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Russia May 19, 2008
Moscow Hipsters Mock Provincial Bloggers
By Roman Muradov Browse author

These days, all the cool Russians talk about how stupid and time-consuming blogs are. It seems the wonderful and frightening days of commenting each other to death are gone. All the ex-livejournaling hipsters will tell you that now their blogs are either ironic, or that they’re just too lazy to delete them. All the while, it appears that blogging has recently spread to the next layer of not-so-cool Russian masses, and the results are truly disturbing.

One particular site going by the name of LiveInternet ( has become the laughing stock of the more progressive sectors of the Russian web. It appears that a a huge community of provincial bloggers has been united on this site by one single purpose: to make Russian boys and girls look good, at least virtually.

The concept of this community is simple. You post a photograph of yourself taken with a friend’s mobile phone (no posing here, the picture would naturally contain a wall carpet, lots of filthy pots and cups, half-finished bottles of Coca-Cola and beer and someone much uglier than you for the contrast) and ask someone to photoshop it to perfection. Along with the usual requests like removing blemishes and red eyes, these provincial bloggers have a rather odd list of requests to experienced Photoshop hands that seem to repeat themselves over and over. I’ve noted a few:

1) Draw angel wings. While this is pretty common for underage girls, you can find lots of moms and menacing gopniks wishing for an angelic touch.

2) Change background to something romantic. This one usually applies to drunken orgy shots, revealing half-used mayo packets and 2L bottles of Klinskoe beer.

3) Add Fun Text. Here are some examples: "Laddi Madonna", "Lesha Lightning Bolt" and "Mego Pozitiff". (They spell it out just like that in illiterate English.)

Those that volunteer their photoshop skills don’t get paid for their work. So what’s in it for them? A sense of community, cho blya. They get rewarded with a shitload of "simpy" and "laffki." These text comments, which mean "sympathy" and "laughs," respectively, are the de facto currency of the crowd. They take their cash very seriously and act like these laffki are a scarce resource. So if you promise to give "mega laffki" to anyone who photoshops you up, but then only deliver "bigg laffki," you’ll be sure to cause a scandal. But this type of thing is common and provokes protracted commenting wars. Go figure, I guess they like the drama.

This user wants someone to write "I love men" on this pic and then create a GIF animation with in which the letter "n" is slowly crossed out. She is willing to give one "impu" for it. We’re not sure what that is.

This girl requests an "emo design, with pink skulls and other such stuff." She also wants to sign this pic with "I’m not EMO... (sniff)." She doesn’t indicate how many laffki she’s willing to dish out for this job.

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

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Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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