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The State of the Russian Altsphere (October 2017)
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visits-russia-patriotic

Russian nationalists and “patriots” – much like the “Alt Right” and Alt Lite in the United States – each have their own media ecosystems, though overlap is inevitable.

As in the United States, “patriotism” is at least an order of magnitude more prevalent than nationalism (indeed, it is one of the defining strands of Putinist ideology in general). As regards the media scene, one example of a flagship “patriotic” resource would be Komsomolskaya Pravda, with more than 50 million monthly visits (despite the name, it has nothing to do with the USSR). A few other examples would be RT Russian, LIFE News, and Argumenty i Fakty. Whereas in the United States there are several CNN’s and MSNBC’s for one FOX, in Russia the division between “patriotic” and “liberal” (Vedomosti, Gazeta.ru, etc.) is more even.

Towards the right end of the “patriotic” spectrum the two big (>10 million) strongly players would be VZ.ru (the brainchild of Konstantin Rykov, the United Russia deputy who promotes Maria Katasonova, Russia’s premier cheerleader for Trump and Le Pen) and the military-affiliated Zvezda TV channel (which for a time employed British Donbass correspondent Graham W. Phillips).

Also rather influential, with around 10 million monthly visits between them, are the blogs of Colonel Cassad (Boris Rozhin) and El Murid (Anatoly Nesmiyan). Both are one-man content factories, forged in the fires of the Donbass War, who have now shifted their attentions to the Syrian Civil War and general geopolitical and military matters. Rozhin is a Crimean Communist (and chess master); Anatoly Nesmiyan is associated with Igor Strelkov, who also has a blog, though not a very influential one. However, both Nesmiyan and Strelkov are strongly skeptical of the Putin regime, so it’s more accurate to describe them as “national patriots” than “patriots.”

In my article on Russian Nationalism 101, I described Tsargrad TV as a semi-nationalist resource, especially after its ouster of the Eurasianist Alexander Dugin and replacement by the conservative-nationalist Egor Kholmogorov. It is also perhaps Russia’s closest approximation of Breitbart, down to the oligarch funding (Mercer/Malofeev) and American conservative-style focus on religion and “culture war” issues (the most recent example being its furore over the film Matilda), and ambiguous relation with Russian nationalists (Egor Kholmogorov also used to contribute articles to Prosvirnin’s Sputnik i Pogrom, but more recently, Tsargrad included Prosvirnin in its list of the country’s top 100 Russophobes). In any case, it has been interesting to see its visitorship numbers this past year skyrocketing from around the level of Sputnik i Pogrom to 50% of the level of Zvezda/VZ, and 20% of Komsomolskaya Pravda. (That said, questions have been raised as to what extent this sharp uptick is legitimate traffic).

visits-russia-national-patriotic

Sputnik i Pogrom (Egor Prosvirnin), the flagship magazine of Russian nationalism, was at 1.5 million monthly visits and on an upwards trend until the Russian censorship authority Roskomnadzor blocked it this July on trumped up reasons. The drop in readership has not been as catastrophic as might have been expected, probably because its texts are highly K-selected and its audience tend to be young, intelligent, and technically literate. It is highly oppositionist in nature, but it is read by a wide swathe of the Russian political elites regardless.

Regardless of this setback, Sputnik i Pogrom’s visits number are still comparable to those of Nikolay Starikov and Zavtra and Nikolay Starikov, the two main flagships of “Soviet nationalism” and the most hardcore/zealous strain of “patriotism“, respectively.

Nikolay Starikov is a sort of “uber-patriot” who peddles in Stalin apologetics and petrodollar conspiracy theories. He is also slavishly loyal to the Kremlin and Putin: After spending early 2014 demonizing the “Nazi junta” in the Ukraine, he made an abrupt heel turn, coming out against the recognition of the LDNR and stressing the necessity of a “united Ukraine”… so as to avoid being drawn into an evil American plot to draw Russia into WW3. This was essentially a Kremlin talking point – the decision against overt military intervention had been made early on in the conflict – but couched in a language understandable to Starikov’s rabid, foathing-at-the-mouth uber-patriotic herd. With a few exceptions, the articles there are highly r-selected.

