Misunderstanding Russia and Russians

Western media has demonized Russia and President Putin with unrelenting propaganda that has dazed and confused many Russians, a condition that retired U.S. Col. Ann Wright encountered on a recent visit.

By Ann Wright

I’ve just ended two weeks visiting cities in four regions of Russia. The questions that were asked over and over were: “Why does America hate us? Why do you demonize us?” Most would add a caveat — “I like American people and I think YOU like us individually but why does the American government hate our government?”

This article is a composite of the comments made and questions asked to our 20-person delegation and to me as an individual. I do not attempt to defend the views but offer them as an insight into the thinking of many of the persons with whom we came into contact in meetings and on the streets.

Photo of Russian kids attending a youth camp called Artek in Crimea. Photo by Ann Wright

Russian kids attending a youth camp called Artek in Crimea. (Photo by Ann Wright)

None of the questions, comments or views tell the full story, but I hope they give a feel for the desire of the ordinary Russian that his or her country and its citizens are respected as a sovereign nation with a long history and that it is not demonized as an outlaw state or an “evil” nation. Russia has its flaws and room for improvement in many areas, just as every nation does, including for sure, the United States.

New Russia Looks Like You

The United States worked hard to make the Soviet Union collapse, and it did. You wanted to remake Russia like the United States – a democratic, capitalist country in which your companies could make money – and you have done that.

After 25 years, we are a new nation much different from the Soviet Union. The Russian Federation has created laws that have allowed a large private business class to emerge. Our cities now look like your cities. We have Burger King, McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks and malls filled with a huge number of totally Russian business ventures for the middle class.

We have chain stores with merchandise and food, similar to Wal-Mart and Target. We have exclusive stores with top-of-the-line clothing and cosmetics for the richer. We drive new (and older) cars now just like you do. We have massive rush hour traffic jams in our cities, just like you do. We have extensive, safe, inexpensive metros in all of our major cities, just like you have. When you fly across our country, it looks just like yours, with forests, farm fields, rivers and lakes — only bigger, many time zones bigger.

Most people on buses and in the metro are looking at our mobile phones with internet, just like you do. We have a smart youth population that is computer literate and most of whom speak several languages.

You sent your experts on privatization, international banking, stock exchanges. You urged us to sell off our huge state industries to the private sector at ridiculously low prices, creating the multi-billionaire oligarchs that in many ways mirror the oligarchs of the United States. And you made money in Russia from this privatization. Some of the oligarchs are in prison for violating our laws.

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

You sent us experts on elections. For over 25 years we have held elections. And we have elected some politicians you don’t like and some that we as individuals may not like. We have political dynasties, just like you do. We don’t have a perfect government, nor perfect government officials — which is also what we observe in the U.S. government and its officials. We have graft and corruption in and outside of government, just as you do. Some of our politicians are in jail for violating our laws, just like some of your politicians are in jail for violating your laws.

And we have the poor just like you do. We have villages, towns and small cities that are struggling with migration to the big cities with people moving in hopes of finding jobs, just like you do.

Our middle class travels throughout the world, just like you do. In fact, as a Pacific nation just like the U.S., we bring so much tourism money with us on our trips that your Pacific island territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas have negotiated with the U.S. Federal government to allow Russian tourists to enter both of those U.S. territories for 45 days without the time-consuming and expensive U.S. visa.

We have a strong science and space program and are a key partner in the International Space Station. We sent the first satellite into space and the first humans into space. Our rockets still take astronauts to the space station while your NASA program has been curtailed.

Dangerous NATO Military Exercises

You have your allies and we have our allies. You told us during the dissolution of the Soviet Union that you would not enlist countries from the Eastern block into NATO, yet you have done that. Now you are placing missile batteries along our border and you are conducting major military exercises with strange names such as Anaconda, the strangling snake, along our borders.

You say that Russia could possibly invade neighboring countries and you have big dangerous military exercises in countries on our borders with these countries. We did not build up our Russian military forces along those borders until you continued to have ever increasingly large military “exercises” there. You install missile “defenses” in countries on our borders, initially saying they are to protect against Iranian missiles and now you say Russia is the aggressor and your missiles are aimed at us.

For our own national security, we must respond, yet you vilify us for a response that you would have if Russia would have military maneuvers along the Alaskan coast or the Hawaii islands or with Mexico on your southern border or with Canada on your northern border.

Syrian Conflict

We have allies in the Middle East including Syria. For decades, we have had military ties to Syria and the only Soviet/Russian port in the Mediterranean is in Syria. Why is it unexpected that we help defend our ally, when the stated policy of your country is for “regime change” of our ally — and you have spent hundreds of millions of dollars for Syrian regime change?

A Russian orchestra performing at Palmyra's Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT's live-streaming of the event.)

A Russian orchestra performing at Palmyra’s Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT’s live-streaming of the event.)

With this said, we Russia saved the U.S. from an enormous political and military blunder in 2013 when the U.S. was determined to attack the Syrian government for “crossing the red line” when a horrific chemical attack that tragically killed hundreds was erroneously blamed on the Assad government. We provided you documentation that the chemical attack did not come from the Assad government and we brokered a deal with the Syrian government in which they turned over their chemical weapons arsenal to the international community for destruction.

Ultimately, Russia arranged for the chemicals to be destroyed and you provided an especially designed U.S. ship that carried out the destruction. Without Russian intervention, a direct U.S. attack on the Syrian government for the mistaken allegation of use of chemical weapons would have resulted in even greater chaos, destruction and destabilization in Syria.

Russia has offered to host talks with the Assad government about power sharing with opposition elements. We, like you, do not want to see the takeover of Syria by a radical group such as ISIS that will use the land of Syria to continue its mission to destabilize the region. Your policies and financing of regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Syria have created instability and chaos that is reaching all over the world.

Coup in Ukraine

You say that Crimea was annexed by Russia and we say Crimea “reunited” with Russia. We believe that the U.S. sponsored a coup of the elected Ukrainian government that had chosen to accept a loan from Russia rather than from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

We believe that coup and the resulting government was illegally brought to power through your multi-million dollar “regime change” program. We know that your Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland described in a phone call, which our intelligence services recorded, that “Yats is the guy,” referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who became prime minister after the pro-West/NATO coup.

In response to that U.S.-sponsored violent government take-over of the elected government of the Ukraine – rather than allow a new presidential election within a year – ethnic Russians in the Ukraine, particularly those in the eastern provinces and in Crimea were very afraid of the anti-Russian violence that had been unleashed by neo-fascist forces that were in the militia arm of the takeover.

With the takeover of the Ukrainian government, the people of Crimea – many of them ethnic Russians – voted by 96 percent with more than 80 percent of voters casting ballots to unite with the Russian Federation instead of staying with Ukraine.  Of course, some citizens of Crimea disagreed and left to live in Ukraine.

We wonder whether citizens of the United States realize that the Southern Fleet of the Russian military was located in the Black Sea ports in the Crimea and in light of the violent take over of Ukraine that our government felt it was vital to ensure access to those ports.

On the basis of Russian national security, the Russian Duma (Parliament) voted to accept the results of the referendum and annexed Crimea as a republic of the Russian Federation and gave federal city status to the important seaport of Sevastopol.

