Thursday, March 13, 2008

Let Russians Be Russians

I'm not attempting to get into politics here - just sharing our thoughts.

A good many of the questions we have been receiving here in the States as the visiting 'Russia Experts' have had to do with the president of Russia, politics, and the sorry state of democracy in Russia. Having lived there more as, well, average folks, than anything else, we have a hard time being too critical of the way things are. They are the way they are. We have shared what we know of 'the man on the street's' opinion as we talk to people here, but this article, and this quote in particular I think expresses our own standpoint about as clearly as is possible.

Thursday, March 13, 2008. Issue 3860. Page 8.
Let Russians Be Russians
By Rodric Braithwaite

"George Kennan, that great Russia-watcher and U.S. diplomat and historian, got it right when he wrote in 1951, at the height of the Cold War: "When Soviet power has run its course ... let us not hover nervously over the people who come after, applying litmus papers daily to their political complexions to find out whether they answer to our concept of 'democrats.' Give them time; let them be Russians; let them work out their internal problems in their own manner. The ways by which people advance towards dignity and enlightenment in government are things that constitute the deepest and most intimate processes of national life. There is nothing less understandable to foreigners, nothing in which foreign influence can do less good."

It is the wisest advice, but it is blissfully ignored by our policymakers who, like latter-day Christian missionaries, believe that we have a duty to spread the gospel of democracy -- by military force, if necessary. Russians are not the only ones who find that proposition distinctly suspect." ;o)

Sir Rodric Braithwaite, British ambassador to the Soviet Union and Russia from 1988 to 1992, is author of "Moscow 1941: A City and its People at War." This comment appeared in the Financial Times.


Mike said...

I agree - let 'em be Russians. The average Russian has a hard time understanding why people in BackWoods USA are so critical or even care so much.

Agape said...

Very wise advice indeed!

Russian said...

Vot imenno