NEW YORK — Author Gary Shteyngart won a coveted spot on a blog calling out alleged critics of Russia on Monday, following a months-long campaign to overturn the blog owner’s resistance.
A picture of Shteyngart stamped with the words “PATHOLOGICAL RUSSOPHOBE” appeared on the site on Monday afternoon. The site is run by Sergey Selyunin, who publishes photos of diplomats, journalists, think tankers and, now, writers who he sees as overly critical of Russia.
Shteyngart welcomed the move. “I’ve always been phobic of Russians, especially of my parents and myself,” he said in an email to BuzzFeed. “I know, I know, we’re just Jews. But still! Now I can walk down Nevsky with my head held high! Well, not too high,” he said, referring to the main street in the northern Russian city of St. Petersburg.
Shteyngart had long hoped to be added to the list, bemoaning on Twitter the blog owner’s refusal to accommodate his wishes. His cause was taken up by Julia Ioffe, a senior editor at The New Republic and a Russia expert, who was long ago named a “pathological Russophobe” on the site.
Responding to a question asking why he finally decided to add Shteyngart to his blog, Selyunin told BuzzFeed in an email: “Because he’s a Russophobe.”
“And he really asked a lot to be added to the photo gallery of pathological Russophobes. And Julia Ioffe actively lobbied for his appearance in this photo gallery.”
Ioffe said of her achievement: “It’s proof that perseverance pays off. Also, I now get at least an email a day from this guy, whenever he does something new with his weird site, which now, btw, compares Western democracy with satanism. I think he now sees me as a source, or, worse, a friend.”
The site, which is run out of France, features dozens of officials — from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain to U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and current Secretary of State John Kerry — as well as nearly every journalist who has written about Russia. Each entry is splashed with the term “pathological Russophobe” and an appeal to forbid the person entry to Russia. It remains unclear whether the blog is the work of a lone man or is part of a wider campaign against those seen as critics of Russia.
Shteyngart’s latest book, a memoir called Little Failure, is due to be released on Tuesday.