Twelve reasons why Russia sucks

Two major difficulties that arise whenever I need to write something — how to start the story so that it enthralls readers and sets a proper article tone, and how to make an ending that, like a good wine, leaves a taste of something special. This time the difficulty has doubled — I now need a beginning to the whiny post that could persuade you it’s not whining at all.

I’ve played around with several options, tried to make it look like an insight, a counter-propaganda that exposes the lies about an almighty empire —the myth Russia is desperately trying to breed starting from late 2000-s, shortly after the famous Putin’s speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. I’ve tried walking in the shoes of a man who mourns his dying country and cannot accept what is currently happening to it. But every attempt inevitably boils down to this — it’s a purebred whine. A yammer. My personal bitch-fest.

So then, let it be. A self-pity parade of a guy who cannot but think how unfair it is that every child on this planet plays a cruel lottery upon birth. Some are lucky enough to enjoy the birthrights of a civilized country, while others can only catch a glimpse of it. Something very similar to be born deaf-mute, or blind, or unable to experience anything else that is a regular part of “ordinary” people’ existence.

Sigh.


Poverty

As a tourist, you would probably visit the “northern capital” of Russia — Saint Petersburg. Founded by Peter the Great, this former capital of the Russian Empire is indeed a sight to behold. Wandering among the gold-plated halls of famous art galleries, stone Griffins with golden wings, and marble Atlases that uphold the roof of the New Hermitage, one can get an impression of a truly European country with a proud history and strong economy to uphold this beauty.

Those who come to Moscow will also have a similar impression thanks to fascinating churches and galleries, the Moscow City district, and the amount of Bentleys, Lamborghinies, Ferraries and Teslas rewing on the streets.

I understand those who are fooled by these two cities, I really do. But here’s the truth — the rest of russian cities look like this.

Chelyabinsk

Ugly human anthills patched together into one depressing tohubohu, mud and holes instead of the roads, and the gray color — oh, this never-ending gray color that paints everything from houses and dead trees to frowned faces around you.

Velikij Ustug

For the last few years I’ve been living in Tula — this is the capital city of the Tula State, something like Austin in Texas or Sacramento in California. What if I tell you that this state capital and the place from the photo below, with crooked wooden barracks half-swallowed by the Earth itself, are in fact the same city? What an awesome opportunity to visit not just the country, but the living XVII century as well.

The central district of Tula, Boldina street

If now you are thinking I’m showing you the ruins of the suburbs and abandoned “ghost cities” of the USSR era — unfortunately, no. Brace yourselves, the pictures below are taken in Voronezh, a city with more than a million of citizens, a capital of the Voronezh State.

These photos were taken by a famous russian blogger Ilya Varlamov, you can see more in this LiveJournal post of his.

Now, let me get this straight — my goal here is to show you the dark side of a Moon, to confront the veneer of a prosperous and powerful country with the ghastliness of a daily life. For this sake, I may be exaggerating things — of course, such horrifying conditions are not that often in Russian cities. But neither they are rare. Seeing these pictures comes with no surprise to a regular Russian, we all accept the possibility of someone living in similar houses just down the street.

If you’re wondering what makes Russian cities (and — God have mercy on me— villages, I don’t even dare to post any photos of them) look like living illustrations for the “shithole” dictionary entry, the poverty must be among the major reasons for that. According to the most optimistic reports, the average salary in Russian cities (apart from Moscow and Saint Petersburg) is 20,000–40,000 rubles a month. That is $330–660, less than $8000 a year. Sometimes more, if you served in military and were engaged into local conflicts, or were employed by wealthy oil company. But most of the time, much less.

After 45 years of busting her ass as a nurse, my retired grandmother receives a pension of $210 a month. Imagine you make $2520 a year and ask yourselves, whether the photos above still seem unbelievable to you.

This all-embracing Russian poverty is everywhere: in people’s houses, clothes, the cars they drive, the food they eat, the entertainments they have. Every May, Russia celebrates the beginning of the barbecue season, “shashlyk”. Ask a Russian if (s)he loves shashlyk and most probably a smile will slowly cover his\her face. Hell yeah! However, this barbecue is somewhat different from what you’re probably imagining now. A “shashlyk” is basically a group of people sitting in the nearest forest (or right in the yard behind their home) in a pile of trash, grilling cheap meat and consuming tons of cheap alcohol, leaving burnt grass, coal, shattered glass, and plastic bottles behind them. This disgusting view is a music to a Russian ear, the fairly earned right to relax!

