Are Russian Oligarchs 'In This Together' With Klaus Schwab?

This story is about the connections and shared agendas between the oligarchs in Russia, where I was born and raised, and Klaus Schwab. Recently, I interviewed Riley Waggaman, a.k.a. Edward Slavsquat, an American journalist who currently lives in my old homeland and writes brilliantly about COVID Russia. I think Riley’s work is tremendously important as it helps to understand some of the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Our conversation was a ton of fun. (We recorded it a week or two before the heartbreaking war began, so we did not talk about it in the interview but if you want to know my thoughts about the war, you can find them here.)

So, what about Schwab and Russia? As it turns out, the Russian “stakeholders” are deeply, deeply in bed with the World Economic Forum — as deeply or perhaps even deeper than their Western colleagues! Either that, or they are just trying to outscam each other, which is also possible.

Russia’s Prominent Presence at the Cyber Polygon Exercises

I first noticed the strange camaraderie between my old homeland’s prominent figures and Klaus Schwab a couple of years ago when I looked at WEF’s Cyber Polygon 2020. Russia was rather conspicuously overrepresented at the event comparing to other countries!

In fact, if you look attentively, you will see that Cyber Polygon was an initiative by BI-ZINE, an entity associated with Sberbank (the Russian central bank), with the support of the World Economic Forum. (By the way, in 2020, Sberbank transformed from a bank into an “ecosystem of services,” more on that in the interview with Riley.)

cyber polygon

Now, is it possible that the clever Russian oligarchs are not Schwab’s little helpers but rather are trying to drag him into some scam? Yes, very possible. Or is it possible that they don’t care one bit about the WEF agenda but view it as a great cover story for getting richer? Again, very possible, and actually, most likely.

But, as we’ll see in a second, whether they are working sincerely with/for Schwab, or trying to scam him, they are throwing the common people under the bus and straight onto the altar of the Fourth Industrial Revolution!

Let’s now look at Cyber Polygon 2021, which was, again, organized by an entity associated with Sberbank, the central bank of Russia, and strongly supported by the WEF.

By the way, below is an discussion about the “digital ruble.” The entire livestream is well worth watching but the part about the digital ruble is particularly interesting. They are talking about kind of “resetting” the financial system in the direction of controllable, programmable digital currencies — exactly what the conspiracy theorists have been warning about!

Klaus Schwab’s Comment on Vladimir Putin as a Young Global Leader

Klaus Schwab commented on more than one occasion on how Putin is a Young Global Leader. See below.

Notably, up until a couple of days ago, Vladimir Putin also had a page on the World Economic Forum’s website (which could be simply a regular “president” listing … but where did it go?) Now, let’s dig in and look at the treasures that Riley Waggaman has dug out about the connections between the Russian higher-ups and the WEF. His research really is amazing!

The Head of the Russian Central Bank Is a WEF trustee

The head of Sberbank (the central bank of Russia) Herman Gref is a WEF trustee (archived; I swear the link was there half an hour ago, and now it’s gone!)

In February 2020, he announced his plans to develop a system of facial recognition using masks. He also claimed that he has taken the Russian COVID injection “Sputnik V” in April 2020 — before the clinical trials even started — and that it saved him. On a side note please see Riley’s brilliant articles, “Herman Gref exported a large portion of Sberbank’s gold reserves. Why?”

The Mayor of Moscow Loves 4IR

The Mayor of Moscow Sobyanin has a plan called “Moscow 2030” in which he covers all the 4IR bases for Klaus Schwab (or maybe somebody just translated WEF materials into Russian for Sobyanin, and he copied them verbatim into his plan). I have a hard enough time taking the 4IR talking points seriously in English — but in Russian they totally read like either a deliberate act of trolling or good-hearted comedy.

“Moscow 2030” talks about remote monitoring of everybody’s health through wearable or implantable devices, about biosensors, about “transparency” of health data, about “smart clothes” that “help Muscovites to act on their desire to lead a healthy lifestyle” … It really reads like comedy because everybody knows it’s a lie, and yet the lips keep moving …

Veteran Russian Scammer Is a Now an Ambassador for Climate Change

Here is what Riley says about another character, Chubais:

“Anatoly Chubais has been plundering Russia for thirty years. He served as deputy prime minister under vodka-soaked sellout Boris Yeltsin, and later became Yeltsin’s chief of staff. As the mastermind behind large-scale privatization in the 1990s, Chubais deserves credit for much of the criminality and despair that continues to plague Russia right up to the present day.”

Here is more, from my recent article (based, again, on Riley’s brilliant findings):

“One of the biggest long-standing thieves of the post-Soviet economy Chubais is … wait for it … in charge of “sustainable development” — after he almost bankrupted the biggest Russian nanotechnology company.

Same scammer — shifty eyes and all — almost impersonates Bill Gates (whom he allegedly loves) and says from the stage that influential scientists have predicted a major drop in population by the end of the century, from 7 billion to 1.5-2 billion (in Russian, the event took place in 2011). He says though that it would be horrible and we should try to prevent it.”

Russian Schools Are Quickly Moving Toward Biometric IDs

So it looks schools in Moscow have already transitioned to biometric IDs. That is rather heartbreaking — and it is maddening that the greedy opportunists are targeting kids! And here are two reports, one from June 2020, and one from November 2021:

2020: “Biometric facial recognition-equipped cameras will be installed in over 43,000 Russian schools, writes The Moscow Times based on reports by the Vedomosti business daily. Cameras have already been installed in over 1,608 schools in 12 areas. Dubbed ‘Orwell,’ the surveillance camera system is built by state company Rusnano and integrates facial recognition technology developed by NTechLab, a subsidiary of Rostelecom.”

2021: “The deployment of the new camera-based systems [in select colleges] follows a busy last quarter of 2021 so far for VisionLabs, with the company recently collaborating on the launch of a new biometric facial recognition payment system in Moscow.”

Question: What is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Russia? Answer: Rubles, rubles, and more rubles! (On a side note, here is biometric ID marketing from the U.S., note referring to kids as “pesky little bandits.” And here is from the UK. So rubles are clearly not the only currency driving the madness.

Laughing at Scammers

Speaking of madness: When things are that crazy, what do we do? Riley and I laughed at the technocratic scammers all through the interview — which I think was appropriate. Sometimes, laughing is all we can do as we pedal hard toward our liberation. Pedal pedal pedal hard toward our liberation! And laugh.

Full Transcript of My Interview With Riley Waggaman

Tessa Lena: Hello, and welcome to “Make Language Great Again.” Today, it is my great joy to welcome Riley Waggaman, who is in my home country, in my original home country. And it is so exciting. He’s writing about COVID Russia is outstanding, and I can’t wait to talk about it.

Riley Waggaman: Thank you so much for having me on Tessa.

Tessa Lena: Oh, absolutely. And, ah, what got you into this mess?

Riley Waggaman: What got me to Russia?

