Index of Russian Scams


The “Private Police” Scam:  Robbery, Extortion, and Ambush in Novgorod, Russia


Group culprits:  Vadim, George, Sergey, and two girls from disco named Ksenia and Irina


(Taken from my Russia Trip Journals at



Update: Winston gets robbed and assaulted in Novgorod!!!


Dear all,


I should tell you first, that the title of this update is a bit misleading, because it seems to imply that I was robbed and assaulted in the same event, which I wasn't.  They were actually separate events on consecutive days!  That's what makes it so interesting yet disturbing at the same time.


I've just come back from Vyborg, and am back in St. Petersburg now.  Vyborg is a small town built in the Middle Ages a few hours north of here near the border to Finland.  Some odd interesting things happened there too, but I'll save that for another update.   Now I have to continue the update I was going to write before about what happened in Novgorod.  So let's begin!


First though, I should let you all know that in comparison to Moscow, St. Petersburg is much nicer, prettier, peaceful, and has better vibes. In fact, the metro here has improved much compared to two years ago. 

It looks much more modern, new and clean.   And feels safer as well.  In many stations here, the doors to the train open through granite walls, making it impossible for someone to accidentally fall into the train tracks.  And like in Moscow, each station platform has security guards watching around, but they don't stop foreigners like

me and check their passports or drill them with questions.   The people here also seem a bit friendlier than in Moscow.  All in all, I would rather live here than Moscow if I had a choice, but I still want to continue my plans in Izhevsk.


As you remember from the last update, I gave many long reasons for leaving Moscow.  Last Friday, I finally did it and was relieved.  After 6 or 7 failed attempts to leave, I finally was out with all my luggage.  It was a miracle.  I was headed to Novgorod, where my friend Vadim would hang out with me and give me a place to stay. 

However, I didn't like the crowded stuffy smelly train ride there in the lowest class though. 


When I arrived in Novgorod Veliky at 5am, he arrived to greet me.  We gave each other a big hug and warm greeting.  It was a great reunion.  We felt like brothers and old friends.   Then we rode a taxi back to his place.  In his room were two beds, one of which I took.  For a few hours in the wee morning, we got reacquainted, I showed him the photos I took, and we also exchanged some souvenirs as well. Then we finally went to sleep.   In the afternoon, with Vadim still asleep, I went to greet his roommate, a Georgian young slim man.  He was in bed with his girlfriend so I said hello and introduced myself.


Then I took a shower.  When Vadim's roommate finally woke him up, we went out for a drive while I video taped the sights of Novgorod from the car, though it was a cloudy day with sporadic showers.   It was nice seeing the sights of such a peaceful city again, in total contrast to the high constant stress of Moscow. 


During a stop along the river, I video taped a tall pretty girl and then waved at her.  Soon I was greeting her while filming, and even asked for a meeting later.  Vadim helped me out by translating for me and even taking control of the situation.   He quickly got her number for me and told her he would call her later.  Then we all went for pizza. 


Vadim also introduced me to his new girlfriend Yana (he had broken up with his long time girlfriend Olga, over infidelity disputes).  She was very sweet and innocent looking (and still a virgin, I was told).   I quickly began to notice that the girls in Novgorod had very different kinds of faces and attitudes from the ones in Moscow.  Here they looked more innocent, pure, and unspoiled.  Such an attitude was simply on their faces.  And in addition, when you complimented them, they would always blush and giggle in a very feminine manner.


Later, Vadim also called that girl I video taped and got the number of near the river beach.  He told her where to meet us.  And then Vadim's Georgian roommate drove us to the cafe to meet her.  Her named was Yulia and she was quiet and shy.   I could tell she was a conservative type, so not much would happen with her.  But she was very attractive and tall nevertheless.  Her attitude reflected the Russian small city attitude that was so refreshing to see again.  Vadim was so cool in that he had a quick smooth and efficient way of calling girls on my list and

arranging meetings on the spot.   As I expected nothing much happened with Yulia.  She was very quiet and shy, and had little to say even.  After we had some beers at the cafe, she wanted to go home.


Later that night, Vadim made some calls, and two girls came over to visit.   He also called one of them "his new girlfriend too" lol.  I took the other one, and we both began flirting with them and coming on to them.  They were very cute, young and playful.  When it got late, they wanted to go home, so we dropped them off along our way to the disco.  It was Saturday night.  Although I don't usually go to nightclubs due to the kind of people there, and the meat market image-oriented environment, I usually go if people I'm with are going too.


In that disco, Vadim and I met many girls and danced around a bit, but most of them weren't really interested in us, or only chatted with us briefly.  Later on into the night, Vadim ran into many old female friends that got acquainted with me.  Near the end of the night, I met this gorgeous blonde with big baby blue eyes and a surreal

face named Elena.  We sat down together in one of the seated bars of the disco, and I bought her some drinks.  Later, Vadim and his friends joined us and helped translate between us, though Elena spoke some English.


I learned that she was a Scorpio though, and as I expected, she behaved like one. She liked to challenge people, keep them guessing, act mysterious, etc.  I've seen the type before.  She just wasn't willing to be read or understood.  Like me, she had an interest in acting and performed at the local theatres there, and also sang and played the guitar as well.   I also noticed that her clothes, makeup and lipstick shade were of dark color, making her look somewhat like a goth type.  And in my experience, those type of girls usually like me, perhaps cause of my black hair (they have a strong fetish for black color).  We exchanged numbers, and when we all parted, she said she would call me later.


As I waited in the car outside the disco, Vadim stepped outside for a bit to talk to some friends.  He returned carrying a girl in his arms. 


When he approached the door on my side, I opened it, and though he tried to put her into the seat with me, she struggled herself loose and away from the car.   Later, she returned with another lady, and somehow they both got into the backseat with me.  They were two young hot girls with dark hair.  I don't know how Vadim and his

friends met them or what they were saying because it was all in Russian.   But the girls' names were Ksenia and Irina.  I didn't even have any idea where we were taking them. 


Vadim's roommate pulled up in front of the building of our flat.  Vadim beckoned me to follow him up home, while his roommate and the two girls remained in the car.  Back in the flat, he told me that his roommate, George (his nickname) was going to St. Petersburg and was probably taking those two girls from the disco with him.   I began preparing for bed.  It was already 5am and I was tired from the disco and the drinks tonight too.  Then Vadim told me to wait a few minutes while he went down to say goodbye to George before he went to St. Petersburg.  I climbed into my bed, turned off the lights, and began to call it a night.  


Suddenly, Vadim returned and called out to me "Winston, come here!  I brought the two girls!"  Really?  No way, I thought. I thought they were going with George to St. Petersburg.  I walked toward the front door and greeted them.   Wow, I thought.  This is cool.  I wonder what's going to happen.  I had no idea if they came with the intention of getting physical, or simply for a casual platonic visit. Vadim told me that they didn't want to go to St. Petersburg so George left them with us for the weekend. (really?)   We all went to George's bedroom with the TV,

and sat down on the bed.  Vadim took Irina, the taller one, down the hall to the other room where we slept, and I stayed in George's room with Ksenia, the shorter of the two hotties.  As I cuddled Ksenia, she looked through photos of Vadim and George's collection.   I was excited in anticipation of what to expect from here, and if we were going to get some kind of action from them.  Vadim and Irina sporadically came in and out, and I could tell he was chasing her and coming on to her, while she did the typical evasive hard-to-get manuevers.  I could tell she was fending off his moves while they were getting acquainted too.


