David Duchovny takes Russia’s internet by storm with beer commercial

July 29, 2014 Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH A few days ago, an advertisement featuring American actor David Duchovny talking about his love for Russia was uploaded to YouTube. The ad has already attracted more than two million views and provoked heated debate in comments sections and on social networks. RBTH analyzes the symbolism woven into the ad and the strong reaction to it online.

David Duchovny: ‘You have something to be proud of’. Source: YouTube

The Russian internet has been captivated over the last few days by a beer commercial featuring U.S. actor David Duchovny, star of the hit shows The X-Files and Californication. The video for the Sibirskaya Korona (Siberian Crown) beer ad, whose slogan is “You have something to be proud of,” shows Duchovny, whose family left Kiev for the U.S. before the 1917 revolution, pondering what his life might be like had he grown up in Russia.

The comments sections on YouTube and other popular platforms, including social networks Facebook and VKontakte, are abuzz with responses to the ad, which has been uploaded and posted thousands of times.

Duchovny as a regular Russian

The commercial is the Russian national idea in miniature. Its protagonist lets his mind wander, asking himself, “What if things had turned out differently? What if I were Russian?” The commercial then flashes through a series of Russian and Soviet cultural and social archetypes, depicting images that are familiar to every Russian.

First we see a photograph of the young Duchovny in his school yearbook, then a picture of him on skis in a Soviet athletic uniform. Then he appears in a cosmonaut’s spacesuit. What Soviet child didn’t dream of becoming a cosmonaut?

The ad then doffs its hat to classical ballet by showing Duchovny working as a choreographer at the Bolshoi Theater, before we see him as a 40-year-old auditioning for Alexei Balabanov’s cult film Brother 2, one of the biggest contributors to the formation of the Russian patriotic consciousness in the 2000s. Duchovny recites a patriotic poem about Russia (“I found out that I have a huge family…”) before turning into a player for the Russian national hockey team, referencing another point of pride for Russians – sporting prowess on ice.

Duchovny covers almost all of the key Russian symbols: He travels over vast expanses, goes to the Russian sauna (banya), goes off-roading, and even sings in the popular Russian rock group Mashina Vremeni, dressed as one of its members, Alexander Kutikov. The entire ad is accompanied by an instrumental version of a well-loved song by the rock group Kino – ‘Zvezda Po Imeni Solntse.’

Advertising without advertising
By a curious coincidence, Duchovny’s first role was in an ad for Löwenbräu beer. Now, after becoming a Hollywood star, he has returned to beer ads, this time for a Russian brewer. Yet the majority of Russian viewers don’t see the advertisement as an advertisement. Some Russians consider it to be not an ad, but a film – and after all, films usually contain advertising.

Other Russians, meanwhile, maintain it is a documentary film in which the real David Duchovny – not an actor – expresses his love for Russia. User Nikolay Wolf drew a parallel with French actor Gerard Depardieu, who recently became a Russian citizen. However, unlike Duchovny, Depardieu promotes Russia not on behalf of a character, but on behalf of himself.

The video has also attracted some humorous comments. On YouTube, user Denis Denis wrote: “What Russian goes off-roading while wearing a seatbelt?” Another participant in the YouTube discussion, Alexei Marchenko, arrives at the paradoxical conclusion that such an expensive beer ad (the fee for an American star must be high) indicates that the alcohol business will fold in the near future. Otherwise, Marchenko writes, alcohol producers would not be trying to revive it with expensive ads.

Political controversy
Yet many participants in these discussions, seemingly forgetting that it is just an ad and Duchovny is just an actor playing a role, are convinced that the actor is expressing his own personal opinion, and many Western commentators agree, with Duchovny being accused of making pro-Russian statements at a sensitive time in international relations between Russia and the West. The actor has now made a statement publicly defending the ad, in which he apologized for the timing of the commercial and stressed that it should not be seen as representative of his political viewpoint.

In a statement issued to entertainment news site TMZ.com, Duchovny said: “I am proud of my Russian, Ukrainian, Scottish and Polish heritage as I am proud of my American heritage. “But being proud of one’s ancestry is not a political statement on any current government or public policies,” he added. “In retrospect, and in light of recent tragic events, I can now see the potential for misunderstanding and hope people will understand.”

Ukraine vs. Russia
Meanwhile, the ad has also raised indignation among Ukrainian social network users. In recent months, so-called kholivary (trolling sessions on the Ukraine topic) have been heating up. On the topic of the beer ad, many Russians are flatly dismissing the Ukrainians’ reproaches that Duchovny did it just for the money.

