The Bad Man

If you are especially perceptive you may have noticed that the mainstream media is reminding you over and over again, day after day, what a bad, bad man Vladimir Putin is.

I don’t intend a thorough deconstruction of the propaganda campaign here. No one would read it, and besides most people believe what they want to believe. They defend their right to be misled vigorously.

But consider this recent Yahoo news story, and the translation of the actual interview offered below it.

Extremely Inaccurate Reporting

With rush to judgment out of the way, let’s turn our focus on some extremely inaccurate headlines.

For example, Yahoo!Finance reported on February 28, Nemtsov Admitted Fears for Life Weeks Before Murder.

The headline, the body of the article, and the actual interview do not match.

From Yahoo!Finance

Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, gunned down on Friday in a contract-style killing, gave an interview this month admitting he had feared for his life over his opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with weekly Sobesednik, Nemtsov was asked: “Have you started worrying that Putin could personally kill you in the near future or do it through middle men?”

He replied: “You know… yes. A little.

“But all the same I’m not that scared of him. If I was that afraid, I would hardly have headed an opposition party and would hardly be doing what I’m doing now,” he said in the interview published in early February.

In a light-hearted exchange, the Sobesdenik journalist told Nemtsov: “I hope that common sense will prevail after all and Putin won’t kill you.”

“God willing. I hope so too,” Nemtsov replied.

Actual Interview

The actual interview went nothing like the above.

Nemtsov never admitted fear of being killed. Rather he commented his mother (not he) feared for his life.

That link is to the full interview in Russian. Run it through any translator you want. What follows is my edited Yandex translation.

Nemtsov: When I called her regularly, she says, “Son, when will you stop criticizing Putin? He’ll kill you” (Nemtsov laughs).

Reporter: Finally, I will ask you, are you afraid of Putin? More cautious?

Nemtsov: Slightly afraid. [See my note below for a more accurate translation]

Reporter: But a little fear, yes?

Nemtsov: “Well listen, I’m kidding. If I was afraid, I would hardly have headed an opposition party and would hardly be doing what I’m doing now.”

Not Really Afraid

Note: Reader Jacob Dreizin informs me, that “slightly afraid” better translates as “not really”. The context and the reporter’s followup question both indicate “not really” is a better translation.

Nowhere was a question asked “Have you started worrying that Putin could personally kill you in the near future or do it through middle men?

Reader Andrei Chimes In

I also pinged this post off reader Andrei who speaks Russian and graciously offered help with Russian translations. He confirms what Jacob had to say.

Reader Andrei went on …

Nemtsov says he is “afraid a little bit” or “not really afraid”. In Russian both are quite close to each other. But then he follows up with “if I was afraid I would not be leading the opposition” etc.

The actual question from interviewer should have been translated as “And the last question I want to ask you – are you afraid of Putin? Or are you going to be more careful now?” To which Nemtsov replies that if he was afraid he would not be doing what he does.

Nowhere in interview there is a line from the reporter about “let’s hope Putin won’t kill you” neither Boris reply about god willing. The whole interview is about his relationship with his mom with some small bits about how she does not like Putin.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need any further elaboration.

Cheers, Andrei


It’s hard for any reasonable person to conclude this is anything but open propaganda, capitalizing on the fact that most Americans don’t speak Russian
Propaganda is not purposeless.  Putin is not being demonized just for the fun of it.   I’ll leave it to you to decide  out what the intent is here.

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