I arrived in Russia a little less than a decade ago and while living there I travelled extensively and talked to everyone that was willing to talk to me. At the time, I was an optimist and genuinely enjoyed meeting new people, hearing new perspectives, having adventures and so on. Like all people, I had many stereotypes about Russia in my head going in that painted my expectations that were quickly dispelled. More than anything, I wanted to see a race of stoic, sullen, semi-sober Slavs living in a modern-day Sparta.
To be fair, some creature comforts were lacking. The bedding situation in particular drove me up the wall. It was either some ancient soviet futon relics or a cheap, low, single mattress IKEA bed hastily thrown together that I sagged through. Either way, you wake up feeling like you’ve been mugged in your sleep and you carry that attitude with you through the first half of your day.
But, apart from the bedding crisis that no one seemed willing to do anything about, there was very little else in the way of Sparta. I found that the vast majority of people that I interacted with in the cities were Liberals, and the few suburbaners and rural folk that would visit the city on holidays were simply drunks. This characterization of the situation can be applied equally to all of the lands of Eastern Slavdom and the post-USSR – all territories that rightfully belongs to us by right of conquest and geo-strategic imperative, mind you. Actually, this characterization applies to America as well. The rural and suburban wastes of America are filled with morbidly obese, drug-addled, brutalized peasants that have been deliberately subjected to economic, political and psychological warfare.
Liberals will admit the same and sniff that only provincials support Putin because they worship strong leaders and believe what the TV tells them. In America, MAGA country starts where the megacity stretching from Boston to Richmond ends. There are a few differences, I suppose, but I realized that I had read about this urban v rural divide occurring all the way back among the Greeks, then among the city-dwelling Churchians who waged war in the name of Yahweh on the traditional heathen (a slur for provincials) countryside. And the various utopian political projects that came along later went out of their way to gut the traditional countryside as well. In England, the villages and the common land was destroyed first, followed by France where Parisian street gangs were unleashed on the monarchists in the sticks, and finally in Russia where the peasants were deliberately starved and then moved to the commieblocks to become proletarians.