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Putin's Russia Reaches Out

The Russia Today television channel reporting on events in Georgia on August 11.

The Russia Today television channel reporting on events in Georgia on August 11.

This month's "The Atlantic" has a little essay of interest by Washington-based journalist Joshua Kucera. He tells of a few encounters he had with a Russian Embassy "official" who offered him a few hundred dollars every now and again to publish stories about "what we are doing in the Russian government."

And it wasn't even one of those spooky Deep Throat situations -- no 3 a.m. parking garages, no surreptitious notes stuck between the pages of "The New York Times." All Kucera had to do in order to find out "what we are doing in the Russian government" (and now The Power Vertical readers will also know the secret!) was to check out two websites that, to be honest, I'd never heard of before. Kucera's Russian friend, whom he calls "Vladimir," said he'd pay Kucera to take stories off those sites and republish them as his own.

And where do you go to find out what is going on in the Russian government? Here and here. The first is (motto: Where we are, there is peace.), which publishes essays on themes like how the CIA is funding international terrorists and how Georgia is to blame for the war in South Ossetia and Abkhazia this summer. Here's a taste of the latter:

Besides Georgia performed operations to discredit Abkhazia and South Ossetia. To this end, Georgian raiders made acts of sabotage and terror against the Georgian population in the areas adjacent to the Georgian border (murders and assaults related to robbery). Georgian raiders kidnapped people and tortured them to make them to confess to “committed crimes”. They slipped arms, drugs, radioactive materials and counterfeit money . All these actions were broadly highlighted by the Georgian and international mass media. Thus, Georgia created a criminal enclave image of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that make threat to Georgia, and prepared bulk information to justify its future military aggression.

The other website is, which doesn't seem to be updated as often as the peacekeepers, but covers many of the same themes -- Ukraine, Georgia, various U.S. machinations around the world. Interestingly, in its "personalities" section there is only one personality worth mentioning: Vladimir Putin. What would President Dmitry Medvedev think?

So, there you have it, Vladimir, a plug for your websites with links and all, and it didn't cost you a ruble. We do it as a public service.

-- Robert Coalson

About This Blog

The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or


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