En passant: answer to Larussophobe

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 :)


Anonymous said...

La Russophobe is indeed a despicable and narrow minded character full of venom. As you wrote, you should not waste any more words on her. I find it regrettable, though, that many otherwise decent blogs choose to have her in their blogroll. Imagine there is an anti-Israel blog called The Judeophobe. What would people think of those who link to such a blog? Linking to La Russophobe is the moral equivalent to such a thing.


Dmitri Minaev said...

> La Russophobe is indeed a despicable and narrow minded character full of venom.

It's not venom, I'm afraid.

Thanks for a visit, Kolya :)

Pablo said...

¡Olé! :)

La Russophobe said...

EDITORIAL: His so-called “Life” in Putin’s Russia
December 1, 2008

His so-called “Life” in Putin’s Russia

Dmitri Minaev earns just a little more than the average Russian wage, taking in $5/hour, $800 per month, as a systems adminstrator in Samara. He blogs in his spare time on Russian history at De Rebus Antiquis Et Novis, which appears on our blogroll.

Minaev is also a thief, proudly so in fact.

In a recent post, he describes a visit to his local bookstore, where he was depressed to find that a much-desired French volume cost, at $25, more than 3% of his monthly income, and as such was unaffordable. In fact, he was also forced to reluctantly decline two other volumes, respectively on German and Italian history, even though they each cost only half the Russian volume’s hefty (for him) pricetag. He ended up buying a book on Russian history whose price he did not mention but which must have come quite cheap, as Russian goods are wont to do given the pathetically low wages paid to those who make them. Minaev writes:

I bought a copy of The Course of Russian History of 19th Century by Alexander Kornilov. He was another historian from those last free thinkers who worked in the early 20th century, like Sergey Platonov or Dmitri Ilovaisky or Vasily Klyuchevsky. A great book. I’m afraid that we won’t see a comparable work on 20th century for a very long time. Not from the Russian historians, sorry.

Sounds like a volume we’d like to get our hands on as well. But we think we might have some insight on why the book may never see the light of day in English.

Minaev, you see, was in no way distraught by his financial obstacles. They don’t affect him much, because he steals most of his books these days. His foray to the bookstore came out of boredom with his family away in Russia, a quaint bit of nostalgia, a diversion to a time when people were actuall foolish enough to pay for the books they read.

Yes, that’s right, he steals them. He brags about being the proud owner of the Russian version of the Amazon Kindle, an e-book reader made in Ukraine and reprogrammed by Russians to take full advantage of Russia’s vast sea of pirated literature, all “free” for the asking. And Minaev is asking quite a lot these days, it seems. Not surprising really, given that the Russian stock market is down 80% from the spring, unemployment is skyrocketing and inflation is out of control. Quoth Minaev: “Taking into account the digits I saw today, my LBook has already payed off its cost in six months.”

What a clever fellow.

Futility said...

Oh my, La Russophobe! Try as you might, you shall never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

What kind of a degenerate must one be to actually wish to deny someone something as basic as books? By God Dmitri, pirate man, pirate as much as you need, and then do your thing and write about the stuff you actually find worth buying.

Libraries: yet another sign of the moral decline of Putin's Russia.

AK said...

There are some who write altruistically to enrich world culture; others who write for fame; and many who write for monetary gain.

Though they might somewhat overlap, my opinion is that the quality and timelessness of the work also goes in the order described above.

So console yourself with the fact that the Berezovsky-funded LR operation will go into the dustbin of history, just like the Soviet propaganda she claims to despise; while you are very much a higher-category writer who might be cited decades later.

Anonymous said...

Oh. come on, Ak, while I agree that LR was over the top in calling Dmitri a thief, stating that LR is "Berezovsky-funded" is pure unsubstatiated crap. But, then, you are notorious for throwing garbage like that out on any comment/site critical of Russia. I suspect you are FSB funded or at the very least an amoral Putin lackey. Your little vanity site is an intellectually impoverished affair. The best you can do in life is sniff out anti-Putin attitudes and insert your Useful Idiot self.

Dmitri, I have no dog in this fight with LR, you do have a very thoughtful site.

AK said...

@anonymous rat,

Perhaps not Berezovsky funded - on second thought Randy Scheunemann sounds more likely. Considering the amount of time she must spend on her her multi-post per day hate blog and witch-hunting on others blogs under different pseudonyms...

On the topic of which, are you LR herself, or one of her (or Cicero's) cyber goons?

Dmitri Minaev said...

Thanks to everyone!

Emil Perhinschi said...

Oh, insulted by La Russophobe ? :-D ... you should make a T-shirts with it.

Whoever writes there, it must be a very lonely person.

cathy said...

Don't take too much notice of LaRussophobe. It's not worth it.