Anna Chapman's seamy underbelly

I really don’t want to be writing about this thing anymore, or talking about it or thinking about it, but the British rags have left me no choice.

This morning brings a new wave of ridiculous coverage of Anna Chapman — she of 99 Fake Street — and her past: The Telegraph has found her ex-husband Alex — he that made her a Chapman — who, predictably, was not surprised by Chapman’s arrest. (Neither, of course, was his mother.)

He was surprised — and hurt — when the 19 year old child he married in March 2002 after basically two meetings changed as she got older. He was also surprised to discover that, with age, she drifted from her “carefree” bohemian ways and became, like most Russian women, obsessed with money. She fell into Russian circles and became “arrogant and obnoxious,” bragging about all the influential people she was hanging out with. (Again, shocking for a provincial Russian girl fresh in the Big City.)

He also revealed that Anna’s father was a “scary” KGB agent obsessed with how much money his new son-in-law made (apple, tree). We also learn Anna’s dad was stationed in Zimbabwe (?) for a while. One can only imagine what kinds of WiFi problems he had there.

And, as his three-year starter marriage was drawing to a close, Chapman tried hard to figure out why his wife was growing distant, and going to gatherings she said he needn’t bother attending.

Towards the end of our marriage she became very secretive, going for meetings on her own with ‘Russian friends’, and I guess it might have been because she was in contact with the Russian government.

Definitely.

And now, fittingly, the old lovers are surfacing, too. First, there are the reports of Michael Bittan, the 60 year-old New Jersey millionaire who loved hot young Russian babes and surrounded himself accordingly. Which may explain why ex-husband Chapman, a “trainee psychologist,” didn’t fit the bill for a newly materialistic, status-obsessed Anna.

The best, though, is an article called, yes, “The Spy Who Shagged Me,” about some guy Anna picked up at a London nightclub. The bespectacled bloke shared some of his tasteful thoughts on the [insert lame Bond Girl archetype]:

Shocked Charlie Hutchinson, 31, said after seeing Anna Chapman’s picture in The Sun: “While we had sex she was talking and moaning in Russian. It lasted for 2½ hours and was so sexy. She was incredible…She has a stunning figure – and had no underwear on. She really knew what she was doing…She was wild in bed – a 14 out of ten. She knows positions I had never imagined…Both of us were drunk. When we got into my room she began doing a striptease while I sat on the bed.

I imagine this is basically what it looked like:

[youtubevid id=”_ezqB06bFpQ”]

via Telegraph, The Sun

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40 Responses to Anna Chapman's seamy underbelly

  1. kovane says:

    “and became, like most Russian women, obsessed with money.”

    Nice, Julia, very nice! Definitely, a new low for you. Let me try a small replacement.

    “and became, like most Jewish women, obsessed with money.”

    Hm… That doesn’t sound anti-Semitic at all!

  2. grafomanka says:

    I loved this piece Julia, your sarcasm is priceless!

  3. yalensis says:

    Julia’s contempt for the Russian people has been palpable throughout her blog, but this latest libel against Russian women is truly reprehensible. Julia Ioffe is clearly a selfish narcissist who aims to make her career as a Russophobe (posing as a fake journalist). Anna Chapman, on the other hand, appears to be a very pleasant and brave young woman who was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. Julia is not fit to shine Anna’s stylish leather boots.

    • Julia Ioffe says:

      Really? Pavlik Morozov says hello.

      • kovane says:

        Julia, how could we not adore you? You’re the most lovable racist ever! And factually-challenged, as always. You don’t know who Pavlik Morozov was, do you? It’s just one of the cliches about Russia that you easily use.

        http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Морозов,_Павел_Трофимович

        Of course, Pavel was a far cry from the image, Soviet propaganda created. The real story is much simpler and more horrid. His father constantly beat him, his mother and brothers. And his mother coerced him to testify against the father and grandfather who were violent criminals. And they brutally killed Pavel shortly afterwards, along with his 8-years old brother Fedor.

        And you manage to use his name as a swearword. Way to go!

