How to Write to Vladimir Putin

putin“Please read the following carefully before you send any letter addressed to the President of Russia.

  1. Please fill in the form correctly before sending an electronic message.
  2. Information on the current message status will be sent to its author’s email address indicated in the form.
  3. A reply to the appeal will be sent via ordinary mail to the mailing address indicated in the form.
  4. An electronic message is five thousand characters maximum.
  5. A message will not be accepted for consideration if:
    • it contains obscene or offensive language;
    • the text is written in Russian using the Latin alphabet, typed entirely in capital letters, or not broken down into sentences;
    • the mailing address indicated is incomplete or inaccurate;
    • the message is not addressed to the President of Russia or the Presidential Executive Office;
    • the message contains no specific claims, complaints, or suggestions.
  6. For messages related to appeals against court decisions, it is imperative to remember the following.Under the Constitution of the Russian Federation, only courts can administer public justice. The judicial authorities are independent and work separately from legislative and executive authorities. Decisions by judicial authorities can be appealed in the procedural order established by the law. Applicable legislation prohibits any intervention in administration of justice.
  7. Personal data of those sending letters by e-mail is stored and processed in accordance with the provisions of Russia’s law on personal data.”

From: en/
Photo: By, CC BY 4.0

Letters to “Vanity Fair” about the Y2K Bug,

y2k-bug“Robert Sam Anson’s article on Y2K [‘31.12.99’] was excellent. Alas, it will probably follow the course of others of its kind and settle to the bottom of the pile due to massive denial. After the fall, a whole new school of sociology will arise to study why so few did so little to abate the catastrophic flood.”
Kirby Metcalfe, Fort Worth, Texas

“Does Robert Sam Anson really expect that at the ‘instant past midnight, January 1, 2000,… prison gates [will] have swung open’? Will America’s 1.7 million-plus prisoners then walk freely into the night? Come off it!
In spite of Y2K aberrations, real or imagined, all will be secure at the Federal Detention Center and the Federal Correctional Institution in Seagoville, Texas, as I suspect it will be throughout the land. Like most prison locks, ours are designed to remain closed without electricity and human intervention.
Anson is pandering to fear frequently created by sensational media that includes such programs as Cops and America’s Most wanted. In fact, the crime rate now is the lowest it has been in 25 years. I pray for an enlightened citizenry when I’m released.”
Adam P. Smith, Seagoville, Texas

Vanity Fair Letters, March 1999.

The KGB’s Balance Sheet for Aldrich Ames

aldrich-ames-mailboxIn 1989, the KGB double Aldrich Ames finished his CIA posting in Rome. His handler Aleksey Khrenkov gave him a nine-page letter from the KGB, which included three Polaroid pictures of land in Russia which had been set aside for him. “I kept the damn note and the pictures,” Ames later told his biographer Pete Earley, “Don’t ask me why… I felt the KGB was being genuinely nice to me and I just didn’t want to destroy the letter or pictures.”

“Dear Friend,

this is Your balance sheet as on the May 1, 1989.

= All in all You have been apprpriated — 2.705.000$

= From the time time of oppening of Your account in our Bank December 26, 1986) Your profit is — 385.077$ 28c (including 114,468$ 94c as profit on bonds, which we bought for You on teh sum of 250,000$)

= Since December 1986 Your salary is — 300.000$

= All in all we have delivered to You — 1,881,811$ 51c

= On the above date You have on Your account (including 250,000$ in bonds) — 1535.077$28c.

P.S. We believe that these pictures would give You some idea about the beautiful piece of land on the river bank, which from now belongs to You forever, We decided not to take pictures of housing in this area with the understanding that You have a much better idea of how Your country house (dacha) should look like.

Good luck.”

Photograph: Replacement of the mailbox at 37th and R Sts. NW Aldrich Ames used to communicate with his KGB handlers. A horizontal chalk mark over the USPS logo requested a meeting.