Vladimir, I have just read your “My Dear Americans - an open letter to the American Nation”. I had to buy it from Amazon, which makes you a Capitalist? My reply is free, making me a Socialist? I understand you have another 17 or so essays soon to be published for our benefit, so, maybe, I am a bit hasty in replying to this one, but, pretend you are a docile Russian bear, and do bear with me. Mind if I assume my preferred role as a Citizen of the World? It is a must because you imply Russia runs from the Ukraine to Mongolia, so I will add your “Americans” are only United Statesians who have stolen the name, America, for themselves.
You do have a knowledge of US history superior to what our politicians know of Russian history but, like us, you are an old romantic. You chose a starry night in Rome on the roof of a nice-but-modest hotel with your beloved Olga but she went to bed, leaving you with a glass of spumante wine to help in dictating this letter to a machine. Your words soon convey a sense of deep hurt imposed on Russia over the last century by a selfish West that used Russia; that kept it from needed warm-water ports; that distorted history with lies; and that imposed sanctions while creating their own vast, oppressive compared to Russian, empires with the USA the biggest culprit. Now, I have agreed with most of that since my high school days but must add that many empires have also done some enduring good. Take a look at my March 2015 blog on British Imperialism as well as benefits of Chinese, Persian, Roman, Ottoman, French, and Polynesian empires as well as Russian. You do claim all Russians are kind so, in kindness, you warn us:
First you say that Russians are much better prepared for the New Era, already here, of climate change. You lament that the US still clings to loans, mortgages, welfare, McDonalds, popcorn, chewing gum, pornography, paper money, Suvs, Batman, GI Joe and all those luxuries essential to the US life style. You decry US myths and Hollywood versions of history all of which has been preached since the arrival of Columbus. You tell us to forget ipads, TV, and bitten apples. We will need waterproof items such as powerful flashlights, long-lasting batteries, candles, kerosene, cereals, canned meat, and hunting skills for which Russians are much better prepared. The civic consciousness of Russians and innate sense of unity to Mother and Father Russia is more effective than US flag waving in vulgar profusion while Russians keep pictures of Yuri Gagarin and Sergey Yesenin with photos of grandfathers who did not return from war. The US Democracy is ruled by a few greedy and unscrupulous people. The working class struggle was strangled by prohibition and the Great Depression. WWII was made a source of fantastic US profits. The secret of the US successful supermarket is printing ever more paper money, nullifying the little gold there is in Fort Knox.
You continue: “Russians do not want, and will not start, a war, yet bellicose talk of eliminating us forces us to be ready which we are much more so than the puny US Rangers, Delta Force, and Navy Seals with a total of 5,800 men and women, sufficient to replace a ruler of a small country with one willing to obey US orders, but useless against Russia. The most sane of your politicians are delicate and impotent in face of greedy opposition. Mountains of US garbage production suffocate the world.
My great nation does not possess the blood-thirsty genes you accuse us of. The US entered WWII after Hitler’s fate had already been sealed by us - so you manipulated us into small units, and, using Perestroika, brilliantly broke up our USSR. Large is the value difference between states and countries. Thousands of states exist. The1815 Congress of Vienna listed 39 states in Germany alone. For Russia the last century was a string of humiliations, torments, trials, and betrayals. At Sochi Olympics, John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and I agreed on many issues but he has had insufficient clout in Washington.
The Ukraine is the home and heart of Russia, Kiev Russ was its capital. The US, for its own goals, seeds hatred among Ukrainian brothers, imposing sanctions and threatening war. Let me warn you: Your aggressive, but poorly trained, forces cannot prevail against us. Examine your invasion of Grenada: Your seals are not seals. One of two groups drowned when in error at night were dropped at sea. In the other group a vital walkie-talkie was left in a helicopter causing the operation to be limited to blowing up a TV tower and freeing the British governor. The entire backbone of the US Supermarket Protection Force is a mere 39,000 men. I have a million well-trained soldiers. In 2012 more US soldiers died by suicide than were killed in battle. You have too many obese and drug-addicted people and your sanctions hurt Europe more than Russia.”
Now, Vladimir, it is my turn: Like us, you are right in some of your statements. You say you talk quietly and decisively as you need not shout like Hitler and Mussolini to cover the doubts in their own hearts while you suffer no doubts due to your faith in Mother Russia, but "Russia" needs defining. Its Siberian conquests, starting in 1580, did require Cossacks, Lithuanians, and thousands of German slaves.
