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Thread: Life in our countries - "good, bad and ugly"...

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    Почтенный гражданин DrBaldhead's Avatar
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    Life in our countries - "good, bad and ugly"...

    Off-topic from Edward Snowden and his stay in Russia



    Quote Originally Posted by Юрка View Post
    Если говорить об ущербе, который нанёс Сноуден США, то это идеологический ущерб. Западные подростки читали Толкина и думали, что Мордор - это СССР. А теперь получается, что их собственные страны чем-то похожи на Мордор, а Сноден спасается в РФ (то есть в Мордоре). Получается каша в голове, и вся идеологическая обработка подрастающего поколения Запада - коту под хвост. За такое не прощают.
    Кстати, символ Мордора - это глаз.
    Attachment 858
    Опыт показывает, что такой ущерб способен обратить в глину ноги даже, казалось бы, нерушимого колосса.

  2. #2
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Юрка View Post
    Если говорить об ущербе, который нанёс Сноуден США, то это идеологический ущерб. Западные подростки читали Толкина и думали, что Мордор - это СССР. А теперь получается, что их собственные страны чем-то похожи на Мордор, а Сноуден спасается в РФ (то есть в Мордоре). Получается путаница, и вся идеологическая обработка подрастающего поколения Запада - коту под хвост. За такое не прощают.
    Кстати, символ Мордора - это глаз.
    Attachment 858
    yes, exactly. They haven't read "The Gulag Archipleago" (too intellectual) but they would believe that the USSR was roughly a mixture of what's portrayed there, in "1984" and on Hollywood thrillers and spy series.


    Once in my teens, I mentioned to an English friend that my family had been on a beach holiday in Latvia (SSR), and the girl actually thought that people in the USSR were not allowed to go to the beach, and that only foreigners could do that (or something along those lines). It was so silly that I just didn't know what to respond.

    She couldn't believe that there was a pretty decent beach resort that was actually enjoyable to visit, in the Soviet Union. Then she thought it was incredibly grim, i.e. like some kind of prison camp at the beach.

    In reality, the standard was the same as in rural beach resorts in Sweden at the time and there were several non USSR people there, Germans, Scandinavians and probably others whose languages I did not recognise at the time. For the reason that the packages were sometimes sold incredibly cheaply.

    But according to my friend, such a thing was impossible - nobody could do anything fun in the USSR! Everybody was just suffering...

    The other things many people seems to have believed, is that everyone wanted to leave the country. I wouldn't know if that's true, but it's hard to believe that regular people dreamt of leaving. For what?

    Plus - who doesn't dream about greener grass somewhere else? In reality life can be hard as an immigrant and in harsh capitalism (i.e USSR --> USA or similar) unless you are used to it.

    Talk about effective & successful (incorrect) propaganda! I don't think anyone in the the USSR had such idiotic notions about life the the USA, for instance. Or did you?
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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    I don't think anyone in the the USSR had such idiotic notions about life the the USA, for instance. Or did you?
    When I was a little kid in the early 1980s they used two show homeless people in USA on TV news sleeping on benches in parks covering with newspapers. I thought something like "How lucky I am to born in the country where there are no homeless people. I could be one of them". The bitter irony is that in less than 10 years I could see such things and even worse right in my home town.
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    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Почтенный гражданин DrBaldhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77 View Post
    When I was a little kid in the early 1980s they used two show homeless people in USA on TV news sleeping on benches in parks covering with newspapers. I thought something like "How lucky I am to born in the country where there are no homeless people. I could be one of them". The bitter irony is that in less than 10 years I could see such things and even worse right in my home town.
    true_story.png

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77 View Post
    When I was a little kid in the early 1980s they used two show homeless people in USA on TV news sleeping on benches in parks covering with newspapers. I thought something like "How lucky I am to born in the country where there are no homeless people. I could be one of them". The bitter irony is that in less than 10 years I could see such things and even worse right in my home town.
    И куда эта Единая Россия смотрит? Не может быть хуже, чем в США. Тут больше миллиона бездомных школьников!



