On the surface, this looks like a political game used by those in power to mobilize the people in the face of a large and dangerous enemy. After 20 years in the unfamiliar position of having no clear image of an enemy and a diluted external threat, Russia has grown weary of this uncertainty; she has longed for an enemy and has found one at last.
Under Soviet rule, we dreamed of overtaking America in the production of meat and milk, and now we’ve decided to surpass the entire world in the sparking of hatred toward the U.S. Back then, we lost the war of meat and milk to America: We rushed to attack, but we ran headlong into the empty shelves of Soviet stores. We were hurt. We hid. When we lost the Cold War, we were doubly hurt. And what have we done? We have blamed the Americans for their victory and have waited for our own time to come. Today, when it comes to despising the U.S., we have a real chance of becoming the world champion. There are, of course, serious competitors. But if we put in our best effort, we’ll succeed in outshining our colleagues from North Korea, Iran and a number of third-world countries. We are running well, breathing heavy. We will overtake them; we’re already on the home stretch of the race.
The claims against America have been formulated. The United States is the main international supporter of the color revolutions, undermining the foundations of government order in the former Soviet bloc — just as it does everywhere it has a chance. America is playing cat-and-mouse with us, building a long-term missile defense system against us, while assuring us that it is doing so with other countries in mind. America insinuates itself into our internal affairs, suppressing our sovereignty and imposing upon us its own values, which it considers to be the best in the world. America not only teaches us how to live, but also punishes the most prominent human rights violators by declaring that they are not welcome in America. The political game clots on this point like blood, and so begins the epidemic of hatred.
Realistically speaking, this hatred is only indirectly related to America. Moreover, in the field of foreign relations, America is really more of a partner than an enemy, and we — secretly — even occasionally play along with her; it is politically advantageous for us to treat this powerful country with respect and depend on her understanding. But it is precisely here that our psychological distress becomes apparent; this distress that at times morphs imperceptibly into insanity with a schizophrenic bent.
After all, it wasn’t long ago that we ourselves were in some sense analogous to America and called ourselves the USSR. We ourselves were a great power, respected worldwide, precisely because we were feared and hated, and because we required consideration.
But, rather than planting color revolutions on local property, we planted the seeds of a worldwide revolution that was meant to sweep away the entire capitalist system. We openly supported communist parties, helped them to gain power and supplied them with money and arms. We imposed socialism upon our Western neighbors while simultaneously demanding brotherly love. We were ready to do anything to maintain our global supremacy: We tricked people, and disoriented the lawful government. We created a powerful intelligence network, sailed the world’s oceans, staged nuclear tests no shabbier than those of the U.S., and our victorious troops stood in Central Europe ever ready for war. We cut Berlin in half, suppressed the anti-Soviet uprising in Hungary — not to mention our commitments in Afghanistan and Africa. We did all that! How could we, of all people, not be familiar with provocation?
And now we’re utterly confused as to how to relate to all of this. We seem to have rejected communism, but now — just as before, albeit more abstractly — we yearn for power. At night, the great body politic whines over the loss of its severed members, the union republics. But who severed them? How can we sew them back? And are we convinced that these members want to be stitched to us again?
The time has come for each of us to answer the question: Why do I hate America? And answer: to pass the test of patriotism. As a mark of protest, we will remove our jeans, stop watching American movies, give up the Disney cartoons that our Soviet country never loved, renounce hamburgers, jazz, MacBooks, iPads, the Internet and all the rest of that junk.
If we cannot find, for ourselves, sufficient justification for an ardent hatred of America, we must listen to our elder comrades and the political and religious elite. Finding themselves in a holy trance, they answer the question of why they hate America without hesitation: It is a vulgar country! A soulless nation! They feed their children tranquilizers, so the kids won’t get in the way of their vulgar and soulless lives!
We are prepared to deny the American people their talent, question their success, refuse to believe that they were on the moon and despise the way their little robot crawls — like a louse in stars and stripes — over the surface of Mars.
“Why do I hate America?” the typical citizen asks. “Because they, the bastards, live better than us! We hate America because of our own impotence. She won’t speak to us as equals!”
From within this current incarnation of animosity, there has erupted a bruised ego and a serious inferiority complex. America today, she’s huge. And we? We are tiny. And though of course we really aren’t that small, we’re not that big anymore either. And so we shout and yell at America, declaring that we hate her, and she goes about her business and takes no notice. We’re pushing all her buttons, rising in protection of our orphans who, due to our government’s callousness and lack of foresight, have ended up in the enemy’s lair. We demand the return home of our disabled children, who in all actuality will not be cured outside the U.S. It is terrifying to say this, but in the depths of our souls we rejoice when their foster parents are accused of abuse, because these criminals then become the common image of all Americans. And if touching family pictures hang on the refrigerators of every American home, well, then they are doing this on purpose to make us believe in their sincerity. But we’re not fools! And we gloat when they have scandals surrounding race, the illegal torture of international terrorists on military bases, or suffer financial turmoil. Why shouldn’t America crack at the seams? We won’t mind. They’re always shooting up their own schools, we say with a nasty smile. They’re a nation of stupid people. They themselves openly admit this. I’m sorry, but we haven’t noticed anything like this on our own soil! Within their own democracy, these Mr. Scotts — as our country’s clowns jokingly refer to the American people — have reached their own moral self-destruction.
We refuse to admit that despite all her mistakes and woes, the U.S. is essential to the international community. But how? As a global policeman? Perhaps America is the lesser of the evils that wander this earth.
No, we will measure our patriotism by our hatred for America. Whoever hates America the most is the greatest patriot. Whoever hates less vehemently has let down their guard. Whoever dares to defend America is either a fool or a fifth column. After all, what insults a Russian the most? It is when he is not respected. And when it comes right down to it, do the Americans respect the Russians? Our intelligent patriots tell us that Russians in American films are portrayed as fools, mangling the English language. We are portrayed as fools because they are the real fools. Americans don’t like our country. More precisely, however, they don’t like our government.
In reality, they simply do not appreciate how our bureaucratic democracy is rising from its knees. They have no patience for us. In response, we declare that human rights and freedom of conscience are defended. And they say that it’s impossible for any country to have a perfect record regarding these values, but it’s near perfect in their country? That means they’re hypocrites!
This is how American professors and intellectuals harp on Russia: We love the Russia of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, Turgenev and Chekhov, and we like Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn, who also disliked your government. We, declare the snobs of America, do not understand how in a country of such great writers there arose such a monstrous state.
And here our hatred boils up again. Why are you snobs nosing around in our business? You’re sending our deepest convictions to war. In all likelihood, it seems we simply possess an entirely different value system. They love money, and we hate money to such an extent that we find it deplorable to earn any. They are cynics and egotists but pretend to be lovers of collective action, from picnics to beauty pageants. They want their government to serve them while we, on the other hand, would give up our lives for those in power. We have believed in God now for 20 years, and we’re working out our beliefs a lot more effectively than they are, because our God is better than the Americans’. And over and over again they say that we’ve only got the façade of democracy, and under that façade is an age-old tyranny. We’re sick of it! We don’t even really need democracy, we don’t need these games — we were even fine with Stalin.
Under Stalin, in the second half of the 1940s, we experienced the first epidemic of hatred toward America. But because the war had just ended in which the Americans had been our allies, not everyone succumbed to the disease. They cowered, and did not succumb. In some ways, our current epidemic is more terrifying. In the past, it was accomplished by order of those authorities that had ideological conflicts with America. The hatred being sparked today has an openly ethnic character. Perhaps this seems illicit to someone? They can go to hell!