Do Americans and Russians Hate Each Other?

Hard to tell lately.  Currently both states are ramping up for another cold war. This one may be luke-warm though. So, since we will be killing each other, we must hate each other right?

My whole life, conflict with Russia(or the old USSR) was a forgone conclusion. I grew up on the Ohio river, a main target of a nuclear first strike due to the proximity to US gold reserves and the world busiest river system. We all knew if the big one hit, we would be glowing in minutes. I assume many Russians had the same understanding. Being born in the early 70’s, my view is much different than the average pie in the sky Blogger. Many of todays Russian and American bloggers never lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation. While I find it a sick comfort, they are unsure how to deal with it. This lead me back to one of my favorite questions as a youth. Do the Russian really hate me enough to want to nuke me?

That question was answered for me in 1992. I was working as a valet driver, with my friend Alex. We had many chances to stand at length and talk about this very thing. Alex was an educated man, an engineer from St. Petersburg( or Leningrad when he left it.), he arrived in America to find his degree was not recognized by US companies, so he had to work a lower pay job. Kind of sucked really. He was a very smart man.

In many of our conversations, we discussed life in Russia. The parallels between both places were pretty amazing. From his description, you had to be tough to live there. Living in Kentucky was not much different for him he would say. In both places, you could get your ass kicked for a great many reasons, so we had common ground. His English was pretty good, but much of the day was spent with him writing down a word he heard used, and me explaining to him what it meant. He, however, refused to teach me much Russian. I wouldn’t have done it either. I would have just used it against him. I did manage to get 2 words out of him. Regala(spelling), meaning “burp” and Suka meaning “bitch”. So all I could say was the bitch burped in Russian, He though it was funny. He taught me Suka to use against his cousin Oleg, Oleg was an ass. Suka was an interesting word he told me. Not only did it mean literally, bitch, it had a deep meaning that carried a strong reaction with it. Suka were the people who would turn on their friends and family. They were the lowest of low. If a person in your family turned you into the police or informed on your activities, they were given this tag. I found this to be the most American of words. In one word, you see what the Russian people though about their oppression at the hands of their own people and government. In America we have much the same with , “Narc’s” or “Snitches”. 

Why bring up cuss words? Well it showed me we were pretty much the same. People wanting to live their life in peace and go home to a hot wife(Alex had a hot wife. Not the fat, bread line, Russian woman you saw on TV). What about the people who grew up after the wall fell and Democratic reforms came? Does this word hold the same meaning now? Are those kids even qualified to use it. Probably not. I see it the same as an 18-22 year old college kid in the US or Europe, telling me they understand global politics and the realities we all face again. They don’t, They can’t. Not unless the have had a missile pointed at them their whole youth. 

The information age could have changed the direction of things. It only made it worse. Russians and Americans had to eat what they were fed by the media back then. State run media in Russian is much the same today. They feed their people crap and they spit it back out on blogs and use it to justify their position. I do much of the same.

If Alex and I were standing again on that street corner, I am sure we could agree on one thing. The kids of the post cold war haven’t a clue. Putin has targeted the youth and mobilized them. He would have been hard pressed to mobilize people like Alex. Liberal media and protest groups have done much of the same for the youth in the US and Europe. These kids do not enjoy the clarity that the Bomb brings. They will soon enough.

In short. Russians and Americans do not hate each other. Never have never will. Our governments are another story. My position has really never changed. Neither, I would guess, has Alex’s.

The real people to fear in this one are the youth who do not know the true reality a cold war brings. The reality living under a leader for life in Putin will be much the same. You can call it what you like, it is the same communist party machine it was before, just renamed. Things for me never really changed, nor did they for Alex. We didn’t have that luxury. Fact is there are still people like Alex and I on both sides. It is sad it has come to this again. For Russia, the old ways die hard, and were never killed off the way they should have been. Looks like we will have a second chance to make the grass glow.Photobucket


~ by gotea on August 21, 2008.

4 Responses to “Do Americans and Russians Hate Each Other?”

  1. I disagree with many of the points here. I find it sad that the only common grounds that you could find are the swear words. Russian swear words have too much “substance” to them to throw them around lightly. I would feel dirty and distasteful calling someone “Suka”… But anyway, this just doesn’t open the thesis that you are stating in the title of the post and shows your limited knowledge of Russian culture.

    Do Americans and Russians Hate Each Other? – well, Russians don’t. Russians thought America to be the Blessed Land after “perestroyka” and even before. But whatever is your opinion on young people being brainwashed by Putin’s propaganda, I would say it is not entirely correct. You are biased.

    You think Russians are brainwashed and you are not. I think Russians are brainwashed and so are Americans. But the truth is that USA has been an aggressive power and Russians feel threated for good reason – they are being threated.

    Personally I read a lot, pretty much all the news I can get my hands on BBC, CNN, The Economist, Russian news agencies, you name it. And I make my conclusions no sooner than I digest all this stuff and think on it for a while.

    And after reading and thinking I still have no other choice but to conclude that America is driven by its sole self interests while using democracy as a nice flag that it waves around.

    I do consider leaving nuclear non proliferation treaty and surrounding Russia with NATO bases as a hostile action whatever anyone says. And I don’t like as you wouldn’t either if you had weapons pointing at you from Cuba.

    I think this is getting too long so I stop here :).

  2. Thank you for the dissenting opinion. I think you believe you are correct. Unfortunately, our experiences are different. We shall agree to disagree. Swear words were a correlation, but not the only correlation. Democracy is evil, we live in a republic. Nothing you have stated here disproves anything I have said. Your world view may be skewed. I always approach every subject believing I could be wrong. You would be better severed following the same method. As for my limited knowledge of Russian culture, I have multiple Russian friends, Alex was the first. Things in New Zealand sadly do not equate to the American experience.

  3. Well, we agree on one point then. USA is not a democratic country. However I still don’t get it. If it is no democracy how can it use it as an argument in its political and military exploits? Mind you this is a rhetorical question that I think I know the answer to. Yes my world view may be skewed but so can yours.

    That brings to mind one very nice idea that I’ve read somewhere. It likens ancient gods to shadows on the cave wall. Shadows, however different and groteque are still projections of the single object. Ancient gods are projections of the natural phenomena that surround humans. They are different in different belief systems but still inexplicably the same. The points of view are just shadows of truth.

    Anyway, I am not trying to disprove the things you say. The only thing that bugs me is the emphasis on “State run media in Russia” when I think it is pretty much the same in USA.

    Take care

  4. I see your point about the state run media comment. The main stream media in the USA is currently crap, but there are several of them. PBS is state funded, but provides some of the best coverage no matter political affiliation. My point would be media like, say, the BBC, becomes pretty dangerous if let go. Same with Russian media and US media. Hope things are well in NZ. With respect.

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