    Across U.S., a record number of homeless school-age children - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Юрка View Post
    Если говорить об ущербе, который нанёс Сноуден США, то это идеологический ущерб. Западные подростки читали Толкина и думали, что Мордор - это СССР. А теперь получается, что их собственные страны чем-то похожи на Мордор, а Сноуден спасается в РФ (то есть в Мордоре). Получается путаница, и вся идеологическая обработка подрастающего поколения Запада - коту под хвост. За такое не прощают.
    Кстати, символ Мордора - это глаз.
    Attachment 858
    Я думаю, что больше людей в Америке сравнивают Мордор с нацистской Германией, чем со Советском Союзе.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  7. #7
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77 View Post
    When I was a little kid in the early 1980s they used two show homeless people in USA on TV news sleeping on benches in parks covering with newspapers. I thought something like "How lucky I am to born in the country where there are no homeless people. I could be one of them". The bitter irony is that in less than 10 years I could see such things and even worse right in my home town.
    They did that in my country too, so it was not unique for the USSR. And the pictures were real. You don't have to look very hard in the USA to find that, I think.

    But you are right, and no doubt, people with a socialist/communist political agenda exaggerated the problems in the USA.
    But there IS homelessness in the USA, and there IS/WAS hard for black people (another issue that they made a big fuss over).

    I don't approve of propaganda either way. Back then, it was too much of the other side of the coin, I think, and it was tiresome, once you became aware of it.

    So I think they should have showed a more nuanced picture back then. At least in Sweden, we had the TV show "Dallas" and a few others. to counterweigh, back in those days.. lol I guess that kind of perspective on the USA was not available in the Sovet Union.

    (Just a very schizophrenic view of the USA... and it is a country of huge contrasts really, isn't it. It's very impressive, in so many ways too - and I'm sure it's somewhat easier to become wealthy there)

    But, on the other hand: I met lots of Russians in the 1990s, when I happened to be in Israel for a while - they had a totally unrealistic view of the USA and seemed to expect that once they made it there, everything would be fabulous in their lives. Me and some friends tried to warn them, because we thought they'd be better taken care of in Israel. However language problems etc prevented any deep conversation. Even though they officially left the USSR to go to Israel, they were convinced that the USA was much better and were trying to get there...
    Throbert McGee and Marcus like this.

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    Почтенный гражданин dtrq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampada View Post
    И куда эта Единая Россия смотрит? Не может быть хуже, чем в США. Тут больше миллиона бездомных школьников!



    Across U.S., a record number of homeless school-age children - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Может, тут какая-то разница в терминологии? Мне сложно представить и такие цифры, и что бездомные подростки вообще ходят в школу.
    Вероятно, речь о ситуации, когда ребенок живет с родителями в трейлере или каком-нибудь временном жилье?

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    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    But, on the other hand: I met lots of Russians in the 1990s, when I happened to be in Israel for a while - they had a totally unrealistic view of the USA and seemed to expect that once they made it there, everything would be fabulous in their lives. Me and some friends tried to warn them, because we thought they'd be better taken care of in Israel. However language problems etc prevented any deep conversation. Even though they officially left the USSR to go to Israel, they were convinced that the USA was much better and were trying to get there...
    When I was living in the USSR in 1991, right during its collapse, Russians were enamored with America. They thought it was some kind of great utopia and they had nothing but resentment and bitterness about their own nation's failings. I tried to tell them that America is not really paradise, but no one would listen to me. I can't count the number of times when people would find out I was from the US and their response would be "У вас нет проблем!"