I did find your letter rambling and repetitive (but so is mine) with no mention of your popularity in rescuing Russia from the economic chaos of the breakup of the USSR. The words I read convey a strange mixture of loneliness, a desire for love, and dire warnings of Russian military capabilities. It seems to me, Vladimir, that you and your oligarchs are much like US Republican oligarchs, all believing salvation requires them to dominate the world.
Also, Vladimir when your words dwell on the impotence and unimportance of small states, you and your Russia behave just like the Americans with their Manifest Destiny. Your Russia is not all Russian. Do you not owe it all to the Vikings who were so good at exploring, fighting, raping, settling, and building? Was it not they who invented in Kiev the term “Russ”, so, yes, the Ukraine is Russian if we overlook the original inhabitants which, like in all of America, south, central, and north, were decimated and subdued. And your treatment of Poland reminds me of Mexico and the US. "USSR" and "Soviets" were much more correct names. When in 1945 in Silesia I mingled with hundreds of your countrymen and women I found they hailed from the Ukraine to Mongolia. Some spoke English and I did notice that their love of Stalin was imposed by sergeants, and that their fear of capitalism was much greater than their fear of our troops. My Polish friends told of Russian oppression being much worse than German. I also found that many men, regardless of origins, have a biological flaw that results in the rape of millions of women. We hid ours but exposed yours and those of the Japanese. Western male restraint, aided by the $75 fine for fraternizing, surpassed Soviet.
Yes, I know of your Anne of Kiev, whose four daughters married into European royalty, produced future heads of state for European nations, but is that contribution not minor to what we owe Russia for its writers, philosophers, scientists, astronauts, and soldiers whose sacrifices produced the real turning point of WWII that you know as the 1941 Battle for Moscow while I like to think it was our 1940 Battle of Britain.
Due to the Commonwealth’s blockade, Hitler could stockpile only a 2-month use of rubber and oil which actually was rebuilt for 2 years by the US via Spain until, just after Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, Hitler declared war on the US, hoping that would prompt a grateful Japan into invading Siberia thus diverting Soviet troops from his forced-to-be-short-lived blitzkriegs. Japan did not co-operate so Hitler was doomed.
Many small nations have provided humanity with great advances but it does take large associations to have the wealth required for insights into medicine, science, and space. Sadly, human folly has seen City States, Nation States, and Empires all fighting each other so we do need an embracive United Nations, free of special vetoes, with no one left to fight and having human-rights police to police the police who police the rest of us.
So, Vladimir, we do need a democratic you. Our tiny, over-populated and over-used world demands a mindset to result in all of us working together if survival is our goal. Your stated goals mimic Obama’s but both of you face immense opposition. Somehow, you have been more successful in accumulating wealth and homes which, Vladimir, implies his altruism beats yours. Care to share?
Your affluence does harm the insistence of our capitalist oligarchs who fear and preach the horrors of grinding poverty found in your communism, bolshevism, socialism, or whatever. To them Fascism is much more comfortable. And, Vladimir, there are your wealthy oligarchs fatally dismissed from your camp. Why?
You demean US schools for brain-washing students with myths and Hollywood versions of history. True until the college years, but you neglect the fact that we Westerners do have thousands of wise and determined researchers who are allowed to publish books, articles, and films on our flaws and wrongs. Our media, too much money-controlled, has always had a large influence on our policies - but our dissidents do have some. So, Vladimir, do listen to yours like chess champion Gary Kasparov who has chosen exile from Baku, Azerbaijan. The murder of dissident Boris Nemtsov in Moscow is another big worry for us. But, then, we are most rude in our lack of thanks for your magnificent gift of a tower remembering 9/11.
I would like to close with the exhilarating example of Chris and Helene Hadfield. A Canadian astronaut, Chris was posted to the Baikonur Cosmodrome from where he spent 166 days in space including commanding the International Space Station. He and Helene chose to find housing among the Russian community, learned the language and culture, thoroughly enjoying the experience. Russia built this site, but after the breakup of the USSR now leases it from Kazakhstan for $155 million per year. Costs are shared by the Canadian, European, Japanese, Russian, and US space agencies. We do need more examples like firstname.lastname@example.org www.yeoldescribe.com