“Doing The Madam” or: “Why Does Hollywood Hate Russia So Much?” Part I: The Prequel

Dear Readers:

Hoo boy, do I have a special treat for you today (and tomorrow, as well !)

I have a special two-part guest post written by none other than “Lyttenburgh”.

Who is Lyttenburgh, you might ask?  That is a very good question.  Lyttenburg has been described by my confidential sources as “an unapologetic Slavic Justice Warrior. Was banned for having unpopular opinions and supporting Russia in the midsts of NSG’s daily anti-Russia shitposting bombardments. Many sources believe that Lyttenburgh is either a Russian FSB agent, or Vladimir Putin himself.”

Since 2011 Lyttenburgh has been diligently trolling I mean posting comments on forums dealing with Russian history and politics, with all-too predictable results:  Getting his ass banned.  Until he found a more sympathetic ear at the Kremlin Stooge, and also my très humble Avalanche, both of which sites can be considered Beacons of Free Speech and Democracy, unlike those other asshole blogs.

Lyttenburgh has never been seen in the same room with Master Spy Boris Badenov!

As part of his spy duties, when not posting on blogs, Lyttenburgh has been watching a lot of that decadent bougeois American television.  For the purposes of pure research, of course.  He finds that the medium is blindingly anti-Russian.  I mean, like the Russians are ALWAYS the bad guys, so what’s up with that?  But enough from me, I’ll let Lyttenburgh share his insights with you in his own words, as he analyzes a popular show called “Call Me Madam“.  Oh wait, I got that wrong, the name of the show is “Madam, I’m Adam“.  No, wait, still wrong, it’s called “Madam Secretary“.  This show airs on the American network CBS.

Legal waivers [to be pronounced in a muted yet rushed voice]:  “The opinions and insights expressed below have nothing to do with CBS, it goes without saying; nor myself (I have never seen a single episode of this show); the opinions and insights are all Lyttenburgh’s, and he gets the blame for everything!”

Sincerely yours,


She’s smart, she’s assertive, she’s funny, she’s powerful … And she really hates Russia!


Pilot – “Madam Secretary”

(by Lyttenburgh)

Hello, hello and welcome to the very first installment of our show! My name is Lyttenburgh, and I’d like to talk about the portrayal of Russia and Russians in the Western TV Series.


Russian themes in their various forms have appeared in the Western entertainment media for a very long time. It is, probably, via these fictionary portrayals that the vast majority of the Westerners have “learned” anything about Russia, while the creators of this kind of media – expressed their “knowledge” and attitude to all things Russian.

While there are a lot of books and films created by the Westerners, which specifically deal with Russia or Russians, there exists another media, where Russian themes are no less prevalent. I’m talking about the TV series. The particular genre of series doesn’t really matter – even if the show doesn’t make this its central theme, there is a good chance that, sooner or later, there will be one particular episode dealing specifically with Russian themes. It might be a “monster of the week” approach, when this particular theme is dealt with as an exotic one-shot episode, that barely has any connection to the main plot of that TV Series, or it might become a recurring theme cropping from time to time during the entire show’s run.

My review deals specifically with “This one Russian episode” phenomena. In our time and age the TV series are more numerous and they have, arguably, a bigger number of viewers than books or movies. Besides, despite the fact, that Russian themes are often portrayed in TV shows of different genres, the portrayal itself often has many common traits.

Sadly, nearly all these portrayals are often so clichés-ridden or just plain bad that even one such “Russian” episode can spoil the whole experience of the entire TV show for anyone who actually knows a thing or two about Russia. Or, you know, to the real Russians. The thing is – Russians are people too, and in our globalized age of the fast Internet they have access to the same entertainment and informational media as any Westerner. Despite this self-evident fact, creators of various shows and films rarely care what actual Russians will say (or how loud they will be doing it) after watching their latest “masterpiece”.

First, Let’s Review Some Basic Facts About Russia

Over the years the Western portrayal of Russia managed to “acquire” a number of stereotypes that are known colloquially in Russian as “the cranberry” (клюква). They vary from the stupid and slightly amusing to downright offensive ones. Here I present you a short list of the main attributes of the Russian stereotyping that can be encountered in all forms of fiction:

In Soviet Russia bears like to wear ushankas (those fur-hat thingies), get drunk on vodka, and dance.

  • Vodka. In Russia everyone drinks it like water, from the newborns to the elderly.
  • Russian cuisine. All Russians eat borsch daily, sometimes, with pierogi and (preferably black) caviar.
  • Bears. Thousands of them! In Soviet Russia ™ bears wander freely on the city streets in ushanka’s, drink vodka, ride unicycles and kick the crap out of everyone with their trusty balalaykas. In media there must be some bear reference when dealing with Russia no matter how far-fetched and unrealistic it must be.   [Leningrad Polytechnic:  “Go Polar Bears!” – seriously?]

