Russia’s Real Enemies

Russia’s Real Enemies

Lev Rubinshtein

December 1, 2008

Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia

I know now who is yelling the loudest and the most forcefully about those “cursed nineties,” when Russia was “trampled in the mud,” and people “wiped their feet” on her, during the epoch of Russia’s Great Humiliation by the Horrible West. I know, who strains themselves most of all while hysterically recounting the Worldwide Russo-phobic conspiracy. [A conspiracy] led, as is easy to guess, by that infernal America, for whom Russia’s undeniable greatness– as a country with unrecognized constructive-destructive possibilities and an inexhaustible oil-and-gas-based spirituality– is the single, though insurmountable barrier to global domination. I know who they are.

These are more or less the same guys, who at the very start of the “wild nineties,” that is to say the years of their adolescent passion, merrily hung around Intourist [(international tourist)] hotels, asking those who were differently dressed for chewing gum, Marlboro cigarettes and Bic pens. I remember them very well. It was them who, for a couple “green slips,” wouldn’t be averse to take any “dumb American” around by piggyback to the historic places of their native capital. It was them who called the local rubles “wooden” [(worthless)] and dripped servile contempt for the mundane landscape surrounding them.

They called the unfortunate grannies selling white bread by the metro, or the aging PhD with the ragged briefcase in his hand “sovok” [(A sarcastic way of saying “Soviet citizen,”) or someone bearing the worst marks of the Soviet mindset, see Homo Sovieticus)]. I also used this not-quite-elegant word back then. But I used it to describe them.

Afterwards, coming through the “abyss of humiliations,” and surrounding themselves with tokens and symbols of “prestige,” or objects from western culture (while the notion of any other culture was always outside their comprehension), they decided in concert that all of this had always existed, and that all of it was produced in the V. V. Putin factory.

It is them who now groan on from morning to night about Western charity, about the Washington cabal, about fifth columns, about grant-suckers and agents of influence.

It is them who say that Russia has been humiliated. That is to say, they are Russia.

And you, friends, would do well not to stoop so low. Then you wouldn’t have this throbbing splinter in your heart. You would live, like normal people, in harmony with the world and the times. You wouldn’t look for enemies in your own closets. And most importantly –you wouldn’t have this pernicious fervor for clinging to this government. Having bloated a bit on petro-dollars, it has replaced those who you would have scrounged your precious can of Heineken from in the early 90s. This regime is bolder, richer and most importantly, far more understandable. Your own, native, from the neighboring yard.

Coming from their mouths, the word “humiliation” is not the same word said by a person who thinks the idea of “personal dignity” is more than just an empty sound, or further, a malicious invention by those who believe in universal human values. I for one, have also felt humiliation. Waiting in line for milk, for instance, was humiliating. The butcher’s insolent mug at the neighboring deli humiliated me. The dolled-up bimbo at the passport counter humiliated me. The hotel doorman humiliated me, when I came to visit a friend who traveled to Moscow from France. But all of them combined were not the West. They were my country, Russia. At least that’s what they thought. And all those who speak about “Russia’s humiliation” think the same thing.

I read an article somewhere, that Serbia’s government had offered an apology to all those it had wronged during the recent Balkan wars. “The national humiliation of the Serbs continues,” the article’s author passionately commented on the event. What can one even say here. This crooked ethics is familiar to me. Too familiar. Till it hurts, as they say. Following this logic, he who is rude left and right and who points fingers in all directions is, naturally, a proper lad. And the one who says “thank you,” “you’re welcome” and “sorry” from time to time, is of course demeaned to the utmost.

The Serbs, thank God, got lucky. They have neither fuel-oil under their feet, nor long-range missiles. They have a chance to rid themselves of that imperial paranoia and become a dignified modern government, where an individual’s life and dignity is many times more valuable than stinking “greatness.”