    They had a completely unrealistic view of the US, based on all the propaganda we sent out and since at that time Russia's economy was so bad, I guess the US did look pretty attractive. But in the 1980's, the US was already on course for its ultimate demise. Reagan was deregulating the banks, capitalism was allowed to run amok, religious fanaticism was on the upswing with people like Pat Robertson creating religious "universities" to train "future leaders" of America. They were sowing the seeds and now we are reaping a bitter harvest. Unregulated, Wall Street has gambled with our country's economy and rather than being punished, it was bailed out by our failing middle class. The average CEO makes more than 400 times what his employees do, and contrary to conservative economic theories, that profit is not being used to create jobs and it is not going back into the economy. It's being hoarded in overseas banks so that not even taxes can be collected on it. Those religious universities churned out flocks of graduates who have become our politicians, our media representatives, our corporate executives, our military leaders and so on and they are doing everything in their power to turn our country into a theocracy. Some of them even want to help bring about "Armageddon."

    I once believed in the American dream, that anyone could become wealthy or famous if they just worked hard enough. But these days it simply isn't true, and frankly I doubt it ever really was true. I worked hard my whole life and never became rich, though I did know what it was like to be famous, at least on a small scale when I worked in TV. Fame is not all it's cracked up to be either. When you are famous, you never know who your real friends are and who just wants to take advantage of you. People are jealous and hurtful and you soon discover that it's a very lonely way to live.

    To me it seems that Russia was dangerously enamored with the US to the point where they copied us, and they did such a good job of copying us that in 20 years they will suffer the same fate as we are if they are not careful.
    Hanna likes this.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  10. #10
    Paul G.
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    Some interesting point of view about the Russian-American relations, with a historical digression etc:
    The Vineyard of the Saker: 1993-2013: is the twenty years long "pas de deux" of Russia and the USA coming to an end?
    (Liberals will not like it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    When I was living in the USSR in 1991, right during its collapse, Russians were enamored with America. They thought it was some kind of great utopia and they had nothing but resentment and bitterness about their own nation's failings. I tried to tell them that America is not really paradise, but no one would listen to me. I can't count the number of times when people would find out I was from the US and their response would be "У вас нет проблем!"

    They had a completely unrealistic view of the US, based on all the propaganda we sent out and since at that time Russia's economy was so bad, I guess the US did look pretty attractive. But in the 1980's, the US was already on course for its ultimate demise. Reagan was deregulating the banks, capitalism was allowed to run amok, religious fanaticism was on the upswing with people like Pat Robertson creating religious "universities" to train "future leaders" of America. They were sowing the seeds and now we are reaping a bitter harvest. Unregulated, Wall Street has gambled with our country's economy and rather than being punished, it was bailed out by our failing middle class. The average CEO makes more than 400 times what his employees do, and contrary to conservative economic theories, that profit is not being used to create jobs and it is not going back into the economy. It's being hoarded in overseas banks so that not even taxes can be collected on it. Those religious universities churned out flocks of graduates who have become our politicians, our media representatives, our corporate executives, our military leaders and so on and they are doing everything in their power to turn our country into a theocracy. Some of them even want to help bring about "Armageddon."

    I once believed in the American dream, that anyone could become wealthy or famous if they just worked hard enough. But these days it simply isn't true, and frankly I doubt it ever really was true. I worked hard my whole life and never became rich, though I did know what it was like to be famous, at least on a small scale when I worked in TV. Fame is not all it's cracked up to be either. When you are famous, you never know who your real friends are and who just wants to take advantage of you. People are jealous and hurtful and you soon discover that it's a very lonely way to live.

    To me it seems that Russia was dangerously enamored with the US to the point where they copied us, and they did such a good job of copying us that in 20 years they will suffer the same fate as we are if they are not careful.
    Deb, if the government is to regulate business, who's to regulate the government? As history shows, there's no nastier beast than political forces in power running wild... Free world should remain free no matter if that's little or big money you have.

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    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    Deb, if the government is to regulate business, who's to regulate the government? As history shows, there's no nastier beast than political forces in power running wild... Free world should remain free no matter if that's little or big money you have.
    That, Eric, is the question that has plagued humanity since the dawn of time. Who regulates the regulators? Too many of them are bought and paid for. Big Pharma practically owns the FDA and write it own regulations as it is. Same goes for every agency. They have proven, time and time again, that they can be bought.