  • Balalayka – every Russian owns one and can play it. It’s like “Natural skill” for all Russians.
  • Matryoshka – the only toy the Russian children play with.
  • AK-47. The weapon of the “Team Evil” ™, dastardly stolen by the Soviet evil genius from bright and talented German engineers.
  • Cyrillic alphabet – is just the Latin one, only more primitive with backward looking letter. All complaints about grammatical inaccuracies are promptly ignored.
  • Pseudo Russian naming conventions. Epic faily. Omnipresent. Incurable.
  • Russian Mafiyah. The ultimate brutal bad guys completely devoid of any redeeming human qualities.
  • KGB. A sinister Order of Evil that have spread its tentacles all through the Free World ™. Its agents are fanatically devoted to the Motherland and Party, are spiteful, crafty and nearly indestructible. Nearly all Russians are connected with KGB in one form or another.
  • Winter. Russia is always cowered in snow, no matter what time of the year or place. Russians can bring snow and chill with them even abroad – a well known fact widely believed by the Western Enlightened Public at least since the Great War.
  • Ushanka (and other “typical Russian clothes”). Russian are either too poor (or too stupid) to wear anything else.
  • Churches with onion domes and wooden huts (izbas). The must have in any portrayal of Russia. Without them audience may not even believe that it’s Russia (even with bears in ushankas drinking vodka in winter).
  • Ivan the Terrible, Rasputin and Stalin – the most often mentioned Russian historical personalities.
  • Cossacks – Elite of Russian Army (even in the Soviet period), the bearded papaha wearing bloody bastards good only for pogroms.
  • The Red Army – consist slightly less then entirely of winter-uniform wearing (no matter what climate or the time of the year) poor sods of all ages (as if people here serve in Army their entire life). All Russian hardware must look decrepit and malfunctions all the time. Russians ultimately don’t know how to fight and are using exclusively “zerg-rush” tactics.
  • Red color, “Hammer and Sickle” – must be everywhere. Even in portrayal of the modern Russia – otherwise, how would enlightened Westerner realize it is Russia?
  • Everyday life – all Russian men work either for KGB, or Mafiyah or some combination of the two. Russian women are either seductive femme-fatales with the top-model looks, or just ugly as Hell. Naturally, all work for KGB, but dream of defection.

Is a fact that many Russian women are seductive spies.

  • Beard. All Russian men must be bearded. Period. Nothing, even facts and logic, can go in the way of it.
  • “Comrade” and “Nazdaroffye” – Russians really say this all the time – if Hollywood is sure of it, then why doubt?
  • Russians are the bad guys. Period.

Now, after establishing some (not all… definitely – not all!) of the most glaring stereotypes about Russia that regularly appear in the Western media, let’s review one particular TV series and see how it presents Russia and its people.

Madam Secretary

Madam Secretary  is a new American TV show that premiered last year and already continued into its second season. Unsurprisingly, the main character in “Madam Secretary” is a STRONK (as Poland) INDEPENDENT (as the Ukraine) WOMAN (who is also married and with 3 kids – “we need votes from the proponents of the family values, Hilary“). Her team is a collection of token characters: a Jewish chief of staff, black press-coordinator (both STRONK INDEPENDENT WOMEN), ambiguously Asian nerdy speechwriter, a white male personal assistant (who is gay). Oh, and another staffer who is a straight young father of a charming young girl – but he is a Southerner. You know – just to cover all possible voters’ demographics!

It is widely believed by virtually everyone that this whole show is a shameless pro-Hillary Clinton propaganda reel!

The premise of the show is “Oh, if only Hillary had remained the Secretary of State!” Instead of giving us some commentary on the real life events (both current and from recent history) and demonstrating to us the “right way” to solve all those blunders that the US have FUBARed during the last couple of years (decades?), the creators of the show give us the pure purity of StateSec Elisabeth McCord, who wants to solve worlds problems with hugs and kisses (and the indiscriminate use of the black ops/mercs). Instead of any long time strategy or tough moral choices she waltzes through every single crisis due to her incredible luck and her ideological opponents’ unbelievable stupidity. What, is this Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in a nutshell? “Vote for me and we will be lucky!“?

Did you say “Drinking Game” ?

Also – take a drink every time the U.S. solves international problems in this show using international forums, conferences, direct diplomatic channels or in concert with other countries. Oh, wait! There is no such thing! Sorry, you are in a dry season here.

