Russian Spam King's Can Gets Stamped
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, Editorial Director, Customer Interaction Solutions
Newspapers around the world are reporting today that Vardan Kushnir, Russia's most prolific spammer, was brutally murdered by being beaten in his apartment by persons unknown, though it's thought that the murder was the result of a robbery and ransacking connected to some young women Kushnir reportedly picked up at a night club, and therefore not related to his spamming activities.
Few people in Russia are lamenting Kushnir's demise. Through his organizations called, curiously enough, "The Center for American English," "The New York English Centre" and "The Centre for Spoken English," Kushnir was Russia's most voracious peddler of porn Web sites and real estate spam, in addition to "learn English quickly" offers. (I guess that's where the "American English Centre" business comes from.)
English-language Russian news site MosNews.com states that, "Indeed, the deceased must have been the most hated person among 17.6 million Internet users in Russia, whom he continuously spammed over the last few years, sending out tons of e-mail ads for his language courses. These feelings are shared by many among the 20 million Russian-speaking Internet users outside the country, whom he also plagued with unsolicited ads, both text and graphical: despite limiting its offers to Muscovites only, the American Language Center did send mail to locations as remote as California, Canada or the office network of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, in Israel."
(There is a very entertaining cartoon graphic on the MosNews site, at http://www.mosnews.com/commentary/2005/07/26/spamassassin.shtml, of Uma Thurman in her yellow "Kill Bill" outfit on her way to slay Kushnir with a sword.)
Though the murder seems unconnected to Kushnir's spamming activities, this hasn't stopped lascivious speculations of spam-revenge conspiracies. According to the site, not only is the Russian media not lamenting Kushnir's death, it's reveling in headlines such as "The Spammer Had it Coming," "Spam is Deadly," "Ignoble Death Becomes Russia’s Top Spammer" and "An Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem."
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