Issue #18/99, September 14 - 28, 2000  smlogo.gif


Moscow Babylon
You are here
Book Review
Other Shite


Dearest Editors,

I noted, with not a little disappointment, that you failed to print my last letter. As Kundera noted [...]



Dear Babai,

There, we printed your letter, but spared our readers from having to read the profoundly boring thoughts of a long-winded khokol.



Hey guys, is ot supposed to burn when you piss?



Dear Bouniant,

If you’re out there doin your job right, yes, it’s supposed to burn when you piss. And if it does, make sure you bang at least three chicks without a condom before treating yourself to some azytromiacin antibiotics. The funny thing is that it’s easy for you to get rid of that burning feeling, whereas she might become sterile or develop cervical cancer and never even know it. Hey, is that a belly laugh or what?!



Dear Editors,

Eleven years ago I came to this place. This “wild east”, boiling pot of sex, drugs, booze, crime, filth, chaos, and fun, fun, fun. Hell, I can remember when you could get laid by just flashing the mighty blue passport. 6 hours later, your blue veined kolbasa would be hamburger. Never mind a picture of George Washington. Shit.

In those times there were many different types of expats here. Yeah, the almighty IMF and World Bank Ivy League dweebs, who used to piss everyone off so much. Then, for five bucks, you could make them shit their pants by having a Russian “pal” threaten to rip their scrawny necks off. (It still would be good fun, but has since become economically cost prohibitive). There were the carpetbaggers like Tatum, and a host of others who came here when they couldn’t get a job at the local 7-11 in the States. Many more just wanted to place the “seeds” of Capitalism in the warm hairy Russian nest.

Anyway, this was not meant as a bullshit, “how it was in the old days”, memory lane type letter, but as a warning to those expats still out there with their cahonas still firmly attached. If you haven’t figured it out yet, there is a KGB-FSB inspired and directed trap waiting for you here. If you let your vigilance slide, for just one second, you will be sucked-up, broken and bound, Gulliver-like, in this hideous scheme. The trap is MARRIAGE, and I fell into it.

You, like me, may someday wake up from what will seem like your worst hangover ever, only to find that the knockout, multi-orgasmic nympho you have been banging for the last few months is now Mrs. Expat. That may not immediately seem too bad. WRONG. Run, throw her out on her ass, sanction a Mafia hit, leave the country, DO ANYTHING. Because soon, very soon, that multi-orgasmic nympo, who couldn’t live without it less than six times a day, three of which were up the ass, will swear off sex. She will exhibit an aversion to water, and other hygienic practices normally undertaken outside of the third world. Her genes will take over, hips will widen (or kartoffel), tits will droop to her toes, and she will develop the shoulder and arm musculature of a Russian weightlifting champ. This is her true form. Like a shape-shifter, she can now sufficiently let her guard down to allow you to see this. It is however, now much too late for you to do anything about it, as you are caught.

Your new brother in-law will incessantly call, asking for money. He will invariably be drunk, something you haven’t been allowed to do since your marriage. You will support your new family, all of their relatives (your relatives now), and ultimately arrange for their conversion into permanent residents of the good old USA. Eventually, you may even ultimately discover that these people are not your “wife’s” true biological family. They were placed in this cover by the security services. (One FSB operative described this financial support by the expat as “lowering the administrative overhead” of the operation, while keeping the “sebistoimost” high, in order to “make lots of money on the profits tax not paid”.).

The aim of this plan, begun in 1991, is to take over the United States from the inside, hence the code name “Trojan Horse”. This is why the American Embassy will not issue visas to single Russian women. They know about this plot. A NOW operative deep under cover with USAID first sniffed it out. At the culmination of the plan, the United States will then become Russia. Russia (the old Russia) will then become the Islamic Republic of Araxis, where they will grow the spice, necessary for further conquest of the universe.


Paul Atredies (Moadib)


Dear Emperor Atredies,

Your letter had the weirding way, which is to say, this is a top-notch A-1 letter and deserves not only a Roundeye T-shirt, but some kind of eXile present. This may be the best single piece of prose in this sad issue. We’d like to offer you an HIV-tipped eXile brand condom which you could use on your wife, but we have the technology yet to transfer the virus from Johnny Chen’s blackened penis to our line of condoms. We’ll keep you updated. Meantime, you might want to dabble in a little of the ol’ domestic violence thing. As the Russians like to say, “He wouldn’t beat me if he didn’t love me.”


Hey Mark!

just found your site on the internet -it was fun to read your stories about life in Moscow. I started to forget how it is there... You probably don’t remember me - I haven’t seen you for about 2 years - I moved to USA. To be honest sometimes it’s getting boring here - living with no problems, enjoying nice car, always sunny & warm weather - uh, I wish I could go to Moscow for a couple of days - to have some crazy time somewhere like the “Hungry Duck”. Anyway, you have a great website! I will visit it all the time from now on...

