Translation by Alena Scarecrow

“Украина. Ру” observer Alexander Chalenko interviews Aleksei Kochetkov, the Director of the Fund of Civil Institutions Development.

– Over the course of the last 20 years I’ve been all over Europe, you know. And never have I – an ordinary person – noticed any signs of russophobia. Recently you chaired a conference in Moscow on this subject and, as far as I see it, you maintain that in Europe there does exist such a thing as russophobia. Would you give some examples?

– As a tourist one might well fail to notice it, because tourists are always welcome. In order to feel it you need to live there – not necessarily to emigrate and put down roots, just to settle in for a while and have a proper look at what’s going on around you.

Sadly, russophobia in the modern Western world is not only a politically coloured phenomenon. Deep-rooted in the history and traditions of the Western Europe, it is virtually a part of the mass culture.

Different specialists, both Russian and foreign, studying this problem agree that russophobia has a history of about 400 years, dating back to the time of the first visits of the Catholic Church representatives to Russia and reestablishing contacts between just pinned on the political map Moscovite State and the West, contacts that had been terminated by the Mongol invasion and the events happening in the West at the time. In the pre-Mongol period the ties between Ancient Russia and Western Europe were very close.

– Take Sigismund Herberstein and his “Notes on Moskovite”, for example. This Austrian, on the contrary, seemed to admire Moscovite…

– In a very peculiar way. He assigned to it the traits his homeland was deprived of, the traits he wanted the latter to have, so it’s not at all certain that his Notes represented the situation as it was. Leave alone the memoirs of such “travellers” as Edo Neuhaus or Paul Palkowski…

– Yes, but Herberstein had been born and raised in Slovenia, so must have had a good command of Slavic languages… Or take those British who acted on behalf of Queen Elisabeth and merchants. Seems they too had good relationships with the Moscow of the time.

– Yes but you can also take Pope’s envoys and their “writings” that are as far from the truth as can be. The reason is that the first Vatican ambassadors set off to Moscovite with a very definite mission which was to persuade her governors to enter into an alliance with the Vatican.

The point is at the time Moscovite was the only Orthodox state on the whole planet and, believing herself to be the lawful successor of just perished Byzantine, had every ambition to unite all Orthodox peoples – or the nearby ones at least – under her rule.

So on one plate there was Moscovite with her church and secular elites more and more actively promoting the idea of establishing a powerful Orthodox unity, on the other – the Vatican which had by the time seized control of nearly all of Europe and crushed all the pockets of resistance.

Longing to win over the remaining one – that distant and dark-horsish Moscovite, the Vatican preferred, due to its own internal problems, to resort to peaceful tactics, tasking its Austrian envoys to undertake diplomatic negotiations.

Having failed to perform their talk-into mission and having been turned down by both the Orthodox Church authorities and the Tsar and his environment, the Pope’s envoys’ reaction, naturally, was as strong as it was negative.

Russia’s resistance was something inexplicable. Could there be anything more desirable for a country besieged all around with enemies, a country threatened by Ottomans from the South and Islamic advance from the East, than to get herself such an all-mighty patron as the Vatican? Why not? Why not sacrifice some of her Slavic nonsense for the blissful opportunity to enter the European family of brotherly peoples?

The Moscovite leadership, however, were hard to convince. Even at those distant times they had a clear understanding of who’d caused the collapse and the subsequent death of the Byzantine Empire; the understanding which, among other sources, came from the Greeks who had been moving en masse to the territory of Moscovite. Even at those times there was little trust left for the Latin, Catholics, and all their ambassadors evoked nothing but suspicion. This gave birth to one of the branches of russophobia which is based on the idea that all Russians can and should be re-tailored, all Russians must be somehow trapped, dragged out of the Byzantine utopia and lured into the cultural Western environment.

