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Feature Story December 21, 2007
 
A Putin Era Retrospective
An eXile History
 
 

1999


MARCH

Price of oil: over $12 per barrel.

Yeltsin names Putin head of the State Security Council. Putin announces video of General Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov banging two whores, ending Skuratov's legal war against Yeltsin and the oligarchs.

The Hungry Duck closes

Bombing of Kosovo begins.

MAY

Yeltsin fires Primakov, names "silovik" spook Sergei Stepashin, a Petersburg-clan-man tied to Anatoly Chubais, new Prime Minister. Liberals gloat that Stepashin may be the "Pinochet" that Russia needs to save reforms and the country. Stepashin flies to Washington and tells a negro joke that falls flat.

JUNE

Putin makes one of his 5 secret trips to Berezovsky's villa in Sotogrande, in the south of Spain. Newspapers say Putin slipped in either by yachting from Gibraltar or using a different identity. Other reports say that Berezovsky and Vladislav Surkov met with Chechen rebel leaders here as well.

JULY

Exile bemoans the demise of miniskirts: "Who Stole Moscow's Mojo?"

Strange warlike rumblings in the Caucasus, where Chechen kidnappings and beheadings of Russians soars. Stepashin turns out to be no Pinochet, as he balks at invading.

AUGUST

Yeltsin fires Stepashin, names Putin his prime minister, saying, "He will be able to unite around himself those who are to renew Great Russia in the 21st Century."

Berezovsky throws a huge celebration party at the El Cucurucho beach club in the south of Spain, featuring fireworks, champagne, vodka and caviar.

Chechens invade Dagestan.

Exile editor Ames publishes "The Joy of Impotence." In the coming years, every eXile editor will suffer from long bouts of flaccidity, and wear it like a badge of honor.

SEPTEMBER

Planeta Sushi opens in Mayakovskaya Square, marking the start of the Putin-era sushi craze.

Tseppelin Club opens, turning the nascent Face Control fad into a full-on cultural phenomenon.

Mysterious apartment bombings leave hundreds of Russians dead, millions screaming for blood, and Putin more popular than Jesus.

Exile responds with a special 32-page issue denouncing irrelevant Alaska senator Frank Murkowski.

DECEMBER

The eXile demands Yeltsin: "Die Already." Within weeks, he retires.

After a brutal three-month campaign through opposing TV stations, Putin's party defeats Luzhkov's.

End of the year predictions: Y2K is a Lie2K. Another lie according to The eXile: "strict face control will become popular in Moscow clubs."

2000

JANUARY

President Putin named president of Russia. Exile nemesis Michael McFaul of the Hoover Institute supports Putin, as do most Pinochet-loving neo-liberals: "When [Putin] turns to economic advice, he doesn't turn to Soviet bureaucrats or KGB apparatchiks, he turns to market reformers. ... he is not caught back in superpower Soviet American confrontation -- he is a new guy. And I think that's a very positive thing for Russia."

Exile announces our party at Jazz Kafe, assuming that we are burying the one club that enforced Face Control.

FEBRUARY

Ames contracts giardia, writes about it.


MARCH

John Dolan reviews Dave Eggers' era-defining book, "Killing Your Parents for Fame and for Profit."

Putin "elected" president of Russia. Despite serious fraud, the OSCE, still hoping that Putin will be "our bastard," gives the election a thumbs-up. So does Michael McFaul, calling it "free and fair," pointing to Russian polls to support his argument: "75% of the Russian people support what he is doing."

OPEC sets a new $22-28 per barrel price band.


IKEA opens its first superstore in Russia's MegaMall. The eXile responds by calling customer service and claiming that an IKEA employee sexually molested our child. Desperation.

MAY

eXile editor Matt Taibbi dons his famous gorilla suit for the first of many times over the next several years.

JUNE

Oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky is thrown in jail before being eXiled, and his Most Media empire is effectively destroyed. Exile book goes on sale.

