Originally Posted by Colebatch
Normally, to understand Russians its vitally important to understand their history and in Russian history, Americans are not the great historical enemy of the Russian people. That honour goes to the Germans. Every mention of Germans in a military context refers to the "fascists". Even today people will call often jokingly anything German by that name. A new BMW for example is a "fascist car" (... but it doesn't stop everyone wanting one.)
So one of the things that did surprise me about Russian hospitality, is that every German I have met who has travelled through Russia has ALSO reported nothing but the warmest of hospitality, and so it seems to me that the Russians are just as warm to the Germans as anyone else. I have even heard stories of German travellers stopping off in villages where the elderly patriarch of the family lost a leg fighting the Germans, and yet he welcomes an unexpected German traveller like a old friend.
This warm personal contact with people from the arch enemy Germany confirmed my view that at a personal level, the Russians see the world in two sets ... "the civilised folk", and "the barbarians".
Edit ... afterthought ... in these extreme parts of Siberia (where everyone is rugged and tough), they think of westerners in general as soft and spoiled by luxury. But they think exactly the same of Russian city people and in particular "Moscow people", who rural Russians love to mock.
Intersting comments, Colebatch. Here in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Oregon's Willamette Valley, south of Portland, there is a very sizeable community of immigrant Russians and Ukranians. Dont know the numbers but I drive by Orthodox churches here and abouts. Mostly farmers I think.
Yes, Russia has quite a recent history with Germany, and I can't imagine anyone not being wary of the Germans to some degree, even after 70 years and three generations.
I think there could be problems with the Chinese as that country flexes its muscles in the years to come. Much of the Russian Far East was taken from a weakened China in the past and I look for the Chinese to make claims on some of it. And it also may be another reason Putin pushed through the BAM.
The relations between the Euro-Russians and the people of the Far East, beginning with the Mongols (I suppose) goes way back in time.