    I think the answer is that the system is flawed just as every system humans have ever designed has been flawed. The circumstances vary, but all of them end the same way: Corruption as a direct result of human greed for money or power. Somehow, we humans always manage to screw it up.

    Until we evolve enough to design a system in which corruption is not possible, we will continue to have problems like this.

    But allowing businesses to run free is not a solution either. They do not self-regulate and they have shown repeatedly that rather than do the right thing, they will rip us off, poison us, get us addicted to harmful substances, overwork us, destroy our environment, etc, etc, etc. Regulations can and do work, until the inevitable time when someone pays someone off.

    There needs to be a system in place which makes bribes of public officials and lawmakers impossible. And by bribes, I am not referring to the illegal kind. I'm referring to the kind that go on all the time and are perfectly legal within the framework of the system. Massive corporate lobbyists who are able to donate obscene volumes of funds to a congressman's Super-PAC, for example, in exchange for assurances that he will act in their favor rather than in the interest of the public. There are too many ways in which our legislators can be bought by those who have the money. That needs to end. Once the profit is gone, they can get back to doing what they were elected to do - represent us.

    Politicians point the finger at the poor and disenfranchised and get the small-minded "patriots" all riled up against so-called "freeloaders" like the elderly, the unemployed, the sick and the impoverished while ignoring the biggest freeloader of them all - America's 1% and the corporations they run.
    iCake likes this.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  13. #13
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    When I was living in the USSR in 1991, right during its collapse, Russians were enamored with America. They thought it was some kind of great utopia and they had nothing but resentment and bitterness about their own nation's failings. I tried to tell them that America is not really paradise, but no one would listen to me. I can't count the number of times when people would find out I was from the US and their response would be "У вас нет проблем!"

    They had a completely unrealistic view of the US, based on all the propaganda we sent out and since at that time Russia's economy was so bad, I guess the US did look pretty attractive. But in the 1980's, the US was already on course for its ultimate demise. Reagan was deregulating the banks, capitalism was allowed to run amok, religious fanaticism was on the upswing with people like Pat Robertson creating religious "universities" to train "future leaders" of America. They were sowing the seeds and now we are reaping a bitter harvest. Unregulated, Wall Street has gambled with our country's economy and rather than being punished, it was bailed out by our failing middle class. The average CEO makes more than 400 times what his employees do, and contrary to conservative economic theories, that profit is not being used to create jobs and it is not going back into the economy. It's being hoarded in overseas banks so that not even taxes can be collected on it. Those religious universities churned out flocks of graduates who have become our politicians, our media representatives, our corporate executives, our military leaders and so on and they are doing everything in their power to turn our country into a theocracy. Some of them even want to help bring about "Armageddon."

    I once believed in the American dream, that anyone could become wealthy or famous if they just worked hard enough. But these days it simply isn't true, and frankly I doubt it ever really was true. I worked hard my whole life and never became rich, though I did know what it was like to be famous, at least on a small scale when I worked in TV. Fame is not all it's cracked up to be either. When you are famous, you never know who your real friends are and who just wants to take advantage of you. People are jealous and hurtful and you soon discover that it's a very lonely way to live.

    To me it seems that Russia was dangerously enamored with the US to the point where they copied us, and they did such a good job of copying us that in 20 years they will suffer the same fate as we are if they are not careful.

    This whole comment was ace. Really interesting observations and so well put.
    I guess everyone has a schizophrenic view of their own country; a kind of love-hate. But Russians seem to lean more towards the hate side.

    Those Russians I met in Israel were just dissing the USSR (new Russia) absolutely non-stop. They didn't really have any specific complaints that I remember (or maybe I just didn't understand it). But they were just convinced that everything was crap, and anywhere was better. But they also seemed a bit lost and stuck to themselves despite others trying to socialise with them. Claimed "nobody understood them". I'll never forget these two good looking Russian guys who sat out all evening, night after night and played Russian famous melodies on the guitar and harmonica. Very dramatic and poetic. Still, they wanted to go to the US.

