Some five years ago, veteran foreign Russia insiders noticed two changes to the 9th of May Victory Day parade of Moscow. I shared these observations with my friends that have made a life in Russia through the travails of the last 25 years. The Russia we know is fundamentally different as a nation from its portrayal in the western media.
The first change we noticed was an addition to the military parades of a march of civilians carrying pictures of their relatives who died in the Second World War. It is a march of millions of Russians walking solemnly with pictures and placard memories of their own among the 26 million Soviet people lost in the war. It is called March of the Immortal Regiment. The march represents a humane, gentle, emotional and compassionate side of the modern Russian people that is unknown in the west. On display is the lasting pain and deep scars on the Russian civilization that has extracted itself from the past of ghastly wars and repressions and is now a gentler and transparently open society. The new Russia we see is not only deeply attached to its past of heroism and sacrifice in war but also confident in its aspirations of future as a prosperous, invincible, unified nation building a new dream.
The March of Immortals follows the traditional military parade and the second noticeable change is very much in line with the first; it is the mood of the soldiers marching in perfect lockstep. They are a radiant, smart army, smiling from ear to ear. This parade of smiling soldiers reflects a new relaxed and confident Russia. This is an invincible defensive force that is modern, agile and confident in its ability. No matter how powerful, expensive and well supplied the militaries and alliances amassing on the Russian border — Russians are now determined they will never fight a war of aggression from the West or South on their own land. They will get in a lethal retaliation against any aggressor, first.
Russia has a new attitude that reflects a determination in the Russian national doctrine that Russia will check American led wars of aggression and regime changes in its near-abroad regions, destroy jihadist armies marauding the middle east, kill terrorists in their breeding grounds and never permit a repeat of Nazi design to exterminate Russian people. These traits of confidence, strength and liveliness are integral to the new Russian character.
While the western media and politicians are lobbing a daily torrent of invective and hatred at Russians, Russians are busy building a new nation, a new life of peace and harmony. What James Adams described as “The American Dream” in his book The Epic of America in 1931 is the only way to describe the new Russian mood and determined march toward creating a prosperous and spiritual Russia. The real story of this massive continent and civilization that is the Russian Federation is one of coexistence in peace of dozens of ethnic people, multi-religious communities, races, languages and cultures now glued together by common dreams of prosperity, without an ideology. It is not one, but million stories of triumph of human endeavor and spirit over the tragic past and extreme hardship that are untold in the west. Russia has never had such momentum toward peaceful and prosperous co-existence before and it marks a remarkable turn in the long history of this continent and its people.
The Russian army with its smiles and its millions of civilians marching somber are sending a message to the world of a proud people, certain of their strength, devoid of aggression determined to create a new good life on these lands. I am observing a new Russia that is calmly confident and free of internal strife. It is a Russia where extreme ideologies are marginalized. People are overwhelmingly determined to pursue wealth and spiritual harmony in equal measure. For the first time in its long history of over a thousand years, Russia evokes a sense of normalcy. The Russian dream of achieving a “normal country” — a nation of laws and common sense — is nearly achieved and now Russians are aspiring for more — a life of prosperity and spiritual fullness.
For a people slated for extermination by the Nazis, security is a paramount concern but not an obsession because it is a task accomplished. In the face of western aggression, Russia is going forward with tenacity and gratitude in which existence is earned and is to be grateful for. Moving on, the daily mood of the nation is devoted to living a good life, driving a good car, owning an apartment and a dacha, vacationing abroad several times a year, having homes in the French Riviera and Cyprus, sailing the oceans, giving their children the best education and sports training, winning Olympic medals and achieving greatness in science and art. American media and the political elites’ accusations and sanctions toward Russia are being shrugged off with anecdotes. The sanctions are welcomed by entrepreneurs because they have forced Russian bureaucracy to shed its lethargy and support domestic industry and agriculture. Russians are even grateful for barrages of abuse in western media because they no longer need to put up with the shameful spectacle of appeasement and groveling toward western elites by Russia’s own liberals.
Russians are all too aware of the accusations, insults and abuse being heaped on them in the nightly entertainment shows and main stream press. In their demonization of Russia, these talented but ignorant western writers and comics have turned Russophobia into an entertainment genre. But history tells that they will only be remembered for turning journalism into a degraded farce which is equivalent to the anti-Semitic and anti-Russia propaganda of Goebbels.
Russians see this unprecedented barrage of abuse for what it is — fear mongering against Russia. Russians know history and they know how wars on Russia have been fueled through centuries by western Russophobe press. Confident in their ability to defend against any coming aggression, Russians nonchalantly look at media attacks with the knowledge that western journalists’ insults of Russia are ultimately caricatured failures of their own societies and nations and are a precursor of their own downfall.
The Russia that we, Russia Insiders know of is going forward as a locomotive of peace, security and prosperity on the expansive earth of Eurasia.
- Ajay Goyal