Beer, jeans and the mysterious Russian culture

If my culture is on the verge of extinction, it may not be mainly because of ‘Putin and his dictatorial regime’ (which may have added a twopence, too). It may be, to a certain extent, because of capitalism and the Western ‘values’ and ‘democracy’.

How horrible was the Soviet time, and how blessed is the blissful joy of Russian capitalism driving my country into the rocks. Then people used to rot in prison camps, and now they rot in front of TVs with a beer and a packet of chips. Because now, praised be the free market and the invisible hand, we have chips and unlimited supply of beer. And jeans. Oh bliss, we have jeans.

The TV is probably worse. In camps, people died for their idea of a society which Russia used to be, or potentially could be. They were dying for the ideas of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. They were dying for something that was lost and would never return.

In front of TVs, my countrymen are rotting for nothing, without a flicker of thought in their eyes, only the reflection of the flicker of reality shows which we fashioned so well after their Western prototypes and adapted to our mysterious Russianness.

Many Europeans will label me ‘pro-Putin, anti-European’. But I am not pro anything, neither anti. The reality is a bit more complex than being either of these…

Except I am pro-Nabokov, who said…

The admirable reader does not seek information about Russia in a Russian novel, for he knows that the Russia of Tolstoy or Chekhov is not the average Russia of history but a specific world imagined and created by individual genius


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