This veteran Russia observer, previously the publisher of The Russia Journal, sees a very different Russia than the one routinely demonized in the Western media. Ajay Goyal
When seen in real life, the procession of ordinary Russians with pictures of their relatives who fought in WW2, is truly heart-rending. In 2017, 800,000 people took part in Moscow. Countrywide, it was over 10 million, with people marching in towns and cities large and small.
Some five years ago, veteran Russia observers, true Russia Insiders, noticed two changes in the 9th of May Victory Day parade in Moscow. I share these observations with friends who have lived in Russia through the travails of her chaotic journey of the last 25 years. The Russia we know is fundamentally different from its portrayal in the western media.
The first change was an addition of a procession of civilians carrying pictures of their relatives who died in the Second World War. It is a march of millions, walking solemnly with pictures and placards of their own from among the 26 million lost in the war.
Aptly named ‘The Immortal Regiment’, it represents a humane, kind, gentle, emotional and compassionate side of the modern Russian people that is unknown in the west. On display are the lasting pain and deep scars of a Russian civilization that has extracted itself from a past of ghastly wars and repressions and is now a gentler and open, democratic society.
This March of Immortals follows the traditional military parade and the second noticeable change is very much in line with the first; it is the mood of the soldiers marching in perfect lockstep. They are a radiant, smart army, smiling from ear to ear. This parade of smiling soldiers reflects a newly relaxed and confident Russia.
This is an invincible defensive force that is modern, agile and confident in its ability. No matter how powerful, expensive and well supplied the aggressive militaries and alliances massing on their border, Russians are determined to never again fight a war of aggression from the West or South on their own land. They will get in a lethal blow against any aggressor, first.
Russia has a new attitude and national doctrine that will check American wars of aggression and regime change in its neighboring regions, destroy jihadist armies marauding the Middle East, kill terrorists in their breeding grounds, and never permit a repeat of the Nazi wars to exterminate the Russian people. These traits of confidence, strength and liveliness are integral to the new Russian national mood.
The new Russia we see is not only deeply attached to its past of heroism and sacrifice in war but also confident in its future as a prosperous, invincible, unified nation building a new dream.
While the western media and politicians are lobbing a daily torrent of invective and hatred, Russians are busy building a new nation, a new life of peace and harmony. What James Adams described as “The American Dream” in his book The Epic of America in 1931 is the only way to describe the new Russian mood and determined march toward creating a prosperous and spiritual Russia.
The real story of this massive continent and civilization is one of coexistence in peace of dozens of ethnic people, multi-religious communities, races, languages and cultures now glued together by common dreams of prosperity, without an ideology. It is not one, but a million stories of triumph of human endeavor and spirit over the tragic past and extreme hardship that are untold in the west. Russia has never had such momentum toward peaceful and prosperous co-existence before and it marks a remarkable turn in the long history of this continent and its people.
The Russian army with its smiles and its millions of civilians marching somberly send a message to the world of a proud people, certain of their strength, devoid of aggression, determined to create a new and good life on these lands.
I see a new Russia that is calmly confident and free of internal strife, where extreme ideologies are marginalized. People are determined to pursue wealth and spiritual harmony in equal measure. For the first time in its long history of over a thousand years, Russia evokes a sense of normalcy. The Russian dream of achieving a “normal country” – a nation of laws – is nearly achieved and now Russians are aspiring for more – a life of prosperity and spiritual fullness. In the face of western aggression, Russia is rebuilding a civilization which is hard-earned, and for which its people are grateful.
For a people slated for extermination by the Nazis, security is a paramount concern but not an obsession because it is a task accomplished. Moving on, the daily mood of the nation is devoted to living a good life, driving a good car, owning an apartment and a dacha, vacationing abroad several times a year, and for the newly wealthy, having homes in the French Riviera and Cyprus, sailing the oceans, giving their children the best education and sports training, winning Olympic medals and achieving greatness in science and art.
American media and the political elites’ accusations and sanctions toward Russia are being shrugged away with anecdotes. The sanctions are welcomed by entrepreneurs because they have finally forced the Russian bureaucracy to shed its lethargy and support domestic industry and agriculture. Russians are even grateful for barrages of abuse in western media because they no longer need to put up with the shameful spectacle of appeasement and groveling toward western elites by Russia’s own liberal charlatans.
Russians are well aware of the accusations, insults and abuse being heaped on them in the nightly entertainment shows and mainstream press. In their demonization of Russia, these talented but ignorant western writers and comics have turned Russophobia into an entertainment genre. But history teaches that they will only be remembered for turning journalism into a degraded farce not much different from the anti-Semitic and anti-Russia propaganda of Goebbels.
Russians see this unprecedented barrage of abuse for what it is – fear mongering - so that when the time comes, ordinary Americans who know no better can be thrust into a war to satiate the needs of the military industrial complex. Russians know history and they know how wars on Russia have been fueled through centuries by Russophobe media and propaganda.
Confident in their ability to defend against any coming aggression, Russians nonchalantly look at media attacks with the knowledge that western journalists’ insults of Russia are ultimately caricatured failures of their own societies and nations and are a precursor of their own downfall.
The Russia that we, Russia Insiders know, is a locomotive of peace, security and prosperity in the vast expanses of Eurasia.