Mark Ames

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Mark Ames
EXile editor-in-chief Mark Ames.png
Born Марк Эймс
(1965-10-03) October 3, 1965 (age 51)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Occupation Journalist, political writer
Spouse(s) Anastasia Ames

Mark Ames (born October 3, 1965) is a writer known for his work as a Moscow-based expatriate American journalist and editor. He is the founding editor of the biweekly the eXile in Moscow, to which he regularly contributed before he returned to the U.S. Ames has also written for the New York Press, The Nation, Playboy, The San Jose Mercury News, Alternet, Птюч Connection, GQ (Russian edition), and is the author of three books.


Ames was raised in Saratoga, California, a newly urbanized town in the San Francisco Bay Area's Silicon Valley, where he attended an Episcopalian private school. He graduated from Saratoga High School in 1983.

After leaving Saratoga, Ames attended the University of California, Berkeley, while living with his father (his parents had divorced when Ames was eight years old). He later described how his college years shaped his later political views in a section of the book The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia:

I was a student at Berkeley in the late Reagan years. We had a lot of ideas back then, big dreams about getting famous and destroying the "Beigeocracy" that we thought stifled and controlled American Letters. Everything seemed possible then: world war, literary fame ... Anyway, something Really Big, with us at the center of it all. We'd ridicule the boring lefties, our enemies. We'd drop all sorts of drugs and go to the underground shows: Scratch Acid, Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth. It felt like something might happen, and soon.[1]

After college, Ames lived in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Prague, and played briefly in a punk band. He also tried writing screenplays.[2]

In August 1991 he visited Europe, spending two weeks in St. Petersburg (at that time called Leningrad). Though he returned to live in Foster City, California, he continued thinking of Russia, and delved into Russian literature. After spending mid '92 to early '93 in Prague, Ames moved to Moscow. In 1995 he published "The Rise and Fall of Moscow's Expat 'Royalty'" in the English-language Moscow newspaper The Moscow Times, and was shortly thereafter hired by its competitor Living Here.[3] In 1997 he left to establish the eXile, where he served as writer and editor.

In The eXile, Ames wrote on such topics as politics, organized crime in Russia, prostitution, and drug use. The paper played practical jokes on Pravda staffers and public figures including Mikhail Gorbachev. Chicago Reader contributor Martha Bayne wrote that there was more to the paper: "Some pranks are sharper--and meaner--than others, but they're all conceived under a towering belief in the righteousness of the paper's mission. The Exile has kept up a holy racket, railing away against stupidity, corruption, and influence peddling . . . It has covered mind-numbingly complex topics like privatization in a straightforward style that's not only comprehensible but actually interesting to a reader with no background in Russian economic history and little enthusiasm for acquiring one."[4]

In June 2008, the paper's website was closed down and Ames moved back to the U.S.[5] Ames continues to edit the eXile in an online-only format: eXiledonline.[6]

In 2000, Ames and Matt Taibbi published The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia, which chronicled their journalism exploits,

He has been married to Russian journalist Anastasia Ames since 2008.

In February 2010, Vanity Fair profiled Ames and The eXile.[5]

Ames became senior editor at Paul Carr's Not Safe For Work Corporation website in August 2012.[7]


  • The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia (ISBN 0-8021-3652-4). Co-authored with Matt Taibbi, and published in 2000 with a foreword by Edward Limonov.
  • В Россию с любовью (Записки американского изгоя), Мама Пресс, 2002. (ISBN 5-902382-02-5) available in Russia. The title can be translated as To Russia with Love (Notes from an American Outcast).
  • Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond, 2005 (ISBN 1-932360-82-4).


External links[edit]