Not long afterward, Irina came into the room I was in with Ksenia.  She had a few words with her and I heard the Russian word for "go home" in  her sentences.  Suddenly, Ksenia got up and started getting her things together.  It looked like they were leaving! :(  I tried to stop them by saying that I didn't get to take their photos yet, so they should come back and let me do it, but they were insistent on leaving now for some reason.  After getting their shoes on, they said quick goodbyes to us, but I wasn't sure they said they were coming back or not, since I might have heard them say they would.   When they left, Vadim also had a disappointed look on his face, and didn't know what went wrong.  He told me that when he was down there saying goodbye to George, he heard George tell the girls (who are actually professional highly priced prostitutes) to go up and give us some action for free.  And because George belonged to the Georgian mafia, which they feared, they listened to him and came up to our flat.  However, we had no idea what went wrong.  Vadim looked puzzled and disappointed.  With nothing left to do, I suggested we go out to try to look for them and talk to them to see what was wrong.  He agreed and we went out but they were long gone by then.   They probably took a taxi somewhere too.  Reluctantly, we called it a night and I climbed into bed again to sleep.


In the early afternoon the next day, I awoke and laid around for a while, feeling too lazy to get up.  Vadim was still asleep.  After showering and having some tea and cookies, I got dressed and began getting my things ready.  We were going to go for a walk around the Kremlin while I did some video taping, and then to the internet café afterward so I could type up some stories for the business gazette I worked for in Moscow, which were due by Monday.   George had also come back too, and changed his mind about going to St. Petersburg especially after hearing about how the two girls he brought back for us suddenly rudely left.




As I got ready, I took out my little backpack from the big one, which contained my camcorder and other essentials.  When I took out the camcorder bag, I felt that it was empty inside!  With my heart racing, I unzipped it to find it empty, with only the spare cassette tape inside!   Frantically, I thought "What the?  It's gotta be somewhere in this bag!"  But when I sifted my hand through the rest of my things in the small bag, the camcorder wasn't there either!  No way, I thought.  There has to be some logical explanation for this.   I could never lose such a thing.  But it was nowhere to be found.  I was shocked and immediately in denial.  My only consoling thought was "Someone will find it soon!"


When Vadim called to me and asked me if I was ready, I told him to come here.  When he did, I told him that I had a small problem.  "My camcorder is gone."  With a confused look, he came and helped me look for it.  He kept saying that it's gotta be somewhere here too.


When we both realized that it wasn't among my things at all, Vadim concluded that it must have been those two girls we brought back from the disco last night.  I retraced what happened last night and concluded that it was either them, or it was lost when my bag was in the disco coat and bag room when we were in the disco.   The coat and bag room where you left your stuff and took a number was huge and guarded by two staff girls inside.  Either they might have taken it, or someone else who overheard Vadim tell the disco security that there was a camcorder in my bag, might have sneaked in and taken it.   However, the disco closet culprit seemed far less likely, because I remember after getting my bag back from the disco staff, I felt inside to make sure my camcorder was still in there, and I felt its shape with my fingers.  So it was still with me when we left the disco, although I didn't actually open the bag and see it.   But I had done this many times before and knew what it felt like in my fingers to trust that method.


That meant that it must have been those two girls we brought back from the disco.  Vadim was sure of it.  He recounted that just before they left, Irina had her hands behind her like she was hiding something behind her back.  He also said that he had left Irina alone in our room for about five minutes while he was in the bathroom.   He recounted that she was sitting on my bed while he was in the bathroom.  Since my backpack was right at the foot of the bed, it would have been right in front of her to look through.  I had also left it open as well, showing the smaller black bag inside.   During those five minutes she was alone in the room, she must have opened it quickly, found the camcorder, and slipped it into her purse or jacket.  No wonder why all of a sudden she was eager to leave quickly!!!!!!!


(Note:  By the way, this was not the first time that girls have robbed me in Russia.  A while ago in Moscow, I was hanging out with the 30 year old blonde lady I was dating, and her friend from Ukraine, Natasha who is a tall gorgeous model.  We were at a park fountain named VDNX in Moscow that had golden statues and fountains like

Peterhoff in St. Petersburg.  While we were drinking beer, Natasha kept flirting with me a lot, and I was too tempted to flirt with her back.  Eventually I did, and Vika, the blonde lady I was dating, started calling me a playboy. 


During the time we sat and drank, I used my electronic translator to convey some of my words to them.  Natasha liked the pocket translator and asked if she could have it as a present.  I looked like her like she asked me the stupidest question in the world.  I said of course not, and that I needed it, which is why I have it, duh!  But a few hours later, while we were still sitting, the translator was suddenly gone.  It looked everywhere in my bag and Vika’s.  Then when I asked Natasha to show me her little backpack, she hesitated for a while and did something with the guy who came and joined us out of nowhere, and then gave me her bag to look.  It didn’t have the translator, but she could have passed it to that other guy (who we just met).  Or she could have put it in her pants somewhere, but she was wearing such tight pants that it would have showed and bulged out.  But they looked tight and empty.  She had no jacket either.  So didn’t see anywhere on her body that she could have hid it.  I now regret not demanding that she stand up for a body search, and I would have demanded that that other guy be searched as well of course.


That day, Vika had no idea what happened to it and speculated that it might have fell into the water next to us.  She even put her arms in it for a while to try to find it.  I have no idea if Vika knew that Natasha stole the translator or not, or if she even helped her.  But it was gone, and when I relayed this story to Vadim last week, who is also from Ukraine, he told me that he was 100 percent sure that Natasha stole my translator.  He said that these Ukrainian girls are like «little devils” inside and are prone to commit thievery and are calculating about

such acts.)


But, I wonder, how did she know where to look for valuables?  How could she have been so lucky?  Or did she select my backpack because it was at the foot of the bed?  Perhaps she did these kind of things often and knew where the most probably places were that contained valuables, such as backpacks.   We didn't have their last names or photos, but we knew what they looked like, and so did many others at the disco.


Vadim told me that the only thing to do now is to call his friend who works for the police, and fill out a report.  He said that this friend will help track down the girls and my camcorder as quickly as possible.  There were special methods and resources that could be used in this town to track down people, and he knew of them, Vadim explained.   When he arrived, I recognized him as one of Vadim's friends who drove us to the disco yesterday.  I didn't know he was a cop.  No wonder he was able to get into the disco without paying the entrance fee. Vadim explained that he was an inspector, not a typical Russian policeman or militiaman.  


Sergey, the inspector, showed me his little red ID badge that the police here usually carry.  As Vadim described the details of this theft, Sergey wrote them down in Russian.  When he was done, Vadim summarized what Sergey wrote to me, and asked me to sign it and write in English that I agree with the above facts and that they are accurate.   I did so.  And I was also told to write the make and model number

of the lost camcorder.