Sanctions and Double Standards

While the U.S. and European governments accepted and cheered for the violent overthrow of the elected government of the Ukraine, both the U.S. and European nations were very vengeful against the non-violent referendum of people of Crimea and have slammed Crimea with all sorts of sanctions that have reduced international tourism, the main industry of the Crimea, to almost nothing.

A map showing Crimea (in beige) and its proximity to both the Ukrainian mainland and Russia.

A map showing Crimea (in beige) and its proximity to both the Ukrainian mainland and Russia.

In the past in Crimea, we received over 260 cruise ships filled with international passengers from Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain and other parts of Europe. Now, because of the sanctions we have virtually no European tourists. You are the first group of Americans we have seen in over a year. Now, our business is with other citizens from Russia.

The U.S. and the European Union have put sanctions on Russia again. The Russian ruble has been devalued almost 50 percent, some from the downturn of worldwide price of oil, but some from the sanctions the international community has placed on Russia from the Crimea “reunification.”

We believe you want the sanctions to hurt us so we will overthrow our elected government, just like you put sanctions on Iraq for the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam Hussein or on North Korea or on Iran for the people of those countries to overthrow their governments.

Sanctions have the opposite effect than what you want. While we know sanctions do hurt the ordinary person and if left on a population for a long time can kill through malnutrition and lack of medicines, sanctions have made us stronger.

Now, we may not get your cheeses and wines, but we are developing or redeveloping our own industries and have become more self-reliant. We now see how the globalization trade mantra of the United States can and will be used against countries that decide not to go along with the U.S. on its worldwide political and military agenda. If a country decides not to go along with the United States, its people will be cut off from the global markets that the trade agreements have made you dependent upon.

We wonder why the double standard? Why haven’t the member states of the United Nations put sanctions on the U.S. since you have invaded and occupied countries and killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria.

Why is the U.S. not held accountable for kidnapping, extraordinary rendition, torture and imprisonment of almost 800 persons that have been held in the gulag called Guantanamo?

Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

We want the elimination of nuclear weapons. Unlike you, we have never used a nuclear weapon on people. Even though we consider nuclear weapons as a defensive weapon, they should be eliminated because one political or military mistake will have devastating consequences for the entire planet.

The mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

The mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

We know the terrible costs of war. Our great-grandparents remind us of the 27 million Soviet citizens killed during World War II, our grandparents tell us of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the difficulties arising from the Cold War.

We don’t understand why the West continues to vilify and demonize us when we are so much like you. We too are concerned about threats to our national security and our government responds in many ways like yours. We do not want another Cold War, a war in which everyone gets frost bitten, or worse, a war that will kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

We want a peaceful future. We Russians are proud of our lengthy history and heritage. We want a bright future for ourselves and our families… and for yours. We want to live in a peaceful world. We want to live in peace.

Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She also served 16 years as a US diplomat in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq. She is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.


60 comments for “Misunderstanding Russia and Russians

  1. Fábio de Oliveira Ribeiro
    July 12, 2016 at 12:33

    The question of understanding or not understanding Russia and Russians is irrelevant in US. The American military–industrial complex needs an enemy to continue taking profits and financing politicians who will star profitablet wars.

    US is not a country, it is just a “money making machine” through successive wars (1945-2001) and permanent wars (after 2001).

  2. F. G. Sanford
    July 6, 2016 at 10:29

    Who knows if the walls of the Dada Cafe have Persistence of Memory, truth is elastic.
    No one recalls whether Vladimir’s ghost may have slipped from the surreal exclusive display,
    At the time when his provost was haunting Vienna, a nemesis dreamed to the strains of Rienzi,
    A mystical vision would seek to betray casting destiny’s lot from a paintbox in prison,
    Phantoms projected by passenger trains to bespeak what the fabric of time had in store.
    A car sealed in Zurich would click as it bore along tracks unconcerned by the locks or the cash-
    Some say that the war then began where it ended, time can play tricks in the Dada Cafe.

    High Command operatives versed in subversion, the art of regime dissolution would paint,
    The brush strokes would finance an empire’s conversion, the Triple Entente was a masterful ploy.
    Aquarelle postcards, distorted designs, the fabric of battle plan maps to destroy,
    Petrograd waited in dark disillusion, Munich would welcome and foster collusion,
    Past future convicts in homecoming trains from the folly that hubris in warfare consigns
    To the mud and the blood and the vomit in trenches, human detritus of pointless campaigns,
    Deformed ideology haunts the old benches still hosting the guests in the Dada Cafe.

    On Zurichberg Hill eating chocolate bars, reposed in the tall grass enjoying the stars,
    Idyllic pursuits and enchanting debate might have kept him in pacified, somnolent form-
    But the General Staff had another idea: exploiting the storm of revolt to subvert,
    A ticket to Petrograd, armed with a bribe, rebellious dissenters were sure to subscribe,
    The Sovereign’s Empire soon would revert to a vassalage mired in anarchy’s doom.
    The General Staff would impose a cartel on the yields of Ukrainian produce and sausage,
    British investors conspired to profit, they toasted the deal in the Dada’s back room.

    Wilson protected the banker’s investment, the General Staff would concede-
    He made the world safe for financial tycoons, democracy’s manifest gaff,
    Empires fell and the bankers collected, their schemes yielded peril unseen-
    Engels and Marx had benevolent dreams which in practice proved rather elusive.
    When Vladimir suddenly gave up the ghost, his protege Joe stepped right into the post,
    Ruthless without any trace of remorse, Uncle Joe made the Marx plan conclusive.
    Capital finance just couldn’t endorse any debt free economy not based on greed-

    So they sat down for drinks at the Dada cafe, and consulted the General Staff-
    Civil affairs had political links to a firebrand trained in subversive techniques-
    A strange little man who had been an informer, deceptive to hostile and sinister threats,
    “He’s quite a performer, and worth the investment, if you’d care to place your political bets,
    The armaments industry surely will flourish, his stooges are vile detestable beasts,
    He hates Uncle Joe and that hatred could nourish financial rewards barring moral critiques,
    Visual impact and words that he speaks might even arouse at the Dada Cafe!”

    The gambit they cooked up would stir quite a fray putting banks in the Swiss Alps to work,
    Dulles was more than a cursory clerk, international deals in the dark earned his pay,
    That weird little firebrand proved he had mettle inspiring squeals of delight at the banks,
    Until Uncle Joe rolled invincible tanks, the plan was progressing and could end too soon,
    Stalingrad meant that the firebrand lost, and the Vichy French government might end in jail,
    Uncle Joe’s movement gained favor in Greece, the Italians saw benefits too,
    Denizens practiced in Versailles extortion unfolded the cold war so banks could still fleece,

    If they couldn’t reprise it they’d just have to freeze it, a drink they perfected at Dada Cafe,
    Intoxicants lovely were mixed in the glass, with a nuclear twist to enhance the delight,
    Profits poured in, their impairment transfixed, until missiles in Turkey stirred up a fight.
    A poor little rich boy equipped with a conscience, the red headed son of entitlement’s clan
    Put a stop to the madness writ large in the script, but it cost him his life amid ardent dismissals,
    Peace was no dividend, profit or plan, the guests became nervous when adding the tab,
    Young Johnny provided a back they could stab then return to their drinks at the Dada Cafe.

