When it became known that President Donald trump were confused in connection with what the official photographer of the news Agency TASS published pictures of his meeting with the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak, caught in the middle, Russian scandal, one White house official told CNN that “the Russians lied to us” and that “they’re lying”.
And no one even did not occur to draw attention to the fact that this White house official used the word “Russian” and not, say, “Kremlin”, “Putin’s puppet” or “the Russian”. He said “Russian” — in the same way, as do most media, the leading news programs and journalists who constantly use the word “Russian”, as if the whole country joined in a conspiracy to destroy the USA, and not a bunch of hackers hired by the government, which nobody trusts.
In this context, it is easy to understand why no one was paying attention and not react when former Director of National intelligence James Clapper (James Clapper) said: “In their genes [the genes of the Russian people] pledged to resist, diametrically oppose the USA and Western democracies.”
Imagine what would happen if some high-ranking official said something similar about Muslims after a terrorist attack or about African Americans after the RAID, condemning the entire nation for the actions of a few people. The Internet immediately came up a storm of indignation, editors immediately took to write angry articles, from all sides resounded to the calls to end the career of the Clapper, and in the social networks there would be another witty hashtag with a lot of followers.
But the statement that all Russian people is something fundamentally wrong based on the actions of a few hackers who receives compensation from the government, not even surprising, since the ugly truth is that, no matter how much the liberals nor praised himself against stereotypes and prejudices, Russophobia is a completely social acceptable phenomenon in the United States. Even more ugly truth is that this is because liberal Americans think of prejudice based solely on skin color, not nationality. But this is not so.
Those same social justice warriors who are proud of their hard positions against racism, do not hesitate to make fun of and stereotyped to accept Russians as a whole nation, and this is largely due to the fact that they imagine “the Russians” as a kind of a pure race of pale-skinned, blue-eyed handsome men and beautiful women that obeyed the dark Lord, living in an impenetrable fortress.
I would love to know how these American liberals would react if they learn that Russia is a huge country, where representatives of more than 185 nationalities and where the second largest religious community is Muslim community. Although the majority of Russians are representatives of Caucasian race, it does not mean that they live better and have more civil rights than people in third world countries: according to 2016, nearly 20 million Russians live below the poverty line, earning less than $ 139 per month.
I would love to know how they will feel when they realize that by humiliating and criticizing those evil “Russians”, they are actually talking about people very similar to my distant relatives: they talk about modest farmers who grow potatoes anywhere in the Southeast that have never been interested in politics and are just trying to survive, and not about the villains in the spirit of films about James bond, plotting to destroy America, sitting in front of their computers.
Because I was born in St. Petersburg and moved to the States when I was five, I believed that one of the positive aspects of a trump presidency (I voted for Hillary Clinton) will be a real opportunity to improve relations with Russia. However, recent events suggest otherwise.
I was hoping that people who hated trump and who often asked me questions like: “How is it that against the Putin regime protest so little of the Russians? Obviously, they love it” (which in itself is a stereotype, but if you remember how many young people came to the recent anti-corruption rally in Moscow, it is also completely unfair stereotype), you will understand that, even if the country’s leader — “dictator”, this does not mean that all the people of this country are racist and bigoted assholes.
I thought people would stop telling me that, “once Putin is bad and once the Russians chose Putin, then the Russians are bad”. I thought that some of those of my friends who hated trump and who for many years have criticized the whole of Russia due to several laws that took Putin, will now be able to sympathize with the people living in Russia, and say: “Yes, now I understand what it means to watch as the leader of your country passes laws with which you strongly disagree, and to realize his utter helplessness.” I thought for the first time in a very long time I can say that I love Russia, and did not hear the accusations that I like Putin, because people will understand that the country is not just its policy and that it is possible simultaneously to love the country and hate its President. That it can be even more loving and still more strongly to defend, because you have a broken heart when you see her humiliated.
But it seems that the Americans failed to see this similarity is partly due to the ongoing investigation of Russia’s actions, but mostly, I think, due to the fact that they are terrified from thinking about possible similarities with Russia, although in reality they are very similar to each other. America and Russia are two superpowers, stubborn, proud and always ready to impose their point of view to everyone else. This American of Russian origin, like me, they seem like two divorced parents who are constantly trying to increase their influence on their alienated and confused children.
I’m already used to the fact that everything in my life starts to go awry in those moments when the relations between Russia and America there comes another period of abrupt cooling. One day, about the time when Putin signed a law banning propaganda of homosexuality, a gay couple extremely defiantly moved away from the table where I was sitting and my Russian-speaking friends, despite the fact that most of those sitting at our table, too, was gay or at least bisexuality. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, one of my College buddy sarcastically greeted me with the phrase “Congratulations on the acquisition of the Crimea”, although I’ve never met or had no relationship to this step.