  4. Michael Bittan is one of Anna Chapman’s Facebook friends who cut his friendship tie to her after finding out that she was arrested as a spy.

  5. Timothy Post says:

    Let’s be a bit more nuanced here folks!

    Julia is not slamming all Russian women with the pithy throw-away clause, “…like most Russian women, obsessed with money.” I’d suggest that Julia is simply being a normal educated young Moscovite. Her sentiments aren’t much different than, I suspect, they would be were Julia dissecting the TV show “The Real Housewives of NYC.” Perhaps she might have qualified the statement a bit by making it more specific. Regardless, I’m starting to enjoy Julia columns and I think you guys need to lighten-up a little on her.

    Julia is not a Russophobe but rather, a American Liberal (like myself) who is growing to appreciate many things in modern Russian life but still chafes at some of more “traditional” aspects of Russia today.

    This article on Anna Chapman is actually fairly pro-Russian, if we even want to classify an article as such. Julia is making fun of Western guys who come to Russia in search of the perfect internet bride but then get upset “..when the 19 year old child he (i.e. idiot Western guy) married in March 2002 after basically two meetings changed as she got older.”

    So let’s all lighten up Francis.

    • kovane says:

      Timothy, I beg to differ. I don’t know if Julia is an American Liberal, but it is clear that she’s a racist and Russophobe. And she can’t hide behind her usual pretext, that she just criticizes Russian culture here. For example, would I qualify as an American liberal if I said “and became, like most nig..rs, lazy and violent”?
      You can’t write it off just as my dissection of the ‘Wire’ TV show.

      I hate to say it, but I also enjoy Julia’s writing style. It’s a pity that her bias, racism towards Russians, and inability to check facts make her a hack that she is.

  6. Timothy Post says:

    FYI, here’s a video on Anna Chapman discussing her internet start-up on Techcrunch TV:

    http://www.techcrunch.tv/new-and-featured/watch?id=107217804001

  7. Pingback: Spy who came for Christmas: Femme fatale at the heart of English family she … – Daily Mail

  8. Timothy Post says:

    @kovane

    I’m not sure I would be so harsh on Julia. You’ve got to remember that for any Western journalist who covers Russia today, there is tremendous peer pressure to appear tough on Putin, the Kremlin, and Russia, in general. While this peer pressure is certainly unspoken it is widespread and persuasive.

    As an example, were Julia to come out and praise Putin, she would immediately be ostracized by folks from RFE/RL, The Economist, WaPo, the WSJ, the NYT, Foreign Policy, etc. Julia is young and talented but not naive. She is writing for a Western audience that can only digest so much so quickly about Russia.

    I actually observe in Julia’s writing a growing fondness for Russia. However, the circles in which Julia moves in Moscow are probably closer to Burlington, Vermont than Rostov.

    I think where you make a mistake when characterizing Julia’s writing is that you equate her criticism with certain aspects of Russia with Russia as a whole. Russia is not monolithic and thus, it is possible to dislike certain parts of Russia while loving others.

    At the end of the day, lots of people want Russia to be a leader in the modern Western world but the route on how it should arrive there is debatable. You might want to give her another chance since I think we’re all on the “same team.”

    PS: This is Julia’s blog so perhaps she’s like to jump in here for a moment and weigh in ))))

    PPS: Happy 4th of July to America

    • Julia Ioffe says:

      Sure, I’ll weigh in. Whatever really happened to Pavlik Morozov, he was used by the Soviet state as the example of a child hero, who, for love of country and Stalin and Marx, would turn in even his own father. Which was the point: Communism triumphed over antediluvian notions of nation, tribe, family, blood. As people grew disenchanted with Communism, his name did become a pejorative, because, try as you might, it’s disgusting to turn a parent over to certain death. All of this is a fact. It just is.

