Something remarkable is taking place in Russia, and it’s quite different from what we might expect. Rather than feel humiliated and depressed Russia is undergoing what I would call a kind of renaissance, a rebirth as a nation. This despite or in fact because the West, led by the so-called neo-conservatives in Washington, is trying everything including war on her doorstep in Ukraine, to collapse the Russian economy, humiliate Putin and paint Russians generally as bad. In the process, Russia is discovering positive attributes about her culture, her people, her land that had long been forgotten or suppressed.
My first of many visits to Russia was more than twenty years ago, in May, 1994. I was invited by a Moscow economics think-tank to deliver critical remarks about the IMF. My impressions then were of a once-great people who were being humiliated to the last ounce of their life energy. Mafia gangsters sped along the wide boulevards of Moscow in sparkling new Mercedes 600 limousines with dark windows and without license plates. Lawlessness was the order of the day, from the US-backed Yeltsin Kremlin to the streets. “Harvard boys” like Jeffrey Sachs or Sweden’s Anders Aaslund or George Soros were swarming over the city figuring new ways to rape and pillage Russia under the logo “shock therapy” and “market-oriented reform” another word for “give us your crown jewels.”The human toll of that trauma of the total collapse of life in Russia after November 1989 was staggering. I could see it in the eyes of everyday Russians on the streets of Moscow, taxi-drivers, mothers shopping, normal Russians.
During the 1990s anti-Semitism was an enduring undercurrent and source of anxiety, its presence affirmed by easily accessible anti-Semitic newspapers and other publications, street or popular anti-Semitism. The number of anti-Semitic incidents rose sharply after the 1998 Russian financial crisis, the devaluation of the ruble, and the ensuing economic hardships affecting a broad segment of the general population.
For me, however, the most heartening feature of this Russian renaissance is in the generation which is today in their late thirties to early forties—young, highly intelligent and having experience of both the depravity of Soviet communist bureaucracy but as well of the hollow world of US-led so-called “free market capitalism.”…What is unique in my mind about this generation is that they are the hybrid generation. The education they received in the schools and universities was still largely dominated by the classical Russian science…This for me is the heart of an emerging renaissance of the spirit among Russians that gives me more than hope for the future.
Citizens of Russia, friends,The year 2016 is coming to a close. It was a challenging year, but the difficulties we faced have brought us together and allowed us to reveal enormous resources for our movement forward.The main thing is that we believe in ourselves, in our strengths and in our country. We are working, and working successfully, and we are achieving much. I would like to thank you for the victories and achievements, for your understanding and trust, and for your true, sincere care for Russia.We have a vast, unique and wonderful country! We are united by common concerns and common joys, by our long-standing good tradition of meeting the New Year with our families and with hope for the best.But not everyone is at the holiday table today. Many of our citizens are away from home, ensuring Russia’s security, working at enterprises, on duty in hospitals, at operating trains and aircraft. I would like to convey my very best wishes for the New Year to all those who are now fulfilling their labor and military duties.Dear friends,We are excitedly awaiting the sound of the chimes of the Moscow Kremlin, and we feel the march of time and the approaching future more clearly than ever before. We experience this only during these moments, during this wonderful and beloved holiday.Meanwhile, New Year has its own secrets. For instance, each of us may become something of a magician on the night of the New Year. To do this we simply need to treat our parents with love and gratitude, take care of our children and families, respect our colleagues at work, nurture our friendships, defend truth and justice, be merciful and help those who are in need of support. This is the whole secret.May our dreams, heavenly thoughts and good intentions come true. May joy and love reign in every home. May our beloved streets, cities and villages become even more beautiful.Peace and prosperity to our common, great homeland, Russia. Happiness, health and wellbeing to each of you.Happy New Year 2017!