Saturday, February 24, 2007

How the Kremlin Buys its Defenders

Imperialists Wholesale and Retail


April 6, 2007

I recently had the good fortune to receive the following letter via mass email:

“Greetings! We would like to offer you a short-term job on April 8, from 13:30 – 14:30, at Triumfalnaya Ploshchad’! ICQ 228504397, Tel: 89265815418, Peter.

Anticipating a small addition to my personal budget in a round sum, I dialed the magic number. “Peter” informed me that I would need to come to “A meeting organized by the Moscow city government around national slogans.” When I asked what exactly these slogans would be, the recruiter of fervent nationalists answered in a roundabout way, “Well, there may not actually be any slogans. We’ll just hang around there and see what they tell us.”

But actually, it wasn’t hard to guess what they would tell us at this gathering of paid patriots, if one recalled that by happy coincidence at exactly this time and place a certain “Imperial March” was scheduled to begin – a procession organized by pro-Kremlin fighters against American imperialism and home-grown “defeatists”.

In exchange for listening to an hour-long lecture, Peter promised to reward me with a whole… 120 rubles. This suspiciously un-round figure led me to suspect that a certain percentage of this paltry coinage was finding its way into the pocket of the hard-working recruiter.

My rendezvous was set for 13:15 at the Mayakovskaya metro station. “Peter” would be carrying a yellow package in his hand. Likewise, another gatherer of imperialists promised to meet Roman Dobrokhotov at the Benetton store on Tverskaya Ploshchad’. He would be recognized by the exact same yellow package. It seems there was a whole brigade of “Peters”! :

Onward the fight against the Orange Plague!

Follow the yellow packets!

You can find out more about how imperialists are recruited here. [TN: this link is to a blog in which the blogger followed up on the exact same spam recruitment letter, and made a tape recording of a “Peter” giving his recruitment pitch and providing instructions on where and how to meet for the big event. A predictable torrent of abuse from brigadniki in response to these investigations can also be read in the comments sections of both sites.]

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