TSUKERMAN: Are Russians Happy?

<em>Mariia Drokova, the leader of Moscow division of pro-Putin “</em>Ours” <em>movement is kissing President Vladimir Putin</em>.

Mariia Drokova, the leader of Moscow division of pro-Putin “Ours” movement is kissing President Vladimir Putin.

By Slava Tsukerman

On April 26, Russian official International Information Agency RIA Novosti reported that the share of Russians who feel happy has reached a historic high (sociological measurements of happiness have been made in Russia since 1990). According to a survey of the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, today 85% of Russian citizens say that they are happy.

Lately Russian state controlled press has been crowded with publications about happy life in Russia and suffering of Russians who moved abroad.

This March official government paper Izvestia published an article entitled “Russians are disappointed in Europe and returning home.”

According to the article, “almost 150,000 compatriots returned from abroad to Russia in 2016. This data was provided to Izvestiya by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The information was confirmed by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Thanks to the state program to facilitate the voluntary resettlement of compatriots, more and more of our compatriots return home… Compatriots from the Czech Republic, France and Germany told Izvestia what difficulties prompted them to return to their homeland.

“Anti-Russian sentiment in Europe intensified in 2014, when the West accused Moscow of allegedly aggressive actions against Ukraine. In their media, Russia was portrayed as the main threat not only to Western countries, but to global security in general.”

Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev noted that the change in the West’s attitude towards Moscow is an obvious factor that encourages compatriots to return to their homeland:

“The demonization of Russia, its citizens and compatriots living abroad is an additional motivation for people to make the appropriate decision to return to their former homeland.”

Many Russian websites reprinted the statement of the Member of the State Duma Elena Panina, made by her in FB:

“We and They! We will never get along with West. We are too different.

And that’s always been the case throughout history.They are cold and indifferent. We are warm and sympathetic.”

Pro-Kremlin newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published an article “explaining” why it is much better to live in Russian provincial city of Tver, than in California. The blogger Evgeniy Artukhin answered the article by publishing photos made lately in Tver.

Tver, Russia
The Artukhin’s photos are published by the extremely popular blogger Varlamov.

Commenting on the Izvestia article about Russians returning home from Europe, Varlamov wrote:

“It’s a pity Izvestia does not say how many people leave Russia or are planning to do it.

“According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in 2015, 353,000 people left Russia… Data for 2016 will appear in July.

“According to a survey of the Levada Center, almost every fifth Russian (19%) would like to go somewhere outside the former USSR. Among the middle class the share of potential emigrants is 50%.”

Here is a quote from a FB post of one of the popular Russian journalists (I am omitting her name):

“Yesterday I had a conversation with a young man, a talented guy who decided to quit and leave Moscow. I told him ‘It’s weakness to suddenly leave without completing your studies at the university of everyone’s dream.’ And the young man replied ‘If I were weak, I would not have the strength to leave. And if I leave, I’ll be saved from the world of venality, betrayal, and corruption. It’ll prove that I have some power.’

“Of course, the main thing is to remain human and save your honor, your soul … The rest: career, success are unimportant. I would also go any place, even over the ocean, if not for my total dependence on my profession, without which I cannot live. On another hand what do we know about life?

“I burst into tears and could not even stand up. I shaded my windows.”

I started this article with the photograph of Mariia Drokova, the head of the Moscow division of the pro-Putin “Ours” movement of young people, which existed from 2005 to 2012.

Drokova posed everywhere in T-shirts with Putin’s portraits and demanded to put a monument to Putin in his lifetime.

She was awarded with the medal “For Services to the Fatherland” of the first degree. The Danish director Lisa Birk Pederssen filmed a documentary about Drokova, entitled “Kiss of Putin.” The page of Drokova still exists on the governmental site rosmolodezh.ru.

It is not a surprise that news about Drokova receiving a green card of the United States made a small sensation in Russian Internet. Mariia Drokova enthusiastically reported in her instagram:

“I’m so glad and grateful to get a green card and get closer to citizenship in my home country of the United States.”

US Green Card issued to Mariia Drokova

Updated: May 2, 2017 — 10:56 am
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