23 Mar 2010
Ilya Yashin has set the new standard in weird blog posts. This is quite a feat, considering that he seemed to have managed this achievement just last week, when he responded twice to a circulating YouTube video that captures him offering traffic cops a bribe to get out of a ticket.
The first response was a simple denial (he claims the video is recut to take his words out of context). And – though it’s clear that the clip is edited – there doesn’t seem to be any ambiguity in Yashin’s words when he asks an officer “are there any alternatives?” The second response addressed the fact (revealed in the video) that he drives a Lexus. Titled “Yeah, a Lexus. So what?” Yashin’s follow-up post made it clear that he was set on doing exactly what his tormentors almost certainly hoped he would: embark on an endless, unattractive campaign of self-defense. “Yes, I bought a five-year-old import. The crisis lowered the prices, plus my father helped,” Yashin pleads with his readers.
In both these posts, Ilya Yashin argues loudly and repeatedly that he’s not the bad guy. “They took my words out of context!” “The Lexus was on sale!” “Yakemenko [Nashi founder] is the real thief!”
What could have been a silly, little candid-camera moment, where a semi-popular youth leader was caught in the most prosaic of crimes, has turned into an ugly display of the self-promotion and sanctimony that has for years plagued Russia’s liberal activism.
And that was all before Katya and Nastya.
‘Wait, who?’ you might be asking. Katya Gerasimova and Nastya Chukova are the two 20-year-old women Ilya Yashin has identified as special forces agents, whom he accuses of trying to capture him in a compromising situation (компромат). (See his blog for spicy pictures of these young ladies, which he pinched from their вконтакте pages.)
It was when the dildos came out that Yashin first “smelled a provocation.” He halted an in-progress threesome to demand that his companions abandon all plastic toys. When Katya ran off to the porch to smoke in protest, Nastya joked that Ilya was acting as though he worried he was being filmed. His paranoia was supposedly confirmed when Katya returned and laid out some cocaine. Yashin immediately ran away, once he could wrestle away his keys from the two naked suitors.
And here’s his grand finale:
“So in general, friends, be careful and watch after yourselves. Those bastards in power aren’t shy about using the filthiest methods. Operative measures, hidden cameras, pretty girls – it’s all in the arsenal of the Kremlin’s protectors. Any one of us is at risk.”
So what to make of this?
One thing is certainly clear: Ilya Yashin should not ever run a PR firm. Consider that this story about the threesome hasn’t even made news yet. Yashin is literally breaking the news himself, in some demented effort to get ahead of “it” before “they” can. Once again, he has taken some banal black PR and turned it into an Internet destination for humiliation. Maksim Kononenko wasted no time reposting excerpts from Yashin’s post, calling it the “post of the millennium.”
So why on Earth is the man dumping fuel on the fire by writing about his missteps so much on his blog? There are several possibilities here. Maybe he’s trying to ‘draw attention to bribery as a social problem,’ was something people floated earlier. But more and more it looks like he’s just a paranoid, self-obsessed weirdo. The reason he decided to ‘let the cat out of the bag’ this time is because his bribing buddy Mikhail Fishman was recently implicated in another YouTube video, where he appears to be snorting coke with a half-naked lady. Yashin says he recognized the lady’s exposed leg/foot in the clip – it belonged to Katya, of the Katya-and-Nastya duo. So, ‘reading the writing on the wall,’ he decided to put everything in the open and blog about his aborted threesome.
It could very well be that the persecution of liberal activists in Russia has gotten to the point that this chased and frightened caste of individuals is so broken down that they now feel compelled to publicize their every indiscretion, for fear that agents of the state will distort the truth via YouTube. If that’s indeed the case, then shame on me for laughing at what seems to be the very strange, unnecessary behavior of Ilya Yashin.
Update: As of 8pm Eastern time, Yashin’s post has over 700 comments. One begins to consider the possibility that he’s playing the public fool simply as a way to attract more Internet traffic…