Happy holidays!

Every time you are tricked into thinking that Russia is a powerful and wealthy country, remember these pictures and laugh from your belly.


Obedience

If I had to pick one definitive feature of a Russian person that separates us from the “western people”, I’d choose obedience. Submission. And nope, I’m not talking about BDSM practices here.

Throughout the history, Russians had a very special relationship with people who wield power. Tzars and emperors were referred to as “The Lord’s Anointed”, the one who reigns by the divine right, and their power was believed to be sacred. Much like in the ancient Egypt, except for the fact that it was happening 4500 years later. When the Soviets were formed, this sacred monarchy was replaced by the religious communist cult — instead of the Lord’s Anointed ones we got the Bearers of the Great Lenin and Marx Ideology — a change of decorations, but not the idea behind. After 1991, Russia was granted somewhat 10 years of a relatively free existence, before Putin has hurled the country back into the abyss. As a result of this unhealthy relationship with the government, the regular Russian person is born with a rare genetic malfunction: an inborn submission to any authority — a president, a senator, a mayor, a cop, a boss, a landlord, you name it. Most importantly, to G-men.

Jozeph Stalin, one of the bloodiest tyrants ever born, has ordered millions of people shot or sent for years into concentration camps also known as GULAGs. Those few who are old enough to remember 1930-s, talk about a vivid memory of being constantly afraid. In the dark hours, people were waking up from the quiet squeals of car brakes in their yards — they knew who that was.

The black “Voronok” — the signature NKVD vehicle used to transport prisoners

Paralyzed, they would lay still in their beds listening to the NKVD officers’ steps, praying the executioners were not after them.

“You are under arrest”.

No one asked what exactly they were charged with. No one tried to fight back. Because it didn’t matter. It could be your neighbor who said you secretly listen to jazz music at nights. It could be your employee who did not receive a raise the previous month and claimed you are a British spy. It could even be an arrest with for reason at all, just because NKVD received orders to arrest 500 people in this area by the end of a month. It didn’t matter. People would silently go into those black cars without knowing if they ever going to see their families again.

Could you imagine something like that happening in France? Or Spain? Or U.S.? The entire nation is aware that the people are being enslaved and murdered by their own government, and still they praise the Party, the Leader, and silently march into their graves. And if you think those times are gone, you are wrong again.

Here’s South Korea — the riots booming in 2017 as the nation learned the President Park Geun-hye faces charges in bribery and influence peddling.

And here’s the “He is not a Dimon to you” demonstration that followed the YouTube investigation movie by the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and his team. From this 30-minute video clip the Russians have learned about gargantuan houses, mansions, Italian wine plantations, yachts and other goods worth of billions of rubles stolen from the people, all of it owned by the current prime-minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev.

What’s the difference?

South Koreans kept protesting until the corrupted president got arrested and, later, sentenced to 24 years in prison. Russian “protest” lasted for a few hours.

Dozens of people beaten with police batons, hundreds arrested. The next day the country lives its ordinary life as nothing ever happened (probably, because nothing happened indeed). People head to their workplaces and talk to each other during the lunch break. Very few bring up the yesterday protests, and even when they do, everyone smiles. They all know it’s useless. Because THEY have always been stealing from US. And THEY always will be. WE know that and WE accept it.

This “WE versus THEY” metaphor is essential for understanding the Russian mentality. The “people” and “authorities” (any authorities, not just the government alone) both do everything they can to alienate themselves from the opposite party. This reminds me of the Indian caste social stratification system. If you are one of the “people”, you accept your poor status. This comes with understanding that THEY can do whatever they want — steal from you, send you to die for Assad in Syria, stick a broom into your arse or break your spine with a chair in a police station… Or mock your worst tragedy.

In March 2018, the fire in the Kemerovo “Winter Cherry” trade center killed nearly 70 people, the tragedy which inflamed minor protests against the fatal negligence of the town administration. During one these protests, the vice-senator Sergey Tsivilev said to the face of a man, who had lost a wife, a sister, and three kids to the fire, that he came on stage with his speech to “feed on this hot topic”. And the grieving father has swallowed that.