We are less lucky, and that’s why our humiliated and insulted [people] have given in to a sweet collective hallucination. Miracles happen in their magical day-dreams. The forest spirit wanders there; America’s long-awaited collapse approaches there; Europe’s sunset is seen easily there from unknown paths; palm trees grow there in Red Square, and mermaids sit on their branches, while underneath thirty three bogatyrs keep getting off their knees under the direction of the national leader. It is no good, inhumane even to interrupt these hallucinations with one or another tactless call to look around yourself. In these instances, the hallucination turns into unmotivated rage and will designate you an enemy of Russia. But who else to do it!

In fairy tales, not only animals, birds and trees, but also objects can speak the human language. Wait long enough and the hut, stove or well can unexpectedly start talking. In our times, we more and more often hear the voices of the cop’s billy club, or the mop in the soldier’s bathroom, or the heap of sunflower seed-hulls on the doorstep of the suburban barracks.

And they all speak on behalf of Russia. On who else’s behalf [could they speak]– their own? And it’s them who are Russia’s detractors. They are the russophobes, trying to create an image of Russia as a country of hateful idiots with blunt persistence.

But all the while, Russia is not them. Russia is me. This is my country. And I know this as resolutely as I know that rain falls from above and not below; that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West; that the Volga [river] still flows into the Caspian sea; that the smell of kerosene mixed with the smell of national-patriotic armpits isn’t called spirituality at all; and that there is no such thing as sovereign multiplication tables, nor a sovereign law of universal gravitation.

10 responses to “Russia’s Real Enemies

  1. What Lev Rubinshtein, bless his histrionic heart, misunderstands about luck is that luck is more often being prepared to seize an opportunity, that which the “unlucky” passive and whining Russians never have done.

    I’m really having a hard time empathizing with his and Russia’s humiliation. He comes across as another useless Russian liberal elite who has piddled away any moral value.

    Color me unimpressed with Lev’s polemic.

  2. What Lev Rubinshtein, bless his histrionic heart, misunderstands about luck is that luck is more often being prepared to seize an opportunity, that which the “unlucky” passive and whining Russians never have done.

    I’m really having a hard time empathizing with his and Russia’s humiliation. He comes across as another useless Russian liberal elite who has piddled away any moral value.

    Color me unimpressed with Lev’s polemic.

  3. Penny, what you misunerstand about Rubinstein is that he misunderstands the Russian “soul” which also includes the attitude towards luck.

    what he’s trying to say with this piece is that maybe, just maybe, it would be good for Russia to look itself in the eye and say “sorry”as Serbia did and as Germany did for decades upon decades and is still doing (and behold: it came onto them who said “sorry” and sprinkled ashes onto their own heads that redemption was achieved and rivers of money flowed)

    What he also mentions here though, and what has been pointed out repeatedly here on La Russophobe, is that the general Russian public is being brainwashed into thinking that there’s nothing to be sorry about. It’s all everyone else’s fault and anyways, everyone hates Russia and all russians.

    There is nothing better to unify a group of people than making them scared of everything around them so that they are so afraid of the pack of “wolves” they’ll never notice the shepherd leading them to the rickety old bridge with a fall to death looming….

    And isn’t it nice to have the blind trust of your flock?

  4. I have to go with er on this one.

    The key sentence:

    They have a chance to rid themselves of that imperial paranoia and become a dignified modern government, where an individual’s life and dignity is many times more valuable than stinking “greatness.”

    Stalin and his henchmen killed 20 million people – for the “greater glory of roosha.” (“Let’s be frank here – the sovok vision centered around roosha.)

    Today, you hear the same thing – oily orthodox mother roosha, empress of the world, perpetual nemesis of the “evil” West, bringer of “peace.”

    Except that it’s just Nigeria with missiles.

    All you have to do is to look at the Politkovskaya trial, and the brutal comedy of whether or not the trial is going to be open to the public.

    Penny, I agree – there’s no point to empathizing with roosha’s so-called humiliation.

    But that’s really not the point of the article.

    The sovoks created their very own system of “moral values,” which equated to – no morals, no conscience. Only the greatness of the state.

    No individual rights, no human dignity.

    What was the worst crime you could commit? Saying something bad about Stalin, or, later, the state.

    What’s the worst crime you can commit today in roosha?

    Say something bad about Putin.

    roosha can’t seem to get rid of that sovok misery and delusion, which equated misery with paradise.