    Subterfuge, lies and destabilized nations would finally end Uncle Joe’s machinations,
    The bankers would win and impose stark privations despite the incitement of capital gain,
    A westernized culture with laudable dreams yearned to conquer corruption relying on friends
    Who were two-faced connivers adept at the pranks yielding corporate profit and socialized pain.
    All the while Mother Russia held fast to her faith, and refused to buy in to usurious banks,
    All the guests at the Dada Cafe were enraged, the communist threat was no longer engaged,
    Now Mother Russia defines a new threat: development finance without greedy ends.

    At first, there were Tzars with a fortune to rape. Then came political Bolshevik theory,
    The menace of communist plague loomed ahead: privatized wealth could be equally spread.
    The bankers and financial denizens’ dread was affirmed when the angry mob starving and leery
    Had finally feasted its eyes on deceit engineered by the pigs who exploited their sweat.
    Such a panic consumed the political class that they rushed to the arms of that weird little man,
    Though he was the first to condemn modern art, the ruling elite feared a fair distribution.
    Hunger and passion inflamed that morass, and the owners feared open revolt from the start.

    In the Dada Cafe they would seek sound advice, so the General Staff touted preemptive war.
    “Of course the prosaic do not favor war, but the leaders may easily coax and entice.
    When rulers fear subjects may turn against them, the best trick to conjure is external threat.
    Tell them that peace is at hand when it’s through, because war is the way that revolt is offset.
    The health of the sovereign clamps on a vice and a war is the lever that tightens its jaws.
    The banks garner profits, ignoring the flaws and the leaders rejoice at the tightening laws,
    The conflict enriches the stateless exploiters whose myrmidon thugs run the world of finance.”

    This time the model belies innovation, the same old companions still meet for a drink,
    The tricks are the same, but the jargon is shifted, profiteers covet the Earth Island wealth.
    To answer the question invites castigation, in spite of the motives for sanctions not lifted
    Those falsified myths promise profits extorted. Ullman and Breedlove considered the brink,
    With a strategy offering sovereign health, though collapse still results if their plan is supported,
    This time the plotters regarded to think as they gathered the options and choices to weigh
    Now Mother Russia has made up her mind, and her missiles are trained on the Dada Cafe.

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 7, 2016 at 11:34

      Wonderful, as always F.G. Sanford… Thanks.

  3. July 6, 2016 at 03:38

    I’ve read through the comments, which are interesting, but I have two questions. 1) This “F.G.Sanford” that was mentioned several times has no contributions here. Was his post deleted? What is the policy here about “editing” posts, and who is the “editor”? (I know it happens because I had a post deleted as well.) 2) Re Kiza’s remark that “Most of US wars are Zionist wars, which is what I call ‘Hitler’s farewell present to the US and the rest of the World’. Can he or someone else explain this? Was Vietnam a “Zionist” war? US interventions in South America? Bosnia? Are the post-9/11 wars on “terror” due to “Zionist” manipulation?

    • Gregory Herr
      July 6, 2016 at 16:35

      Regarding the first question, I have had a post deleted as well. I didn’t use “language” and did not disparage anyone. Beats me.
      As to “Zionist” wars? American foreign policy has run quite a gamut apart from any Zionist considerations. But, for what it’s worth, the neocon stretch of these past 15 years is somewhat dovetailed with Israeli foreign policy. I think Abe discussed in another CN comment section the “Clean Break” document that mirrors recent events…

  4. Antidyatel
    July 6, 2016 at 00:12

    Vilification of Russiq is not a new phenomenon. It goes in centuries. Everybody thinks that Ivan IV ( known to westerners as the Terrible) killed his son. Totally fake story and everyone could understand it if he/she reads original source of this rumor. It was a Jesuit priest that came to Moscow. And demanded Ivan to submit to the the Pope in Vatican. Ivan has shon him a middle finger and the famous story emerged. The details provided in the gossip imply that the priest was the witness of the murder that is physically impossible. Apart from the fact that Ivan’s son died much later after falling sick.
    Another good source is Crimean war. Nobel Europe was trying to protect civilized world from Russian barbarism. Which was funny, because England and France were practicality protecting the last country in Europe openly involved in international slave trade ( England and France were a bit more discreet about such activities), and even funnier was that Crimean war took place in between two Opiun Wars – wars with probably most disgusting pretexts ever. But it was Russia that was evil.

  5. Gregory Herr
    July 5, 2016 at 18:56

    Isn’t it interesting that in the United States, the bastion of free expression and free press, we get tightly controlled debates and news conferences sparsely conducted with little length, depth, or breadth.

    Compare and contrast with the many long and detailed sessions that Putin has conducted with journalists (including the international press) over the course of his tenure. The differences are striking.

    The American media corps are by-and-large not very grown up and greatly lacking the qualities of intellectual curiosity and intellectual honesty that should define a functioning “press”. The Russian people and Mr. Putin have a lot to recommend, but most American journalists are too pathetic to notice.

  6. Realist
    July 5, 2016 at 15:06

    Want to read the latest demonization of Russia which takes down Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy at the same time? Read the vile propagandist slime in today’s Huffington Post (linked from Slate) calling Trump “Putin’s Puppet!” “Trump’s candidacy helps Russia undermine the West,” so it says. There is absolutely no truth to be found in the American media today that does not push the agenda of the ruling elites. These lies and distortions about numerous world events, not just involving Russia, are breathtaking. Almost the entire media has now totally abandoned objectivity and work to serve only the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and her anti-Russian, warmongering agenda. Top headline today in the Huffington Schlock is “FBI Clears Clinton: ‘Careless but not Criminal.’ ” I can hardly wait to see this careless (arrogant) neocon warmonger in office. Normally, I’d anticipate four years of her shrill screaming about Putin in the annoying trademark way she puts down all of her chosen enemies, including Bernie Sanders, but I don’t think the world will last that long with her in office.

    • Drew Hunkins
      July 5, 2016 at 15:52

      Thanks for the tip Realist. Very illuminating on the slanders and libels that flow through the “liberal” spectrum: HuffPo, Slate. It becomes so tiresome having to chat with my fellow lefties who are completely brainwashed by all the Putin bashing; can’t get in a word edgewise without being browbeaten and harangued about the evil Russkie.

      And of course you’re on target regarding Killary.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 5, 2016 at 16:27

      Realist, I think you and I are talking about the same article, which huffington linked to slate. I left a link to that article up above, in case anyone wants to take the time to read it. I warn you it’s pretty bad. Pretty crazy propagandized article wasn’t it?

      • Realist
        July 5, 2016 at 17:43

        Yes, you cite the original Slate article, which I did not go to (except through HP) before making my remark. They sure want to give that narrative absolute maximum coverage. It will probably be linked to all the formerly “liberal” news sources, now in the service of the neocons. Just love how every article that discusses Trump in the HP always ends with the same canned character assassination about him being a lying, self-serving racist bigot… yadda, yadda, yadda. And they expect us to believe that they are unbiased? Pulleeeeeze!

