“No flag, no anthem, can’t support special operations, you’re from CSKA like Trusova so you’re not allowed? Go to hell then.” Big interview with Alexandr Zhulin

Posted on 2023-05-27 • No comments yet


Big Interview with Alexander Zhulin. About Stepanova/Bukin, Davis/Smolkin, current situation in world ice dance and suspension of Russian skaters from international competitions.

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source: RSport dd. 18th May 2023 by Anatoli Samokhvalov and Vlad Zhukov

First and foremost, the most important question: finally, tell us what it’s like to walk around for nine months with a baby bump?

Alexander Zhulin: Well, that’s a question more for Sasha Stepanova, of course. I can say for certain that she really missed the ice during those nine months. I understand perfectly well what it’s like when an active athlete has to take a year off. But Sasha and Vanya (Bukin) haven’t fully realized themselves yet, so there’s still more ahead. I’m very pleased with how they are working right now.

At what month of pregnancy did Aleksandra approached you?

Alexander Zhulin: It was after giving birth.

So not during ‘Ice Age’?

Alexander Zhulin: No, no, that’s when we just got acquainted with Vanya. I didn’t know him that well before that. During ‘Ice Age,’ I had to train him, and that’s how we got closer. I didn’t take any steps from my side for them to join my group.

Whose idea was it?

Alexander Zhulin: I don’t know. But based on their interactions with coaches and the press, I understood that they were very grateful to the previous coaching staff. They simply decided to change something, considering that there wasn’t much time left — for example, until the Olympics. Maybe they wanted to make some leap…

And go to the sworn rival.

Alexander Zhulin: Why to a sworn rival? I’m a very nice person. I think we all enjoy our collaboration.

It just seemed that Aleksandra and Ivan had fully merged with Svintin and Zhuk over the years of work. It was noticeable even in their way of communication.

Alexander Zhulin: You know, I never discuss my fellow coaches. Apparently, the guys just wanted higher positions. After all, I coached three pairs who became Olympic champions.

Do you know how to improve them?

Alexander Zhulin: If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have taken them.

So how?

Alexander Zhulin: Well, I won’t reveal any secrets. But there are a couple of components that they were missing.

For example, Aleksandra’s skating skills?

Alexander Zhulin: You could say that, yes.

Is it possible to improve that at a mature age?

Alexander Zhulin: Of course. Not always, it depends on the student. After all, a coach isn’t almighty. But after working with Sasha for just a week, I realized that she is moving in the right direction. She’s a very smart and talented girl. I believe that the issue you mentioned can be improved.

You know, it’s like in football. Recently, Manchester City played against Real Madrid. When you watch them, you understand that City may not have the best players in the world, while Real’s squad might be stronger. But the coach arranged everything so well that watching them was a pure delight. The same goes for us; a lot will depend on how well we work together.

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So, Bukin will be playing the role of Bernardo Silva (a Portuguese professional footballer -ed.)?

Alexander Zhulin: Yes. And Sasha will be Holland.

Being Holland means surpassing everyone in the world.

Alexander Zhulin: Well, first you have to gather everyone in the world. I don’t see how it can be done at the moment. Nevertheless, I really hope it will happen. And that I will participate in my 11th Olympics.

In Cortina d’Ampezzo?

Alexander Zhulin: Oh, honestly, I already forgot where it will take place. Especially now, with the way things are developing in the world, it could be there or in Saransk – among Belarusians and Russians with the same prize fund.

In ice dancing, people rarely speak frankly. Recently, Natalia Bolshakova, when asked why many pairs switch to you, said that no one wants to make an effort and stand out. She also mentioned that Zhulin has connections and there will be funding, no need to worry about ice or where to get money for this and that.

Alexander Zhulin: Actually, I have a good relationship with Natalia. By the way, in that interview, as far as I remember, she said that Eteri Tutberidze’s group has tasteless and talentless costumes. However, Alina Zagitova’s dress for “The Phantom of the Opera” was one of the best I have ever seen on the ice. It was so well made that I even asked Eteri to introduce me to those designers. So what she said is a matter of taste. Firstly, I haven’t gathered all the pairs, there are still many with other coaches…

For you, Stepanova/Bukin is it a way to achieve immediate results or more space for creativity?

Alexander Zhulin: Definitely creativity. Of course, they are a top-level pair, very beautiful. I love beautiful pairs in general – I have Vika and Nikita, and others. Beautiful people are drawn to each other.