      As for racist, I’m not sure I’m the racist here, especially since I’m not the one who jumped to the conclusion that Russian is a categorization of ethnicity, rather than citizenship … and then instantly moved on to bashing Jews and blacks. Women who are citizens of the Russian Federation, believe it or not, are of many nationalities, and, despite their different ethnic backgrounds, are naturally driven by the vistas of economic opportunity that Moscow lays out before them. Men, too, are obsessed with money here, I should add.

      Also, this isn’t about loving Russia or hating Russia, it’s about calling it as I see it, which is the point of a blog. What I see is that Russia has a lot of problems, problems that are often crippling, problems that even its leaders are finally acknowledging. Talk to any Muscovite, and it doesn’t take long for the complaining to begin. Do they hate Russia? Maybe. But the inability to distinguish fair criticism from hatred is a sad one, kovane.

      And, though I appreciate Tim’s support and diplomatic chops, I have to say that there is no peer pressure in the community of Western journalists here to be tough on Russia. The pressure is to do good, insightful work that a Western audience can understand. I think people need to lay off the Western media – a group of fine, upstanding journalists many of whom are long-time Russia experts and wouldn’t be here if they hated the place – as a hobby horse. If only the chinovniki who are sucking the blood out of their own beloved Russia got as much flack from you, kovane.

      Finally, it may surprise you that I have plenty of Russian friends, too. And they are the ones who complain the most about Russia. Fact.

      • kovane says:

        Julia,

        Regarding Mr. Morozov. It’s very hard to portray me as a fan or defender of Communism, Stalin, or the Soviet propaganda. All I wanted is to point out your frivolity in using some stereotypes without knowing underlying facts.

        About your alleged racism. I think you’re pretty well aware of the fact that there is such ethnicity as “Russians”. And that ethnicity constitutes about 80% percent of Russia’s population. For example, in Israel only 75% of ethnic Jews and still, Israel is considered mono-ethnic, Jewish state. But that’s not my point. Regardless of who you meant, ethnic Russians or citizens of Russia, your statement is extremely chauvinistic and derogatory. And please stop playing your clever word games. I didn’t move on to bashing Jews and blacks. I simply accentuated how horrible your statements would sound if applied to Jews or blacks. I believe that all ethnicities have good and bad traits in equal proportions. Maybe you should start believe that too. And by the way, the slur you used is quite laughable. Let me ask, are people in America not obsessed with money? Maybe they agree to work free of charge? They are not interested in buying expensive things? The term “gold digger” only means a job of miners in the USA? And how exactly have you measured Russian women’s increased obsession with money, compared to Western women?

        To sum everything up, I think you’re clearly a Russophobe and racist. It’s just that you’re weren’t very discreet about that in this post. Usually you manage to hide that much better.

        Julia, I’ve been living in Russia my whole life. I completely agree with you that we have a lot of problems on our hands, sometimes very serious problems. And I also complain about them openly and the evil chinovniki receive well-deserved castigation from me. But it’s very easy to ascribe all the problems to Russian women’s obsession with money or general baseness of Russian people, instead of doing some real journalistic work. It’s much easier to laugh at stupidity of some marginal Communists than investigate corruption of Moscow major or pointing out some troubling facts, like the Human Rights Commissioner of Russia Lukin’s recent demands of “exerting influence on judges”.

        Don’t get me wrong, Julia. I think you’re a talented, very intelligent young woman. I’m sure that you’re bilingual and spoke Russian at home. Which implies some congenital understanding of Russian culture. And it saddens me terribly that you squander your talent on some crazy shit, clouded by inexplicable Russophobia, you often writes instead of using all your advantages properly.

  9. residentofmorder says:

    My turn psychoanalysis.
    Julia believes that the U.S. political system is open, unlike … Therefore, such espionage against the United States is a stupid idea. This she wrote in a previous message. After compliments on Anna Chaplan, she felt a woman’s envy. And in this post has decided to debunk the romantic image of beauty.🙂

  10. Timothy Post says:

    You know, we could go on and on and on and on about this topic but since it’s 4th of July weekend… I’m going to do what any red blooded American would do in Russia on a Saturday- I’m going to the MEGA Mall in Adigeya and check-out the wanna-be Anna Chapmans at Ростикс KFC (see Julia’s “Inspectors Clouseau” blog post for cultural reference).

