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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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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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