  5. It is sad. Russia had so much potential when it emerged from the first soviet system and it seems like it could have actually made something of itself. It had natural resources, an educated and literate population and so many opportunities.

    Now it clings to a remake of the soviet society and seems to be setting fire to anything resembling hope for the future.

  6. So Elmer, what will it take to get Russia out of this hallucination?

  7. barb, I think it will take time, if nothing else is done.

    To get rid of the extreme amount of sovok brainwashing that is still present. The people literally were trained like Pavlov’s dogs to respond to certain cues, as the article points out: “western conspiracy,” “CIA,” “we won WWII all by ourselves,” “nationalist,” “fascist,” etc. Putin still uses all of that today.

    But, believe it or not – I think the Internet is the cure. And Internet-enabled mobile phones.

    To get around the official rooshan media.

    It’s the new samizdat.

    And blogs like La Russophobe.

    And continued attempted engagement by NATO and other western institutions.

    Russians were very, very good at sort of protesting “below the radar,” with so-called “anecdotes” (jokes about the sovok system) and with samizdat.

    But for some reason, they can’t get democracy into their heads.

    They can copy-cat Western things very wells – well, their own weird version of it, such as discos (see the web site “Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears” – it’s a trip), and jeans and other clothes.

    But where it counts – such as with government – they just can’t seem to get it together.

    And certainly, at the base of it all, is what the article says – they can’t seem to figure out that individual human dignity and worth, individual rights vis-a-vis government, are the most important, except in isolated instances, like just happened when the brave juror in the Politkovskaya trial informed the media that the court’s attempt to close the trial to the public by attributing it to a “jury request” was – false.

    There is an opera called “Lieutenant Kije” which is based on the premise that the tsar thinks, wrongly, that there is a lieutenant by such a name. So all of the people surrounding the tsar go to extraordinary lengths to make it appear as if there, indeed, is such a person.

    That’s roosha – the “strong man” concept of government.

    They don’t seem to get the concept that a man’s home is his castle, and even the king has no right to enter without permission or due process.

    rooshans can’t seem to understand that democracy is what makes people – and government – strong.

    Not a nation of slaves or serfs.

    And certainly not “managed democracy,” like under Vlad Dracul Putin.

  8. The other thing, Barb – is the rooshan orthodox church. roosha has never quite caught on to separation of church and state, and freedom of religion. Now, mind you, although there are a FEW true believers, mostly the rooshan orthodox church is about power – either controlling the state, as one of the next candidates for patriarch wants to do, or being an integral arm of the state, as an arm of the tsar, or as an arm of the KGB, and now Putin.

    They canonized a murderous tsar, for crying out loud. Ask any Protestant or Catholic about freedom of religion in roosha. The wizards of the oily rooshan orthodox church view it as “their” territory, and they butt their noses into politics big time.

    And supports various hallucinations of government.

  9. Roosen eh? Tell me do you also call black people niggers too?

    There’s nothing unique about the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in politics they followed the Byzantine model where the church is closely linked to the government of the day.

    Of course it wasn’t until Peter the Great came to power that the Tsar’s fully controlled the church.

    The reasons behind all this are easy to understand and are very practical. I.E the church supports the government in return the government ensures it has the status of state religion and keeps any other Christian sects etc out of Russia.


    Your comment betrays profound ignorance. He uses “Rooshan” to play on the Russian pronunciation of the country’s name, which we pervert when we spell it with a “u” rather than a double “o” to make the proper sound. Moreover, Russian is not a race, it is a nationality, unless you are a racist Slav who believes no black or non-Orthodox person can be “Russian.”

  10. From the tone of his comment rooshan is used as a derogatory, in any case the original spelling is better.

    To you main point Ethnic Russians are a distinct ethnicity just like the Celtic Irish for example. The dominant culture and language in Russia is that of the Ethnic Russians who make up the vast majority of the population.

    Non-Slavs and non-Orthodox people can of course be Russian by birth and citizenship, but they wont be Ethnic Russian, although they will also heavily influenced by the dominant language and culture the Ethnic Russians, and in some cases may be totally assimilated into that culture.

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