Tatiana Navka.

Alexander Zhulin: Definitely. But overall, what I want to say is that during all these pandemics and other operations, I personally want to enjoy my work. Money is great, of course, but when you spend six to eight hours on the ice every day, you want it to bring you pleasure. And if you also get paid for it, that’s the ultimate achievement.

And athletes like Stepanova/Bukin, Shanaeva/Drozd, Khudaiberdieva/Bazin, they are exceptional individuals. Each of them requires finding their own approach, but I’m delighted that they all work very well. I was afraid that due to the current situation, motivation would be lacking, but in reality, it’s not. We have already found the music for the programs, we just need to finish them.

Who got Rachmaninoff?

Alexander Zhulin: No one.

So, a season without Rachmaninoff?

Alexander Zhulin: Well, he’s becoming unfashionable. Tchaikovsky too. Overall, I’ve noticed that trends change significantly, and the music that used to be fantastic now looks as if it’s been taken out of mothballs.

For example?

Alexander Zhulin: Scheherazade.

Do you think it didn’t work for Lisa and Pavel (Shanaeva/Drozd)?

Alexander Zhulin: Well, it depends on the program. Apparently, I just choreographed it poorly. But I had the feeling that we regressed by ten years. It was in demand during the time of Bestemianova/Bukin, even during my time, but now we need something else.

Let’s just list it for the record – currently in your group, there are Sinitsina/Katsalapov, Stepanova/Bukin, Khudaiberdieva/Bazin, Shanaeva/Drozd, Tyutunina/Bagin. It’s not all the pairs, but still many. In recent examples, when an entire discipline of figure skating consolidated around one coach – Eteri Tutberidze and Tamara Moskvina – both of them eventually faced problems of survival in fierce competition. Did you have concerns that by gathering all the top pairs, you might have to reconcile the irreconcilable sooner or later?

Alexander Zhulin: Sinitsina/Katsalapov are currently more focused on their professional careers. Stepanova/Bukin and Khudaiberdieva/Bazin, I couldn’t not take them – they are top pairs, and they also asked to be coached by me. I even consulted with serious people about it…

As for the coaches you mentioned – there’s Tamara Nikolaevna. She had two top pairs, and one of them left. But look at the results they achieve – they won everything this season. It means the group worked effectively. Something didn’t suit them – maybe the competition, they wanted some change. It also happens that when you spend many years with a coach, your perspective can become blurred. Nevertheless, this group shows phenomenal results.

Next is Eteri Georgievna. A phenomenal coach with a vast number of athletes. That’s what one should strive for. It means you have to gather many people – the strong will handle it, the weak won’t.

Are you currently trying to identify a pair that can win Olympic gold? From a selection standpoint, if I may put it that way.

Alexander Zhulin: You know, my problem is that even during the World Championships won by Chock/Bates, I think I watched about two minutes and then turned it off. I understood, of course, that they were much stronger than the others – Italians and Canadians. But they are already 48 years old, and besides, I’ve seen it all before.

I can’t even compare them to Papadakis/Cizeron and Sinitsina/Katsalapov because they were at the top. These are just good pairs, skating for themselves… If another couple of countries declare war on each other, then anyone can start winning. So, for me, it’s not a top-level.

Are boring times coming?

Alexander Zhulin: Not really. They just arranged everything as they wanted. They put Americans, Canadians, and the English in WADA, and in the Technical Panel (ISU for ice dance) as well. And if we want to exist in the civilized world, we need to learn from that. Once upon a time, we had Vyacheslav Fetisov in WADA, Vyacheslav Koloskov was listened to in football, and Vitaly Georgievich Smirnov was an outstanding figure.

That’s what we should strive for. And now we find ourselves in a situation where they tell us, ‘We have a new rhythm dance, the 80s theme.’ It should be something fun because it was in that era when the LGBT style was invented – so we have to correspond to that. It’s not welcomed in our country, but in order to follow the rules, we have to understand what style it is.

Well, you can interpret the 80s in different ways, right?

Alexander Zhulin: Yes, of course. But I clearly understand that they want to see ABBA, Boney M, and Celentano. Everything in sequins, very cool. Actually, I like the idea. But I found music recorded in ’89 and released in January ’90.

And it didn’t work?

Alexander Zhulin: No! Well, why not keep that gap – we could have ’90 and ’91 on one side and ’78 and ’79 on the other. There would be much more variety.