Tessa Lena: Oh, no! I mean, we could start with that.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. First of all, I don’t think Russia is a mess. It’s a great country … Just teasing here. No, you know, well, if you want to start with that, I just came here … I was … I worked as a, I guess you could say a journalist, in Washington, DC. And I got burnt out. And I ended up moving to Central Europe to the Czech Republic, to hang out with some Czech friends and teach English. And I just decided to keep going east. So I ended up with a job teaching in Bashkortostan of all places.

Tessa Lena: Oh wow!

Riley Waggaman: And … and then about a year after that, I got an invitation to come to Moscow. And … in … right … so I did, and I’ve never left, so …

Tessa Lena: Well, I was going to make a joke, don’t end up in Siberia with moving east.

Riley Waggaman: I almost did, I was in Bashkortostan!

Tessa Lena: No but … but honestly, your writing is so stunning. I’m so happy … I was so happy to discover it because, you know, I was following the Cyber Polygon. And I was, you know … two years ago, and then last year … and my original homeland was all over the place, it was very prominently represented, as I’m sure you’re well aware. And then from here, people say, “Oh, my God, like, you know, Russia is against the COVID scam, and Russia is this beacon of freedom.”

And I was like, wait a second, it doesn’t quite correlate, because you can’t be a beacon of freedom and working hand in hand with Klaus Schwab. So when I discovered your blog, I was like, yes, yes, yes. So exciting. So you’ve been in Russia, and then you started writing about COVID? How did that happen?

Riley Waggaman: Well, I, um, so when I first came to Moscow, I was working through this website called Russia Insider. And then I got a job working for Press TV, which is the Iranian … it’s sort of like Iranian state television, you know, in English. And so I was their Moscow correspondent. And then after that, I got a job with RT.

So I was working for RT for about four years. And I just, for many reasons, I just really, really got fed up with RT and it’s, I thought, totally unacceptable policies concerning how it covers important topics, in my opinion, you know, about what was happening in Russia at the time. So I quit. And about a month later, I decided to start just writing about what I thought needed to be written about. So …

Tessa Lena: Wonderful. Well, I used to follow … RT was very decent where it was writing about America, for obvious reasons. Everybody likes to be a good analyst when it comes to the proverbial enemy. And then I didn’t bother to read it about anything about Russia, because what’s the point? So …

Riley Waggaman: Exactly, exactly. And you know, that I think that’s a totally … I think there’s wonderful, insightful analysis about the United States on RT. But, you know, for me, it was like, I wanted to write about what was happening in Russia, you know, like, this was what was most important to me, and what I thought needed to be reported on, and they wouldn’t, they didn’t want to do it.

And they had, what bothered me … what bothered me the most actually, was that they just had two totally obvious different standards here. Right, like, they would let you call, you know, France, totalitarian for having QR codes. But you can’t say anything about what has been going on in Russia. And for me, that double standard was just too much because this, this issue for me was a red line. It was like, once this was crossed, I’m just not playing these games anymore.

You know, I’m not … I’m not going to try to justify, you know, my sort of, you know, I guess we’re all hypocrites, right? But this was just like, I can’t do this anymore. I quit. So …

Tessa Lena: No, I hear you. And I actually, I saw that there was a change … at some point they were scolding it and then when Russia became really Nazi about it, that was the time when you can no longer talk about it.

Riley Waggaman: Yep.

Tessa Lena: Yeah, that was a very, very drastic change, very palpable.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. So, good for you for taking a stand … Just a simple question what is going on right now with Russia and COVID?

That’s a really good question. It’s actually … we’re speaking at a really interesting time, because we’re actually seeing possibly an interesting sort of dynamic being played out between the federal government and regions. So starting right after the State Duma elections at the end of September, Russia saw this massive nationwide rollout of QR code policies and compulsory vaccination decrees.

Some of these have since … some of these rules have since been rolled back in other parts of the country like in Tatarstan and St. Petersburg. Other areas, they’ve actually doubled down and made these rules even more strict. But in the last week or two, around 14 regions across Russia have started either like canceling or significantly reducing the their use of QR codes.

And in St. Petersburg even, there’re reports that the city is basically good gonna abandon the QR code rule, which would be a huge, huge victory, I would say, for the Russian people if that happens. So the question is, why is this happening now? And who is who is behind it, right? And one would hope that it would be, you know, the Kremlin saying, look, guys, enough is enough, we should drop this stuff.

The problem with that theory, which it might be true, I don’t know, is that … Putin publicly supported the introduction of a national QR code law, right. So it’s a little bit confusing, because in Russia, these rules are imposed at a regional level. But the State Duma wanted to make sort of a uniform blanket legislation so that everybody had the same QR code rules, you know, uniform, enforcement, etc, etc.

And this legislation was so unpopular among average Russians, that the State Duma had to drop it. But it’s so … that which makes it so weird that Putin publicly stated that he felt it was his duty. He said that he had a moral obligation as President to support this legislation, which is a very, very weird thing to say.

And why did you say that? He said this in late like December, I want to say December 17. And then this legislation gets kept getting pushed back until basically February and then they decided just abandon it. So …

Tessa Lena: I’m sorry, sorry for interrupting. Did they abandon it quietly? Or did they abandon it with a splash?

Riley Waggaman: Oh, Hmm. Interesting. It’s a … that’s a … I guess that’s a matter of interpretation. But I mean, it was a bit … it was a big deal, because what happened was that it was a huge … there was a huge movement online. So Russians were like pounding their, you know, State Duma deputies on social media. They were writing to Volodin … he is the Chairman of the State Duma. And it was a huge, it was a huge movement, a huge grassroots movement.

I saw polls online, where you had 1.5 million votes, where 92% of the respondents said that they thought that QR codes were unconstitutional. I mean, really, really impressive stuff. And multiple polls like this. And even even the government’s own polling show that it was something like 60-70% were, you know, against this. So what happens next is a really good question.

My feeling is that they realize that at the regional level, they realize that keeping the QR codes is basically economic, socio-economic suicide, you know, and so whatever motivation they had for imposing them, and possibly there was, you know, some nudging at the federal level, maybe there’s some weird other reasons they did it. I feel like they realized that it’s just not sustainable. That being said, Is this over in Russia? No, definitely not. So what comes next is going to be really, really interesting.

Tessa Lena: Well, the use of the word “sustainable” in this context, is very special. Given the sustainable development and how it fits into that …

Riley Waggaman: Exactly, right?

Tessa Lena: But the question … actually, so many questions … one, ah, the difference between on the original level between the enforcement … the formal enforcement and how well people comply? Because I was reading your blogs, they were even beatings from what I understand … both ways?

Riley Waggaman: Yep, yeah, absolutely. In fact, it’s, I wouldn’t say it happens every day, but you’ll find maybe once a week report about either some fed-up Russian, literally beating, you know, some guy checking QR codes or the other way around, someone doesn’t have their QR code, and the enforcement guy starts a fight. So you can tell that, you know, in general, my, my take is that I think that it’s dependent on the region, maybe even at a city level.