In Russia, the “government” is thought to be a separate, almost miraculous entity, something entirely different from the people. Ordinary citizens do not consider themselves as a part of the country, only as expendables. Keep that in mind while you read the rest of the article, this magic formula can solve a lot of your riddles.


Indifference

In her “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck” best-seller, Sarah Knight describes a “fuck budget” everyone has. Whenever you do something that requires your time or energy, you spend some of the “fuck bucks” from this budget. The life-changing magic itself is to understand that your budget is limited and stop wasting “fuck bucks” on irrelevant things. Well, if Russians are poor financially, at least they are “fuck bucks” millionaires, since “not giving a fuck” is another common Russian treat.

I’ve already mentioned not giving a hoot about massive corruptions and the fact that everyone, from the President to a local judge, steals budget money. In the end, people who consider themselves as expendables, not citizens of their country, have a moral right to have no responsibility for it, or a desire to change the course.

By the way, the fact that Putin steals for almost 20 years (and will probably continue doing so until he dies) is the major reason we don’t riot against this neo-monarchy — what’s for? Another one will come on Putin’s place and start stealing, what’s the difference? Some even believe that the longer Putin reigns the country the better, because he has already stolen enough and maybe will eventually make an effort to do something decent for his poor people, while a new hungry guy who takes his place will start stealing much more than Putin does now. Truly, this country does terrible things to your mind.

But the indifference stretches far beyond the politics. Russians don’t give a shit about how the city looks. Every elevator, every house is covered with penis drawings (or its textual representation, the branded Russian “hyi” word), gum, and piss (the later is even laughed upon, in the figure below people ask the symbol of “goddamn Americans”, President Obama, to stop pissing in their elevator — a local humor, don’t ask me to explain).

Most benches near the apartment entrances are broken. Doors are covered with ads. Light bulbs are broken or stolen. Patches of different paint — signs of feeble repairs attempts — cover dirty walls that lose their plaster skin.

Dog shit covers every yard and most of the playgrounds. Dog owners and their our own kids cannot walk more than 30 steps without stepping into another pile, but no one cares and (almost) no one cleans after their dogs.

Why? To quote a well-known Russian designer Artemy Lebedev, we all have our “comfort zones”, but if civilized people’ comfort zone includes the streets they walk, the parks they visit, the cities they live in, and the countries they inhabit, a comfort zone of a Russian ends at his doorsteps. Everything outside my apartment does not belong to me, hence I don’t give a shit about it.

And for those who dare to upset the established order of not caring, we have a perfect and constantly used reply: “Tebe bolshe vseh nado?”, which means “are you the one who cares the most?” Indeed, are you the one who stepped more than anyone into dog shit? We all do, buddy, shut up. We all live in these ugly homes, who gave you the right to be offended with this sight more than we are? Bite the bullet and keep your mouth shut, just like we do. And believe it or not, that works as a charm — most anyone instantly chills and backs out.

You don’t want to be the one who cares a little bit more than everyone around you does. And even if you do, “Odin v pole ne voin” — “One man, no man”.

The high noon of this herd morale is pictured in the critically acclaimed 2014 movie “The Fool” by Alexander Bykov: a regular service guy finds out that the house with 860 people inside is about to collapse because of a giant crack in the wall. Rushing into the restaurant, where the mayor happens to celebrate her birthday, he alerts everyone about the upcoming tragedy, which is about to happen because of the tragic negligence, bureaucracy and the fact that most of the city budget has been systematically stolen by the government pen-pushers throughout years. The good civil servants quickly come to understanding that they won’t be able to cover this story up, and they are much more comfortable with burying everyone alive under the ruins and blaming a couple of fall guys in the office, rather than evacuate that “living trash”. Desperate, the movie antagonist runs back to the falling building and starts banging into doors, shouting about the emergency and rushing everyone to get outside… where he eventually gets killed by the mob, angry at the guy who has forced them leave their cozy wormholes. A fiction movie, yes, but for everyone who’s lived here long enough it looks more like a terrifying prophecy, a dark omen of what is to come, a reminder for those who want to change the way the things work here.

