Sunday, September 13, 2015

Anti-Americanism in Russia

Sabrina Tabernise has an interesting view of rising anti-Americanism in Russia:
During my visit, Russians were thinking about America a lot, which was a kind of compliment, but in the way of a spurned lover who keeps sending angry texts long after the breakup.

“Tell her how well we all live, how much better than in Europe and how wonderful Crimea is now,” hissed a woman in a skintight dress to someone I was interviewing. She was referring to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed last year. That of course, was the other big change I encountered.

Inside Russia, Mr. Putin’s actions in Crimea have broken friendships and split families, leaving society as divided as I have ever seen it. Politics, once everyone’s obsession, now seems like a distant land no one visits. Those who do, pay a price. Mr. Gudkov said he felt like “a Jew in Hitler’s Germany” when he opposed the Crimea annexation.

The move also caused the biggest break in relations with the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“It’s like a divorce,” said Keith Darden, a political-science professor at American University. “They are saying: ‘the relationship we had is over. We’ve had enough of your efforts to change us. We’re doing our own thing now.’ ”

He added, “But they don’t know what their own thing is.”
That's how things seem to me, anyway. Many Russians feel that they somehow lost the Cold War, and the humiliation of defeat almost always seems to create a depressed mood. The crazy ups and downs of both politics and the economy in Russia since 1990 haven't helped. All of this pressure creates a desire to lash out at something, or in some other way to change the situation and make Russia a winner again. Putin and his circle have manipulated this feeling, of course, but they are also captive to it. They want somehow to restore Russian greatness, but have only vague notions of what that might mean, beyond standing up to the U.S. in whatever way they can.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

""Tell her how well we all live, how much better than in Europe and how wonderful Crimea is now," hissed a woman in a skintight dress to someone I was interviewing.”

Yes, of course the unprovoked military invasion which embroiled the region in full scale modern warfare with fighting still ongoing in places made the region a better place! The dust has barely settled and there are still corpses waiting to be buried, and already things are just wonderful!

A tired, pathetic piece of rhetoric, trotted out time and again by the world's most prominent military dictators, sneering imperialists, and power hungry psychopaths.

The Chinese claimed they were helping the Tibetans when they invaded, just as the Japanese claimed they were helping the Chinese during their occupation in World War II. The Israelies, at present actively brutalizing the Palestineans, justify it half with Zionism and half by saying they're actually doing them a kindness. The United States of America is equally guilty of using the argument, having long employed it to defend trodding jackbooted over less developed peoples and nations. Most likely they learned it from their own colonial overlords of yore, what with the major powers of Europe all quite guilty of violence-as-benevolence and theft-as-generosity. And on and on and on.

The notion that people in the modern day still honestly believe this tripe - that they can delude themselves into thinking that their nation's acts of naked aggression and wanton brutality could somehow ultimately be good for their victims, or even if that somehow magically were the case, that the ends could ever justify the abhorrent means - is both saddening and terrifying.

When you believe you "know better" than someone else to the point that you are willing to deny basic free will and even kill to prove it, you've become a monster of the highest order.