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Yasha Levine

I woke up to discover a weird link to a Digg post sent over by a friend of mine. It was a poll conducted on CNN’s website asking readers:

Do you think Russians actions in Georgia are justified?
1) Yes — it’s peacekeeping
2) No — it’s an invasion

Surprisingly, 92% of readers thought that the Russians were justified. Taking into account CNN’s boneheaded and overwhelmingly pro-Georgian coverage, the poll didn’t make any sense. Were sheepish CNN viewers actually using their brain? It didn’t seem likely. Well, the poll no longer appears on the site. It was taken down after charges of manipulation started surfacing. Apparently, Russian bloggers circulated the poll and called on Russians to let their voice be heard. And if there’s one thing CNN doesn’t like doing, it’s hearing what those damn Russkies have to say.  CNN had no idea that this seemingly innocuous poll would demonstrate the huge rift in opinion between the West and Russia and underline the importance that information warfare has played in this conflict, not to mention show whom CNN was really rooting for. (more…)

Posted: August 13th, 2008

On August 30, on the same day that President Medvedev announced his support of small business, an insane story appeared on Russia’s evening TV news about a corporate takeover raid in the city of Tula, just south of Moscow. Russian television was ablaze with amazing footage of a gangland battle scene straight outta the 90s—as if the 90s never ended.

A battle for ownership of a local cable TV station called Altair led to an armed daylight attack on the company’s offices. The raiders brought in two busloads of armed goons—some decked out in full OMON battle gear and toting AKs, handguns, and tear gas; others dressed in jumpsuits and carrying bats, 2X4s, wire cutters, and pellet guns—and the two goon platoons launched a full-on assault on the building. (more…)

Posted: August 6th, 2008

You know how Russia’s threatening to start sending nuke-carrying, long-range bombers to Cuba? Well, meet the Few, the Proud, and the Wasted of Russia’s VDV, the country’s elite Airborne Troops. Look at these faces long and hard, folks. And then look at them again. Chances are they’ll be parachuting into your backyard, striking camp and taking liberties with your young daughter. (more…)

Posted: August 4th, 2008

While the whole world has been focusing on Prime Minister Putin’s brutal slaughter of the Russian economy, a whole slew of other lesser, but oh so much more graphic, crimes have crept by undetected. We’re here to put a stop to that. The launch of EXILED ONLINE has put the gore sleuths of the infamous Death Porn Bureau back in business. Oh, gone are the good ol’ days. We’re not as well staffed as we once were and can’t have our coffee brought to us by one of our lovely DP girls. In fact, I’m the only one left. I won’t have time to cover all DP happenings that cross my desk, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.

For this historic relaunch, we’re going with a DP classic that never gets old: the good ol’ vodka-fueled murder spree. And in these hot and humid summer months, there’s a lot of them to go around. As every seasoned DP hand knows, mixing 100-degree weather with 100-proof spirits makes for one hell of a bloody masha cocktail.

(more…)

Posted: July 30th, 2008

Sergei Gorshkov, the political blogger who’s in it for the money, not the politics — and isn’t afraid to say so

It was a freakishly warm February morning in Moscow, eight days before Russia’s 2008 presidential election. Green army trucks packed with bleary-eyed soldiers crawled through the city streets, a sign of a paranoid government mobilizing itself against an election-eve revolution. (more…)

Posted: July 23rd, 2008

Gov. Sergei Morozov baptizes a UAZ-Patriot, the grand prize for one lucky newborn’s family.

ULYANOVSK, Russia—On a humid Sunday afternoon in late June, about 100 couples clutching newborn babies filed into the Lenin Memorial overlooking the wide banks of the Volga River. This mammoth concrete slab of Soviet constructivism was erected in Lenin’s hometown to commemorate the leader’s 100th birthday and now houses one of the city’s many Lenin museums, but the families had not come for a lesson in Soviet history; they were there to pick up their prizes. (more…)

Posted: July 16th, 2008

yair-klein-columbian-tv

Klein on Columbian TV a few months before his arrest in Moscow

Two weeks ago, while all eyes were focused on the case of international arms dealer Viktor Bout, I spent about five hours at the Moscow City Court watching the appeal case of another accused arms smuggler, Yair Klein. Known as Israel’s most famous arms smuggler, Klein has been fighting extradition to Colombia, where he was tried in absentia in 2001 and sentenced to a 10-year prison term.

Klein was arrested in Moscow last August on an Interpol warrant as he boarded a plane to Tel Aviv. Now he stood just one court decision away from being shipped off in cuffs to Bogota, where he’d rot away in some mosquito-swarmed dungeon. (more…)

Posted: March 28th, 2008