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 5, 2016 at 23:23

          I don’t know what Franklin Foer is all about (where’s Abe when we need him) but the little I found out about him, he sounds like a Neocon, which often means he’s connected to something Zionist, and that usually ends up representing something that’s vicious, and not afraid to use violence. Roy Cohen and Joe McCathy could not have been anymore denigrating to the narrative of Russia nor Trump, than what Foer was with his hit piece he published in Slate. I’m glad Realist that you found Foer’s over the top propaganda piece of literature to be to much to swallow, as I did, because then I can validate it’s not just me that’s feeling that brutish quality of twistedness that Foer is trying to cramp down our throats, is no good, and never to be believed. Thanks for bringing me back from the TwiLight Zone! JT

  7. July 5, 2016 at 14:23

    This should be required reading in all schools and should be printed on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Of course we know that that will not happen, and this in itself shows how propagandized the US media are and how intolerant American politicos are of rational discussion. Far from being able or even trying to address any of the points presented here, they simply ignore them, not even mentioned — for example, in the presidential campaign circus. Trump, for all his faults, is the only candidate (including Sanders) who has not sputtered stupidly and recklessly about “getting tough with Russia,” when they all should be considering everything that is mentioned in Ann Wright’s article. The US TV and print media treat the American people like idiots, which is exactly what they are as long as they allow themselves to be so manipulated. The same is true of Europeans who mimic the American mindset (as far too many do). And all the mentally goosestepping idiots ask about the Germans of the 1930s, “How could they have fallen for such crap?” — in the land of Brahms and Bach and Beethoven, etc. How can Americans behave this way? If they don’t wake up, this time there will be a lot more than 50 million dead.

  8. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    July 5, 2016 at 13:26

    The West is driven/led by the US and the US is driven/led by a combination of those who consider themselves to be “Chosen” and those who consider themselves to be “Exceptional”. That is a deadly combination because THEY will want everyone else to be a subject under their “Chosenness/Exceptionalism” OR else Be demonized!!

    That is the very bases for the attitude of the elite in the West towards Russia …………..and actually it is their same attitude towards the Muslim World…………..To the Western Elite, you cannot be equal……….you have to bow or be demonized……………….plain and simple.

  9. Ol' Hippy
    July 5, 2016 at 13:05

    What I didn’t see is what Russia has that the US government wants for itself and that is the last of the oil reserves on the planet. It’s like the fox eying a fat chicken plotting how to feast on all it’s juiciness. What the arrogant fools don’t see is the fat chicken is really guarded by a giant brown bear that’s never been removed from his vast cave. Most Americans believe the barking bullshit spewed nonstop on all the easily accessed video devices most have conveniently glued to their hands. I just wish the psychopaths running things would stop just long enough to see where this is all heading which is down the black hole of oblivion. Imagine a world run by normal sane moral people that have the same peaceful goals as most of the people on the planet. But then I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer.

  10. Don
    July 5, 2016 at 12:57

    Thank you Ann (and Consortium News) – this is a very special contribution, that I, and hopefully scores of others, will celebrate.
    What it should reveal to Americans is what Lyndon Johnson’s Defense Secretary Robert McNamara discussed so openly in Errol Morris’s The Fog of War, namely that we, especially the Administrations that “serve us” and the major media that carry their water, so willfully ignore the position, the history, and the culture of the foreign governments that we decide are our enemies. It is especially insightful in that it comes straight from the 20 person delegation’s discussions with ordinary citizens of Russia.


  11. M.
    July 5, 2016 at 12:50

    There is a lot of important information here, that we never hear in our mainstream media. It all sounds very reasonable to me. Many thanks to you and your group, Col. Ann Wright, for going there, reaching out to their people, and bringing their thoughts and concerns back to ours. The wrong people seem to be “guiding” our foreign policy.

  12. Drew Hunkins
    July 5, 2016 at 12:40

    The vilification of Putin and the demonization of Russia has infected much of the entire political spectrum in the United States. From the rightwing (though some of them, to their credit, don’t fall for it) to most on the liberal left. Of course the mass media are pumping out the Russophobic distortions daily so the vast majority of the press and media are a complete lost cause.

    Try and say a few kind words about Putin in liberal company and beware the wrath that will come down upon thee.

  13. July 5, 2016 at 11:57

    Very Interesting article. This should be sent to corporate media.See Link Below for much more information:

  14. Joe Tedesky
    July 5, 2016 at 10:28

    I sometimes thing, that if Russia had developed a Madison Ave., that would have promoted a variety of products to sell retail, that their economy would have grown big and fat such as it did in the U.S., and that Russia may have survived better than it did.

    Here is a great article I have provided links for before, but here it is again, because it fits the article well;


    • Joe Tedesky
      July 5, 2016 at 11:00
      • Joe Tedesky
        July 5, 2016 at 13:25

        I must apologize to all of you, for linking you to this awful display of propaganda. Joe McCarthy could not have written a worst off article, such as what Franklin Foer did here. Google Franklin Foer for yourself, and read about him. His article does everything from criticizing Trump’s rant to get out of NATO, to somehow even including a reference to Henry Wallace’s 1948 presidential campaign where Wallace enjoyed the company of known American communist. Wallace wanted to end the Cold War. Foer mentions Russian hacking of the Clinton Foundation’s computer, but never a mention of any kind toward Hillary’s arrogant refusal to use any secure government server. Although as of today James Comey pretty much made things clear on how the establishment is so forgiving of Hillary’s email failure…just don’t you do it. Maybe Foer has a in with the FBI, and the DOJ. Foer makes Trump sound like a traitor for once shaking Mikhail Gorbachev’s hand back in the 80’s, but leaves out how Reagan did the same thing, on many occasion. Foer, throws everything at Trump mainly, but Russia mostly. Foer brought up Trump attempting to do business with Muammer Quddafi, he talks about Paul Manafort’s relationship to Viktor Yanukovyh Ukraine’s ousted democratically elected president. Foer makes Lt General Michael Flynn’s visit to Russian sound like a military officer gone rouge. The best part of Foer’s piece, is when he downplays the Victoria (Foer calls her Toria) Nuland’s famous phone conversation with Geoffrey Platt in such a way as to make the Russia Times (rt.com) sound like one hell of an evil news agency. Foer never does let out what Toria said in that conversation to Platt…remember, FU the EU, or Yats is our guy. Foer left that part out. No, he didn’t bring up the Toria’s generous cookie tray either. If I were a journalistic professor, Foer’s piece would be held up to my class, as the most outward use of propaganda to use as a sample to explain just exactly what propaganda is. So, if you don’t want to read Foer’s dirt ridden article on Slate then allow this comment here to give you the heads up to what you will fine. So much for Slate magazine. Roy Cohen, and Joe McCarthy, would not have done any better of a job of tearing down Russia and Donald Trump, as did Franklin Foer did with this piece of red baiting crap literature he calls authoring. The other thing worth mentioning is Foer’s piece is aimed at liberals..hmmm. Thank God for Consortium-news.

  15. Akech
    July 5, 2016 at 10:07

    The west and their corporations have their eyes set squarely on total control and exploitation of Russian’s vast natural resources. To do this, they must create chaos that set Russian citizens against one another. The western corporations then choose a side to support and supply it with weapons. Deliberate chaos leading to civil war then ensues; neighborhoods, citizens and the nation’s infrastructure are destroyed. Whichever side prevails, rebuilding of the destruction will to occur in the near future.

    And that is when the (IMF/World Bank/Private foreign banks) loan sharks descend on the country like wolves upon a flock of sheep! The nation’s resources must then be used as collaterals for any loan advanced the country by the sharks. Do no forget what has happened to Greece as a country! And Greece is not alone in this mess.