I also dread the thought that when all of this is over in the world, we’ll have to go back with only one quota in each discipline. And no one will be waiting for us there anymore; they’ll make all the agreements without us. It’s a dreadful thing.

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Do you allow the idea that in order to achieve bigger goals, you might have to break up pairs and rebuild them?

Alexander Zhulin: I haven’t thought about that. There are much more important tasks. Besides, go ahead and break up any pair for me.

Are you considering pairing Hudayberdieva with someone else?

Alexander Zhulin: With whom?

I don’t know.

Alexander Zhulin: Well, there you go. And what’s wrong with her partner?

There’s a significant age difference, for example.

Alexander Zhulin: How much? Six years? My wife and I have a 23-year age difference, and I’m happy.

Well, you are not going to the Olympics together or anything.

Alexander Zhulin: So what’s the difference? They look absolutely harmonious together. After all, she’s not 62, and he’s not 24. You have such twisted thoughts, of course… I’ve never even considered that direction. The boy is young, everything is fine. Maybe there’s a big age difference for Sinitsina/Katsalapov too? It’s only five years there, and here it’s six.

Sinitsina/Katsalapov is a different case. There’s love there.

Alexander Zhulin: Well, you still don’t understand one thing — remember how long it took them to become a pair on the ice. They formed a partnership — the beauty was unearthly, but it took them a long time to truly become a pair. And then you have to be loved by the judges, as they get accustomed to specific pairings. When Vika started to skate with Nikita after Elena Ilinykh, the beauty was exquisite, but it takes time for the eyes to adjust. Ilinykh had that wow factor, while Vika had a more academic style. So, talking so casually about splitting pairs… It’s not that simple.

Are Davis/Smolkin on your radar?

Alexander Zhulin: Firstly, that’s a question for Eteri Georgievna. And secondly, at the moment, definitely not because I have enough people to work with. Besides, it seems like they have somewhat disappeared from the scene. Nobody knows what country they will represent.

According to our information, Israel is being considered.

Alexander Zhulin: I’ve heard three options — Israel, America, and Russia. They haven’t appeared in Russia for a long time.

America probably declined…

Alexander Zhulin: In my opinion, it’s better to address that question to Eteri Georgievna. Although she herself may not know the answer yet.

Why did the question about Diana and Gleb come up? It would be better for you to clear the field completely so that the entire pedestal is yours.

Alexander Zhulin: Honestly, I’m fine right now. I’m not considering any offers.

In general, what would be more beneficial for you — if they competed for Russia as your competitors or not? After all, at the same Olympics in 2026, you will have to compete with them in any case.

Alexander Zhulin: Five years ago, I would have answered this question, but now I just live day by day. You understand yourself that we don’t even know where and when we will perform. Every morning we open our phones and see what happened that day. Nobody knows if we will participate in the Olympics and under which flag. So, I don’t even want to speculate or talk about Davis/Smolkin.

But the goal is still to win at the Olympics, right?

Alexander Zhulin: Of course, that’s my goal. I’m not going to give it up.

I remember you once said that hooligans win the Olympics. Like Kostomarov.

Alexander Zhulin: Yes. Although that mostly applies to the male gender, because, for example, Anya Shcherbakova is an absolutely gorgeous girl… Although she might be a hooligan, who knows.

But in general, yes. A hooligan, in a good sense, is a bit reckless… Like Roma (Kostomarov) was a great example of that. His sense of posture was phenomenal, but he was a hooligan. At the same time, he was a very reliable person. He was like a rock, and you felt very confident with him. That’s a strong quality. And when a person asks you before the start, ‘Will everything work out for me?’ That’s it, goodbye. That person will never win anything.

Did Roman ask?

Alexander Zhulin: You’ll approach Roman before the start, say something stupid like, ‘Roma, keep your back straight.’ He’ll just look at you as if you’re an idiot, and that’s it. He’s already focused, ready to fight. Tanya was the same, Nikita… All these champions, they’re extraordinary individuals. Nowadays, there’s a lot of discussion about how it’s the average students who become successful. The straight-A students don’t invent anything; it’s the average student who memorized one ticket out of twenty and thinks about how to make sure that specific one comes to them at the exam.

This applies to hooligans as well – they adapt better to life. Being a ‘hooligan’ doesn’t mean you have to punch everyone in the face and spray champagne everywhere. You have to be bold, combative. You have to fight on the ice.