User ChernY IniY’s comments were typical of many Russian responses: “This is perhaps one of the best ads I’ve ever seen. And by the way, everyone saw what they wanted to see in terms of their development. Once again, we decent Russians were reminded that we should be proud of our vast expanses and nature, ballet, great writers, space exploration, hockey, great rulers, and much more… If you watched the video and saw nothing but a beer ad, I feel sorry for you.”

The fact that Duchovny’s father was born into a Jewish family that emigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. has only served to add confusion. Ukraine, which was part of the Russian Empire at that time, is now an independent state. So which nation does the American Duchovny identify with? Duchovny wrote the following on his Twitter page on April 4: “I grew up thinking I was Russian only to find recently that I’ve been Ukrainian all along. Never too late to change.”

Ukrainian Air Defense Exercises Might be Behind Malaysian Aircraft Crash – Source

Malaysia Airlines Boing's crash site

Malaysia Airlines Boing’s crash site


Topic: Malaysia Airlines Boeing Crashes in Ukraine

MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – A system mix up during a Ukrainian air defense units’ rocket launch exercise could be the cause of the Malaysia Airlines crash in southeast Ukraine, a source from one of the Ukrainian defense departments told RIA Novosti.

“On July 17 the commanding officer of 156th Anti-Aircraft Regiment was instructed to conduct a training exercise of ground troops stationed near Donetsk, which involved deploying the troops, and carrying out a routine tracking and destroying of targets with the Buk-M1 missile,” the source said.

The source added that the actual launch of the rockets was not intended.

Two Sukhoi Su-25 combat aircraft on a reconnaissance mission participated in the exercise. It is likely at some point, the routes of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 and a Su-25 jet overlapped. Despite flying at different levels, they became a single dot on the radar of the missile system. Of the two, the system automatically chose a larger target.

The reasons for the actual missile launch taking place remain unknown and are still under investigation, as practical exercises with the Buk missiles has been prohibited since 2001, when a Russian Tu-154 passenger airplane en route from Novosibirsk to Tel Aviv was shot down by the Ukrainian military.

At the moment, an international team of 24 experts is investigating the plane crash. The B777-200 aircraft had a clean maintenance record and was last checked on July 11 at Malaysia Airlines’ hangar at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 near the city of Donetsk in Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Kiev placed the blame on the independence supporters in eastern Ukraine for shooting the plane down, but the latter insisted they did not have the means to shoot down an aircraft flying at 32,000 feet.

Flight MH17 Crash Resulted From Ukraine’s Disregard of ICAO Regulations


Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash site

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash site

MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian government is responsible for the tragic Malaysia Airlines plane crash as Kiev is under binding international legal obligations articulated in the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and ICAO regulation DOC 9554/932.

Ukraine ratified the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation in 2003, which automatically classifies Ukraine as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with all the associated legal obligations applicable upon signing.

An amendment to the Chicago Convention, the so-called Article 3bis, obliges the signatories to “refrain from resorting to the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight,” as such behavior goes out of line with the standards and norms regulating cross-country interactions. Hence, no country can use ongoing military confrontation on its territory as a right to attack a commercial plane or other types of civil aircraft

Additionally, the ICAO clearly defines in its Manual Concerning Safety Measures Relating to Military Activities Potentially Hazardous to Civil Aircraft Operations, that “the responsibility for initiating the co-ordination process rests with the States whose military forces are engaged in the conflict,” pursuant to Paragraph 10.2 of the respective international agreement. In other words, safe passage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 through Ukrainian airspace should have been coordinated well in advance, as stipulated in the manual.

Better yet, incomplete coordination or lack thereof does not relieve the state of its safety obligations, as “the responsibility for instituting special measures to ensure the safety of international civil aircraft operations remains with the states responsible for providing air traffic services in the airspace affected by the conflict, even in cases where coordination is not initiated or completed.” This excludes any loophole that might be used by Ukraine to evade being held accountable for the tragedy.

A Malaysia Airlines plane heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed July 17 near the city of Donetsk in Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. United Nations, Russia and heads of several countries stressed an importance of a transparent international investigation to determine the circumstances and causes of the accident.

Meanwhile, Kiev accused the independence supporters in the turbulent Donetsk Region of downing the passenger plane with a surface-to-air missile. The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic said local militia did not have the means to shoot down a target at flying at such a high altitude.

