It should be noted that the current Russophobic myths about the Russians, which are widespread in the West and supported by part of the Russian intelligentsia, were not born now, but at a very long time. More residents of the Old Russian state, in the same Byzantine Empire, were called "Scythians", "Tauroskifs", "Barbarians". These stereotypes flourished during the existence of Tsarist and Imperial Russia.
The Western world loved and at that time apply the so-called. "double standards". For example, the “Polish question” has always been considered one-sided, only from the point of view of Russian aggression, the dismemberment of the Commonwealth, in which Russia took part. In the West, they “forgot” and “forgotten” to mention that the Russian-Polish wars began with the fact that the Poles seized vast territories of Russia, and Moscow (later Petersburg) tried to return them, restoring the unity of the Russian land. In the days of Catherine II, the war began with the fact that Petersburg demanded that the Poles equate the rights of the Orthodox population with the Catholics. The Polish leadership, which was supported by the French, flatly refused. During the same sections of 1772, 1793, 1795, Russia took mostly Russian regions, which were occupied during the disintegration of the Ancient Russian state. Actually Polish territories were seized by Austria and Prussia. But claims, for some reason, are always put forward mainly to the Russian Empire.
The West did not care about the violation of “human rights” against the Russian, Orthodox population of the Commonwealth. The Polish Question was one of the ways to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia. Although when the uprisings took place in Ireland or India, this was the internal affair of England, and in Indochina — the affair of France.
In the same way in the West, considered the "Eastern question". The wars of Russia with the Ottoman Empire were called “aggression”, Petersburg was accused of “predatory aspirations”. Although in many cases Istanbul itself started the war. Yes, and the accusations of Russia were weighty - a violation of the rights of the Christian, the Slavic population of the Ottoman Empire, punitive actions against him. The lands that Russia took over during the wars with Porto were not the indigenous lands of the Ottoman Turks, so in the 18th century, the territory of the Wild Field and the Crimean Khanate were annexed to the Russian state.
It is clear that Russia fought with Turkey not only from noble motives, it solved its strategic tasks: access to the Black Sea, protection of the southern borders, free access to the Mediterranean Sea, strengthening of positions in the Balkans, etc.
The Europeans themselves took advantage of the weakness of the Turks and seized the lands of the Ottoman Empire — Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, etc. It was the West, not Russia, that turned the Ottoman Empire into its semi-colony, entangling the sultans with debts, subjugating the country's economy. It was the French and the British, not the Russians, who armed the Turks, trained their soldiers, sailors. They set the Turks on Russia. They turned Turkey into a tool sharpened to war with Russia, and not mutually beneficial cooperation.
The main Russophobic myths
One of the features of Western civilization is Russophobia. Although in reality all the “black” myths about Russia are completely untenable or even inherent in the West itself. One of these myths is “Innate savagery” (“barbarism”) of Russians.
This myth is completely untenable, in order to understand it enough to analyze just a few facts. In the field of material culture, Russia was practically in no way inferior to the Western world, if it were otherwise, Russia would repeat the fate of India, or China, other civilizations, cultures of the planet, which were subjected to the aggression of the West.
In the field of morality, spiritual culture, the Russian people were higher than the Westernizers - this confirms the fact that the Russians colonized the world around them. The Russians did not turn the annexed areas into cemeteries, unlike the Europeans. Compare how the Russians colonized Central Asia and captured India by the British. The attitude of the Russians to small nations and the attitude of Western Europeans to foreigners. When Aboriginal people were hunted in Tasmania and Australia like wild beasts, Indian tribes were destroyed in North America and South America with smallpox-infected blankets, “firewater” and weapons. The Chinese people were turned into a "drug addict", by force planting on opium.
You can compare the behavior of Russian armies with Western military forces. Learn what Napoleon's soldiers of the Great Army did during the Patriotic War on Russian territory and the behavior of the Russians in France in 1814. The actions of Prussian soldiers in France in the Franco-Prussian war 1870-1871. The behavior of the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War and the discipline of Soviet soldiers in defeated Germany. Think of the behavior of the miraculous heroes of Suvorov, the sailors of Ushakov and the actions of the English colonialists in India, when the captured rebels were tied to guns and fired.
The myth of "borrowing" Russian culture of Western Europe. In the West, it was customary to consider and now many believe that the Russians have embraced the whole culture from Europe. Although if you study the culture of Ancient Russia, Vladimir, Moscow, Novgorod Russia, it is clear that this culture is original and very deep. For example, urban culture among the Slavs, the Rus was developed and appeared earlier than in Western Europe. No wonder the Scandinavians called Russia "the country of cities."
An excellent example can be found in the culture of health, when Western Europe periodically became a “desert” due to various moors and diseases, Russia did not know this problem, because people just regularly washed themselves and kept their body and clothing hygiene.
In ancient Russia, we can find a lot of literate people not only among the nobility and the clergy, but among the townspeople and even the villagers. This fact is confirmed by archaeological excavations. In Europe, even among the nobility, there were few literate nobles, and commoners were all illiterate.
And regarding the cultural exchange of achievements, this process can not be called amazing. Europeans borrowed from the Arab East - universities, the custom to wash (at least sometimes), numbers, perfumery. Much was taken from Ancient Rome (for example, Latin), Ancient Greece (the culture of the Italian and European Renaissance was based on its culture), the Byzantine Empire. But after that, European culture is not called artificial.
A part of the Russian “wildness” myth is the opinion about "Russian cruelty". Here, Westerners love to remember the “great and terrible” Ivan the Terrible, during which, for the entire period of his reign, and he ruled for a long time, according to historians' estimates, from 3 to 15 thousand people were executed. Not ignored, and Peter I c archer executions.
