Thanks a lot for the write-up - and for the stories. I really like hearing those! You gotta tell your Russian stories on Hubski sometime.
I've seen it argued on more than one occasion that Putin's idea of success is just to fail more slowly.
How would you describe that? Is it that Putin sees Russia as ultimately a failure and tries to suck it dry (along with the other oligarchs) before it's done?
I also see maybe a little bit of an inferiority complex in the Russian leadership.
Hell yeah there is. I think this is why there's so many national(ist) holidays right now: the May 9th (the V-Day, I believe it's called?), the Day of National Unity (which is November the 4th, I believe), something around the 1st of June...
There's also a lot of military "cultural dances": military parade is one thing, but there are military parks for children, there's the Paratroopers Day (August the 2nd, when you're advised to stay away from the ВДВ places of celebration, like public parks, 'cause drunk paratroopers are a damn menace, apparently), there's the general atmosphere of "military service = good", which I think is just Stockholm syndrome for conscription.
There's a lot of brouhaha about national strength that just makes me wonder: how unconfident do these people need to be to order social engineering of their country's cultural layer just so that people would believe in something?
(I don't know if the скинхеды are still as big of a problem as they were, but I'd put that in a similar category.)
Haven't heard of them lately, so I guess it cooled down.
And speaking of homosexuality... National culture dictates a lot of behaviors of its people, so while I don't think people are innately homophobic to any degree, there's a lot of anti-homosexual propaganda going on right now. I believe it's tied to the "national strength" point, 'cause I've seen it explained that way: men are afraid of looking unmanly, and gay men are as "unmanly" as they come, being (in the minds of the 'phobes) effectively women, so men boister and macho to be seen as brutes and jocks. Loud cars, sports, military... I believe it's all tied into that sense of hypermasculine might that opposes the non-masculine emotional sensitivity.
What about Putin? What's the attitude towards the man himself and/or as the leader of Russia?