The other branch originates from the Poles who had been rapidly developing at the time. Having won the stiff competition with their major rivals in the area, the German Teutonic Order, and having gathered some strength, they set their hearts on heading the whole Catholic world team. They were of a different opinion as for how to treat Russians. No re-tailoring, no correction, nothing of the kind. Those ignorant barbarians, they were convinced, were to be crushed with fire and sword, were to be forced into obeying the Vatican, Rome and the God’s vicegerent on earth in the face of the Pope.

In other words, the essence of the second branch is that the Russians are unchangeable, unpersuadable and into-anything-undraggable; they are the ones to be only forced or smashed.

Since then these two views have been going hand in hand all around the West. On the one hand, we are sub-humans but still of some potential use, so why not try to deal with us, for a start even – you won’t believe – in a humane, liberal way. On the other, we are sub-humans alright, but only formally so; in fact we are just beasts only worthy to be treated in the whip-and-stick way, totally subdued and incessantly beaten, and if beating doesn’t work – just slaughtered so that to make room for the human ones. Either way, we are just some evil which, on top of everything else, poses a danger to the Eastern outskirts of the Western world.

Moreover, the Poles were the first to start preaching, together with Germans that joined the choir some centuries later, that the Russians are nothing short of the Mongol Horde, mutated and vigorous and accordingly far more dangerous. Now some Ukrainians are actively exploiting this Horde comparison, without giving a thought to where it comes from, translating-paraphrasing-disseminating it thus severely distorting the original source.

Now let us turn from the origins of russophobia to its modern Western form.

The face of the modern Western world is its media in the first place and the information it presents on Russia and Russians. A cursory look at the top French, German, British etc. print press and their satellites in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as at innumerable books that have been coming out all over the West is enough to understand that not only does russophobia exist but it flourishes bringing a stable income to a large number of people.

Weirdly enough, it all looks like a surge of anti-sovietism – now, when it’s been over 20 years since the Soviet Union voluntarily resigned from the world political scene, in fact, self-destructed. There wasn’t any noticeable hatred in the Western heart to us at the time, quite the opposite – remember all those USSR t-shirts, hats with stars, and so on and so forth that all of a sudden became all the rage. The world seemed to be inflamed with some paranoid love of everything Soviet.

It was then, after the collapse of the USSR. 20 years have passed and here we are, witnessing a surge of wild, even rabid anti-sovietism. Outdoing the one reigning in Senator McCarthy’s days, the current in its intensity is comparable to – or even surpasses – the anti-soviet trends promoted by the Nazi Germany.

– So what is anti-sovietism?

– Just a disguised form of russophobia, I think.

— Could you expand on that or give some more recent examples?

– Destruction and violation of monuments, bans on wearing items with Soviet symbols, parallels that are drawn between the Soviet Union and the Nazi Germany. Just make a tour around the North of France, Belgium, Holland, and Northern Europe and have a look at their numerous monuments – historical as well as newly erected ones – commemorating the World War II. They all get one and the same message across – the World War II was won a) by Americans in the first place and b) by the Europeans who later built these very monuments on their territories – the French, the Dutch etc.

The other thing that jumps at you seeing these memorials is that they won the war not only against the Germans but against the Soviet Union as well which too fought on the evil side, against good on earth. Have you been to the war museum in Brussels?

– No, I haven’t.

– Oh, it’s just awesome. There is an exposition devoted to the history of WWII with two busts among other things – Stalin’s and Hitler’s just crying out for a plate with “=” sign to be put up between them. The idea floats in the air but it’s almost tangible – there was some universal Evil with two faces, Hitlerism and Communism, and there was some universal Goodness headed by the USA that did crush that Evil in a hardest battle. What is it if not blatant anti-sovietism?

There is even more to it. It’s aimed at programming the population for the next conflict. So it turns out it was not us who saved them from the plague they themselves had created and tried to pass on to us, but the other way round – we were the demons they had to defend their homeland from and later destroy.

In other words, the attitude they have adopted combines the darkest racist postulates Hitler used to propagate and instill in Europeans’ minds in the pre-WWII period, and overt anti-soviet tendencies that appeared in the US after the World War II.

