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5 top ways life in Russia is better than the US

From cheap internet to public transport, Russia’s got the advantage in some key areas




(RBTH) – Over the last couple of years, Russia has definitely been attracting Westerners’ attention and not only in terms of hacking rumors and every other scandal under the Sun. The way ordinary Russians live and cope with their problems is also interesting, especially in comparison to the West, the U.S. in particular.

On Jan. 15, 2017 a user going by the alias ajl1239 posted a question on Reddit: “As a so-called ‘Westerner,’ I’d like to know what are some things that you absolutely think Russia does better than the West (i.e. U.S./EU)?” Six months ago almost the same question appeared on  “In what ways is Russia better than the United States?”

We’ve studied the most popular answers, compared them with what we see in Russia, provided information from some other sources – and made a list of what Russia excels at. Here we go.

Subway system

Novoslobodskaya metro station (Moscow). With all due respect, have you seen such beauty in New York?

Novoslobodskaya metro station (Moscow). With all due respect, have you seen such beauty in New York? Legion Media

“Nearly every metro station in Russia is beautiful, not comparable to underground stations in the West,” Mistogun7 wrote in answer to the question on Reddit. This may be a slight exaggeration: After all, not every city in Russia enjoys its own subway system, let alone as developed and beautiful as the one in Moscow.

Nevertheless, generally when people compare Russian metros even to the biggest and most developed in the U.S. (New York) they seem to criticize the latter.  “I rode Moscow’s metro for a day, and it blew New York’s subway away,” Dylan Love wroteon the Insider website, deeply impressed by the speed of the trains, cost of travel, and all-around beauty (marble floors, stations looking like palaces, etc.).

Cheap Internet

Internet in Russia is more expensive than in Europe but cheaper than in the U.S.

Internet in Russia is more expensive than in Europe but cheaper than in the U.S. Vladimir Astapkovich/Sputnik

As Peter Ponin, a Russian expat who has lived in Seattle for several years, mentioned on Quora, “In Russia it’s not uncommon to have 3-4 providers to choose,” which makes Internet far more affordable. Seems about true – in Russia you can get a 100 megabits per second (Mbps) connection for 449 rubles ($7.9) while in America the price for the same speed is around $89.

At the same time, Alexander Novikov, a Lithuanian, commented on the question that Europe beats both Russia and the U.S. in terms of cheapness/speed correlation. “Down here in Lithuania, symmetric 500/500 Mbit fiber is 20 euro a month”, he said. But when Russia is only compared to the U.S., Russia wins.


Wanna hear the unpleasant truth about yourself and the world around? Come to Russia and talk to almost anyone.

Wanna hear the unpleasant truth about yourself and the world around? Come to Russia and talk to almost anyone. Evgenya Novozhenina/Sputnik

This one doesn’t concern infrastructure or technology but communication. Reddit user ineedmoresleep described it briefly and comprehensively: “No bullshit,” and many others supported him. According to them, Russians nowadays are far more sincere than Westerners, who are constantly “afraid to offend anyone” and “don’t say what needs to be said.” Apparently, Russians have no problem speaking their mind.

Sometimes they even found it disquieting. While Americans complain about being too politically correct, some Russians wish their countrymen were nicer. For instance, Andrey Gunin, a Russian who visited the U.S., wrote: “I know that many of those who’ve been to the U.S. say that there affability is non-sincere (and I don’t argue). But when it comes to me, I would choose even non-sincere friendliness over sincere boorishness that we, unfortunately, often face in our country.”

Free healthcare

A patient gets a vaccination at Moscow public outpatient clinic. The medical care in Russia is far from ideal but it remains free by now.

tient gets a vaccination at Moscow public outpatient clinic. The medical care in Russia is far from ideal but it remains free by now. Sergei Bobylev/TASS

It’s debatable which country provides better medical care but in Russia it’s surely cheaper. Though more private clinics exist nowadays, the Soviet heritage remains: If you have an insurance policy you get treated for free.

This seems to impress Americans, with Greg Easter (an expat living in Russia) writing: “You get free medical and dental care. If you have a small child who is sick, a doctor will make a house call the same day at no charge to you.”

Healthcare in Russia is not all rainbows and ponies though. It may be free but it’s not very available. The number of hospitals in Russia reduced by half from 2000 to 2015 – the government is closing small hospitals in the regions in a bid to improve efficiency. According to research conducted by the Accounts Chamber in 2015, the availability of services is decreasing. So if you’re living in a small town or village in Russia’s province, getting treated can be a problem.