I remember when the discussion about countering the Montreal school arose (whose representatives won at the last two Olympics), you mentioned the need to develop our own direction of ‘men’ and ‘women’ (emphasizing the traditional Russian school). In light of recent events, do you feel that this concept has failed?

Alexander Zhulin: No, not at all! It seems to me that their concept is currently experiencing a severe failure.

Well, what about the current Olympic champions?

Alexander Zhulin: No, guys, I’m talking about something different. Papadakis/Cizeron is an outstanding pair. In ballet, there are no dancers with the qualities of Cizeron. It’s an exceptional case. The partner is exceptional, and the girl doesn’t spoil him. They skated well together. And the direction they chose suits them very well. But when all the other pairs from their group go on the ice and start performing more or less the same thing, it becomes tiresome.

That’s why Sinitsina/Katsalapov were a bright spot in this story for me. Now I have a pair of the same caliber, and it’s clearly a ‘man and woman’. This needs to be shown. We shouldn’t forget that besides ‘parent-1’ and ‘parent-2,’ there is a mother and a father, a husband and a wife, who are the ones having children. Peoply cry not only watching the “Brokeback Mountain”; people also shed tears over ‘The Destiny of a Man’ and other movies that glorify men and women.

No, I have nothing against people of different orientations going on the ice and performing better. I acknowledge that. It means they have achieved success in their own direction. I’ve heard that Scott Moir, for example, is also that kind of person…

Come on, he’s a true ‘man.’ How can you even imagine that?

Alexander Zhulin: Well, just imagine it.

And this is with Tessa Virtue, who is also a classic ‘woman’?!

Alexander Zhulin: Well, who knows now. You can’t figure it out. But as a partner, whoever he may be (in life), I absolutely don’t care – he was an absolute ‘man.’ And Cizeron, if he didn’t stroke himself a couple of times in the program, he would have been good too. You look at him – normal, handsome…

For me, I repeat, it doesn’t matter. If some tractor driver Vasya Pupkin from the village of Kukuevo, a true classical ‘man’ skate but all awkward, I would still put Sizéron in first place. The concept of beauty exists, you know.

I had my own story too. When I skated to ‘Vivaldi,’ gay people would say to me, ‘Come on? You have such beautiful lines, poses. And you’re not…?’ And I would tell them, ‘No.’ They were truly disappointed. But it was pleasant.

But classical ‘manliness’ seems to be becoming increasingly intolerant. Everything will converge towards a unisex aesthetic.

Alexander Zhulin: Here we need to define what a classical ‘man’ is. Figure skating is a beautiful sport, and you need to be able to perform everything. You have to prepare yourself for any programs. In the past, for example, there were Jan Hoffmann and Vladimir Kovalev. Both were world champions, but if we watch the tape now, you would laugh at their choreography, their movements. Although both of them had that classical ‘manliness’.

I went to Vladimir Nikolaevich’s (Kovalev) village, and he spent three hours explaining to me how stupid Americans are.

Alexander Zhulin: And he did the right thing! (laughs) So, at that time, his skating was aesthetic. That’s why when Toller Cranston appeared, our women would throw themselves on the ice. Toller, he was gay, may he rest in peace, but our woman didn’t understand that only a person with a non-traditional sexual orientation could skate so beautifully. He had such poses, he opened his legs so beautifully. They imagine that after that, they would go home and their alcoholic husbands would ask for potatoes. And here comes Toller Cranston. They would cry, saying, ‘This is what a real man should be like!’ The 70s were happening. It seems like I was sent to figure skating only because Toller Cranston was there.

That’s why everything should be proportionate. On the other hand, tolerance… Well, where has it all gone? Transgender people started swimming. You transformed from a man to a woman, but you still have five liters of lung capacity. On average, women have two liters. You’re still a man, just altered, competing with women and winning. Even American transgender communities are starting to say that it’s unfair, and everything should be reversed. Because it truly becomes unfair.

But here’s what I would recommend to women. If you’ve transformed into a man, go and compete. You won’t achieve anything beyond the 60th place.

There was recently a Finnish transgender figure skater.

Alexander Zhulin: Oh, it’s a terrible thing. That’s exactly where everything is heading, actually. Someone said that the only country that will remain normal is Russia. And it will be the one to save the world. I devoutly believe in it. I’ve seen what’s happening in the world – they’ve opened the overtone window, and they’re moving towards it with giant steps.