    Remember reading about the Mc Donald's that opened in Moscow in the 80s, and how people queued all day to visit. Even that young I thought "how pathetic". They have so much, and they queue for hours for a lousy cheeseburger from a country that would quite happily blow them to smitherins with a nuke.

    So in the 90s I started wondering if I had actually seen the real USSR when I visited there. My dad travelled regularly to the USSR and many other places in Eastern Europe. His standing comment was always that it was absolutely fine, apart from in Russia lots of people lived in terrible housing. So I don't think I saw any fake facades but of course I can't know for sure. And I judged Russia, just like the USA - from films.
    Plus, the last time I was there, the kids we met were totally materialistic - in awe of our stuff and incredibly disappointed that we didn't have jeans, jean shirts etc with us (due to school policy). There was 0 ideology for sure. Not surprising the whole country just fell apart a few years later. It seemed that mentally they were no Soviet anymore.

    And as for you Deborski, I actually think you have something in common with the experience the Russians have been through. I mean the stuff that's happening to your country. Once an inspiration for many, and liberating many from oppression.. Full of opportunities, and now -- all the things that you are describing. Not satisfied with doing it at home but wanting to spread the junk across the world. And people being too blind to see it or do anything about it. Right now I'm dealing with some really nice American ladies through work, maybe not politically aware, but just nice and decent. It's just terrible to think that people like them are taken for a ride like that both in terms of the foreign policy and what happens internally in their country.

    Here in England we still see the results of "the grass is greener" syndrome. Eastern Europeans with good university degrees cram into dinky little flats so they can do nasty jobs at Starbucks and the like, or clean for people. And it's not because there aren't jobs where they come from. At least one participant in this forum strikes me as a the absolutely stereotypical Russia-hating, America-worshipping Eastern European who'd probably be an Ayn Rand & von Mises fan if he was a bit more intellectual.
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    Remember reading about the Mc Donald's that opened in Moscow in the 80s, and how people queued all day to visit. Even that young I thought "how pathetic". They have so much, and they queue for hours for a lousy cheeseburger from a country that would quite happily blow them to smitherins with a nuke.
    That showed what they actually had, even McDonalds was met as a luxurious restaurant, even though it's really hard to imagine in the U.S., or say in Sweden. Because you probably don't know what lousy food really looks and tastes like if you haven't been to those Soviet dining rooms (столовые); the Russians themselves had made tons of jokes about the quality of food that was served there, and also about the process of having a meal there, that included struggling with cockroaches crawling out of the salad on your plate etc. Those people only had "so much" in someone's lefty idealistic imagination; I remember I was told as it became legal to have foreign currency as your savings, people started to buy bucks on a terrific scale, everyone tried to get rid of those "rubles" that could devalue by like 50-100 % in a week; as imported goods started to show up at local stores, people were ready to virtually pay whatever price to get them, they knew what local goods were worth; etc. etc. etc. Yes, it may seem naive to ones who never experienced that Soviet style life, but nevertheless, I totally understand those people, they had been denied decent quality of life for decades, and they were finally given the opportunity to make choices of their own, and that was priceless.

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    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    This whole comment was ace. Really interesting observations and so well put.
    I guess everyone has a schizophrenic view of their own country; a kind of love-hate. But Russians seem to lean more towards the hate side.

    Those Russians I met in Israel were just dissing the USSR (new Russia) absolutely non-stop. They didn't really have any specific complaints that I remember (or maybe I just didn't understand it). But they were just convinced that everything was crap, and anywhere was better. But they also seemed a bit lost and stuck to themselves despite others trying to socialise with them. Claimed "nobody understood them". I'll never forget these two good looking Russian guys who sat out all evening, night after night and played Russian famous melodies on the guitar and harmonica. Very dramatic and poetic. Still, they wanted to go to the US.