Zavtra is the newspaper of Alexander Prokhanov, a Soviet ultranationalist who supported the hardliners during the coup attempt of 1991. However, they have not evolved since, and as a result their articles inevitably follow a set of themes: Praise for Lenin and Stalin; condemnations of Gorbachev for “betraying” the USSR; and other staples of Third Position political rhetoric, such as the petrodollar conspiracy theories. Also a liberal dose of late Putinist era multinationalism: Just checked back, and Prokhanov appears to be writing odes to the Kadyrovs nowadays. It is hard to avoid the impression that Zavtra is fading into obscurity.

However, at least some people still visit it. The same cannot be said of Alexander Dugin’s two Eurasianist sites, Katehon and Geopolitica.ru – they have no more than 500,000 combined monthly visits. As I have long pointed out, Dugin is far more popular amongst Western neoliberal Intellectuals Yet Idiots and confused US Alt Rightists than he is in Russia itself. That is because there are few Russians who have much use for Dugin’s fusion of “anti-imperialist”/”anti-racist” Soviet-Eurasianism and the more obscurantist strains of Orthodoxy liberally, speckled with conspiracy theories about the liberal “sixth column” responsible for Islamist terrorism and the Atlanticist evils of surfing (no, seriously).

google-trends-dugin-limonov-prokhanov

Google Trends: Dugin; Limonov; Prokhanov – Russia – Last 5 years

The National Bolshevik Eduard Limonov is somewhat more prominent than Dugin, and also has gigs at more mainstream “patriotic” places like RT Russian. Although his ideas have become dated, as with Dugin and Prokhanov, he is, at least, more entertaining than either one of them, which might explain his greater prominence. This is more of a subjective observation, but I would also note that as someone who has spent some time in France and the United States, he is also more realistic about many aspects of the world relative to his Eurasianist and Soviet peers.

Sut’ Vremeni (Essence of Time) is another Soviet-nostalgic movement led by Sergey Kurginyan. It has zero intellectual content and frankly comes off like a cult, but is allowed to exist thanks to its slavish loyalty to the Kremlin.

It is important to note that just as the Right Altsphere in the United States can’t compete with the collective Vox, so Russian nationalists, Far-Rightists, and sundry “national patriots” and “national conservatives” of whatever flavor are far more marginal relative to neoliberalism.txt’s Russia branch. The two flagship Far Liberal outlets, Echo of Moscow and Meduza.io (successtor to Lenta) each have 30 million monthly visits; TVRain, whose crew is a fixture at any Navalny demonstration, has 12 million visitors; The Village, the journal of Moscow’s SWPL’s, gays, and SWPLy gays, has 8 million; the highly K-selected Republic.ru (formerly Slon) has around 3 million. The nationalist/liberal gap isn’t quite as loaded in favor of the latter as in the United States or Europe, but it is still very big.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Blogging, Russian Media 
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  1. and the Atlanticist evils of surfing (no, seriously).

    Sometimes you sound like you have no sense of humor whatsoever.

    But really, you’re an American, right? You don’t have the knack for Russian pizdezh; the second meaning here. Similar to ‘trolling’, but far better, more elaborate, and can be maintained for hours, by several participants. Dugin is extremely good at it. He’s a talent.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Well I searched the comments on that phrase and most (Russians) don't seem to think he's trolling either.

    In any case, we he trolling about this?

