Why Russian Philadelphia love trump

Philadelphia — a few hours Later, the abundance of Cyrillic signage begins to mix with the scent of Eastern European delicacies — pies with the scent of cabbage, sweetened with honey and topped with poppy seeds rolls and pilaf with lamb. Inside the well-visited shopping is the main lure of low-rise shopping centers, typical of this part of northeast Philadelphia — you can hear the rapid conversations in Russian and Uzbek and a more staccato version in English. In fact, in Batstone (Bustleton) and Somerton (Somerton), in these remote areas — sometimes called “little Odessa” due to the significant presence of Ukrainian, Uzbek and Russian immigrants — drew attention to the fact that people here seem eager to cover it up. Advertising on the Internet is very small. The owners of trading kiosks are asked not to take photos. The owner of the bookstore refuses to transfer the title of a Russian novel. Here you feel more than a hint of suspicion against outsiders.


However, the situation changes when it comes to Donald trump. Since the end of the cold war was not so many suspicions and intrigues against Russia and Russian. The news is full of vague accusations of hacking, interference in elections and the impact on less serious cases — and all this seems to require confirmation of loyalty to one side or the other. However, many of the approximately 26 thousand Russian-speaking residents of Philadelphia (not to mention more than 900 thousand across the country) version of the political debate with the division into “us” and “them” is actually not the case. Here in this spontaneously created a cocoon of familiar cultural signs, I found a kind of dual nationalism among the locals. It is a Frank love a country that once was their home, and the same enthusiasm for the populist President, whom many of them voted.

“Trump is a fighter, a good negotiator, a successful businessman. Four times he was bankrupt. He understands how the world works from a business point of view, — says Alexander Shapiro (Alexander Shapiro), who came to the United States in the early 1990-ies of what is now called Ukraine. — During the election campaign he fought with governors and senators. He dealt with them as children.”

Hearing how excited the locals are saying about the first 60 days in office of President Donald trump, I almost expected to see shelves filled with Russian nesting dolls, depicting the Barron, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and all of us. But nothing particularly eye-catching inside the gift shop “Knizhnik” I have not found. It was, rather, a family store, where I was constantly reminded that “everything Russian”. However, in sight was standing there and written in Russian, the biography of trump. This book has become a popular prize during the collective views of Russia’s programs dedicated to the elections. The title of this book in the US, translated as “Black Swan” (The Black Swan).

This is an appropriate metaphor for Bustleton and Somerton fit in Philadelphia. They almost did do not fit in it. In a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the ratio of seven to one, and where the local branch of the Republican party has turned into some kind of mockery, those areas closest to the conservative bastions. And this happens for decades. “Far Northwest” as local slang called the area bordering on the County Bucks — the suburbs in swing state — has a long history of oppositional relationship to progressivism on all issues — from taxation to the desegregation of schools. In 1983 Senator of Pennsylvania, who represented this district, proposed a bill providing for a Department of the North-Western part of the city of Philadelphia. Partly it was seen as retaliation for the appearance of the first African-American mayor, and today this dynamics explains the implication of movement trump’s “Make America great again”. “Whether newly arrived Russians or representatives of the older generation of nationalist theme typical of the political mindset of all the inhabitants of the northeastern part of Philadelphia, especially those who are more inclined to be conservative,” said Matt Smalec (Matt Smalarz), a native of these places and the College manor (Manor College). His thesis was devoted to the place where he grew up. “In any other district of Philadelphia do not post so many American flags,” he adds.

Some people cultivate their acceptance of patriotism in such places as Belltone “Association of the new world” (New World Association). Within this non-profit organization, there is “English club 5 hours”, and various educational and special courses for refugees and immigrants. Like many other things in this part of the city, the organization itself is located in a small shopping center, and its main equipment are the folding chairs and tables, as well as some other minor utensils. Its members are mostly Ukrainians, and the fact that today so much attention is devoted to issues of emigration on the southern boundary, restricts the visibility of the organization as well as its financial support — grants or government funding. This is what we said its Executive Director, Marina Lipkovskaya (Marina Lipkovskaya). “We are not interested,” she says. But this gives rise to a sense of forced self-sufficiency, which is identical to the message trump.


In their election speeches, trump focused on the sense of frustration caused by the lack of attention to white voters among the working class who have the impression that the government simply pushed them aside. No need to be unemployed workers from Western Pennsylvania to understand this feeling. Actually Lipkovskaya comes from the fact that the people who come from the former Soviet republics probably positively perceived and distributed during the election campaign trump’s message regarding the fact that the need to cope with emerging problems. “In my family we paid for all their hard work and great respect to this country, she says. — Eastern Europeans are not as dependent on state aid. We are not waiting for the moment when the dollars start falling from the sky.”

In the end, many immigrants ended up here, fled in the 1990-ies they fled from persecution on religious or ethnic grounds in their countries. “The majority of Russian are almost a libertarian, says Andre Krug (Krug Andre), Director-General of the organization KleinLife, whose task is the care of the elderly Russian-speaking people. They came from a country that dictated to them how they should live, and so, being in America, they think so: the less the government does, so they, ultimately, will be better.” Their ideology is — in the aggregate — more like rude individualism, emphasizes the Circle. In other words, it is a truly American, but born on the basis of the experience of life in the Soviet Union. Ultimately, the education of the trump in terms of wealth and shady deals in business do not undermine the attractiveness of its well-trained messages about personal triumph. In November last year, trump is a bit behind in the 56th electoral district of Philadelphia, which includes Bustleton and Somerton, but received 1464 votes than Mit Romney (Mitt Romney) in 2012. The outcome of the elections in Pennsylvania have identified only 45 thousand votes.