Vadim explained to me what was about to happen here. There were two levels of policemen here.  The city government police would work too slowly here and might take weeks to find my camcorder. Instead, Sergey was going to enlist a "private police firm" in this case.  Unlike the city police, they were trained to expedite these searches quickly and aggressively.  They knew all the secret areas and black market lines of this town, and could scan the black market lines to quickly track down stolen goods.  They also worked with regiments of the mafia as well, so they knew all the connections and how to trace them.  Vadim explained to me that they in the past have been able to find almost anything of value that was stolen.  And that they could probably find my camcorder in a day or two.  However, he explained, they didn't work for free, and would probably want 30 percent of the value of my camcorder as payment for their services.   I agreed, since I got that small camcorder for 200 dollars on Ebay.  I figured it would be worth 60 dollars to get back.


Another problem at hand was that we did not have those two girls’ photos, and didn’t know their last names either.  For all we know, their first names may be even be fake.  So I asked Vadim how this private police firm could possibly guarantee to track them down in one day without their photos or their real names?  I told him that even the US law enforcement, with all their latest technology, could not guarantee to track someone down in one day without their photos or real names.  In fact, even with a suspect’s photos and last name, the US law enforcement would still not guarantee to find them in one day!


Vadim responded by saying that he, George, Sergey, and the disco staff remembered these girls’ faces, and could recognize them.  And that their faces could be drawn from our memories by an expert artist working with the police.  Still, there were many girls who looked like them, so I was suspicious.  Also, how would the other special agents working on the case be able to recognize them?  There are many girls in the discos everyday who look like those two girls.  Plus, they told us they were heading to Moscow the next day, and could have left by bus already (which wouldn’t require any records like if they bought train tickets) or they could have went to another  city instead, using the Moscow claim to divert us in the wrong direction.  There was no guarantee that they were even in the same town now.  And if the police staked out the train station at 9pm, when the only train to Moscow for the day left Novgorod, the odds were slim that they would be there.


It all made no sense.  All I had was reassurance from Vadim.  When I told him that the US law enforcement even could not track someone down so easily and quickly without photos and real names, he said that the American police are stupid compared to the Russian police tactics, and that Russian policemen know how to think, unlike American policemen.  It made no sense, but I had to give my trusted “friend” the benefit of the doubt.


Sergey left to contact the private police firm and get things rolling.  Vadim and I met up with his new girlfriend and another male friend who spoke English well.  We walked along the Kremlin, and I took a few photos.  You can see them at this link:


Suddenly, Vadim got a call on his mobile and we were told to meet up with Sergey and George at a monument nearby for a private conversation.  Vadim said that it sounded like my problem may be decided.  When we met at the monument, we climbed into their car to receive the update on the search.  First though, I got some upsetting news.  Sergey said that the police firm researched the name and model of my camcorder, and said it was worth 1000 dollars in Russia, rather than the 200 dollars I bought it for, so the police firm wanted 300 dollars from me for the search!   I was aghast in shock and anger.  I just wanted to get my camcorder back, and now I have to shell out 300 dollars?  That was more than what I paid for the camcorder!  I told Vadim that the research was wrong and that I have seen very similar type of camcorders in Russian stores both here and Moscow for between 300 to 400 dollars.  I wanted him to try to convince the private firm police about this fact, but Vadim acted like such an act was futile, and that the price they quoted was the only option they would accept for their services. 


Besides getting angry, I also became suspicious.  I began to wonder if Sergey was trying to scam me too, for such money, and if Vadim could be in cohorts with that too (a gruesome thought of course, about my own close friend, but since it was a possibility, I had to consider it).  But there was no way to verify the sincerity of all this.  All I knew was that my camcorder was gone, and this was the only way to get it back.  I figured that if I didn't get it back, I'd have to pay at least 300 dollars for a new one anyway, so either option would cost the same, except if I got my stolen one back, I could get the cassette that was in it back as well, which had irreplaceable footage of what I shot in Moscow and Novgorod yesterday.   With no way to verify the integrity of any of this, but to trust what Sergey and Vadim told me, I reluctantly agreed to paying them 300 dollars.  Sergey told us several times that he is almost certain that this police firm can track down the camcorder.   I had no idea where he was getting such confidence and assuredness from, and I wondered if it was from real experience or if he was playing mind games with me.  But it didn't matter, cause I was not in a position with any other choices.  I just wanted it back, and whether Sergey himself was scamming me or not, either way his assuredness indicated that payment of this sum would get it back in any case.


Vadim said I could pay half first, 150, and then pay the rest when the camcorder was found.  If it wasn't found though, I would only lose 150 dollars for their services, as they had many men and detectives working on my case throughout the day, and had to pay them and for their transportation costs.   Angry that I might lose 150 dollars for nothing, they calmed me down and told me that this police firm has been known to track down anything.  During this time I thought, "Wait til my audience reads about my next update!" and that was the only amusing thought I had. However, I just did not have the experience or qualification to assess how realistic all this was.


Reluctantly, I agreed to the plan.  We drove to the ATM machine, where I withdrew 300 dollars in roubles, and handed them half of it.  We were dropped off back home, and Sergey and George drove off to continue working with the police.  All we could do was wait for the updates from them on the search process.   I was told that already many detectives and agents were on the search for both the camcorder and the two girls who stole them.  Vadim said that the girls told him they were leaving for Moscow today, and since the only direct train from Novgorod to Moscow left at 9pm, the police would be staked out at the train station, but of course, they could also be taking a bus or car.   Or they could have lied to divert our attention, and have gone to another city or still be in Novgorod. 


But Vadim said it didn't matter, because these police agents had ways of tracking down people even if they've left the city, and that it was only a matter of time.   To me though, that just didn't sound realistic since even the American police with all their latest high tech technology and gadgets, couldn't track people down so easily and quickly.  However, I also realized that the US police have to work within certain laws that protected people's rights, while the police in Russia had covert techniques that would otherwise be illegal in the US.  Vadim explained that unlike the US police, the Russian police knew how to think for themselves, and could strategize much better.  Vadim also said that the police were only sure that they could find the camcorder, not necessarily the cassette I had inside of it since those who sold it usually remove the cassette or throw it away before selling it.   I only hoped that if the girls were found, that they would be forced to reveal what they did with the cassette as well, so it could be found with it.


Suddenly, I realized that this would be impossible in the US because people can't be arrested so quickly based on someone's word alone without any evidence.  But in Russia, my word alone (and the hefty fee I paid of course) and the trust of the police were enough to arrest two young girls, and put them in jail until they reveal where my camcorder is?  It seemed a bit strange too, but again, I was not

qualified to judge how feasible all this was.


Later that night, Vadim finally took me to an internet cafe (not the one we met at last year) but they were closing at 11pm (the 24 hour ones opened all night only from Wednesday through Saturday), so I only had an hour and a half to continue writing my journalism articles for the newspaper.   I managed to finish one, and then we had to leave.  I emailed my boss in Poland, explaining the situation, and that I'd have the other story ready to send him on Monday afternoon instead.


