Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Of Gorbachev, Louis Vuitton, and Litvinenko

Some rumors started circulating among a few blogs several days ago, regarding a hidden message in Gorbachev's photo sessions with Annie Liebovitz, used as advertising for Louis Vuitton. In the images, Gorbachev is passing some remaining portion of the Berlin Wall while riding in a limosine with a Louis Vuitton bag.

It seems some sharp-eyed individual took a closer look at the magazines that Gorbachev is carrying in his Louis Vuitton bag. The New York Times and a few other newspapers picked up on it yesterday, calling it "subversive text."

And lo and behold, what did their wondering eyes see? Perhaps a secret message?

The headline on the magazine says (approximately) in Russian: "Litvinenko's murder: They wanted to give up the suspect for $7,000." Was it some secret message being passed from Gorbachev to the Western world? What information did he know and why was it in the Louis Vuitton images?

Alas - it turns out to be all quite ordinary. It seems that Miss Liebovitz just purchased some magazines to fill the bag from some local store. At the time of the photo shoot, the Litvinenko murder was still making headlines. The Guardian Unlimited reports that the issue in question is simply the May 28 edition of New Times. The New Times article alleges that its reporters were approached by Russian secret agents offering to give them the location of Andrei Lugovoi in exchange for $7,000.

So, unfortunately, a possibly juicy tidbit turns out to be just a dead-end. However, given the location of the bag and magazine, you might have thought that Gorbachev would notice the headline and shuffle the magazines for something else to be in the image. Then again, he might not have even known how much of the bag or the magazine might be revealed in the final photos.

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14 comments:

Chrisius Maximus said...

New Times is a funny magazine. Ultrasensationalist.

W. Shedd said...

Yes, that was my understanding, very liberal sensationalist. Is it associated with Novaya Gazeta? I saw an ad for NG on the New Times website. It made me wonder if Gorby owned a piece of New Times also.

Chrisius Maximus said...

I have never heard of it being associated with NG, but could be... New Times is even further out there. It's the kind of place that Novodvorskaya appears. (Did I spell her name correctly?)

SiberianLight said...

How come the truth is always so much less exciting than the conspiracy theories??

W. Shedd said...

Too true. I saw this originally on nymag blog via StumbleUpon. Quick search on google revealed the NY Times article which didn't add much to the story.

Then I found the Guardian story which pretty much sealed the boring details of the deal.

I'm still wondering if New Times is affiliated with Novaya Gazeta, due to the cross advertising on the website. In that case, Gorby might be part owner, which could explain that particular magazine being selected.

I am a bit suspicious of the magazine just being a random selection, as it is a Russian magazine and that is supposedly the Berlin Wall in the background that Gorby is passing.

The magazine is from May 28, but the ads were run in August. I suppose 2 months might be the usual amount of time for photos like these to be approved and used.

Sean Guillory said...

Wow. That's funny. Andy is right the conspiracies alway sound better than the dull truth.

Chrisius Maximus said...

Actually the copy of New Times was just there to hide the Penthouse he was really reading.

W. Shedd said...

What? He isn't a Hustler man?

Chrisius Maximus said...

Good God man! Gorby has standards!

W. Shedd said...

Oh, I don't know - if you go through life with a big jelly stain on your forehead, you probably get what action you can get. Is Russian porn sophisticated?

Ooops, probably more dignified to call it a "port-wine stain."

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