“Chelovek cheloveky volk” — “We are wolves to each other”

The degree to which Russians don’t give a shit about the people around is frightening. A few years ago the Russian media was covering a story about a university teacher that had a heart attack and collapsed on a street in Saint-Petersburg. He lied down covered with snow for two hours and eventually died. No one approached him. “Huh, probably another alcoholic had too much for today, that’s not my business”. This specific case took place several years ago, but such tragic events happen every week.

The guy in the video pretends he suffers from a sudden pain in his stomach — watch how “fast” the help comes

The emergency medical info available from the locked iPhone screen, bracelets for diabetics that warn people about the wearer’s condition in case (s)he suddenly collapses — none of precautions make sense here in Russia, because should anything happen to you, the first one who approaches you would probably be a city worker who came to collect your body. But at least our “fuck budgets” are always topped, right?


The War

WWII is an event that keeps shaping and molding the modern Russia even 80 years after it ended.

The nation that lost over 30 million people killed directly at war, — not counting millions executed in Gulags by the Soviet government — celebrates the 9th of May as a demonstration of an endless power.

Occasionally, someone tries speaking about the 9th of May as a day of grief, a day to remember the terrible price we’ve payed, a day to respect the dead. Every year I see humble attempts to focus people’s attention on those few who actually participated in the Great War, who now live their last days abandoned by everyone, starving and unable to pay their utilities or buy their medicine. But those words are lost in the maddening joy and immeasurable pride of the “grateful sons”.

This is a day of massive celebration, very close to the New Year in terms of joy and involvement. By “celebration” many Russians mean drinking themselves half-dead (“for the Horde… ugh, veterans!”) and beating someone’s face to a pulp…

…or simply enjoying cat food (seriously) as a digestive

This is the day when car owners proudly ride with “We can repeat!” stickers on the rear car windshields. These stickers illustrate USSR dog-fucking the Nazi Germany and imply same will happen to our modern foes.

This is the day when people decorate everything — from bags and t-shirts to vodka bottles in shops with black-and-orange stripes, the “Georgy ribbon”, an official symbol of the victory.

Funnily enough, the St.George medal was never assigned to anyone during the war. This medal originates from the older times of the Russian Empire. For that reason, the black-and-orange ribbon was popular among the RLA (Russian Liberation Army) of General Vlasov — the famous “traitor” that has surrendered the entire army to Nazis and fought on the Reich’s side against the Soviet Union. Modern day patriots that preach the importance of remembering our history hail the Nazi symbol — quite peculiar, isn’t it? Did I already mention that Russians don’t give a shit about anything? This certainly applies to war symbols as well.


Enemies

There’s a perfect reason why Russia gladly cultivates the myth about the glorious victory — this ideology braces people in the face of the external threat, namely, the “goddamn America”. And the entire world with it, for that matter.

The war is not over. THEY (oh, this magical word again) are plotting to destroy our land, to take away our resources and treasures! Hitler ideas are still alive, only this time our western foes use economics instead of foot soldiers and cluster bombs.

If you ask a North Korean about the world outside, (s)he will probably be very honest in saying that Korea is surrounded by enemies and in front of the western capitalistic plague this proud little country stands strong as the last refuge for hope. Propaganda is known to be able to turn people into zombies, and it’s no surprise the modern day Russia swarms with brain-dead puppets who believe the same crap. Every time Russia receives new economic sanctions, I grieve as they are only severe enough for Putin to present himself as a leader of an oppressed country that fights for justice (like our grandfathers in 1941, yup). Our masters still ride luxurious cars and send their children to London and New York, while the regular people become the real target for those sanctions. Which doesn’t bother them much because first, that’s an evil plan by our enemies who are destined to fail, we just need to hold on a little longer, and secondly, hey we don’t give our “fuck bucks” away, remember?

Another interesting point to be made is that despite a very evident urge to secure their place in the sun through armed conflicts, Russians bear a wide-eyed confidence that Russia is a country that during its entire history has never started a war, only was a target of the hostile aggression from our neighbors. Well, ahem, don’t get mad: despite the fact that 53 out of 75 armed conflicts that took place since the middle of the XVI century were actually initiated by Russian Empire\USSR\Russia, our people prefer the good ol’ “from lip to lip” way to share the knowledge about the world, rather than using Google and their own heads.

