Monday, March 19, 2018

Russians Hate the West for Far More Reasons than They Used To, Makarkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 17 – Among the major changes that have occurred in Russia since Soviet times, Aleksey Makarkin says, is a diversification in the reasons Russians hate the West.  In the USSR, there was a single ideological message that the population was expected to accept as to why the West was to be hated. Now, there are many such messages.

            “In Soviet times,” the Moscow political analyst says, “hatred was based on official propaganda,” a source which was increasingly distrusted.  Now, however, it is based on a far more varied set of sources of information, with Russians now having access to more reasons for hating the West (

                That means that not all Russians hate the West for the same reasons: some hate the outside world for one reason and others for a different one, Makarkin argues; and that in turn means that the ability of the Kremlin to change directions on this point may be far less than either it or many in the West think.

            A Russian today can “hate the West because 14 powers launched a campaign against the young Soviet republic” or because it “did not save the sainted emperor and his family from the hands of the bloody Bolsheviks,” he points out.

            Alternatively, a Russian can hate the West for launching the Normandy invasion only in 1944 and not two years earlier as Moscow wanted, and at the same time, other Russians can hate the West for the firebombing of Dresden.  They can hate the West for not returning Russians to the USSR after 1945 and for forcibly deporting Russians to the Soviet Union.

             And a Russian is offered the chance to hate the West for destroying the Soviet Union or for failing to embrace it more fully once that happened, Makarkin writes. “People on the left are angry at colonial expansion; those on the right are upset by single-sex marriages;” and so on and so forth, a diversity never seen in Soviet times.

            “Such [diverse] hatred has a more constant character, even more so because various arguments in a post-modernist and pluralist society can be combined depending on individual choice without having to consider the position of the party committee.” Thus, one can hate the West whether one is “an Orthodox Stalinist or an anti-fascist xenophobe.”

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