When we got home, Vadim and I relaxed with some tea and small talk.  He tried his best to reassure me that all would work out and the police here knew their job well.  He also told me that he's known George and Sergey for a long time and that he trusts their word and doesn't think they are lying to me about anything.   Since I didn't

see this "private police firm", I had nothing to go on about them except from Sergey's words.  I asked Vadim if he was sure that Sergey was a cop at least, and he said of course.  Still, I couldn't help but entertain the gruesome thought that if this was all a scam against me, that Vadim may be involved as well.   If that was ever the case, then I could never trust anyone in Russia again if my own best friend could betray me like that for money.  Perhaps, I thought, when it came to money in Russia, nothing else mattered, not even friendship, loyalty, morals, honor, nor any sense of conscience at all.   I began to wonder if the ugly truth was that Russian mainstream people, including the nice normals ones (not just the bad  apples), just had no real conscience inside of them, and if they were even willing to scam their own friends for money.  The thought was horrible and inhuman, and I began to have flashbacks of last year when Yanis, Julia and Katya all participated in a scheme against me, with each lying to protect each other, all in the name of MONEY! 


What a gruesome horrific thought.  But all I could do now was wonder about it.  I had no clear cut evidence on either side.  Unlike the Yanis, Julia, Katya case, there was no smoking gun here like there was back then when I discovered the box of condoms in German in the second hotel room.   All I could do now was listen to Vadim and Sergey and trust their word and assurance that I could get the camcorder back.


Besides, Vadim did not seem like the type who would participate in such a scam against me, someone he really likes and cares about.  He has a good heart, caring eyes and behavior, is very thoughtful and generous to me as well.  He even offered to give me some expensive black leather shoes he got in Italy, but I had to refuse them because they were too big for me.   So, although I didn't feel Vadim would be capable of cooperating in a scheme like this against me, I knew intellectually that I could not rule it out either, and that I had to keep it in mind as a possibility, because technically, it was.


A little past midnight, Vadim got a call.  After speaking on the phone a bit, he came back to me and said that he had good news!  They had tracked down the guy who bought my camcorder and were on their way to his residence to arrest him.  My problem should be finished soon.   He also said that the two girls last night were the confirmed culprits because there were reports that two girls were selling a camcorder on the black market today.  It was sold to one guy who in turn sold it to another guy at a disco club.  The guy who last bought it was the one tracked down and being arrested now.


An hour later, Vadim answered another call.  Then he told me in an excited voice that the guy was found, charged, and arrested, and that the police would be bringing my camcorder over anytime now, so I should have the second half of the money ready to pay them as part of the deal.  Then, as we sat down and continued having tea and snacks, Vadim strongly advised that since Sergey and George used up a lot of their free time and gas to drive around and help me with all this, and weren't getting any part of the fee I paid to the private police, that I ought to give them a little money to reimburse them for gas expenses.   I agreed, but said that since I've lost so much money from this already, that I could only give them 500 roubles altogether.  Vadim thought about it and said that was better than nothing, so he took that amount from me, and went downstairs.  I looked outside the window to see George's car outside.  "How long has it been there?" I wondered.  That was kind of suspicious that it happened to be sitting there. 


When Vadim came back up, he was followed by Sergey and George.  Vadim suddenly blurted "Your camera was found!"  Sergey slipped his hand into an inside pocket of his black leather jacket and pulled out my camcorder!  I was relieved to see it again.  Sure enough, it was mine.  Vadim asked me to confirm that this one that was found was indeed mine.  When I did so, Vadim said that now I had to pay the second half of the fee to the private police, and that Sergey needed to deliver that money to them now.  Still suspicious, but put in the corner like this with no choice but to take their word for it, I handed the second half of the 300 dollars to Sergey.  After taking it, he and George left to deliver it to the private police firm.


I was glad to hold the precious camcorder in my hand again.  I turned it on to make sure it worked ok still, and it did.  Unfortunately though, the tape inside was missing.  Vadim said it was sold without it.  I was also told that ten agents were used to track down the final guy who had it.   He also said that the last guy who bought it paid $850 for it.  No way, I thought.  If that was the price it went for here, then I ought to buy many of these 200 dollar mini-camcorders off Ebay and sell them here for that much!  It would give us tremendous profits.  I just

don't see how that camcorder could be worth that much.  The recording is of average quality, and it wasn't a high end model of Panasonic.  So even that sounded suspicious too.  Also, I couldn't help but be suspicious about the fact that George and Sergey just happened to be outside in a car with my camcorder when Vadim went down to give them gas money.  If he already knew that they were down there, why did he wait so long after he got off the phone before going down?  It seemed strange.  Were they waiting down there to have my camcorder delivered to them from another police car?  I don't know, there were too many possible reasons, and all I could do was speculate, not prove anything.  I felt at such a disadvantage, being a guest in the home and having to take their word for it on everything.  I simply had no way of verifying anything that I was told.  And I was in no position to either. 


Although some of my instincts told me that my friends here were scamming me, I just could not accuse them directly like that without any proof either.  I simply couldn't do anything, despite my suspicions. 


When they returned, Vadim asked if I wanted to take a "working girl" for 500 roubles for an hour?  I said I would check out the ones available, so George and Sergey drove us to the working girl spots of town.  There weren't many available to choose from, and not that attractive either, so I picked one who was "doable" at least. 

We brought her back to the flat, and my three friends drank and talked in another room while I had my hour with the working girl.  It was fun and pleasurable, but as usual, I had a hard time performing in a condom.  Afterward, George and Sergey drove her home, and Vadim asked me if I felt better.   I said a little.


When George and Sergey returned, they brought back packets of juice and bottles of vodka.  They said that my returned camcorder was a reason to celebrate in the old Russian male tradition of drinking vodka.  What the heck, I thought.  Why not?   So we all toasted and drank, gulping down juice afterward.  George exempted himself though, cause he still had to drive later on.  After a few shots, I began to feel dizzy.  All of us were.  We began playing my Russian music CD's and George's Georgian music as well.   As we did so, we all danced wildly with each other.


George suggested we film this, so I brought out the camcorder while George filmed us all doing gypsy like dances.  It was funny but I knew that watching it afterward or showing it to anyone would be embarrassing.


After a few hours of celebrating, I was totally beat and dizzy.  I was so drunk on vodka that I could throw up too.  After lying down, I felt much better.  George and Sergey wanted to go out to a bar or disco, so they left.  I was not capable of even moving well.  So I went to bed, while Vadim studied for his exams in another room. Before doing so, he explained that although the girls were still not found, they would be eventually, wherever they were, and that when that happened, the police may try to get my lost 300 dollars from out of their pockets, and that

I should come back at that time to Novgorod to testify in court against them.   He also said that the guy who bought my camcorder knew he was buying stolen goods and had been for a while, but the police had no evidence to put him away yet.  Now they did, thanks to me.


Could my own friends have scammed me?


While trying to sleep, I couldn't help but replay and analyze all the events of the day, to try to determine if all they told me was real, or if they were all scamming me together.  It was a mystery that kept nagging at me, but there were no clear cut answers, only suspicious circumstances.   For example:


-  It seemed odd and suspicious that Sergey was so overly confident and assured that my camcorder could be found.  His assuredness was just too unrealistic to me, even if they were using the law enforcement technology of the US.  But again, I'm not in Russian law enforcement so I am not qualified to comment on the feasibility of this. (Perhaps I should find someone who is?  Otherwise, I may never get to the bottom of it.)

-  Also, when we brought those two girls back from the disco, George was talking to them for a long time in the car before they came up.  I was told to go up first with Vadim.  This seemed a bit suspicious too, because that could have been when George was instructing the two girls on how to find and take my camcorder.

