A “public service” advertisement, paid by Petersburg city hall, advertising a celebration of “Cossack culture” on August 27. Historically, Petersburg and the surrounding area never had anything to do with Cossacks, except for the Cossack regiments quartered in the capital during the tsarist regime. Borovaya Street, Petersburg, August 8, 2018. Photo by the Russian Reader
August 23, 2018
Russophobia is when you don’t know what makes Russians tick and how they live. You don’t walk the same streets they walk, you don’t take the bus, tram or subway with them, and you don’t eat the food they eat. You race down empty roads in your motorcade, while people are stuck for hours in traffic jams because of you. Before you visit the provinces, the roads are repaved with asphalt that will last a day, and the squalid sheds where people live are painted bright colors.
Russophobia is when you live in palaces while the majority of the populace huddle in ruins. You expropriate the people’s money, their lands, forests, water, and factories so you can bask in unimaginable luxury while depriving other people of the bare necessities. You are convinced people should work for years on end for kopecks so that you can sport a wristwatch that costs as much as a block of flats, and your dogs can fly on their own planes.
Russophobia is when you are afraid of your fellow Russians. During your meetings with them, you interact with shills and answer questions that have been rehearsed.
Russophobia is when you destroy everything Russian. You destroy education in Russia because ignoramuses are easier to govern, while your children study at Oxford. You destroy science and research in Russia because you could not care less about Russia’s future. You destroy culture in Russia to encourage lowlifes who will stop at nothing. You destroy morality in Russia because it is an utter mystery to you. You destroy manufacturing because all you want is an oil-dependent economy.
Russophobia is when you turn Russia’s expanses into giant dumps. You unnecessarily drain Russia’s natural resources without increasing the welfare of ordinary Russians. You clear-cut forests while admiring the plastic forests in Moscow.
Russophobia is when you rant and rave about patriotism while your family, real estate, and money have long been located abroad.
Russophobia is when your disrespect for your great, long-suffering country is so strong you casually rewrite its history to suit your purposes, resuscitating tyrants and reviving idols in the process.
Russophobia is when you despise the Russian people so much you replace their true virtues with absurd surrogates, thus spawning clowns and mummers.
Russophobia is when you crack down on all freethinking, cannot appreciate talented people, trample the best and the brightest, facilitate the nation’s degradation, and build a system of governance in which the nastiest folk flourish. You appoint your incompetent and vicious friends and relatives to the cushiest jobs.
Russophobia is when you rob Russia’s children of their future and hurry old people to their graves by depriving them of pensions and decent medical care.
Russophobia is when you quarrel with the entire world, plunging Russians into wars and even greater poverty.
Russophobia is when you pull out all the stops so Russians dream of living somewhere other than Russia.
Russophobia is when you regard all Russians as fools. You persistently and stubbornly lie to them while speaking on TV and in parliament.
Russophobia is when you take no notice of what is currently happening in Russia or you feign not to notice.
Russophobia is when you label everyone who tries to prevent all these outrages enemies.
That is what Russophobia is.
Vera Afanasyeva is a professor in the philosophy department at Saratov State University and a writer. Thanks to Yakov Gilinsky for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader