Libertarian History/Philosophy

Scenes from Post-Soviet Russia


Reason reader, cruise-goer, and world traveler Scott Ewine writes from Mudder Russia:

I am back here for a few days.  Note the pictures of my reason tote bag with the statue of Marx.  I got hassled by the man pretty bad for jaywalking to get it and I am right next to that famous prison near the kremlin so it was pretty exciting.  Also note I did not place the flowers on the statue.  I would go over to the park with all the old statues they tore down and get a picture but Jesse Walker already did that.

Oh Lanny! Oh Freedom! Who would have thought that such an image was ever possible?

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  1. In Russia, toes bag you?

    1. Hell, I can get you a toes bag by 3 o’clock this afternoon… with nail polish.

      1. Could you please keep your voices
        down? This is a family restaurant.

    2. In post-Soviet Russia, bags toe the lion?

  2. D’oh! Totes.

    Now I made a yakov joke just seem stupid.

    1. I think it’s funny both ways.

        1. Yakov is big in Branson, which should tell you something.

  3. Yeah, where do we get those tote bags? I want one.

    1. Pony up for the fundraisers.

  4. Russian pickpockets’ dream.

  5. Dancing along the thin line between barely functional tote-bag and awkward man-purse.

    1. Yeah I was going to broach the subject of its being just a smidge gay but decided to let you take the heat.

      1. Wrong. Like most totes, it looks like that bag is the perfect size to stow my dignity.

    2. Don’t forget the fanny pack.

      1. I prefer the “I’m a clueless American tourist, so rob me” passport holders.…..-0803.html

        1. Yeah, that’s like a flashing neon sign on your chest. But it doesn’t matter, they can instantly spot you by your shoes anyway.

          1. When I was in East Germany (88), they could spot me at a hundred paces. I finally figured out it was that little Izod alligator on my windbreaker.

            1. Members Only jackets have Izod gators on them?

              1. I abandoned my MO jacket in ’91. Gave it a Viking funeral.

            2. Note to clueless product of ’80’s America: Not only is it not an “Izod” gator, it’s not a gator at all.

          2. I think that you are supposed to pair it up with the shotgun shell bandolier to prevent others from getting that “stabby the American” feeling.

        2. Maybe you are supposed to look so retarded, people will feel too guilty to rob you.

          1. Does that work? I mean, you would know, right?

            1. I refuse to leave America. International warrants and whatnot.

              1. I thought you weren’t allowed through customs because you’re a disease carrier.

          2. Steve Martin had an old riff on that. I think it was the Let’s Get Small album

            1. Let’s say you have $10 and you want to walk down the street. First wet your pants…

              Paraphrase, but I think it is pretty close. Steve Martin would have been perfect if he had just died after he made his 70s comedy albums.

        3. I do that but wear it inside my shirt. Yeah, it gets stinky but so what?

      2. Once you go fanny pack, you just can’t stop. I’ve been razzing my gay uncle for years about his fanny pack. Hell, even his partner razzes him about the fanny pack. If your gay partner is calling something your doing “gay” maybe it’s time to step back and examine your life choices.

        1. The man purse is way worse.

          I don’t understand why anyone would need even a fanny pack. I have my wallet, my phone, my keys, and my gun. That’s it, and it all goes in the pockets or the waistband. What the fuck else are people carrying around? I get the laptop bag, I suppose.

          1. You pack heat abroad?! I’ve always wanted to, for sure, but the thought of spending time in a foreign jail always deterred.

            1. Just following the thread. Guess you weren’t on the tourist thing. My bad.

      3. “Don’t forget the fanny pack.”

        Nobody forgets the fanny pack. The pictures won’t let them.

  6. (KGB are about to burst into Russian couples’ apartment) Look I’d stay for dinner but I got to go. I’m assuming that smell is cabage and not just you.

  7. This article feels like an NPR fundraiser

    1. Especially if you read the article in a lispy Burt Wolfesque voice.

  8. Tearing that massive shit down would probably be a financial disaster.

    1. Just let advertisers have at them. Marx in runny clown-make to celebrate The Dark Knight Blu-ray re-release would be hilarious.

  9. I’m going to scan in my old photographs of East Germany (before the Wall came down) and share them. It was like the Soviets said, “We kicked your ass, now we’re going to drop monuments to our greatness all over your country. Suck it.”

    1. In Berlin, I saw the big statue of a Russian “liberator.” As I recall, the Germans called the statue “The Rapist” and it would have been vandalized nightly if not for the perpetual Soviet guard.

        1. Didn’t know about that one. The one I saw was in the Tiergarten.

  10. If I listen real hard, I think I can hear Tony singing The Internationale.

    1. Or drinking to the tune of this:…

  11. Very ironic that now the US is going the way of the USSR–clinging to a bankrupt economic/political ideology while being left in the dust by another Superpower.


      1. It’s the oddest incarnation of the Anonotroll.

        1. Odd and extremely one-note.

          1. I bet he would get really mad if someone called him a fascist. Not realizing he is one.

            1. Pfft, he’d throw up something like, “I don’t believe in one supreme leader, which is a requirement of fascism, therefore I’m not fascist”. I’ve actually had someone in the “state capitalism” crowd throw that at me once.

              1. You are correct.

                Part of Fascism is “The Leadership Principle” (the concentration of total state power into one man) which I don’t subscribe too. Another is naked military and territorial expansion, and I don’t believe in that, either. Oh, and also Fascism involves racism, and I’m not a racist.

                So, nice try, but no.

                1. Hao, Jao, what-was-his-name? Oh yeah, Mao. They still wear Mao jackets like they did when I was there in ’92?

                  1. No, they don’t. They wear the same clothes westerners do, especially people in the cities.

                    Another edition of short answers to stupid questions. They see Mao the same way we see George Washington now, not like how North Koreans see Kim Il Sung.