    If a country cannot pay its debt to the sharks, its resources are taken over by the sharks in a process called “privatization”; forced privatization! When a foreign entity owns the resources of a sovereign nation and then demands cuts on retirees’ pension, laying off of workers, early retirement of its workforce, CAN YOU GUESS WHO IS IN CHARGE of that nation? This is the NEW WORLD ORDER in which 99.9% of any country’s citizens live in poverty while 0.1% controls the masses. This is form of order being advanced!

    • zman
      July 13, 2016 at 14:39

      Excellent analysis! I came to this conclusion back in 2003 when we attacked Iraq…Russia is the end goal. Putins’ recent machinations vis a vis Syria have given me pause to wonder. Hopefully, this is another master move, not understood by the western fools…and not anything to do with the Rothschilds involvement in the RCB. If there is going to be any true relief for Russia, they will HAVE to remove foreign ‘assets’ from the central bank.

  16. Kiza
    July 5, 2016 at 09:55

    Sorry I have to be a cynic, but what comes out the most in this compilation of views of ordinary Russians is, with only a few exceptions, a high degree of naivety. It is not only that we in the West do not understand the Russians, but the Russians in general will never understand the West.

    One example: why do you hate us? An ordinary Russian person cannot comprehend anything which stands outside the deeply ingrained thinking of “live and let live”. In other words, it is so natural that we also want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, why would you deny to us what you want for yourself? An ordinary Russian just cannot understand that these grandiose humanistic words are nothing more than words, that the “game” in the West is to say/write such things and do the complete opposite. That is what the smart people do. In the Christian Orthodox Culture lying is an exception to normal behavior, in the West it is a way of life. A totally incomprehensible to a normal, religious Russian, is a common saying in the West: there are only two types of people, those who shear and those who are shorn. It is not only that I want to live better, I also want you to live worse. In other words, in the eastern Christian psyche the relative betterment (as the British say – keeping up with the Jonses) is much less pronounced than in the Western culture. Thus lack of comprehension – why do you hate us? Why do you want us to live worse when we do not want you to live worse (and we have done nothing to you).

    I know that many Westerners will not understand my point above, but Russia is a country even bigger than the US in territory. There are many Russians who have never travelled to the West as there are many US citizens who have never travelled outside of the US. Therefore, the question why do you hate us? would come from the Russians who have not encountered the Western way of thinking (movies are not enough and not every Russian understands English to consume Hollywood without translation).

    There is a lot of other fascinating material for a social study of paralleling and contrasting the two cultures (which Bob Van Noy appears to be doing) in this compilation. But it also makes me think how a nuclear war would wipe out these rich cultural differences between the West and the East of the White Race. Despite huge differences, Russia is still part of the same Christian culture. Russia has gone into the political and economic embrace of China not by its own desire, then by the force of Western meanness and stupidity. Why was live and let live such a bad option? Why is a rise of Russia a fall down for Israel, Britain and US? Just ponder this of a moment. The Russans wanted to trade, the US wanted to prevent a rise of a competitor.

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 5, 2016 at 12:08

      Kiza, I realized yesterday that you were offended by the dialogue and I knew why you were, so knowing the Quality of responders, F.G. Sanford and Joe Tedesky I, thought “man if I were sitting with all of you I could clear this up quickly, so that the quality conversation could continue…
      We need at this very time something like public diplomacy to carry our conversation forward. Also it is painfully true that our common dialogue in America has been, for a generation, heavily influenced be propaganda. Bear with people like Ann Wright and myself as we perhaps over enthusiastically appreciate a culture we’ve been told was the enemy.

      • Kiza
        July 5, 2016 at 17:29

        Do not tell me Bob! You were surprised that I was, according to you, “offended” by the F.G. Sanford’s statement that my culture has not contributed much to humanity, and the implication that we only know how to shoot down passenger planes and kill innocent people, that the symbol of us is Dracula”. And when I tried to explain to the character, through a historical context, that Dracula is how you, the Westerners came to see us which may not be the reality, possibly your projection of yourselves, all that your “good” US commenter, Mr F.G. Sanford, could master was “It appears that I touched a raw nerve. My God, you US citizens are so hopelessly dumb. You put a space drone into orbit around Jupiter and think that you own the meaning of life (or its subquestion: what is right and what is wrong).

        I am not young and I have spent more of my life in the West than in that Orthodox Christian milieu that the Russians belong to as well. Also, I have travelled extensively around the World and have spent a good amount of time in the US. This qualifies me somewhat to compare cultures. You will not like it, but I am honest when I say that, in my view, the US is the most obnoxious place on the planet. It is as if all the most aggressive, the most psychopathic of the old foggy ventured into the new continent to pillage, murder and get rich. What impressed me the most the first time I travelled to the US and visited the national parks such as Yosemite for example, is how amazingly rich a land North America must have been before the European sewage washed up on its shores (including the one from my culture). I have never seen such land anywhere in the old continent. All that remains of this amazing land, water and forests are these, now protected, dots of beauty (national parks and forests) on a rather devastated continent. In other words, these “special” Europeans created US through a genocide of Indians and a rootless exploitation of the richest continent. In other words, your wealth comes from destruction.

        I did expect a bit more from you Bob, you appeared to be making a genuine effort to understand the Eastern Christian culture, more specifically the Russian one. But here you focus on my emotions instead of my points and arguments, my effort to try help you and others understand how ordinary Russian people may be viewing the World and US. Please do not be so presumptive to put yourself into the league with Ann Wright, she is a US citizen, but she is not like you guys. She did make a huge effort to understand, more than reading Solzhenitsyn.

        I did not aim to offend you, but I will not be wasting my effort on you guys any more, I will just reply to this other guy David below.

        • Bob Van Noy
          July 5, 2016 at 20:04

          It is never my intention to offend anybody and I apologize for offending you. I’ll continue reading and trying to comprehend the gap…

          • Kiza
            July 5, 2016 at 20:50

            Sorry if I offended you, my contempt is reserved for the characters such as F.G. Sanford, you became my “collateral damage”.

    • David Smith
      July 5, 2016 at 13:16

      Thank you, Kiza, for your very astute observation, which clears confusion I have had when observing the honorable international conduct of The Soviet Union and Russian Federation: that is Russians are naive regarding the dishonest, doublecrossing, untrustable character of Americans that in the past was called “Yankee Trader”(not a compliment). I recognize this trait in myself, and it is always part of my calculations dealing with other Americans. I do not despise this trait, I simply accept that Americans are scoudrels(scoundrels can be likable). I could never understand why the Soviets, in 1945, did not occupy all of Korea, but stopped per agreement at 38th parallel(much Korean suffering would have been averted) or why SU trusted(1989), that NATO would not advance. I was astonished in 2011 that Russia did not veto Libya No Fly Zone, and Putin got conned in 2013, Ghouta/American threats were meant to strip Syria of its Chen weapons. I hope Putin has wised up, he is too honorable. The Vietnamese understood that Americans only respect power, and got them to Paris. They negotiated the American way, using the agreement to accomplish their patriotic goal, never intending to honor it, knowing the US could easily violate it(that possibility always part of their political calculations). That is how the Vietnamese won. Russia should study the Viets, and do not forget that you can never trust a Yankee Trader(I am American and I don’t). Kiza, thanks for your insight.