I was politely relieved me of the position in a famous news outlet, because, as they admitted, they didn’t feel too comfortable because in my articles I try to consider all nuances and viewpoints of the various parties, instead of constantly harping about how Russians are stupid and crazy. I love to write articles about how the Russians teach the bears to play the trumpet and how little they are worried about a giant meteor heading straight for them because I am proud of our ingenuity and recklessness. But I also want to write articles about what people who have feelings, too, who also love and fear, and I’m shocked that a variety of publications consider it “provocative.”
I always say that now around Russia lot of interesting things happening, that now is the time to write about Russia. In response, I politely nod, but really, things are different. My fellow journalists who, like me, are Americans of Russian origin, and some of them wrote articles for the Atlantic and other prestigious publications since the 1960s and even published several books on Russian-American relations, have completely lost all hope. They either can’t make at least some newspaper published their article because they are too “provocative” or, if they do manage to publish their articles, simply nobody reads. This is because no one wants to hear a balanced and detailed arguments on the subject of Russia. Mainstream media asking people who don’t speak Russian and have never been to Russia, share opinions and comment on the current situation is like asking a goat to comment on the crisis in the real estate market. About Russia, people only want to hear one thing: Putin is the villain, and the whole of Russia only thinks about how she would destroy American democracy.
Obviously, such a crazy anti-Russian rhetoric puts trump in a very awkward position where he will either have to establish diplomatic relations with Russia and look like a puppet of Putin, or to take a tough stance against Moscow and exposing the world to the threat of nuclear war. I admire Stephen Colbert (Stephen Colbert), whose intelligence constantly amazes me, but his obsession and reductionist approach to Russia really disappointed me. Recently, he criticized Oliver stone (Oliver Stone) for his “over-softness” in a conversation with Putin, that is what the Director was polite and ready to open discussions to obtain qualitative interviews. Even if Putin is the “enemy”, shouldn’t we do everything possible to understand his policies and way of thinking, and then to develop a more effective plan of counterattack. (And why Colbert, who never personally met with Putin, believes that he knows the Russian leader is better than a man who has spent two years talking with him?)
I totally agree with stone, which, having listened to a huge variety of ridicule and criticism, finally exploded: “what’s wrong with the detente in relations with Russia? Why are you against it? I don’t understand this position”. And I don’t understand. Shouldn’t we try to improve relations with Russia? You want to die? Now is not the time cherish a hero complex. One of the similarities between Putin and trump is that they are both desperately trying to prove his brutality. I have relatives on both sides of the Atlantic, and I personally don’t want to become a witness of what will happen, if will meet in the ring the two nuclear powers.
I know that it is very important to find out whether trump entered into an agreement with the Russian hackers/Kremlin or not, but the paranoia around the “Regata” is becoming a mass hysteria. When trump was appointed a new FBI Director Christopher ray (Christopher Wray), edition of USA Today stated that it “looks good on paper, but his law firm represents the interests of oil companies controlled by Russia.” I’m not an economist, but Russia have the two largest oil companies of the open type, so inevitably there are lots of businesses connected with them.
“The Russian government is somehow involved in 70% of the Russian economy, and it’s a pretty conservative estimate, so when you are dealing with Russian business, chances are that you are also dealing with the Russian government. But does this mean that all these transactions are unscrupulous in their essence or what they are doing you a traitor? Of course not, — said Natalia Antonova, an expert on Russia and an American journalist who writes about Russia for many years. — I would also like to emphasize that we need to consider each of these transactions individually. Some deals do cause more doubt and anxiety than others. In this discussion, we need more room for detail and nuance, because I think the Kremlin is counting on the lack of details — so he can write off all of the investigation on Russophobia”.
I won’t argue with the fact that between Moscow and Washington may have been or still has some murky connection, but I have the impression that at this stage even the decision to sit down with a Russian man at a bus stop is considered a “conspiracy”.
People don’t understand what all this paranoia is not only harmful to Trump, but also helps Putin. I was never a supporter of Putin, but I admire how deftly he was able to take advantage of the outbreak of the Russian scandal. He managed to position himself as a friend of trump’s, supporting him and saying during the election campaign in the United States that he is “very bright, talented, without a doubt,” and at the same time to exhibit himself as an opponent of the trump, offering to transmit the transcript of Sergey Lavrov with trump in the background of reports that in their meeting trump leaked highly-classified information, as well as proposing the Komi Republic for political asylum, which he had previously granted to Edward Snowden (Edward Snowden).
With the same success he could scream into a megaphone: “trump is a great guy, he tries hard but he’s a rookie in this business. However, look at me! I am very transparent, and I certainly respect the freedom of speech. I gave a lot of interviews Megyn Kelly (Megyn Kelly) and Oliver stone, but we still continue to call liars and thieves! Obviously, we must band together against a country that continues to hate us no matter what”.
As recently written by Anna Lind-Guzik (Anna Lind-Guzik), an American of Russian origin, who became a co-founder of the Anti-Nihilist Institute, “Vladimir Putin uses the leniency of America to consolidate his power in Russia. Propaganda works best when it is based on a grain of truth”.
Thus, the attacks on Russian, which, by the way, in the US a lot, not just offensive. They play into the hands of Putin.
Don’t let him win. We (Russians and Americans) than this.