But in general, my … just anecdotally, and speaking to other people around the country, is that Russians are super non-compliant with this. And it’s not even, they’re not even really doing it. It’s just, I think it’s just natural to them, they’re just highly suspicious of the, you know, of anything that their government does or tells them to do. And they realize they can’t, and this is the thing too, that I don’t think Westerners understand is like, they can’t afford to go along with these stupid games.

You know, it’s like, if you’re a business in Russia, it’s not like the state is handing out, like in the United States, they were like, paying people not to work, right? I remember, like, during lockdowns and stuff, there was …

Tessa Lena: Not much but yeah.

Riley Waggaman: Right. But I mean … it’s just, it’s just a totally different system here. So it’s like, if the state tells you that you have to, you know, you’re gonna lose 80 or 90% of your revenue on these QR codes … Like, I’m just not like … Oh, you have a QR code. Okay, go … Russians. Were taking QR codes from like, irons and washing machines, you know, and just like showing them like, alright, yep, go, you can go.

Tessa Lena: That’s my people.

Riley Waggaman: No, totally. No, I was just gonna say, you know, if I feel like, globally, we’re, there’s gonna be a lot of adventures up the road for all of us. But I, I honestly do feel, to a certain extent, very lucky to be in Russia, because, uh, the Russians are just totally awesome. And they don’t, they don’t put up with bullshit, you know? And so I feel like, pretty, pretty good here.

Tessa Lena: Cool. And as far as the implementation, do they ask for the printout? Do they ask for something on the phone? So meaning, like, how far into the digital ID did it go?

Riley Waggaman: Okay, so it’s, um, in most cases, the way I understand is that it’s done through this state services website portal called like, GosUslugi, I guess, that’s the acronym whatever. And so for example, if you get vaccinated, and I believe, in other instances, they’ll generate, you have this QR code, and it’s stored in a federal database online, this online portal, and then your phone, you use your phone to sort of, you know, access it.

The thing though, is that, again, you have situations where the people who are checking it, are not looking very, are either just not looking at it, or Russians will do still have, like, I’ve read reports about this, where there’s these websites that will generate a QR code that sort of looks like you know, like the one and they just say, okay, whatever, like go for it. In other places, I’ve heard that they’ve asked for, you know, ID and they’re really strict about it. So again, I think it’s variable.

But in general, I would say Russians are very, very non-compliant. This goes with masks, too, in a huge way. Huge, massive, non-compliant country. So … and I’ve never I’ve never … this is another interesting thing … I’ve never been in a situation in Russia anywhere, and I’ve never heard of anyone where people get yelled at by other Russians for like, not having a mask, you know, which I which apparently is like, sort of semi happened sometimes like …

Tessa Lena: New York. Hello.

Riley Waggaan: Yeah. I’ve never … I’ve never heard of that ever happening here. I’ve never heard, even when you have like a fully masked, you know, someone … I’ve never heard of anyone starting trouble.

Tessa Lena: That’s cool. I had a conversation with a friend of mine, probably a year ago by now … she’s in Moscow. And she was like, yeah, of course they’re enforcing masks, our mayor opened the factory making masks. And then she said, well, of course, they find you if they catch you without a mask in the street because it goes to the city budget, of course. But I mean …

Riley Waggaman: So the one exception I would make is in the metro. They … sometimes they’re very strict about it in the metro. Sometimes they’ll have like these sort of gangs of policemen, you know, who’ll be like, where’s your mask? Like you’re not wearing your mask properly? Yeah, it’s a total it’s a total extortion racket. Totally. Totally.

Tessa Lena: Do they actually find people on the subway?

Riley Waggaman: Yeah, yeah, you can get fined. The … I think the like the first offense time offender fee is like 5000 rubles, which is what like 70 bucks, but that’s a lot for your average Russian.

Tessa Lena: Oh, yeah.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. You know, they also had the plastic … they had the gloves, the plastic gloves for a long time. Where …

Tessa Lena: Mandatory?

Riley Waggaman: Well, according to the rules, you were supposed to wear these stupid disposable gloves in the metro and also in shops, but nobody, nobody ever did it. Nobody ever did it. It was just totally ignored. And then Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow was, he just pretended that people were doing it. And then like a year later, he just gave up. I was like, Okay, we don’t have to wear them anymore, but nobody was wearing them. So it’s so stupid. It’s so … It’s so stupid. All of it. It’s so stupid.

Tessa Lena: But did they officially cancel the mask mandates everywhere?

Riley Waggaman: No, no. So there’s no um, they’re still … they’re still the mask … The mask rules are still in place. In like shops in the metro area. It’s just that people don’t really, people don’t really follow it. And I think it’s the same everywhere. Honestly, I think in most places, and most places, although, again, it really depends on where you are. So I don’t want to say …

Tessa Lena: NewYork?! New York, people are pretty compliant still. And I see a lot of people outside, especially college-aged kids.

Riley Waggaman: No!!

Tessa Lena: No, that that is actually criminal on the part of the propaganda … propagandists. Because the kids, you know, kids usually wanted to do good, right. It’s kind of like … it’s a good intention. And if they’re told that this way, they’re being responsible citizens and helping and saving, they’re just doing it. And I see so many college-aged kids walking around still still outside in masks. It’s so strange.

Riley Waggaman: Are they double masking, triple masking?

Tessa Lena: Not so much. But I was yelled at … at a store at some point by a double-masked employee who was hysterical. Hys … I mean, she was just losing it. And I didn’t even want to … I was like, you know, I’ll do whatever makes you happy … because she was just losing it.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. Yeah.

Tessa Lena: So this is very strange. But I’m glad that my compatriots are doing well.

Riley Waggaman: Even really, they’re making you … you should be proud. You should be proud.

Tessa Lena: What about … what about people’s enthusiasm about the vaccines?

Riley Waggaman: Wow, good question. Very unenthusiastic. But so this is, again, this is what’s so interesting about Russia, which is, it’s one of these countries where it’s clear, it’s absolutely clear that the majority of Russians did not want the vaccine. I think that if they had just kept it completely voluntary, nobody would have cared, really.

But in June of last year, so June, 2021, mid-June, Moscow became the first region in Russia, where they implemented a compulsory vaccination decree, where they had like, you had to have it, like 60% of your workforce in certain sectors had to be vaccinated. And then a bunch of other regions followed, they implemented similar things. And it’s quite, it was quite, I mean, it’s bad.

And at this point, they did it was a slow boil system where they said, okay, it’s just only 60% of your workforce needs to be vaccinated, then, you know, in November, they said, 80, and, you know, there are now situations that in some regions of Russia, you have to be vaccinated to go to university. So they’re making 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds vaccinate, just to just to get an education.

Tessa Lena: On the regional level or university level?

Riley Waggaman: On the, at the regional level. Yeah. So it’s, um, it’s really too bad. And, you know, these are … it’s, it’s horrible coercion, like you see everywhere else in the world, and … and Russians absolutely, are absolutely opposed to it.