      • Kiza
        July 5, 2016 at 18:26

        Honestly, I am not sure if you are ironic/cynical or not. I will assume not and write that you do make some valid points. Also, I do not aim to paint the Western culture as a culture of liars, thieves and murderers, because I have met some absolutely extraordinary individuals in the West (unfortunately not in the US). The only top class characters of US are those I encountered online, such as Philip Giraldi, Ron Paul, Karen Kwiatkowski, perhaps Ann Wright and a handful of others. You may note that their common characteristic is a strong anti-war attitude. This is, in my personal view, the key issue with US – that it is spending too much time, money and everything venturing abroad looking for trouble. Therefore, it is not Yankee Trader who is the problem, then the Yankee Trouble Maker. Most of US wars are Zionist wars, which is what I call “Hitler’s farewell present to the US and the rest of the World”. Europe has had thousands of years of good and bad experience of dealing with the Ashkenazi attitudes, but the US nation was like a naive target waiting for a flim-flam. By landing in the US, the Ashkenazi refugees from Nazism acquired power and resources which they could never master on the old continent (most old cultures were immune). Firstly, they developed nuclear weapons in the new home and then they used US as a blunt pro-Zionist war tool. But, I digress to a third culture.

        A small sidebar – it was Medvedev who let the Libya No Fly Zone and Medvedev is a Russian pro-Western Liberal in a “national unity party” with Putin. He is a Putin’s childhood friend, but they could not have a more different political outlook. It was more surprising to me that the Chinese took that one on the chin, because they had already invested around $20B or more when NATO bombers started implementing the fabled R2P. This is why USrael could not get away with Syria as easily; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. China slapped a veto on the Western machinations with Syria although there were no Chinese investments there to my knowledge.

        Finally, the most fascinating to me was to read recently about captain (2IC) Vasili Arkhipov of Soviet Union: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasili_Arkhipov. Apparently, he did shoot back at US ships (CBG Randolph) dropping depth charges in the international waters trying to destroy Arkhipov’s ballistic missile submarine during the enforcement of the US-self-declared quarantine of Cuba. So typically of this US character I describe: place your missiles in Turkey (and all over Europe), on SU doorstep and when the SU retorts with the same, push the World to the brink of the nuclear confrontation by declaring “quarantine” as if Cuba was diseased. BTW, very similar to how the US embargoed the vital supplies of oil to Japan and was later “surprised” by their attack on Pearl Harbor. There is no better illustration of my points about the Eastern Christian culture than this captain’s refusal to respond as aggressively to an attempt at his and his crew’s lives. I actually devised a character test for the Westerners based on this story. In my test, the roles are completely reversed – it is a US submarine breaching a quarantine of the open ocean which Russia unilaterally declared, say somewhere in North Atlantic. The test questions are:
        1) Should this submarine captain shoot back?
        2) If he does not shoot back in self-defence, is this US submarine captain irresponsible to his crew and possibly stupid?
        Forget about the “signalling” part in the name of the depth charges dropped on him, that is typical BS. The other side is behaving aggressively and trying to start a war.

        • Kiza
          July 5, 2016 at 20:42

          Do US mugs really expect that there will always be some Arkhipov on the other side, to help you keep getting away with any aggression of yours? The situation in the Baltics is now quite similar to the “quarantine” of Cuba, the US has established an imaginary “quarantine” line at the Russian border and is dropping the modern depth charges of moronic propaganda about the Russian provocations and aggression.

          What will happen when President Hillary starts playing the game of nuclear chicken with President Putin? Her implication to Putin will be: you have to give in because I am a mad woman prepared for any crime and any murder that you could not even imagine (“I came, I saw, and I murdered a few billion”). Captain Arkhipov essentially replied: “You US officers are crazier than I am, but I will rather surrender my submarine to you then will all die”.

          How long do you keep expecting such sanity in response to your madness?

      • Oleg
        July 6, 2016 at 00:49

        What you write is extremely sad. That means we Russians will never be able to have good relations with the US and will have to waste money and effort and perhaps even lives of our people to stand up to you. But we will. That’s something that you do not really understand in our culture. Ann too. We do not really like fighting and we want to leave in peace. Sure. But we absolutely will not tolerate any kind of attempts to force us into anything against our will. 800 years ago, we had to give in to Mongols because they were so much stronger. More than half of the population was killed. We never stopped resisting them though and we threw them out 200 years later and took them over ourselves after 200 more years of fighting. And while you are extremely materialistic and are afraid of losing your amenities and wealth and quality of life, we do not. We are afraid to lose our honour. Well. it’s gonna be hard but you do not seem to leave us any other choice.

        And that’s basically the answer why you in the US do not like us and attack us. Because you know that we are among very few nations that will stand up to you.

        • Oleg
          July 6, 2016 at 01:33

          Further to this. Seems a bit irrelevant but… Over the years I have been spending now and then some little time playing old computer games (not the new ones with superb graphics and all that, old DOS games). In particular, I used to play a lot of Civilization (the very first one, again). THE best strategy game of all times, if anyone needs this info. And it always surprised me to no end that there never has been any way to have peaceful coexistence with other civilizations on the same landmass. They kept attacking you despite all diplomacy, negotiations, gifts, money, etc. The only winning strategy was to destroy them all as early as possible. Well, now I understand. Civilization is a superb game, but it is an American game….

          • Kiza
            July 6, 2016 at 01:48

            Bingo – exactly right! American strategy game based on the American way of thinking: destroy it before it becomes a competitor, either dominate it or make it extinct, live and let die; no peaceful coexistence and trade.

            The funniest thing to me is that no-one in the West ever thought about the US Navy captains who were dropping depth charges on a Soviet ballistic missile submarine in the international waters during the Cuban missile crisis. None of them thought about refusing such mad orders. It had to be a Soviet/Russian captain Arkhipov who refused to fight back (in self-defense) by sending a nuclear torpedo up the aircraft carrier’s tail pipe. He thought about the end-game which the US Navy captains did not.

        • Kiza
          July 6, 2016 at 01:36

          Oleg, I am not an enemy, I am from a culture similar to yours and I like what you wrote. But I would like to add one Russian trait which one Westerner highlighted in an article. The Russians are peaceful (maybe even lazy and drunk, which is the Western image of them) until they are pushed to the wall. Then they get sober and do the payback. Putin’s failure to lash-back (for Su24 shoot-down for example) has often been interpreted as a weakness. If a US bomber were shotdown, the US would have obliterated the airport from which the fighter jets took-off. This is exactly the West-East cultural difference I was talking about. Better one shot-down plane and one dead pilot than millions, maybe billions dead on both sides. The West will never understand this.

          • David Smith
            July 6, 2016 at 09:34

            Kiza, Oleg’s reply was to my comment.

          • Oleg
            July 6, 2016 at 10:50

            Well, I hope Russia and the US are not enemies, yet. But not friends either, and with what David wrote (thanks, David, for your insights), the chances of ever being friends are very slim indeed. And in the kind of world we live in, it is very easy for relations to deteriorate from just being not friends to being foes and then enemies.

            Actually this is a common idea discussed by many Russian thinkers at this time. You see, in modern times Europe managed to unite 2 times: under Napoleon and under Hitler. Each time, right after the unification, they attacked Russia. Now after the Brexit Europe can unite under Germany for the third time. Now with the US and NATO drumming up all the military infrastructure and rhetoric. And given the US strategy of no peaceful coexistence. We do not like this kind of developments at all. We did manage to defeat Napoleon and Hitler and stop all invasions in our history, both from the East and in the West, but it costed us dearly every time. So when I was young (and that was in 1980s) I advocated disarmament and considered military expenditures a total waste. Now I hold a very different view.