Bye, have fun, and don’t write too bad about Russian girls!



Dear Ms. Olga,

You’re right, Ames doesn’t remember you. If you send a jpeg of your bleeding ass, he might.


After reading Sex, Drugs and Libel I decided to withdraw from Boston U’s Master’s program in Journalism on my second day of class. Your book may have saved me in excess of $25,000. Finishing your book was more depressing than prematurely blowing a load down an expensive whores throat, and i mean that in a good way as your book was kind of like an exquisite 238 page blowjob. I am now living in an old house in Somerville with two frat/sorority types who should have been on the Kursk, I have no good reason to stick around this town, other than... Interviewing you for a local boy makes good story that will hopefully piss off all the hairy-legged, artsy, Utne Reader reading feminazi’s in this town who no doubt would be appaled by your publication. Perhaps I could hoodwink Boston Magazine or the Phoenix to publish it, stranger things have happened.

As you point out in your book, even Jenny Gould (Vodka, Tears and Lenin’s Angel) somehow found a publisher, so perhaps there is hope for me.

David Seminara


Dear Mr. Seminara,

Run with it, run like the wind! And if they don’t publish you, buy an assault rifle and take of things the old fashioned way.



I’m sitting here in London, after a brutal 1.5 years on the road from Moscow to Sydeny to London, via Beijing and Bangkok, and few dozen slezzy bars, watching a slow Russia movie on the tele and seeing that the eXile now has bar reviews “By Vijay Maheshwari”.

Is life now that tough? I expect Ames to be in Poland trying to fist single moms, but having Vijay Maheshwari, your old sworn culture enemy on the payroll? This is a bit much!

I was gonna ask you for insight on the whole web-publishing angle, for I’ve used my www.wayan.net site to land a job turning www.the-cake.com into a business, but now... Can I trust your advice, opinions, or even sanity?

Are you still the sick duo I knew in the IMF Moscow dayz? The ones with the balls to have the Chenster around? The “what death threat” duo w/o bodyguards? The best of death porn publishers?

I sure hope so. I trust Vijay is either an anaomoly that you will toss at the first opportunity, or that in my inebreation I am confusing him with the other Indian running around Moscow.

If so, then I’d love to be a nosy bitch and ask about the exile.ru gig and how its going compared to the tried and true print edition.



Dear Mr. Wayan,

Vijay Maheshwari replies: “I’m getting really fucking sick and tired of all of these plebes who are jealous of me writing in. They shouldn’t be given a forum like this. I mean I’m all for free speech, but that doesn’t mean printing bullshit like this. I am seriously considering leaving the newspaper if my attempts to lift it into the realm of BP coolness are leading only to this frat-boyish dead-end.”



Hola eXile:

Can you recommend any English language websites (besides www.exile.ru) that I should read? I want to keep up on contemporary Moscow life, culture and politics.

As I mentioned in a recent message to you, I live in No. CA and visit Moscow every threee months or so.

Un cordial saludo,



Dear Mr. Pat,

You should read http://www.anorexic-rec.com/ This is an excellent site about contemporary Moscow life, culture and politics.



Hi Mark

Greetings from Alabama from an intelligent and quite educated Russian lady, whatever.

Thanks for an opportunity to read THE BOOK. I had just arrived from my variety trip to the Fatherland (or, likely, Motherland) and was dragging myself on Sept.4 along the Broadway (for the 2nd time in my life), under a heavy rain, with a big bottle of Budweiser in my hand (we don’t have this big kind here in Alabama)—the same thing I was doing in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Moscow and Kaliningrad for recent weeks, to make the reality more bearable—not the reality’s but my own problem, however. The beer over there is much better, of course, and costs only a fraction of this American stuff. Anyway, I was aiming to take a picture with the Statue of Liberty as a background, to wrap up my journey, but took a break from the rain and weariness in the NY university books store. There I found your book and sat reading it for some time. Of course I bought it and took it back here with me through VA and Smoky Mountains to Alabama where another good luck had brought me almost seven years ago, duh.

I just want to say it is quite a reading. I don’t care much about Limonov’s stuff, but you guys are doing a great albeit very imperfect job.

I used to mess around in Moscow, live (?) and love (?) there for years, and my son was born there 17 years ago. Now, this reading makes sense, for it is a useful and sincere account.

Thank you very much, and of course I’ve visited the website (impressed far less). I’ll tell about it to other folks who might be interested, never mind imperfectness. :) Thanks again, my best wishes. nl)

Nadia L.


Dear Miss L.,

So what you’re saying is that you’re an old slut? You’re the type of women we’ve been banging and getting chlyamidia from, only, you’re her in 17 years? That’s good to know. Excuse us while we go into the other room and shoot ourselves in the head.

Trading Cards
The Vault