It is extremely comfortable to live within myths, but you should always be prepared for reality to strike back.
A couple of days ago EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell gave an interview to France24. https://www.france24.com/en/tv-shows/talking-europe/20210330-eu-foreign-policy-chief-josep-borrell-russia-visit-was-not-a-success
No need to say, it was his opinion of the visit to Russia that attracted my attention. I am absolutely not intersted in all this bla-bla matters about Russian aggresiveness. I clearly understand that it is just a routine curtsey in the western politics.
My mian interest was to sort out what is the reason of the gap of understanding between Europe and Russia. Does it rest in the difference in the way of thinkink? Or may be both sides clearly understand each other, but intentionally increase the level of confrontation, because confrontation hepls them to solve their local problems?
As ususal I exress my personal point of view which is also prevailing among common people around me.
I think both.
It is clear, that confrontation serves interests of politicians both here, in Russia, and in the West. To say nothing about the rest of the world. It has been so for ages. Who was to blame for the fire of Rome? May be Imperor Nero? Of course not. Chirstians were elected as a source of alleged agression against Rome.
But apart from benefits for authorities, misunderstanding is also fuelled by a difference in perception. It is common knowledge that a character of a person is formed by events of his childhood. That is also the case with nations.
The childhood of the West goes back to the Roman Empire, and his character is goverened by a will for expansion. Since that time the West has been posessing the sence of supremacy and messianism. That is why, when the West is trying to promote his values in Russia, most of Russians consider it as a humilating act, but on the side of the West it looks as a natural move. “Our rules represent general law to be followed by everybody” – that is the motto of the West.
The early days of Russia went under Mongols. In one of my next posts I will give the brief story of the Mogols’ occupation of Russia which lasted for several centuries. Thus, the need to resist external domination has been the sence of the Russian life for ages. Even expansion moves were aimed mostly on setting up a kind of buffer zones. The character of Russians is generallly defensive. That is why the moves of the West are considered by Russians as a form of agression which should be resisted. “Our life is our life, and nobody can teach us the rues” – is the motto of Russians.
Misunderstanding rises myths.
Myth No1: Russians aspire the Western values amid suppressive actions of the authorities.
Reality: Generaly, Russians have nothing against most of the Western values, but as long as they do not contradict our way of thinking, The more agreessively the West promotes them, the more resistance they meet.
Myth No2: most of the Russians reject Putin, and the fact that he is still in power is due to election swindles only.
Reality: despite the fact that some of the voices are regularly gained by election tricks, it is clear that most of Russians support Putin. He managed put himself at the fromt of the battle for the Motherland in danger. And it doesn’t matter if the battle is real or imaginative. Ironically, the West made so much for the rise of the popularity of Putin, that sometimes it seems that they are doing it on purpose.
Myth No3: if Russia is pressed hard enough, she is gooing to give up.
Reality: the more pressure is done, the more resistance it causes.
The gap between myths and reallity is obvious even for common people. If such a clever politician as the foreign policy chief preferes to have the blind eye on it, the only explanation can be, that it is much more comfotable for him to be within myths.