    Remember reading about the Mc Donald's that opened in Moscow in the 80s, and how people queued all day to visit. Even that young I thought "how pathetic". They have so much, and they queue for hours for a lousy cheeseburger from a country that would quite happily blow them to smitherins with a nuke.

    So in the 90s I started wondering if I had actually seen the real USSR when I visited there. My dad travelled regularly to the USSR and many other places in Eastern Europe. His standing comment was always that it was absolutely fine, apart from in Russia lots of people lived in terrible housing. So I don't think I saw any fake facades but of course I can't know for sure. And I judged Russia, just like the USA - from films.
    Plus, the last time I was there, the kids we met were totally materialistic - in awe of our stuff and incredibly disappointed that we didn't have jeans, jean shirts etc with us (due to school policy). There was 0 ideology for sure. Not surprising the whole country just fell apart a few years later. It seemed that mentally they were no Soviet anymore.

    And as for you Deborski, I actually think you have something in common with the experience the Russians have been through. I mean the stuff that's happening to your country. Once an inspiration for many, and liberating many from oppression.. Full of opportunities, and now -- all the things that you are describing. Not satisfied with doing it at home but wanting to spread the junk across the world. And people being too blind to see it or do anything about it. Right now I'm dealing with some really nice American ladies through work, maybe not politically aware, but just nice and decent. It's just terrible to think that people like them are taken for a ride like that both in terms of the foreign policy and what happens internally in their country.

    Here in England we still see the results of "the grass is greener" syndrome. Eastern Europeans with good university degrees cram into dinky little flats so they can do nasty jobs at Starbucks and the like, or clean for people. And it's not because there aren't jobs where they come from. At least one participant in this forum strikes me as a the absolutely stereotypical Russia-hating, America-worshipping Eastern European who'd probably be an Ayn Rand & von Mises fan if he was a bit more intellectual.
    I ran into a lot of those self-hating Russians you describe when I was living there. I wrote about a little of it in my blog. I remember people saying, frequently, that Russians are the poorest people in the world and I would try to tell them that it isn't true, that I'd traveled to 3rd world countries (like Syria) where people lived in far worse conditions, but they would always reply that Russians are not a third world country, they are better educated and thus they deserve better. There was a really strong victim mentality, as if everyone had no responsibility for what was happening and no one could do anything about it.

    I think that same mentality is now thriving in America. We all criticize the government and the majority of us oppose the wars we are involved in, and yet we feel powerless to change anything. We vote, but our votes mean nothing when special interests with vast sums of money can buy our representatives.

    I remember that McDonald's you refer to. I stood in line two hours one winter and froze my feet numb in the cold. The line at McDonald's was longer than the line to Lenin's mausoleum. It was a major tourist attraction, like Disneyland. People came from all around the Soviet Union to see it. To be fair, it was the largest McDonald's in the world, and the Russians deserve credit for that. But I know exactly what you mean about thinking it was a sad statement about society.

    But so much has changed. Russians have turned their economy around and these days it seems that there are more patriotic Russians than self-hating Russians. They no longer idolize America, in fact they can see all of our flaws plain as day. Russia reminds me of the US in the 1980's. Booming economy, rampant materialism. The wealthy taking advantage of the poor, planting the seeds for a future which unfortunately, in 20 years or so, will look like what we are seeing now in the US unless Russia manages to chart a different course. The US now is mired in end-stage capitalism, where corruption has taken over and the citizens feel powerless to stop it. Decay, it seems, always comes from the inside.

    I remember people being afraid of "the Russians" during the Cold War. When the USSR collapsed, I hoped it would usher in a new world where we would become allies with Russia, but instead it seemed that the old stereotypes persisted and after that brief glimmer of hope known as перестройка, it seemed as though we just fell back into our old distance and suspicion. America always seems to create "enemies" in order to keep the public in fear so that they will support the obscene level of military spending and support our global aggression policies. Our so-called leaders take advantage of our patriotism and tell us, over and over, that we are "the greatest country in the world" and that "if the US doesn't do something to stop these evil regimes, who will?" And people buy it hook, line and sinker.