AUGUST

Kursk submarine sinks, killing over 100 Russian sailors; Ostankino TV catches fire, millions of Russians lose television coverage. Western journalists triumphantly declare that Russia is falling apart, Putin is weak.


Jake Rudnitsky joins The eXile; Ames flees to Serb-held northern Kosovo.

SEPTEMBER

Reuters publishes one of many "2003 Problem" scare stories, claiming that "Some experts have singled out 2003 as the year when three problems-- a big debt bill, eroding infrastructure and an ageing population--could combine to throw Russia into turmoil." Unfortunately, 2003 turns out to be the year that Russia's economic boom was recognized as a genuine deep turnaround.

Dan Higgins becomes the new eXile club columnist, uses word "fuck" more than 38 times in first column. Russian and eXpat girls fall in love with the fat misogynist frat-boy.

Berezovsky hands shares in ORT over to pro-Putin oligarch Roman Abramovich.

NOVEMBER

Berezovsky, who once declared "I could make a monkey president of Russia," flees to Britain. Planet of the Apes is no longer science fiction. Alexander Litvinenko joins Berezovsky.

DECEMBER

The eXile publishes a cover featuring Putin as a caveman, hoping that we'll be shut down. Nothing happens.

2001

JANUARY

Bush takes office, declares a new era of "realism" in relations with Russia.

Bowling becomes so popular in Moscow that The eXile starts a separate "Bowling" guide.

FEBRUARY

Oil prices begin to drop from over $30 per barrel down into the $20s.

MARCH

Samurai sushi restaurant opens near Partriarch's Pond.

APRIL

eXile founding columnist Edward Limonov is arrested in a massive FSB raid, and jailed in Lefortovo Prison.

Moscow Times declares, "Everyone is smoking kalyani," or hookah pipes.

JULY

For the first time, Russia pumps more oil in 1 month than Saudi Arabia.

Venus Williams wins Wimbledon tournament. ESPN names Anna Kournikova to its "Not Hot" list.

Helmut Kohl's wife commits suicide. 

JUNE

President Bush looks into Putin's eyes and "sees his soul."

AUGUST

Mark Ames sleeps with his first Asian woman; The eXile announces it's closing down.

NOVEMBER

YUKOS donates $500,000 to the U.S. Library of Congress.

SEPTEMBER

Russians "know" that the terrorist attacks in the US were staged by the CIA and Mossad; President Putin supports Bush by allowing America to conditionally set up bases in Central Asian republics.

The eXile returns, calling for a policy of "cool heads" and cowardice.

NOVEMBER

Putin flies to Crawford Ranch to eat meat with Bush.

Joanna Weiss publishes a column in the Boston Globe, "To A Russian With Lust," gushes, "Vladimir Putin is hot. Hot meaning, Come on, George, stop talking so the cameras can turn back to Vlad! Hot meaning ... well, you know what."

DECEMBER

President Bush withdraws from the 1972 ABM treaty, leaving Putin with serious egg on his face.

Popular new 2002 calendar by artist Dmitry Vrubel features a different mood of Putin for every month. Putin reportedly "liked it very much."

2002

JANUARY

The introduction of the Euro, which had been worth less than the dollar. The beginning of the end of the Dollar Era. As time goes, most of Moscow's prostitutes price their tricks in Euros, driving many foreigners, including certain newspaper editors, out of the market.

MARCH

Safari Club's "VIP Room" kabinety launch the beginning of the Putin Era's turn towards convenience: strip clubs now offer rooms to allow clients to work off their lapdance boners.

APRIL

Almost 1/3 of all Muscovites now own a mobile phone. Three-quarters of those don't know how to turn off their phones during movies or plays.

MAY

A group of 50 US Green Berets arrive in Georgia to train Georgian forces ostensibly because of Al Qaeda terrorists in the Pankisi Gorge.

George Bush and Vladimir Putin hold a summit and sign some kind of meaningless nuclear arms treaty.

The eXile launches its popular new "War Nerd" column, written by Fresno fatman Gary Brecher, who declares his love of war and his fantasy of having a jumbo jet crash into his office.