    Bye )))

  11. zed244 says:

    A good piece, Julia. I don’t see anything denigrating for the Russians in this text – eg. Hutchinson’s experience can even make many envious. Some “slant”(true or not:) is acceptable even for a foreigner this time.

    As for your, Julia, comments – sure, there is no peer pressure – just “pressure” – of “natural” selection of the material and authors for the appropriate auditorium. Eg in WP or FP🙂 Not counting the reporter’s internal filters, such as money & future career. There is only one thing which readers will never forgive a journalist – a false pretense.

    • yalensis says:

      Right. And the other thing readers will never forgive, especially Russian readers, is IGNORANCE. Many of Julia’s comments, including her ridiculous allusion to Pavliv Morozov (kovane is correct that this was a very complex and tragic family drama which was hijacked by the Stalin regime for propaganda purposes) indicate that she has never actually studied Russian or Soviet history. Has she ever attended a university class or even cracked a book in her life? If not, she should avoid the serious topics like Stalinism and just stick to writing about things she knows, like, for example, anarchists drawing giant penises on bridges.

      • Julia Ioffe says:

        Yeah, definitely didn’t go to college. Also: illiterate.

      • zed244 says:

        Julia has the best the US can offer in terms of Russia-related formal education. Knowing more will hurt her carrer prospects in politics or political journalism there. “Ignorance”? – meaning that she does not know what she dopes not know? – yes. Having a certain journalist talent and being lazy? Yes. Not being entirely honest – perhaps even with herself? – that too.

  12. zed244 says:

    Just wanted to repeat – imho – there is nothing really wrong with this Julia’s piece. And it is in English – for “them”. You have a good day out tomorrow, Julia. And to remind an old saying – priceless for a journalist “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”

  13. grafomanka says:

    Interesting, when I read this piece it struck me how unusually pro Russian it was. I also sometimes cringe reading certain entries on this blog, but surely from the overall tone of the blog it’s clear that it is written from a very Americanized, pro western, liberal perspective (and recently I cringe far less than in the past). You want to see Russophobia? Go and read what Ed Lucas writes for the Daily Mail; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1050084/EDWARD-LUCAS-Like-bully-Russia-faced-Lets-sooner-later.html
    It’s sad too witness my fellow Russian readers bring up Jews, racism, women’s envy, conspiracy theories about western press (as somebody here mentioned before – it’s just a natural selection for American mainstream audience) and criticizing Julia’s education. You make yourself look silly and a little bit scary.

    • yalensis says:

      All that West needs to know about Russia:

      1.) Buried Teutonic Knight army in lake of ice,
      2.) Defeated Napoleon,
      3.) Drove Hitler to suicide,
      4.) Put first man in space.

      So treat with some respect, please.
      And never again denigrate strong and beautiful Russian women.

    • kovane says:

      grafomanka,

      I’m sorry, but who exactly brought up Jews and conspiracy theories? I also have to agree that Julia’s Russophobia is pretty vanilla if compared to that of Ed Lucas. And practically non-existent if to look at Andre Glucksmann. But it doesn’t make it more tolerable. And please tell us, do you trully, in a clear state of mind think that everything is fine with Julia’s phrase about Russian women? No racism whatsoever?

      There is a serious problem in the Western world. Any accusations of anti-Semitism or hatred towards blacks are grave and career-threatening, which we saw recently in case of Helen Thomas. And that, I think, is fully justified. The modern world is no place for racial hatred. But in the same time, Russophobia is still considered as charming eccentricity or even elevating quality. This has to change.

      • zed244 says:

        @kovane – you are absolutely correct – the problem with attitude to Russia and the Russians does exist in Western media. And whenever possible, they should *not* be permitted to get away with the habitual subtle anti-Russian remarks – eg. about Russian women or Russian-built airplanes ect But this particular piece is a personal blog entry – can she be less careful here? Sometimes? Like in a conversation? An “official” publication about Russian “spies” by Julia – is eg. here http://tinyurl.com/35ydk5d
        “Russia Is Laughing at Us” . Now some Julia’s past essays – eg. the one published in WP few months ago – indeed deserved a thorough thrashing. But a personal blog entry?