In her memoirs, Elena Bonner, a wife of the Soviet nuclear bomb’s father and a Nobel peace prize laureate Andrey Sakharov, shared a memory of a dialog she had in a taxi cab, somewhere around 1971:
— (taxi driver) …that happened the same year the Czechs attacked us.
— Sorry?
— Well, Czechs… They attacked us in Prague, remember?

Laws

As I have said before, the total obedience to any government requests is a very common Russian trait. However, — surprisingly or not, — this is somehow mixed with a total outlawry. As another Russian proverb states (I’m gonna reference quite some of these throughout the article):

“The idiocy of Russian laws is offset by their poor enforcement”.

In a way, the total government corruption can be linked to the same philosophy of a total law denial. The difference is only in the caliber of a law you are allowed to disregard. “Small people” commit smaller crimes, — smoke in elevators and public transport, park their cars on the lawns, occupy parking lots arranged for disabled people, drive the wrong side of a road, cell alcohol and tobacco to teenagers, etc. — but they do it regularly. I doubt you can have a 20-minute walk without witnessing someone violating a law.

Jaywalking — check. Slaloming between moving vehicles— check. Police car driving the wrong way — check. The second pedestrian not giving a shit about a girl hit — check. Lifting a person with possible fractures after a car impact — check.

The most far-fetching iniquity that has been poisoning this poor country for years is, probably, the bribery. Though many researches point out that bribery — or, to be more specific, the tradition to give and receive “gifts” — is very common to most Asian countries (which is the reason for some very harsh punishments in, for instance, China: you don’t fight the plague with just procedure masks, sometimes you need to bring a flamethrower), many link the rise of this all-consuming crime to the times of the General Secretary of the Communist Party Leonid Brezhnev. They say, the dangerous mixture of bribery and a necessity to have a pull in every department was born exactly in Brezhnev’s days. But as a person who has lived here long enough, I personally do not care when or why did it start: all I care is how long will it last.

My first speculation of this venom that poisons my country happened when I was somewhat about 14. I suddenly started wondering why Mom takes a box of chocolates every time I catch a cold and need to see a doctor. Up until that time, I was considering such things as a simple gratitude. Kids’ parents buy presents for teachers in schools, patients take gifts to doctors, your relatives gift something to nurses that look after you in case you get hospitalized. Everything looked like a gratitude indeed — up until I realized this is a requirement rather your own good will.

Another Russian proverb: “Ne podmazhesh — ne poedesh”. Means “if you don’t grease the wheels, the cart won’t go”. And boy, do you need the grease when living in this country…

A gift to a doctor is not just a gratitude, it’s the assurance that (s)he will pay enough attention to your health issues. Same with nurses, if you want them to change bed and clean urinals after your severely ill relative — you need to be extra “grateful” to them. The fact that all these people must do that for free because that is their direct job and they are getting paid for it is totally ignored.

This becomes more of a problem when that is not exactly your wish to pay. Cops camp the roads hiding in the bushes to catch red-handed excessive speeding drivers and those who ride without safety belts on. But not to enforce the law, rather to trade the official punishment (licence suspension, for instance) for money. Pay them now, and you are free to go. Same applies to universities and colleges — you can buy your spot there and\or keep paying teachers to pass exams. Same applies to the army — parents pay enormous buybacks to allow their kids to dodge the humiliating service in Russian army.

And same applies to schools. For instance, have a look at this very symbolic article — auto-translate it to English, the language is pretty straightforward — about a kid from Zhigulevsk, who started a petition against the public school — which means it is officially free — that collects money to (the official explanation) pay salaries to security workers and janitors (yep, no one asked before why a federal school has no money to pay janitors for their service). The kid was labeled as a “traitor”, teachers started bullying his entire class: you get the idea, it’s safer to deal with the young rebel with the hands of other kids in the class who get angry when they are punished “for his actions”. In the video that one of the students has shot in the class, the teacher suggests that if this brave kid refuses to pay, he should bring a bucket, a mop, and start mopping floors in the class himself, and that he lives in the society and must obey its rules. Thankfully, the media brought the story to the public. But what if they didn’t?

The total “pay-to-win” system in Russia leaves no questions why the most powerful people in the country steal billions of budget money and people are somewhat okay with that: they do the same everyone else does, only on the bigger scale.