And it’s so … it’s so heartbreaking to see that what makes Russia so unique in a lot of ways, if you think about it, is that unlike in a lot of other countries, we … for example, take even sort of at the state level in the United States, one could make the argument that okay, like in Massachusetts, for example, which apparently is, like, totally vaxxed out of their brains, right? It’s like 95% at one shot, you can make the case that, you know, this is what they want.

They want vaccination decrees, and whatever. I mean, Russia, it’s a country where people are super, they really, really were opposed to this experimental … medical experiment, which is what it was. They didn’t want the QR codes, and yet the government is still imposing it on them. And so it really, it’s heartbreaking. You know, this was a situation where Russia really could have stood out if, if their leaders had taken a stand, but for whatever reason, they didn’t.

Tessa Lena: Meaning if their leaders weren’t collaborating with Klaus Schwab. That’s gonna be one reason.

Riley Waggaman: It’s a secret! 🙂 No, exactly, exactly. Exactly. So …

Tessa Lena: You know, like another thing, and I want I do want to get back to, to that line of thought about the collaboration … But before that, I was hearing rumors that people in Russia, they were skeptical about the Russian vaccines, but enthusiastic about the American ones, which would make sense to me growing up there, because that’s an implication that everything homemade is crap. And everything Western is awesome. Like, especially in the more educated, you know, groups of people. Have you observed that?

Riley Waggaman: I’ve heard I’ve heard similar stories. I don’t know how true it is. But I’m sure that at a certain level, I mean, but that’s a very Russian thing to believe, right? Like, well, our vaccine is s**t, I’m sure that the American vaccine is better. I mean, you’ll get that when you’re talking about anything. So I don’t think it was really well thought out, like, oh, Pfizer, like has all these cool. They didn’t like study the, you know, the evidence, they’re just like, I bet Pfizer has … I bet Americans have a better vaccine than we do. You know, I bet it’s more like that, I think, personally.

Tessa Lena: Totally makes sense. Because growing up there, this is exactly the thinking that Russian make crappy stuff, and Americans make awesome stuff and applies to everything. And in some cases, it’s true. But in this case, it’s kind of, you know …

Riley Waggaman: Everybody, everybody has crap.

Tessa Lena: And another thing that you wrote about that is very interesting is, well, the relationship between Russian vaccine manufacturers and say, businessmen involved in the affairs and say, Pfizer or AstraZeneca. So please, tell me your thoughts about that. Because this is super interesting.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah, well, so … I think it’s really funny … I mean, for example, like, in a … at least feels like alternative media that I’m familiar with, I think that Sputnik V really got a free pass, you know, like, everybody was really pounding Pfizer and AstraZeneca, Moderna.

And rightfully so obviously … for some reason people just either left Sputnik V alone, or sort of even implied that, you know, it was somehow different, you know, that it wasn’t, it wasn’t one of these, you know, big pharma clot shots, it was made by the Russian government, it’s like safe and effective, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada.

What’s really interesting about Sputnik V, is that from the very beginning, the Russian government had a partnership with AstraZeneca, which is also really weird, because the guy who allegedly … the alleged main developers for Sputnik V, this really, really creepy guy named Alexander Ginsburg, who’s the head of the Gamaleya Center [Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology], was like, oh, yeah, like these shots are basically the same.

Like, there’s no significant difference between Sputnik V the … the AstraZeneca shot, and they … and AstraZeneca, in the original plan, the original plan was to combine, have like a split Sputnik V, you know, first injection, and then the second injection is AstraZeneca. That was the original plan. And they spoke about it, oh, you can read about it, like in Russian media.

And it’s so funny, and then they did the same thing. You know, they did these, like joint studies with Pfizer, and also with Moderna. And it’s, it’s just very, very difficult to believe that if Sputnik V is some sort of amazing, you know, ant-empire serum, you know, to stop the … the globalist agenda. Why would they … why wouldn’t have they just be like.

“Sputnik V is the best. We don’t need your stupid Big Pharma clot shots, we’ve got our own, like, we don’t need to partner with you.” They did the exact opposite, and right from the very beginning. And then it just gets weirder and weirder. I mean, this is like a whole other … I don’t know if you want even want to go here. But then when you really get into who is behind splitting, it could be in their ties to the World Economic Forum.

And it literally … Russia … in so many ways … like if you’re someone who believes that Klaus Schwab and his you know, stooges are up to horrible shenanigans … I mean, Russia should be like the prime … it’s like the most obvious country where clearly the government has been infiltrated by bad actors.

Like it just couldn’t be more obvious, you know. So, with Sputnik V specifically, I mean, you could literally just draw a straight line from this drug to Klaus Schwab or to the World Economic Forum. So …

Tessa Lena: Let’s go there. Let’s please go there. It is a topic of interest.

Riley Waggaman: Let’s go there. So maybe, you know, so one of interestingly enough, one of the first sort of, you know, sponsors of Sputnik V is this guy named Herman Gref, who is an ethnic German who was born in Kazakhstan and rose to become the head of Sberbank, which is Russia’s largest bank, majority-owned by the Russian government.

And in February of 2020, so right, like, right when the whole COVID thing was sort of starting … like late February 2020, right when things were starting to get really weird, Herman Gref comes out, and he says, look, I just want everyone to know that Sberbank is really concerned about Coronavirus, and we want to do two things. First thing we want to do is focus on developing technology … facial recognition technology that will identify people who are wearing masks.

Tessa Lena: That was February 2020?

Riley Waggaman: Yes!

Tessa Lena: Interesting! I am not suspicious at all … you know, I just want to put it on record that I am not suspicious. I just one think … I think it’s perfectly normal actually.

Riley Waggaman: It’s totally normal! And to add to that, he was like, in into in order to do this, we should consult with our Chinese friends and find out what they’re doing with their with their facial recognition system. So that’s the first thing that’s Sberbank wanted to do. The second thing he said is that Sberbank is so concerned about Coronavirus, we want to start funding Russian scientific institutions … research institutions to develop drugs to fight this new virus.

Tessa Lena: Drugs? Not vaccines. Drugs?

Riley Waggaman: He said generically drugs, but we later learn from this … a process occurs … actually, by May of that same year, so … like three months later, Sberbank creates a subsidiary called Immunotechnology. And this company was specifically created … specifically created to help with logistics, technology transfer and a transportation of what would soon become Sputnik V.

Tessa Lena: Interesting.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. And what ended up happening is that Herman Gref’s Sberbank ended up funding … they put down seed money for Sputnik V, and Sberbank became the sole distributor of Sputnik V, the first eight or 9 million doses. Sberbank was in charge of distributing this drug around Russia.

A bank, a bank was responsible for … for transporting this drug around Russia! And Herman Gref, who’s like one of the most important, powerful people in Russia, claims that he got he was injected with Sputnik V in April 2020, which means that he was one of the first people in the world to allegedly get this drug. Phase one

Wait wait wait … Sputnik V came out when? In … it was approved, officially approved in August 2020. And the Phase One trials didn’t start until June 19 or something. So we’re talking about several months before it even started, like the expedited phase one trials … Herman Gref says that he got the shot.

Tessa Lena: He must be immortal now!

