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Old Yesterday, 02:54 AM
3,006 posts, read 2,843,589 times
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I would contend the Russians have provided much in literature (Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy et al) and science in particular (Echoing Nik4me's comments). Some leaders (Peter The Great) made tremendous strides in reforms and embracing the ideals of the enlightenment.

You also may want to get another perspective of Russia by reading Matthew Rafael Johnson's
The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality: Lectures on Medieval Russia
Russian Populist: The Political Thought of Vladimir Putin

And one more intriguing experience would be to watch Russian Ark a bit of cinematic brilliance, which, I think in many ways was trying to answer your question based on the typical 'western' view of Russia.


My grandparents also came from areas in eastern Europe under Russian Empire control and who had the foresight to leave before WW1. They were tired of forced conscription and dying for others gain. Hope this helps expand the outlook.
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Old Yesterday, 08:05 AM
Location: Preussen
407 posts, read 113,958 times
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Originally Posted by Zimogor View Post
The lines for iPhone 11 tell my eyes the opposite.
Times, when having car or phone was determinant of someone's status are long gone All you have to do is to look at cost of living, then at wages of people to see that Russia has a long way to go.
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Old Yesterday, 08:18 AM
Location: Preussen
407 posts, read 113,958 times
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Originally Posted by Nik4me View Post
Why focus on Russia?
80% of the world population can not afford the lifestyle of the few western nations.
Hell, the 20% percent of American children live below the poverty level, behind only Mexico with 25% - the highest level of children’s poverty in the world- we are number 2!

Does it bother you, that in the US we have a mailman collecting non perishable food supplies a few times a year? For our own hungry people?- It bothers me...
How is the capitalism working out for these kids and people here in the US?
Using your own words:
“Clearly, something does not work here ( my substitution for your “there”) with those in charge”
The thread is about Russia so we focus on Russia. Of course there are plenty worse countries to live than Russia in Africa or Asia. But Russia is technically european country (most russians live in Europe) and is the only major european nation that is still underdeveloped and poor compared to other major european countries like Germany, France, Italy, even though it has everything not to be.

As for United States, it is the only first world nation with so much inequality for historical reasons. It does not change the fact that in every objective way America is a better place to live than Russia. Russians are the ones immigrating to United States for better life.

Last edited by WestPreussen; Yesterday at 08:29 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 08:51 AM
9,530 posts, read 9,574,727 times
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Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
I just finished reading Putinism: Russia and Its Future with the West, by Walter Laqueur.

I submit that Russia's main "contribution" to the West and civilization was the export of its best people and genes to other places that didn't want to stifle them at best, kill them at worst.

I'll admit to more than a passing interest in the subject, because myself, and a substantial portion of U.S. Jews, including some of my closest friends and business colleagues have ancestry from the Czarist Russian empire, as it existed in 1914. 1914 was when the Guns of August erupted, bringing an end to La Belle Epoque. As a result of the total destructiveness of Czarist culture, the best and brightest of Russia are here in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Russia, never rich in culture and intellect, had what little it possessed seriously diminished in one of the great "brain drains" in history.

The book is a fascinating exploration of the reasons that Russia, whether under the Czars, the former Soviet Union or post-Soviet iterations has never been “able to get its act together.” Russia's default mode is towards entropy or chaos of one kind or another, with a rich history of alcohol abuse, xenophobia, and zapadophobia (fear of the West). This has resulted in an ability to form alliances or relationships with other countries that are not contentious; unless they are in a dominating or controlling mode.

This malevolent history harks back at least to such Czarist era author and poets as Nikolay Danilevsky (1822-1885), Alexander Pushkin (author of, among other poems, To the Slanderers of Russia) and Georgy Fedotov. The core belief is of Russia being a “great” country, an empire. Russia is not content to be a country with a comfortable standard of living, but not much dominant power. Russia has an unjustifiably high opinion of itself and what it is entitled to.

Around 1990-1, there was great expectation for Russia to democratize, to become a “normal” country, a member of the community of nations. Laquer makes a great case that this was a triumph of hope over experience, much like a third marriage after a succession of divorces.

Among other shortcomings, Russia lacks a real economy. Instead it is a gas station, a petrostate. Laquer expresses little hope for its economy if oil prices remained in the $50 per barrel area.