Religion

According to a Constitution of the Russian Federation — wow, it feels really weird mentioning it: it has been so long since we saw it working last — Russia is a multicultural nonsectarian secular state. However, that county exists only on Constitution pages as an utopia. The real Russia looks more like ISIS in terms of religious bigotry.

I am well aware that even democratic countries can be entangled with religious crap, the need for which sits tight somewhere in the back of our heads. U.S. alone has hundreds, maybe thousands of cults, from local one-town communities to powerful and influential organizations like Scientology. The itch to explain things in the most simple way (often, the most idiotic one at the same time) comes from the way our brain evolved — that organ that takes only 5% percent of our total body weight consumes around 70% of the total energy our organism produces. Cognition is a very costly process, and our internal systems — more precisely, the limbic system also known as the paleomammalian cortex, which manages our primal functions: eating, moving, breeding, emotional responses, etc. — that system does everything it can to minimize the risk of burning through the available energy supplies (your primal brain knows nothing about Walmart and your ability to buy more food and refill those supplies at any time). By the way, that is the reason you feel so nice when you take a day off and spend it on a couch watching a TV-show instead of doing something that needs to be done— as a reward for defeating the neocortex (involved in higher-order brain functions such as cognition, spatial reasoning and language), your brain gets a free shot of endorphins that enforce that feeling of pleasure.

Okay, enough with the medicine — the bottom line is that people are prone to making fast decisions and thinking less. Always have been, and always will be. That is the major reason why a set of ready-to-use “How to live your life” guides called religions are loved all around the world. But in Russia, that love has definitely grown into something much more ominous.

Let’s have some fun — I’ve made a test for you, answer the following questions with Yes\No statements:

  • Does the primary religion in your country openly spread a terrifying myth that HIV does not exist, and that AIDS comes from stress, vaccines, and bad environment — statements that enforce the HIV denial movement and lead to an epidemic?
  • Is your army equipped with mobile praying stations that can be deployed on a battlefield?
The church wagon…
…and its even more hilarious version — the pneumatic air church, yay!
  • Is consecrating rockets a necessary procedure that ensures the flight will be successful?
Oops, sorry, that is the successful start of the Falcon Heavy by the heretic Elon Musk…
…and that is a Russian pope who sprinkles a rocket with holy water. Either a water was fake, or the priest wasn’t a sincere believer, or maybe the God himself was against this launch —anyway, the rocket crushes shortly after the take off.
  • Does the primary church in your country hire priests, who “cleanse” poor fellows with mental disorders by riding them?
Behind the scenes of the “Exorcist”

If gave positive answers to at least two of these questions, I bet we can chat about this article in Russian.


Fatalism

A careful reader has already smelled that scent of fatalism in the text above. The final piece of puzzle that can explain why any law is neglected and any crime is not big enough to inflame mass protests. The fate.

“Ne mi takie — zhizn’ takaya”

You guessed it — another proverb. “It’s not our fault — that’s just the way the life is”. Almost like 2Pac — “that’s just the way it is”. 2Pac, however, mixed that line with “we gotta make a change”. Russians drop this part for there is no light in a tunnel, no faith that anything at all can change. Our fates are sealed and there’s no way we can do anything about that (apart from writing a whiny Medium article, yes).

Those familiar with fascinating Russian literature agree that it’s largely touched by this feeling of something horrible nearby, the doom, the bitter end that awaits us. The epitome of such mood is probably Dostoevsky, whose novels are soaked in this grim mood, a unique mixture of desperation and faith in a higher power.

As I write these words, I suddenly have this thought: what if this blind Christian faith carried through centuries is in fact a natural response to the inevitability of the dark end, an answer for that all-consuming fatalism? If we, the unwilling, the unable, came in this world to suffer, without the prospect of any significant positive change to look forward to, — the end of times when the Lord will make everything right is the only thing left to believe in. Better late than never, huh? Could it be that I’m right, I wonder.


Education

Meet Mikhail Zadornov — one of the most iconic Russian stand-up comedians.

If you ask anyone what’s his iconic phrase, I doubt someone will have difficulties answering “Nu tupie-e-e-e”, which means “Oh they’re morons”. At first “they” meant Americans, later — any “western” person. Almost single-handedly, this guy has forever secured the myth about Russians who are the smartest nation ever. Or at least certainly smarter than moronic Americans.

