Opinion

Opinion
Dmitry Babich's picture

The West and the Warlords: Fatal Attraction

When President Obama recently made public his plans for a gradual withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, he might not have known that he was quoting almost word for word Mikhail Gorbachev’s orders from the end of 1980s. Obama said bluntly: “America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.” This was exactly what Gorbachev told Yuly Vorontsov, formally the Soviet ambassador in Kabul in 1988-1989, but in fact Moscow’s special envoy with a delicate mission going far beyond Afghanistan’s borders.

Anatoly Karlin's picture

National Cuisine

The second part of my series comparing Russia, Britain, and the US focuses on the people themselves. Here I am going to observe what the three nations eat and drink.

 

What do they eat?

Anatoly Karlin's picture

National Comparisons: Leisure Time

The second part of my series comparing Russia, Britain and the US focuses on the people themselves. What foreign languages do they speak? What is their level of intelligence? Where do they travel? And finally, which of them party from dusk till down?

Christine Riedel's picture

Message About the Soviet Union

I recently watched the famous Russian director Alexei Balabanov’s 2007 movie Cargo 200. Here I want to explore and uncover the director’s message behind his artistic choice of making a visually, morally and emotionally poignant – if not shockingly grotesque – movie about the mid-1980s in the Soviet Union, a seemingly odd and unusual choice of time period for a modern Russian director. Attention: spoiler alert.

Anatoly Karlin's picture

National Comparisons: The People

The second part of my series comparing Russia, Britain, and the US focuses on the people themselves. What are their strengths and foibles? How do they vary by class, region, race, and religion? How do they view each other and other countries and people? What do they eat, drink, and watch? Where do they travel and against which groups do they discriminate?

Regional Stereotypes

Vadim Nikitin's picture

‘Ded’ Men Talking: Lethal Army Bullying Exposed

The Russian military has finally achieved a quantitative edge over its erstwhile Cold War enemy. Whilst America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have claimed the lives of some 6000 troops over the last 7 years, Russia has managed to lose nearly double that number of soldiers in peacetime!

According to NGOs cited in a recent distressing BBC documentary, between 2000-3000 Russian conscripts die each year without a shot being fired – driven to suicide or killed outright by bullying via the notorious system of hazing (humiliation) called Dedovschina or the Grandaddy system. Dedovschina involves officers and ‘graduating’ recruits – known as Deds, or Grandaddies, brutally humiliating new arrivals in ways that make American military history look like Sesame Street. Most of it is so horrific that You-Tube requires users to sign in and verify their age before being allowed to see the candid videos uploaded by Russian conscripts.

Ekaterina Petukhova's picture

Khokloma Identity

Was it published in Vogue? That is what Russian magazine readers have been asking themselves for the past year since Alena Doletskaya quit her editor-in-chief’s position after a brilliant 10-year career which she had with the magazine, since its foundation in Russia. She left but remained a Russian fashion icon. After that the breakneck period began, provoked not by content, but by mere covers. From sports girls in Cosmo-style to the exquisite Demarchelier’s shoot, it just looked hit or miss.

June’s publication was edited by the specially invited guest Dasha Zhukova who does not need an introduction, particularly in London. Owner of a gallery and a brand, ex-editor of Pop magazine, but this time working on Vogue. Let us confess the result does deserve interest as it is quite a challenge to speculate on fashion and art on that many pages and with the number of publications on these topics, doesn’t leave much space for other opinions.

Anatoly Karlin's picture

National Comparisons: The Character

National Comparisons: The Character

The second part of my series comparing Russia, Britain, and the US focuses on the people themselves. What are their strengths and foibles? How do they vary by class, region, race, and religion? How do they view each other and other countries and people? What do they eat, drink, and watch? Where do they travel and against which groups do they discriminate?

The National Character

As befits its climate, Californians are a sunny and gregarious people. It is not unusual to refer to someone as your friend after getting to know her after a few minutes, whereas this typically takes weeks in Europe. Other states are, from what I heard, different; e.g. New Yorkers are known for being curt and rude.

Carl Thomson's picture

Russia’s Unpredictable Election

On Wednesday 18th May, Dmitry Medvedev gathered 800 journalists to the Skolkovo business park, where it was anticipated that he would make an announcement about next year’s presidential election. However, after building up expectations, he delivered a vague and non-committal statement that failed to give anything away.

Dmitry Medvedev used the first major press conference of his presidency to promote himself as a progressive, modernising leader, with his easygoing style aimed at attracting support from a younger, middle class audience,

Anatoly Karlin's picture

National Comparisons: USA, UK, Russia

Over at Mark Chapman’s indispensable blog, Giuseppe Flavio linked to a fascinating “Comparison USA-Germany” by an academic who was deeply immersed in both cultures. This inspired me to do something similar. My credentials? Having lived for 6 years in Russia, 12 years in the UK, and 5 years in the US (in that order, although I was back and forward a lot); and being an active observer of social and political affairs since 2003, I feel that what I’ve got to say will be of interest to readers from all three countries.

Employment & Social Welfare