In February 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula for the second time. 231 years after Russian Empire took it from Turkic khanate, now the “New Order” repossessed the land from Ukraine. I was in Moscow, and I remember the strained silence around. Few could believe what just happened. There was no rational explanation to me and anyone I knew. Yet, Kremlin’s media army was supplied with a freshly squeezed bullshit and started the brain-washing campaign.
The country split unequally. Few could leave and find shelter in the West and its liberal point of view on the conflict. Those who couldn’t go chose to merge with the mob. Conformity - it happened before with anti-gay propaganda and freedom of the press. For some, Putin is an icon; for many, he is a ‘familiar evil.’ Sometimes people choose a sour clarity rather than sweet uncertainty. I didn’t fall for the value of firm social order over freedom myself. This may be my difference from the ideal “Russian Soul” that will always welcome a disturbing humility and commit to poverty while feeling hopeful for the future at the same time. If anything, most Russians are good at a forward notion of being. I don’t mean bodhisattva, but simply surviving, merely existing.
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