EDITORIAL: Readin’ and Ritin’ and Roosskie Rithmatic

EDITORIAL

Readin’ and Writin’ and Roosskie Rithmatic

One of the most hilarious features (or it would be if it were not so tragic) about the Russian psyche is the nation’s continued insistence that it is well-educated, especially compared to Americans.  The actual facts tell a quite different story (not that Russians are ever over-interested in facts).

The United States spends 5.7% of its GDP on education, ranking #37 out of 132 countries surveyed by the United Nations Human Development Program.

Russia spends a woeful 3.8% of GDP, ranking a sad and sorry #88. Two-thirds of world nations spend more on education as a share of GDP than Russia does. The USA in particular spends over 65% more on education, as a share of its GDP, than Russia.

If you think about it in dollar terms, the picture is even more horrifying for Russia.

The US GDP is $14 trillion. That means the US is spending nearly $800 billion on education every year.  The Russian GDP is $1.5 trillion.  That means Russia is spending a mere $57 billion on education.  In raw dollars, the USA is spending fourteen times more than Russia is on education, even though America’s population is only twice as  great.

The USA has 300 million people.  That means it is spending roughly $2,600 for every man, woman and child in the country on education.  Russia has 140 million people.  It is spending just $400 for each person.  In dollar per capita terms, the USA is spending over six times more than Russia on education. Six times more.

What does this mean? It means that Russian teachers are paid slave wages and Russian students study in decrepit, backwards institutions.  It means teachers are corrupt, eager to take bribes to support themselves, and students learn the ways of corruption, not the ways of knowledge.  It means Russia’s schools graduate “students” who are closer to being criminals than they are to being scholars.

Reviewing facts like these make it perfectly plain why Russia is such an ignorant, backwards nation.  And the important point to understand is that this isn’t an accident. The last thing the KGB Kremlin wants is a highly educated population that can think for itself.  Such a population would generate its own power base and would ask the Kremlin a lot of very difficult questions about its policies that it could not answer.

Much better, thinks the Kremlin, for the population to be ignorant. The more ignorant, the easier to control.  It’s much easier to lie to a stupid person, much easier to make them do what you want.  What’s more, by not paying for education Russia has that much more money available for building additional palaces for Vladimir Putin to live in during his dotage.

Russians are fond of touting their high literacy rate.  But teaching people to their ABC’s is only part of the battle. The rest involves teaching them critical thinking skills and giving them access to a wide variety of reading materials, not just that which the Kremlin finds acceptable.  In these latter areas Russia fails miserably.

Russia’s low level of education explains the low level of support for opposition politics, the tolerance for a high level of corruption, and the general lack of progress in Russia.  Not until Russians demand better for their children will Russia have any hope of becoming a modern, competitive, successful nation.

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96 responses to “EDITORIAL: Readin’ and Ritin’ and Roosskie Rithmatic

  1. Thank you once again for another superb article LR – or put otherwise “You’ve done it again, Larussophobe!”

    The quote “Much better, ………….., for the population to be ignorant. The more ignorant, the easier to control. It’s much easier to lie to a stupid person, much easier to make them do what you want.” is a real ‘gem’ of a quote, and explains the mentality of a Russophile down to the proverbial “T”.

  2. @The USA has 300 million people.

    ~310 million.

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2010/12/30/us-population-2011-310-million-and-growing

    (Not that it changes all that much.)

  3. Russian education declined since demise of USSR, only blind or NASHI can argue that.
    However, what is an ultimate criteria spending rates or results?

    The United States spends 5.7% of its GDP on education, ranking #37 out of 132 countries surveyed by the United Nations Human Development Program.

    Russia spends a woeful 3.8% of GDP, ranking a sad and sorry #88

    Then look here: http://www.imo-official.org/results.aspx?column=year&order=asc
    Thats International Math Olympiad results.

    Years: 2000 – 2010
    China 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
    Russia 2 2 2 5 3 3 2 1 2 3 2
    USA 3 2 3 3 2 2 5 5 3 6 3

    China is no doubt a leader, but Russia is a close second, USA at best – third.

  4. The self-education problems: British are interested and know their past from Picts and even possible Semitic contributors(Athlantic Celts) to Brits,Anglo-Saxons,Scandinavians,Northmans. Russian history was the official darkness: no Finns,no Poles,no Vikings,no Tatars as the contributors.”Norman theory” father was threatend of prison by tsarina. The national identity is the base of the education.

  5. Rumours have been circulating among Russian teachers in the past couple of years that the Putin regime is preparing a new education reform that will reduce that number of subjects taught in Russian schools free of charge to just three – Health and Safety, Physical Training and Glorification of the Russian State and its Leadership. I don’t know how much truth there is to this rumour but with the way things have been going in the past ten years it seems quite plausible.

  6. Critical thinking skills are one area that has always been lacking in Russian education as well as in Soviet education, naturally. In the USSR people were taught a lot of math and in all the other subjects that were essentially required to simply memorize tonnes of information, there was very little discussion or analysis of that information, for example in history classes people were supposed to simply read about the facts and the official explanation and then recite it all back to the teacher when asked.
    Today people usually tend to praise the supposed quality of Soviet education, however, it has to be said that it was never any good at teaching people to think for themselves, rather the emphasis was always on conforming and following the rules.

    • this is nonsense. Why are you speaking about something you don’t understand? If there were no critical thinking in Russian/Soviet education, then how come that so many Russians are currently have professorships in western universities? How come that Russians regularly win Nobel and Fields prizes?

      • Please stop lying. Russians hardly ever win Nobel prizes. Lie like that again and you are banned.

        You don’t even know what critical thinking means, idiot. It means the ability to challenge what you’re told. In Russia, they shoot people who do that (like Anna Politkovskaya).

