Russia & the West: Vodka vs Caviar, or the Eternal Opposition?


Russia & the West.

Pt. IV: Vodka vs Caviar, or the Eternal Opposition?

§1. Vodkaviar.

Pubama Obutin © RussianUniverse.org, 2016.

Again a tussle with Europe (oh, it’s not a war yet: they say that we – Russia, that is – are still a long way from war). Again the endless Eastern Question is in the news; and again in Europe they are looking mistrustfully at Russia…. Yet why we should go running to seek Europe’s trust? Did Europe ever trust the Russians? Can she ever trust us and stop seeing us as her enemy? …

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, A Writer’s Diary, My Paradox, 1876.

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The West in Russia is more than just the ‘West’.

Captain Obviov,  Lost Letters & Memoirs, 1989-2009.

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…Let me quote Romano Prodi once again: “Russia and the EU are united like vodka and caviar“. He tried to modify an English proverb – ‘like whiskey and soda’. But my Russian friends told me that vodka and caviar are not always perceived integrally in Russia. Perhaps, I will advise him to say like vodka and herring next time.

Richard Wright (Head of the European Commission mission to the Russian Federation), Evropa (journal of the European Union), №6(29), June, 2003, p. 2.

Continue reading “Russia & the West: Vodka vs Caviar, or the Eternal Opposition?”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky “My Paradox” (Extract)


Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1863.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1863.

Again a tussle with Europe (oh, it’s not a war yet: they say that we – Russia, that is – are still a long way from war). Again the endless Eastern Question is in the news; and again in Europe they are looking mistrustfully at Russia. . . . Yet why we should go running to seek Europe’s trust? Did Europe ever trust the Russians? Can she ever trust us and stop seeing us as her enemy? Oh, of course this view will change someday; someday Europe will better be able to make us out and realize what we are like; and it is certainly worth discussing this someday; but meanwhile a somewhat irrelevant question or side issue has occured to me and I have recently been busy to solve it. No one may agree with me, yet I think that I am right – in part, maybe, but right. Continue reading “Fyodor Dostoyevsky “My Paradox” (Extract)”

Fyodor #Dostoyevsky on the #Slavic Question


Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s Diary (1877, November).

Portrait of Fyodor Dostoyevsky by Vasily Perov, 1872.
Portrait of Fyodor Dostoyevsky by Vasily Perov, 1872.
Some Quite Special Remarks about the Slavs That I Intended to Make Long Ago.

Continue reading “Fyodor #Dostoyevsky on the #Slavic Question”

Fire the Narrator: Quasi-Colonial Nightmare, Russian #DoubleConsciousness & Russocentric Optics


Russian Stereotypes: Western Perception of Russia as seen through Russian’s eyes. Part III.

Pavel Orinyansky - Illustration to Ruslan and Lyudmila by Alexander Pushkin.
Pavel Orinyansky – Illustration to Alexander Pushkin’s “Ruslan and Lyudmila”.

Through the Looking Glass: Western Media Coverage of Russia. Part 3. [Pt. 1, Pt. 2].

Continue reading “Fire the Narrator: Quasi-Colonial Nightmare, Russian #DoubleConsciousness & Russocentric Optics”

Quasi-Colonial Wet Dreams: The #PussyRiot Effect, TV Screen Russians & Orientalization


Russian Stereotypes: Western Perception of Russia as seen through Russian’s eyes. Part III.

Ivan Bilibin Vasilisa the Beautiful at the Hut of Baba Yaga
Ivan Bilibin – Vasilisa the Beautiful at the Hut of Baba Yaga, 1899.

Through the Looking Glass: Western Media Coverage of Russia. Part 2.

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Challenge, and not desire, lies at the heart of seduction. …

Take provocation, for instance, which is the opposite and the caricature of seduction. It says: “I know that you want to be seduced, and I will seduce you.” Nothing could be worse than betraying this secret rule. Nothing could be less seductive than a provocative smile or inciteful behaviour, since both presuppose that one cannot be seduced naturally and that one needs to be blackmailed into it, or through a declaration of intent: “Let me seduce you”. Jean Baudrillard “The Ecstasy of Communication”.

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Foreword.

This post focuses not on ‘Pussy Riot’ itself but on a certain phenomenon which in case (no pun intended) of Pussy Riot was vividly revealed and will be discussed here as a typical example of contemporary Western view of Russia promoted via media and popular culture. On a side note: the author did not support jail sentence of the PR members (in my opinion two weeks of community service would have been more than enough for them). Unfortunately, it was the PR’s jail sentence which was the best PR for PR (pun intended) and made the brand globally recognized as well as helped to solidify the worst pre-existing Western stereotypes about Russia (see: self-fulfilling prophecy and confirmation bias). Continue reading “Quasi-Colonial Wet Dreams: The #PussyRiot Effect, TV Screen Russians & Orientalization”