Of all the Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its war in Ukraine, none has bothered pro-Kremlin mouthpieces more than the dwindling opportunities to travel abroad. They loudly proclaim that they don’t care, but even carefully planned conversations on state television and in print reveal the Achilles’ heel of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Putin’s propagandists claim to hate the decadent West but prefer to live, study, shop, retire and send their offspring there.
In an interview published this Friday, popular Russian film director Egor Konchalovsky told the pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda how much the growing gap bothers him: “I’m disappointed. The West has betrayed us. After the collapse of the USSR, it seemed to us that we would become part of Europe, a grandiose free world from Lisbon to Vladivostok, where we would use credit cards in expensive shops in Paris.”
Skillfully avoiding acknowledgment that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had caused the rift, Konchalovsky grumbled, “It seemed like a great world was opening up. But it opened exactly for a second when it was favorable for Great Britain and the United States … Suddenly – phew! And we no longer hear: are you a good Russian or a bad Russian? no Now all Russians are bad!” He added: “The West disappeared surprisingly quickly. Now we’re on our own. With an inward gaze. And I find that very good.”
The interviewer, journalist Vladimir Vorsobin, frankly asked: “So what’s so good about it? Most of my acquaintances still dream of teaching children in Europe. Every villager in Russia dreams of green lawns, a house and a pub. What will you replace this American dream with? A return to the Soviet Union?”
Konchalovsky didn’t have good answers: “In today’s world it would be very difficult, even ‘claustrophobic’, to go back to the USSR. Let’s not be upset that we can’t yet answer the question of where are we going.” To sweeten the pot, the director said that Russia is not completely isolated and can look to China or India instead of the West. He added: “I am convinced that a new community of states will emerge in which Russia will play the most influential, if not the most important, role.”
Admitting that not everyone in his family supports Russia’s war against Ukraine, still dubbed a “special military operation” by Putin’s regime, Konchalovsky claimed, “This is a clash of civilizations in which Russia is on the side of light.” stands, and the West embarked on the path of Satanism. And we are now fighting against values that are simply the opposite of what we stand for, against absolute evil.” Konchalovsky failed to reconcile the claim that the West represents absolute evil with his sadness that he couldn’t travel freely or live in this supposedly dark place.
Similar contradictions permeate state TV shows, where presenter Vladimir Solovyov can’t stop bringing up his confiscated Italian villas and admits he’s waiting “until better times” to renew his expired US visa. head of rt Margarita Simonyan has repeatedly admitted that she had only stopped traveling to the United States out of fear of being arrested for failing to appear following official communications related to federal investigations into election interference.
The same talking heads try their best to convince ordinary Russians that they’re better off at home. During her appearance on Tuesday’s state television show The evening with Vladimir Solovyov, Simonyan argued that the West has lost its appeal. Talking about her family’s travels during the Soviet era to visit relatives in Holland, Simonyan recounted her shock when she discovered that the relatives’ doghouse was larger than the entire Simonyans’ hut in the Krasnodar region.
Aside from the fact that many in Russia’s provincial regions still live in poverty and without running water, Simonyan argued that Western luxury no longer inspires the same kind of longing or jealousy as it did in the 1990s. She berated New York as dirty and smelly, criticized London for not being able to function in certain weather conditions, and described Moscow as “the best city in the western world”. Simonyan exclaimed: “We tried everything. We have seen everything. You didn’t realize we were overwhelmed when we realized it was better here!” In stark contrast to Simonyan’s enthusiastic chatter, other panelists in the studio stared down grimly and remained expressionless.
Konchalovsky’s interview provided a revealing glimpse into what might have been going through the minds of the dour propagandists and their audiences, whose lives and future prospects were forever changed by Putin’s imperial ambitions.
The director lamented the loss of his “American dream”: “I’m talking about a tragedy! We have been living for the American dream for many years. Well, who doesn’t want a home? A jeep? A swimming pool? A university, a good job, to go to the Maldives?” Vorsobin chimed in, “I’m pretty sure that’s still what everyone wants.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/team-putin-whines-about-all-the-western-things-they-miss?source=articles&via=rss Team Putin whines about all the western things they miss