Riley Waggaman: He must be immortal or he’s, you know, he’s probably LYING! I think that’s what’s going on here, Tessa! And you know, it’s just … there is even more to this. I’m just sort of blanking but it’s so weird how closely connected Sberbank is to this shot. And so why should this concern us? Herman Gref is a Board of Trustees member of the World Economic Forum. He’s like this with Schwab, like, best friends forever.

And this guy, this is the thing about Sberbank is that in September 2020 (so you have, Sputnik visa approved in August, September next month) … Sberbank announces that it’s no longer a bank. It’s not a bank anymore. It’s an “ecosystem of services.” So they have like Sber AI, Sber Foods, Sber Deliveries, Spare Sound, I’m not even making this up!

Tessa Lena: The Uber of Russian everything! Well, I actually … when did this happen? When did they become the hub of everything?

Riley Waggaman: September 2020.

Tessa Lena: Holy!

Riley Waggaman: Right, when all this … right when all this … right when you know the … Okay, it was, by that point, it’s true that lockdowns had ended in Russia because the lockdown didn’t last very long in Russia, but this was still like peak COVID craze, when you had all these things, everything going online, you know, education, you know, all these businesses getting totally wrecked. And here comes Sberbank with its, you know, “ecosystem of services.”

And you know, they’re also involved in, Tessa, is that Sberbank for some reason is really interested in biometric identification systems. And they already started using bio … installing biometric systems in schools in Moscow. And they’re, they’re turning, they’re … they’re targeting the children first. They’re they’re basically making biometric ID systems for Russia’s youngest generations. Yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s really bad. It’s really …

Tessa Lena: What is the practical application? What are the kids required to do in school in terms of biometric ID?

Riley Waggaman: Well, to enter, it’s a security system, right, in order to in order to enter and exit. And on social media, you have all these parents like writing these messages being like, nobody told me that they were going to install this biometric system, we weren’t informed. And now my kid has to like give his you know handprint in order to get into school!

Tessa Lena: Yikes!

Riley Waggaman: Yeah, it’s really, it’s really spooky. It’s really, really spooky. And so Sber … Sber, not Sberbank, because now it’s more than just a bank, is really invested in rolling out these biometric systems. And one of the reasons why I feel like almost QR codes don’t even matter is because isn’t really the goal here just to make everything … like your eyeball becomes your ID, you know, it’s like, we don’t …

I don’t … you don’t need a barcode. We have your, you know, your handprint. Right. So it’s really, it’s really, really not good. And you know, yeah, all this stuff you hear about and read about, about the Fourth industrialization and all of these grand plans like for, you know, smart cities, and, you know, the Internet of Things and all this, like, it applies so heavily to Russia in such an obvious way, and they’re really pushing it.

Tessa Lena: You know, that was my feeling too. Well, I mean, like, that is my feeling is that right now, here, they are talking, oh, they’re going back on mandates, so we won … I don’t think we won anything. I mean, like, it’s great that they’re rolling back a little bit. But I think they’ve pushed the people very far. And the psychology is damaged, as people have accepted that they can be treated like s**t. And then the next thing, they will roll out the same thing, but wrapped in something sweet.

Oh, that’s for your health, that’s for your security. That’s a system that monitors your blood pressure. Oh, your, well, whatever. So they’re going to roll out the same thing they wanted to roll out. But you know, in some other wrapper, or they’ll come up with a new virus or whatever. But it’s almost it’s meaningless, that they’re like, it’s pleasant that they’re going back on it, but it’s not going to last probably.

Riley Waggaman: I totally agree. I totally agree. So yeah, it’s wild. It’s wild.

Tessa Lena: And how … I mean like, what are … so they are telling the parents that their children have to use the biometric IDs … What is the action? Are parents just silently indignant? Or are they complaining to each other? Or is there some kind of an activism thing going on? What’s happening? How do people react?

Riley Waggaman: That’s a good question. I’ve only seen there’s, you know, parent groups on VKontakte, which is, you know, is the Russian Facebook. I don’t know what’s being done. I feel like it’s sort of this … there’s this feeling that nothing can be done.

Moscow has said that it wants to basically have these biometric systems, I don’t know, in all of the schools, but they said their plan is to really get this rollout going and have results by the end of this year. So they’re really pushing this in Moscow. It’s crazy. And it just sort of sort of happened overnight, you know.

Tessa Lena: But how … so … Was it … I, I don’t know, that Putin said, we’re rolling out those ID? I mean, how did it just all of a sudden start happening? Or, did it just happen on the local school level?

Riley Waggaman: Okay, so this is really interesting. Actually, I shouldn’t have said they just happen overnight. They’ve had plans to do this for many, many years. But I think it really didn’t have a really good reason to do it. So my understanding is that the Ministry of Education, so at the federal level, I believe in 2018 or 19, were like, we want all of our schools to have biometric security systems by I think 2024 I want say.

And so of course, one of the, you know, pitches, I guess, that they’re that they’re telling people is these biometric systems are also they also have these, you know, a, you know, measure if you have a fever, a temperature, right. So it’s a health, it’s a health, it’s protecting the health of your children. You know, it’s very, it’s outrageous.

It’s really sad how they views this biosecurity. And I really think that they’re specifically targeting children, because they’re the ones that you can mold, right? And a lot of adults know that this is bullshit. But you can you can target children much easier.

Tessa Lena: I’m afraid you’re right. And I really don’t like it.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah.

Tessa Lena: This is … so this is such crap.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. It’s really, really sad. It’s really, really sad.

Tessa Lena: And eventually it’ll fall apart, because it’s just so unnatural and so horrendous that it … I don’t think it will last forever. But there could be a period of time that is not pleasant. So …

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. Do you think … is that your take that you think that they’ll just overextend and then it’ll all collapse?

Tessa Lena: Well, I think that eventually, I don’t know when … because the technology … on the one hand, the technology is pretty advanced.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah.

Tessa Lena: On the other hand, there’s also this element of like, Soviet wtf as in, like, it doesn’t really work, and people pretend that it works, but it doesn’t really work. And then at some point, people just can’t lie anymore, because it just falls apart. So the Soviet Union, which was a scam, in many ways, although it was extremely important, emotionally to, you know, two generations of people … like … it did fall apart.

But it came at a cost. And it came with generational trauma and all those things. And then, of course, they didn’t have that technology at the time … They had the same ambition but they did not have the technology.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah.

Tessa Lena: But at the same time, I mean, I don’t know, sometimes when you look at targeted ads, and you’re like, this is bulls**t. I mean, the technology is not that great. They’re flattering themselves.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah, yeah.

Tessa Lena: But they’re definitely trying, and the psychological change, where they train kids specifically to accept it as if, like, privacy is a luxury, “oh, you’re so selfish if you want to have privacy, because your privacy can kill a grandma” … when … they really thought through the psychological manipulation techniques, and kids might be going for that.

But I can just see today’s kids as kind of the generation my grandparents in Russia, because that’s the generation that was subjected to massive propaganda. And then they pretty much lived with that worldview. And when they were really old, it was discovered, quote, unquote, that it was all bullshit. And they were like, oh, by the way, that was a lie, goodbye.

