Nossik was an Jewish-Russian journalist who perhaps more than anyone else shaped the contours of the Russian Internet. Apart from having a hand in starting up a huge percentage of the online news leviathans that still dominate the sphere, as an outspoken political personality he was also one of the most popular bloggers in his own right (dolboeb).
He has died at the age of 51, apparently after a vodka binge at a friend’s dacha.
Nossik heyday was “before my time” (he was becoming a name on Fidonet political discussions in Israel about Russia in the early 1990s; I started blogging in 2008). So I am not exactly qualified to write a balanced obituary about him, nor am I particularly interested in doing that. Instead, I will just write describe a few vignettes from his late life that I think tie in with my own blog’s themes.
But first, to set the political scene, Nossik’s fundamental convictions were “liberal” (see caveats) and pro-Western. Really, mostly the latter. For instance, in 2010 he attacked Assange for recklessly spilling American secrets and cooperating with the “Holocaust denier” Israel Shamir in Russia.
That said, this did not stop him from maintaining productive relations with media personalities in both the pro-Kremlin camp (e.g. Maksim Kononenko, Konstantin Rykov) and Russian nationalists (e.g. Sputnik i Pogrom’s Egor Prosvirnin, see right).
At the end of the day he was a Jewish/Zionist nationalist. He was rarely seen without with yarmulke, and was always very explicit about how his concern for Israel took precendence over the more… universalistic ideals that he at times claimed to profess.
For instance, here is a transcript of his interview with the liberal Gazprom-funded Echo of Moscow in October 2015, where a conversation about Russian misdeeds in Syria between the handshakeworthy crowd took a bit of an unexpected turn:
Nosik: What is Russia doing [in Syria]? It’s killing women, children, old people.
Interviewer: And you support this?
Nosik: Sure. They’re Syrians.
Interviewer: But they’re people.
Nosik: No, they’re Syrians.
Interviewer: So Syrians aren’t people?
Nosik: In what sense? They present a danger to Israel.
Interviewer: And women and children and old people too?
Nosik: I don’t care, if they present a danger to Israel.
Interviewer: But what danger can women and children and old people constitute?
Nosik: Women? They give birth to Syrian soldiers. If they are bombed, they won’t give birth to Syrian soldiers. And thank God!
“L means Learn calm, moderate nationalism from the Jews,” sarcastically commented Sputnik i Pogrom.
He immediately followed it up with a blog post where he called on Syria to be wiped from the face of the Earth.
Now this wouldn’t have led to any consequences in Western countries, where hate speech laws only really applies to criticism against Jews, Muslims, and various sexual minorites. However, retrograde as Article 282 – Russia’s prime hate speech law – might be, it does at least tend to be applied more consistently. For instance, back in the 2000s, the Russian “journalist” Boris Stomakhin served a term for encouraging terrorism against ethnic Russians (Western human rights outfits such as the Committee to Protect Journalism predictably labeled him a victim of Putler’s regime). This is, incidentally, a state of affairs that European institutions are very, very sad about, repeatedly calling on Russia to make Article 282 less “politicized.” That is, only have it apply to nationalists, as in Europe, and as was the intention of the mostly Jewish “liberals” and “human rights activists” who had pushed it through the Duma in the first place.
Anyhow, the Jewish nationalist Nossik must have failed to take this specificity of Russian law into account, and was charged with Article 282 in 2016. (That said, in all fairness, I should point out that Nossik himself was not a hypocrite about this – he has been criticizing Article 282 for more than a decade on his blog). Unlike many other less prominent people, he escaped the two year jail sentence recommended by the prosecutor, and got off with a 500,000 ruble fine (lowered to 300,000 rubles on appeal).
Which for him was pocket change anyway. This morning, I was amused to see one of the “thought leaders” in Russian transhumanism criticize Nossik on Facebook because he had apparently paid the man $10,000 in 2010 to propagandize radical life extension, but Nossik just took the money and promptly forgot all about it. (Amusingly, $10,000 would have been just sufficient to pay off the original fine at today’s exchange rate).
The lesson to be drawn from this? “And now Anton Nossik has died. What more can I say? He should have done more for life extension.” I would also add: Goys should always put contracts to paper.