– You say they strived to implement their Western matrix here in Russia. Look, Peter the Great submitted thus giving birth to the glorious Russian Empire and the great world-level Russian culture.

– We are not talking about choosing or not choosing Western ways, we are talking about the attitude. I completely agree with Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevskiy who always held that there are different civilizations which can well develop simultaneously but independently, and denied Russia’s belonging to the Western European civilization.

Russia belongs to her own, Russian civilization. It does exist, it does develop, even though this civilization has seen hard times of being totally rejected and downright condemned with all its components contemptuously referred to as “pseudo-Russian” style.

Those times are over and now, at least from my point of view, the Russian civilization is about to revive. It’s like a tree, that has long since been cut off, all of a sudden sends out shoots, thin and weak but so adamant in their thirst for light, for air, for life and so determinedly gaining strength with every touch of the sun and every raindrop. It’s all because the huge old roots are still alive deep down there; they have been there all this time, impregnable and indestructible.

Russia has every potential to develop into a powerful dully-fledged civilization for it has strong age-old roots, intertwined not with the Western European civilization but with that of Byzantine which in its turn stems from the Greek rather than Roman heritage. This continuity suggests the idea of some independent cultural tradition, some substantive civilization but with many different characteristics woven into it.

No one denies our “europeanness” but it’s not the europeanness that is characteristic of the peoples of Western Europe. We are Europeans, right enough; it’s just that we are different. And it’s foolish to deny this.

– I do see how beneficial the Western injection turned out to be for the Russia of old days, helping us to achieve new heights in the world science and culture. As for the positive influence –assuming there was some – of the Byzantine culture, I’m at a loss here. How did it change us?

– Regrettably, the vast majority of the population is unaware of what the Byzantine culture is and what heritage it has left behind. It is not because there is none but simply due to the fact that for the course of all these centuries the West, with the help of the Catholic Church, have been methodically eradicating any sign or memory of Byzantine.

Thrusting upon the whole world the stereotype that Byzantine was nothing but an epitome of all possible wrongs, vices and intrigues, the myths-tellers seem to have forgotten, so conveniently, that for several centuries when Western Europe was floundering about the swamp of barbarism, Byzantine remained the only beacon of civilization in our hemisphere.

Even at the eve of her collapse, Byzantine standards of culture and education remained at the highest level and the collapse became possible only because Byzantine, at the time fighting against the advancing Islamic East, was treacherously stabbed in the back by crusaders that took advantage of the situation. The Byzantine Empire, feeble and decrepit as it was, did not find enough strength to recover from that blow.

Turning to Danilevskiy once again, I concur that a people, a nation, just like a living organism, goes through several phases – infancy, childhood, adolescence, maturity, old age and, finally, death or rebirth. With civilizations it is all the same.

By the moment of her death the Byzantine Empire, having long since passed over the threshold of maturity, turned to an oldster if compared to the Western Europe, a young overstuffed musclehead.

As for Russia that by the time had only emerged as a state, it was a mere infant. The two of them – the oldster and the infant – could not withstand the hefty European fellow, and Byzantine just passed away.

Time moves on, the Western civilization has got on in years and is giving way to the healthy vigour of the youth. It has completed its life cycle and now Russia, in the prime of her life, has all the chances to take the baton.

That is how civilizations coexist, feeding and teaching each other and absorbing the best each has to suggest.

Say, the Roman civilization adopted the best of the Greek’s and later passed it on to the Western European’s. But there is one major difference between us and Western Europe – our attitude to the material values.

We, as successors of the Byzantine Orthodox Christianity, pay little heed to the treasures the physical world seduces us with, whereas in Western Europe materialism and individualism are the only motive powers. Material well-being is the ultimate objective; that is the reason why it was the Western Europe where capitalism chose to reach its peak.

