Instead of being a reflection of genuine pride in what Russians have or can accomplish, Khukhlayev continues, it was a product of the sudden influx of foreign fans. “We like to feel ourselves the masters who are welcoming guests.” That state of affairs generates positive emotions.”
It has a positive side: the increase in the amount of “positive self-respect” leads to “a reduction in national and racial hostility.” If Russians feel positive about themselves as just now, the ethno-psychologist says, they don’t need to discriminate against others in order to view themselves as superior.
Unfortunately, this feeling is unlikely to last. Once the World Cup is over, “everything will return” to its accustomed place. But nonetheless, “this mass experience is changing the views of people.” Having such “human contacts” with outsiders is “the best means of lowering hostility and a prophylactic against international hostility.”
At least some Russians as a result of the World Cup will now find it easier to view others in a positive light because they view themselves in a more positive light than they did before the competition started. It is noteworthy that Novosti played up this aspect in its report about the interview, while the contents of Khukhlayev’s remarks were far more cautious.