-  Also, it seems very auspicious that the girls who robbed me just happened to be brought to me by Vadim’s friends, and how Vadim just happened to leave her alone in the room for five minutes for her to rob me, and how she just happened to know there was a camcorder in my backpack (despite it being in front her).  Those are all very suspicious circumstances, but not proof of course.


Also, even though I trust Vadim and don't think he would be capable of such a scam against me, someone he likes a lot and is fond of, it is also possible that he may not be involved in the scam and that only George and Sergey were.  So he may have been tricked into thinking this was all real as well.   And besides, when I first told him that my camcorder was missing, he seemed genuinely shocked and concerned.  Either he was, or he's a marvelous actor with academy award winning talent. 


However, if this was a scam, it is more probable that all three of them were involved, in order to pull it off properly.


If this was a scam though, you would think they would return the cassette with the camcorder too (unless they want to do it at a later time and ask for more money, sometimes Russian greed never stops or has enough).  Also, if it was a scam, how were they able to be sure that those two girls could come into the flat with me there and pull off taking it from my bag?   Perhaps the smaller girl I was with,

Ksenia, was instructed to distract me in the other room? 


But if this was a scam, why would they want to do this?  And especially, how could Vadim do this to me, a close and long-time friend?  As I began to ponder the psychological motivations, I remembered again that in poor countries like Russia, people can't afford to have morals or a conscience.   Survival and money are the top priorities, not any values.  Also, Russian mentality in many ways was the opposite and inverse of ours, as I have been explaining all along.  Perhaps they have a religious Robin Hood mentality, and believe that the poor have a

right to take from the rich, even if it involves scamming or stealing from them.   So maybe they feel that the poor have the right to level the class between them and those with more wealthy, using any means they can no matter how immoral?  If so, that would be a very gruesome and morbid mentality  that I could never respect.  They certainly were different from us, and perhaps our cultures and mentalities are just too different.   Perhaps deep down, through all the lies and bullshit, Russians really had zero conscience, especially when it came to money?


The assault on me the next day!


The next day, I woke up in the afternoon with a terrible hangover.  I took some of my Tylenol and made some coffee to try to clear my head up too.  Vadim was gone and taking some classes at the local university.  George was still asleep though.   So I left alone to go to the internet cafe to finish my journalism articles.  Outside, I asked a few girls where to find one and eventually found one that was very cheap.  I then called Vadim to tell him where I was.  I told him to come pick me up in a few hours.   After working a few hours and finishing up the last story, Vadim arrived.  I told him that I planned to go to Vyborg next and needed to go to the post office to call this boat hotel there to make reservations and ask about current prices.  He agreed to help me with the call and translate for me.  


When we left that internet cafe, located behind a school and within a neighborhood, it was already dark.  As we walked and talked, we passed the corner of the building into an area that was dark and not lighted at night.  I noticed a tall figure in a black cap standing behind the corner of the building we were passing.   Suddenly,

the tall figure leaped out from its position toward Vadim, who was between him and me.  I saw him make physical contact with Vadim.  It looked as though he ran into him.  At first, I thought "That clumsy guy.  Why doesn't he watch where he's going?"   Vadim stopped though and seemed momentarily incapacitated.  As I tried to see what was going on, I saw the tall figure leap in my direction.  I thought that he was trying to run around us to greet someone on the other side, so I stepped forward out of his way.  


But suddenly, he threw a flying roundhouse kick to my backside.  I couldn’t believe it.  Why would a total strange suddenly hit me with a flying roundhouse kick?!  That’s never happened before, especially if I’m in the company of a buddy.  


"Now, that did not seem like an accident,” I thought.  Then I realized, “Holy shit!  Am I under attack?" (I never have before, at least not like this.)  Before I could think anything further, I felt a strong pull on my backpack.  When I realized that that was what he wanted, I began to cling to it with my life.  It contained my camcorder that I just got back!!!!!! AFTER I SPENT 300 DOLLARS YESTERDAY TO GET IT BACK, THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS GOING TO LOSE IT AGAIN!!!!!!!   I was ready to defend it with my life! In a state of panic and anger, I forcefully yelled "No!!!!  You can't have this!!!!" 


During the struggle, the attacker suddenly somehow footsweeped me, and I found myself on the floor, with my backpack strap still around my right arm.   While the attacker was pulling at my backpack, he was throwing a series of punches and kicks at me at the same time!  I was in a very bad position.  But I kept my focus on the bag and clinging to it.  So much so that I had no time or attention to be focusing on where the attacker was, or striking him back.  I couldn't believe this was happening either, as it had never happened to me before.  During the mayhem, I kept wondering where Vadim was and why he wasn't fending off this attacker so I had time to get up and defend myself.  Where was he????   I kept wondering.  Even while on the ground, I continued yelling in English "No!  You can't have this!" loudly.


After a few more seconds of this, the attacker gave up and ran away.  As Vadim pulled me up, I saw the attacker sprint away.   He was very fast, and if he had gotten my backpack, I don't think I could ever catch him.  I was relieved to have made it through that without losing anything, yet shaken up at the same time.  The right side of my face next to my nose was sore due to a punch, but other than that I was ok.  Vadim looked a bit shaken up too.


Disappointed at myself, I remarked that I usually reacted quickly in such situations.  But in this case, the guy moved so quickly, like lightning, and came at us in the dark too.  I merely had no time to react or realize what was going on.  The guy was fast.  And also, I would never have expected one lone man to attack two men together like that.  But perhaps he was a pro and knew his moves very well.


When I asked where he was during the struggle, he said that he was wincing in pain at first because the attacker first struck him hard in the stomach before coming at me.   Then near the end of the struggle, he was behind me holding my backpack too, to prevent the attacker from getting it. I guess he must have been in too much fear and shock to fight back too.  Then I asked him if he knew who the attacker was, to which Vadim dramatically replied, “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!” with a totally honest face while gazing straight into my eyes.


As we walked toward the lighted street, Vadim sighed, shook his head, and said "Man, that's why I hate it here in Russia. Things like this that happen."  He told me that this kind of attack has happened before here in Novgorod.  But I had walked out late at night in Russian cities many times, even in Moscow, and this never happened.  When we went inside the telegraph office, Vadim sat down to recover from the blow to his stomach.  After a while, he got up to make his calls, and then helped me make my reservations in Vyborg at the boat hotel.  We ran into a friend of his there and when he pointed to the dirt on my pants, he asked what happened to me.   I told him what just happened to us.  He told me that I was lucky the attacker gave up and ran away, as they sometimes never stop pounding on you or may even use weapons.


Vadim speculated that when he heard me yelling in English, he was shocked that he was attacking a foreigner and so he ran away, as he may not have done so with a Russian victim.   When we got home, I told Sergey and George what happened.  They were shocked too, and said if they had been there, they would have killed the guy.


Later that night, as I laid down in relief glad to have come out of that assault unharmed, and glad to have gotten my video camera back, I suddenly felt I had a fever.  Oh no, I thought. Perhaps that working girl I kissed the other night gave me a cold or flu while we kissed.   So I took some Tylenol and eventually got some rest.