Free education

Students of the philosophy department of Mikhail Lomonosov Moscow State University. Not all of them are studying for free but some sure do.

Students of the philosophy department of Mikhail Lomonosov Moscow State University. Not all of them are studying for free but some sure do. Vladimir Vyatkin/Sputnik

As it is with healthcare, this is inherited from the Soviet past. The constitution guarantees everyone free education up to secondary level. School graduates are then able to get free higher education as well… if they succeed in their exams. Many universities have state-provided seats but only graduates with the best results get them.

Nevertheless, in the U.S. it’s even harder to get higher education for free so many people mention free education as a plus in Russia. “It is a huge social lift and a real opportunities equalizer,” one user commented on Quora, adding at the same time a couple of drawbacks: “Too many educated people, devaluating higher education, low paid professors.”

At the same time, in terms of comparing the top universities, the U.S. wins. International rankings value American universities higher: In QS World University Rankings 2018  the top four universities are American, with the best in Russia – the Moscow State University – only taking 95th place. American higher education is surely better – but less available. After all, everything in life has its pros and cons.

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Vladimir Putin calls new Ukrainian church ‘dangerous politicking’

President Putin said creation of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” is against Church canon and that the West drove Constantinople to do it.

Seraphim Hanisch



In an interview with the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vecernje Novosti ahead of his visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, a schismatic agglomeration headed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists was “dangerous politicking.” He further noted that:

The establishment of the new religious entity in Ukraine is nothing but an attempt “to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.”

“Yet, hardly anyone in the U.S. or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this,” Putin said.

“Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking,” he said.

President Putin had more things to say in the interview, and we present what he said in full here (emphasis ours), as reported on the website:

Question: The Serbian Orthodox Church has taken the side of the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, a number of countries are exerting pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew and seek to ensure recognition of Ukrainian ”schismatics“ by Local Orthodox Churches. How do you think the situation will evolve?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to remind your readers, who are greatly concerned about the information regarding the split in the Orthodox community but are probably not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine, what it is all about.

On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian leaders, actively supported by the USA and the Constantinople Patriarchate, held a so-called “unifying synod”. This synod declared the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with Patriarch Bartholomew signing the tomos (decree) granting it autocephaly on January 6, 2019. Thus, it was attempted to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.

Yet, hardly anyone in the US or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this, as the new church entity is an entirely political, secular project. Its main aim is to divide the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, sowing seeds of ethnic as well as religious discord. No wonder Kiev has already declared ”obtaining complete independence from Moscow.”

Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking. Likewise, we do not speak about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is de-facto fully controlled by Istanbul. Whereas Ukraine’s largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has never requested autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew, is absolutely independent in its actions. Its connection with the Russian Orthodox Church is purely canonical – but even this causes undisguised irritation of the current Kiev regime.

Because of this, clergymen and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being persecuted and deprived of churches and monasteries, and attempts are made to deny the Church its legitimate name, which raises tensions and only leads to further discord in Ukrainian society.

Evidently, Ukraine’s leaders have to understand that any attempts to force the faithful into a different church are fraught with grave consequences. Yet, they are eager to put interconfessional concord in the country at stake in order to conduct the election campaign of the current Ukrainian President based on a search for enemies, and to retain power by all means.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Orthodox Christians.

Naturally, Russia does not intend to interfere in ecclesiastical processes, especially those happening on the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. However, we are aware of the danger posed by such experiments and blatant interference of the state in religious affairs.

The situation continues to degrade in Ukraine, and though the Orthodox faithful of the Autonomous but Moscow-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the hardest hit, worry over Ukrainian lawlessless-made-law has the Jewish community in that country nervous as well. This is perhaps to be expected as the Azov Brigade, a neo-Nazi aligned group that is hypernationalist, is a good representation of the character of the “hate Russia at all costs” Ukrainian nationalists. A parallel piece in Interfax made note of this in a piece dated January 17th 2019:

[A] bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada introducing a procedure by which parishes can join the new Ukrainian church makes it easier to seize places of worship, and supporters of autocephaly have already started doing this across the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

“They need this law to seize our churches. You can’t just come with a crowbar to someone else’s barn, but now the law allows you to do so. They aren’t creating something of their own, but are trying to steal what’s ours,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vasyl Anisimov told Interfax on Thursday.