This kind of dual nationalism is rooted much deeper. Lipkovskaya first introduced me to Shapiro, who currently lives in the nearby suburb of Huntingdon valley (Huntingdon Valley). He actively supported the trump in October of last year. On it — blue blazer, he drank the bottled water company Perrier, when we were sitting around a folding table organization “Association of the new world”. Support Shapiro’s new President is a direct and Frank, like his criticism of Obama, whom he considered a timid and fear of Vladimir Putin. As evidence, he cited the refusal of the United States against military intervention in Ukraine and Syria. For him the prospect of the presidency another member of the family, Clinton was not just maintaining the status quo, but also the beginning of the ruling political dynasty is a kind of house of Romanov, hidden within a constitutional democracy. Later, however, Shapiro acknowledged that he was not against the continuation of the line trump in power. “I think after eight years of rule trump the President will be Ivanka. I think it will compete with Michelle (Obama) — and win.”

Despite the apparent lack of sympathy for Putin, the majority of overseas-born residents of Philadelphia, with whom I was able to talk to, they all praised trump for having what could be called qualities of Putin — his decisive projection of power. And his instincts, which Shapiro calls “courage.” And most of all it attracts long-held promise of prosperity for all Americans. “To make America great again” — this message can be perceived on a personal level such immigrants, as Shapiro arrived in the country in 1990-ies, that is, in a period of relative economic prosperity. It so happened that the period of pink cloud in our recent history was his first impression of the West. “Since 1996, before the collapse of the world trade center towers it was communism, says Shapiro, referring to that all benefited from the favorable situation. — It was a very good time. Everyone was happy. People bought houses. The real estate sector flourished. The stock market flourished. That’s why he won the trump. He wants to make America great. He wants to return to the old days when people were happy.”

Since the 1990s, years any other part of Philadelphia does not lose the white population and settled immigrants not as fast as the northeast. According to Pew, the white population of Bustleton and Somerton decreased by 14% and 17 % respectively in the period from 1990 to 2010. At the same time, the number of Hispanic and Asian residents grew by 100%. Although active presence in the news in Russia has caused a departure from the mentality in the style of a “nation within the nation” among the Russian-speaking population here feel the spirit of discrimination, feeling that Russian might begin to look with suspicion, as used by Muslims.

“I do fear that, given my origins, says Orhan Veli (Orhan Veli), a 33-year-old businessman, who grew up in the Philadelphia area. His family came to the United States as refugees in 1994, fleeing from the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. It was a famous family in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, however, there was tension, and everything instantly changed. “I literally — the refugee child, which you can see in Facebook, he says. — I know how the propaganda work. My children have no idea that they are (ethnic) Russians. But they can very quickly become a Russian in a society where they are”.

However, Were a strong supporter of trump on the migration ban, while many people leftist is subjected to his criticism and call of institutionalized persecution. Not to say that Conducted recalls the experience of his own family in obtaining refugee status. It took nearly two years — all this time carried out the verification of the identity, and mental health assessment. But he believes this process is a significant prerequisite in order to become American. As a contrary example, Were leading the fate of his cousin, who also in childhood, survived the war, and then went as a refugee the same way he did. “For example our family showed that we are good people and we should be too early to give permission to come here instead of over one and a half years to put us in all sorts of checks and force us to be in a very unpleasant situation, he says. — With this approach, we totally agree.”

Perhaps not surprising that immigration is the issue on which representations about trump begin to significantly diverge. This topic is perceived as less ideological and more personal. Lipkovskaya considers relevant to the current first lady a harbinger of emerging nativists discontent. “You know what I resent? Attitude to Melania trump because she’s an immigrant. She speaks with an accent, like me. And some awkward sod looks at her and says, ” I don’t even understand what she says in English.” This is just plain disrespectful,” she says. Lipkovskaya and then adds: “Then they begin to shout: “trump is wrong with the ban — he’s not my President!” For her attacking the Melanya southerners are neither the Christian right nor the representatives of the traditionalist wing of the Republican party, but rather a bunch of illiterate liberals. Speaking of propaganda.

If there is some kind of dividing line in little Odessa in terms of relationship to the Trump, it is generational. Led, Lipkovskaya and Shapiro acknowledge the existence of differences in opinions arising from trump. Many elderly people do not agree with the new President, they fear that he might just surrender Ukraine to Putin. Many young people who have lived more time in America or grew up here tend to regard politics trump intolerant and retrograde.

But even among those people who openly call trump a puppet of corporate billionaires and Putin, there are those who see its virtues. And they Express it in a flattering form for the country that some of them did not know. “Russia is much stronger than us, man, says Nazar (Nazar), a representative of the generation of the Millennium, working as a representative of the cellular operator Metro PCS in a shopping center in the district Bustleton Avenue. For all the shortcomings trump his promise to renew us-Russian relations enables you to maintain a delicate balance between the dual nationalism, which adhere to many of the immigrants in northeast Philadelphia. At least it will allow them to make a choice in favor of one party. “If trump became President, defeated Clinton, Putin may have tried to start a third world war”, they say.