Who are the Primorye Partisans?

Russia’s Far East has always been an unruly place. Tsars and Communists alike dumped its criminals and politicals there. In the interwar period it was a hot bed for lawlessness and banditry, where gangs and holdouts of the White Army made life difficult for the new Soviet state. There is one historical artifact that always stands out in my mind when it comes to the Russia’s Far East. I tend to give it to my students so they can get a flavor of the heady days of the Russian Revolution. The document is an anonymous letter to Lenin dated 15 January 1918. After lambasting Lenin for not keeping his promise to deliver “peace, bread, land, and liberty in three days’ time” the complainant ended with this warning: “If you’ve picked up the reins [of power] then go ahead and drive, and if you can’t, then, honey, you can take a flying fuck to hell, or as we say in Siberia, you’re a goddamned motherfucker, son of an Irkutsk cunt, who’d like to sell us out to the Germans. No, you won’t be selling us out: don’t forget that we Siberians are all convicts.”*

This document has resonated with me over the last few days as Russian police forces scoured the Primorye Krai looking for the so-called “Russian Rambos.” The problem is that the evidence that these guys are “Rambos,” “Robin Hoods” or “revolutionaries” is rather thin. It seems that they are at best common criminals and worse Russian fascists, making the supposed support of the “partisans” quite disturbing.

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Faith Healer Grabovoi Needs Someone to Save

Russian faith healer, self-proclaimed messiah, and all around conman, Grigory Grabovoi was released from the slammer last Friday.  Apparently, Grabovoi, who’s antics have included promising Beslan mothers to resurrect their dead children, posing as the Second Coming, and declaring that if he became Russia’s president, he would outlaw death, kept his mouth shut in prison.  He should consider himself fortunate to only serve four years of his eight year sentence for swindling people “under the guise of resurrecting the victims’ dead relatives or curing them of serious illnesses.”  Actually, he’s lucky that one of his victims didn’t put a bullet in

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Black PR vs. Black PR?

As the Power Vertical’s Robert Coalson explains, this is the way the game is played. Anyone familiar with Russian politics over the last 20 years, if not the last century, will not be surprised by the revelation a United Russia hatchet-men hired “spin doctors” to spread black PR to smear political opponents of UR power broker and Saratov deputy Vyacheslav Volodin. But is this latest revelation merely black PR about black PR? Yet another example of the Russian elite cannabalizing itself?

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Moscow in Perspective

Moscow.  Being in Russia’s capital provides a perspective impossible to acquire through the news.  Contrary to popular belief, the Internet doesn’t bring us closer together. 

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Kill’em All

Here are some interesting findings from a recent VTsIOM survey on corruption: Thirty percent of Russians approve of the idea of public executions to fight

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