So, and they were left alone with that, you know, what they live their lives for, that was really cruel. And I lived through that, I lived to witness that. And that really impressed me as a kid. Because, you know, even though it was bulls**t, but they fought the war for that, they really, they really gave a lot of energy, a lot of soul to that. And then they were told, by the way, that was not true.

So nobody cares anymore. And haha, funny. So probably the same thing is going to happen to these kids, if they go for that. So looking into the future, I feel really bad for them. Because even if they believe that in their prime, the chances when they were old, they might discover that none of it was true, and that they’ve been had … and so I’m really trying to put something into this world to smooth it out and make it kind, and we’ll see what happens.

But wow, I mean, it is so it is so fascinating that even in Russia, they’re putting … pushing the biometric it’s really hard.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah.

Tessa Lena: But other like, like, let me paraphrase it. So do people realize what it’s about, like on a massive scale, that it’s a grand reform? And it’s a push that has nothing to do with health? Or what is the public sentiment about it?

Riley Waggaman: So good question. My feeling just speaking with Russians, and just totally would be, I don’t know if they’ve really sort of pieced everything together, or even though deeply about they’re just naturally suspicious, you know, and they’re just there’s naturally suspicious of anything their government tells them to do.

And so it just doesn’t have the kind of … you know, there’s not the same, I feel like, you have the, in the United States and in Europe, I feel like you really do have this problem. As cliche as it sounds, like, this problem of virtue signaling, right? Like, I want to show that I’m a good person. And so I’m gonna follow the rules.

Tessa Lena: Right.

Riley Waggaman: … and, and be obedient and show people that, you know, I’m, I’m doing my part, and that just that mindset just doesn’t really exist in the same way in Russia, you know, people are so jaded from the Soviet Union. So like, I’m not doing like, I’m not doing what you’re telling me to do. That doesn’t show that I’m a good person, you know?

Tessa Lena: It makes sense. So who would be a good person by following the government? Hello!

Riley Waggaman: Exactly, exactly. And people think like, you know, you have to realize in Russia, it’s so funny, like reading, for example, reading about Russia, no matter where you read about Russia, whatever your sources and living here, because people get so passionate about, like Russian politics and, you know, is Putin like this great savior of civilization, or this evil demon, and you know, what is the Russian like, the grand philosophical vision of the Russian, you know, nation and blah, blah, blah.

Really, like for most Russians, it’s like, I do not trust authority. I’m going to do my best to, like, bypass it in any possible way. I don’t care what they say, doesn’t interest me. I want nothing to do with it. You know, like, this is really the reality, the day to day reality for most Russians. And there’s very, very low expectations here for the government. That is expected. Nothing expected. Nothing.

Tessa Lena: Oh except being conned. I mean, that’s my people.

Riley Waggaman: Right? Right. Right. They’re always looking out for a trick. They’re like, they’re gonna trick us, aren’t they? This is another trick. Yeah, yeah.

Tessa Lena: Very prudent. Very wise.

Riley Waggaan: Yeah. No, for real. There’s a lot of street smarts here, for sure. So …

Tessa Lena: Well, that is good to know. But I’m really saddened by the biometric IDs in schools, I didn’t actually … didn’t pay that much attention to that. And that’s, that’s kind of sad.

Riley Waggaman: Really, I wrote … I wrote a piece about I’ll send it to you, you can check it out. But you know, it’s it’s really it’s also it’s double depressing, because it’s not just Sberbonk.

But they’re one of the main drivers, like a bank … *f*king bank is tagging children, like taking their palm print or whatever, and turning them into, you know, you know … A phrase I often use, just to drive the point home is, I consider the QR codes and all this stuff, they are just basically cattle tagging, you know, and it’s so sad. It’s so sad to see children get targeted by these kind of policies, it just breaks your heart. So …

Tessa Lena: Now for real, and I like the cattle tag analogy. I know, I know, you use it a lot. And that’s it.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah.

Tessa Lena: Now, next question, the convoys, because I saw you posted something about it. How … how developed? Is it? What’s going on there with the convoys in Russia?

Riley Waggaman: You know, I did … I should take another look, it’s been a few days, my feeling is that it’s not super developed. But this group, it’s not a union. It’s sort of like a, like a guild, I guess, like this association of what’s their name, association of Russian carriers. I don’t even remember their official name anyway, they were formed originally … I don’t think it’s a very old group. But they were formed originally to protest.

Russia has sort of implemented these federal toll. Federal toll system. And it’s been very controversial for people, truckers, because in trucking companies, because it just raises the price of transporting goods across Russia. And the problem, according to them, they complain that the tolls are too high. It’s actually hurting, you know, it’s contributing to inflation, which is already a problem in Russia, just like everywhere else.

You know, it’s basically making the whole transportation system unprofitable and unsustainable. And there’s also accusations that there’s there’s a lot of corruption, and allegedly, you know, people thought …

Tessa Lena: No!!!

Riley Waggaman: I know, whoa, whoa, whoa, I know, big accusation. So, so this group was originally founded to protest this whole system. So they have they have some experience sort of going after these government policies.

But it’s so interesting that now they’ve stepped up and they, I believe, in the beginning of February, they issued this statement on their website saying we support the Canadian trucking convoy, and they also basically said, we are going to start looking into our own Russian version of this.

And so they’ve issued a few statements since then, sort of laying out their vision and what’s really interesting, a big difference between these guys the Canadian truckers is that this Russian group, part of their sort of manifesto, whatever you want to call it, so it’s total, you know, get rid of all QR codes all cattle tagging goes, compulsory vaccination out the window, all COVID measures, but also they demand political reform in Russia.

And the Canadian truckers have made a point of saying this is not about asking for radical change in the Canadian government. We just want to get rid of these COVID policies. So it’s an interesting juxtaposition here. Now, how serious are these guys? I can’t say. Apparently, they are sort of gathering a list of truckers who are interested. They claim that it could be happening in the next few weeks. I guess we’ll see. You know, but it’s interesting.

Tessa Lena: Oh, definitely. Well, the Canadians also asked for the resignation of Trudeau although, I mean, like

Riley Waggaman: Did they really?

Tessa Lena: Yeah, I mean, like, it has been said.

Riley Waggaman: Okay …

Tessa Lena: In different contexts.

Riley Waggaman: I see.

Tessa Lena: So it could be presented maybe as individual desire. But that …

Riley Waggaman: Right right right right right.

Tessa Lena: But it is … it is, it is completely fascinating. Wow. So, and say, if you are in Moscow, and St. Petersburg, let’s take it on the everyday level, you want to go to a restaurant today? Does it involve any kind of tagging? Or is it? Pretty much?

Riley Waggaman: Okay. So, it’s very interesting, you know, Moscow is quite unique in the sense, because what happened with Moscow is that Moscow was the first region / city in Russia to introduce the cattle tag, that was in late June. And what happened was, over a period of about three weeks, less than three weeks, two and a half weeks, about 200, restaurants and bars went out of business. They just, nobody came to the restaurants, and they small businesses were massacred in Moscow.