– Forgive me, but it’s strange to hear such words from you, not exactly a monk. I mean, you’ve got smart clothes on and seem to care about how you look and it feels you’re not that indifferent to the world of material things.

— A man who’s active and efficient can yet keep nail-care much in mind, as Pushkin said. One doesn’t contradict the other.

– So, what should an ordinary Russian person, who is little concerned about reading weighty tomes on russophobia, who has no idea of the low regard his countrymen used to be held in by Europeans in XVII-XIX centuries, who can’t clearly explain why Pushkin wrote “To Detractors of Russia”, be prepared for when setting off to Europe?

– It depends on the country you’re going to. Say, in Poland the attitude to Russians is quite moderate. On everyday life level, that is. There have been some moments when people expressed outright hostility to me or my family, though. At the time of that Maidan hysteria in the Ukraine my youngest son – he goes to an ordinary Polish public school – got seriously beaten there.

– Back in 2013?

– Yes, in the autumn. Some elder boys pushed him off his bike and beat him shouting out “you, Russian swine”. Note that such an occurrence is outrageous in a Polish school, such deeds get severely punished.

The child came home and told us about what’d happened, for how can such a thing be kept back. We talked to the teachers, and cutting a long story short, it turned out that the incident had been initiated by a son of a member of the “Civil Platform” political party that was in power at the moment.

– And his surname?

– I might be wrong, but seems it was Martin Kerwinski. By the way, my car – it has the Russian number plate – has been several times poured paint onto. Another example – the attack on the Russian football fans in the centre of Warsaw in the summer of 2012.

The investigation showed that it’d been carefully planned, those 200 hooligans who went at our fans had been brought to the place from all around Poland with the sole purpose to attack Russians. The Polish police never exposed their sponsors, as for the authorities, they chose to hush the scandal up.

They did figure out who those sponsors were, I suppose, and probably even punished them behind the public’s back, but the point is the whole incident, as serious as it was, was nothing close to a spontaneous surge of pent-up ardent hate but a carefully staged political action. There is no “natural” russophobia in Poland. Russophobia there is a part of the national informational policy.

It’s also ideology. A part of the Polish culture. A sort of, if you are a real Pole, make sure you hate Russia, be it communistic or non-communistic or whatever.

– Regardless of whether you’re going to vote for pro-American conservative Kaszynski or pro-European liberal Tuska?

– The Poles are taught from early age that there is one huge problem in the East named “the Russian State”. You must loathe this state, is all. But you can get on marvelously well with Russians, you are free to marry a Russian, to bring up your common children here in Poland, no one will despise or insult you, it’s all perfectly fine. As long as you hate Russia as a country.

Poles do not exactly burn with passion for the Ukrainians either, you know. But there is one major difference – if their russophobia is more or less impersonal, their ukrainophobia is personal and very much so.

– Does it only go for Western Ukrainians or all of them?

– It’s not that they dislike the Ukraine (I don’t believe the Poles have ever had to deal with it a state), the thing is they strongly dislike the Ukrainians from the regions they used to have some contacts with. Russia – well, the Poles have some vague memories that she deprived them of their statehood, separated them, that there was indeed something not very pleasant in the past but what exactly, they struggle to remember.

There were some rebellions, alright. But it was the Poles who started them, wasn’t it? “Used to start”, better to say. Over and over again. A rebellion, then it got stamped out, then normal life began, then another rebellion, then it was again suppressed, and so it all dragged on and on.

Besides, those rebellions sparked off their patriotism and national honour; now they have every reason to swell with pride for their glorious past – it was not that they simply f…d up their state, oh no, it was their nasty neighbours who snatched it and tore it all apart and they, Poles, did put their act together and did make heroic attempts to defend their motherland.

Weirdly, in living memory there are only the rebellions that took place on the territory of the Russian Empire. And all those Polish riots in Austria and Germany – no one seems to think they’re even worth mentioning, but that’s another story.