One nice blessing I got in Novgorod In spite of all that happened, one nice thing happened on my last night in Novgorod.  That night, I lay in bed ready to call it a night again because my fever started again.  Then I got a call on my mobile at about 1am.  I looked at ths screen and saw that it was that hot blonde Elena I met at the disco.   I didn't think my phone credits would last on roaming, even from another mobile, so I stopped the call.  But then she called back.  When I tried to push the button to light up the screen, I accidentally accepted the call instead. lol  So after greeting her, she asked what I was doing now and I said resting.   She said she was in a bar.  When she asked about tomorrow, we suddenly lost connection.  I didn't have enough credits to call her on my phone and my SIM card was a Moscow number too, so I had Vadim call her back later to finish our conversation.  When he did, he told her I was leaving for Vyborg tomorrow, and then she offered to come over tonight if I'd pay for her taxi ride.  I accepted and waited in anticipation.


Suddenly, I didn't care if I was sick anymore!  But Vadim made some hot berry juice for me, which he said two cups of would make a fever go away and make you feel like "a new baby again".   I had the two cups of them and did feel great afterward.


An hour later, Elena arrived.  I got out of bed and went to greet her.  When I did, I was stunned........  With her hair down and the light on, she looked MUCH MUCH BETTER than she did at that disco I met her at!  I couldn't believe it!   I saw for the first time how perfect looking her face was, especially with the big baby blue eyes.  She looked like a cross between Barbie and Britney Spears.  But seriously though, she had one of the most perfect looking faces I had ever seen!!!!!!   Wow!!!!! 


Suddenly, I also thought that in spite of all the chaos I've experienced here in Russia, there's one thing I gotta appreciate though.  And that's that in the USA, someone who looked anything like this Elena who came over at a moment's notice like that would NEVER EVER happen in the USA!   It would be 1000 percent impossible!  But in Russia, such things were possible and happening right now.  That's what I gotta love about it at least.  And that's one of the things that drew me here in the first place.


Elena saw me and said in a perky voice "Hi Winston!" She came with her friend Nastya and brought a guitar to sing for me too. I was so stunned and electrified by her appearance that I brought out my camera and took lots of photos of her, and some with her.   I can't wait to get them printed, so I can show people.  And I can't wait to show you all what she looks like too.  She is even much hotter and a whole stratosphere above my ex-fiancee Katya!  While I flirted with her, she resorted to her usual play-hard-to-get behavior, teasing me and challenging me at the

same time.   However, there was one instance where she looked at me and said "You're so cute!"  I couldn't believe she said that, so I asked her to repeat it so I could make sure, but she wouldn't. 


When I gave her a postcard of New York of a night scene of Times Square and signed it, she was flattered by the gift.  Right then I used that opportunity to see if I could finally get a kiss from her on the mouth.  It would be a dream come true!   So I leaned forward with my request.  She accepted and gave me a quick kiss on the mouth.  I was STUNNED!  I know this is going to sound juvenile, but I actually just touched lips with the most perfect looking flawless face I've ever seen?!?!?!?!? WOW!  NO WAY!  YES!!!!!!!!!!!


George and I kept exchanging glances too, and acknowledging her presence here.  She kept pointing to Elena and saying that she ought to be my wife and go to America. lol


Here are some photos I made with Elena.  You can see Vadim with me in one of them.


When she played the guitar and sang, I realized what a talented voice she had as well.  She sang a nice Russian song duo with her friend Nastya.  I video taped it, zooming in and out on Elena's perfect looking face.  Then they were in the mood to get some beer.  So the three of us went out and bought some. (after the assault in the dark that happened the other night though, I was very wary of walking out on the street at night again!)  After I bought some bottles of beer, Elena thanked me. 


After buying her a little hamburger too, she kissed me again.  AHHHHHH! :)  Inside the hamburger stand though, when the cooks saw me with her, right after she stepped out to smoke, they looked at me and told me that I had a real real beauty there.  I got a high from being an object of envy again like I did last year.


On the way back, they wanted me to pay for a taxi to save them a 5 to 7 minute walk.  It seemed so nonsensical to do that though, so I refused.  But they kept arguing about it and claimed that I was making them suffer by not agreeing to it.   But I didn't know them long enough to decide whether to trust them or not.  I thought they might get in and go home with the beer, leaving me behind to pay for the ride.


I didn't want to take that risk, and besides, a 5 to 7 minute walk was nothing.   Elena's walk looked fine, not tired at all, and she was even skipping like a little girl earlier.  So it made no sense to believe their legs were really tired and sore.  This sounded more like princess mentality to me.  And from my past experience, I decided I wasn't going to give in to that anymore.   After a long dispute over it, they finally agreed to walk the rest of the way.  Back in the flat, they were a bit grumpy still while they drank the beer and I tried to cheer them up.


Eventually, Elena was ready to sing the song she promised, which was "Don't Speak" by No Doubt.  It was one of her favorite songs, and mine too.  She even knew all the words by heart, despite having limited English ability.  As I video taped it, I marveled at how much energy and feeling she was putting into each word.   It made her even more perfect to me.  And soon I found myself falling for her.  I knew this was a girl I could go crazy for.  The kind that, unfortunately, could make me do things I know I shouldn't do and make it impossible to say no to (as Katya did with me last year).   Over the next few days in fact, I couldn't stop thinking about her.  While she enchanted me with her voice that night, I forgot all about the troubles that happened to me in Novgorod.  It was like her voice just melted them away.  I knew I could easily fall in love now.


When they wanted to leave in the morning, they wanted to ask me for taxi money, but George and Vadim tried to prevent it.  There was a long argument between them about being a gentlemen.  I couldn't understand any of it though.  But it seemed like a lot more trouble than it was worth.   I didn't know which side to take either.  I asked Elena what the problem was, and she said that she needed taxi money.


Vadim said that it would only cost 40 roubles to send them home.  I guess I did promise earlier to pay for their taxi ride, so I should.   But perhaps Vadim and George were making a statement to them to counter their princess mentality.  I offered Elena 50 roubles, and she accepted and said bye and that she would call me again.  (Since then, I've missed her sooooooo much and watch her singing on my video tape often.)


The next day, Vadim called another Elena, the one from Cherepovets who is part of Julia's group and translated for me, the short brunette.  She met us while we were in a cafe playing in the arcade.  I was surprised to see her because I didn't know she was coming.   We gave each other a long hug and sat down to catch up on old times.  She asked me how long I had been in Russia and what I had been doing.


I gave her highlights.  Then she told me that Julia had been asking about me lately, and wanted to see me again in her city.   I told her to sms Julia and tell her that I would come at some point.  I was going to drop off some video tapes to her.  Now, I could see her new baby as well.


Later that evening, Vadim and Elena (Cherepovets one) escorted me to the bus station for my departure to St. Petersburg. (Vadim’s cop friend Sergey had offered to drive me there for a hefty price, but I refused, having a bad vibe about it)  They gave me a very warm and dramatic goodbye.  Vadim wanted me to return to Novgorod again as soon as I could.  He said every time I've been there, it's made his life way more interesting.


During the bus ride, I sat next to this sweet brunette girl and flirted with her.  She was so feminine and easy to make blush. How cute.  When I arrived in St. Petersburg, I marveled at how new the metro stations looked.  I rode to Moscovsky Station, stowed my main luggage in the guarded storage room, and found an internet cafe, where I wrote the last update before this.   I stayed there all night until morning when I went to Finlandsky station to take a train to Vyborg, a medieval town near the border of Finland with castles and historical cobblestone streets, and an inexpensive hotel on a parked boat.  I will tell you about the adventure there next time.   For now, that's it!