        If Russians acquire critical thinking skills by LEAVING Russia, that is not surprising. If they had them in Russia THEY WOULD NOT NEED TO LEAVE.

        If Russians could think critically, they would not permit only state-sponsored TV and would not support a proud KGB spy to the tune of 80%. Think about it . . . oh that’s right . . . you can’t, you’re Russian.

        • You better ban yourself for your ignorance http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/

          Nobel Prizes in Physics

          2010
          Andre Geim, Konstantin Novoselov (both educated in Russia)

          2003
          Alexei A. Abrikosov, Vitaly L. Ginzburg

          2000
          Zhores I. Alferov

          @You don’t even know what critical thinking means, idiot. It means the ability to challenge what you’re told.

          Of course I know, imbecile. Do you think that people winning Nobel prizes don’t challenge what they’re told?

          • Hum, Bootsrap, sorry but you prove yourself wrong here!

            5 laureates in the past 10 years is not “regularly” winning nobel prizes. Besides, education doesn’t lead exclusively to Physics. How many Russian nobels in Medicine, Economics, Peace, Litterature in the last 20 years?

            If you take the list of Nobel laureates by countries, not only USA dwarves Russia, but also “small” countries such as Germany, UK or France.

            As for the Fields medal, all the Russian laureates live abroad, and are anyway a smaller number than the “ignorant” American but also the French…

            Hey, no hard feelings! I also used to think Russian education and Science was great. But when you step in Russian universities and labs you understand it was mostly a Potemkin illution. One more.

            • Well, one can argue whether 5 laureates in the last 10 years is “regular” or “irregular”. Anyways, that’s good that Russia is among the top countries there. BTW France and Germany have nearly the same numbers of laureates in the last 10 years, no dwarfing at all.

              Regarding the Fields laureats, some of them live abroad, and some in Russia. BTW, there were 5 Russians, 4 French, and just 1 USian since 1998. Where are smaller numbers?

              @ But when you step in Russian universities and labs you understand it was mostly a Potemkin illution.

              Depends on where you are. Visited Steklov Institute? Or FIAN?

              • Stop counting Nobel Laureates of Russian descent, the Russian education system and Russia in general has nothing to do with most of them if anything it probably held them back and they could have done a lot more if they hadn’t had to navigate their way out of the maze of Russian pseudo-science and could have gotten involved with real science from the very start.

      • First off, it has to be said that while Russians do win the Nobel prize from time to time, it’s almost always in physics and maths and half (if not more) of the laureates live and work in the west and that’s only natural, why would a scientist worth his/her salt ever want to say in Russia, a country where the president in an official address to a gathering of talented high-school students openly states that in Russia science has always been and continue to be underfunded and thus in Russia it has always been people fiercely committed to their work and willing to make all sorts of sacrifices who’ve gone into science because there has never been and never will be any money in science in Russia, thus, if you want to be a scientist in Russia you must prepare for a life of poverty. And I mean this was in an official speech to a bunch of high school students considering a career in science. I bet that the smartest of those students are probably working on leaving Russia even as we speak.
        So all those Nobel prizes that scientists of Russian origin (usually working in the US) received and discoveries they made have not been thanks to the Russian state and its education system, they’ve been despite the Russian education system and state.
        Nobody’s disputing the fact that there are talented people in Russia who can make great careers in science but hardly any of them make their careers in Russia, if you want to pursue a career in science you simply have to leave Russia, there is simply no other option.
        And as for critical thinking, you know, from my personal experience I can tell you that the first time I came across this phrase ‘critical thinking’ was only after I began learning English. The approach favoured by Russian schools has always been and still remains rote memorisation and in fact many straight A students in Russian schools are those who are really good at memorising stuff and reciting it back to their teachers, often without even understanding the material they slavishly commit to memory to please their teachers.

        You know there is always a correlation between price and quality and nine times out of ten if you buy something very cheap it’s going to be a lemon. The Russian education system has been underfunded for decades, with teachers getting paid salaries that it is physically impossible to survive on, so how in the world can the Russian education system be anything but a total wreck? And that’s exactly what it is, with teachers nearing retirement age who are only holding onto their sorry jobs because nobody else will hire them due to the rampant ageism in the Russian labour market – those destitute menopausal women (probably 99% of Russian high school teachers are women) are no longer teaching anyone, they’re just putting up appearances.
        And the situation in the higher education is little better. Anyone who’s any good has either emigrated or gone into business and many universities have been reduced to hiring their graduate students to teach undergraduate courses, however there are fewer and fewer graduate students willing to do that as these days in Russia you can make more money washing dishes at McDonald’s than teaching a graduate course at university.

  7. But still better than your literacy level right? Thank God they don’t have problems with reading numbers, like you reading them off the Freedom House website, as seen from your next post, go check the stats.

    One thing I hate about Russia and like about US:
    In Russia people like Vladimir Zhirinovsky are allowed into higher politics while in USA people like Kim Zigfeld have to cope with fitting their endless lucid thoughts into shallow, confined walls of the blogosphere. There is just no justice for you LR, is there?

    • Stalker

      You are the classic example of another brain damaged ruSSophile mouthpiece that loves to mouth off from that empty space that is your pea brain.

      How about saying something smart (please note I left out the word “INTELLIGENT” on purpose – as you are bereft of any) for a change? Yes, yes I know an impossible task for the likes of you, even at that.

      Hey commo jerk, why not start your own blogg. Pretty please, ever so please. Then the sky will be the limit for your endless stupidity. Yes I know you are stupid, but not that stupid? Right!

      PS I can hear your mother ‘pravda.ru’ calling you, better run home little brat before your mother washes your mouth out for lying add nauseam again.

      • Why start my own blog on racism, I do have some life, unlike you

        • Oh suuuuure . . . you COULD create a widely read, influential blog but you CHOOSE not to . . . .

