Russia hates the World, Feeling very much Mutual
The latest figures on international travel and tourism are in from the World Economic Forum, and they are truly devastating for Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The words of Laura, a student from France, tell the tale:
I decided to come to Russia because I love the culture, the history, and I was curious to meet Russians. I wanted to form my own ideas about the country, different from the western view. It was surprising to see that Russians don’t speak English and in Moscow, I think they are sick of tourists and just don’t make any effort. So to find your way, to eat in a restaurant, was quite a challenge. I was really surprised to see that Moscow is even more expensive than Paris.
Russia ranks a stunning #59 out of 139 nations surveyed for travel competitiveness, and that’s hardly surprising when you learn it ranks #91 for spending on tourism, laying out less than one-tenth of the world average per tourist on welcome measures.
Look at the facts, and you clearly understand Russia’s stark, unwelcoming hatred for foreigners:
The annual average room rate in Moscow hotels is approximately $237, while in Paris it is about $230, in London $216, in Berlin $189 and in Prague $141. Foreigners also often have to pay more than Russians for entertainment. The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, for instance, charges 180 rubles for an adult ticket from Russians and twice as much from foreigners, despite a law passed in the 1990s banning differential pricing for foreigners.
Then think about Russian xenophobia. Russians hate foreigners, and their government hates them even more, because foreigners have the annoying tendency to bring their knowledge and their expectations along with their cash. Russians don’t want to have to meet expectations, work harder, or risk failure. And their government doesn’t want dangerous foreign ideas like democracy and freedom of the press and contempt for dictatorship brought into the country like dangerous strains of disease.
The result is that foreigners continue to view Russia as a nasty, evil place and Russia forgoes tens of billions of dollars in potential tourism revenues. The Kremlin tries to burnish Russia’s image with ignorant, ineffective neo-Soviet lies that fool nobody, and Russia’s image continues to tarnish. Along with it, Russia’s influence in international relations dissolves.
Most of all, though, Russians with their monumental egos (like the infamous Emperor with his “new clothes”) fear rejection. They can’t stand the idea of being confronted by foreign disapproval because they know they have failed and they aren’t prepared to ask themselves for anything better. So they prefer to live in a world of illusion, just as they did in Soviet times, heedless of the risk to their civilization.