It seems that I was unlucky enough to attract the attention of someone who runs a blog named Larussophobe (which does not appear in my blogroll). The author has read my recent post written after a visit to a local bookstore. The article at Larussophobe sums up to the following: a) I am a thief because I steal books; b) I see no connection between violation of intellectual property and the price of books; c) (quite unexpectedly) I am a stupid coward because I do not go and start a guerilla against Putin's tyranny.
I sometimes flatter myself with the thought that there's a share of my efforts in the fall of the USSR, because many years ago I participated in the anti-Soviet movement. It was only a tiny share, but still I cannot blame myself for doing nothing. I did not really oppose socialism per se, I didn't like the atmospere of lie, deception and concealment. Having read the article of Larussophobe, I have an impression that I am in the USSR. The author ascribes to me some statements of his own and attacks the strawman with the energy of a well-trained Soviet journalist. Unlike Soviet journalists, though, Larussophobe is anonymous.
We may have different ideas on what is theft, but even from the point of view of the most active proponents of intellectual property I am hardly a thief. The last books I have read are the works of Jack London, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Ivan Yefremov, Ivan Goncharov and other authors whose works are in public domain. There was also a book by Neil Gaiman whose novel I found too boring to pay for it. Theft? You may call it so, but I would not feel sympathy to poor writers. Let me quote the Egyptian Nights by Alexander Pushkin:
The calling of poet does not exist in our country. Our poets do not receive the patronage of men of quality: our poets are men of quality themselves, and if any Maecenas (devil take them all!) should fail to realize this, so much the worse for him. With us there are no tattered abbés whom a composer might pick up on a street corner to write a libretto. With us, poets do not walk door to door soliciting donations.
In a similar fashion, I write here for free. Unlike Larussophobe, I find it shameful to receive money for writing about history or politics. My salary may be small by Larussophobe's standards, but I earn it with my brain, to the last cent. And I don't make money on politics. I do write about politics, too, and I did criticize the ways of the Putin's Russia more than once. Larussophobe has even made some money by quoting me before. No, I would not call him a thief. But he is not an honorable man.
So, who is a stupid coward, me or the anonymous venal journalist who writes Soviet-style propaganda under nom de plume Larussophobe? Dismissed and forgotten.
PS: Oh, and by the way, I have finally bought A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People by Steven Ozment and Histoire de L'Italie by Katherine Brice :)