          LOL!!! ROTF!!! Dude, you are HI-larious!!

          • I think what he implied was it’s better to sit having said nothing than to prostitute every opportunity to mock and humiliate Russia in your own hellish, disgusting pit, sinking to terrible new lows by the day, just to whore yourself out and draw out the petty statistics which you so recall. ‘Ooh! I have a Russia blog with millions of hits’ who cares, if its a blog where you soil yourself at every episode and do nothing but spit insults at each other; its not a blog, its a madhouse, a waste of time. And you won’t see me here anymore.
            I urge anyone with sense to follow this same path.

            • Soviet Journalists are world renown for the lying propaganda that they excel at its worst!!! and who sadly also happen to think that all sane people are stupider then they are.

              Wink, wink, nudge nudge say no more! you have come across loud and clear. Now go back to your bog, that trash rag “pravda.ru” where you belong.

              I’m sure the Russian sheeple will believe you.

  8. This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard. Where do you get your facts and how do you dear discriminating against a population as a whole? Do you know every Russian to say they “do not care about the fact”? It is like saying all black people are criminals. You are trying to present yourself as a professional, but obviously you are not educated enough to act like one.

    • anonymouse

      Stick to the real facts and not your made up fascist propaganda.

      Also why don’t you use your real name, instead hiding of behind an nom de plume, you know like those petty criminals who have more aliases then I’ve had dinners. The standard trade mark of a true fascist, cum ‘commo’ propagandist.

      But, getting back to the what you have written, give some facts to support your story telling. Or better still spew some of your “so called” good points about your beloved soviet Russia under the leadership of that brilliant helmsman, that Ka Ge Bist spymaster, V. V. Putin. So that we or LR can tear your fables apart.

    • You are illiterate, and babble like a chimp. The VAST majority of the Russian population supports the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin, every poll shows this. The tiny minority that doesn’t, meanwhile, cowers like craven cowards in the shadows and does and says NOTHING stop Putin’s abuses.

      Russia’s impoverished education system affects ALL Russians, without exception. You, for instance, TOTALLY ignore all the facts set forth in this post.

      By the way, aren’t you guilty of exactly the same attitude towards this blog that you accuse us of in regard to Russians? Classic Russian hypocrisy!

  9. Stalker is not the Russophile,he is simply the Russian graduate of Lumumba`s institute(or university today) with strong patriotic and FSB connections.

  10. I have lived and worked in Russia for almost 8 years now and much of what you say I have seen, a university professor receives a salary of about #250 month and the cost of living in Russia is much the same as the USA. the saddest part is the education of most of the teachers is lacking also. occasionally I do a guest lecture at a local university for engineering. this for the final semester students, basically seniors ready to graduate. My lecture is on planning and scheduling for construction projects. it is usually the first time they have heard of this. the sad part is the dean of the engineering school told me he has never had a class on planning and scheduling in the western method, so how could he teach it when he sits in my guest lectures and learns for the first time and he is 60 years old.

    • why couldn’t you get a faculty position at western universities? BTW, the factual professor salary is substantially higher (at least in good universities) as it is supplied from grants, projects, etc.

      • Standard monthly salary for the Phd in a good University is roughtly 16000RR before tax.

        This is less than 600 USD.

        How much gets a PhD in a good University in Europe? At least 3000 USD.

        How much in a good US University? Hum, 5000 USD?

        And BTW, forget the grants in Russia, there aren’t any. Only foreign ones. Most professors speaking in international conferences (those few who can speak English) fly on their own expenses or are invited by the organizer.

        Any rich University professor in Russia is either teaching abroad, or taking bribes.

        • @ Standard monthly salary for the Phd in a good University is roughtly 16000RR before tax. This is less than 600 USD.

          This is correct, although I know profs getting much more, mainly from projects with western companies and labs.

          @ How much gets a PhD in a good University in Europe? At least 3000 USD.

          Post-doc may get up to 4500 USD (say in Germany), professors from 4500 to 15000 USD (though there are also higher salaries in very exceptional cases).

          How much in a good US University? Hum, 5000 USD?

          Post-docs in the US get 3000-4000 USD, top professors up to 200000 USD per year (for 9 months, also can further contribute to their salary from NSF grants, industrial projects, etc.). So, the actual US professor salary may approach 20000 USD/month.

  11. Bootstrap, maybe you need to learn how to read. I DO NOT TEACH IN RUSSIA, as I stated I do a guest lecture on occasion (this means once in a while). My business is construction management in Russia, the FSU countries, and central Asia including Afghanistan. Now that this explains to everyone you have a problem reading english, I will address your statement. In Moscow at the large universities you are correct, but that is a small % of all the schools in russia. In Omsk at the University of Construction and Architecture, which is a strong on the technical aspects of engineering, they have no classes in project planning or scheduling. When I discussed resourcing a project, even the professors were a loss to understand what I was talking about. and for people with limited language skills I am going to assume you also do not understand.

    • vince, I can read and write, believe me — I give lectures in English and write papers in English, though English is not my native language. So, don’t make yourself a joke please.

      Construction management in Afghanistan… Sounds cool.

      • bootstrap

        You might be able to “read and write” in English but you sure show yourself up for the buffoon you really are, by not being able to analyze correctly what has been expressed or comprehending the English language.

        And while on the subject – it is you that is the joke!! and a monumental one at that.

        Back to Karl Marx’s teachings for you. Not that he said anything intelligent anyway – but he gave a lot of idiots ways to express themselves. You know like lie, murder, oppress and suppress the sheeple of the world.