But you worked with Americans, lived with them.

Alexander Zhulin: You see, it’s some kind of clearly constructed political narrative. Maybe it can all be explained very simply… Perhaps the coronavirus, the special operations, and these transgender people – it’s all to reduce the population of the planet.

By that logic, it turns out they start reducing it with their own population.

Alexander Zhulin: Well, I have a feeling that some kind of sabbat is happening. I can’t believe in it. In Norway, for example, they acknowledged that pedophiles are normal. Well, he can’t have sex with anyone else, but he can with a 9 or 10-year-old boy. And what is he guilty of?

Do you maintain any connection with Americans?

Alexander Zhulin: No, I’m fine here. And I don’t have a strong desire to socialize with them.

Why did it happen so? You used to work with them, everything was fine, and now you speak out so sharply against them.

Alexander Zhulin: Actually, even during my time living there, the phoniness started to annoy me. The smiles, the “Hi, how are you?” and all that. They seemed happy, but it was all fake and false. Now we see the same thing in politics.

I clearly understand that everything there is built on lies. We may have our own problems, but at least they are ours. And if we learn to make machines and other chips, then there will be no equals to us. In general, I’m becoming a patriot with each passing day, more and more.

Why now specifically?

Alexander Zhulin: I’ve seen what’s happening around me, and I’ve traveled the world myself. We are one of the few countries where Christianity and normal human values ​​have remained. We don’t deny the existence of the LGBT, for God’s sake, let them be, I’m tolerant in that regard. But there are human values that should be prioritized and cannot be easily swept aside and trampled upon.

But there are also many devout people in the West who have a classical view of the world.

Alexander Zhulin: Well, over there, it’s more like a Disneyland format. Performances for show, not genuine.

And here it’s genuine?

Alexander Zhulin: Yes. There are many mistakes – in politics and in many other areas. Everyone knows and sees that. But from the perspective of the overall picture, Russia is a unique country.

You say you’re tolerant. Yet you’ve had criticisms towards Timothy LeDuc and Adam Rippon.

Alexander Zhulin: Well, he has completely lost his mind – he said he’s not a ‘he’ but an ‘it’. Whether he’s a tree or someone else…

You’re referring to LeDuc?

Alexander Zhulin: Yes. He couldn’t decide how to refer to himself. ‘It’.”

The first non-binary athlete in Olympic history. Made history.

Alexander Zhulin: What do you mean by non-binary athlete?

Overall, he’s a pleasant guy. We spoke with him at the Olympics in Beijing, he has his own philosophy, and he explained it in detail.

Alexander Zhulin: Alright. But why should I, Alexander Zhulin, an honored coach of Russia, coach of Olympic champions, discuss this LeDuc? Why are we even talking about him in the first place? No, I understand that if I were to engage in sexual activities with a pig tomorrow, all the newspapers would write about it – ‘Zhulin, having three daughters and a beautiful wife, had intercourse with a pig.’

Of course, they would write about it.

Alexander Zhulin: See, that’s what they take advantage of. ‘I feel like a tree and want to have sex with clouds’ – well, that’s just ridiculous.

But why offend him?

Alexander Zhulin: Because I want to. It disgusts me, I don’t want to talk about it at all.

I’m a Russian man, now I will offend him. Is that what you mean?

Alexander Zhulin: No, well, Rippon – he’s the one offending Kamila Valieva. Have he even seen himself? Where are you and where is Kamila Valieva? She doesn’t comment on Rippon because he’s shit. That’s it. She doesn’t even have time to talk about him – she’s training, performing quadruple toe loops at such heights. And they’re discussing someone like Rippon with the unfortunate Ashley Wagner, who never won anything.

That’s why I said he should shut up. It just hurts me that Russians are constantly being offended. And who is offending them? Who do they think they are?

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They’re waiting for medals from the Olympic team event.

Alexander Zhulin: See! That’s why they want to bury us, so that people like Rippon and LeDuc become Olympic champions.

Doesn’t this whole story with gold medals bother you?

Alexander Zhulin: No.

Those medals also belong to your athletes.

Alexander Zhulin: So what now? I understand perfectly well that they won’t give them to us.

Maybe they will.

Alexander Zhulin: Maybe they will, when all of this is over. I have a feeling that if it all ends, a lot of things will turn back in our favor. And if it doesn’t end, then we won’t see any medals or Olympics.

