Translator’s note: this article appeared in issue 30 Russian weekly newspaper “Arguments and Facts” on July 23rd, 2014. All the original vocabulary has been translated as closely as possible. I swear.
Friends and Foes of Russia. Whom do we value and whom we cannot tolerate
What states and why are considered enemies by Russians, and who are considered to be the friends of our country.
The issue of who around you has a friendly disposition, and who is being unfriendly, is not only important for the individual. From time to time this question has to be answered by entire nations.
Recently “Levada-Center” asked the Russians: what countries, to their mind, regard Russia with animosity, and which can be considered friendly? We tried to assume why our compatriots sorted our friends and enemies in this way, and not another. And then we asked an expert to comment on the survey results.
Belarus. They are almost the same as us, their president is Lukashenko who is concerned with the regular folk and does not give away companies to be robbed by the filthy rich. He is possibly the only ally Russia has on the Western front.
China. A Russian and a Chinese man are “brothers forever”: we sell them weapons and gas, and they sell us the rest.
Kazakhstan. This is where the skating rink “Medeo” is located, a friendly President Nazarbayev and a lot of Russian-speaking population. An ally in the CIS, OTCS and the Customs Union.
Armenia. A very ancient Christian country. Hopes for Russia’s help to solve the conflicts with Azerbaijan. And they make good cognac…
India. Hindi Rusi pkhai pkhai! And they also make movies with music and dances, as well as cheap medicine.
Cuba. The island of freedom, which snubbed the US. Famous for the best free healthcare in the world, cigars and “Havana Club” rum.
Azerbaijan. A big buyer for Russian weaponry. They also have tasty tomatoes!
Bulgaria. Bulgarians are our “brothers,” Bulgaria is a former almost 16th republic of the USSR. It’s a pity it later joined the NATO.
The US. They surround Russia with NATO bases and air-defense systems, they are trying to rip former Soviet republics from under our wing. Finally, they are the only country in the world which is capable of destroying Russia with its nuclear arsenal.
Ukraine. The government in the country was captured by Rusophobes and Banderites, which are waging war against their own people.
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. The Russian-speaking population is being persecuted in these countries, and they fled the USSR to join the NATO.
Georgia. The descendants of Saakashvili, who started a war against South Ossetia in 2008.
The UK. They did not extradite Berezovsky to Russia, and warmly accommodated other oligarchs from our country. Pompous and holier-than-thou. And also Churchill took a long time opening the second front!
Germany. The Germans have everything we don’t. For example, order, good roads and cars. And we had serious problems with them between 1941 and 1945.
The “Levada-Center” survey was conducted between May 23 and 26 of 2014 among 1600 people aged 18 and over in 130 localities of 45 regions in the country.
Expert opinion. Vladimir Yevseyev, direct of the Center for Socio-Political Investigation:
“Less than a year ago “Arguments and Facts” asked me to comment on the survey regarding the same topic. However since that time, dramatic changes happened within the lists of our friends and enemies. Who would have though a year ago that Ukraine would take second place among our enemies? However after the tragic events in Odesa and the bloody ‘antiterrorist’ operation in Russian-speaking regions of the southeast, it happened! Of course, Ukraine’s “silver” on the list was also influenced by the position by the Russian media, but nobody is saying the US is not to blame either. While they practiced their “orange” technologies not just in the Near and Middle East, but in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia, Moscow took it with gritted teeth. But when it came to the “soft underbelly,” to Ukraine, and in this neofascist form, we’ve had enough…
Therefore the US took their rightful first place on the list of our enemies. European NATO members also became part of the list. I would argue against concrete places of some of the countries: for example, I would put the UK in second place, and I would put the Baltic states and Georgia (by the way, in last year’s survey they immediately followed the US), as countries who don’t pose any military threat to us, at the very end.
The matter with our friends is somewhat more complicated. Last year I already wrote that our country’s problem is not the abundance of enemies, but the lack of allies. Since then the situation has worsened. Personally, I wouldn’t call neither Belarus nor Kazakhstan an ally of the Russian Federation, otherwise they would have supported us without compromise in the Crimean issue, for example. These countries are our strategic parters, and they are not the most influential. In the “friends” rating, I would put them before Azerbaijan which ended up on the list only thanks to the big diaspora in Russia, I assume. I would give the first places to China and India, but they are not ready to improve the quality of their relations with the Russian Federation yet. They are waiting who will win in the conflict surrounding Ukraine: ourselves or the West. Immediately after I would place the country that never made the top-ten friendly list – Iran. Potentially, it is our strategic parter.
I would explain Cuba and Bulgaria’s presence on the list exclusively with our peoples’ nostalgia for their Soviet past. We recently gave billion of dollars to the island of liberty, however it is too early to speak of reciprocity. Bulgarians are “Slavic brothers,” it would seem, but who is creating problems for Russia regarding “South Stream”? I would have taken these countries out of the list and replaced them with Hungary and Slovakia probably, the potential partnership with which, I hope, is a matter of the nearest future.”
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina