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Russia Babylon / August 28, 2009
By Mark Ames


Here’s a gnarly little story out of Russia I just stumbled across on This death porn tale comes from a town in the Urals named “Snezhinsk,” which means something like “Snowville.” It’s one of Russia’s last “closed cities,” where Putin’s top-secret nuclear programs are developed. All that plutonium must be heating up the local mens’ blood, because a few days ago, a pair of cops detained a 17-year-old boy, crushed his skull with a blunt object, dumped his body in a nearby forest and riddled the corpse with bullets for good measure. That was August 24th.


Last night, after the body was found and news broke, hundreds of youths in the town of 50,000 took to the streets, blocking traffic and shutting down the city. Some reports say that the FSB moved in, set up check points, and declared curfew. Any men of draft age–teenagers up to the age of 27–were being pulled out of cars and having their military draft status checked. (Pretty much every Russian male does whatever he can to avoid the draft.)

So far, local authorities say that they have the suspects in the murder–a cop and another whose profession wasn’t named (FSB?). The motive for the murder: jealousy over a local girl.

Well hell, if you’ve been to Russia and you’ve seen the babes there, and you’ve been a victim of a “sterva,” then you’d kinda understand what could drive a cop crazy like that. (Click here to see the “Sterva” game from

But the real heroes in this brutal tale are the kids who took to the streets in a closed-off police city-state. Look at these kids below, facing certain truncheon beatings, but braving them anyway. Meanwhile, Americans keep whining that there’s “nothing” they can do about the way Wall Street and the billionaire class plundered and looted this country blind.


I’ve been to the border of a closed nuclear-weapons city just like Snezhinsk. A few years ago, I tried to get into Sarov, where Andrei Sakharov developed his nuclear bombs for the Soviets (Snezhinsk was set up in the 1950s to compete with Sarov, just as Lawrence Livermore was set up to compete with Los Alamos). We drove up to the Sarov “border” checkpoint in the Volga River region: it was a heavily-militarized border zone with lots of concrete, guards and walls, something you’d expect in the West Bank–but no, this was Sarov, known as “Arzamas-16” until about 15 years ago, deep in the heart of Russia. Everything had been arranged in-advance with the local authorities to ensure that I, a foreigner, could get in. I wasn’t allowed in without all kinds of approvals, and without an FSB minder with me at all times.


We waited and waited at the border crossing for our FSB “guide” to meet us. But he never showed. Instead, we were greeted by a young member of the local Sarov city administration, full of apologies and little souvenirs for me, mostly little pennants and a scarf for the local Sarov hockey team. But I wasn’t allowed in. The reason, I was told, was that the FSB minder who was to accompany me was on a hardcore drinking binge (zapoi) out at his dacha, and they couldn’t wake him up, even now, at 2 in the afternoon on a Sunday.

Misty water-n-blood-colored memories of Mother Russia… Maybe it’s time to start writing them down.

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal, and the co-author of The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia (Grove).


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Add your own

  • 1. Seryoga!  |  August 28th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Write dem shits down Ames!!

  • 2. rick  |  August 28th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I couldn’t find the eXile book at the big NY Barnes & Noble…sad. I don’t know if you can mass sell another memoir in this shitty market, but I stand by saying Ames’ shit, especially in the eXile book, is the best autobiographical writing. It’d be too bad if Ames didn’t write more kosher autobiography.

  • 3. BD  |  August 28th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Hipsters and Russia… a match made in heaven. Listen, there is absolutely nothing about this subhuman disaster zone of a country that we want to emulate. Russian women are to real white women what a Tootsie pop is to fine chocolate. Their population is low-IQ, violent, and resent authority with a dull furor that they never realize comes back to bite them in the ass. Please end these ironic pseudo-Soviet dribblings; they are sickeninly popular amongst a certain circle of smug intellectuals.

  • 4. Lex  |  August 28th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Yeah, man, write ’em down. Please.

  • 5. mx?  |  August 28th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Oh please Ames, The eXile: Memories of sex, drugs and libel in Russia during the crazy Yeltsin years.
    That would be genius.