      • Timothy Post says:

        @kovane

        With the risk “that we’ve beaten this horse (the topic) to death” let throw in my final two cents. I took Julia’s comment about Russian women’s obsession with money to be more reflective of snobbery than of a latent racism. Sure, she should have added a qualifying clause or two. (Snobbery is something that almost all of us, except perhaps the righteous few amongst us, are guilty of from time to time in various guises)

        Your comments about the double standards in the West’s characterization of some stereotypes as racism but not others may be true but misses the point. The difference is that both groups (note my cultural discomfort in even naming the groups) have historically been viewed as victims…. Russians have not. Hence, perhaps this perception of victimhood explains some of the difference in reaction to slurs directed at the various groups.

        I’m pretty certain that Russians, at least my Russian friends and family, aren’t interested in being reclassified into the victimhood category. Thus, I think you gain very little useful milage in bonking Julia over the head each and every time she makes a comment , which may construed as anti-Russian.

        Finally, and most ironically, Julia is actually the perfect journalist to be covering Russia for a Western elite audience (We don’t really care about that Western audience that is wondering whether Kim Kardashian should still be wearing Gladiator shoes to lunch with her girlfriends). Why is Julia so perfect? …because she’s got street cred. The Tina Browns of the world respect her.

        You guys should view Julia as a fairly accurate barometer of elite Western opinion towards Russia. What we read in Julia’s columns is almost a one for one reflection of what the Western world (with a heavy Northeastern American bent) thinks of Russia.

        So to simply slam Julia does nobody any good. Truly. Julia is not part of the relexive anrt-Russia Cold War crowd (Ed Lucas et al). Rather, she is part of a younger post-1991 (hell, she graduated from Princeton in 2005) generation.

        Believe me… you, I have not and probably never will see eye to eye with Julia on certain issues (e.g. Has Putin been a positive or negative influence on modern-day Russia? For the record, I think Putin was exactly what Russia needed in 2000 and will go down in history as one of its greatest leaders). But, because Julia and I could probably spend lots of time shouting at one another doesn’t mean that I don’t see her value as journalist covering Russia today.

      • yalensis says:

        Well, first of all, if Julia graduated from Princeton in 2005, then I do retract my remarks about her being uneducated. I didn’t know anything about her background, but I got the impression from reading her blog that she was a frivolous airhead.
        Secondly, the distinction between a formal journal article and a blog? So, you’re saying the standards of journalism are a bit different for the two genres? Okay, maybe I’ll buy that. But nobody was saying she shouldn’t write exactly what she feels; no one was trying to censor her. Just, as readers, pushing back and refuting, since they generously give us a forum to do that. I’m far from being a Russian nationalist, I’m actually a cosmopolitan, but something in Julia’s snide words pushed my button and I transformed into atavistic Russian hulk and needed to scold her.
        Final point: Maybe I do see Russia as victim. In American movies Russians are always bad guys. Every Russian man is a gangster, and every Russian woman is a money-grubbing whore. Russian army can’t win battles. Russian planes can’t fly. All Russians are liars and thieves. etc etc. I see this negative stereotyping as an important component of the ideological war continuously waged by the West against Russia, with the final goal being to conquer and dismember the Russian state (in the name of “openness” and “democracy”, of course). Because, wherever you see ideological war being waged, real military war can’t be far behind. So I guess I see Julia as a (volunteer) soldier in this future War of Pen and Sword. As a soldier of the Pen, she should expect to be verbally refuted as needed.

      • kovane says:

        zed244, Timothy Post,

        Thank you for an interesting discussion. I’m sure that we’re close to granting the poor said horse its second death, so this is my last comment on this topic.

        zed244,

        I don’t deny anyone the right to bash Putin or Russian government, blatantly lie about Russia’s history, make the statements that are based on age-old cliches, or even purely hate Russia. Even when all that have obvious Russophobic roots. But direct racial slur against the Russian people is completely off the chart for me. Wherever it happens, in an interview, article, or blog post. Hell, even in private diary, if I lay my eyes on it.