            And this is very dangerous indeed. The only way out I see is for the sanity to prevail in Europe. If the Europeans get their house in order and take over their own affairs, they should kick the US and NATO out of Europe. Then the US will become much less of a threat and the situation will be contained even without especially friendly relations between Russia and the US. We could kind of forget about each other and mind our own businesses. Because, unfortunately, with such a big differences in ideology and perceptions, I do not see any possibility to build any kind of trust in any near future.

            Yet another hope actually is the demographic changes in the US. What David described is the white, WASP, Yankee way of thinking and doing things. Other communities in the US, African and Hispanic-Americans, they are very different. On the personal level, I have much easier time to interact with the members of these communities, we are much more similar to each other and share more common values. Let’s see.

        • Slavodar
          July 7, 2016 at 11:48

          Soglasno Oleg!

          Most of ordinary Czechs and Slovaks are mentally siding with Russia, even though the western propaganda is very strong in our media.
          We may be now politically in the West, but we love our Eastern Brothers [as well as our Southern Brothers]. We know that our land is soaked with Soviet Blood and we will never forget this. The West may think that we are their alias, but only a handful of Czechs or Slovaks would fight for NATO. Hey, the “handful” are the brainwashed ones that are capable only to follow commands/instructions and usually lack the ability to think for themselves.

          Slovjani, Sovezajte se !!!

      • David Smith
        July 6, 2016 at 11:21

        I needed overnight to formulate my reply and that was good as Oleg contributed 3 excellent points: Russia cannot trust USA, Russians are Alexandr Nevsky tough, and “Civilization” game is the “American” game. I am convinced that Europeans do not understand the American mind, they arrogantly judge us as crude and stupid, an idiotic giant with a big club. The USA was the first European colony to rebel, and we defeated the brits (I you think we are stupid and cowardly, study Gen. Green and Gen. Washington in the leadup to Yorktown). Out history from there to 1945 was to break European power over the world permanently. I will give you an example of how the subtle, deceptive Yankee Trader mind functions. Kiza, you brought up how stupid Americans embargoed oil to Japan then were dumbly surprised at Pearl Harbor. But this view is false, you underestimate us. The United States made use of Japanese aggression to break the Euro colonial grip in Asia. We wanted England, France, and Holland to be defeated by Japan, then we would defeat Japan. Then the Euros would be expelled from their colonies(because they excluded us) then we would replace them, and make Japan our friend and ally(after all we could not have done it without them). We like Japan and Germany because they were essential to break Euro global power(and we like their cultures). Americans study the history of Rome and know that the Romans thought they could ignore the Germanic tribes and keep their empire. But that carelessness led to division into Eastern and Western empires(great mistake), and finally after 460AD, those crude tribes took down the Western Empire and sacked the city of Rome. The United States(since 1776) knows the contest is global and it must dominate every world power or in the end be dominated(as Rome was). As for the zionists, the Yankee Trader is setting them up, like we set up the arrogant Henry Kravis with RJR/Nabisco.

        • Oleg
          July 6, 2016 at 13:05

          OMG! Yes I know this Roman obsession, a Capitol in every hicktown. You know, you in the US will do MUCH better if you study the history of China rather than Rome. China has been MUCH more successful and lasted MUCH longer. Furthermore, Rome is dead for 1500 years, and China is still around and getting stronger every day. And one of the things immanent to Eastern cultures is peaceful coexistence and the search for the world harmony in general.

          • David Smith
            July 6, 2016 at 15:32

            Yes, Oleg. “Hua”=”Harmony”. I follow the Chinese Way, The Tao Of Ying/Yang. But America does not and will not change its course, to its destruction.

        • Oleg
          July 6, 2016 at 13:18

          FYI, so you would appreciate the scale of the difference: there is a saying in Russian meaning that a merchant’s word has more value than gold. It was customary among merchantmen in Russia (before the Bolsheviks, of course, Bolsheviks were Western invention and carried Western values) to execute multi-million deals without signed contracts, just based on oral agreements. Because these people believed in God and were proud of their names and masters of their words. You the Yanks seem to be just the opposite.

          • Kiza
            July 7, 2016 at 01:47

            Just to clarify one minor point – any businessman would cringe at no written contract agreements, because only when put in writing the views of both sides become clear. But in the times of Tsarist Russia, the agreements were much simpler, usually a straight exchange deals, than today and they could be signed, sealed and delivered on a verbal promise.

            The problem today is that the US Government quite often will stop respecting agreements it signed even before the signatures on the agreements are dry. It would be a fascinating cultural case study to examine how and why Gorbachev accepted verbal promises by Regan and Jack F. Matlock (the US ambassador to Russia at the time). What was he thinking when he took a no-signature commitment by the US Administration of the time not to expand one inch Eastwards? What is there NOT to understand in “NOT ONE INCH EASTWARDS”. Mr Matlock acknowledged this promise to the leader of the Soviet Union, but Billy Bubba Clinton could not care less and expanded NATO Eastwards as on a conveyer belt, one after another. With US functionaires one does not stand well even with a written and signed contract (what Bush did to START) let alone with a verbal commitment. This is this highly relevant cultural difference that you write about Oleg. But we need to keep in mind that this is how they behave both to inside and to outside: the millisecond the situation changes, the agreement signed becomes worthless.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 5, 2016 at 14:16

      Kiza, I thoroughly enjoy reading what you have to say about Russia. It helps me learn more about that country, and it’s people. A long time ago, and I don’t know why, but I came to a conclusion that if allowed America and Russia would make perfect partners, if they were to join hands and combat any evil that would pop up inside of our world, and together they would destroy that evil and protect us all.

      What you wrote here with your comment, reminds me of what a couple of my friends once said about the Russian people. My friends were part of the 1987 Billy Joel Moscow tour. Upon their return home here to America, these friends of mind really came home with a lot to talk about, and it was all good when referring to the Russian people they met. Just like us American pop music fans, the Russians were maybe even more so great fans of that musical genre than we are. Sending musicians from here to there should be what we Americans are doing when confronting Russia. Instead we attempt to send in our NGO’s such as NED, and try to topple over their elected government.

      The link I am providing has nothing to do with Russia, but for those who love Jill Stein read this:


      • Kiza
        July 5, 2016 at 18:35

        “…but I came to a conclusion that if allowed America and Russia would make perfect partners…”, exactly my point too Joe – why is Russia with China now? Eastern and Western Christian, not that much difference notwithstanding the discussed ones. Spot on comment about the NGOs too, but it is the Ziocons who do most of the trouble anyway. Respect.

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 5, 2016 at 22:59

          You maybe right about the U.S. sticking too close to the Zionist, and it looks as though the Queen of England may make nice with Russia and China, way before America does.


          If you read what Thierry Meyssan of Voltairenet had to say in that link I left above, it is but just one article like that, which I am finding a lot of foreign sites to be reporting of late. This Brexit movement has many faces. Brexit in America is being portrayed as a racist revolt against migrants coming into England due to the EU rules for the handling of migrants, and for some it is the main issue, but there is possibly a move going on by the Queen to pull away from the U.S. center of influence, and snuggle up next to the Russians and the Chinese. This is England we are talking about here, this is not the Netherlands, or Greece. No, this is America’s older brother, maybe even one could say that England is America’s mother or dad, but the relationship is, and has always been a big one. SCO members represent two thirds of the worlds population. At the rate things are going, it could end up being that the U.S. and Israel ends up being all alone, together. Let’s see how sanctions work for them then.

