When Russians are anonymous, they almost all seem to agree on one thing: their future is bleak

Originally published at: When Russians are anonymous, they almost all seem to agree on one thing: their future is bleak | Boing Boing


Not just their future. An awful lot of their country’s past is pretty bleak stuff too.


The worst part is that they’re resigned to this fate. When this goes on too long you get a broken populace and North Korea.

This is why, while we can express pessimism about the prospects for liberal democracy in the U.S. and other Western countries, we should never give in to defeatism.




It’s a long tradition. . . .


I really, really wish I could find it, but there was a long Twitter thread in the last day or two from a user who was an expert on Russia, and it was pretty discouraging about conditions in Russia. Among other things, he said Russian leaders and oligarchs were just fine with the economy collapsing and demolishing the middle class, because they wanted everyone to be dirt-poor and desperate – the poor don’t buy Western luxuries, they don’t travel or emigrate out of the country, they spend their time fighting each other for food and not killing the leaders and oligarchs.

He also said a lot of Russian families didn’t really care whether their kids came back from the war. If their son dies, that’s one more mouth they don’t have to feed – and the government gives them a payment for giving a martyred patriot to the nation.

He also said if Putin can pull off anything he can call a victory, the Russian people will probably treat him a national hero, partly because the Russian media will be lockstep in praise of him, and partly because Russians don’t have many national heroes anymore. :confused:


I once read that all Russian history can be characterized by five words:
“And then things got worse.”


The most depressing course I took in college was an overview of Russian history from around 1,000 CE to the present day. It was just one peasant uprising after another with the occasional plague and famine to spice things up, serfdom (de facto slavery) for like 90% of the population, Mongol hordes followed by Ivan the Terrible followed by imperial ambitions that fell apart and then they got Stalin.

And all along the way, goddamn, the Czars and oligarchs always knew how to partay!


I took a similar course in college and also found it depressing. Now all the responses on the video could have been selected to portray despair and hopelessness, but I would bet pretty good money it is a decent representation. My professor for that class had a lot of depressing stories about people he knew in Russia and his own experiences while there. That class was in the early 80s. I also worked briefly with a Russian Jewish woman around 1986. She didn’t talk about it a lot, but none of it was good.


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