Be that as it may, the Poles’ hatred towards Russia is filled with respect. As for the Ukrainians, they are not even considered to be a people, a nation, except for those of them who get paid for ranting on the podium.

My Ukrainian friends, who studied in Poland, told me that the Ukrainians, as well as the Belarusians are all “Russians” there.

– True. Some time ago I gave a number of presentations in Poland for my book “Euromaidan in the name of Stepan Bandera” published by a Polish publishing house. At one of them, held in Wroclaw, among the participants there was a former Armia Krajowa soldier (Armia Krajowa, or Home Army was the dominant Polish resistance movement in WWII Germanoccupied Poland, – translator’s note), one of those 10-20 junior officers who are still alive; a legendary man, presently the Head of the Union of Army Krajowa combatants in Silesia.

Unlike the Ukraine, where as if by magic the number of UIA veterans (UIA, or Ukrainian Insurgent Army was a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary and later partisan army that engaged in a series of guerrilla conflicts during WWII against Nazi Germany, the Soviet UnionCzechoslovakia, and both Underground and Communist Poland, – translator’s note) does nothing but grow from year to year and the veterans get younger and younger, the Polish veterans like our Russian are all for real.

Anyway, this Polish veteran turned out to be a really nice man; he fought against our army, he fought against Nazis, he fought against Bandera people and in the end got captured by the Russian soldiers. Good for him, for had he been caught by those other two…

– Bandera people would have shot him down.

– Rather, would’ve put him on the rack and turned him into a jigsaw. Either way, we released the lieutenant in due time and he moved back home, to Poland, and stayed there for good. In our meeting this vet soldier was very open and it felt he really spoke his mind. He told me he bore no grudge against Russia or her people but he did have reservations about the Ukrainians. It turns out the Polish nationalists have their own theory, according to which the Ukraine is nothing else but a subversive project that had been created by some evil forces with the aim of sowing discord in Europe; there are no “Ukrainians”, there are Russians or Poles, is all. “Ukraine” or whatever it calls itself is just crap that gets underfoot and grates on everyone’s nerves.

– What about Swedes? They rank first on the list of European russophobes. Why so? It’s been 200 years since our last war; they are neutrals and not a NATO member. Why then?

– I think there are two main reasons – a) state stance, b) business. Swedes, generously fed with American dollars, have turned very inquisitive and enthusiastically poke their noses into Western-European affairs.

– The “Eastern Partnership” project, for example?

– Swedes are literally everywhere, in every sphere. Besides, they are very provocative, including at the official level. Just look at the insolent fuel-to-the-fire commentaries Sweden figures of authority regularly come out with.

There is also c) to be taken into account, I guess. Sweden competes with Russia for influence over the Baltic States. When was the last time you went to Estonia?

– In 2013.

– It seems to me that Estonia is not even a province of Finland, but rather of Sweden. Banks are all Swedish, as well as companies, goods in stores etcetera, etcetera. It really catches the eye. Probably such sticking to all Swedish is how Estonians secure themselves (as if someone lays any claims on their untold wealth).

First and foremost, on Estonians’ and others’ part, it’s the yearning desire to become a cog in the European policy making machine. Today only America’s friends are given such a privilege. And America demands that all her coggy friends take up a certain position. That’s where all this russophobia stems from, I think, for it has one distinctive feature – in 90% of the cases it’s implanted by higher political forces.

Only the rest 10% takes root in something intensely personal, some past experiences, or war and after war memories. Speaking of war… You know, if you’re Russian, you’re far more likely to meet with downright rudeness in Western than in Eastern Germany, which would seem strange.

We occupied both but what Eastern Germans feel is offense rather than hatred. They think that we a sort of betrayed or abandoned them, cast them adrift, allowed the unfriendly, albeit speaking the same language, state to swallow them up. Considered by the modern Germany to be second-class, these former GDR citizens are now struggling to be recognized as a national minority.

– Are you serious?