So, what this kind of a show (which enjoys rather… healthy ratings and is more or less popular with its viewership) can offer us in Russia portrayal department?

Take a deep breath. You are in for a wild, wild ride!

[to be continued]

This entry was posted in Humor, Popular Culture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to “Doing The Madam” or: “Why Does Hollywood Hate Russia So Much?” Part I: The Prequel

  1. marknesop says:

    Ha, ha!!! Damn, that’s funny!!! Excellent lead-in as well, Yalensis; you are a writer born, and have that enviable talent of writing as if you were speaking directly to the reader in a private conversation, I love that style and you do it so well. Lyttenburgh is at the top of his game, although I am bound to point out a missing stereotype – that Russians are a dour and unhappy people who never smile, as if walking the streets grinning idiotically at strangers were some mark of being socially adjusted. People really do that in small-town North America, but you never see anything like it in Toronto or New York or Bordeaux or London. Russia is a super-friendly place if you go there with someone local who can introduce you around to their circle of friends, and then unless you are self-evidently an asshole, you’re in. Go to Athens on holiday as a non-Greek speaker who does not know anyone there, and tell me how friendly the Greeks are. Breaking in is hard if you can’t converse, anywhere. Russians are no different than anyone else in that respect.

    When was that picture of Hilary taken? She hasn’t looked like that since the late 80’s, and that’s probably stretching it. The face she has now looks like it’s been boiled all night compared with that picture.


    • yalensis says:

      Dear Mark:
      Why thank you, Sir, you make me blush; and probably Lyttenburgh as well.
      Lytternburgh’s writing is very lively and dynamic.
      The inserted images are my edit. I tried to find things that illustrated his points: Hence the (highly) idealized portrait of Hillary.
      I don’t know who took it, I just found it on Google! Probably the same artist who did that idealized “Hopey-Changey” thing for Obama:


      • Jen says:

        I imagine the Klintonator has never looked like her idealised portrait at all during her life and that it’s a heavily airbrushed / Photoshopped creation.

        Would you want something like this, though?


  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    Once againe- furiously handshakes yalensis for his work.

    ТакЪ победимЪ!

    And for others – well, Marks just mentioned “walking the streets”. I feel duty bound to introduce your all to the American born… Ivan Stereotipoff. And his US Invasion!


  3. james says:

    nice! thanks for making this yalensis and lyttenburgh!


  4. Cortes says:

    Beautifully written and edited. Thank you for such an entertaining read and bringing back memories of this:



    • yalensis says:

      Haha! Dorfman/Mattelart were right on the money with their critique of Scrooge McDuck, that corporate non-pants wearing mallardy bastard. I think people should write exposes of all the Disney crap. For example, how Disney films push the monarchist ideology onto children. Every little American girl that I know wants to be a “Princess”. Don’t they realize that it’s an unelected position? For every “Princess” doll that is sold, they should also include a toy guillotine. Grrrrrrr!


      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – Barbie dolls are better for little girls, IMHO. Barbie may be a bit of a “party girl”, but at least she is hard working. At last count, she had something like 20 different careers!


  5. rkka says:

    In the early days of the US republic, Russia was looked upon as a distant, but friendly power. There were no conflicts of interest. And during the US Civil War, the Tsar was Abraham Lincoln’s only diplomatic friend in Europe.

    By the mid-1880s though, things changed. We had the reincorporation of the South well underway, and the development of the far West was taking off too. We began to cast our eyes on the world. We began laying down a new steel navy to replace the rotting wooden navy that had been built for the Civil war.

    The Spanish Empire was our ’25-meter target’

    The Russian Empire in Asia was our ‘100-meter target’

    And the general US view of Russia was changed by successive media campaigns, from “Distant but friendly country, not quite an ally, but certainly no opponent” to “A blot upon humanity, our ‘dark twin’ to be punished, reformed, and made to accept the guidance of her American twin.”

    So this is nothing more than the culmination of a process the US has been driving for about 130 years.

    The difference now is that the Russian government has finally figured out that US hostility is unappeasable on terms consistent with Russia’s survival as an influential country. The Russian government do not appear to seek conflict with the US, but do appear equally determined not to back down from any conflict the US provokes.

    I fear for the future.


  6. Lyttenburgh says:

    I was asked about it elsewhere, but still – about the supernatural ability of Russians to bring the cold and winter whereever they go. During the Great War one rumor was rather popular in the UK – that Russian expeditionary force had landed in Scotland, and that you can easily recognize this Russian soldiers by… the snow on their boots!

    Another example of exterritoriality of the Russian Winter – the Russian embassy scene in the Red (2010) movie. It snows around here!


