Because I’ve been experiencing it more and more over the past few years.
Because it’s making me sick to my stomach.
Because it has to stop.
It’s very hard to watch or read the news nowadays without coming across the image of “the Russians”. These “Russians” are around every corner, inside every computer programme, behind every hacking, scandal, crisis, and so on and so forth. These “Russians” helped Donald Trump win the US Presidential Election. These “Russians” wish to undermine democracy, humiliate the West, flame the horrors of war, and overall be the monsters that they are indefinitely.
The “Russians” here. The “Russians” there. The media, the politicians, the public are all getting so engrossed into the idea of this apparently clear-cut mutual enemy that they do not recognize just how much pain and confusion they are actually causing.
Most of the time, the enemy they actually mean to target is Vladimir Putin and his regime, but, oh well, who said that collateral damage is something to worry about? Let’s just use a more inclusive term, “the Russians”? Everyone good with that?
The vivid imagery of the clumsy angry bear, the weird fur hats, the tanks rolling in, the half-human monsters, the Hollywood-created “Russian” accent, courtesy of the definitive “Russians” Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren… all of that is back.
Meanwhile, of course, Putin and his “Russia” continue to bomb hospitals, violate international treaties, and find new ways to show the world that they are to be reckoned with. That doesn’t make the situation any easier to deal with or the Russophobia any easier to fight against. Many would say that that facts are there to condemn and charge the “Russians”.
This book is meant as an attempt to reframe the discussion and point out that by fuelling further Russophobia, the media and other influencers are playing right into Putin’s hands. For years, he has been searching for a national philosophy that would unite the people behind him. By turning not just him and his regime, but the Russian people and Russia as a country into a pariah and a monster, the West gives Vladimir Putin what he has been seeking all this time – the battle cry of courage under fire and unity in the face of universal treachery and the global plot to strangle Russia.
Different Russians are talked about here. These are all real people that have nothing to do with Putin’s crimes, plans, thoughts, or feelings (if such exist). These are not the “Russians” you hear about on TV or read about in the blogs. They are the real Russians that, in their lifetimes, made the world a better place, and whose influence continues to this day. The chapters can be read in any order. It is my hope that reading about these ten remarkable individuals will help you shed some of the stereotypes and imagery being carefully fostered today.