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Wed Jul 6, 2016, 09:34 PM

Misunderstanding Russia and Russians - Observations from a former diplomat

This is a must read for anyone that wants to get a better understanding of modern Russia.

Ann is highly qualified to write about the region:

Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She also served 16 years as a US diplomat in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq. She is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.



By Ann Wright

I’ve just ended two weeks visiting cities in four regions of Russia. The questions that were asked over and over were: “Why does America hate us? Why do you demonize us?” Most would add a caveat — “I like American people and I think YOU like us individually but why does the American government hate our government?”

This article is a composite of the comments made and questions asked to our 20-person delegation and to me as an individual. I do not attempt to defend the views but offer them as an insight into the thinking of many of the persons with whom we came into contact in meetings and on the streets.



Russian kids attending a youth camp called Artek in Crimea. (Photo by Ann Wright)


New Russia Looks Like You

The United States worked hard to make the Soviet Union collapse, and it did. You wanted to remake Russia like the United States – a democratic, capitalist country in which your companies could make money – and you have done that.

After 25 years, we are a new nation much different from the Soviet Union. The Russian Federation has created laws that have allowed a large private business class to emerge. Our cities now look like your cities. We have Burger King, McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks and malls filled with a huge number of totally Russian business ventures for the middle class.

We have chain stores with merchandise and food, similar to Wal-Mart and Target. We have exclusive stores with top-of-the-line clothing and cosmetics for the richer. We drive new (and older) cars now just like you do. We have massive rush hour traffic jams in our cities, just like you do. We have extensive, safe, inexpensive metros in all of our major cities, just like you have. When you fly across our country, it looks just like yours, with forests, farm fields, rivers and lakes — only bigger, many time zones bigger.

Most people on buses and in the metro are looking at our mobile phones with internet, just like you do. We have a smart youth population that is computer literate and most of whom speak several languages.

Continued:
https://consortiumnews.com/2016/07/05/misunderstanding-russia-and-russians/

5 replies, 1183 views

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Reply Misunderstanding Russia and Russians - Observations from a former diplomat (Original post)
newthinking Jul 2016 OP
Igel Jul 2016 #1
newthinking Jul 2016 #5
Purveyor Jul 2016 #2
uhnope Jul 2016 #3
newthinking Jul 2016 #4

Response to newthinking (Original post)

Wed Jul 6, 2016, 11:02 PM

1. Once you get past the halo effect,

she's commenting on her observations from 2 weeks of traveling. The "halo effect" is, in effect, "she was right on the Iraq war, she must be right on other matters." It's one of the weaker forms of appeal to authority, because the authority is by association--in effect, she's no more good at understanding Russians because of her Iraq War stance than she is because she stayed a a Holiday Inn, but we trust her.

I assume her Russian is fluent. And that she values Russians beliefs and what they're told above anything said in the West, because, well, you can't trust Western media. But you can trust the English-language Russian media.

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Response to Igel (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 7, 2016, 06:14 PM

5. Of course, because you have a different opinion she must have imagined it

Please do let us know your incredible credentials and do post your own observations of your recent trip to Russia. That would would not put you on equal footing with this credentialed delegation (come on, you can't realistically consider her background inconsequential. She is entirely qualified for diplomatic work and experienced with other cultures).

"She also served 16 years as a US diplomat in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia"

Why are you so set on putting this down? It is not in support of Putin but a report from Russians meant to bring us closer to understanding each other.

It boggles my mind why this particular post was so offensive to some.

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Response to newthinking (Original post)

Thu Jul 7, 2016, 09:42 AM

2. Thanks for posting this. K&R. Eom

 

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Response to newthinking (Original post)

Thu Jul 7, 2016, 04:54 PM

3. unintentional (sick) humor

 

that photo is from the former Kremlin show-camp for the Soviet elite that the Russian gov has just reinvested in, now that it has invaded and occupied the Crimea again.

This Ann Wright person is a piece of (work).

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Response to uhnope (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 7, 2016, 06:05 PM

4. Always interesting to hear your "take" on it. Which is based

on the way you feel and not on fact of course. Not sure what you object to about learning from an American delegation. You seem to fear letting some understanding in as it may break your imagined view?

Look at all those commie kids in red uniforms! Not! Ugh....


I can't imagine what you have against Russia taking what was bankrupted previously and investing in their children. But of course everything must have an "evil angle" when one is paranoid of Russians.

Artek was only one place they visited but if people want to learn about it on their own (instead of through a cold war 1 lens) it is easy enough to do so as it has a pretty comprehensive site on the web.

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