Ukraine, Russia: Dreams of a Biased Person

Global Voices Online
Friday, June 16, 2006

Ukrainian LJ user parasolya may admit to her anti-Russian bias a bit too eagerly, but all she wants is for Ukraine to be on friendly - and neutral - terms with Russia, a democratic variation of the USSR, sort of (UKR):

I've borrowed a Russia [photo] album at work, they were being distributed at one of the seminars. Published by [Russian state-owned news agency] RIA Novisti.

You are aware of my attitude toward Russia - to say that I don't like this country is to not say all of it. I am very biased against the country and its citizens.

But this album was so beautifully done that it practically made me want to go to Russia on vacation.

I know that there's nothing except these album pictures that I find attractive about Russia.

And yet, as I was looking through the album, I kept dreaming: there's no more tension between Russia and its neighbors. Russians come to Ukraine, Ukrainians go to Russia on holidays. All very polite, as in European countries. Democracy has won in our countries, everyone has decent incomes, no one is placing the blame on the neighbors. Russia sells gas to Ukraine at world prices, and it doesn't affect the Ukrainian economy because it can stand the competition. We've joined NATO all together :). No, I'm not dreaming this far.

But I do dream of being able to come to Russia and, first, not to be asked to show regstration stamp; second, not to be bothered about Crimea, teased about salo, Ukrainian girls selling their bodies on Russian roads, or gastarbeiters (Ukrainian or other), not to be told that Ukraine is a small piece of Russia and that soon "you'll crawl back to us on your knees" [...].

[...] On weekends, it's possible to make a quick trip abroad, to Russia - all the way to the North, to live in a yurt, something like green tourism, or travel down the Trans-Siberian Railroad, stopping at clean little train stations where they sell souvenirs and postcards with local views. Well, and there's internet in every yurt, and one can ask a friend from Latvia or Poland what present he'd like on the way back.

A USSR of sorts. Only each one of us is in his own country, visits others, spends money, buys souvenirs, or does some business. And everything is based on Europe's democratic values.

Because photos in the album were so good, it seemed that Russia is a democratic European country.

Some Ukrainian commenters think (UKR) that parasolya's dreams aren't utopian at all:

molokovoz: Your dream isn't that far from reality. This is how it is, approximately.

parasolya: Where?

molokovoz: In Russia. The only actively and aggresively anti-Ukrainian Russian I met was in Mongolia -)) Maybe there's no internet in the yurts, but satellite antennas are in every tiniest village along the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

parasolya: [...] Of course, face to face, we're all nice people, but as soon as we start talking politics, there we go...


I agree - I'm too biased. But I'm still living in the Russian-language media space. I admit and repent. But I can't help it yet. Maybe I'm too politically-minded myself. I have relatives in Russia as well. I try to look at the situation from a distance, but it works less and less. Even with my Russian colleague, with whom I'm on very friendly terms - as soon as we touch upon the issue of the Ukrainian-Russian relationship, it ends with "and Crimea is Russian [territory]!"


libellule_fun: There are normal Russians. But very few. But they do exist. Which means not everything has been lost yet :)


oleg_pavliv: I'd say that Moscow is overly politicised and anti-Ukrainian. I was on vacation in Karelia last year and no one claimed that "Crimea belonged to us" there.

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