What Would You Teach America?
We could be to America an example of stoicism, patience and the ability to survive in monstrous sociopolitical conditions.
Translated By Aleksandra J. Chlon
29 October 2012
Edited by Daye Lee
Russia - Kommersant - Original Article (Russian)
The State Duma conducted parliamentary hearings on the U.S.’ respect for human rights. Diplomats called for the U.S. authorities to abolish the death sentence, to shut down Guantanamo and to stop talking about the U.S. as a world leader in the protection of rights.
“The ability to communicate. My friends from the U.S. like talking to Russians exactly because Russians go to a friend with their misfortunes, whereas Americans go to a psychotherapist. People in the U.S. don’t tend to talk about their problems. Human interaction in Russia has a much bigger meaning than in America. It’s a difficult thing to teach — there’s a reason why they talk about the "enigmatic Russian soul." The main thing is not to think that we lack something compared to them.”
— Svetlana Zhurova, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Social Policy
“I wouldn’t like to teach America, Asia or Europe anything. You have to come to grips with things at home — raise the level of economic competitiveness, protect your own interests. Those who are interested in our experience will apply it, but to take America’s path and propagate something to someone else — that’s not our method. Russia has always distinguished itself with its modesty. That’s what many have learned from Russia.”
— Viktor Evtukhov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade
“Quick decision-making. The road that took other countries a hundred years to cross, we did in twenty. Russia has a greater potential to develop and create than the U.S. has. And anyway, we are wrong to think that in America there are no problems with human rights, corruption and the political system. It’s perhaps not worth teaching one another, but it’s always useful to exchange experiences.”
— Andrei Danilenko, president of Russian Farms Group of Companies; he was born, studied and worked from 1986-89 in the U.S.
“I don’t know. But I think that the claims of Russian deputies against the U.S. are completely fair.”
— Nikolai Bordiuzha, Secretary General of Collective Security Treaty Organization
“I would not take on the role of mentor. If someone uses a magnifying glass to find faults in others, then that means that everything’s not all right with him. Russia does not need to be instructed; she will take care of herself. It is not necessary to confront one another. Let them come to us, see what is in fact happening in our country and then we’ll go to them. And each of us will surely be persuaded that not everything is so bad.”
— Nikolai Denin, governor of the Bryansk region
“Creativity. Americans have a routine approach to everything. One carries the ladder, the other screws in the light bulb and the labor union does not allow you to act differently. We have a creative country. Here, we carry the ladder and screw in the light bulb at the same time.”
— Evgenii Kardash, Deputy General Director of the Association of Russian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
“I don’t want to go to them with advice and ask them to keep to the same approach. It is strange that the U.S. criticizes Russia for its harsh reactions to violations during demonstrations. Not so long ago they themselves resorted to force against protesters taking part in Occupy Wall Street, and now they’re criticizing us. It’s clear that somebody is behind this.”
— Sergei Neverov, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, Secretary of the Presidium of the General Council of the United Russia party
“I would not teach America, but rather, its deputies to not think in "asymmetric responses." The country faces many problems. Americans need to take care of them instead of simulating a war with spies and repeatedly blaming their problems on mythical CIA intrigues. It’s a shame that the energy of their government is invested in discussing opportunistic issues and not on genuine, constructive work.”
— Ella Pamfilova, Chairman of the Civic Dignity movement
“We could be to America an example of stoicism, patience and the ability to survive in monstrous sociopolitical conditions. Other nations have long ago disappeared or gone crazy, whereas we will remain Russian people with our primordial codes. A part of these codes is, for instance, the commitment to a central idea of governing. The exchange of reproaches is an element of, if not a cold war, a war of information.”
— Aleksandr Prokhanov, Editor-in-chief of Zavtra
“The ability to adhere to agreements and not meddle in other countries’ businesses. It seems to me that the hearings in the State Duma are directed at Romney. If he wins, I hope he will not get too carried away with fulfilling the pre-election promises as far as Russia is concerned.”
— Ermukhamet Ertysbaev, adviser to the president of Kazakhstan
“America needs to learn to do away with double standards. Very often they say one thing but do the opposite. This was clearly demonstrated in the case of my husband. Everyone knows that America is the biggest supplier of weapons and that it supplied weapons to Georgia. And these weapons killed hundreds of soldiers and peaceful inhabitants. The same applies to democracy. I gave the U.S. media lots of interviews. I expressed an alternative opinion which could have given people the opportunity to look at the situation differently. Not a single interview was published."
— Alla Bout, the wife of Viktor Bout, who was convicted in the U.S.
“Survival. If they found themselves in our conditions, they would not survive. We, on the other hand, would survive in their conditions.”
— Boris Nuraliev, CEO of 1C
“To not shove their democracy, their desires and their standards down other countries’ throats. When we say that everything’s not quite right in their country, it offends them; but at the same time they are constantly teaching us how to live. What have they done with Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan? With Hussein and Gadhafi? Every country has its nation, its traditions. If somebody doesn’t like this, that doesn’t mean that it is all destined to be destroyed.”
— Pavel Bure, World Champion hockey player and Olympic medalist
“I don’t think that we should set ourselves to the task of educating Americans. We simply want to show that there are no faults in our system. They still don’t know who will be president.”
— Nikita Belykh, governor of the Kirov region
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