JUNE

Nipples appear through thin white shirts all over Moscow, as the new dyevushka craze is to wear thin white shirts with no bra. The eXile celebrates it with a "Nipple Safari."

Ministerstva and Shambala open, the latest in Moscow's elinty face-control dance clubs. Both are huge hits.

JULY

Economist correspondent Edward Lucas leaves Moscow for another post, but his spirit remains to haunt the world with tales of a neo-Stalinist threat. Just before he leaves, Ames tries to interview Lucas with his video camera, interrupting a meeting between Lucas and Celestine Bohlen. Lucas suddenly clams up in front of the camera. Bohlen teases Lucas. As it turns out, a very sweaty and absent-minded Ames forgot to charge the battery, making the entire interview worthless. An angry Lucas turns on Ames, marking the start of his "New Cold War" push against Russia.

SEPTEMBER

Tunnel restaurant opens promising to be the new Starlite Diner. However, the high incidence of an ass-like flavor in many of its non-Indian dishes mean that Tunnel has no choice but to turn into a Russian 80s-music disco, and offer a sushi menu. It succeeds.

OCTOBER

Dr. Dolan and wife move to Moscow for a two-year editing stint, following the defection of former editor Matt Taibbi. Dolan contributes "The eXile Guide To Aging."

Chechen terrorists take over theater where a musical is being shown. Ames is too high to take the metro out to the scene. Ironically, the FSB storms the theater using a similar substance that kept Ames and other editors too high to visit. Conspiracy?

NOVEMBER

Exile intern "Flounder" stomped and hospitalized for a week, while Rudnitsky goes into exile in the Siberian town of Tynda, foreshadowing the future neo-Soviet turn of Putin's government.

DECEMBER

Khodorkovsky wins the 2002 "Entrepreneur of the Year" prize, awarded annually by Russia's leading business daily Vedomosti, which is published jointly by the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. The Russian government names YUKOS the "Best Company for Compensation and Social Payments Programs," as well as for the "Implementation of Social Programs."

2003

JANUARY

The eXile proposes a radical "win-win-win" solution to the Chechnya problem and Russian relations with Japan: deport the Chechen population to the Kurile Islands, then hand the Kuriles to Japan, thereby giving all Chechens Japanese citizenship.

FEBRUARY

The power struggle between Putin and Khodorkovsky for control over Russia's oil pipeline network goes public in a televised meeting, when Khodorkovsky mocks Putin's corruption, and Putin snaps back that Khodorkovsky should not forget how he got his oil company in the first place.

FEBRUARY

The eXile launches the "Whore-R Stories" series, thereby destroying Ames' career as a journalist, and his love life.

MARCH

America invades Iraq, which be bery bery good for Vladimir Putin: oil prices skyrocket, and Petrodollars Galore fall from the sky. Putin creates one of the two Silovik Clan factions by bringing Petersburg spook Viktor Cherkessov to Moscow to head the newly-formed anti-Narcotics Agency, a sort of FBI under an assumed name. Cherkessov helps Putin take down the oligarchs, but later feuds with the FSB over power and money.

APRIL

The "art director" of a soon-to-be-open pafosny club "Nickel" visits The eXile offices, claims to want to buy a lot of ad space, asks what it would cost to ensure that an "ass" isn't placed over the club's review, warns of "consequences" if it happens.

MAY

Nickel, reportedly oligarch Prokhorov's personal "pafosny" club featuring toilets made of pure gold, opens with TaTu playing. No ads placed in The eXile, as the art director was fired.

JUNE

A Kremlin-backed report reveals plan by Khodorkovsky to take power in Russia by transforming the country into a parliamentary republic, gaining control of the Duma political parties, and having the Yukos head appointed the newly-powerful Prime Minister. Putin likes the plan so much, that he jails the Jew who thought it up, and makes it his own plan to keep power 4 years later. Subsequent idiotic Western media reports repeat the same false mantra that Putin jailed Khodorkovsky because the oligarch "supported political opposition parties."