– Yes, there is such a social movement. They feel discriminated. Just one fact to illustrate the point – all these years, starting from 1989, Western Germans have invariably been given the priority in employment.

– Why is russophobia, as a part of political culture, so blatantly obvious in Poland, but much less so in the Czech Republic and Slovakia? Were they not Soviet tanks that crushed the Prague Spring? Even Zeman and Klaus turned into russophiles. Isn’t it weird?

– Firstly, Czechs on the whole are a bit more cultured people; secondly, Zeman and Klaus are rather an exception than a rule. The rest of the political establishment get on their hind legs before Americans, – again, in a very cultured way. There are adequate Czechs, though. Today I read an article by a Czech journalist, in translation, in which he says he was not only appalled but burning with shame when he was reading Czechs’ comments on the Sinai plane crash.

It’s unconceivable, he says, that so many of his countrymen can be such lousy morons as to scoff at this tragedy. Perhaps, only Ukrainians overdid them in the number of heinous comments horrifying with their vileness and cynicism, but this fact is of little comfort. He adds he can’t and doesn’t want to believe this comes out from the bottom of the Czech heart… Obviously, it’s one of the results of mass brainwashing.

– What about Bulgarians and Montenegrins? Where does their negative attitude come from? We used to be such famous buddies, didn’t we?

– As for Montenegrins, they’re fighting for their place under the EU sun, in this fight resembling a mad rat. There is a normal sensible rat that fleets the sinking ship, and there is a mad rat that tries to jump onto it. That’s exactly what Montenegro is up to now. Making that mad jump and cutting off ways for Russian investment, it through its own will causes irreparable harm to its economy and dooms itself to turning into a kind of Crimea in its Ukrainian times, a third-class sea place with no economical support, derelict and castaway.

Besides, don’t let’s forget that these Montenegrin elites are highly qualified in betrayal. It hasn’t been long since they betrayed Serbs, their blood brothers, when the latter were caught in dire straits. Montenegro just dumped them and merrily popped aside, and now this Cain has turned up again, looking forward to somehow squeezing into the room with big boys slicing up the Serbian pie and grabbing a piece. A fat chance they’ll get even a crumb, though.

They are given all sorts of promises, of course. These funny Eastern European elites have always been the same – racing one another seeking to butter up and please their European masters. Lackeys’ lackeys, a kind of.

– And Bulgarians?

– The same story. There were quite a few clashes between us in the past, sure enough, but the Bulgarian people have never been hostile to Russians and never have they betrayed us. Here’s just one example that tells its own tale. Bulgarians, who officially sided with Hitler in the WWII, yet fought against Serbs and Yugoslavs, not against Russians. Croats, Hungarians, Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks and who not stood against us at the Eastern front but never Bulgarians.

– I can’t make it out why Hungarians’ russophobia seems to have vanished, though they are supposed to hate us for 1848 and for 1956. Latvians don’t seem to be that hysterical about Russians any longer either. Most young Latvians nowadays speak the Russian language pretty well. Moreover, in Riga one can be refused a job if they don’t speak Russian.

– Hungarians due to their rich history have a far more developed state instinct than that of Latvians’. Remember, that the Austro-Hungarian Empire used to be a dual monarchy with Hungarians enjoying full autonomy with their own Parliament, army, currency, everything, but for all that they simply adored their Emperor. Friends are okay when they don’t get in the way, as it goes.

In other words, these people have a clear understanding of what state and public interests are, they possess a certain level of political culture and all this enables their common sense to prevail.

Now, in the face of the ongoing threats and provocations befallen Europe, Hungarians seem to have made right conclusions and started taking right steps towards their self-preservation. As for Latvia, it looks like someone whose head has been cut up and flung open, brain taken away and replaced by funny little wires. A signal comes from the outside, it gets caught by the wire and here you are, cute small arms start moving and feet marching in the given direction.

Latvians and instinct for self-preservation are two absolutely incompatible notions. Instead of befriending Russia, getting transit preferences and loads of other goodies, they are just sitting there and frantically punching the bottom of their own boat.

