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Book Review February 19, 2004
Never Trust A Real-Estate Agent
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 4 of 4
In other words: Thank you for your book/ It lets us off the hook. The West cannot be blamed for the "limited success" of the "market reforms" carried out by Sachs and accomplices. Turns out the Soviets did it after all -- from beyond the grave, as it were.

If the Siberian Curse were just another tortuous exoneration of Sachs & co., it would hardly be worth criticizing. Such books appear every month, despite the fact that the public long since lost interest in deciding Who Lost Russia. The guilty don't just flee where none pursueth -- they publish obsessively, too.

This little con-game of a book aims to do something nastier: persuade Russia that its Siberian holdings are worthless, and so make it accept a low-price buyout to corrupt developers. We're talking about a classic California-style real-estate scam. I grew up with schemes like this, and I can smell it a mile off. First you convince the locals their land is worthless -- too dry, too hot, too cold, bad school district, access problems, street crime, too remote--whatever lie you find most plausible. Then you buy the land off them for next to nothing (iif your PR people have done their job, the saps will thank you for taking it off their hands) and you're sitting pretty: ready to rename it something cute, subdivide it, and cash out a billionaire.

Russians, take it from me, a child of the suburbs who grew up watching "worthless jackrabbit land with no water or utilities" bought up for next to nothing by smart operators who resold in quarter-acre plots for a 10,000 percent profit. If people like Hill and Gaddy come around shaking their heads and sighing, warning you that your big Siberian acreage is just a cash pit that you should get rid of ASAP, get the shotgun. Give the bastards five seconds to get off your property -- and give them a good spray of birdshot or rock salt in the behinds after two seconds, just for a lesson.

And hold on to Siberia for dear life.

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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."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
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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eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
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Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
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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