More or less accidentally I fell into reading a lot about Russia. During the early summer I read The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life by Tom Reiss. This book was ostensibly about a deliberately obscure author, Lev Nussenbaum, writing under other names including Mohammed Essad Bey, who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and as the antebellum World War I falls apart, flees to Constantinople, then Berlin, and after a short period in New York City, to Vienna and after the Anschluss to Positano, Italy, where he dies as age 35. Reading that book motivated me to read Stalin: The Career Of A Fanatic by Mohammed Essad Bey. Bey (Nussenbaum), writing in1931, makes observations about Russia eerily similar to those of Walter Laquer concerning Russia’s imperviousness to Western ideas of liberalization.

Some international theorists have postulated that the West lost a historic opportunity by not integrating Russia into NATO, and expanding NATO’s reach to the Baltic states. Walter Laquer dismissing these as wishful thinking.

Nowadays, just as in the Czarist and Communist era, a good portion of the young people want to leave. The upshot of this cannot be good. One of the largest countries of the world, in terms of land mass, continues to sink into the abyss.

Does anyone see any hope for any of this to change?
Well, India is an extremely traditional society that wallowed in poverty for centuries and there is some change going on there largely due to the forces of capitalism and the fact that an industrial and information revolution is going on in that country.

England was the first country to experience an Industrial Revolution and it took a long time for the prosperity to filter down to the masses.

Russia is a large and complicated country. Its geography renders much of it too far north to be comfortable or habitable. Alcoholism is not unique to Russia. Other countries with a northern geography like Finland experience a great deal of alcoholism.

Countries develop at different paces. The standard of living has risen fastest in the western countries. I think it has to do with a process that goes something like this: First, prosperity gradually spreads throughout a country as resources are harnessed and developed. Second, prosperity gradually leads to a more democratic political system. A more democratic political system leads ordinary people to believe they have a stake in the future of their country. Third, as this occurs, you may see the development of things like nationalism and patriotism. You definitely see more distribution of wealth to the masses as they elect politicians who support such policies. Russia never really became a prosperous country and this likely retards development of a democratic system.

I'll add to this that two institutions have been critical to the development of a democratic political system in the USA. Those institutions are a free press and an independent judiciary. Neither institution exists in Russia or in non-democratic countries.
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Old Yesterday, 09:03 AM
Location: San Francisco/East Bay and Los Angeles, formerly DC and Boston
2,245 posts, read 3,510,793 times
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Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
Does anyone see any hope for any of this to change?
No. Rather than build companies, Russia builds troll farms that aim to divide the West and stoke secessionist movements within democratic countries. Putin and his oligarchs would rather try to tear other places down than build their own country up. Smart people in Russia who want to make productive contributions to society therefore all leave.
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Old Yesterday, 10:22 AM
Location: Russia
363 posts, read 57,289 times
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Originally Posted by WestPreussen View Post
Times, when having car or phone was determinant of someone's status are long gone All you have to do is to look at cost of living, then at wages of people to see that Russia has a long way to go.
The cost of living in Russia is lower than in the west. Therefore, at purchasing power parity (PPP), we are in 6th place slightly behind Germany. And overtaking France, Britain, Canada, Australia, etc. So who is poor there, huh?

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Old Yesterday, 10:58 AM
Location: Preussen
407 posts, read 113,958 times
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Originally Posted by Zimogor View Post
The cost of living in Russia is lower than in the west. Therefore, at purchasing power parity (PPP), we are in 6th place slightly behind Germany. And overtaking France, Britain, Canada, Australia, etc. So who is poor there, huh?


Are you seriously going to argue that standard of living is higher in Russia than in France, Australia or Canada? The prices might be cheaper in Russia but wages are also much smaller there and inequality much between poor and rich much higher there which boost their real outcome. Therefore the standard of living in Russia is clearly worse than in western countries. No way does Russia come close in standard of living to any of the first world western nation.


And here it is nominal comparision.

People especially in Poland like to use PPP per capita because it is more optimistic for them. By ppp per capita Poland had 71 percent of european union average which sound nice on paper but the thing it actually only had 41 percent of european union average.

So what if Russia have lower prices if the average wage is even lower than in western countries meaning that people there can afford less anyway. Average wage in Russia 495 euro, in Poland 849 euro, in Germany 2,409 euro.