Prokhorov and the Norilsk people dump the club Nickel, rename it "Stones," and lay low.

JULY

Khodorkovsky's partner Platon Lebedev jailed, Yukos taken down.

Edward Limonov freed from prison, The eXile rejoices.

AUGUST

The eXile sends its intern out as "Buns McGillicuddy" to the top pafosny bars. Buns doesn't get laid, but he does get past face control.

SEPTEMBER

Tinkoff microbrewery opens its fifth restaurant in Nizhny Novgorod, cementing the new trend in Russia towards pubs, breweries, and beer. Tinkoff also serves sushi.

OCTOBER

Khodorkovsky, who for some reason thinks he's untouchable still, is arrested while traveling around Russia trying to whip up support at various military academies.

NOVEMBER

Georgia's color revolution brings Saakashvili to power.

DECEMBER

Opening of repat restaurant Simple Pleasures, offering American-style new cuisine at reasonable prices, cooked by a top-notch hyperactive American chef. However, Russians don't like the mid-range prices and the lack of sushi, while the expats can't handle the chef coming up to the tables and sweating all over their food. Eventually, Simple Pleasures calls in some pafosny Russian "designers," jacks up the prices, introduces sushi, and becomes a huge hit.

2004

JANUARY

President Bush, apparently unaware that a giant step for mankind had already been taken, unveils plans to send a man to the moon by 2015 along with Russian help; two months later, Putin fires the head of the Russian space program.

FEBRUARY

President Putin fires prime minister Mikhail "Misha Two-Percent" Kasyanov, and reshuffles cabinet with quiet loyalists like Mikhail Fradkov, following United Russia's victory in rigged Duma elections; Ames reappoints Rudnitsky to post of editor.

MARCH

The eXile declares the "Ugly Truth:" Moscow's dyevushki are getting uglier and fatter-assed as they get richer, eat more food, and drive around too much. Vogue Cafe opens. Putin wins an election or something like that.

APRIL

The eXile launches its "Field Guide to Moscow". Ames moves to Malibu.

MAY

Uprisings in Iraq finally end American imperial dream, much to The eXile's "toldja so" delight. Oil soars to $40 per barrel.

JUNE

Ronald Reagan dies at age 90-something, leading the eXile to mournfully conclude, "Only the Good Die Young"; Ames returns to Moscow, and finds that landlords are jacking up rents by 50% or more, in a trend that continues to this day.

JULY

Paul Klebnikov killed.

The eXile takes credit for a fake "Kiriyenko Letter" involving one of President Putin's personal envoys, leading to strange phone calls, media frenzy, and paranoia.

AUGUST

Chechen suicide bombers blow up two passenger jets. Russian travelers, who now have access to credit for the first time, don't cancel a single trip to Turkey or Egypt out of fear, unlike the American reaction to 9/11; instead, vacation prices are nearly double from the year before.

SEPTEMBER

Beslan hostage crisis. Hundreds of children killed. Putin responds by shutting down more free media, and canceling elections for governors.

OCTOBER

The eXile publishes "101 Reasons Why Putin is a Fascist." The rest of the media is sniffing our asses. Distribution points dump The eXile. The "New Cold War" starts. So does our "Face Control" section.

NOVEMBER

George Bush wins another election, in spite of destroying the American Empire and bankrupting the country. The eXile calls for the gassing of Middle America. The Kremlin breaks out the champagne, as oil just broke through the $50 barrier.

DECEMBER

The Hotel Rossiya is shut down for destruction, ending the last great bastion of sovok in central Moscow.

2005

JANUARY

After spending years getting face-controlled by Putin's staff, wingbat economist Andrei Illarionov, the Ayn Rand-groupie who once declared that the Kyoto Treaty was "global Auschwitz," now declares that the Putin Administration's refusal to hear his Fountainhead book reports amounted to "fascism."

MARCH

Kremlin sets up Nashi youth group, essentially a Putinjugen-lite organization meant to counter both Limonov's National-Bolsheviks and the student-led color revolutions seen in Ukraine and elsewhere.