        • I bet it takes a team of editors to make his English comprehensible so that those papers can be published

          • RV, you are a funny guy (and please, don’t call me again anti-semite again). Can you explain me what is totally wrong in my English? Just make me a favor. As I said, I wrote many papers in English. English is not my native language, but, thanks God, the English standard is much more flexible in the science and engineering community (to which I belong and where many Chinese, Iranians, Indians, Russians, etc. publish their papers) than in your community (Jewish immigrants?). I’m so sorry I disappointed you with my poor English. Hopefully, you still understand what I’m talking about.

            • I am not talking to anti-Semites, but just this once I’ll make an exception for you. Look at your message. Do you see in the second and third lines the clause “Can you explain me” and the sentence “Just make me a favor?”

              The former is grammatically incorrect and makes no sense. If you mean you want to receive an explanation, you say “can you explain” without “me” or, alternatively, “can you explain TO me what is totally wrong in my English.” Without “to” in front of “me,” it means you want me to explain you, and the whole sentence becomes a piece of gibberish.

              As for the latter, it is wrong idiomatically. English speakers ask to “do” a favor, not to “make” one.

              Your messages are full of little things like that. And the language has to be proper, whether in engineering writings or not. That’s what I meant when I said a team of editors have to go over your drafts line by line.

              I am not a Jewish “immigrant” (I bet you meant “emigrant”, another example for you), my grandparents were.

              • RV you are right, bootstrap’s English is atrocious, but he has the temerity to say how good it is! what a pathetic lying joke he is. In all fairness if he is a typical example of a russophile, whether it be nashi, KGB, or whatever of Putin’s cronies – then no wonder his beloved ruSSia is in such a mess.

                In this case one has to remember that it’s a well known fact that all “self portraits are always self and well colored”.

                Hence RV, you are wasting your time in attempting to teach him correct English. In this venture you will never succeed, not with him anyway.

          • Manfred Steifschwanz

            Good ol’ RV again whose skills in English can be gauged from the unforgettable taint “Despicable peace of trash”, haha. Exactly which peace treaty remains undisclosed to this day.

            • Ah, Manfred the Stiff Dick, back at your ‘commo’ worst.

              Dear swede vegetable? you’ve lost me with your high ‘felutin’ attempt at English! please explain the point you were trying to make – but intelligently this time, ha, ha, and ha.

              And while at it, be good enough to explain where you got the following sentence (supposed to have been made by RV) “Exactly which peace treaty remains undisclosed to this day.”
              Or is it those talking voices in your head, giving you hell, as per usual.

            • Yes, I misspelled the word “piece.” You still despicable and trashy, my error notwithstanding, for which I am sorry.

              • Ching Chong Chung Wong

                Poor you English, ha? Chinese Englishe his better ha?

              • So, you accept that your English is a “peace” of trash. That’s very fair.

                • bootstrap

                  So RV makes one little mistake, and you zoom in like the pedantic nobody that you really are.

                  How about all the countless errors you make? but no that is alright? Stick to your dung heap – where you belong.

                  You a bootstrap no way, more like a bootlicker.

                  • And another thing you lying ‘peace’ of trash, LOL!!, why don’t you explain why your ‘monoker’ is the same as your imbecile brother “Ching Chong Chung Wong”?

                    Or is it another attempt by you to invent another alias to hide your nefarious past, Aye, KGB ‘stukach’.

                    Do keep up your Chinese lessons, they will come handy in the near future! but to judge you on your past efforts, you will be a dismal failure, again.

                • I do not accept it. I admit I made an inadvertent error. I already apologized for that. I am not a machine and can make a mistake once in a while, I think anybody can. Even the NY Times and Washington Post, very major papers, having the best professional editors and proofreaders misprint things sometime. I am not going apologize anymore, I think it’s enough.

        • Bohdan Bandera,

          if you have nothing to say, just don’t post anything. If you wanna piss, go to the men’s room, not to the blog.

          • Manfred Steifschwanz

            Boredan, like mccusa, isn’t pissing here. On the contrary, these two Arschlöcher are walking toilets self-flushing themselves here. Hilarious.

            • Manfred ‘Stiff Dick’

              Did they let you out on good behavior? Well carrying on like you are now will result in your leave pass being cancelled and you being forcefully re-interned.

              If by any chance you have stopped taking your pills, go back on them immediately. You will feel a lot better tomorrow.

              By the way, I’ll let you in on a secret comrade I only use the toilet when nature calls. So unlike you who uses it for drinking and washing purposes, as well as…..

            • That’s a good point, Manfred, as usual.

          • Bootstrap fashist thug,

            LR is not your normal ‘run of the mill’ communist trash rag, hence your nashi demands/threats do not carry any weight here. Try that junk rag “pravda.ru” where their mentality will fit you like a glove.

            Your last paragraph in English makes no sense at all, however in your street gutter ruSSian it probably does as it’s normal. Face the fact chum, you are a classic “nyet kultura muscal”.

    • @ In Omsk at the University of Construction and Architecture, which is a strong on the technical aspects of engineering, they have no classes in project planning or scheduling. When I discussed resourcing a project, even the professors were a loss to understand what I was talking about. and for people with limited language skills I am going to assume you also do not understand.

      Omsk University of Construction and Architecture cannot be strong by default, next time try to arrange your lectures in a decent school (of course if you’re solid enough). And note that if somebody don’t understand you, that is your fault as a teacher. I used to be at a talk of one of the greatest Russian mathematicians given in the US in English. His English vocabulary included about 30-50 words and no grammar, but he managed to beautifully express his ideas. It was a lesson to everybody who attended his talk. So, “language skills” is an excuse for lousy teachers, my friend.

      Alles klär?