  7. Mao Cheng Ji says:

    I watched an action movie recently, I think it was a new one, forgot the title, I think Dolph Lundgren played the protagonist. But the antagonist, an absolutely evil fella, eating babies for breakfast after raping them – who do you think he was? No, not just Russian. He was Serbian, who immigrated to Russia and became Russian. Now, that’s what I call EVIL.


  8. robert says:

    MOVEING INTO UKRIANE THE KREMLIN NEED AN EXSCUSE TO get the Russian voter and the world to belive It is under attack from junta-neonazis from west Ukriane controlled by the CIA this last excuse from moscow was to bepushed hard by the Kremlin propaganda machine …and in some places it even worked !

    This excuse fits into them palying the victim of NATO , USA aggression myth … And takes the heat of the facts that Russia .

    1. Putin needs to deflect his people from domestic facts of economic problems of his gangster style corrupted control inside Russia..

    2. Russian is stealing the vast iron and coal resources in east Ukraine..

    3. Russia is stealing the newly found Oil deposits in the black sea and Azov sea

    4 Russian only invaded after it was proved by geologist that Ukraine in fact has the 3rd largest gas fracking reserves this was something they only found out about in 2013 ..(Russia and Putin was afraid if a EU / US friendly government came to power in Kiev the EU and USA will move in start gas production and the EU will start buying its gass from ukriane and not Russia )

    Ukraine has Europe’s 3rd largest shale gas reserves at 42 trillion cubic …Russia’s silent shale gas victory in Ukraine The vast shale gas reserves in the separatist-held Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions are an important element not to be overlooked when analysing the Ukraine crisis, writes Szilvia Batkov.


    Shale gas by country https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_gas_by_country

    Ukraine to tap gas on Black, Azov Sea shelf

    Russia Claims Ukraine’s Black Sea Oil And Gas Bounty

    In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves

    Natural gas found in Azov Sea

    Ukraine: From Propaganda to Reality
    world’s eyes have been on Ukraine as Ukrainians rebelled against rising authoritarianism in their own country and were met in return with a Russian invasion of Ukraine’s southern and eastern provinces. Yale University’s Timothy Snyder is the world’s leading historian of Eastern Europe. His series of articles in the New York Review of Books has been hailed as the definitive analysis of this crisis. Join him as he clarifies the stakes.


  9. robert says:


    Hybrid warfare: How Russia is exploiting the refugee crisis to undermine the EU and help ISIS attack the west !


    Why Are Russian Engineers Working at an Islamic State-Controlled Gas Plant in Syria?
    Moscow says it’s at war with the jihadist group — but both sides aren’t opposed to cutting economic deals amid the bloodshed.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=968-IPGKRiA Leaked Audio: Russian Military Shot Down Flight MH17
    Human Rights regularly reveals numbers of civilians killed in attacks

    Russia has killed more civilians in Syria than Islamic State, according to a monitoring group Syrian Network for Human Rights. http://sn4hr.org/blog/2016/08/18/25798/

    Former KGB Officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky How the Russian KGB run Islamic Terrorism

    http://thespiritoftruth.blogspot.com.es/2010/09/russia-was-behind-911.html September 11, 2001 was directly rooted in a joint Soviet/Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

    EU imposes sanctions against two high ranking Russians close to Putin.
    The European Union introduced sanctions against two Russian citizens who are suspected of terrorism. Both men are suspected of having links with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda and supplying Iran, North Korea and Syria with banned technologies.

    Recently, the US also imposed new sanctions against some Russian companies.

    Russian companies are suspected of supplying Iran, North Korea and Syria with banned technologies that can be used to produce mass destruction weapons and missile equipment.


    Ex-Russian FSB spy exposes Kremlin’s operation of terror, help to Islamic State Revelations by a former Russian agent, implicating the Kremlin’s involvement in terrorist activities in Europe and the Middle East. The account about to be heard bears the hallmarks of a real spy scandal – undercover operations, fake documents and financial donations.
    The ex-spy codenamed Yevgeniy specialized in terrorist organizations and counter-terrorism activities. The man firstly claimed that radical Islamist groups are staffed with Russian agents – and that Moscow has a real impact on their activity. This is what he told journalist Andriy Tsaplienko



  10. robert says:


    1, EVEN THE KREMLIN own website has admitted to that Cirmea was a FAKE the Russian government agency reveals fraudulent nature of the Crimean referendum results

    The website of the “President of Russia’s Council on Civil Society and Human Rights” posted a blog that was quickly taken down as if it were toxic radioactive waste. According to the Council’s report about the March referendum to annex Crimea, the turnout was a maximum 30%. And of these, only half voted for annexation – meaning only 15 percent of Crimean citizens voted for annexation.