    I am a supporter of blacks. White civilization – its cultural values and false, dehumanizing model of the world, built by them – there were no benefits. Everything is leading to the start of anti-White pogroms on a planetary scale. Russia is saved only by the fact that we are not pure white.
     
    or this?:

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/896360025710628864

    or the "Globalist, Satanic AI Takeover Plan" he discussed with Alex Jones?

    or my personal favorite, this agricultural institute graduate's Very Learned Opinion about the fraud that is Hawking's physics?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3NDi1SYaYw
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Dugin is extremely good at it. He’s a talent.
     
    That's about the only talent he has. Actually, Limon at some point of time made a supposition that Dugin is not even Russian ethnically. I have my own reasons to believe that this could be true.
    , @Onanymous

    Sometimes you sound like you have no sense of humor whatsoever.
     
    It's Karlin's version of pizdezh, I guess :)
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  2. @Mao Cheng Ji

    and the Atlanticist evils of surfing (no, seriously).
     
    Sometimes you sound like you have no sense of humor whatsoever.

    But really, you're an American, right? You don't have the knack for Russian pizdezh; the second meaning here. Similar to 'trolling', but far better, more elaborate, and can be maintained for hours, by several participants. Dugin is extremely good at it. He's a talent.

    Well I searched the comments on that phrase and most (Russians) don’t seem to think he’s trolling either.

    In any case, we he trolling about this?

    I am a supporter of blacks. White civilization – its cultural values and false, dehumanizing model of the world, built by them – there were no benefits. Everything is leading to the start of anti-White pogroms on a planetary scale. Russia is saved only by the fact that we are not pure white.

    or this?:

    or the “Globalist, Satanic AI Takeover Plan” he discussed with Alex Jones?

    or my personal favorite, this agricultural institute graduate’s Very Learned Opinion about the fraud that is Hawking’s physics?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    What about this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUM6S8kcEZA ?
    This is what I perceive as typical Russian pizdezh. Deliberate contrarianism, twisting things around. The Hawking thing too, definitely.

    As for the western civilization, "cultural values and false, dehumanizing model of the world", that sounds very much like his standard denunciation of liberalism. And what of it? He is, after all, a radical traditionalist, a reactionary. An entertaining reactionary. It's good.

    As for his anti-racism, what's wrong with that?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. whahae says:

    How much of a leftist is Limonov? He supports YPG in Syria instead of Assad and has some western leftist cheerleaders (Gary Brecher/Mark Ames).

    Read More
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  4. melanf says:

    It is important to note that just as the Right Altsphere in the United States can’t compete with the collective Vox, so Russian nationalists, Far-Rightists, and sundry “national patriots” and “national conservatives” of whatever flavor are far more marginal relative to neoliberalism.txt’s Russia branch.

    “VZ.ru” is government propaganda (or very close to it). These views are absolutely dominating the TV.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    “VZ.ru” is government propaganda (or very close to it).
     
    Closer to "very close to it". They do allow periodically all kinds of opinions there and some of those opinions are valuable.
    , @Onanymous

    government propaganda
     
    Everything coming out of Russia is government propaganda. All these Russian “nationalists”, “communists”, “liberals”, “patriots”, are mere Kremlin puppets. Real opposition cannot exist there — it immediately would go six feet under.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. @Anatoly Karlin
    Well I searched the comments on that phrase and most (Russians) don't seem to think he's trolling either.

    In any case, we he trolling about this?

    I am a supporter of blacks. White civilization – its cultural values and false, dehumanizing model of the world, built by them – there were no benefits. Everything is leading to the start of anti-White pogroms on a planetary scale. Russia is saved only by the fact that we are not pure white.
     
    or this?:

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/896360025710628864

    or the "Globalist, Satanic AI Takeover Plan" he discussed with Alex Jones?

    or my personal favorite, this agricultural institute graduate's Very Learned Opinion about the fraud that is Hawking's physics?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3NDi1SYaYw

    What about this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUM6S8kcEZA ?
    This is what I perceive as typical Russian pizdezh. Deliberate contrarianism, twisting things around. The Hawking thing too, definitely.