And it was basically this boycott, you know, like an unofficial boycott of this whole system. And so Sobyanin, our terrific mayor, we should talk about Sobyanin, by the way, he’s a total nutcase. But, uh, he was forced to drop the cattle tags. Now, there’s two reasons for this. I think, in my opinion, one of them was because he was destroying Moscow’s economy. But also, they were Duma … State Duma elections coming up in September.

And they were I think, they were legitimately worried that if they had kept the cattle tags in Moscow, that it would have been like, full on 1917 political revolution, you know, like, people dragging artillery through the streets kind of thing, I think that it could have gotten really, really bad. So, um, Moscow does not have … it has QR codes for museums and for like, large venues like concerts. So you can go anywhere, Moscow, basically without a cattle tag.

But in St. Petersburg, it’s a lot different. They are required. That being said, my understanding is that a lot of restaurants are bypassing this rule, like we mentioned earlier. So. And also, apparently, reportedly, we’ll see in the next week or so apparently, they’re also going to drop this cattle tag requirement for restaurants and shops and so forth, which again, I think would be a great testament to, you know, to Russians, because I think this the reason they’re doing this is not … is because Russians are basically boycotting this stupid system and bypassing it. And so it’s what’s the point at this point, you know, so …

Tessa Lena: Well, good. Well, sounds like it’s a mix. I you know, a question. I forgot to ask you when we’re talking about the convoy. So what is the media coverage, because from what I checked, it was not a whole lot of Russian media coverage about the Canadian truckers.

Riley Waggaman: Ah the Canadian truckers? Yeah, I haven’t seen … you don’t see a lot of it. Maybe they’re afraid to talk about it in Russian media. They don’t want to give people any you know, ideas. Yes. Yeah. Don’t start thinking about anything.

Tessa Lena: Now that’s the same impression that I got.

Riley Waggaman: Yes.

Tessa Lena: It’s just like you know, we don’t talk about it it’s not happening. You know, what truckers?! Look, puppy!

Riley Waggaman: Yep, yep. I have the same impression … the same impression.

Tessa Lena: And so, you want to talk about Sobyanin?

Riley Waggaman: So the reason why I won’t talk about Sobyanin …

Tessa Lena: And for the for the audience, that’s … that’s the Mayor of Moscow. Completely not corrupt mayor of Moscow.

Riley Waggaman: Definitely not corrupt. He’s like a boy scout.

Tessa Lena: Right.

Riley Waggaman: He’s a … he’s a pioneer, right? Sobyanin is such a character in by … that’s like the nicest way you could possibly put it. So Sobyanin is this really sort of … he’s like, he’s like a Klaus Schwab kind of guy. He’s like a cartoon villain, you know, like, seriously from a comic book. And what makes him so special is that he’s not just your average technocrat. This guy is just, he’s just always thinking of new things to scare you with and freak people out. So he wrote, he wrote out he has this plan called Moscow 2030. Oh, what an interesting … what an interesting date to choose!

Tessa Lena: Oh.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah, right. So …

Tessa Lena: You know, I just want to again say that I am not suspicious, that’s perfectly normal.

Riley Waggaman: There’s nothing suspicious here. We’re just talking about Sobyanin’s domestic policy. Totally normal. He has this whole website, you could go look at it. And so part of his vision for you know, this Moscow smart city, by 2030, is that he wants people to have implantable devices that calculate how much health insurance you have to pay.

Tessa Lena: Please send me the website, because …

Riley Waggaman: I will!

Tessa Lena: I missed this treasure.

Riley Waggaman: I will. I will. And you know, it’s also really crazy that this is not just in Moscow, in fact, Mushustin, the Russian Prime Minister, recently came out and said, part of our vision for you know, a health care reform in Russia, is that we want to use devices to … to monitor people remotely, for their health. Right? So you’re like you were some device or whatever, maybe you implant it, I don’t know. And so that’s how they’re gonna reform, Russian healthcare. These …

Tessa Lena: Now it seems to me that somehow … that my old homeland is more advanced with Klaus Schwab agenda than my current homeland, at least now more out in the open. I mean, like, here it is talked about.

Riley Waggaman: Right.

Tessa Lena: But not so obviously.

Riley Waggaman: This is what I’ve been trying to tell people is that Russia is like, it’s like the cookie cutter, like if you really want to see what the vision of the future might be, like, just read what the Russian government is saying and what they’re trying to do. I’m not saying that it’s happened yet. Like, it’s not totally, you don’t walk outside and be like, oh, my God, the fourth industrial revolution has occurred. But like, they’re really open about it. They’re very, very open.

Tessa Lena: Are they presenting it as some kind of Western advancement, because this is the angle that could fly over there? Like, you know, high technology like high tech America, but only the better American than America is, with all the smart cities and all the technologies and flying cars and …?

Riley Waggaman: Okay, so it’s this is not exactly what you suggesting. But it’s a funny sort of anecdote about sort of the connect between Russia’s policy and the West is. So there’s a very, very infamous oligarchy named Anatoly Chubais in Russia. He’s like one of the most hated men in Russia, who goes back to the Yeltsin years, he was like Yeltsin’s Chief of Staff. And he’s been stealing money from Russia for 30 years, like he’s a professional at it.

And for from, I believe, in starting in 2008, he was appointed the CEO of a state, a state owned company called Rusnano, which was supposed to develop these like nano technologies, including vaccines, like nanovaccine tech, or whatever. And so by the way, Chubais, first thing he did was partner up with Alexander Ginsberg, the father of Sputnik V. There’s a whole story to that, but that’s not what I want to talk about.

So Chubais in two thousand … I want to say 2011 gives this speech at one of his annual tech nanotech conferences, where he’s like, Errr, all the scientists … all the important Western scientists are saying that, you know, there’s 7 billion people in the world and it’s gonna have to drop to like 1.5 billion. That’s what they’re predicting. It sounds crazy.

It sounds terrible, but that’s what the experts say that we’re gonna there’s gonna be this huge population drop. And it’s like, inconceivable, but that’s what they say. And he said …

Tessa Lena: He said this in 2011?

Riley Waggaman: This was 2011. Yeah, he’s like …

Tessa Lena: If you have a link, I want it.

Riley Waggaman: I’ll send it to you, it’s fascinating. It sounds like something Bill Gates would say right? Or something. And so here’s the thing though. Here’s the thing though. So, Chubais loves Bill Gates. He like recently on his Facebook wall wrote this thing like these are the best books I read in 2021.

And like the third or like the fifth on the list, the fifth one was like, Bill Gates’ like, why you should, you know do whatever you’re told to do to fight climate change, you know, like one of these big Bill Gates books Chubais was like, this was like my favorite book. It was so cool. Bill Gates is such a serious guy. He really cares about the climate, you know?