    The fate of Crimea, therefore, was decided by the 15 percent of Crimeans, who voted in favor of unification with Russia (under the watchful eye of Kalashnikov-toting soldiers).


    Lets look at some facts ….

    Observeres was not in Crimea OSCE and UN says the referenum was an absence of the rights of the pepole…

    On March 11, the OSCE chair, Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, declared the referendum as unconstitutional and therefore the OSCE would not send observers. OSCE military observers attempted to enter the region four times but were turned away, sometimes after warning shots were fired, which was another reason given for not dispatching referendum observers OSCE also published a report about their observations which “produced significant evidence of equipment consistent with the presence of Russian Federation military personnel in the vicinity of the various roadblocks encountered»

    The UN Human Rights Envoy Ivan Simonovic had to cancel his trip to Crimea as the current situation did not permit his travel.

    He intended to observe the human rights situation which was Russia’s explanation for its engagement in Crimea Russian state-owned media and referendum organizers claimed that from nearly 70 to 135 international observers monitored the referendum without reporting any violations, but objectivity of these has been questioned, because many of them had ties to far-right extremist groups like goden down and La Pen that have received funding for their parties from Mosow… Russia funds French National Front: is Moscow sowing European unrest Russia has also reportedly lent money to Greece’s neofascist Golden Dawn, Italy’s Northern League and other anti-Europe parties AND NOT ONE OBSERVER from the UN or OSCE…

    Moreover, any referendum on the status of a territory should have been preceded by serious negotiations among all stakeholders. Such negotiations did not take place. Many scholars and politicians[who?] have stated that the referendum was conducted under the cover of assault rifles and, thus, the result was obtained through violence ccording to article 73 of the 1996 Constitution of Ukraine and article 3 of the 2012 Ukrainian law “On all-Ukrainian referendum”, territorial changes can only be approved via a referendum where all the citizens of Ukraine are allowed to vote, including those that do not reside in Crimea.

    The Central Election Commission of Ukraine also stated that there are no judicial possibilities, according to the legislation of Ukraine, to initiate such changes,, According to News the campaign leading up to the referendum was “almost entirely pro-Russian” Pro-Russian election posters often featured swastikas in an alleged attempt to portray the Ukrainian government as neo-Nazis Shortly after the referendum was called Ukrainian TV channels were made unavailable for Crimean viewers, some of them were replaced with Russian stations. The News also stated it had received reports of violence against pro-Ukrainian activists. Unsigned billboards and leaflets campaigning for the referendum, describing new Ukraine government as fascists and showing economic reasons to join Russia, appeared throughout Crimea

    http://www.theweek.co.uk/europe/61498/russia-funds-french-national-front-is-moscow-sowing-european-unrest According to Yale historian

    In Crimea, there was no pre-existing crisis, no attempt to discuss the situation with the Ukrainian government, no involvement of the United Nations, and no attempt at a negotiated solution. Russia annexed part of Ukraine’s territory in less than 30 days. It has sought to justify its illegal and illegitimate annexation, in part, by pointing to a “referendum” that was inconsistent with Ukrainian law, held under conditions of illegal armed occupation with no freedom of expression or media access for the opposition, and without any credible international monitoring.


    The earlier published documents, and materials that have emerged more recently, make clear that the transfer of Crimea from the RSFSR to the UkrSSR was carried out in accordance with the 1936 Soviet constitution, which in Article 18 stipulated that “the territory of a Union Republic may not be altered without its consent.” The proceedings of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium meeting indicate that both the RSFSR and the UkrSSR had given their consent via their republic parliaments.

    One of the officials present at the 19 February session, Otto Kuusinen, even boasted that “only in our country [the USSR] is it possible that issues of the utmost importance such as the territorial transfer of individual oblasts to a particular republic can be decided without any difficulties.” One might argue that the process in 1954 would have been a lot better if it had been complicated and difficult, but no matter how one judges the expeditiousness of the territorial reconfiguration, the main point to stress here is that it is incorrect to say (as some Russian commentators and government officials recently have) that Crimea was transferred unconstitutionally or illegally. The legal system in the Soviet Union was mostly a fiction, but the transfer did occur in accordance with the rules in effect at the time.

    Moreover, regardless of how the transfer was carried out, the Russian Federation expressly accepted Ukraine’s 1991 borders both in the December 1991 Belovezhskaya Pushcha accords (the agreements that precipitated and codified the dissolution of the Soviet Union) and in the December 1994 Budapest Memorandum that finalized Ukraine’s status as a non-nuclear weapons state.


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