    • I’m trying to respond again as LR put my comment on “Your comment is awaiting moderation. ”

      @ Bootstrap, maybe you need to learn how to read. I DO NOT TEACH IN RUSSIA, as I stated I do a guest lecture on occasion (this means once in a while). My business is construction management in Russia, the FSU countries, and central Asia including Afghanistan. Now that this explains to everyone you have a problem reading english, I will address your statement. In Moscow at the large universities you are correct, but that is a small % of all the schools in russia. In Omsk at the University of Construction and Architecture, which is a strong on the technical aspects of engineering, they have no classes in project planning or scheduling. When I discussed resourcing a project, even the professors were a loss to understand what I was talking about. and for people with limited language skills I am going to assume you also do not understand.

      Omsk University of Construction and Architecture cannot be strong by default, next time try to arrange your lectures in a decent school (of course if you’re solid enough). And note that if somebody don’t understand you, that is your fault as a teacher. I used to be at a talk of one of the greatest Russian mathematicians given in the US in English. His English vocabulary included about 30-50 words and no grammar, but he managed to beautifully express his ideas. It was a lesson to everybody who attended his talk. So, “language skills” is an excuse for lousy teachers, my friend.

      Alles klär?

  12. Bootstrap, You may give lectures and write papers in English, but I have to tell you in all honesty. You English is not that good. I think your lectures and papers would be interesting, most probably incomprehensible and always humorous. This is the first time I have commented in Russophobe and probably the last. Having a spirited debate on issues is the best method to learn more, by LISTENING to the other side and determining if they have a valid point and to express your views in a coherent manner so the opposition can understand you. Your English does not allow this. The ad hominem attacks are childish to say the least and there is no value to be gained from wrestling in the mud with pigs. All you get is dirty and the pig enjoys it.

    • vince,

      you seem to be a loser (constructing management in Afghanistan says enough) proud of your native English (the only thing you can be proud of). I don’t trust your opinion, dude. I rather trust my undergraduate students who multiply nominated me for university teaching awards which I got several times. I trust my colleagues who nominated me for best paper awards which I also got several times.

      Regarding the Omsk University of Construction and Architecture, it cannot be strong by default. Next time try to arrange your lectures in a decent school (of course if you’re solid enough). And note that if somebody don’t understand you, that is your fault as a teacher. I used to be at a talk of one of the greatest Russian mathematicians given in the US in English. His English vocabulary included about 30-50 words and no grammar, but he managed to beautifully express his ideas. It was a lesson to everybody who attended his talk. So, “language skills” is an excuse for lousy teachers, my friend.

      • Bootstrap, construction management in places like Afghanistan is incredibly highly paid, requiring a high level of commitment, skill, and to be honest, bravery.

        Needless to say you won’t find many Russians there…..

        • Andrew, I appreciate your words and to a high degree few russian work there for obvious reasons, there is still an extremely strong bad attitude from the afghans against Russians. But our team is made up of Americans, Brits, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Russians, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, and one spaniard. we are a very devergient group and we are able to capitalize on the diverse backgrounds of everyone. unlike many people and organizations; in our organization the location of your birth has not bearing on your work or position, only your abilities. I am proud of building such a team. But I have done this before in South America, Africa, and Antactica. I take people like some on this site, with a grain of salt. and put the value of their opinion with the value it deserves.

  13. Boot Strap
    There is an old proverb, “those than CAN they DO, those that CAN’T they teach.” You are a teacher and I am a doer. that says it all and I choose not to wrestle with pigs.

    • Come on, stop wrestling with yourself. If you cannot explain to others what are you doing, you are not just a pig but an idiot as well. Teaching is my hobby, I head a department of 30 people at university, do research, and have two successful companies in telecommunications. So, I’m doer AND teacher. Best regards to Hamid Karsai.

      • Yes, pity you don’t do historical research into the crimes of your country….

        But that would take some intellectual honesty, something not noted as being possessed by your culture as a general rule.

        • Randy Andy,

          Considering the fact you have an awesome full-time job “teaching” here at La Russophobe’s day-care centre, I must say I find this special brand of “science” anything but promising — saturated through and through as it is with bourgeois, corporate media hype and outright Western bigotry. So keep all the bogus “research” happily for yourself. Sane people should NOT waste any time on it whatsoever.

  14. I am very surprised with the lack of respect this forum and the people who write on it have for each other. I commend anyone who takes the time to learn a foreign language, something few Americans, even the “educated” ones, ever do — why a native English speaker would ever attack a non-native English speaker to make a point, then, is beyond me, and quite frankly arrogant and chauvinistic. I would blame the writer of this very blog, whose content and subject-matter is perennially vulgar, narrowistic, and low, if not entertaining at times; small wonder the kind of discussion it incites descends into this kind of garbage.

    As for the existence of “critical thinkers” in Russia, and I can attest, they do exist. The author of this post simply chooses to confound the political apathy which exists in Russia, which is very real, with the lack of a thinking public. However, these things are totally separate, and have less to do with Russia’s broken (public) education system specifically, than the nature of Russian governance generally.

    • I think Vince got upset not because some English learner made an error or several errors, of course, there is nothing earth-shattering in that. he got upset because the guy has a poor command of English, but insists he is a fluent speaker pointing to his papers and lectures. I think some lesson in humility was in order.

      And then he insists that it’s enough just to convey the substance, and mentions some Russian mathematician who only knows 30 English words and no grammar and yet lectures in English. As if that was something to admire.

      And finally, he assails Vince’s business as if construction management were an easy or unworthy field; and then he makes snide remarks about construction business in Afghanistan, as if it was not important to build something in that unfortunate country.

      And then, before that he talks about Jews and Georgians who are real culprits behind Soviet crimes. Nice, is it not. That’s what we have to put up with.

