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This blog is our answer to all paid trolls that keep lying about Russia.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When Did It All Go Wrong? (Part 1)

Barge Haulers on the Volga by Ilya Repin (Source)
In our last post, we explained the features that define slave mentality. Among them are Stockholm syndrome, learned helplessness, and low productivity / efficiency. 

In this post, we will try to look at Russian history and the specific conditions that made Russian character somewhat unique.

Russia is mostly a European nation. Even though geographically it is stretched across both Europe and Asia and the significant portion of its landmass is in Asia, the majority of the population resides in Europe. The capital and the cultural centers can be found in European part as well. Basically, Russia as a nation evolved in Europe and then spread to the neighboring territories. So, how does Russia measure up to other European countries? 

Unfortunately, all the data clearly indicates that Russia as a nation is behind other developed European countries when it comes to the economy, political situation and social progress. At some point of its development, Russia started falling behind. 

Basically, we will try to figure out when and how the development of Russia as a country started to lag behind from its European rivals. When and how did it all go so wrong? 

We will be completely honest with you, our dear reader: we do not really know the answer to the following questions: 

1. How far behind most developed nations is Russia in terms of political, social and economic development?

 2. When and how did Russia start falling behind?

We don't have any research to answer those questions. But we do have proof that Russia is behind when it comes to many social and political issues. Let's look at the chart where we compare the dates for some socially important decisions. 

Orphanages Abolished
Same-sex Marriage
Women’s Suffrage
The U.S.
1950s - 1960s
The U.K.
1970s - 2013
Not abolished
Not legal
(1917 - 1990)

As we can see from the table, in terms of social progress, Russia is still very much behind. The only issue that somewhat stands out is women's suffrage. Unfortunately, the freedom to vote for Russian women was mostly on paper rather than in practice. The women's suffrage doesn't apply here since the voting rights of all Soviet citizens were violated by the Soviet rule. 

It is not surprising to see Sweden far ahead in all four categories. We were planning to compare other important dates, but the data is hard to find.   

This table is pertinent only to the 20th century. Let's look at some important events earlier in Russian history.

The first universities in Europe:

University of Bologna - 1088

University of Paris      - 1150
University of Oxford    - 1167

The first university in Russia: Moscow State University - 1755

The first hospital in Britan, not associated with the monastery: St. Bartholomew's Hospital - 1123

The first hospital in France:The Hotel-Dieu - 651
The first hospital in Italy:Santa Maria della Scala - 1193

The first hospital in Russia: The German Quarter by Nicolaas Bidloo - 1707

The first skyscrapers: 

The Home Insurance Building in Chicago, U.S.A. - 1884
Rotterdam, Holland, Witte Huis - 1898
The Royal Liver Building in Liverpool - 1911
The Marx House in Dusseldorf, Germany - 1924
Boerentoren in Antwerp, Belgium - 1932

The first skyscraper in Russia: Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building - 1952

The first smartphone: Simon Personal Communicator - 1994

The first smartphone in Russia: Yotaphone - 2011

As we can see, Russia lags behind when it comes to social and technological advancement.

How far behind? No one knows. We cannot speculate on this either since we do not have any reputable research on this matter. However, the delay is pretty obvious. Some experts say that Russia will never catch up to the West, other experts disagree. So, we will leave this question unanswered. 

Hence, we will try to answer the second question: 

 2. When and how did Russia start falling behind?

It is obvious that the creation of the Soviet Union (1922-1991) was a major setback for developing of Russia as a modern, socially progressive nation. However, it could be that by 1922 Russia was not ready to be westernized/modernized and the Soviet rule was the necessary phase that reflected the overall lagging behind. In other words, it could be that lack of economic and political development caused the creation of the oppressive Soviet Union, not the other way around. Again, we do not have enough research and data to back it up. One thing for sure: the Soviet Union, with all its space exploration and nuclear physics, was unable to compete with the Western nations due to the fallen oil prices. The West won the Cold War and the Soviet Union broke apart. 

Was Russia behind politically and economically before 1917? Even thought that the economy was somewhat catching up by 1913, the political system (the absolute monarchy) was holding Russia back. How do we know that Russia was behind even back then?   

Marquis de Custine
In 1839 a French aristocrat and writer, Marquis de Custine visited Russia and later published his book Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia. In his book, Marquis de Custine not only describes his travels through the Russian empire, but also the social hierarchy, economy, and the way Russians lived under the rule of Nicholas I. Some historians later even labeled him as "the de Tocqueville of Russia". 

 What we know from the book is (the following is the quote from Wikipedia): 

"Custine visited Russia in 1839, spending most of his time in St. Petersburg, but also visiting Moscow and Yaroslavl. A political reactionary in his own country, fearful that democracy would inevitably lead to mob rule, he went to Russia looking for arguments against representative government, but he was appalled by autocracy as practiced in Russia and equally by the Russian people's apparent collaboration in their own oppression. He attributed this state of affairs to what he saw as the backwardness of the Russian Orthodox Church, combined with the baleful effects of the Mongol invasion of medieval Russia, and the policies of Peter the Great. He mocked contemporary Russia for its veneer of European civilization hiding an Asiatic soul. Custine criticized St. Petersburg for being the creation of one man and not the result of spontaneous historical forces. Custine, however, loved Moscow architecture and predicted that Russia would be a great power if its capital were ever moved back to the older city.

Most of Custine's mockery was reserved for the Russian nobility and Nicholas I. Custine said Russia's aristocracy had "just enough of the gloss of European civilization to be 'spoiled as savages' but not enough to become cultivated men. They were like 'trained bears who made you long for the wild ones.'
Custine said the air felt freer the moment one crossed into Prussia. In the mid-20th century, many saw predictions of Joseph Stalin in Custine's description of Nicholas I."
Custine was a foreigner who was lucky enough to pick up on the sad state of authoritarian rule in Russia. However, many Russian progressive thinkers of the time noted the same.
Quotes from a famous Russian writer Saltykov- Shchedrin:
 1. If I go to sleep and wake up in a hundred years, and they will ask me, what is happening in Russia, I will answer that (Russians) drink and steal ... 
2. In all countries, the railroads are used to transport things, but we use railroads, in addition to this, to steal.

3. When and how the bureaucrat was not convinced that Russia is a cake that you can freely have? 

4. The Russian authorities must keep their people in a constant state of amazement. 

5. The severity of Russian laws is mitigated by the fact that they are not carried out. 

6. Many people tend to confuse two concepts: "Fatherland" and "Your Excellency». 

Let's travel further in times, back to the very beginning.

More on the subject in Part 2

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