I hope you enjoyed the drama this past week!  Wish me luck everyone.






Addendum to yesterday's update


Dear all,

I forgot to add some more comments to yesterday's update on my robbery and assault in Novgorod.


That was not the first time that girls have robbed me in Russia.  A while ago in Moscow, I was hanging out with the 30 year old blonde lady I was dating, and her friend from Ukraine, Natasha who is a tall gorgeous model.  We were at a park fountain named VDNX in Moscow that had golden statues and fountains like Peterhoff in St. Petersburg.  While we were drinking beer, Natasha kept flirting with me a lot, and I was too tempted to flirt with her back.  Eventually I did, and Vika, the blonde lady I was dating, started calling me a playboy. 


During the time we sat and drank, I used my electronic translator to convey some of my words to them.  Natasha liked the pocket translator and asked if she could have it as a present.  I looked like her like she asked me the stupidest question in the world.  I said of course not, and that I needed it, which is why I have it, duh!  But a few hours later, while we were still sitting, the translator was suddenly gone.  It looked everywhere in my bag and Vika’s.  Then when I asked Natasha to show me her little backpack, she hesitated for a while and did something with the guy who came and joined us out of nowhere, and then gave me her bag to look.  It didn’t have the translator, but she could have passed it to that other guy (who we just met).  Or she could have put it in her pants somewhere, but she was wearing such tight pants that it would have showed and bulged out.  But they looked tight and empty.  She had no jacket either.  So didn’t see anywhere on her body that she could have hid it.  I now regret not demanding that she stand up for a body search, and I would have demanded that that other guy be searched as well of course.


That day, Vika had no idea what happened to it and speculated that it might have fell into the water next to us.  She even put her arms in it for a while to try to find it.  I have no idea if Vika knew that Natasha stole the translator or not, or if she even helped her.  But it was gone, and when I relayed this story to Vadim last week, who is also from Ukraine, he told me that he was 100 percent sure that Natasha stole my translator.  He said that these Ukrainian girl are like “little devils” inside and are prone to commit thievery and are calculating about such acts.


Anyway, the point is that contrary to what I expected, young pretty girls in Russia are very capable of calculated theft.  You would think that young pretty girls are used to getting what they want and don’t need to steal.  But since it’s happened to me twice, it’s obvious that that isn’t true here.  Apparently, hot chicks here commit crimes, so you can’t trust them just because they’re girls and don’t do what “bad boys” do.


Also, regarding the suspicious circumstances of the robbery in Novgorod, another example is how auspicious it seems that the girls who robbed me just happened to be brought to me by Vadim’s friends, and how Vadim just happened to leave her alone in the room for five minutes to give her time to rob me, and how she just happened to know it was in my backpack (despite it being in front her).  Those are all very suspicious circumstances, but not proof of course.


Finally, some of you on my list wrote back to me after yesterday’s update and said that you were almost sure that I was scammed in Novgorod by my own friends, including Vadim.  One guy even said that he thinks the assault on me the next day was a setup as well.  If so, I would be appalled that a close friend of mine would arrange for someone to attack me directly.  If that was true, then the rest of you who have never been to Russia perhaps shouldn’t because that would indicate that deep down, even the nice normal average people in Russia (and not just the “bad apples”) really have no conscience, honor, loyalty, heart, morals, or sense of right and wrong at all, when it came to money especially.  Not only that, but they are master actors like Lucifer himself (or the equivalent), are capable of lying like they breathe, and perhaps have sociopathic tendencies as well. 


Somehow, I feel deep down in my intuition that many Russian people (including average normal ones, not just bad apples) deep down genuinely believe that a poor person who needs money has a right to attempt to steal or scam money from a richer person than himself, and that this is acceptable and justifiable.  That philosophy and mentality is completely wrong in our Western mentality, but I do sense that deep down inside, that is what they believe and will act upon.  It is like a survival mentality, or a Robin Hood complex, that believes that a poor person living in a disadvantaged country has a right to use unethical and deceptive tactics to “even it out” with a richer person to put their economic statuses on a more level par.  It’s a sickening thought, but I get the sense that that’s how people here think (even the nice normal ones).  And remember, I have now been in 11 cities here, met hundreds of people, had many experiences, etc. so I am more qualified than most to summarize what I feel and intuit.  This is not just based on the scam incidents against me, but on general conversations I’ve had, my sense of their mentality and world view, observing their behavior, etc.  It’s based on a lot of little things too.  I am seeing the big picture here.



Some reader comments about the Novgorod incidents


Hi all,

I thought I'd share with you some comments I've been getting regarding the Novgorod incidents, from my reader lists.  They are interesting and perhaps true.


From my dad:


“Dear Win,


Your suspicous about the robbery has a very solid ground. I have no doubt that it was a set up. You were pushed into the situation that you could not get out without losing something. The lessons to be learned here: (1) you should not trust anyone. The trust is not to be taken for granted, it should be earned. (2) People who are regular customers in those places, like bars, night clubs, discos, casinos, etc. are the one to be watched out for. Many of them don't have regular jobs and they need money. No room for conscience there. Stay away from those people. What do you think the kind of girls there want from men? (3) Don't show

people your valuable belongings. They attract people's greedy nature. (4)

Store your valuable items, such as credit cards, camera, camcorder in your waist bag. Don't leave them off your sight.


Like some of your friend, I also feel the assult incident is not logical. No one robber in his right mind will try to rob someone who had other companion. Why did he after your bag pack? Who carries valuable items in the bag pack? Could that be a rerun of prior robbery that he knew your camcorder was in there? Fortunately, he was not armed, otherwise you could have big trouble. You have a very suspicous mind, use it.


Consider lucky yourself. But, you said you are going back there, to testify? You have no chance to get your money or tape back. Maybe there is another scam is cooking up for you when you go back there. Forget it. Those guys are dangerous and they deem you as an easy way to get money from.”



From Nicole, a hot American blonde valley girl:


“If I were you I'd stay away from this Vadim character. George and the other guy he hangs out with seem like shadowy characters and you said so yourself, you always seemed to get robbed when these people bring women with them, or when Vadim leaves the room for 5 minutes.  Just put two and two together. I found it strange also that the day after you got your camcorder back, you were assaulted by a man who was bent on stealing that backback from you containing the same camcorder! This is all an elaborate scam/conspiracy to milk more money out of you, I smell a rat and that rat is Vadim. Certainly if the man had suceeded in getting your backpack, Vadim would have recommended you to go to his friend who conveniently was a "cop," who no doubt would have made assurances of tracking down your assailant and your camcorder for a fee.  Its called extortion! I smelled it right away the first time your camera disappeared, and one of Vadim's friends happens to be a cop, OH how bloody convenient!  Don’t you find it strange that Vadim never came to your aide as you were struggling to hold on to your backpack? Granted he was still reeling from a punch to his stomach, I still find it suspicious. These people aren't worth gambling your life with, stay away from them and everyone associated with them.





