Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Stealing and Proud of It – Two Aspects of the Russian ‘Deep People’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 10 – Moscow publicist Aleksandr Khots says he doesn’t interact much with the Russian masses and doesn’t talk politics when he does, but sometimes he can’t avoid one or the other. And he says one recent interaction with a representative of “the deep people” who uncritically back Vladimir Putin’s regime was extremely instructive.

            Challenged as to how she could support a candidate who so openly steals, Khots’ interlocutor responded with the following words: “You think, ‘they steal’?” she said. “And when haven’t they stolen? All of us would behave in exactly the same way in their place. You and I as well” (

            The only difference, she continued, is that her clients give her chocolates while the officials get millions. So what? If you are so honest, then become a bureaucrat and change things.” If the way things are makes you angry, she concluded, then emigrate and go live in some other country.

            For her, Khots says, stealing is something she and others like her, who form “the servile Russian ‘majority,’” accept as “a universal model of behavior” and even something to be proud of rather than something anyone should criticize. Moreover, she suggested, everyone must respect those the Russian people have elected even if they are stealing the country blind.

            Their skills in that regard, she even suggested, were something one could respect. After all, they were more successful at stealing than others. She certainly wasn’t going to vote against them for that.

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