A man for our time

14

May 6, 2014 by AK

I was half-listening to Moscow’s Business FM radio last weekend when the anchor, talking about the standoff in Eastern Ukraine, mentioned “Graham Phillips, a British journalist”. I cocked my ears: the name rang a bell. Phillips was then quoted as reporting from some separatist encampment in Donbass, on a Putinist note. He might as well have been – I thought – one of the 300 media people decorated by Putin for “objective reporting”.

Until recently, Graham W. Phillips was an English freelancer based in Kyiv. He blogged about comparative pricing of sex in Eastern Europe, disapproved of the EuroMaidan, and preferred Yanukovich. Then in March 2014, Phillips resurfaced in the Russian-occupied Crimea to explain “[w]hy the Crimea referendum was fair.” Not surprisingly, RT started using Phillips as a source. Why, an expat Brit happy to expose The 12 New Crimes of New Ukraine!

Just this morning, lenta.ru reported a new Twitter revelation from Phillips; it’s also on RT. The “RT stringer” believes that the Kyiv government has set a bounty of $10,000 on his head. Ten grand, no kidding. You’ve got to give it to the man: he’s no Louella De La Twig. His self-esteem is exemplary.

But why did the name ring a bell with me in the first place? That’s because I had learned of Graham W. Phillips’ existence months before he morphed into RT’s Donbass starlet. It had nothing to do with Ukraine then; it was all about the Knox-Sollecito case. It turned out that Phillips not only hates Amanda Knox but is a major-league hater, albeit a minor-league journalist. He would send out abusive tweets and ask for an interview with Knox at the same time, then wonder why the interview was not granted. “Where do they all come from?”


14 comments »

  1. JCass says:

    I’d never heard of Phillips until last week. Then I confused him with the “historian” Graham Phillips who writes books on Dan Brown-style subjects such as the Holy Grail and the Templars. But even he probably has higher standards of factual accuracy and historical plausibility than his RT namesake.

    (PS: There was a rumour on Twitter that the Russia Today Graham Phillips had some kind of police record, but I’ve yet to find the evidence).

  2. JCass says:

    I’ll just add that, as if by magic, every UK politician or journalist who has expressed any sympathy for Putin’s position on Ukraine has been someone whose opinion or character I already deeply distrusted long before this crisis began: George Galloway, the Guardian’s Seumas “Shameless” Milne, Nigel Farage, Alec Salmond and – I was glad to learn today – Simon Jenkins, a journalistic jack-of-all-trades with an uncanny ability to pick the wrong side on almost every debate he touches.

    • AK says:

      John Pilger has joined the chorus, too.

      • JCass says:

        I’ve used Pilger as an example to demonstrate what’s wrong with the lot of them. I was planning to avoid doing any “fisking” in my new blog but Pilger’s is arguably “the single worst thing written so far on the Ukraine crisis” (to quote Edward Lucas) and the temptation was too great.

        Pilger is a prize-winning journalist, but so was Walter Duranty.

  3. Jon Barrow says:

    AK, I enjoy reading your pieces – keep them coming!

    Re. Mr Phillips: I live in Kyiv, so was aware of him well before the Maidan events started – he used to write a ‘nightlife’ column for ‘What’s On’. I only really paid him much attention when he wrote an article about the Armenian guy killed on Hrushevskogo St; the whole piece, which was titled ‘Good News – Terrorist Dead In Kiev’, has since been deleted.

    I did get in a bit of an online debate with the man himself at that point, but I got the impression that he was trying to build up blog hits rather than engaging in any meaningful discussion – so I try not to further that aim.

    As you point out, he had a soft spot for Yanu. – even seeming to justify a raid by tax inspectors on the ‘What’s On’ office; seemingly to try to squeeze more cash out of the magazine, with apparent threats based on a possible ‘libel’ case (against Yanu. himself).

    The 10, 000 USD reward seems a bit of a stunt – I have tried to trace the story back. You will probably know that Kolomoisky put a 10, 000 USD bounty on the capture of ‘terrorists’; someone seems to have tweeted that this should apply to Phillips – I have seen the original tweet, so you should be able to find it; this got reported as a bounty being placed on G. P., RT journalist.

    I’m a British guy who was actively pro-Maidan, so of course find the guy – plus his young, London-style, use of English – annoying. From some of the comments Mr. P. has made, plus some of the Soviet-style art he seems to post up, I get the impression he’s a communist or at least anti-fascist type; after some self-promotion. Indeed, ‘a man
    for our time’.

    • AK says:

      Thank you! It’s rewarding to hear that you are following my blog. On GWP, I think one can better understand his mindset by reading his postings under the “Murder of Barry Pring” rubric. Whether GWP is right or wrong on that case, he seems to be harassing people based on his conclusions.

  4. Frank says:

    Phillips is a complete waste of skin. As one person in Ukraine who knows him put it “He is the most evil, vile and angry person I have ever known.” He went to Ukraine as a sex tourist but even Ukrainian women don’t want to have anything to do with him. His blogs and youtube videos are a complete distortion of the facts. Even RT has disavowed some of the things he says.

    He’s tried his hand at just about every job he could get and could never keep any of them. Most last about a week. About the only thing he hasn’t tried in Ukraine is “hawker” at the markets

    He has no friends or family in Ukraine and made it clear even before Maidan that he hated Ukraine. Couldn’t hold down a job. And was “reporting” even before RT started accepting his videos. So, I don’t understand why he’s even in Ukraine, except that now he thinks he some sort of “big star”. Obviously there’s nothing for him to go back to in the UK except some harassment charges.

    • AK says:

      Thanks for this. Looks like he’s heading back to the UK at the moment. Not the last we’ve heard of him, I suspect.

  5. Frank says:

    Just to let you know. Phillips was asked to leave Ukraine by the authorities (strongly suggest by the SBU) and flew back to London 23 May. He cannot return for 3 years

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