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Mind the culture gap: the ‘Russian soul’ meets ‘Big Mac’ culture

If Russians and Americans learned to understand our cultural differences, it could ease diplomatic tensions a great deal.

Angela Borozna

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In the 1980s, Sting sung the lyrics: “I hope the Russians love their children too!”, while in Russia, popular group Lube lovingly joked: “Don’t be silly, America, we are all the same!” And yes, for a few years we lived learning our similarities. But why was this Russian-American romance so short lived? Why did we turn to hate again?

Geopolitics and  financial issues aside, it is worth to ask a question: Are Russians and Americans culturally complimentary or do our cultural differences get in the way of our ability to understand each other?

Samuel Huntington observed in his 1996 The Clash of Civilizations that “…cultural commonalities and differences shape the interests, antagonisms, and associations of states,” accordingly, countries with cultural similarities are more likely to cooperate economically and politically and “the major differences in political and economic development among civilizations are clearly rooted in their different cultures.”

mamaAre Russians more aggressive by nature?

According to Washington and all of the Western mainstream media, this is not up for debate– Russians are bad!

How many movies have you seen with Russians being portrayed as the good guys?  I cannot recall a single one. Russians are the quintessential bad-ass guys, according to Hollywood or any political thriller. Don’t even bother with the portrayal of the politicians! According to Hollywood and most of Washington, Russia has been always up to no good.

What do you get by reading Russian history from Western textbooks? According to some, the Russian state is expanding left and right like crazy to amass 1/5 of the Earth. Just keep in mind this simple fact – most of the Russian wars were defensive wars! The acquisition of the large territory of Siberia and the Far East was not done by wars but rather ,by including the native populations with acceptance of their cultural traditions into the Russian Empire.

Villains became humans for a while

In the early 1990s, there was certainly excitement on the both sides of the Atlantic to discover that we are all humans – “reds” and “Yankees” alike!

A peaceful dissolution of the “evil empire” took everyone by surprise. Unlike previous Soviet leaders, Gorbachev charmed the West with his smile and promising words of “glasnost” and “perestroika”. In doing so he dissipated the fears of “Reds” for some time.

Later, the perpetually drunk Boris Yeltsin added more humanity to the face of the Russians: “hey, they are just like us, except that they prefer vodka, while we prefer beer!” At this point one can almost imagine the archetypal American hugging the bad-ass Russian in mutual understanding.

Yes, we were more similar than different.

Manners

Have you observed on the Russian subway that you can spot Americans right away? Just listen up for their loud speaking. It is not that they don’t mind revealing the most intimate details of their lives to the public because people around might not understand English – they do it on American public transportation as well. Russians whisper –  God forbid people might hear!

Courting/Dating

If any Russian dates an American or vice versa, you can expect a long list of surprises ranging from believing that opening the door for a woman might degrade her as a human being (some American young men seem brainwashed by feminism) to Russian girls’ entrenched belief that men should always pay the bill at the restaurant (even if you are just friends) just because Russian men would never let Russian woman pay for them.

 Smiling

Don’t expect Russians to show a full row of front teeth just because you were conditioned in the land of Hollywood to do it for every stranger you meet face to face. Russians consider American smiles to be fake and insincere. If a Russian smiles at you, it means: “I like you and it is a pleasure to be near you.”

There is one major difference between Americans and Russians –  it has to do with keeping your word!

Russians do not waste words and they are direct in their language, something that is often misunderstood by foreigners as rudeness, but the truth is, there is little tolerance in Russia for hypocrisy. If you don’t like a person –  you do not give them a full-front teeth smile. Duplicity is looked down upon.

Russians value each other by how much they can trust each other and any sign of insincerity is enough to break a relationship. For Russians, a man is not a man if he cannot keep his word. You are either a man of your word or a little, unreliable, and worthless weasel;  a chatter box. Men keep their promises; weasels throw away words without meaning or consideration. You learn it early as a child in Russia.

When Bush Sr. made promise a to Gorbachev not to expand NATO, Gorbachev treated him and the US as a trustworthy partner. So, when every Russian leader after Gorbachev told the world that they have a problem with NATO expansion and took a break of the promise as an offense – you have to understand that they mean it!

What Washington is failing to grasp is that Russians mean what they say. American leaders have to learn to understand that we are not the same. Perhaps, the Pentagon and State Department ought to have positions for cultural advisers? It would be much cheaper than military advisers, and in the end, might prevent unnecessary wars.

Let’s admit it: from rituals of courting, conducting yourself in public, raising children, to high diplomacy — Russians and Americans are not the same and it helps to understand our differences to avoid foreign policy and diplomatic blunders.

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Valeria Nollan
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Valeria Nollan

Russians are more spiritual and religious than Europeans.

Alex Popoff
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Alex Popoff

Non-rational spiritual people die very fast in russian climate.

Valeria Nollan
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Valeria Nollan

Who said “non-rational”? I have been Russian Orthodox all my life, and I assure you that it’s completely rational Christianity. The liturgy includes the phrase “rational service” in its prayers. I appreciate many of your posts, by the way.

Alex Popoff
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Alex Popoff

Thanks for good words, but I compare spanish, italian or belgian cities with crucifixes on every second corner, or Germany and France with dommes that are architectural dominants in every city or and I don’t see these things in Russia. Russian theosophia is rudimentary. I can remember only one book about clergy in Russian literature (Leskov Soboryane). Russian church for centuries was under secular management (Holy Sinod). Compare Russians to Polish people, who are truly religious people. 60% of poles go to sunday service every week. In Russia it is about 1-2% just like in Czech (who are admittedly the… Read more »

Valeria Nollan
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Valeria Nollan

Hi, Alex, You raise many good points in your posts. Let me expand on a few of them. In one of your posts you mentioned that there wasn’t any big difference between Orthodoxy and Protestantism. Actually, there are big differences. Orthodoxy has multiple sources of authority: monasticism, the saints, Mary the Mother of God, Sacred Tradition, the hierarchs, and the Bible. Protestantism has only two sources: the Bible (understood ahistorically) and the individual conscience. There is only one Orthodox theology and praxis, while in Protestantism there are over 25,000 different denominations. Anyone who feels the “call” of the Lord can… Read more »

Valeria Nollan
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Valeria Nollan

I fully agree with you.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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