A glimpse behind the scenes at Fort Russ


December 8, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

– Confessions of a Kremlin tool, Tom Winter –

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Behind the scenes at Fort Russ

Now that Vice News has been citing us, referring, for instance, to a “website promoted by the Kremlin-linked accounts called Fort Russ” it may be a good time to pull back the curtain for a glimpse behind the scenes at Fort Russ. 

First, of course, simply click “about” at the top of the FR home site. But I can only confess for one. Me.

We are all of us polyglots. In my case, following the news in six languages, thanks to the internet, I have long known that the US press was feeding the country something less than truth. In 2014 Kristina Kharlova was already doing something about it, making the Russian side available for English-speaking readers, with the motto “Read what Russia reads.” For me, she is a hero, and I jumped to offer my services.

A volunteer translator for Fort Russ spends much more time scanning the world press than actually translating. Here is a typical morning, at the Nebraska Headquarters of Fort Russ, before breakfast.

1. Email: I get posts every day from Germany (Der Spiegel, Deutsche Wirtschaft Nachrichten) France (Le Point, Boulevard Voltaire), England (The Times — good for a laugh), and from Greece. 

I look these over for two reasons: to be informed, myself, and to see if there are Russia-relevant items worth rendering into English and putting up on Fort Russ. (Let me take a moment here to lament the passing of my best French source, Ronald Zonca: he had relatives in Crimea, and ended up moving to the Crimea, and is now buried there. He was a great human being, and wrote for Boulevard Voltaire. Take a moment at Fort Russ and type “Zonca” in our search box. You will be rewarded. His son notified me of his passing, and now Boulevard Voltaire is lessened.)

2. Web “push” notifications: See screen capture.

When I switch from mail to web, the right side of my laptop screen fills up with notifications out of the Russian press: These are from Tsargrad, Novorosinform, Lenta, Life, Rusvesna, Vzglyad. I click on them, and each item opens a tab. I often have more than 20 tabs on the top of the screen. I look them over, assess their level of interest, and often find material worthwhile.

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3. Facebook: Keeping my languages alive, I have long sought out pen pals in other countries, and now have Facebook friends in about 45 countries. They provide many a lead, with points of view that are often shocking to  my New-York-Times-fed fellow countrymen. 

I must mention another heroine, Christelle Néant, who is in Donetsk and writes, in French, for DONiPRESS. Her daily reporting led me finally to think “If they are going to commit war crimes every day I will publish them, every day, in English.” But I couldn’t. It was too, too painful. But Ms Néant is made of sterner stuff. Just like the people of the Donetsk Peoples Republic, and the Lugansk Peoples Republic, she is uncrushable. Put “Neant” in our Fort Russ search box, and you will see what I mean. By the way, the name Néant is a modest nom de guerre. Like the Nemo of Jules Verne. Nothing, Nobody.

Of course there are other information heroes, like Patrick Lancaster, and Graham Phillips, but since they publish in English, no translation is needed.
 Another English language hero is “Texas” who also fights with bullets, as well as information, and humanitarian aid for Donbass citizens in need.

You may wonder, do I get paid for this? If there is advertising revenue — and that has gotten iffy this year — any share of mine from it is forwarded directly to “Texas.”

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