This stuff wouldn’t gain so much popularity if many Russians didn’t already share the same opinion. As a journalist Alexander Nevzorov says, “a porn magazine can cause erection only if you have penis in the first place”. Believe it or not, many Russians are positively sure that Russia (26 Nobel laureates, many of which — surprisingly!— are residents of foreign countries, like 2010 laureates Geim and Novoselov who work in Manchester) is way “smarter” than the U.S. (371 Nobel laureates), which is largely considered to be the country for fags, morons and fatsos.

Most Russians are positively sure that Soviet Union had the world’s best education. Yeah, right, that pretty much explains why our university diplomas have no value outside Russia, or why millions of Russians were holding jars of water in front of their TV screens in 1980’s, waiting for the famous “psychics” and “faith healers” Chumak and Kashpirovsky to “charge” the liquid with their supernatural abilities and heal the viewers. Chumak is dead, but Kashpirovsky still packs the houses full of people ready to pay money for miraculous recovery.

Yes, that shit was broadcasted on official Soviet TV channels

Funnily enough, Zadornov who had publicly spoiled his U.S. visa and rose through the ranks by trash-talking about western people as untalented brain-dead hucksters and profiteers, rushed into a private EU clinic after being diagnosed with cancer. Unlike millions of his followers, who cannot afford the same and have learn the hard way that their country with “best-in-class educational system” cannot provide a decent medical treatment.


Aggression

If you have ever been to websites like bestgore.com, you probably know what human beings are capable of doing to each other. People behead, flay and dismember their foes alive— not for survival, but just for money, pleasure or out of religious beliefs.

This unspeakable cruelty is horrifying, but so it is rare — most of the time crimes like that are carried out by troubled people with absolutely no remorse or empathy towards others. What you see much more often is something I call a “household cruelty” — hateful actions performed by ordinary people in their everyday life. And that groundless, gratuitous hate towards the others is something in which no nation could arguably “outshine” Russians.

Those who ever tried online games like Counter Strike, Dota or WoW, instantly agree with me — Russians are often considered most toxic players ever. These people can abandon matches, intentionally “feed” their opponents and flame their teammates before the game has even started. Just watch any Russian Dota stream on Twitch or see any highlight compilations— 95% of these “highlights” are not some sick plays, but an exceptionally “epic” flame or a trash-talk.

Some people, however, are capable of turning that aggression into something fabulous.

The entire web, not just video games, is a place for any Russian maggot, obedient and speechless in everyday life, to show his\her true colors. Here’s an example.

A CCTV camera catches a group of teenagers stealing a bronze duck effigy from a city park. Most likely, drunk guys were having fun and showing off in front of the girl — you know how it goes, right?

Definitely, not the most admirable behavior by the young lads. But not the worst crime either. The question is what punishment is fair for these fellows? I’d say, they (or their parents, in case boys are under the legal age) must be charged for the repairs, plus an extra fee. That’s not what Russians in the comment sections think.

“Rip their heads off…”
“Nothing to do with their strength — send them to Syria!”
“Put them down before they breed.” (note: almost 60 more people love this idea)
“They should be sent to BAM or Belomorcanal” (note: the guy is talking about huge highways built by convicts in USSR; many have died on those backbreaking construction sites)
“They won’t feel any shame. Hit them with a crowbar in the spine so that at least they could feel pain :)”
“Execute these fuckers!!!”
“Castrate them!”
“Give them a life sentence!!!!”
“People like them should be gunned down.”
“I wish I knew who these creeps were, I’d break their legs”.
“These fuckers must be reading it now. I’d rip your arms and legs off. Honestly, I’d gladly beat you to death.”

Do not get me wrong, but don’t you think that wishing death, sterilization, legs torn out and arms ripped off is a bit too much for breaking the statue of a duck?

And if you wonder why there is no “intolerance” section here in this article — that is because intolerance is a direct consequence of this raging misanthropy. I do not think people hate gays — or blacks, or Americans, or Muslims, or anyone other person in the world for that matter — because they uphold traditional values and families. As simple as it is, all these people easily represent someone different from a regular Russian, and that reason alone is enough to break their faces and wish them death. As Marilyn Manson adequately puts in his song, “we’re killing strangers so we don’t kill the ones that we love”.


