Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin was chosen TIME’s 2007 Person of the Year. What a scandal! The Austrian press even forgot to write about a damage of one Alpine oil tube and ecological consequences of it while
negative featuring Russian President.
I was actually going to post something about the unfair attitude to the Russians in the western media, even made up a nice title ( “Bad Russians everywhere, even in The Golden Compass Film”)… And here comes Mr. Putin, my dear President to help me out! 🙂
I really enjoyed reading his brilliant interview to the TIME magazine putting them all right, with the typical Russian directness, with dignity and self-confidence.
Here are Putin`s answers I like the most:
What do you think are American misconceptions about Russia?
Well, you know, I don’t believe these are misconceptions. I think this is a purposeful attempt by some to create an image of Russia based on which one could influence our internal and foreign policies. This is the reason why everybody is made to believe, like, it’s O.K. to pinch the Russians somewhat. They are a little bit savage still, or they just climbed down from the trees and probably need to have their hair brushed and their beards trimmed.
Americans wonder why the recent Russian elections could not have been more open and why, for example, Garry Kasparov was put in jail.
Why did Mr. Kasparov, when arrested, speak out in English rather than Russian? When a politician works the crowd of other nations rather than the Russian nation, it tells you something.
What about the conflicts you’ve had with former Soviet republics on gas prices?
What conflicts? There are world prices for gas. Why should we sell to anyone below the world-market prices? Do Americans? Could you come to a store in the U.S. and ask, “Well, I’m from Canada. We Canadians are close neighbors. Give me that Chrysler at half price”? What would you hear from the salesman? “You, idiot! Go away!”
Unfortunately the online interview was not fully listed. I learned from another (Russian) source that Putin actually made a great point on the western attitude to Russia: (in my own translation)
“We keep getting this kind of a message: “We are waiting to accept you in our family of civilised western countries”. But who told you that your civilisation is the best? And then they wisper in our ears: “We are ready to accept you, but keep in mind that we have a patriarchal family and you have to listen to the eldest”. I really love that passage!
Russia has its own long and truly unique history and I honeslty do not see many reasons to claim that western civilisation is the best. Hopefully the humanity will find out the best form of its existence. But the first step should be a mutual respect and not the ego-driven politics.