Anyway nominally per capita Russia: 11,327
Germany: 48,264

PPP per capita

No matter how you look at it, it is not even close.

Look at comparision beetween Poland and Germany.

Consumer Prices in Poland are 40.64% lower than in Germany
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Poland are 41.21% lower than in Germany
Rent Prices in Poland are 42.73% lower than in Germany
Restaurant Prices in Poland are 47.19% lower than in Germany
Groceries Prices in Poland are 40.45% lower than in Germany
Local Purchasing Power in Poland is 42.27% lower than in Germany

Yet the wages in germany are on average 284 percent higher than in Poland.

So at the end of the day who will be better off? Of course Germans and not Poles. The same applies to Russia, only that the gap is even bigger. There is a reason why People from east move to west. If the standard of living would be similar they would never move from their home countries.

Last edited by WestPreussen; Yesterday at 12:22 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 11:03 AM
Status: "Trump Resistance - The (establishment) Empire Strikes Back" (set 23 days ago)
Location: New York Area
17,495 posts, read 6,843,628 times
Reputation: 13475
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Could you elaborate on how this "malevolent history" harks back to Pushkin, etc.?*********

It's not just fear of the West, but also fear of its own nationalities. This leads to more stifling of talent, which in turn stifles economic growth.
At its worst it led to pogroms and in the Stalin era more organized massacres.

Originally Posted by Zimogor View Post
Funny to read, honestly. You absolutely do not understand what you write because you believe everything that is presented to you in books by different engaged Western scribblers. In order to understand what is happening here you need to live here. I not preacher Putin's, and me much not likes that is happening now in Russia, but simply the that write in Western press on 90% not true. The West is afraid and has always been afraid of Russia because it has never understood and will not understand, and therefore whoever comes in Putin's place, he will still be a "tyrant" and "oppressor of millions" if he does not lick the ass of the West.
The post of mine you did not quote speaks volumes:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
The main east to west contribution was a flow of well-educated, talented emigrants. For example my maternal great-grandparents from modern Poland and Kyiv. Or my friend, who has double my IQ's great-grandfather, in 1914 when a new round of conscription for the Czar's army became inevitable and imminent. Or Igor Stravinsky.

Russia shed its best and brightest.
The flow of people, especially those not expecting subsidies, tells the story. People are not defecting from Florida to Cuba, from South Korea to North Korea. The only defectors to Russia are such dubious people as Julian Assange. My maternal great-grandfather was a shoemaker in the Russian Army. In around 1895 or 1896 the Czar's Army valued him so much that they attempted forcibly to renew his stint. Off he and my great-grandmother were on a ship to Halifax. They moved briefly to Montreal, which we know from the markings on an 1896 photograph. And from there on to Yonkers, where he was a successful shoemaker, receiving real money for real work.
Originally Posted by Nik4me View Post
Just to play the devils advocate:
“The bright and intelligent westerners” crazed by their religious zealotry inflicted the dark ages and inquisition in Europe- Russia- not so much.
Those stupidities sparked their own brain drains. But the Russian persecution of their best and brightest went on longer and with fewer interruptions than others.
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Old Yesterday, 11:36 AM
Location: State of Transition
80,363 posts, read 73,349,842 times
Reputation: 79512
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
"Западники." (Precisely as "Westerners" - that's why I translated it straight this way.)
Yes, I know, but I'm just saying that Western historians translate it "Westernizers", just FYI.
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Old Yesterday, 05:22 PM
1,064 posts, read 305,233 times
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Originally Posted by WestPreussen View Post
Times, when having car or phone was determinant of someone's status are long gone All you have to do is to look at cost of living, then at wages of people to see that Russia has a long way to go.
Apologies for a long post and typos- on the phone

Where does Russia must go “a long way”?

As Americans we are born to believe that we are #1- so we don’t have to think for ourselves- it is dangerous for our beloved country.

It is naive, if not delusional to think that everybody wants to live/ be like us.
A lot of Americans don’t want to live like we do now anymore- the small number of the well traveled and enlightened

Other nations, including Russians may think they want what we have because they can not see the underbelly of “ the beast”- they just don’t know the real costs- and I am not talking just money - of life in the US. Our “ high standard of living” is a rat race - all about greed and more money...so you can buy more, as well as exploiting people in Asia- who work for pennies- the Americans are ripping benefits.

