Russia » Politics
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russian middle classes, as seen through the keyhole of WikiLeaks

Russian middle classes, as seen through the keyhole of WikiLeaks. 45288.jpegWikiLeaks has published another portion of cables of US diplomats. This time, the unveiled documents are about Russia. Foreign observers gave a close look to new hobbies and vices of Russian middles classes, who are mostly indifferent to politics and preoccupied with improving their well-being.

In 2006, then-US Ambassador to Russia William Burns devoted a cable to the appearance of the middle class in Russia. In the beginning of the new millennium, the middle class began to form in the country because the population's income had increased by 66 percent, the official wrote. According to Burns, "there must be someone other than the mega-rich, after all, to buy these TV sets, cars and mobile phones."

The middle class, the US diplomat wrote, is interested in politics, but "it shouldn't be expected to swiftly transform into activism." "Eventually, well-salaried Russians will want to have a voice and influence on how their country is managed and how to spend their money," the cable also said.

Such factors as the distribution of the Internet and the growing popularity of social networks also testify to the existence of the middle class in Russia. The popularity of fitness centers in the country is another factor, US analysts believe. According to foreign diplomats, Russian people go in for fitness because they want to model themselves on Putin, who propagandizes healthy lifestyle.

However, sports clubs and the prime minister himself are unable to make most Russians break pernicious habits. This explains the low period of the national baby boom, which started in the middle of the 2000s, US diplomats believe.

For many Russians, such confessions from WikiLeaks do not cost a thing. Reading the materials on thiat website is like peeping through the keyhole.

The Russians know a lot more hard-hitting truth about themselves. Like every individual and like every nation, we have positive and negative sides. The question is how we treat them - whether we prefer to discuss disadvantages and despise our own people or make constructive conclusions.

"A true patriot learns by political mistakes of their people, by disadvantages of their character and culture, by historical collapses and economic failures. Just because patriots love their country, they carefully watch how and where people stay at inappropriate heights, and they are not afraid of pointing that out," Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin wrote.

The Russians traditionally reproach themselves and speak ill of the things that are native for them. However, the Russians do not like it much when foreigners say similar things about Russia. Brushing a subjective outlook aside, foreign critics are correct in their remarks about political indifference of the Russian people. Messianic aspirations is the destiny of European nations, who are used to imposing their orders everywhere. This virus crossed the Atlantic and settled in America, where it lives well today.

The director of "Black Hawk Down" - the movie about a special operation of the USA in Somalia in 1993 - included a dialogue in the motion picture between a local resident and a US soldier. The message of that episode is simple: "why are you here?"

Political apathy of Russian citizens has its roots in the living conditions. The boisterous past has taught many to stay away from various -isms, advanced teachings, beliefs in the bright future on earth and other gibberish. Fifty years ago, the Soviet people, being humiliated by their own authorities and external enemies, were craving "low benefits" of life - bread and sausage. The prime daily goal of the people was to eat and to feed children.

Representatives of the current middle classes in Russia prefer not to play games of politics. Their living standards in Russia still lag behind Western standards. Buying a house or a yacht is a prerogative of those who can be referred to as oligarchs.

The Soviet power destroyed classes-parasites and erstwhile ideals. When the Soviet power collapsed, it turned out that there was nothing to struggle for. The holy place is never empty, and then there was Mr. Dollar.

A curious poll has recently been conducted in Germany. Researchers compared young generations of eastern and western Germans. It turned out that the generation that was growing under new economic conditions on the territory of the former GDR, had no sense of solidarity in 20 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The students from the western part of the country, who study at colleges in the east of Germany, demonstrate more solidarity than their peers from the east of Germany.

The researchers were astounded with the results, because they compared new generations of the German people, but not those who were born in the GDR.

The fist state of workers and peasants with slogans of internationalism and solidarity existed for 40 years. Nazi and racist organizations with eastern Germans as their members began to appear in a half of that time period. In the USSR, the idea of friendship between nations was living for a much longer period of time.

Igor Bukker

Pravda.Ru

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