    • That is, unfortunately, how this forum is set up. Its moderator, LR, has littler respect to opponents calling them apes, scum, etc. She has several faithful pit bulls, such as Bohdan and mccusa, who just spit out hatred, and a few more advanced “experts” like Andrew and Robert who try to provide some support her full-of-hatred claims. The rest are Russians insulted by the content of this blog and chauvinists proud of their native English, like RV or vince.

      • Und — letztes aber nicht wenigstes — unser geliebter, beliebter und belebter Schwede! :-)

        Bohdan und mccusa sind zwei verzögerte Schafsköpfe, die sich lieber beschnüffeln konnten.

        • Ich hab Dich nicht vergessen:-)

        • Manfred Stiff Dick,

          Prattling your beloved soviet trash again? When, oh when, will you ever learn you pathetic vegetable swede.

          Now here is some of your own medicine back.
          “Und — letztes aber nicht wenigstes — unser geliebter, beliebter und belebter Schwede! :-)

          Manfred S.D. und boot strap sind zwei verzögerte Schafsköpfe, die sich lieber beschnüffeln konnten.

          Happy???

          • Manfred Steifschwanz

            Well, for being a posting of Boredan’s, let’s settle for “quite nice”. Boredan was able, after all, to successfully replace the only non-German words of the concluding sentence with two other ones.

            But it would have been somewhat more imaginative, had Boredan hinted at the meaning of “sich beschnüffeln” :-)

    • That is, unfortunately, how this forum is set up. Its moderator, LR, has little respect to opponents calling them apes, scum, etc. She has several faithful pit bulls such as Bohdan and mccusa, who just spit out hatred, and a few more advanced “experts” like Andrew and Robert why try to provide some support of her russophobic full-of-hatred claims. The rest are people insulted by the content of this blog and chauvinists proud of their native English, like RV or vince.

  15. Russcon

    What a load of ‘codwollop’, I bet you could sell a freezer to an Eskimo in Antarctica.

    And while talking about “critical thinkers” in Russia. How about telling us some truthful facts, especially about the atrocities committed in Russia’s name by her past and present communist’s czars.

    Go on chum put pen to paper so that your real character, i.e.logical thinking department, can be understood.

    • Russcon

      As an after thought your comment “I am very surprised with the lack of respect this forum and the people who write on it have for each other.” is like “the pot calling the kettle black”.

      Why? well it is always your beloved Russian KGB paid ‘stukachi’ that start the stupid and vile foul mouthing, hiding under their various aliases, just like petty criminals. To understand this previous sentence I hope that you have some command of the Russian language, so that you can understand their vile comments, which by the way are a classic ‘muscal’ tactic.

      On the other side, freedom of press, and or expression, allows a reply to their stupidity. Be good enough to reply, am I right or wrong?

      You have to remember that this honest and magic blogg, (LaRussophobe) is not YOUR average Putin era trash rag, where the ruling party i.e. Putin and co. can print any trash for the Russian sheeple to swallow, “hook, line and sinker,” while the voices of real truth and reason are suppressed. No sir, no way!!

      As a humble suggestion, do next time, refer to, read and analyze several old, very old – that is – back issues of this magic publication world reknown for its honesty. And then, and only then engage brain, before putting mouth to paper and pen.

      If all else fails you still have the “pravda.ru” trash rag to entertain oneself. But remember, you are warned, you will get everything there but the real TRUTH!!!

  16. Steamed McQueen

    Increases in educational spending are not always reflected with increased academic achievement. The United States does spend a lot of money on education yet we seem to be near the bottom when it comes to test scores.

    IMO the big budget killer in American education is ‘special ed’.

    Having taught in Russia and seen their educational system firsthand I can attest to the lack of critical thinking skills of most Russians. Which is not to say they are ignorant, quite the opposite: From the youngest age they are drilled with names, dates, places and facts (or at least facts as presented by the State). Students are little walking encyclopedias ready and willing to recite at length.

    However, if one wants to bring a class -any class, any grade- to a complete standstill all one as a teacher needs to do is ask an individual Russian for their opinion on a given subject. At that point there is silence.

    Russians: They know WHAT to think, but not HOW to think.

    • I’ve read that memorization, drilling and learning by rote are also widespread in China, India and other Asian countries. There is no question these students remember lots of facts, and hence perform very well on standardized tests. But why having high test scores should be the goal?

      A little off topic here, but I agree that special ed is one big money-burner in America, but I think some other big budget killers are also expenses related to non-core school functions, such as administration, sports, extra-curriculars, etc., and on college level also housing, stadiums, and other expensive construction projects.

      I just don’t see why taxpayers should pay for high school track team, and swim team, and wrestling team, and football team, and soccer team, and lacrosse team, to say nothing about baseball and football teams, which are practically mandatory. And then, there are choir, and marching band, and symphony orchestra, and cheer-leading and on and on and on.

  17. LeRus wrote: “As for the Fields medal, all the Russian laureates live abroad, and are anyway a smaller number than the “ignorant” American but also the French…

    Let’s see… Here are the numbers of Fields medalists by country since Russia became a country in 1992:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fields_Medal

    Russia – 6
    France – 5
    UK – 2
    USA – 1
    Germany – 0
    ————————–
    In other words, modern math is dominated by Russians and Frenchmen.

    • LR’s statement was essentially correct, regarding Russian laureates having emigrated. According to your own source, out of 6 “Russian” medalists, 5 left Russia and 1, who is still in Russia, declined the medal. What makes these people Russian? You could have said “formerly” Russian to be correct.

      • All of them were educated in Russia. We’re speaking about the quality of education here.

        @ What makes these people Russian?

        What makes you Jewish? Ask yourself. Their mother tongue language is Russian. They often keep Russian citizenship and have ties to Russia.

        • Being Jewish is to belong to a religion to which one is born or converted. Being Jewish has no other significance in the United States. My mother is Jewish, that’s the only thing that is required for me to be Jewish. And her mother was Jewish, and the one before that. It has nothing to do with the language, citizenship (which is practically the same thing as nationality), ethnicity etc.