          I think there are a lot of people wishing the U.S. would do a house cleaning, and find a different foreign policy. As much as many of us would like to see this mature, with Hillary coming on board, and with many other things just being what they are, it is just to overwhelming to see that with one sweep of the broom will do much good just for the shear size of it it is so big. Keep the faith. The SCO offers much in the way of being built upon like de-escalating weapons and arms, and investing in infrastructure needed projects, but the reporting on this in the Western MSM is just not there.

          • Kiza
            July 6, 2016 at 02:12

            Joe, I am not sure what the meaning of those developments is – Britain indicating a possible move away from US and towards China. But I do not trust British much.

            I may sound anti-US to some, but I am only anti-US outside of US borders. When I hear the epithet “isolationist” slapped on someone in the US I say to myself “Amen, my kind of man”. The US is the only English speaking country in which Defense actually means destroying others.

          • Joe Tedesky
            July 6, 2016 at 02:31

            I’m in the process of trying to keep on what maybe going on with Briton, and where this SCO group is going. I feel there is a shifting sand going on here, and the media being what it is, one needs to work hard to get correct answers to important questions.

            My take on how the new world order should run things is simple. Learn to trade with each other peacefully, put currency on being medal (gold/silver/etc) backed, have treaties to disarm, and respect the national sovereignty of every world nation there is on this planet…& no exceptions. I could go on, but I’m sure that I have made me point. Yes, defense should mean protection, and not used to conjure up a security frame of mind to hide aggression. Funny thing is, ask any American on the street, and they will tell you how they hate war, and they do, but don’t ask any DC politician that question, because you won’t get the same answer, plus they lie a lot, so a no means yes, or it means a probability like a maybe, well mostly around eleven and on any Tuesday before lunch it will probably mean a yes most certainly!

      • Gregory Herr
        July 5, 2016 at 20:37

        Thanks for the counterpunch link. I have been following Jill Stein and so am aware of her positions, but had not yet read this particular statement put forth for Independence Day. I agree with the way electoral reform is stressed….it’s vitally important. And it is absolutely right to consider the importance of worker viability within a more just economic framework. Health care and education should be societal priorities, not privatized means of profit. The economy should be on a research and development footing geared towards renewable energy and public works. The militarization of police is a problem as are the disregard of civil rights and citizenship. The manufacture of war needs to be understood as ultimate folly and thus discouraged. Jill Stein’s candidacy should be heard.
        Jill Stein is officially on the ballot in Illinois. A few more states and the vast majority of voters will have this option. Polling is now critical. If Jill Stein can get up to 15%, she can be in the debates. That in and of itself would be great. Thanks Joe.

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 5, 2016 at 23:04

          ” If it’s Hill, I’m with Jill”

    • July 6, 2016 at 13:20

      Sorry, however informed you deem yourself, your writing shows that you don’t read much and are very naive yourself. You really need to read more widely yourself. Russians learn many languages in their schools for example.

    • zman
      July 13, 2016 at 14:30

      “I like American people and I think YOU like us individually but why does the American government hate our government?”…here is my answer to you and to Russians the world over: For the same reasons our government hates us, we’re in the way. Simplistic, I know, but it’s the best I have. Hopefully, most Russians know the American people do not hate them, but admire them. Believe me, most Americans know that it is our corporate government that is a pox on the rest of the world.

  17. Bob Van Noy
    July 5, 2016 at 08:53

    Many thanks Anne Wright and Robert Parry for your timely essay on Russia and the Russian People. I have been researching Russia for only a few weeks but what I’ve found has completely changed my concept of a Russia Thought I knew for literally a lifetime. I’m intensely studying now and not well enough informed to properly comment except to say that clearly we in the West do not understand Russia, and one very important reason that we don’t, is that we have, up this very moment, been subjected to a totally biased account of Russian politics, if not culture. I so appreciate everything you do at Consortium News and anxiously await the conversation…

    • Bart Gruzalski
      July 5, 2016 at 11:03

      Bob Van Noy, July 5, 2016 at 8:53 ,
      a question for clarification if I’ve misunderstood you. When you thanked “Anne Wright and Robert Parry for YOUR timely essaY on Russia and the Russian People,” you are saying that they, together, wrote a [one] essay. Since I can’t tell that Parry did any work on Anne Wright’s piece (he can and did MASTERFULl copy-editing on two of my contributions), I assume you are thanking

      Assuming you are thanking Robert Parry for his article “MH-17 Probe’s Torture-Implicated Ally,” by thanking THEM for an essay (singular) throws off the reader. I’m not a picky reader but I lost at least 15 minutes trying to find Parry’s name associated with the Wright article.

      The way you’ve written it the words MEAN you are thanking Ann Wright and Robert Parry for the same essay (singular). IF that’s what you did intend, or if I have in any other way missed the obvious, please let me know in a slap down reply. I deserve it.

      Only in Alice in Wonderland do words change their meanings to mean whatever we want them to mean.

      • Bob Van Noy
        July 5, 2016 at 11:44

        Bart, I always include either Robert Parry or Consortium News in my thanks as presenters of timely information. So my thanks go to Ann Wright for presenting her experience and Robert Parry for presenting her experience here. I apologize if I confused you. I am so grateful for the ability to read an alternative position from the MSM, and then discuss that position that I can hardly contain myself.

        • Slavodar
          July 7, 2016 at 11:09

          don’t worry about it.
          You can thank to who-ever you want to, for what-ever reasons you have. Let nobody to tell you otherwise.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      July 5, 2016 at 20:49

      Bob Van Noy, July 5, 2016 at 8:53 , a question for clarification if I’ve misunderstood you.

      When you thanked “Anne Wright and Robert Parry for YOUR timely ESSAY on Russia and the Russian People,” you are saying that they, together, wrote a one essay. Since I can’t tell that Parry did any work on Anne Wright’s piece (he can and HAS MASTERFULLY copy-editing on one and possibly two of my contributions), I assume you are thanking Robert Parry for his article “MH-17 Probe’s Torture-Implicated Ally.”

      IF so, by thanking THEM for the way you thank them for an essay (singular) throws off the reader. I’m not a picky reader but I lost at least 15 to 20 minutes trying to find Parry’s name associated with the Wright article. The nearest article was the “MH-17 Probe…” The way you’ve thanked them MEANS you are thanking Ann Wright and Robert Parry for the same essay (singular). IF that’s what you did intend, or if I have in any other way missed the obvious, please let me know in a slap down reply. Only in Alice in Wonderland do words change their meanings to mean whatever we want them to mean.

      [I’m sorry to be posting this so late but, frankly, I was flip-flopped by the FBI’s amazing betrayal of the American people and of the country for which, in my lifetime, hundreds of thousands of American military have shed their blood… in vain.]

      • Slavodar
        July 7, 2016 at 11:13

        why are you making such a big deal out of this?
        Maybe he has other reasons to thank Robert as well. After all, by doing so, he’s not disrespecting anyone.

        Peace !!!

  18. dahoit
    July 5, 2016 at 08:26

    Its not Americans its the Zionists who hate Russia,along with all of us who are not of the pure blood.(thank God I’m a mutt!)
    Historical enmity writ huge by a bunch of criminal nazi scum.

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