsereteli Peter the Great Statue graphic looked like a blurry ghost, or at least a coffee stain. Is it possible that you could either e-mail me a larger representation of the board, or better yet, snail mail me a bigger version? While at first such a favor may seem to you as useless and stupid, I’m sure that if I am given the chance to play Oligarchy with my close circle of friends, your revenue may quite possibly rise exponentially. What good editor would refuse such potential? Not you, I’m sure. Needless to say, I appreciate it.

Todd Walker

Dear Mr. Walker,

Thanks for your interest in the Oligarchy game. So, you have friends? Are any of them chicks? Are you going to play Oligarchy with any of these chicks? If you do, could you like email us a time-lapse photo record of their snappers as the game progresses? For instance, does it dilate on Norilsk Nickel? Contract and dry up on the Independent Media square? These things matter to us: they’re key to our future revenue projections and our business plans for the coming decade. As for getting you a big version of the game, look, we hates to repeat ourselves and all, and we’re gonna try to be patient with our readers, but for pete’s sakes, folks, it’s all really simple. Just get online and pre-order your copy of The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia (Grove/Atlantic Press) now before the bugger sells out, and then we’ll see who’s such a smart guy, huh? The exciting thing is that if you buy the book, you’ll get a full-size Oligarchy playing board (in two-page spread format) for no extra charge--it’s that E-Z!



Dear Exile,

News agencies have reported on the strengthened security measures in the US in relation with a terrorist menace around Xmas time. Following the arrest of an Algerian carrying TNT into the States, one can imagine the way US customs and local sherriffs will be treating all Arab-looking strangers in America. Unfortunately, the CNN will not be there to rant about the human rights. It is only Moscow cops who aren’t allowed to touch Southern-looking suspects.


Alexander Tribunski

Dear Mr. Tribunski,

You’re absolutely right, only Moscow cops aren’t allowed to touch Southern-looking suspects, and that’s just how it should be. We don’t mind if Moscow cops beat them with nightsticks, kick them in the ribs and head, or shoot them and then frame it as an act of self-defense; but god forbid, under no circumstances whatsoever should Moscow cops be able to touch Southern-looking suspects. After all, this is the cold and flu season so you never know what the poor Moscow cops can catch! Especially from a dirty Southern-looking suspect!


I saw you guys on CNN Perspectives a while back. Since then I have been reading your paper religiously and loving every bit of it. Next time that I am in Moscow, I want to buy you a beer or 6. Thanks for the great newspaper!

Yancey Harrington

Dear Mr/Ms. Harrington,

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Here’s our stock answer: if you want to be our friend, buy the fucking book. As for the rest, look, we’re not going to hang out with you, and we’re not even going to pretend we will--at least, not until it’s clear that the book has flopped and we have to suck up to every decent fan whom we treated so cruelly, blubbering for forgiveness. But we’re not there yet, Yancey. We’re still at the peak of our confidence stage, and we’ll stay here (thank you very much) until the disappointing sales figures trickle in and our agent stops taking our calls. So for now, save your beer money--what kind of asshole likes beer anyway?--and just buy our book.


you really do need to do something about old Stu and those fucking Canucks, no one who’s ever read FMD could ever argue with a straight face that he’s some kind of relativist. I’ve read your paper for what seems like forever, and given your pan-Slavic leanings I’m still waiting for your special issue on "Bandits or Murderers? Either Way Putin is Right!"

Know you don’t give a fuck,


BTW, nice piece on the Russian high school, but stop cutting and pasting from the NY Times review of "End of Days" to explain The Book of Revelations. See ya!

Dear Fyodor,

You may be interested to know that rumor has it that a Dominatrix from the Y2K-proof, e-commerce-friendly whore section in the back of our newspaper can do an excellent Mistress Putin routine. It’s said to be the #1 fantasy for Russian clients, who have lately unleashed this kinky urge to have Mistress Putin drive her spiked heel into the temple of her client-victim, who reportedly cries, "Do whatever you want to me, just make it hurt!" before reaching climax. And yes, this is supposed to be a crude allegory with a serious underlying message.


Hi Matt and Mark --

I’d like to get a copy of your book prior to its release (if it hasn’t already been released?) to review it for TheStreet.com, a finance Web site for which I freelance. I’m here in Moscow (I’m a securities analyst at ***) -- so going through the publisher in the U.S. would be a bit roundabout. Please drop me a line or give me a call at ***

Thanks very much.


Dear Kim,

Wouldn’t we all like to get a copy of the eXile book prior to its release, h’m? Forget the stupid review, we’re not interested in being blurbed on a mutual fund site. No, we’re after something much more precious. You know the tradeoff here, Kim. Let’s not beat around the, er, bush anymore. You have something we want to see (in jpeg or gif format), and we have something you want to see. Let’s make a deal.


Hey man, are you fellas still talking to the hollywood folks about putting out an Exile movie? I wear my "Death Porn" shirt proudly along the streets of Omaha anxiously awaiting the day your movie comes out and they quit thinking that I am wearing a shirt related to a speed metal band. Are you guys still planning on doing a paper out of D.C.? Thanks for your time, Jim

Dear Jim,

What’s wrong with you, dude? Are you like a fag or something?


Dear editor.

I do not beleve that Chesnyan terrorist where behind the appartment bombings in Moskow, but I find it more likly that Putin and his supporters have somthing to do with it. I need more information to support my suspicion, espescally about the bombs that where found in cellars and where planted by the police suposedly to "test the alertness of people"

H Olason


Dear Mr. Olason,

Hold on a second while we scratch our collective chin in contemplation... h’m, interesting... yeah, we’re pretty sure that that Jim guy’s a fag. Thanks for helping us.


Your newspaper is fun to read and your nightlife section was great before that nerd pratt took control of it. When I would go to moscow I would allways check your paper to see what was new in the nightlife scene. Now your website is never updated with night life events like it used to be. Ps , dump that nerd pratt and get someone who likes his job.


Dear lmp,

Stuart Pratt replies: "You have misunderstood my message--as, I’m afraid, many readers have. That of course is the price you have to pay when you take an unpopular stand, as I have done. That said, for me, journalism is not about enjoying or not enjoying my job, it is about acting as a beacon of light for the disenfranchised, and as a counter-weight to the political and economic powers that be, while maintaining a direct relationship with the reader, as I do by using Moscow nightlife as the frame for my reflections. I resent you calling me names, which is very childish of you, and you do insinuate in your letter a penchant for the frat boy-ish approach to Moscow nightlife--i.e., one-night stands and booze. So be it. I am not trying to change anyone, per se, but rather to open their minds to other possibilities out there. I hope I have opened yours even just a tiny bit. Stuart"

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