All I Want For Christmas…

I am getting more and more disappointed in Russian society. I can’t believe I am saying this. I always used to say that the country has potential and healthy forces. Whenever others told me that nothing good would ever come out of Russia, I would always argue and remind others how much society has changed in 1991/92. I still have a lot of newspaper clippings from that time. I remember how we were hungry but hopeful and open to new ideas. I remember how in 1996, none of us, recent arrivals to the US, planned to stay here forever. We talked about going back and bringing back with us all the knowledge, all the new ways of doing things that we learned. I thought … well, does it matter what I thought back then?! 

I am shocked to find an imperial mindset in many people I thought were completely normal, intelligent, and understanding. The most frustrating thing is that these people do not understand that they have this problem. The level of entitlement is skyrocketing. I am horrified that I never paid enough attention to that and never noticed the level of this ignorance in the people surrounding me. 

Last weekend, Anna and I talked a lot about that. (This recording of Chervona Kalina I posted a couple of days ago was made during our conversation – there was a lot of singing). For many years, I told Anna that most of the Russian political opposition is not that much better than Putin and that being against Putin is not enough to be a decent person. Now she said she realized that. The opposition is continuous frustration and disappointment. Why do they feel OK behaving like a Big Brother when they come to other countries? Why do they believe that opposing Putin entitles them to some special treatment? Anna told me that at the beginning of the war, she thought that although Ukrainians are wholly entitled to say as harsh words about Russians as they want, they are indeed too harsh. But now, she says, she has concluded that the Ukrainians were right from the beginning. And that’s how I feel, as well. 

I can’t believe that even now, many people who once again seemed to be completely normal complain about the inability to travel to Europe as if it’s the worst thing in the world. There are a few of my very long-time friends who are not like this, but so few!

As for us, we feel the weight of collective guilt, and it’s more than just a word for me. There were many facts that I chose to ignore, not pay attention to, and not analyze. I have already said multiple times that I am not sure where I would be if I didn’t immigrate. I was thinking about myself thirty years ago, and I can’t be certain I would be on the right side of history. That’s why the blame is on me, and I can’t imagine people going around with their holiday activities without Ukraine in the background. 

I know that all I want for Christmas is a victory for Ukraine. Not peace, but victory. 

9 thoughts on “All I Want For Christmas…

    1. Я знаю! Но то, насколько единичны такие семьи, меня убило. Извини, я тут продолжу по-английски, потому что иначе у многих будут сложности :). What I am saying I am shocked by how deeply this imperial mindset is engraved in our mentality, and I am saying “our” because I am not an exception. I think about all the things we were taught in grade school, if not earlier, and I do not understand why I never questioned them. I feel deep guilt as a part of the generation that COULD put a Communist Party on trial, and we didn’t. I was there. OK, maybe a little bit preoccupied with two newborns :), but still. When I was consulting in Smolny in 1995, when I saw clearly that all the old communist “appart” was there, in the same rooms as they used to be, including Putin, I just laughed at it and never thought what a thread to us and to the rest of the world, this situation bears. I can’t stop going back to these days and asking myself: what did we do wrong? What did I do wrong? Why I didn’t care? Why did we let it go? Why we forgot that we need to “kill the dragon in each and single soul?”

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      1. Это я, Чит
        Зарегистрировалась, чтобы удобнее было комментировать
        По существу – мы были уверены, что это прошло и не вернется. И не заметили, как власть взяли кгбшники со всеми вытекающими ((

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        1. Все, теперь я тебя освободила :). Ты понимаешь, меня убивает то, что Я ТОГДА ВИДЕЛА. Я была в Смольном в 95 ом. Видела – и не видела. Не хотела видеть.

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            1. Так я и виню себя, а не других :(. Раз ты теперь с логином сюда, то можешь лайкать, я буду знать, что ты прочитала.

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