In a July 21 briefing, representatives of the Russian military released some of the data gathered as part of the probe into the July 17 crash, stating that Russian monitoring systems detected up to four Ukrainian Buk M1 air defense systems in the vicinity of the crash on the day of the accident. Compounded with increased activity of Ukrainian radars and a military aircraft approaching the passenger plane sometime before the disaster, it looks like Kiev has more questions to answer.

While the investigation into the crash is still underway, Kiev’s breach of international agreements provoking the tragedy can hardly be denied.

Crime (Israel) and punishment (Russia) – By Pepe Escobar


Crime (Israel) and punishment (Russia)
By Pepe Escobar


The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining it …

A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic – George Orwell, 1984

So Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi – let’s call them the Fab Five – get on a video conference call to muster their courage and “increase pressure” asking for a cease-fire in Gaza. Later in the day, Israel’s Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu delivers his answer, in plain language: he remains dead set on achieving his version of a Final Solution to Gaza. [1] With or without “pressure”.

Heavy smoke and fire billow following an Israeli military strike in Gaza City on July 29, 2014.(AFP Photo / Ashraf Amra )

Heavy smoke and fire billow following an Israeli military strike in Gaza City on July 29, 2014.(AFP Photo / Ashraf Amra )

So what’s left for the Fab Five after having their illustrious Western collective behinds solemnly kicked? They decide to dump Gaza and instead sanction Russia – again! How brilliant is that as an exit strategy?

Spectacular non-entity Tony Blinken, who doubles as deputy national security adviser to Barack Obama, was keen to stress to Western corporate media that the unruly Eurotrash mob is now “determined to act”. No, not against Israel because of Gaza; against Russia because of Ukraine. Such a lovely Orwellian symmetry: the extended Two Minutes Hate from Israel towards Gazans morphs into the extended Two Minutes Hate from the “West” towards Russia, mirroring the extended Two Minutes Hate from Kiev towards Eastern Ukrainians.

Not even Hollywood could come up with such a plot; Israel gets away with unlawful premeditated mass murder of civilians, while Russia gets framed for a (smaller-scale) airborne mass murder of civilians that has all the makings of being set up by the Kiev vassals of Russia’s Western “partners”.

Here I have exposed how sanctions, sanctions, sanctions is the one and only official Obama administration “policy” on Russia. On top of the next European Union sanctions, coming soon, the US will be piling up – what else – more sanctions. After all, Washington is so “concerned” that Moscow will sooner or later invade Ukraine; that would certainly, and finally, answer all those In God We Trust prayers.

Where we stand now
Let’s follow the facts. Washington from the get-go said it was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s missile that downed MH17. They swore they had evidence. Like in “We know. Trust us”. The historical record for the past 60 years at least shows they cannot be trusted. There was never any evidence. Just spin.

Moscow, via the Defense Ministry, presented hard evidence. And called for an unbiased international investigation. Washington ignored it all – the call and the hard evidence.

The US Navy, crammed with state-of-the-art missile defense radars, has been in the Black Sea for weeks now. As much as the Russians, they have tracked every particle flying over Ukraine. The NSA goes for signals intelligence; the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency goes for phenomena in the imagery realm; the Defense Intelligence Agency adds Humint; there’s the CIA; and there’s the all-seeing, all-knowing Director of National Intelligence. How come all this trillion-dollar Full Spectrum Dominance apparatus cannot come up with a single, conclusive piece of evidence?

Chief of the Air Force General Staff Igor Makushev and Head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s Armed Forces Andrei Kartapolov (from right to left) at the news conference on the crash of the Boeing 777 passenger airliner in Ukraine.(RIA Novosti / Vadim Savitskii)

Chief of the Air Force General Staff Igor Makushev and Head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s Armed Forces Andrei Kartapolov (from right to left) at the news conference on the crash of the Boeing 777 passenger airliner in Ukraine.(RIA Novosti / Vadim Savitskii)

The only risible “evidence” presented so far pictures the acronym salad of US intel agencies spending their time reading blogs and Twittering. As in the State Department head in Kiev twittering satellite imagery that the New York Times parroted “proved” Russia is shelling Ukraine from across the border. The proverbial “senior US officials” even had to tersely admit on the record they have no proof whatsoever about “Putin’s missile”. If they had, NATO would be ready to flip burgers in Red Square.

Based on the wealth of info now in the open, the top probability of what caused the MH17 tragedy was an R-60M air-to-air missile shot from a Ukrainian Su-25 – and not a BUK (there’s also the possibility of a double down; first an R-60M and then a BUK). The R-60M is very fast, with an ideal engagement distance of up to five kilometers. That’s how far the Su-25 detected by the Russians (they showed the graphics) was from MH17.