MAY

The Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline begins to pump oil around Putin's Russia. The loss is offset by soaring oil prices, and the American loss of Uzbekistan's bases following Bush's not-white-washy-enough tsk-tsk response to the massacre of hundreds of anti-government protesters.

JUNE

The eXile's second annual boat party, featuring Danish band "Terror," whose music is so painful that it nearly leads to a riot. A drunken young American slut breaks her teeth and some American prep school kid drags her to a taxi and takes her away to use as his own private property, proof that the eXile's lesson to mankind is being heard.

JULY

Gazgelder becomes the "it" pafosny club in the now-hip VinZavod district. No face control goon, just a little camera that beeps you in or fucks you off.

AUGUST

Hurricane Katrina gives Russians, used to hearing about Russia's callous government and decaying infrastructure, a much-needed boost of schadenfreude. As well as some racismfreude.

OCTOBER

Pavel Felgenhauer, the world's worst military prognosticator, is finally fired from the Moscow Times. Felgenhauer joins soulmate Illarionov and claims that his firing is a case of censorship. For some reason, the Wall Street Journal and Moscow Times don't take up Felgenhauer's cause for freedom.

NOVEMBER

President Bush outlines his "Plan for victory in Iraq." Oil prices bust through $60 per barrel.

DECEMBER

Mega Mall takes honor of being the world's most visited shopping mall in 2005, with 52 million visitors. Spasibo, Putina!

2006

JANUARY

Longtime elitny tusovschik/club reviewer Denis Salnikov flees Russia with his father for the Cote d'Azur. Today, he is said to be part of the liberal pro-Western exile opposition.

FEBRUARY

Putin speaks out against the death penalty, declaring sadly, "There is no correction in the case of the death penalty, only retribution."

MARCH

With the boom in online dating, The eXile advises its male readers with these bits of wisdom: "Never say you're over 35 years old; always have a photo of you in a sunny tropical place so that the girl thinks you'll get her out of Russia; and remember, if she doesn't post her weight, it means she's fat."

APRIL

Aeroflot stuns the airline industry when it wins the "Wings of Russia" award for best airline.

Rudnitksy secedes couch to incoming editor Levine.

JUNE

Moscow Traffic: The Breadline of the Putin Era.

SEPTEMBER

Newsweek declares that Russia isn't as strong as it appears to be, and that in fact it's weaker than it ever was. Newsweek also announces that Russia won the Chechen War, and that it poses a Fascist threat to the West.

OCTOBER

Anna Politkovskaya murdered. Putin keeps silent and pretends that it was meaningless.

NOVEMBER

Alexander Litvinenko poisoned at his favorite London sushi restaurant. Again, the sushi motiff. Although an admitted thug and murderer, Litvinenko is nevertheless rebranded as the new Mahatma Gandhi. Meanwhile, even liberal Russians refuse to believe that the FSB could possibly be behind it.

DECEMBER

Russia's economy ends with almost 7% growth, the eighth year in a row.

The eXile declares that 2006 was "The Year Russia Schooled The West."

2007

JANUARY

The eXile declares that indie has finally come to Moscow, only it's an indie that's been infected with the same kind of "de-politicized" Putin-era elitny-ness that's ruined everything else supposedly indie. Alexander Zaitchik joins The eXile staff, realizes "it's not what I thought it would be."

JUNE

The eXile mourns yet another victim of the Putin-era: Gopniki, the great sub-species, have gone extinct.

SEPTEMBER

Starbuck's opens in Russia, spelling the beginning of the end for Putin-era leaky-vagina-flavored "coffee." Putin names Zubkov his new prime minister, spelling the end of Putin-era leaky-ass "stability."

OCTOBER

The "silovik war" breaks out into the open.

Frozen sushi discovered in Moscow convenience stores. Sushi has come full circle.

DECEMBER

Vladimir Putin names Dmitry Medvedev as his chosen "successor." Whatever Putin choses next, the world will never be the same.

Levine complains of stomach problems, believes he contracted giardia from frozen sushi.


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