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Why Do They Hate Us? Episode 1: Russia
Now what's this all about?
Hello Friends! Welcome to my hub. I wanted to make this hub since I grew up with the much of the world hating my home country, the US, including an uneasy tsundere-esque relationship with the country my parents are from, and the country I most identify with, China.
So now that I'm of the age and pretty well informed with the goings on of the world, I wanted to take a look at the reasons why various countries around the world absolutely seem to HATE America. Note that I will be taking liberal use of satire.
Now then let's get started with America's arch-nemesis and sparring partner, the Great Country of the Tundra, Россия.
Russia: Friendly Acquaintance to Ideological Foe
Once upon a time, there was a little country called America. Apparently it bordered Canada to the South and was growing at an astounding rate due to the rapid influx of settlers looking to start anew in a life free from the Old World. The Russians, at that time, didn't see them as a threat, in fact, they didn't really see them at all! Their closest territory was Russia, and even then it was more of a backwater fur trading hub and just another land to convert to Christianity. (Still is am I right?) That all changed when the Americans started moving West with the Louisiana Purchase. Suddenly Russia felt exposed, if War was fought against the United Kingdom's far superior naval power, they would take Alaska and their grip on American land. So, the Russians, ever crafty, decided to keep relations with the region tight and lose the risk of giving it up to the Crown by selling it to the Americans. Now that's something the American's loved, not only did the Russians give them a lot of land they also gave them a good deal for the land? Now that's some first class Capitalism Russia, keep it up.
Well, too bad they didn't keep it up or rather didn't have it going in the first place. Even though the longstanding system of medieval style serfdom was abolished in 1861, Russia's ruling class underwent a revolution that turned many of its people to back into being in a serflike state. In the Early 20th century, Russia thought that the czardom was unfair and unliked by the people of Russia, which was pretty true. Russia's weak military got trounced in multiple engagements in World War I and failed to keep its infrastructure and industry updated to the world's standards, due to the fact that Russia was still a mostly agrarian society.
Now the revolution could've set Russia down two paths. It could've either gone democratic and ended up much like America, with values of Capitalism and a consumer based society. But instead, the Russians chose the way of the Communist, which favored a societal based system of equality and a communal society where people contributed to the pie and got an equal share of the pie back.
This made us arch nemeses, pretty much from the point where Russia become the Soviet Union, we couldn't be friends any longer. For the better part of the 20th century, Russia has been the ideological and military foe of the United States. This era of bad feelings was personified with Nikita Khruschev, a shrewd politician, and leader of the Soviets, while also having some of the most intimidating and badass quotes of the century. Let me take a moment.
Nikita Khrushchev Quote Compilation
"Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you."
"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river."
"If one cannot catch the bird of paradise, better take a wet hen."
"If you start throwing hedgehogs under me, I shall throw a couple of porcupines under you."
"If you live among dogs, keep a stick. After all, this is what a hound has teeth for-to bite when he feels like it!"
"I once said, "We will bury you," and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you."
Who is more majestic?
Who is the more majestic leader?
The Great Anthem of the USSR
A Little Bit Reluctant to Change
Refusal to Change: A Return to Hostility
The 1980s and 90s was an era defined by pretty friendly relations between the United States and the USSR, which dissolved due to Gorbachev's lax grip over the satellite nations of Ukraine and other Bloc countries. Instead of the doomsaying, intimidating and straight up scary Nikita Khrushchev, we now had the more reasonable, agreeable and friendly leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev or Boris Yeltsin. With the fall of Communism and a return to good relations, things seemed as if they would be peaceful for a while. They were for a while, but that all changed when the fire natio- I mean, Putin came into power.
Putin was no diplomat, Putin was no Great Communicator, nor a political moderator looking for compromises and deals to be made, Putin was a strongman in the Kremlin. Putin was like a bear waking up from hibernation and realizing it's summer, everything was going so well! Russia was vastly behind their Western competitors in terms of technology and standard of living, but with the fall of Communism, trade was opened up with the West and Russia began steady economic development. Russia became an official BRIC nation and was experiencing cultural upheaval. People actually liked America, Boris Yeltsin liked America.
When Vladimir Putin came to power, things changed a little bit. Putin's policies of rapid expansion and economic growth benefitted the economy and the people prospered yet again. Putin used the commodity boom to strengthen his economy and set his sights larger. How much larger you may ask? Well he transitioned from creating a Siberian Oil Pipeline and constructing nuclear power plants to invading Ukraine. What an agenda huh?
Capitalize on Oil Boom [✔️]
Build Siberian Oil Pipeline [✔️]
Establish Relations with China [✔️]
Religion Reform [✔️]
Establish Relations with the USA [x]
Harass the Crimea [✔️]
Invade Ukraine [✔️]
Putin just couldn't let Soviet era feelings go, in fact, he even chose to replace the national anthem with the Soviet one, with different words. What a guy. So, naturally, when a big country invades a little country the whole world looks at that country as a big bully. And they take some non-violent action against them. So we put some sanctions on Russia, just to make them know we mean business, and that invading countries isn't cool. Nothing much, just a difference in opinion between friends right? Then Obama legalized gay marriage, and the rifts began to show. Russia began to hate America again. Oh well.
Look, we're just visiting our little neighbors!
Modern Times and Triple A Propaganda
It has become very apparent that a new rift in ideologies has emerged. The American democratic system, as well as America's various foreign policies, seem to be very overreaching for many Russians, and they fear for their sovereignty. America's seemingly idealistic and liberal laws and policies are frightening and alarming to traditional Russians.
But aside form the possible ideological differences that actually exist, there is an underlying problem with Russo-American relations. Russia has revamped its propaganda system, and it is in Triple A production quality. Every news outlet seems to have the same Anti-American sentiment, and they seem to blame every bad thing that has befallen the Russians, such as the ruble's decline, the widening wage gap or the high inflation on the Americans for some reason. Worse yet, the Russians are believing it. This article from the NYTimes represents this sort of Ameriphobia very well, but here are a few snipets to give you a basic idea of the people's thoughts. (some of which are very valid, and some of which are the result of propaganda)
"America is trying to encircle us..."
"America stuffs its democracy in our face..."
"If you say yes,yes,yes all the time and always nod your head, sometimes you have to say no..." (in regards to liberal policy)
To Break it Down
In short: Why Does Russia Hate America?
- Long Standing Differences in Morals
- Remnants of Soviet Rivalry
- Rivals in Expansion and Ideals
- A Refusal to Move Forward vs Moving Forward too Fast
Thanks for reading! Hopefully, I kept your interest the entire time, but if you skipped around I totally understand. I hope you learned something about history that may impact your future decisions. But, most of all, perhaps now more people know why Russia hates* America.