Alcohol

I guess you’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Yes — bears, vodka, balalaika. Vodka is a brand that instantly associates with Russia, and by the George I wish I could say that drunk Russians is nothing but a stereotype. But first, that would confront the official data regarding worldwide alcohol consumption per capita rates. And secondly, unfortunately, this is just the way it is.

Every birthday, every holiday, or simply every Friday or weekend is impossible without alcohol. And do not get me wrong, there are other countries whose drinking is almost a part of the national idea —for instance, South Korea or Japan. But honestly, I have little interest in drunk Japanese lying in the subway in their business suites every Friday. I’m concerned in the consequences drinking brings to my own country.

A drunk pope on the Geländewagen fatally hits two road workers and flees from the scene. This was one of 169,432 road accidents that took lives of 19,088 people in Russia in 2017.

A drunk student tries to step from the balcony into a window. Falls down eleven stories to his death (warning: graphic video).

A drunk cop walks into a supermarket and starts a shoot-out, executing two people and wounding seven more.

A politician gets sloshed with vodka in a forest with his friends, sees a wood ranger’s dog and kills it, then slams the ranger himself into the tree. According to the locals, shooting stray animals and people’s cattle is a well-known hobby of the civil servant, who by the way still keeps his position.

Four drunk teenagers, ages 15 to 17, torture a homeless woman and beat her to death.

Another group of drunk high school students kill a woman they meet in a cafe. According to the police reports, the attacker has torn the victim’s face apart and pulled her entrails through the vagina. I’m not sure if that case illustrates the terrors of drinking, or the aggression — or rather, the sadistic evil inside our people — but I will spare you from seeing the aftermath photo.

A drunk man teases the bear and loses the arm.

And of course…

  • Numerous drunk kids set stray cats and dogs on fire and chop their noses off.
  • Tons of drunk husbands beat their wives to death.
  • Thousands of drunk people attack random passers-by on streets.
  • Countless drunk workers lose their limbs and their lives in factory accidents.
  • Innumerable drunk parents beat and kill their kids.

Call me a hypocrite if you want, but the nation of people who unleash such horrors after a few sips should never have free access to alcohol. Which, sadly, will never happen. The alcohol provides a good measure of control: for as long as an “ordinary” Russian can get drunk, he would prefer that to fighting for his rights, justice, or country leaders that see other goals rather than filling their own pockets.

Pride

Finally, after everything written above, after you get the glimpse of that dark side of “ordinary” Russians — cruel, indifferent, ignorant, spineless people — does it come as a surprise that Russians are extremely proud of their country?

There are probably experts in Russia that can provide you with an exact formula of how this feeling emerges. I’m not one of them. I myself keep wondering what exactly gives birth to this moronic patriotism, a feeling that Bernard Shaw defines as “fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it”. I also cannot but quote George Carlin on this matter:

“Pride should be reserved for something you achieve or obtain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth. Being Irish isn’t a skill… it’s a fucking genetic accident. You wouldn’t say I’m proud to be 5'11”; I’m proud to have a pre-disposition for colon cancer.”

But still, even though patriotism it is a moronic feeling, I can understand Americans’ patriotism — in the end, they belong to of one of the most influential countries. I understand Swedes — people of the country that has been named the most livable country times and times again. I understand Chinese — people of the country that not too long ago was merely a machinery for the western world, but has now risen to have great impact on the globe and one of the world’s fastest growing economy.

But I can neither understand, nor comprehend the mysterious Russian patriotism. A feeling of pride that you belong to a country, inhabited by those who you hate. A feeling of joy to live in a state that shows no joy of knowing you live here. A feeling of honor to be born in a country that prefers making enemies rather than investing in its own people. An unconditional commitment to your land, a willingness to fight and die for the country that does not value your life and will most likely abandon its own defenders, as it did after every military conflict before.

One of numerous dog-poor WWII veterans goes begging in a Moscow subway

That illogical pride must be the final part of the grand absurd design that enchants many foreigners, who are mesmerized with the inexplicable way this country exists. God only knows how millions of these interconnected systems assemble into one love-hate piece, but that knowledge is not even required. In the end, it all boils down to immortal poem by Fedor Tyutchev:

You will not grasp her with your mind 
Or cover with a common label, 
For Russia is one of a kind — 
Believe in her, if you are able.

Too bad the poet does not have an advice for those who are unable.