          Now, about those 5 mathematicians. Their native language is Russian, OK. So? How do you know what their citizenships are? How do you know whether they do or do not maintain ties with Russia? And how do you know that their achievements are derived from the Russian system of education and not despite it? A lot of people, including a very smart Russian commenting on this blog think it’s despite it and characterize this system as being in shambles.

          And most importantly, why do you Russians perceive people as only members of a flock. I am not getting the very concept of “national pride” which is manifested when Russians mention and take credit for a few Russian Nobellists, writers etc. If Tchaikovsky wrote some beautiful music, he owes nothing to Russia or anybody. The achievement is entirely his.

          Why do you deny individuality? Nobody can take credit for the achievements of these scientists, not you, not me, not Russia, not Russian education system, not the United States, nobody. They were born that way, they possess talent and that could and does happen in any place on Earth. In a country as large as Russia, there will be always quite a few talented people; it’s inevitable statistically speaking.

          Read a few books by Ayn Rand, maybe you’ll learn something.

          • Religion is one of things, the other is community.

            @ How do you know what their citizenships are? How do you know whether they do or do not maintain ties with Russia?

            I know this from their interviews in newspapers, also from my colleagues whom I know and who know them personally.

            @ And how do you know that their achievements are derived from the Russian system of education and not despite it? A lot of people, including a very smart Russian commenting on this blog think it’s despite it and characterize this system as being in shambles.

            Do you really believe that the country producing top numbers of best world mathematicians has poor education system, so that all their achievements are despite it? Your “very smart Russian” perhaps doesn’t know the Russian education system well enough or is just pathologically negative to everything Russian, which is typical for this blog.

            @ I am not getting the very concept of “national pride” which is manifested when Russians mention and take credit for a few Russian Nobellists, writers etc.

            What is actually wrong in being proud of compatriot achievements and in mentioning them in a discussion? And there not a few but many Russian Nobelists, writers, musicians, etc.

          • As far as Ayn Rand is concerned, she was that special kind of opportunist fraudster who was smart enough to tell the world’s Western trash in general and the Western petty bourgeoisie in particular ahistorical fairy-tales about unlimited Western superiority with an eye to blatant self-promotion. Spreading this cant is the very raison d’être of the whole Western corporate media (of which La Russophobe is but a silly travesty, freely availabble at that) and Ayn Rand knew it. A more apt description of her would be “Extremely Preposterous So-Called Dissident”. Her disciples to this day remain wilfully blind to the obvious fact that her rampant arrogance and aggressiveness were by design, most likely part and parcel of her business agreements as a political artist.

            Again: She was smart, no doubt about it. But that doesn’t make the reading of her über-preposterous drivel a “cool” act, let alone an enlightening one.

  18. RV wrote: “I’ve read that memorization, drilling and learning by rote are also widespread in China, India and other Asian countries.

    That’s racist nonsense. Here in Silicon Valley, Chinese and Indian scientists account for the majority of high tech geniuses.

    • I said nothing about any race, so don’t attribute your own racist thinking to others. I only said what countries are known for this type of instruction, and this is unquestionably true. I am well aware who the scientists in Silicon Valley are, but a very large portion of them are Americans, either native born or naturalized.

      • RV
        You have to remember that Maimuni has been in the Cypriot sun too long. Hence his sun stroke is very severe, and he hallucinates (read lies) about the truth of all matters and instead glorifies the murderous regime of his beloved Russia like the baboon he is.

        One only has to look at his unbelievably stupid comment “Here in Silicon Valley, Chinese and Indian scientists account for the majority of high tech geniuses.” to realize that he cannot think rationally or comprehend fact from fiction.

        Come on Maimuni supply the source of your ridiculous sentence. And if you do not, then it will prove that you are an inveterate commo liar!

        • The point here is this. In India and China, the quality of higher education is questionable at best, Indian Institute of Technology, which is a world class school, being a notable exception. Perhaps, there are a few better research universities in China as well.

          So, a lot of best high school graduates from those countries realize that they would normally get nowhere unless they go to college in the U.S. or Europe. They come to the U.S. and upon graduation many remain, by hook or by crook, forming this engineering elite in Silicon Valley. Plus, of course, we have a large number of native born Americans of Asian heritage.

          Where did he detect the racial angle in any of this, escapes me. Perhaps, many Russians see the world this way, and he cannot help himself, not realizing that these days a clear majority of Americans don’t see these people as “Indians” or “Chinese” but just as regular Americans. Naturalized or native born or on a work visa makes no difference now so long as they are in the country legally.

          • @ In India and China, the quality of higher education is questionable at best, Indian Institute of Technology, which is a world class school, being a notable exception.

            This is totally wrong. First of all, there are several IITs: in Delhi, Madras, Bombay, etc. And all of them are the top schools in terms of education. In China, you have Tsinghua (top in electrical and computer engineering) and Beijing University (top in math), among many other very good schools. In the best US universities (such as MIT, Caltech, Berkley, Princeton etc.), most of top PhD students in engineering are Chinese, Indians, Iranians and Egyptians.

            • What is totally wrong? Didn’t I say that IIT is an exception, and what difference does it make that they have several campuses? Didn’t I also say that China may have a few good research schools? And didn’t I say that their best people come to the U.S. for education?

              • @ What is totally wrong?

                “In India and China, the quality of higher education is questionable at best” is wrong.

                • You cut off a half of my message, intentionally I believe, to deliberately change the context and distort what I said. Are you blind or something? Don’t you see that I said “except IIT and a couple of schools in China?”

                  • There are dozens of very top schools in China, not just two. Undergraduate education in China is better than in the US (at least in engineering).