From Conrad, a shrewd New Yorker:




You got scammed and probably the assault was a set up as well. I really wish you would get your act together over there. I think you should have stayed in Moscow and concentrated on your career. When you are a success all else will fall in to place.




Conrad P. Karl, Jr.”



Other fans on my list:


“Hi Winston!


I read your update and all I can do is sympathize.

Your so called friends deceived you to extract money. This is for sure!

Have no doubts about it.


I hope you'll change your opinion about Russia now as did I.

In fact it would serve to be an interesting article on why Americans should not travel to Russian provinces (if ever they come to Russia) without proper protection and support so that they don't get their ass in to any troubles or misadventures that are so very common here.


All the best.”



“Hi Winston,


Thank you for your updating me on your trip. You know, it could be

argued that in some way Russian women can be much worse than American

women..... the more people i chat with -- be it Russian  guys or American

guys who have traveled there (I personally know an American who lives in

Russia -- is an ex-pat)  they are are painting very ugly pictures about

Russian women.


As you may be aware, I like 'em PRETTY, and the prettier Russian women

definitely are the most parasitic ... and they tend to be in cahoots

more in crimes against foreigners.


If you plan on living and working in Russia, then do so because of your

interest in that nation itself; the history, the culture... because i

will tell you that  living and working over there seems like a major

hassle just for pussy, and whatever women you meet there who is attractive

do not bring her back to the States with you; she will most likely be a

visa whore.


Take care my friend.”



From my Russian manager in Moscow for the business gazette I worked at:


“Hi, Wu! 


Let me call you Wu because to avoid confusion with our winston in

Warsaw.  Hope you would not mind.


Regarding your story I would only say in Russian "Tebya razveli kak

lokha" which means you have been easily fooled to the maximum extent and I

think you deserve it because you are a "lokh".




(He was sure mean!  Perhaps it is true that deep down in their hearts, Russians lack sympathy, empathy, and compassion?)



Update: I found proof that the assault in Novgorod was a setup!


Dear all,

After reading some of your comments last night and especially Nicole’s comments about how particularly suspicious it was that Vadim didn’t come to my aide during the assault, something suddenly hit me about the



When it happened, I remember seeing the attacker approach Vadim and

simply push or shove him.  I don’t remember seeing him swing a punch at

Vadim at all.  That’s why when Vadim told me later that he was hit

hard in the stomach, I found it a bit odd that I didn’t see it, but I

just brushed it off and assumed that it was too dark and the attacker

moved too fast for me to have seen the punch.


Now though, I realize that perhaps my memory was correct.  Despite it

being dark there, I remember seeing the tall dark figure move quickly

toward Vadim and simply giving him a shove, not a punch.  What this means


MUCH IN PAIN TO HELP ME DURING THE ASSAULT!!!!!!  If this is true, then it

is sort of the «smoking gun” that proves that the assault was a

setup!  He probably told that guy to try not to hurt me, but to take my

backpack for him, so that he could have a reason to ask for more money

from me later.  But when I put up too much of a struggle and started

yelling, Vadim probably told him to quit and run to avoid any public



The only way I could be wrong about this is if during the struggle

while I was on the floor, Vadim came to my aide and was hit in the stomach

while I wasn’t looking.  But when Vadim recounted the incident to me

though, that’s not what he said.  He seemed to imply that he was hit

in the stomach at the beginning of the incident.


Add to this some suspicious things about this act that don’t make

sense, and the situation is even clearer.  For one thing, it is very

improbable for one lone unarmed attacker to come out and try to rob and

attack two men.  And second, it makes no sense why he was after my

backpack.  How did he know there was anything valuable in there?  My backpack

looked like a school backpack and one would assume that there were

school books in there.  A real mugger would threaten me and go for my

wallet, not trying to grab a simple backpack.


All these things added up, especially the likelihood that Vadim lied

about being hit hard in the stomach, equal a definite set up.


You know, to be honest, I’m starting to get the idea that perhaps it

is in Russian people’s blood to lie, cheat, and steal.  After all,

they do it so fluidly, naturally, and without conscience that you’d

think it is in their second nature, especially since they lie so well that

you can’t detect any difference in their facial expression.  During

this scam and setup for example, Vadim must have told me many many lies,

yet he kept a straight honest face the whole time.  I surmise that it

must be ingrained in their second nature and in their blood for them to

be that good at it.




Interesting comments to share 


Hi all,

First of all, I don't know if I told you this or not, but Vadim sent me

a mobile text message a few days ago asking when I would return to

Novgorod.  Then he sent another one asking if he could borrow $100 from me and pay me back when his parents sent him the money.  After I replied no, he suddenly became resentful, claiming that he thought that I was a true friend. LOL  Then I was thinking all like "Well you know, I thought you were a true friend too, but after you scammed me, lied to me, robbed me, blackmailed me, then arranged to have me assaulted the next day so you could repeat the blackmail again, I couldn't help but have just a few slight doubts, ya know???!!!!"


Do you all think I should let him know about all the scams he pulled on

me?  Or should I keep silent about it and pretend that I thought it was

all real? lol  It's funny that he "thought I was a true friend though". 


After he robs me, demands a ransom, and then stages an assault on me,

he sure has a right to act as though I betrayed our friendship.  That's

the most hypocritical thing I've heard in my life. LOL


Anyway, I wanted to show you all an interesting and inspiring comment I

got today from my old buddy John Benneth, a legend in Virginia City,



"Of course it was a setup, Winston. The tip off was Vadim's description's

of the number of "detectives" of this "special police unit" they said were

on your case. What a load of bullshit. They had so much fun doing

it the first time they wanted to do it again.


Turn the lot of them in to whatever authorities you think there are

Over there in Russia. If you don't, they'll get the idea that they can do

This kind of thing to people and get away with it. Practice makes perfect.

They'll get bolder, more sophisticated and will inevitably really hurt

somebody trying this on somebody. Others will be envious by the easy

loot and will try to imitate it. The fastest way to do this sort of thing is

to just clout tourists, grab their stuff and then essentially ransom it

back to them. Maybe they'll start with whatever's in your bag or purse

and then work themselves up to somebody's kid.


You've got to take some responsibility here, not only for yourself, but

for others, too. You have to understand that you're a walking talking

Christmas tree to these people. At least six people were in on the



That means that the whole town knows by now how these six chumps shook

you down for what to them was probably a fortune. They will do it

again, to you or someone else, until they get stopped.


Your behavior, your general attitude towards life has opened you up to

this sort of thing. Until you change it will get worse. You may

eventually get badly hurt or even killed if you don't take a good look

at yourself.


But let me tell you what you're doing right. You're making a good

Record of what has happened and sharing it with others. Observe something and

It will change. And so by making a record of it and posting it on the

Internet, you increase observance exponentially."



Also, my dad had some amusing and obvious comments about the Vyborg



"Your feud in Vyborg is very amusing and a waste of energy. It showed

your persistent character that you never yield and give up when you think

you have the right. If I were you, I will give up right there and ask

her to leave so that I won't waste more time and energy on someone I

don't respect. I don't give a damn even if she will pay me for the

service. If "to be right" won't give me happiness, I will drop my "right" like

a dirt.


What did you do with Vadim's request? Don't challenge him and say he

involved in the scam. That way you still have him guess and you still

have a friend in that city. Just tell him you don't have much money left

and ignore him from now on.








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