You must have heard the joke told among Rigans – “Attention, attention. The last Latvian leaving the airport, please be so kind as to turn off the light”. It won’t be long till there is nobody but non-citizens left in the country, with all the citizens having happily set off to wash, at best, Western toilets.

Like it happened in Poland. While Poles had been leaving for the West, their places at home had been being slowly but surely taken by emigrants from the East. But then the crisis burnt out, the Poles that had by that moment settled in Portugal, Ireland and England made a beeline for home but oops, found themselves neither needed nor welcome there anymore. Polish unscrupulous businessmen much preferred docile Ukrainians as employees but not their own countrymen who might well, having assimilated their former Western colleagues’ ways, take it in their heads to start fighting for rights.

– Will our present involvement in the war in Syria lead to a burst of russophobia in the Middle East? And one more question – can the latest terrorist attacks in Paris contribute to strengthening ties between Russia and the West in the fight against terrorism? Will it lessen Western negativism towards Russia?

– First and foremost, there’s no such thing as russophobia in the East.

– In the Middle East?

– Anywhere in the East. It’s something little heard of and written about. There are some clashes on the domestic level, for sure, nobody’s perfect, but as for “hatred” as such, there’s none of it.

Some circles, the same Wahhabis for example, dislike us, right enough. However, it’s not because we are Russian, they don’t care that much about national belonging, but rather because we are Christians hence infidels, the infidels who can drop bombs, into the bargain. That is to say, for them we are not just nobodies whose throats they can cut right and left to their hearts’ content, but some unknown quantity that is unpredictable and can well strike back.

Getting back to track, it’s hard to make any predictions but it’s clear as day that the latest events have left a dark mark on Europe. Heavens only know how they’re going to sort it all out and what it’ll end up with. Today’s Europe is not what it used to be. Just a while ago it already was different but in another sense and now it’s got even more modified. The French political landscape is bound to change drastically, I think.

– Do you mean Martin Le Pen will become…

– No, no, it’s the general layout that’s going to change, this very French dichotomy which emerged long ago – the Left and the Right, like in the USA, the democrats and the republicans. For some reason Europeans in general and the French in particular lay themselves out trying to copy this scheme and tailor their political system accordingly, and it’s of little importance what exactly these left and right are, they just must exist, is all.

I was at the general elections in France in 2012 and remember how much I was struggling to work it out why some of the candidates were considered to be leftists and others rightists – going by their programs it could well be the other way round.

I’m not talking about Le Pen which is a different story but about, say, Hollande and Sarkozy and their parties. The former and co. come across as leftists alright; they stand for increase of taxation – first 40%, now 75%; apparently their cherished dream is 99% which we might well soon witness.

And then the latter, that are presumably rightists, barge in: “Hang on, guys, let’s leave the wealthy alone. How about fleecing only the poor, good idea, no?” Nooo, the left say, here’s a better one – let’s rob all who work and pass the loot to those who don’t. They just don’t want to work, you see, there’s nothing to be done, we’re not going to force them, right?

The French society has had these left-wing hypocrites, devouring the country from the inside, up to here, it seems to me. It’s their door the public now lays blame at for what’s been happening.

There’s no doubt that rightists are to blame too, the same Sarkozy who’s falling all over himself trying to snatch the-Defender-of-the-Nation medal out of Le Pen’s hands.

Be that as it way, it was leftists who started trouble when they, seeking more votes, began granting citizenship to migrant families brought in large numbers by French capitalists from Northern Africa.

That was it, the mess got off the mark. First citizenship, then other rights, then more rights and problems started growing like a snowball which it was beyond leftists’ power to stop. That’s just how the French system works. As a result, the functioning minority found themselves attending upon the idle, aggressive and unwilling to assimilate majority.

France is in a deadlock. It’s evident it will have to go to God knows what lengths in order to get out of it.

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