    It seems like all of human history plays out this way though. Not only America. All through human history, people have gone to war based on lies. Humans glorify war. They worship soldiers. Soldiers are like sacred cows and war is always justified. People don't like to think that maybe their kids went off and died for less than altruistic reasons. If you say something negative about combat veterans - and not just in America, but any country really - you are filth. You are worse than filth. They sacrificed their lives for the "homeland" you see. And in the past there were wars where we could say that people died fighting for their homeland. World War two, for example. The Soviets were literally fighting for their homeland. But these days, wars seem to be fought for nothing more than profit. Yet our leaders continue to tell us we have some kind of higher purpose, that America is bringing freedom to all these poor people, blah, blah, blah. And people believe that. Even when they are confronted with evidence that our wars were not justified, that we are committing war crimes, they still can't bring themselves to condemn what we do. Americans, by and large, still believe we are "the good guys."

    But a lot of people are waking up. How that will change things, or if it will change things, I don't know. But I keep hoping. As the Russians say, надежда умирает последней.
    Marcus likes this.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  16. #16
    Властелин
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    That, Eric, is the question that has plagued humanity since the dawn of time. Who regulates the regulators? Too many of them are bought and paid for. Big Pharma practically owns the FDA and write it own regulations as it is. Same goes for every agency. They have proven, time and time again, that they can be bought.

    I think the answer is that the system is flawed just as every system humans have ever designed has been flawed. The circumstances vary, but all of them end the same way: Corruption as a direct result of human greed for money or power. Somehow, we humans always manage to screw it up.

    Until we evolve enough to design a system in which corruption is not possible, we will continue to have problems like this.

    But allowing businesses to run free is not a solution either. They do not self-regulate and they have shown repeatedly that rather than do the right thing, they will rip us off, poison us, get us addicted to harmful substances, overwork us, destroy our environment, etc, etc, etc. Regulations can and do work, until the inevitable time when someone pays someone off.

    There needs to be a system in place which makes bribes of public officials and lawmakers impossible. And by bribes, I am not referring to the illegal kind. I'm referring to the kind that go on all the time and are perfectly legal within the framework of the system. Massive corporate lobbyists who are able to donate obscene volumes of funds to a congressman's Super-PAC, for example, in exchange for assurances that he will act in their favor rather than in the interest of the public. There are too many ways in which our legislators can be bought by those who have the money. That needs to end. Once the profit is gone, they can get back to doing what they were elected to do - represent us.

    Politicians point the finger at the poor and disenfranchised and get the small-minded "patriots" all riled up against so-called "freeloaders" like the elderly, the unemployed, the sick and the impoverished while ignoring the biggest freeloader of them all - America's 1% and the corporations they run.
    I think the best regulator ever is the law. As long as big businesses don't mess with the law and human freedoms (also prescribed in the law), they should be left alone. And the law, among all the other things, has to make sure all businesses are run in the same environment with no particular advantage for any of them. That's the only type of interaction between the government and businesses - through reasonable laws that help create healthy business environment.

    The type of bribes, the legal one that you mentioned is actually very hard to track and prove it's actually a bribe. I agree that it could result in undesirable consequences, but you cannot forbid making donations, and you cannot tell a particular senator whose side to take even though s/he represents you. So, this is an open question...

  17. #17
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    I think the best regulator ever is the law. As long as big businesses don't mess with the law and human freedoms (also prescribed in the law), they should be left alone. And the law, among all the other things, has to make sure all businesses are run in the same environment with no particular advantage for any of them. That's the only type of interaction between the government and businesses - through reasonable laws that help create healthy business environment.

