Greedy, Heartless Russians
“In the United States, 90 percent of the population regularly donates to charities. For an American to give a portion of their income to charity is the most natural thing. We can only dream of such an attitude here.”
–Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova, a founder of Russia’s leading charity organization, the Give a Life foundation
Any time you compare Russia to America, the result is that Russia comes out looking like a third-world country on the brink of collapse. Take charities, for example. The most well-supported American charity by the American public is the Salvation Army, which every year collects public donations well in excess of $1.5 billion. Every one of the top 18 American charities ranked by income collects at least $100 million in public donations. Since Russia’s economy is only one-tenth the size of America’s, you would expect the top Russian charity to receive about $150 million in yearly public support. But the Give a Life foundation, Russia’s best performer, doesn’t even get close to raking in $5 million per year.
There are three possible explanations for the wretched performance of Russian charities: (1) Russians are greedy and heartless; (2) Russians are too poor to afford charity; (3) Russians are so appalled by the level of corruption in their country that they don’t trust anyone to properly dispose of their money.
We think all three explanations are accurate, but by far the most important factor is that Russians simply don’t care what happens to their fellow citizens, much less their fellow man. If you examine Russian history, you see a consistent and reckless failure of the Russian people to stand up for the rights of their neighbors. This was particularly vivid during the time of Stalin.
But corruption too is critical. Take for instance a recent charity concert promulgated by something called the Federation Foundation. Sharon Stone showed up to listen to Russian “prime minister” Vladimir Putin sing “Blueberry Hill” in order to raise piles of cash for sick children. The only problem was that there was no such thing as the Federation Foundation and Russia Beyond the Headlines reports that “a real uproar broke out after the mother of a gravely ill girl” who had been used in the Foundation’s propaganda materials “alleged in an open letter that the hospital where her daughter was being treated hadn’t received a penny from the foundation.” Oops.
And how about Russian poverty? As with Russian corruption, if you listened to the lies being told by the Putin regime about its performance on Russian national TV, which it owns and controls, you would think that the only possible explanation for Russian failure to support charity is Russian heartlessness and greed. According to Putin, he has battled and defeated Russian corruption and poverty, and he has the public opinion poll ratings to prove it.
With the sinking of the unlicensed Volga River cruise ship Bulgaria the world saw the very worst that is Russia. A captain sailed a listing ship despite the risk to his passengers. The passengers meekly allowed their children to risk their lives, and other passing boats sailed right by the disaster as it happened. The government totally ignored the dangerous vessels, knowing that it could not replace them or make them safe and knowing that taking them out of service would make the public angry. Instead of admitting its guilt, the goverment instead sought to use criminal charge to deflect attention from its failed policies. Where were those arrests a few weeks ago, when they might have saved lives?
Russia is a country that simply does not value individual human lives. Russians watch in cowardly silence as the government liquidates opposition journalists and politicians like Politkovaskaya and Starovoitova, and it does not call the government to account in elections. Russians do not give to charity despite their allegedly prosperous economy because they simply do not care what happens to fellow Russians or to future generations. In the time of Stalin, they informed on their neighbors for personal gain or just looked the other way as Stalin’s goons carried them off to the camps.
No country can survive immorality and stupidity this bestial. Certainly, Russia cannot.