    As for the western civilization, “cultural values and false, dehumanizing model of the world”, that sounds very much like his standard denunciation of liberalism. And what of it? He is, after all, a radical traditionalist, a reactionary. An entertaining reactionary. It’s good.

    As for his anti-racism, what’s wrong with that?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon

    As for his anti-racism, what’s wrong with that?
     
    It is opposed to Karlin's race realism.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    As for his anti-racism, what’s wrong with that?
     
    Because "anti-racism" in Soviet/Eurasianist parlance denotes things such as open borders with Central Asia, prison terms for people criticizing the massive flow of subsidies to the North Caucasus, and gazillions of aid to failed Third World tinpot dictatorships fighting "Western imperialism" (while in practice putting it into their Swiss bank accounts).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. @Mao Cheng Ji

    and the Atlanticist evils of surfing (no, seriously).
     
    Sometimes you sound like you have no sense of humor whatsoever.

    But really, you're an American, right? You don't have the knack for Russian pizdezh; the second meaning here. Similar to 'trolling', but far better, more elaborate, and can be maintained for hours, by several participants. Dugin is extremely good at it. He's a talent.

    Dugin is extremely good at it. He’s a talent.

    That’s about the only talent he has. Actually, Limon at some point of time made a supposition that Dugin is not even Russian ethnically. I have my own reasons to believe that this could be true.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. @melanf

    It is important to note that just as the Right Altsphere in the United States can’t compete with the collective Vox, so Russian nationalists, Far-Rightists, and sundry “national patriots” and “national conservatives” of whatever flavor are far more marginal relative to neoliberalism.txt’s Russia branch.
     
    "VZ.ru" is government propaganda (or very close to it). These views are absolutely dominating the TV.

    “VZ.ru” is government propaganda (or very close to it).

    Closer to “very close to it”. They do allow periodically all kinds of opinions there and some of those opinions are valuable.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    They do allow periodically all kinds of opinions there and some of those opinions are valuable.
     
    In the television also show all kinds of opinions (including radical opposition)
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  8. melanf says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “VZ.ru” is government propaganda (or very close to it).
     
    Closer to "very close to it". They do allow periodically all kinds of opinions there and some of those opinions are valuable.

    They do allow periodically all kinds of opinions there and some of those opinions are valuable.

    In the television also show all kinds of opinions (including radical opposition)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. neutral says:

    Do any of them ever talk about jews? Or is “Atlanticist” a kind of way to talk about jews without getting in trouble from government censors?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Do any of them ever talk about jews?
     
    Well, go ask/read through the archives of Israel Shamir. :) He's far closer to the Prokhanov circle of "Soviet nationalists" than I am.

    Or is “Atlanticist” a kind of way to talk about jews without getting in trouble from government censors?
     
    No. Atlanticists are Atlanticists.
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  10. Onanymous says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    and the Atlanticist evils of surfing (no, seriously).
     
    Sometimes you sound like you have no sense of humor whatsoever.

    But really, you're an American, right? You don't have the knack for Russian pizdezh; the second meaning here. Similar to 'trolling', but far better, more elaborate, and can be maintained for hours, by several participants. Dugin is extremely good at it. He's a talent.

    Sometimes you sound like you have no sense of humor whatsoever.

    It’s Karlin’s version of pizdezh, I guess :)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. Onanymous says:
    @melanf

    It is important to note that just as the Right Altsphere in the United States can’t compete with the collective Vox, so Russian nationalists, Far-Rightists, and sundry “national patriots” and “national conservatives” of whatever flavor are far more marginal relative to neoliberalism.txt’s Russia branch.
     
    "VZ.ru" is government propaganda (or very close to it). These views are absolutely dominating the TV.

    government propaganda

    Everything coming out of Russia is government propaganda. All these Russian “nationalists”, “communists”, “liberals”, “patriots”, are mere Kremlin puppets. Real opposition cannot exist there — it immediately would go six feet under.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    The "no true opposition" fallacy.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    Is this some sort of weird joke or do you actually believe this?
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  12. @neutral
    Do any of them ever talk about jews? Or is "Atlanticist" a kind of way to talk about jews without getting in trouble from government censors?