What is a “quality of life” for a Russian? (or insert any nation here vs US)

Is it to have plentiful, cheap food, but laced with all kind of chemicals, biological contamination, and which is not healthy? Causing debilitating diseases? Killing us slowly?

Is it to have 2-3 ++ car households to drive everywhere, pay car loans, car taxes, car insurance, liability insurance? Afraid your teen will die in a car crash? We have to have it as there is no any real effective public transportation system?

Is it to have a huge roomy house but poorly designed and build plywood/ particle board houses with a bedroom for each family member, plus a few for guests visiting once in a while - the one that costs an arm and a leg? To pay a mortgage for the rest of your life? Property taxes - our money being spent by other people? Money to furnish, heat and cool with very expensive utility bills due to our outdated inefficient appliances? HVAC? Maintenance bills?

Is it to have the most expensive but horrible education system in the world? Should be a separate topic.

Do they dream to have our exorbitantly expensive healthcare where’re are placed on drugs for the rest of our life’s? Children on psychoactive drugs?

Perhaps they want our “ freedom”? Where we can not talk openly to our neighbors, colleagues?
( we don’t discuss sex, politics religion, right? We have even more tabu topics now - even getting more dangerous to say what you think and openly say who you are voting for?)

Where “anything you say can be used against you”? Where it is ok for police to lie? Or kill you if they “think” that their life is in danger?
Where you can go to prison for lying to the authorities?
Where we have so many thousands of laws and regulations that can be used against pretty much anyone at any moment? The most obscure laws with dangerous consequences?

What about our judicial system? Do they prefer that their life circumstances are depending on some judge who is dead already who made a bench decision and created a precedent that can be used agains someone 60 years later and in another state? Where in the same situation one is free, another on a death row?
Do they like to spend thousands of dollars to defend themselves if the need arises?

Do they want to have a “ freedom” to get fired on a moment’s notice “ at will” by the employer?
So they can’t pay bills next month?
Do they prefer not to have a guaranteed vacation time? Maternity? You forgot we don’t have a Labor Legislation in place for everyone - they do...
We have violence, isolation, loneliness even in the families, mental illnesses are rampant.., child abuse is unprecedented, etc, etc
I don’t think Russians want that

How about lessons in economics 101?
1. It is not about how much money one earns- it is about how much money one can keep
2. It is not about how much money you can keep - it is how much your money canbuy

People all over the world live on much smaller amounts of money than in the US. People seem to live on that amount and have 5-6 children- they seem to have clothes on their backs and are not starving-live in piece and friendship with other villagers, coworkers , helping each other...
Guess those kids turn out ok- why would we import Chinese and Indian workers for our IT industries if they are badly educated?
How come they can do better than us?( and one of major problems in India- a lack of toilets- I am talking about outhouses! they go into the woods!!!)


Russians love art, literature, culture, having friends over, nature, gardening, they like to travel to see other countries ( only 40% of Americans have passports- just a few years ago it was 15%)
They are not into consumerism and only material things yet like the Americans..
Most of Russians live in a free housing they have gotten in Soviet Union, but they are building better housing which they pay mortgages now as we do..
Russia provides a free healthcare
Good academically sound free education system, including university education

Pensions for all. I mean- for all if you are of a pensioner age.
If you ask them to let you live in Russia- and they let you- you are getting a pension if you are of the right age -and a free healthcare, free public transportation, etc, etc.

Russia and her people are ok, even if they doubt it. There are no perfect societies- their achievements sounds pretty good so far..They still are suffering from the enormous loss of potential in the last war- 21 million who did not reproduce.
What a pity. They won the war and defeated Hitler- not that our kids know about that
Russia was not helped by the world like Japan and Germany were: they are doing it alone.

We have 700 military bases around the world and a huge” defense” budget -6 figure salaries and perks for all those military bureaucracy- who never saw a day of combat.

Our country now is only good for those with entrepreneurial dreams - about 10% of the world population- it is easy for them in the US to start.
The other group are people with FY money.
We should concentrate on solving our own problems and let Russians be

Last edited by Nik4me; Yesterday at 05:49 PM..
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