        Timothy Post,

        I think that snobbery and racism always go hand in hand. And racism is the worst manifestation of snobbery, so I don’t see any way how it can be exonerated.

        The double standards in the West are definitely not about characterization of any group as victims. Russia’s lost 20 millions of people in WW2, while Truman said in the New York Times’ interview “If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible”. A million of Armenian civilians were slaughtered by Turks. But nobody gives a damn. These double standards are only about lobbying. If it is strong enough, nobody will say a word against you.

        I hope I’m not naive enough to think that some particularly eloquent comment will turn Julia from her errant ways. If she simply dispense with racist statements, then I didn’t grind my fingers for nothing.

  14. grafomanka says:

    @kovane
    This blog entry ridicules media coverage of the whole spy scandal, buy you guys are picking on one phrase and go on to have this massive rant about how Julia is a racist and a Russophobe. Really, if I say that all Americans are overweight and watch too much tv (which is obviously not fair, even if true to some extent), does that make me a raging racist that hates all things American? I can sort of see where Julia is coming from, studying in the UK I meet a lot of young Russians obsessed with money, having influential friends etc. (they can be very bighearted at the same time, but they certainly know what makes the world go round).
    I agree that the phrase she used might have been a little unfortunate, but again it was supposed to demonstrate how not interesting at all Chapmans behavior was (as opposed ‘ Omg! She behaved totally like a Russian-femme fatale-spy!)

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  17. kingsleyzissou says:

    Kovane:the fat American stereotype is fitting, why deny it? Americans force-feed themselves sugar. This is the result. Watching tv is a result of getting fat and not being able to process sugar, you sit around and do nothing. Hence tv.

    Russians think differently. You can’t understand a Russian until you walk in their shoes. Life has been much harder for the average Russian than American in the last century. Death and economic slavery are not strangers. Girls in the big city (I live in Moscow) act a certain way because it’s the only way to get to the krysha.

    Perhaps the audience should quit imposing ideals and just read the information for what it is. That’s what a Russian would do IMO.

    • kovane says:

      kingsleyzissou,

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_the_United_States

      “obesity rates in the United States are among the highest in the world with 64% of adults being overweight or obese, and 26% are obese.”

      As you can see, saying that a majority of Americans are overweight is not a lie, it’s a fact. But saying that all Americans are fat is a lie and certainly a slur.

      There are hard facts, like percentages, figures and there are offensive labels, like “lazy”, “violent”, “obsessed with money”, etc. The facts can be disputed, they can be used to study problems. The labels are not quantifiable, they represent oversimplification and tend to cause mutual hatred.

      I’m sorry, but your second paragraph is a bunch of pseudo-noir bullshit. Sure, there are always temptations for a girl to follow an easy way and use sex as a commodity. But other, morally sound, ways are always present. And I glad that most of Russian woman follow them.

      I fully agree with you that the audience should use facts, not labels.

    • Julia Ioffe says:

      Racist. I mean, right?

      • kovane says:

        Julia, it seems that my crude grasp of English completely missed your Princeton-trained scathing sarcasm. Would you be so kind as to elaborate on it?

    • grafomanka says:

      Making pejorative comments about ‘all of X social group’ is certainly bigoted and often is racist. I just don’t think Julia’s point was an calculated racist assault on the Russian women here.

  18. koctep says:

    Good text Julia, very well done. Reading these comments I can’t help but notice that overwhelmingly large majority of Russian people can’t accept the harsh reality of life. Fools and roads…

    • zed244 says:

      The harsh reality of life is that there is no American out there smart enough to judge the Russians. Reading G. Pasko is not sufficient.

  19. Timothy Post says:

    We’re starting to chase our tails here. let’s wait for Julia’s next column/post and then we can all go nuts again )))

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