An apology to Russians on behalf of a US citizen


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October 25 , 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Ishel Bianco

An apology to Russians on behalf of those with American citizenship.

For long we have been filled with information from news agencies that instilled fear against Russia, for long we have provided schools entire manuals of why fearing the “Russian bear” is a productive thing. We look with distrust to people who on average are more highly educated than most American citizens. When I was studying in Western business schools, discussions about anything positive about Russia (which was not discouraged officially) – I suffered from lower grades for explaining positive outcomes of the Russian economy. This happened in several papers, even though I substantiated my arguments with facts.

I wanted to go to Russia and see it for myself, I distrusted the media and I saw the discourses that sought the opposite justification to my expectations. Although no economy is invulnerable to crisis, the Russian one was no exception, since globalized services make all countries interlink – so, were we not out-casting the stand of the Russian government and excusing every other?

The sanctions and oil prices that were meant to break Russia, had failed to exert the mortal blow that was so desired by an international media, and an economic cartel that seeks to pulverize an economy they can’t control, even if their rule over Western powers have brought many nations to collapse.

One would think that after the Western powers had created such a negative and polarized situation, affecting diplomats and Russian citizens in visa exclusions recently, Russia would strike back.

Russia has sat and sought negotiation on the Syrian situation instead, Russia has waited and tried to make peaceful and diplomatic situations; it has cooperated with the US and EU in common causes only to be insulted and sincerely, bullied, though it has enough power and is self sufficient enough to be able to leave the table, and eat at a better one, with better mannered company.

Treatment of any other nationality in this way would have been seen not only as discrimination but also as racism and a plain provocation against a nation and ethnicity. The international media welcomes Russophobia and tries to ignite whatever fire it can, wherever it can. It mocks the masculinity of Vladimir Putin, as if being a man was something to be ashamed of, as if a man seeking to be healthy, good looking man at any age should be something to be ridiculed.

While in Russia, I saw lesbians walking hand in hand without anyone harassing them. I saw a diversity of opinions in Russia that are voiced aloud without violent consequences or repression – of course this paints only my experience. The only people talking about homosexuality were foreigners from Western Europe who brought the issue up without any provocation, out of a duty to tell people how to think and act as the superior counterpart.

Russian society has freedom of expression and freedom of the press above many nations like Germany or Sweden, that have harder restrictions on what can be spoken about or printed. I got to hear and talk with liberal people during my stay. 

Russia is not controlled by foreign civil society agendas, Russia does not have “pride” parades and does not promote the lifestyle of a minority over a more traditional religious system, that has always existed and is logically represented in the media to a justifiable extent. There are fewer homosexuals in more traditional societies and in particularly Orthodox nations. While some individuals might feel oppressed, as opposed to gays in the West, it is still better than in any Muslim nation – the media seems to ignore those “human rights” issues.

I did not stay in luxury hotels nor was I blessed by “the system” (protected by a powerful person.) I was learning Russian with a common Russian family of lower middle class,  who had to economize in all areas yet they opened their heart and home to me, unwilling for me to pay for anything for them besides the agreed rental. 

In the eyes of the media – they are focused only on the scars of Russia, and ignore why they have not healed entirely from its post-communist transition – the West attempted to move the entire educated population to the West, or had them move to the West for some time and use the welfare system.

In Russia, I got to walk at night like every other woman, there were no public service warnings cautioning against that, as there are in some cities in Sweden, and I did not have to fear for my life when a man approached me. Russian men were very confident, yet respectful if I was not interested. The version of the West – of gangsters with loud behavior belongs somewhere with cartoons of Putin riding a bear. The images the West paints of everything from the secret police to the devastation of the economy seem exact replicas of Nazi propaganda to dehumanize opponents.

I hope that I will return to Russia and see the beautiful cities once again, the inspiring history, the kind and welcoming people. I also got to see conservation efforts in leisure time; people enjoying their forests, nature, and getting together every weekend outside of computer chatroooms or porn sites. (This is a normality in the West for a considerable population, no offense.)

I got to also see small business entrepreneurs , many of them women, working extra hours to give their children the best possible future – and excellent language teachers – one of which healed a lot of scars Western language teachers left in me.

I hope that this animosity provoked by the West will not keep Westerners from experiencing Russia, or for Russians to continue to contribute to the US. As they already have so much in the arts, science, and small businesses. 

I am sorry my government decided to insult you and mistreat you, when you have been only so welcoming.

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