But if you go through the era, it should be noted that cruelty was commonplace then. In Europe, public executions (often very sophisticated) were the favorite entertainment not only of the urban lower classes, but also of the respected citizens, aristocrats, who came to them with their families and small children. Medieval rulers of Spain, England, France destroyed more people for their rule by orders of magnitude than Ivan IV. It happened that in a number of cases thousands of people were killed in a few days. During the famous St. Bartholomew's Night (the night of August 24 1572), thousands of Huguenots were killed in one day. When an uprising of the Communards in 1871 was crushed in Paris, Marshal MacMahon executed 15-30 thousand people in just a week.
In Russia, the death penalty was abolished under Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (1741-1761), after which the death penalty in Russia became an extraordinary matter, it was used during emergencies - like military uprisings, insurrections, when the military field courts acted. For example, during the suppression of the uprising of Pugachev, or when the “Decembrists” insurrection pacified, then all the 5 people were hanged (!) And this was after the military rebellion. In Western Europe, for such a thing they drowned and hung hundreds. At this time, women and even teenagers were hanged in England for stealing things worth 5 shillings and above.
The myth of the "Russian slavery" and "Russian despotism." The basis of this myth is Russian serfdom. The myth of the “slave soul” of the Russians, who need a “master,” “king,” is then derived from it. They say that for so long the Russians were “slaves” under princes, kings, emperors and general secretaries, and now even in a democracy they dream of “slavery”, of the “master of the country”. Can not be truly "free."
Although in reality all these reflections upset one fact of victories of the Russian army - the slaves would not have fought like that. In addition, Russian serfdom, for all its minuses, cannot be called slavery, it was a kind of duty in conditions of constant survival, confrontation with the East and the West. Often the relationship of the landowner and the peasants were patriarchal, when a nobleman took care of the peasants. He did not let them go bankrupt, go to sleep, supported him in difficult times, etc. As a result, the peasantry was a single whole for a long time, without breaking up into the poor and the rich kulaks (world-eaters).
Fans blame Russia for slavery do not remember the fact that in the West the situation was no better, and often worse: in Austria and Germany, serfdom was abolished not much earlier than in Russia - in 1848; in the United States, slavery (present, with gentlemen and "two-legged things") existed before the 1865 year; England and France in the American States Civil War, supported the southern slave states. Even longer than in North America, present slavery existed in Brazil and the Ottoman Empire, with which the Western countries worked closely. Before the beginning of the 20 century there was slavery in the Transvaal. In the colonies of Europeans, if slavery and abolished, but the local aborigines for the "white gentlemen" were people of the second (nobility), the third and fourth grade. Moreover, it was not the Russians who were taken out of Africa and they sold millions of people into slavery, they did not turn the Indians into slaves.
Whereas in Russia corporal punishment was abolished along with serfdom, in England in the 1880s, and navy until the beginning of the 1930th century. In the English colonies, in the same India, corporal punishment also existed in the 1987s. Corporal punishment in public schools and private schools in England, where at least part of the capital belonged to state power, has been prohibited since 1999; in other private schools in Britain, such penalties were prohibited in 2000 (England and Wales), 2003 (Scotland) and XNUMX (Northern Ireland). In the United States, corporal punishment in schools, mainly in the south of the country, is still permitted in a number of states.
In most European countries, democratic institutions were introduced no earlier than the middle of the nineteenth century, i.e. Alexander II with his reforms (judicial, military, creation of local self-government — zemstvos, etc.) kept pace with the dictates of the era. In the citadel of the democracy of England in the 18th century, no more than 2% of the population had voting rights. Election rights for women in the United States were introduced only in 1920, in Great Britain in 1928, in France 1944, in Switzerland in 1971. In the USA, “colored” (blacks, Indians) were equalized with whites only in the 1960s. In this regard, "Soviet democracy" was more developed than in Western countries.
The myth of the "Russian threat. If we analyze the wars that Russia waged in the era of the empire, we can see that a significant part of them were defensive wars. Russia did not threaten the European powers, didn’t start wars on its own initiative, but didn’t repel aggression from Western countries. It turns out that the European subconscious has turned its aggressiveness and expansion into the myth of "Russian aggression."
You can look at the most famous wars of the Russian Empire in the last period of its existence: World War I - we were declared a war, drawing us into a conflict that we do not need; Russian-Japanese war - the Japanese attacked the Russian fleet without declaring war; Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 - Russia for two years persuaded the Turks to stop violence against Slavs and Christians of the Balkan Peninsula, to carry out reforms, only the refusal of Ports from their previous commitments, led to the need to start a war; Crimean War - the Turks declared war on Russia, because they knew about the support from England and France.
If Russia were really aggressive, in principle, with all its military power, which was higher than any force in Europe and even withstood the war with the European unions (examples of Napoleon and Hitler, when Russia defeated most of European civilization), its possessions in Europe would be a lot more.
"The Myth of Russian drunkenness." Until the Soviet period stories Russia was the most sober country of Europe. During the First World War, with the full support of the Russian public, a “dry law” was introduced, which reduced the level of alcohol consumption in the Russian Empire to zero.
"Russian corruption". Russian corrupt officials stole no more than their counterparts from "civilized" France or the United States. Suffice it to recall the famous Panama scandal that erupted in France at the end of the XIX century during the construction of the Panama Canal. In the United States, the term “production divide” was introduced into circulation in the 1832 year, it meant a process when a newly elected American president or governor paid for various deeds with those financial, industrial clans that helped in his election to the post.