SBU – Ukrainian intel – for its part confiscated the recordings of Kiev control tower talking to MH17. That would certainly explain why MH17 was overflying a war zone (Malaysian Airlines revealed they were forced to). Hefty bets can be made the recordings are now being “doctored”.

Then there are the black boxes, which will not de decoded by the Malaysians or by the Dutch, but by the Brits – acting under Washington’s orders. As The Saker blogger summed up the view of top Russian specialists, “the Brits will now let the NSA falsify the data and that falsification will be coordinated with the SBU in Kiev which will eventually release the recordings who will fully ‘confirm’ the ‘authenticity’ of the NSA-doctored recordings from the UK.” To make it more palatable, and erase suspicions about Anglo-American foul play, the Dutch will announce it. Everyone should be forewarned.

NATO heads, for their part, are droolin’. Kiev’s forces/militias will hold “joint exercises” with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Ukraine in slightly over a month from now, on September 1; red alert applies, because this is when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the slow motion ethnic cleansing of Donbass will be finished.

As for the R2P (“responsibility to protect”) angle, it sounds quite improbable. True, Moscow can always say that unless the slow motion ethnic cleansing of Donbass stops they will recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics. In that case, Moscow would be replaying Abkhazia and South Ossetia; a de facto R2P backed by military muscle.

Under international law – which Washington never respects, by the way – this is not the same as “invading” Ukraine. The frankly scary Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, would obviously freak out – but that’s a dose of her own medicine. It would indeed be comparable to what the Americans are doing to the benefit of those Salafi-jihadis in Syria; and better yet, to what the US did in Kosovo.

The $50billion vultures
And now, on top of sanctions, Moscow also has to contend with a massive US$50 billion theft attempt. The International Arbitration Court in The Hague found that the Kremlin’s pursuit of Yukos and its main shareholder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a decade ago was politically motivated. Moscow can’t appeal – but it will pursue all legal avenues for trying to get this ruling “set aside”.

Well, it’s The Hague’s decision itself that is political. Khodorkovsky was found guilty not only by the Russian judicial system but also by the European Court of Human Rights. Yukos and Menotep shareholders were and remain a bunch of oligarch gangsters – to put it mildly.

So here’s the Empire of Chaos once again in action, manipulating a Dutch court after literally stealing Germany’s gold and fining France for selling warships to Russia. In this case though, the “West” has more investments in Russia than the Russian government in the West. Payback could be a bitch – as in Moscow, for instance, freezing all US and EU energy investments especially in the new ultra-profitable frontier, the Arctic oil fields. Western Big Oil will never allow this to happen.

This could go on forever. The bottom line: the Russian state simply won’t allow itself to be robbed by a dodgy ruling on behalf of a bunch of oligarchs. In parallel, a case can be made that not only the Return of the Living (Neo-Con) Dead but also substantial sections of the deep state in Washington DC and environs – as well as “Western” plutocracy – want to provoke some sort of NATO war against Russia, sooner rather than later.

And in another parallel line, Moscow rumor has it that the Kremlin finds this protracted post-Yukos battle just an afterthought compared to the economic war about to convulse Europe and eventually pit Europe against Russia: exactly what the Empire of Chaos is praying – and working – for. “Two Minute” Hate? Talk about hours, days, weeks, and years.

1. Netanyahu: We’re prepared for an extended operation in Gaza, The Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2014.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Newport Folk Festival 2014 in Pictures

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Newport Folk Festival 2014

A partial lineup was announced for this year’s Newport Folk Festival taking placing July 30 – August 1 in Newport, Rhode Island at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino and Fort Adams State Park. And you know how we love partial lineups! The artists slated so far for the 51st year of the festival include:

• Friday, July 25: Ryan Adams, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Tim O’Brien, Sarah Jarosz

• Saturday, July 31: John Prine, Andrew Bird, Brandi Carlile, The Low Anthem, Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket, Doc Watson & David Holt, Calexico, Dawes, Nneka, O’Death, Liz Longley, Blitzen Trapper, A.A. Bondy, Sam Bush, Horse Feathers, and more.

• Sunday, August 1: Levon Helm’s Ramble on the Road, The Swell Season, The Avett Brothers, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Richie Havens, Justin Townes Earle, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Punch Brothers with Chris Thile, The Felice Brothers, Tao Seeger Band, Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons, Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore, Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three, and more to be announced.

Singing the blues for the music scene


Musician Matt Phillips hold up a picture of his “wrap sheet” after a gig. Tom Maxwell

For young and ambitious musicians, there is strength in numbers