With russophobia have to fight (The Guardian, UK)

Anti-Russian stereotypes in the West at every step. And the task of the media — not to spoil so important for Western relations with this country. The atmosphere is poisoned by a virus russophobia. What is it, you ask? This is when a teacher of English literature in a very respectable school, explaining to your daughter how to answer the exam question about the genre of comedy, says: 'Do not worry. Simply write: I am Russian, I have no sense of humor. "

Or when people did not hesitate for a minute, let go of jokes like: 'You are Russian, who does not like you to know what is corruption. " Or the author of a BBC documentary asks his translator, Russian woman in the Baltic region of Kaliningrad, 'Who do you feel — Russian or Europeans?' I wonder what kind of response he expected to hear? And here's another example: who do you think will select the main villains fashionable author of detective stories, having decided to write a thriller with aliens? Al-Qaeda, weaving a plot in Hackney? No, it would be politically incorrect, because in this area there are many Asians. But if Scottish police will hunt for Russian dissidents and oligarchs — is quite another matter. British media who are aware of the delicacy of the problem of race relations, avoid anything that might offend Muslims, but the idea that their article insulting to Russian, and no one would think of. Russians living in the West — if not the oligarchs, not a pop star, not a killer, and do not consider 'Putin's regime' most terrible disaster that has befallen the country since the days of Ivan the Terrible — to deal with all of this is not easy. I'm not saying that the Russians are discriminated against at work, or that every time I stand trash, neighbors suspect if I get rid of the remnants of polonium. Rather, it is about something else: some things people find it possible to speak without thinking about how they are perceived by the recipient. In a society rooted stereotypes disseminated by the media all Russian companies covered corruption and are puppets of the state, the ethnic minorities in the country are not allowed to speak their own language, and all Russian men — the macho chauvinists. The economy rests exclusively on the production of gas, and the Russian leadership is dreaming of how to capture half the world. News from Russia can only be bad. It's hard to blame journalists for trying to report something 'sensational': to tell the Russians go to the same stores and buy the same food as in the West — it is boring, but the report that in Moscow, opened its first men-only strip club — it's the 'hot news'. During the Russian-Georgian conflict, it is the perception came to the fore. The reaction of the vast majority of the media and politicians wearing anti-Russian — subconsciously them in advance, it was clear who was to blame. More objective publications have appeared much later. Why is the conflict in South Ossetia was given such importance? Because it involved Russia. Readers are given to understand that the tiny South Ossetia — it 'proto' like Kosovo, but no parallels with the NATO operation in the former Yugoslavia in support of Kosovar Albanians have been conducted. Asked what Russia needs to do to improve, russophobe answer: (1) to surrender and repent, (2) transfer control of natural resources to Western companies because they themselves Russian still can not operate them properly, (3) to limit the ambitions of cultural area, and (4) to award the Order of Boris Berezovsky as a fighter for democracy. What is fueling russophobia? Only the actions of Moscow itself can not explain it. In recent years, several powerful forces combined to give it a new impetus. 'Hladovoiny' found a new case on the shoulder. To deal with the familiar opponent, playing by the rules, much more comfortable than with the 'enemy among us, perhaps working in a nearby eatery. Western liberals who passionately believed in the democratic transformation of Russia on their own recipes, experienced frustration and switched energy outraged virtue to expose 'gebeshnogo Putin's regime'. They were joined by immigrants, who saw in 'uncovering the truth' about the Russian way to the top in their new homeland. What are the consequences resulting Russophobia? In economic terms, as we have seen BP and Shell, it is difficult for Western companies doing business in Russia. In political terms, it gives rise to mutual distrust and makes it impossible to open dialogue on issues of concern to both sides. In terms of safety, it turns militarization on both sides, undermining the achievements in the field of disarmament. Finally, it leads to the triumph of rhetoric that exacerbate polarization. Today, in contrast to the nineties, the Russian elite is reading English-language media, and she has a clear idea of what "the West against us." Why should we worry about it? The problem of perception is important — because Russia is now at a crossroads. It can move in the direction of further modernization and towards militarization. It can build a pragmatic, but a strong relationship with the West, and can put a spoke in the wheel in the world and focus on creating anti-Western alliances. The task of the Western intelligentsia — to realize that the stereotypes give rise to hostility, and do not miss the chance to prevent a new division of Europe. Maxim Korobochkin, Times Online published online inosmi.ru: December 15, 2008, 10:54 Original publication: Battling Russophobia

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