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[SIC!] November 30, 2007
Your Letters


Dear Mr. Zaitchik,

I read your article with interest and appreciation. I would be glad to send you a review copy of the book as soon as one is available. I think you would find my argument more nuanced than in the publicity material that you quote. Could you give me a postal address to which we can send it?

If I may also raise a few small factual points: First, I don't actually speak more than restaurant-level Estonian (I do speak a bit of Lithuanian which may be the source of the confusion). Second, the article on Georgia to which you refer was actually published a year ago, not in the midst of this month's crisis as you imply. You might want to amend the online version of the piece to reflect this as people who check your sources will notice it. Another small point is that the Balts don't collect any transit fees on gas exports as they have no export pipeline running through their territory.


Edward Lucas

Deputy Editor, International Section

Central and Eastern Europe correspondent

The Economist

25 St James St

London SW1A 1HG

Dear Mr. Lucas,

John Q. Public replies, "Holy moly, git aload of this! Ma, pa! Tie up the horses, ring the bells, 'n git the yungins! We done got ourselves one-a them 'he don't take himself too seriously' types. Hoo-wee! I ain't never seen one 'uv em before, I mean in person-like. And boy I'll tell ya, it leaves ya almost speechless. Git a load of this! If'n folks out thar was expectin' Edward Lucas to be one-a them high-falutin' ivory tower types with an ego to boot, well boys, y'gots another thing comin'. Cuz this a-here Economist feller's the type who done shown he can laugh at himself. Yup, that's right pa! You c'n say whatcha want about this a-here Edward Lucas feller runnin' 'round scarin' everyone about them evil russkies, you c'n git angry cuz now the sheriff's all in a tussle 'bout what weapons to buy after Edward Lucas git'em all roused up 'bout the russkie threat, all a-screamin 'the russkies are comin'!', n' all. But ya see, what Edward Lucas's letter done shown is that there's two Edward Lucases out thar. There's Edward Lucas the man, and there's Edward Lucas the thinker-type. Ifn' yuh asks me, his articles 'n books ain't what matters. Them's jus' policy-stuff, pa, ain't got nuttin' to do with regular folks like me 'n you, folks who jus' want to make a fair livin' from a fair day's work. What's interestin' to regular folks like us is Edward Lucas the man, not Edward Lucas the Big City newspaper feller. And if'n you read his letter, you learn that Edward Lucas is a fine upstanding Christian sorta man. Yup, he don't take himself too seriously like them other Big City folks, or like them russky tyrants. And he's even a real polite feller too, even to the folks who done attacked him, like this Zaitchik character. Regular folks'll read Edward Lucas's letter, and they'll be sayin', 'You know, Edward Lucas is a feller with character. Yuh hear that? Character, by gum! Done don't matter if he's a-tryin' to stir up war, I'm a-gonna agree with him one-hun'red percent against these other fellers who been attackin' him, cuz Edward Lucas don't take himself too seriously. He's regular, jus' like us!' Yessirree! 'N since you don't take y'rself too seriously, y'all's probably will agree to accept our offer of a [sic] t-shirt. Well, I wish I could oblige y'all, Mister Lucas. Problem is, the bad folks at the eXile won't give you none of their t-shirts. My apologies to you Mister Lucas, but them eXile folks ain't got yer kinda charater. Nosiree. They got what we folks call 'low character.' Some of 'em's even Jews or Irish, if you git my drift. So these eXile folks, they's tellin' me to tell you's, that they don't like fellers like y'all. They say, they don't like fellers who come into our town, posing as if they don't take themselves too seriously, actin' polite 'n all when deep inside they're really angry. They say it's folks who run around tryin' to show that they don't git hurt and that they can laugh at themselves, 'n be helpful 'n polite-like to the very people who attacked them ...They say it's exactly these folks who's the biggest snakes of all. You know, like them poison-type snakes. You ain't got poison in yer mouth, do yuh Mister Lucas? I see you been losin' some of yer hair, that ain't on account of all the poison sweatin' out of your skull is it? It would be mighty unkind if a polite feller like you, with all that Christian character, turned out to be just another snake-type tryin' to whip up hate against another country, gittin a war goin' 'n all, jus' because he wants ta sell his book. If'n you got some snake oil, well I'll be, sign me up for a box of it! I likes snake oil, especially the type that cures you of russkiis. I hear them folks is real bad."

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