The religious entity set up in December with Constantinople’s involvement and called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “in fact doesn’t yet exist in nature. It’s fake. It doesn’t have any parishes of its own or government registration,” he said.

However, “the supporters of autocephaly don’t have plans to create anything of their own at all, so they have chosen the path of takeover, and the authorities are helping them in that,” Anisimov said.

“Hence, the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada today is in fact absolute lawlessness,” he said.

“If you pass legislation affecting an industry, you should talk to industrialists, and if it’s legislation on the agricultural sector, talk to farmers. And here legislation on a church is passed, and moreover, this legislation is aimed against this church, it is protesting, and Jews are protesting, too, because this legislation may affect them as well – but nobody is listening, and they change the law for the sake of an absolutely absurd and unconstitutional gimmick. But, of course, it’s the people who will ultimately suffer,” Anisimov said.


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According to Ukraine, the Crimean Bridge doesn’t exist (VIDEO)

Ukraine tries to deny the reality of the completion and soundness of the Crimean Bridge, though Ukraine was unable to build it, itself.

Seraphim Hanisch



Russia’s VESTI News is truly an entertaining channel at times. This news service is strongly supported by the Russian government, and one of the criticisms it receives from Russian people is that it is an “extreme” propaganda house, telling all manner of crazy stories to distract its watchers’ attention away from the real problems that Russian people face at home.

No doubt there is truth to this, as this is a technique certainly duplicated in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. Every nation has the right to its own propaganda. However, Vesti also seems to have a lot of fun making fun of other nations’ propaganda, and here they found a great one. Apparently, Ukraine’s propaganda ministry is trying to make the assertion that the Crimean Bridge collapsed and its debris is floating around in the Kerch Strait, “with the tectonic plates.”

See for yourself.

According to Ukrainian scientists and even “psychics”, this bridge is doomed to fall into the Kerch Strait once a sufficient earthquake hits it. Some claims appear even to say that the bridge already is not there, or at least, is not there in the way the Russian news sources have described it.

Of course, the VESTI team erupts into its famous snark, talking about how the bridge is very much alive and well and that it is the new “pride of Russia,” and so on.

This bridge is indeed quite an engineering feat, being completed only about three years after the rejoining / annexation / invasion / hostile takeover / or was it a voluntary referendum? of Crimea to the Russian Federation. This is a rapid speed for such a major project, but it is not very unusual for such projects to progress rather quickly when they are done with a will.

Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) is presently by far the tallest building in the world, reaching skyward 828 meters, over half a mile into the sky. It took a little over four years to construct this landmark building, and it was done steadily and with a will to completion. Its would-be successor is not having as smooth an experience, for the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has hit problems, and even though this tower is projected to go only about 130 meter higher (reaching a significant milestone of one kilometer tall), its construction started in 2013, and as of the latest update, only 63 floors are completed.

The Crimean Bridge was built with a will to make a point, presumably to Ukraine, the rest of Russia and the world:

This is the New Russia. Look what we can do!

And, they did a marvelous feat of engineering in a very short time.

VESTI indeed does try to make some people feel better by pointing out the problems of other countries. Sometimes that is a distraction. But sometimes it is worth a serious bit of consideration.

Ukraine has a leader most of its people apparently cannot stand, who is a warmonger and a crybaby at the same time, begging the West for help while breathing threats against Russia.

While there are no doubt many, many wonderful people there trying to do wonderful things, it does seem to be that the country is suffering because of its willingness to be a pawn of the West. Russia is feeling the Western squeeze and it is not pleasant, but the Russians also seem to know that they can get themselves through this, and so they have reason to be glad when the country makes a good accomplishment such as the Crimean Bridge. The political and geopolitical importance of this project is such that it is very likely that all sorts of great engineering went into the bridge. It is prudent, and Russians seem to understand prudence very, very well.

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Second group of Su-57 stealth fighters to be requested in 2020

The second Su-57 contract will feature fighters with the advanced engine design that was under development while the prototypes were made.

Seraphim Hanisch



The contract for a second order of Russian Su-57 stealth fighters is expected to be signed in 2020, according to an unnamed source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported on this on Wednesday, 16 January:

The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.

“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”

The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.

“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.”

The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.

The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.

The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria.

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