3 Years of Russian Universe


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It’s been 3 years since I published the 1st post on this blog. I prepared a list of my best and/or most popular posts on Russia-and-the-West.

By coincidence today is also the last day of Maslenitsa aka Proshchenoye Voskresen’ye (Forgiveness Sunday). So please forgive me if I did something wrong.

Essential Яeading:

I. Russian Stereotypes: Western Perception of Russia as Seen Through Russian’s Eyes.

II. Representation of Russia(ns) in Western Popular Culture: Klyukvification & Russian Character Types.

III. Through the Looking Glass: Western Media Coverage of Russia.

1. Ushanka Syndrome, Sochi Problems & Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

2. Quasi-Colonial Wet Dreams: The Pussy Riot Effect, TV Screen Russians & Orientalization.

3. Fire the Narrator: Quasi-Colonial Nightmare, Russian Double Consciousness & Russocentric Optics.

IV. Russia as the Ideal Other for the West.

V. Russophobia: The Discreet Charm of Cultural Racism & the Legacy of Hate.

VI. Dostoyevsky Is the Limit?!

VII. ‘Pro-Russian’ as a Negative Marker.

VIII. The Horns Effect & the Western Grand Narrative of Russia.

IX. Russia & the West.

1. Deconstrucracy, or Imaginary Fall of the Imaginary West.

2. Crussialism, or the Eternal Fall.

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5 thoughts on “3 Years of Russian Universe

  1. PS I am sorry that the little Russian I knew, 50 years ago, has fallen into decay, so that I struggle to even read some Russian now, but I cannot forget what else I learned, which has been revived and extended over the last decade or more, including via Russian Universe. Spacebo!

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  2. Hi Sergey,

    I couldn’t possibly read everything, but here is my briefish take on the whole matter:

    All that the great majority of people know about Russia in the “West” and, I presume, the other way around, is what the government and compliant media want them to know, or rather believe in, and there’s a big difference often. Very few people are analytical, though quite a lot seem to have a natural contrarian inclination to be suspicious about “authority”, but how can anyone tell about this sort of stuff?

    Well consider the very recent German elections. Angela Merkel has gone from around 60-70% approval ratings, to about 40% I think, whilst the nationalist DV? (?) has gone from not existing to about 30% in three years.

    What does this – and similar in the US, UK and Australia – tell me? It tells me that most of the population are like those whom they vote for, e.g. narrow-minded and superficial. Personal experience confirms this.

    What does it say when such as Reagan, the Bushes, the Clintons, Thatcher, Blair, Cameron, Sarkozy, Hollande and similar in Australia have popular support … even overwhelming in the wake of some false flag like 9/11, or fake stories about Russia “annexing” Crimea, invading the Ukraine and bombing civilians in Syria.

    Welcome to the “West”.

    Now I’ll apply the same criteria to Russia, with my first exposure being Khrushchev and Bulganin during the 1950s when I was about 14 I think.

    Back then at least one Russian warship paid friendship visits Britain and the USA and Khrushchev was quite popular (all changed with JFK and the Cuban missile crisis) and he and other Soviet leaders I came across seemed a lot more rational and straightforward than what I then knew about “Western” leaders … and so commenced my Russophilia I suppose.

    Now to cut to the present, whilst skipping the Gorbachev and Yeltsin years, there is Vladimir Putin & Co, e.g. Lavrov, who has polled up to nearly 90% in Russia and who is quite popular amongst a sizeable minority in the “West”. What does that tell me about Russians and the “West”? Actually quite similar to my 1950s impressions.

    I have paid a lot of attention to Putin and I can only conclude – from a base of knowledge about him and history – that he is the most honest and genuine leader the World has probably ever known. I never imagined that I would get a Tee shirt with anyone’s image on it, but as you see from my avatar …

    In any case: If the great majority of Russians identify with Putin, then that tells me a LOT about Russians, including being naïve about the “West” and politicians especially … well Vladimir has told of when he and his colleagues in the KGB thought that they knew it all, but after Yeltsin (belated conscience?) asked him to “save Russia”, he found that he knew very little and he is obviously still learning and sensibly taking a while to be too blunt, though getting more that way, as in Sochi in late 2014 and the UN last September, just a few days before the well-planned intervention in Syria, fundamentally to defeat ISIS/Daesh before a spread into Russia and, for instance, renewed terrorism in Chechnya and/or access through Georgia and the Ukraine. If Syria and the largely ignorant “West” benefit, then well and good, but Russia rightfully comes first and alone might avert nuclear WW3, presumably because, despite Gorbachev (who loved Reagan and Thatcher), some key people largely preserved Russian defensive capabilities.

    Oh and a major fundamental difference between Russia and the “West” has been defence, not offence for a very long time, maybe going back even further than the Napoleonic invasion (I don’t know) but reflected in the rejection of Trotsky’s “internationalism and permanent revolution”, carried over by todays ex-Trotsky neo-cons in the US and giving rise to the Empire of Chaos and the nonsensical “permanent war on terror”.

    However and whatever:

    In summary: I think that if you want to know what most people are like anywhere then, regardless of flaws in polling, just look at who are the mirrors at the top of the pile, perhaps even if there are no elections, nor polls of any meaningful kind, for that matter.

    Maybe the latter is partly why the Soviet Union fell apart.

    Charismatic leaders like Stalin will attract a large following no matter what they do or really stand for (take Hitler, Churchill, Reagan and Thatcher for instance, though a bit off topic, but not by much, because all were anti-Russian, with or without the Soviet era). In this case polls/elections are an irrelevance really.

    But after Stalin’s death there was a vacuum and even if my impressions of K & B were correct, Russians still had no say, so I’m supposing that apathy crept in and enabled “Western-worshipers” like Gorbachev to gain power, along with the Oligarchs and other manifestations of neo-liberal, originally US economic policies, e.g. doctrinaire deregulation and privatization (still going on in the “West”), where there is creeping apathy too, but at a slower pace and without IMF shock treatment, like in 1990s Russia and other far less potentially resistant countries, such as in S America and recently Greece.

    Note the sudden rise, in the US, of the charismatic clown Trump and the rise of “far right” parties in Europe, whereas Russia is unique, so far, in having a leader arise who combines a modicum of charisma and humanitarian, rational policies anyone with a shred of humanity left can identify with … and with meaningful polls reflecting this, but not to the same extent in the “West”.

    Does all this make sense to you?

    Can I suggest staying with ‘cameos’ about Russia – as before this post – because no one in the “West” will read through so much material, whether already favourable towards Russia or not, but especially NOT anyone unfavourable. Relatively open-minded and informed “Westerners” go to sites like RT and RI (to a lesser extent Fort Russ and the Iranian PressTV, with US citizens quite widely attracted to the peculiarly patriotic Alex Jones Show and Veterans Today, which have come to portray Russia positively).

    In short: Things are changing and conventionally “far right” politicians, etc. no longer project their problems onto Russia – for the first time in maybe centuries – but instead are turning inwards and challenging the “powers that be” in the “West”. I hope that this is constructive for you.

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Any ideas?

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