And the reason why this is important is because guess what, after Chubais, drove, he literally almost bankrupted Rusnano, it was like a total scam. I’m not making this up. I’m not exaggerating. He’s a lifelong scammer, terrible man. After he lost … after he left Rusnano Vladimir Putin appointed him Russia’s like Special Representative to the President for a … for sustainability … for development of like sustainability development.

Tessa Lena: That’s fitting! I want to say, it’s fitting, because the sustainable agenda is, you know …

Riley Waggaman: Right. So now he has a sustainability scam going on. And so he’s like, he’s proved his point, man. And he meets with all these, you know, he meets with like, the UN and all these other countries, and he reads Bill Gates. This is like, Russia’s climate change guy.

Tessa Lena: This is so absurd … Because knowing the culture, like how much Russians don’t care about all those slogans, given the Soviet history, like, right, anybody seriously talking about anything, like any big slogan, without people laughing loudly, they just like culturally impossible.

Riley Waggaman: Okay … I totally agree. Like, I It’s almost inconceivable to believe that Russians would be like, oh, yeah, I should, like, make my life miserable for climate change. I don’t see that happening. But I don’t think it matters. I feel like they’re just gonna be like, we’re doing the climate change things. And now we’re gonna tax you and we’re gonna steal more your money and you can’t do anything about it. It’s just like a new scam. You know, it’s just a new scam. And they don’t care.

Tessa Lena: Are you? Are you familiar with MMM from the, that was a grand scam In the 90s, where this guy came up with, like, invest, and huge return investment. And everybody brought money there. And then naturally, money just went poof. And that was a very very known scam called MMM. So there were advertisements everywhere, like commercials everywhere. And then it just went into well, sorry, I don’t know where your money went. Sorry.

Riley Waggaman: That’s exactly where it’s gonna be like, that’s, that’s my impression. They don’t care whether there will be even any policies enforced. They’ll just get like some budget, you know, like, this is the budget money for fighting climate change. And then it just goes straight into Chubais’ pocket. And everyone’s happy. No. So … It’s Russia!

Tessa Lena: Oh God. Yeah. Well, at least we can laugh about it.

Riley Waggaman: What else do we have? You know, what else do we have left? I mean, this is the thing. Of course, it’s, I mean, some days I wake up, but I’m in a really, like, I feel really despondent … it’s true. Like some sometimes I really, I really weep for the future. But it’s almost in a way, it’s almost liberating, right? Because if you think it’s really that bad, and I do think it’s really bad, in some ways, that’s just like, You got to … like you only live once, like, let’s just let’s just try to have fun with it.

Like, just mess up things as much as possible. You know, like, just see the biggest pain in the ass possible at this point. And these people like so beyond it is such a, they’re just such jokes. They’re such sad, sad people, and they’re so pathetic, and they don’t they don’t deserve your fear. You know, they don’t deserve to be feared. We should be making fun of these idiots. You know, we should just be actively mocking these morons.

And, you know, I don’t know if that will lead to anything, but it’s better than being afraid. Right? Because fear is when you get regulated, when your fear that’s when they can twist you and turn you make you do stupid stuff. But when you’re in a jolly mood, just you know, having a laugh. What’s … What’s the worst that can happen? You know?

Tessa Lena: Well, I think that’s a healthy, pleasant attitude, like a feudal peasant attitude, because you know that the masters are a**holes. But they also maybe stupid. But you know, that attitude, the absurdity that I remember from, you know, the time, especially the collapse of the Soviet Union, when nobody was keeping a veneer anymore. It was just absurd. And everybody was stealing whatever they could. I recognize it here.

Because I’m … an example from … from Moscow. Some years ago, I went, I went back and I remember I was at a restaurant somewhere in the middle of the night downtown Moscow. So it was … and then all of a sudden, in the middle of the night, the employees of the restaurant decided to take a table and start sawing it in half. So they took a saw and started just destructing this table. While the restaurant was technically still open.

When I was there eating or trying to eat, and there was no rhyme or reason to it whatsoever, they never explained why. And they were just doing it. And I was like, okay, that’s my homeland.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. Welcome to Russia.

Tessa Lena: Yeah, I mean, like, the attitude is very much here. It’s like, you have to do it. Why? Because you have to, because we say so. And it’s spreading, and hopefully, the same inglorious ending, where it just falls apart, and then now people find each other.

Riley Waggaman: You know, that’s the one thing that has kept me going is that as painful and distressing as everything’s been, it’s been wonderful to meet people who see through the bullshit. And, you know, I think that my personal like, relationships with people actually, like, the ones that really count I’ve really grown a lot stronger. And I get to meet cool people like Tessa. So you know, it’s like …

Tessa Lena: Oh, thank you. I mean, like, same here, the friendships that formed here in the past couple of years are like Russian quality I mean like they are solid. Like, they are …

Riley Waggaman: Right, that’s the thing that Russians are famous for is that they, they have this, you know, the stereotype is that they’re, they seemingly cold at first, you know, appearance, but there’ll be like, they’re like, your best friends for life, like totally loyal. So, and that’s sort of the feeling I get more and more with people that you know, I spend time with and communicate with is like, we realize that things are in deep shit. And we got to be there for each other, you know? So …

Tessa Lena: Well … that is there anything else that you want to say before we conclude it? I have to say this awesome conversation. I’m so I’m so happy that we’re talking. So …

Riley Waggaman: Thank you so much for having me on. I honestly it was a … it’s an honor. You know, your … your posts on the Great Reset for Dummies, right. It was like a classic. But I told you … I told my friends that I was gonna talk with Tessa. One of them was like, oh my gosh, he like wrote the best Substack great reset post in history.

Tessa Lena: Thank you. I’m very … I’m very flattered and honored that somebody said that. Tell them I love them. Whoever they are.

Riley Waggaman: I will! He’ll be he’ll be excited about that. I’m sure.

Tessa Lena: Now it’s an honor for me to talk to you because your writing your coverage of Russia. COVID is just stunning. It’s the best. It’s bigly.

Riley Waggaman: Bigly, wow! Thank you. That’s a that’s a big compliment.

Tessa Lena: So oh, where can people find you if they want to find it … and by the way, I highly recommend that everybody follows your Substack because it’s awesome. So where can people find you?

Riley Waggaman: Thank you. So my substack is If you want you can follow me on Twitter, although I’m not really that active on social media. Just Riley Waggaman, you can find me on Twitter. And yeah, that’s pretty much it right now. So cool.

Tessa Lena: Thank you. Well, so let’s laugh at scammers. Let’s laugh at them together. They deserve it.

Riley Waggaman: They are horrible.

Tessa Lena: They are horrible. I am glad that my compatriots find it in themselves to laugh at them more than here.

Riley Waggaman: So yeah. Oh, yeah, we’re doing we’re doing like double laughing for you guys.

Tessa Lena: Cool. Well, thank you, Riley. It was a great pleasure to talk to you and let’s talk again.

Riley Waggaman: Absolutely. Thanks so much.

Tessa Lena: Thank you. Bye bye.

About the Author

To find more of Tessa Lena’s work, be sure to check out her bio, Tessa Fights Robots.

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