For 30 Years in Russia, I Always Tried to Guess Which of My Friends Would Be the Most Likely to Sell Me Out

Putin counts not just on those who support him for his success but even on the millions who despise him.

B Kean

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Courtesy of RussiaBeyond

The Russians in this photo are happy. It’s wedding day. Can you feel the happiness? I do. The groom and his buddy are imagining the amount of vodka they will drink later, and the bride and her girlfriend are happy because “Natasha” — the bride’s name — managed to find a husband before turning 30 — Russian society frowns on brides older than 30.

Couples like these two characterize the Russian family. She is an accountant for a mid-sized construction company — one of 10 accountants that work there — and he is a mechanic. Neither one of them knows much about politics or world history. She regards that as “men’s topics,” and he gets his information from the TV and movies. Both of them are proud of Russia but can’t understand why the world is always so focused on destroying Russia — “They fear our strength,” the groom, “Lyosha,” explains to his wife.

They both support Putin, and if he says they need to be against gays and lesbians, Ukrainians, and others, then it’s not something they even question. Putin knows better. They support him and expect…

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B Kean

The past holds the answers to today’s problems. “Be curious, not judgmental,” at least until you have all the facts. Think and stop watching cable news.