    Do any of them ever talk about jews?

    Well, go ask/read through the archives of Israel Shamir. :) He’s far closer to the Prokhanov circle of “Soviet nationalists” than I am.

    Or is “Atlanticist” a kind of way to talk about jews without getting in trouble from government censors?

    No. Atlanticists are Atlanticists.

    Read More
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  13. inertial says:

    By K-selected, do you mean intellectual? Then you should say so.

    Read More
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  14. 5371 says:
    @Onanymous

    government propaganda
     
    Everything coming out of Russia is government propaganda. All these Russian “nationalists”, “communists”, “liberals”, “patriots”, are mere Kremlin puppets. Real opposition cannot exist there — it immediately would go six feet under.

    The “no true opposition” fallacy.

    Read More
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  15. 5371 says:

    The Kurginyan cult has just succeeded in getting Rostov-na-Donu to cancel plans to erect a statue to Solzhenitsyn. In my experience the anti-Solzhenitsyn cause is a popular one, even with the youf.

    Read More
    • Agree: melanf
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  16. @Onanymous

    government propaganda
     
    Everything coming out of Russia is government propaganda. All these Russian “nationalists”, “communists”, “liberals”, “patriots”, are mere Kremlin puppets. Real opposition cannot exist there — it immediately would go six feet under.

    Is this some sort of weird joke or do you actually believe this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Onanymous

    Is this some sort of weird joke or do you actually believe this?
     
    I may exaggerate for effect but I do not lie.

    The situation in Russia is under control. :)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  17. Onanymous says:
    @Daniel Chieh
    Is this some sort of weird joke or do you actually believe this?

    Is this some sort of weird joke or do you actually believe this?

    I may exaggerate for effect but I do not lie.

    The situation in Russia is under control. :)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    What about this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUM6S8kcEZA ?
    This is what I perceive as typical Russian pizdezh. Deliberate contrarianism, twisting things around. The Hawking thing too, definitely.

    As for the western civilization, "cultural values and false, dehumanizing model of the world", that sounds very much like his standard denunciation of liberalism. And what of it? He is, after all, a radical traditionalist, a reactionary. An entertaining reactionary. It's good.

    As for his anti-racism, what's wrong with that?

    As for his anti-racism, what’s wrong with that?

    It is opposed to Karlin’s race realism.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  19. @Mao Cheng Ji
    What about this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUM6S8kcEZA ?
    This is what I perceive as typical Russian pizdezh. Deliberate contrarianism, twisting things around. The Hawking thing too, definitely.

    As for the western civilization, "cultural values and false, dehumanizing model of the world", that sounds very much like his standard denunciation of liberalism. And what of it? He is, after all, a radical traditionalist, a reactionary. An entertaining reactionary. It's good.

    As for his anti-racism, what's wrong with that?

    As for his anti-racism, what’s wrong with that?

    Because “anti-racism” in Soviet/Eurasianist parlance denotes things such as open borders with Central Asia, prison terms for people criticizing the massive flow of subsidies to the North Caucasus, and gazillions of aid to failed Third World tinpot dictatorships fighting “Western imperialism” (while in practice putting it into their Swiss bank accounts).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    I admire your perseverance.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  20. @Anatoly Karlin

    As for his anti-racism, what’s wrong with that?
     
    Because "anti-racism" in Soviet/Eurasianist parlance denotes things such as open borders with Central Asia, prison terms for people criticizing the massive flow of subsidies to the North Caucasus, and gazillions of aid to failed Third World tinpot dictatorships fighting "Western imperialism" (while in practice putting it into their Swiss bank accounts).

    I admire your perseverance.

    Read More
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