  • 6. Expat in BY  |  August 29th, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Ames, write, but don’t bother targeting the American audience. They won’t get it, as is evident in post #3.

  • 7. Snarky  |  August 29th, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Write the book Ames, maybe than morons like BD, stands for Badly Developed, a product of No Child Left Behind, can understand the difference between the Yeltsin Government and Russian women. It’s not hard for those with an IQ above your average moose.

  • 8. Jussi  |  August 29th, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Write a book about Russia, fast.

  • 9. UglyAmerican  |  August 29th, 2009 at 5:59 am

    I (a stupid American) was in Sarov in 1996 with the 2nd group of Americans to ever be there, or so they told me. It seemed like a regular Russian town to me. Except its less poor, the sky would unexpectedly light up at night, and all our emails we’re strictly monitored.

  • 10. Alex  |  August 29th, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Ames, you are just another tool, sucking around Sarov, but failing to grasp they want you there as bad as a hire wants a brakelight. hope they’ll still muddle through without you

  • 11. Dr. Sivana  |  August 29th, 2009 at 9:08 am

    What is the half-life (239Pu or 235U) of a Sarov snapper? Do NRO satellites detect snapper emissions when the target city is, as reported, ‘closed’? Do radioactive snappers come across like yellow Penskewagens full of rotting mackeral, or (because Sarov is closed) are they as lip-smackin’ good as fried peanut butter and banana sammiches?

    Jesus! Another task for DARPA!

  • 12. Snarky  |  August 29th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Sivana you place 235U in your snapper? Ewwww, shit girl, I wouldn’t want to do you.

    Ames – if your write the book, I will pirate 535 copies of it from the Internet and send them to Congress, so that they, or most likely their unpaid interns, learn more about Russia.

  • 13. captain america  |  August 30th, 2009 at 7:00 am

    how bad does a hire want a breaklight, anyway? a lot? a little? not at all?

  • 14. zip  |  September 1st, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Can i feel more Whore-R stories coming up? YES!

  • 15. Nicolai Ceske  |  September 3rd, 2009 at 4:32 am

    I want some American Whore-R stories. Don’t you neglect the Southern Snatch for sale. Discount prices with cheap dollar!!

  • 16. antiLeft  |  September 5th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    The senile baby boomer American generation would put a V-Chip in America’s teens before allowing them to rebel.

  • 17. lena  |  September 10th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Mark, I am not sure if you read the comments, but please write a book about Russia. Don’t forget to distribute it in New Zealand though, locals get brainwashed by American cold war propaganda often enough. As a result opinions like in comment #3 are common in this small town.

  • 18. Vadim  |  September 19th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    That’s really strange that the cop killed the guy with a hammer. Where did he get the hammer in the woods? In his car? That’s really weird to have a hammer in a car, isn’t it?

  • 19. Vlad  |  September 23rd, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    It’s funny, really, because this is the same scenario as the french “muslim” (read: arab) riots: urban youths are tired of their boring grey closed ghettoes and wander around looking for trouble, then one day the cops crack a skull and suddenly all those kids find a new hobby: burning cars and throwing rocks at the pigs, using rap lyrics as their battle anthems and generally trying to pretend they’re in ’68 Chicago.
    Cue the media talking about muslim unrest and the government looking for radical islamist ties (even the intelligence services had to admit it was pure bullshit eventually, too bad people have a short attention span)
    Then the cops get twitchy and shoot/run over/beat up another kid for smoking a joint and resisting arrest, and the streets flare up again. Then the government sends more cops to harass more kids, etc.

    What’s hilarious is that everybody, especially in eastern europe, is still using those riots as proof that “muslim” “immigrants” are disgusting scum hellbound on making Eurabia a reality and imposing their barbaric Shariah laws upon us, when it should be clear by now the only real difference with our own slum-boys is the tan.

  • 20. nuBe  |  October 9th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    good point on them hitting the streets even in the face of beatings and how we won’t do a damn thing.

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