[D]espite my criticism of Russian politics and culture since the invasion of Ukraine for purely dishonest reasons, I tend to have deep affection for Russian people, even when I think they are absurd, superstitious and crazy.
Because I love that they are brave. Americans are brave by and large *outside of the millennial generation*. Some brits are brave, if a minority. But continentals seem submissive and feminized to the core.
So that is why I love Russians. Every crazy, lunatic, superstitious, conspiracy-theorizing, pseudoscientific, one of them – at least in the middle and upper classes. Russian working class is as boorish as the come, and the saddest example of white people( outside of California. lol).
The wonderful thing about Russians is personal craftsmanship – pride in cunning in particular (which blows up as frequently as it succeeds). But they are very proud of their work, and very prideful in judging it. I find them very American in this regard.
Unlike americans they do not easily trust one another, so while individual work is exceptional, collective work must be managed. And management is universally poor among Russians.
The most obvious obstacle to Russian (and Ukrainian) trust is that admitting ignorance to others places you at the mercy of those who claim to possess knowledge that they almost always don’t have, but seek as a means of obtaining status, control, and as a consequence, work avoidance. Achieving ‘rest’ (laziness) is somehow seen as a reward, or bonus, or status symbol (Mafia Ethics – Russia is a Mafia Culture, just as Judaism is a Mafia Culture, and the two are closely related in that Judaism relies on cunning and Russian culture relies upon force).
Russians ‘fence’ to demonstrate who should be in control. They lack the socratic and jesuit, and anglo technique of slowly ‘seeking to understand’ one another’s position. Women do this all the time. Instead Russian men seek to trip one another up or argue for position of authority rather than seek to collect Knowledge from each other and come to a consensus. Men do this all the time.
This is how trust is built between peers. But Russians, like the Chinese and muslims, always seek hierarchy.
The reason to do business with anglos and germans is because they are trustworthy and honest, and friction and risk are reduced. The reason other cultures like to work with their own is that they understand one another’s lie-signals and so they can lie honestly with one another and consider it manners. It is less economically productive but more comfortable for them. Conversely, when working with higher trust peoples, the feel weaker, or more nervous.
Now, Muscovites are not equal to Russians. Many Moscow business people are like very poor versions of Germans. They are highly empirical, and work very hard. But they live in a world of corruption and theft, and fragile infrastructure. So they must be more skeptical than the westerners.
I have more than a few times tripped up using anglo french political language with Russians and they view it as dishonest or patronizing. I must keep it in mind at all times.
I am not an authority on this subject. I write so that I can understand it. I think I have come to understand, a bit, the Russian character. But I can only empathize so far. I know who I am and where I come from. We are the most trusting people on earth – to our own detriment.