"The new generation, the new Russians who indulge in the consumer society remain very hostile to the West. They still see things through an East/West prism. They still believe that Nato is an offensive bloc surrounding Russia, they truly believe that one of these days one of the military exercises they organise will turn out to be real. They think very differently."
I think I'm in a position to say I know the Russian way of thinking and the above is true in some aspects, except that it is not as hostile as the quote makes out. In fact, the following is closer to the mark:
In the epic struggle between capitalism and communism, the ultimate winner is consumerism.
Like every citizen in every country, the Russian and the Brit want a slice of the consumer pie.
That is modern Russia in a nutshell - shop at all costs and buy the best brands on the never-never, with the most accessories possible . When you wake up, you might have to go to work, an irksome thing to many Russians but the spin-off is that you can shop in your breaks and after work. The palaces of glitz have sprung up everywhere and even if you can't afford to buy, you can pretend you are buying, the shopgirl helps you try on those new tops and skirts and you feel you're part of the jet-setting Gucchi and Armani set, the dream of most Russians.
Whereas the west has become gradually weaned off the Christian social mindset, the new god being consumerism, the Russians bypassed that Christian social mindset, having emerged from the godless communism of the USSR and something had to step into the breach once nanny had gone.
It wasn't going to be Christian compassion and sane values, especially as The Church had done zero to help the ordinary Russian during the totalitarianism. So politically, the average Russian has inherited his parents' and grandparents' prejudices, the media has told him what America is up to now, he prefers to leave it to Moscow to take care of and hopes Moscow leaves him in peace to get on with the shopping.
No one has rejected democracy - it's just not interesting.
Here in Britain, there is deep dislike of Russians at the official level but I've noticed the ordinary Eastern Europeans, at ground level, seem to be tolerated in the society. However, this is soured by both what is happening above and in the immigration conundrum. The attitude of both Russians and Brits worries me as it has been whipped up by these factors and plays on the natural fears on both sides.
I am in daily contact with both Russians and Brits, ordinary folk and I can vouch for the fact that neither have horns, neither wish the destruction of the other as they have other things on the mind like jobs, homes and family. In this confusion over what the politicos are telling us, there is a great danger that each of the peoples will be isolated from the other more and more, to the point where, if the politicos say the other side has done something dastardly, the common man will gladly spring to arms and march off to slaughter his hated foe.
It's the old, media fed illusion all over again. Apart from the scramble for rationed resources, there is no deepseated nationalistic reason for conflict whatsoever. It's all been whipped up, artificial. Take this one and this one. They say "Russia" did this, "Britain" did that. Since when did the discredited ones at the top earn the right to be called Russia or Britain?
People are people the world over. They are proud of their ethnicity, they think they're the best people in the world, they're nationalistic, they welcome visitors from abroad to stay with them, they like to travel, they have foibles, they are human.
That's all there is to it.