Crowdfunded Journalism


Zarina Zabrisky photo
Zarina Zabrisky
A guide to the Kremlin hybrid war methods and the unwritten laws of Putin's Russia, by a Russian-born American writer with unusual life experiences

Do you know what “krysha” is? It means “roof” and stands for the protection money paid to an authority for doing any business in Russia or the authority itself. This is a key to understanding Putin's Russia.

Do you know what is a "rotten herring" method in combat propaganda? When you mention your opponent's name next to something hideous, the emotional response rubs off and the negative perception lingers... long after the corrections are made.


If you want to understand today’s political conundrum—

Putin/Trump, cyber attacks or the Russian trolls on Facebook

—you need to learn more about Russians and their mentality. The people might look deceptively familiar but they were formed by the history dramatically different from yours. Understanding their way of thinking is critical to understanding their motivations, goals and actions.


This column will take you on a journey into a strange, dark and fascinating world of Russian reality. My life provided rich material for my research. 

* I went to the same university as Putin, Sechin, Medvedev, Kiselev and many Olgino trolls.

* My main study focus was English language and literature but I was forced to study combat propaganda, that claims "demoralization of the army and population of the enemy by sowing confusion and discord" as its main goal.

* At 17, I declined a job offer for a KGB spy/hard currency prostituteThe job description included speaking to foreign people of influence in bugged hotel rooms.

* I had to quit my first job after I refused to translate at the extortion negotiations between my Swedish boss and the KGB agents (they came to the meeting with guns sticking out of their pockets.) 

* I then had to work as a freelance translator for oilfields all around the country and worked for Mark Rich’s company in far North—Rich was the founder of Glencore, one of the buyers of Rosneft in 2016.

* In Moscow I translated for the Western businessmen meeting with the Russian authorities, mafia and the KGB. I witnessed blackmail, bribes, corruption and drunken orgies. I once translated drunk Foreign Minister's jokes about having a direct access to the nuclear suitcase with a button.

* After my move to the US, I was fed up with corruption and dirt. I started a small personal training company in SF. In my 15 years of work in that line, I had an opportunity to get to know many successful Americans: Silicon Valley executives, real estate tycoons, investment bankers.  It is easy for me to understand how trained Russian spies and political technologists exploit the Western way of thinking.

* My study of semiotics and psychology, fluency In Russian and English and reading/comprehension of Ukrainian and other Slavic languages and French are instrumental in my research, as well as my travel around the world.

* A novelist and short story writer, I have an ability to focus on the main narrative while paying close attention to details.

I turned to journalism from novels and short stories as a way of fighting a totalitarian force that I know way to well. 



If you choose to contribute, the money will be distributed in the following way: 

60% - charity for children and political asylum seekers (will be posting the links to donation records here) 

40% - production, print products and advertising for Russian Propaganda Explained seminars (see the Youtube channel here.) 

#Russia, #US, #West, #Information War, #Hybrid war, #Propaganda, #Political Technology, #Mafia State, #Oligarchs, #Collusion