  19. RV wrote: “In India and China, the quality of higher education is questionable at best, Indian Institute of Technology, which is a world class school, being a notable exception.

    Probably true. USA has an excellent college and grad school education. But we are talking about primary and secondary (high school) education here. And that’s where USA is extremely weak. My children understand less math in, say, 7th grade than I did in 4th grade in the USSR.

    I only said what countries are known for this type of instruction, and this is unquestionably true.

    Known to whom? To some stereotypers? How do you know about the primary and secondary education in China and India?

    I am well aware who the scientists in Silicon Valley are, but a very large portion of them are Americans, either native born or naturalized.”

    “Naturalized”? Duh! Of course those immigrants to America who have lived here for more than 7 or so years, become naturalized US citizens. However, as I said, the majority of scientists and engineers here in Silicon Valley have received their primary and secondary education in China and India.

  20. RV wrote: “LR’s statement was essentially correct, regarding Russian laureates having emigrated.

    What’s your point? That salaries in the wealthiest countries is several times higher than in Russai? Duh. People go where they can get the highest salaries and the most costly modern equipment.

    According to your own source, out of 6 “Russian” medalists, 5 left Russia and 1, who is still in Russia, declined the medal. What makes these people Russian?

    Since you are a product of this unbeatably great American secondary education, you should be wise enough to finally realize that this thread is about EDUCATION. All these people were educated and became scientists in RUSSIA.

    Nobody can take credit for the achievements of these scientists, not you, not me, not Russia, not Russian education system, not the United States, nobody. They were born that way, they possess talent and that could and does happen in any place on Earth.

    Really? So, how many Sub-Saharan Africans and South Americans have won Fields medals and Nobel science prizes?

    You think that the quality of education doesn’t make a difference in a person’s career?! Truly bizarre. Do you tell me that if these Nobel Prize and Fields medal winners were born, say, in Pakistan or India, they would all have become just as great? Bull. The reason why no Indian has won a Fields medal and Russia/USSR has won 9, even though Indian population has been about 5 times higher than in the USSR, is because until recently Indian math education stank.

    In a country as large as Russia, there will be always quite a few talented people; it’s inevitable statistically speaking.

    Well, if this were all due to random statistics, then since USA has more than twice the population than Russia and 5 times the population of France and since Russia has won 6 medals and France – 5/6 medals in the past 20 years, USA should have won 12 to 25. But USA has won only 1 (one!).

    Read a few books by Ayn Rand, maybe you’ll learn something.

    Funny that you mention Ayn Rand, a greatly educated and creative thinker. Do you know where she was educated? In Russia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

    After the Russian Revolution, universities were opened to women, including Jews, allowing Rand to be in the first group of women to enroll at Petrograd State University,[6] where she studied in the department of social pedagogy, majoring in history.[7] At the university she was introduced to the writings of Aristotle and Plato,[8] who would form two of her greatest influences and counter-influences, respectively.[9] A third figure whose philosophical works she studied heavily was Friedrich Nietzsche.[10] Able to read French, German and Russian, she also discovered the writers Fyodor Dostoevsky, Victor Hugo, Edmond Rostand, and Friedrich Schiller, who became her perennial favorites.[11]

    • Both Indians and Pakistanis won Nobel prizes, if not Field medals. Russian education system is a joke and several examples of prominent scientists prove only that one can become great despite all the disadvantages.

      And please, don’t tell me about Ayn Rand. Fountainhead was required reading when I was in high school, and I believe you never heard this name before you came here. There was no person in the world who hated Russia and Russians more than her, and she did not leave Russia never to return (I think) for “higher salary” (the way you probably did). She needed freedom. And you are telling me that Commies in Petrograd U taught her to become an objectivist writer? You really are insane

      • I don’t think Ayn Rand hated Russia and Russians the way you put it, she hated collectivism and socialism, it just so happened that as she came of age Russia descended into the communist nightmare while the US was closest to her lassier faire ideals at the time so she moved to the US. You’re right in that it wasn’t something she did for money, it was something she did out of conviction. If she was still around today she’d probably be a libertarian.

      • And another thing, naturally Ayn Rand was not a product of the Russian education system, she was an outstanding individual who shaped her own views and beliefs, despite the prevailing wisdom of the place where she was born and grew up.

        • As you can see Igor, there are Russians here who try to claim Ayn Rand as one of their own and attribute her success to Russian education and/or culture.

          • Those Russians are hopelessly misguided. It can perhaps be argued, though, that Ayn Rand’s radical form of individualistic lassier fair was at least in part the result of her having seen up close in personal the sort of insanity that Russian style communist collectivism can lead to.

          • For them, anyone who is successful is “Russian” if they were born in Russia (or the Soviet Union).

            For example: Sergey Brin (who openly despises Russia for his personal experiences with Soviet antisemitism and calls it “just Nigeria with snow”, ruled by a “bunch of criminal cowboys”)? “He is Russian Jew residing in US” (a direct quote from the comments on this very blog).

            You know, I wonder if they actually believe in all these things they say. And not only them, but the society by large. Imagine this, millions of people who honestly believe in such a crazy things like “Russia is the only country in the World that has the technology to safely send man into space in a shuttle and return him to Earth alive … the Americans chosen to use Russian shuttles ” ( http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/editorial-putin-in-space/#comments ) or that punching bricks constitutes excellent military training that is also very useful in modern combat ( http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/editorial-the-collapse-of-the-neo-soviet-army/#comments ), despite all the access to the real world information. It’s like a comedy. Well, tragicomedy.

      • @ Russian education system is a joke and several examples of prominent scientists prove only that one can become great despite all the disadvantages.

        The joke are you, not the Russian education system. There are MANY (not just several) examples proving this. You have no logic at all.

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