Its February 2015 and it can hardly be called a time of joy in Russia. Now we’ve started looking back at the seemingly glorious moments from the recent past, assessing their consequences and sometimes redefining their value. To be ultimately honest, I have to admit something. Actually, when the Crimea became a part of Russia, I was beside myself with joy. Was this festive mood genuine or a mere result of state propaganda – doesn’t really matter now.
The only thing that matters is the aftermath of the affair that is, to put it mildly, kind of complex. Russian territory has increased as well as its population, which might lift one’s spirits. We’ve got some more spots to extract oil from. The Russian Black Sea fleet has retained its safe haven in Sevastopol. Yet the triumph, when looked at within some time’s interval, appears bittersweet.
Surely Russia has known calamities much worse than the deprivation of some Western goods like Norwegian fish. No doubt Russians can survive, especially when fed lavishly with ‘the-West-is-to-blame-for-whatever-hard-becomes-of-us’- and ‘finally-the-time-has-come-to-appreciate-Russian-goods’ like propaganda. Russian warrior soul has its part to play, mind you.
But, when compared to what we used to have access to, the current situation appears – I wouldn’t say ‘terrible’, for Russians can and will live on – but at least truly unnerving. Acquiring high-tech inventions from the West will be quite a grueling task from now on. Well, it’s already started to be like this.
This, in turn, creates a hindrance for completing the mission vital for Russian economy – reinvigorating the industrial production. Consequently, it will be even harder, if plausible at all, to diversify the national income. The sanctions imposed on Russia have resulted in prices on Western-imported goods soaring (I mean the goods considered somewhat unworthy to be sanctioned by the Russian government), trips to Western destinations and studying in the West.
By all evidence, the government is trying to distract the people from pondering over what’s happened. Instead of telling us about the frightening ramifications of late March 2014 events, they attempt to make us think proudly of, as declared by the President, returning a site holding a ‘sacred’ meaning for Russian history. All right then.
But wait. Do the Russian audience have to assume that the real reason for getting the Crimea back – with all the violence committed to Russian soldiers – was its being, according to ancient Russian chronicles, a scrap of land where Grand Duke Vladimir was baptized an Orthodox? Personally, I’d rather accept – and with some understanding even – the idea of acquiring it as a rebuff to NATO expansion to the East.
Instead of facing reality, we’ll be offered a yet another chance to admire the outstanding organization of the Sochi Olympics and the equally outstanding performance of Russian athletes (in fact, both Olympics things were tremendously great, without any exaggeration here). No doubt, reminding the public of the glorious past is a much more effective leverage than accommodating them to the lukewarm glee of reality.
All this is weighing upon one’s shoulders and haunting one’s mind. I’ve never really felt any embarrassment for being born a Russian. Even now, with all the problems an average Russian citizens to face, I don’t feel anything of the kind.
Watching Russia sink into deep recession and being unable to do anything, while the actions of those entitled to act are futile, is just overwhelming. Why worry, though? Maybe these worries are a simple sign of patriotism, which might seem to be waning, but, like embers left after the fire’s subsided, is still clinging to life?