It never ceases to amaze us how so many Russians will, when confronted by evidence of catastrophic failure like this, seek to rationalize it rather than to demand reform — the very thing they do in politics and all other aspects of their lives. Instead of calling for improvement by Russia, they invariably point to failures by other countries, as if that made it OK for Russia to fail.
It reminds us of the old Soviet-era joke: An American walks up to a hotel desk clerk in Moscow and complains loudly about the shockingly poor accommodations in his Russian hotel room. The clerk responds: “Yes, but you lynch blacks.” The result of this attitude was that the USSR never improved, collapsed and disappeared into the ashcan of history. And, or so it seems, Russians have learned absolutely nothing from that experience.
In the third round at Wimbledon 2011, both Russia’s top seed, world #3 Vera Zvonareva, and its third seed, world #12 Svetlana Kuznetsova, were cruelly slaughtered by lower-ranked opponents. Zvonareva, supposedly Russia’ s best player, suffered particularly intense humiliation, getting blasted off the court in easy straight sets by the tournaments’s lowest seed, a Bulgarian not ranked in the top 30 (and we report elsewhere in today’s issue on how the Bulgarians recently thumbed their noses at Russia over World War II — ouch!).
Declining Russia, which some idiots used to refer to as “dominant” in the sport, had a pathetic six seeds going into the tournament, and now two of the top three were gone before the fourth round could begin. What’s more, the #14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had already lost in the second round, as had the #28 seed Ekaterina Makarova. After Kuznetsova and Zvonareva went down, this left only two Russian seeds with a chance of getting as far as the fourth round.