    The type of bribes, the legal one that you mentioned is actually very hard to track and prove it's actually a bribe. I agree that it could result in undesirable consequences, but you cannot forbid making donations, and you cannot tell a particular senator whose side to take even though s/he represents you. So, this is an open question...
    Laws are only effective when they are enforced. Wall Street, big oil, big pharma and military contractors have demonstrated time and again that they can circumnavigate the law with ease. As for proving the above are bribes, it's quite easy actually. But no one is going to take on the power brokers. The system has been rigged to benefit the powerful ones, not the little guy.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  18. #18
    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    nobody could do anything fun in the USSR! Everybody was just suffering...

    This one was brilliant. However, in reality, it's so amazing how swiftly you 'stop being soviet' when you suddenly cannot buy basic food (not for decades, just for couple days). Collapse is not simply a word, it means a terrible thing. I mean the life in for example 1975 and the life in 1990 - are absolutely disparate categories (also as lifes in Omsk and in Moscow at any time: hence most people in Moscow's queues were from other regions).
    I remember the article in some newspaper, belonging to about the time when McDonalds had opened, where some foreign firm shipped "foreign" ice-cream to Moscow, and, of course, the queue immediately was created. "Советские люди так любят мороженое?" - asked foreign businessman in amazement. The author of article replied to him: "Советские люди любят всё!" BTW, foreign ice-cream was an absolute crap in comparison to what I used to eat, let's say in 1975..1985.
    In short, any idea could be ruined if the chiefs cannot provide simple food to citizens.
    Marcus and Deborski like this.
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

  19. #19
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmixiv View Post

    This one was brilliant. However, in reality, it's so amazing how swiftly you 'stop being soviet' when you suddenly cannot buy basic food (not for decades, just for couple days). Collapse is not simply a word, it means a terrible thing. I mean the life in for example 1975 and the life in 1990 - are absolutely disparate categories (also as lifes in Omsk and in Moscow at any time: hence most people in Moscow's queues were from other regions).
    I remember the article in some newspaper, belonging to about the time when McDonalds had opened, where some foreign firm shipped "foreign" ice-cream to Moscow, and, of course, the queue immediately was created. "Советские люди так любят мороженое?" - asked foreign businessman in amazement. The author of article replied to him: "Советские люди любят всё!" BTW, foreign ice-cream was an absolute crap in comparison to what I used to eat, let's say in 1975..1985.
    In short, any idea could be ruined if the chiefs cannot provide simple food to citizens.
    I absolutely loved the мароженое they sold in Soviet times. Delicious! Советское шампанское was another favorite. And as for food, well there was not a lot of variety when I was there because by then the economy was tanking... but there were still a few places where we went to eat and it was not all cockroaches and nastiness. There was a Georgian restaurant in Leningrad called "Tbilisi" which served some pretty good food. The commissary where we worked, on the other hand, that was nasty. But we got used to it. I learned not to look too closely at the cooks. Or at my plate. One time I found half a cockroach in my каша and I just pushed it aside and kept eating. That's when I knew I'd been there too long...
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  20. #20
    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    One time I found half a cockroach in my каша and I just pushed it aside and kept eating. That's when I knew I'd been there too long...
    Let me guess, did this incident happened in 1989-1999 decade? If so, I could explain the trick. I guess as a foreigner and TV journalist you used to eat at private restaurants and so. The owners of these places prefered to bribe sanitary autorities and do their buisness as they want. At the same times I used to eat at my school cafeteria, uni cafeteria, factory where I worked etc. and never saw a cockroach there. These placeses were still working by USSR standarts and since they were still state-owned they couldn't bribe a sanitary inspectors. In the 2000s these places (I mean state owned places where you could get a dinner) almost died out (with some exceptions, some are still working). I remember when I was asked to do some ingineering work in "super cool" restaurant called " Pirosmani" owned by some Georgian mafia boss in 1999. It was located in a place in Moscow covered by tourists, owner showed me pictures of Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin having a dinner there with their signatures and words of gratitude and so. But when I visited the kitchen it was swarming with cockroaches. In 90s in Russia cockroaches were rather sign of a "cool" restaurant because the owner could say to "fvck of" to sanitary inspectors. The ordinary places had to be sterile or be closed by authorities.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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