Passport

Susan Boyle Captures Russian Nationalist Hearts

Susan Boyle has charmed millions of viewers on YouTube, and now her fame has captured the hearts of Russian nationalists:

A Russian far-right party posted an open letter to British talent show singer Susan Boyle late on Tuesday, heaping praise on the 48-year-old Scot and wishing her well after she was admitted to a clinic for exhaustion.

"Susan! You have already gained popularity and many admirers and fans," leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said in an open letter on the party's website www.ldpr.ru.

Andrei Lugovoy, Britain's main suspect in the London murder of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, holds a seat in parliament for the ultra-nationalist party which has called on countries belonging to the former Soviet Union to rejoin.

As reality fans know, Boyle did not even finish first on the show, and subsequent reports suggested she is not taking the loss lightly. Zhirinovsky, though, was eager to console her.

LDPR leader Zhirinovsky compared her near-win to that of his own.

"The people also love our party, but, just like you, we do not always get the deserved result at elections," he said.

LDPR came third in the Russian presidential elections in March 2008, behind the Communist party and the winning United Russia party, which saw Dmitry Medvedev replace Vladimir Putin as president.

No doubt Simon Cowell appreciates the comparison, given the reputation for fair elections his shows currently enjoy.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Passport

James Fallows is sneaky at Tiananmen

James Fallows of The Atlantic was in Beijing today, observing the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square confrontation between human rights protesters and the Chinese government. Security was airtight, but that doesn't mean reporters were completely incapacitated:

As reported yesterday, CNN is still blacked out whenever words like "In China today...." or "Twenty years ago in Bei...." come across the airwaves. Whereas BBC TV is airing uncensored footage of tanks in the square twenty years ago and repeatedly using the phrase "Tiananmen massacre." And just as I type, the admirable Quentin Somerville of the BBC is talking, live from Beijing, about the "ruthlessness at the heart of the Communist government." (And just this second, in a Borges-worthy moment, Somerville said that international coverage was being blacked out across China -- so I got to see him saying that I was not able to see him. Still, the general point is true.)"

 

Yesterday, David Rothkopf described his own experience as an observer of June 4, 1989.