By the way, there’s a trend now – previously, the opinion was that we should go to the Olympics even under a neutral flag. But now Elena Vyalbe expresses herself in the spirit of ‘let them all go to hell – give us a flag, an anthem.’ Or even let’s boycott it.

Alexander Zhulin: They’ve pushed us to this point. I’ve always been a proponent of at least getting to the Olympics somehow. I’m an athlete myself, I understand that a person has been preparing their whole life, and they’re deprived of the Olympics. But now the situation in the world is such that they’re just wiping their feet on us. No flag, no anthem, can’t support special operations, and if you’re from CSKA – like Trusova, for example – it’s not allowed.

May they go to hell then. I’ve already been to two Olympics where we wear gray uniforms and cover up the flags. You can’t sing anything, the anthem doesn’t play. It’s truly humiliating. After all, we have a fairly large country, and overall, it’s not the worst in the world.

Let’s imagine this: in two months, it’s the 2026 Olympics, and (Sports Minister) Oleg Vasilyevich Matytsin calls you and asks whether to go under a neutral flag or not. What would you answer?

Alexander Zhulin: If I understand that the pair could be first or second, no one condemns us for this step, and the athletes themselves really want it, I would say that we should go. The chance to go to the Olympics and take a place in the top three is exactly what we strive for. I would stand on the side of the athletes in this matter. What do the deputies understand? In politics, yes, of course. From a political point of view, going without a flag and anthem is not good.

But deputies often try to speak on behalf of athletes.

Alexander Zhulin: That’s a mistake. It’s as if an athlete told them, ‘Actually, it’s not good to receive 450,000-500,000 a month like you, respected deputies, while the entire country receives 18,000 rubles.’ That’s not good either, right? Or are they all divine beings there? Everyone should mind their own business.

So, they shouldn’t open their mouths and say that athletes shouldn’t go. Athletes have worked for 30 years for this, sacrificing their health. The Olympics is the pinnacle of everything. Although, of course, a lot has changed recently. In the past, we went to the Olympics as if it were a celebration. We exchanged pins, sat in the same dining hall with Gretzky and Lemieux. They stayed in some student rooms with shared toilets, even though they earned millions of dollars each.

It was a celebration – Americans, Canadians, Russians, French… It gave you a fantastic charge. In the past, all wars ceased during the Olympics, and it was the peak of creativity in the Olympic movement. But now, everything has become so politicized that going to the Olympics feels like going to war.

What do you think about Thomas Bach? Do you see him as an anti-Russian president of the IOC, or is he secretly an ally trying to get Russian athletes back to international competitions?

Alexander Zhulin: You can’t understand him anymore. I think a lot is tied to money there. Take women’s figure skating, for example – it’s one of the most watched sports. International television networks would pay billions if Trusova, Shcherbakova, or Zagitova were competing. Just pick any of the top three and go. But now they’re not there – what is there to show?

By the way, there was an opinion that in Beijing, Kamila was allowed to compete in the individual compeetitions at the TV broadcasters’ request.

Alexander Zhulin: It’s very possible. So, even though Bach shouted that Russians should be completely excluded, he should now focus on bringing us back.

But isn’t he trying to do that?

Alexander Zhulin: Well, trying… If they say “stop” from above, he’ll stop trying. They are all puppets, after all.

By the way, one of the most pleasant memories of Beijing was interacting with your former students, Alexandra Nazarova and Maxim Nikitin. The Minister of Sports of Ukraine advised not to answer reporters in Russian, but Sasha and Maks still spoke with us.

Alexander Zhulin: Now they unfollowed us and wrote, “Burn in hell, scum, vermin.”

They wrote that personally to you?

Alexander Zhulin: No, to all Russians.

How is that possible? They are such amazing people, and it seemed like they had a close relationship with you.

Alexander Zhulin: Here’s a clear example of what propaganda can do. I don’t know what happened, but now Maxim Nikitin is everywhere writing, “Burn in hell, you bastard.” So, no matter how much you may like them, I already have my own opinion on this matter.

Doesn’t all of this break the pattern?

Alexander Zhulin: Listen, now brothers say to each other, “If you show up, I’ll shoot you with a machine gun.” One lives in Russia, the other in Ukraine. Isn’t that breaking the pattern? We watch the “Russia” channel, and they watch “Ukraine,” and they show completely opposite things. So, just imagine how their minds have been manipulated over the past eight years.


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