                    1. I must have missed the part of history class where Washington caused the mass murder and starvation of 10’s of millions of Americans.

                2. Part of Fascism is “The Leadership Principle” (the concentration of total state power into one man) which I don’t subscribe too.

                  I only see German references for the Leadership Principle… do you have a cite for non-German Fascists holding that?

                  In fact, The Coming Corporate State pretty much excludes the Leadership Principle.

            2. Maybe he’s just a troll.

              1. A fascist troll.

            3. Pretty sure plenty of people have already done so.

      2. Doesn’t it speak to benefits of a free society when the US DIDN’T end up killing 60 million plus people before it could become a political and economic superpower?

        1. Yeah, you don’t have a record of genocide *at all!*

          1. Not that I’m justifying it, but that was over a period of what, almost 300 years from Jamestown to Wounded Knee. Mao ruled for 30 years and killed as many if not more.

            1. A lot of those deaths were due to natural causes (bad harvests due to floods and droughts) and were no higher (in fact, some believe them to be lower) than in pre-Communist feudal China.

              It’s like blaming deaths from the Japan earthquake on Parliamentary democracy.

              1. A lot of those deaths were due to natural causes

                Yes, unlike the deaths of the Native Americans, which were all deliberate.

                1. The ones the white man was responsible for or the ones the Indians were responsible for?

              2. “A lot of those deaths were due to natural causes (bad harvests due to floods and droughts) and were no higher (in fact, some believe them to be lower) than in pre-Communist feudal China.”

                A society that regularly lost 40-60 million people probably won’t surive. So to say that Red China lowered the natural disaster rate among Chinese is gross stupidity. I’m guessing those deaths had to do with idotic state-planning and collectivization that didn’t take into account that droughts and bad harvets occurr because the Great Leader Mao is always right so how could anyone question his descions?

              3. Re: The Truth,

                A lot of those deaths were due to natural causes[…]

                Congratulations, you’re today’s winner of the “Walter Duranty Prize For the Furtherment Of The One And Only Truth”


                1. I’ll also toss in this handy word:


                  That way Da Troof doesn’t pull the, “Well it wasn’t really deliberate” excuse for Mao.

          2. We don’t exactly have a clean track record ourselves, you know.

        2. How many of us died on the way over?

          1. Based on estimates perhaps 11 million or more.

            Yeah, I’m not saying the US is perfect or doesn’t have a bloody history, but at least our society and government doesn’t depend on imprisoning or killing citizens that disagree with state policy. Can we agree that the US is good at moving past that kind of thinking?

            1. *Ahem*

              *Cough cough*

            2. You were saying?

            3. Surely you don’t imprison “threats to the sate” without trial and without charging them either, do you?

              Oh, wait…

              1. Of course not! A free, fair, and speedy public trial by a jury of your peers! The American way!

                Except, not.

            4. Emphasis on *moving past* that kind of thinking. Clearly there is work to be done but a lot of people in this country genuninely love due process and don’t want to waive it out of fear.

            5. Someone needs to read more Balko.

            6. That 11 mill figure is for the whole centuries-long trade from Africa to the entire Western Hemisphere. But I see very few people demanding that say, Brazil and Cuba feel bad about their part in it. That’s generally left for the US of A (which had, incidentally, the only slave population before abolition that saw a natural increase).

              And if you imagine this is defending slavery–STFU 😉

        3. You did steal about half the land area of our country in a naked war of conquest,though.

          1. What, did the checks we gave Santa Anna bounce or something?

            1. After all, the Mexicans got their land free, clear, and fair from the Spanish, who got it the same way, only from God.

              Then those rascally ‘Mericans had to go and introduce military conquest . . .

              1. Fuck you Mexicans.

                1. Excepting OM of course.

          2. Fucking Anglos

          3. Well, you were only half native.

    2. Dude, I think this has become an unhealthy obsession for you.

    3. Hey, I didn’t vote for Obama.

    4. Re: The Truth,

      Very ironic that now the US is going the way of the USSR–clinging to a bankrupt economic/political ideology while being left in the dust[…]

      You mean Socialism? You’re right.

  12. I am right next to that famous prison near the kremlin so it was pretty exciting

    The Lubyanka

    So famous no one bothers to remember what its called. Come on dude…

  13. Had my pocket picked on two separate ocassions in Moscow. Fond memories.

    1. See what happens when you unleash the evils of capitalism on a peaceful communist nation.

      1. First time was my fault (wallet in the back pocket). Second time was the wallet from a deep front pocket while standing on the bus.

        1. The second time it was your fault, too. Hand always on your wallet when you’re in a crowd.

          1. Cash and passport in one front pocket; wallet with corporate credit card in the other front pocket. One hand to hold onto the rail in the bus and one hand to put in a pocket.

            I completed the day with cash and a passport.

  14. As much as I hate Communism…..I actually rather like socialist realism artwork and sculpture from an aesthetic standpoint. I’m also the same way about ‘socialist heraldry’ like the many of the East bloc countries had in their coat of arms.

    …..Does that make me a bad person?

  15. Dad swears his wore his Reason shirt through Checkpoint Charlie in 1988. This one reason I rescued the damn thing from the rag bag like five years ago.

    1. Checkpoint Charlie was a surreal experience. I remember the EG inspector quite well. She looked like she had been on the EG Olympics Team and the drugs still hadn’t worn off. She had access to makeup, so she applied it a la Tammy Faye Baker. Also, she obviously understood English, but refused to acknowledge anyone who spoke in anything other than German.

      I think her name was Helga, but our Danish bus driver, Klaus, affectionately referred to her as “bitch”.

  16. The end of this post sounds like the end of Melville’s Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids. Strikingly so.

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