The 5 Types of Russian American

In my nearly 20 years experience as a Russian living in the West, I have found that almost all my fellows can be reduced to five basic types: 1) The White Russian; 2) The Sovok Jew; 3) The Egghead Emigre; 4) Natasha Gold-Digger; 5) Putin’s Expat.

My background and qualifications to write on this topic? My dad is an academic who moved to the UK with his family in 1994, i.e. an Egghead Emigre. Later on, I moved to California. Much of the Russian community in the Bay Area (though not Sacramento!) are in fact Russian Jews, who are culturally distinct from Russians, albeit the boundaries are blurred and there’s lots of intermingling though Russian cultural events. Topping off the cake, I have some White Russian ancestors, and am familiar with many of them as well as more recent expats via my hobby of Russia punditry.

I hope this guide will entertain American and Russian (and Jewish) readers interested in what happens when their cultures interact and fuse, as well as those very Russian Americans who will doubtless see traces of themselves in at least one of the five main archetypes.


Arrived in: 1917-1920’s, 1945
Social origins: Clerks, Tsarist officials, aristocrats, White Army officers, philosophers.
Culturally related to: Earlier Orthodox Slavic migrants from the Russian Empire who came from 1880-1914, though White Russians proper are more sophisticated than them as they tended to be high class whereas former were peasants.
Political sympathies (US): Moderate conservatism
Political sympathies (Russia): Putin, Prokhorov

No, I’m not talking about Jeff Lebowski’s favorite cocktail. The White Russians (or “White emigres”) are the officers, officials, and intellectuals who fled their country after the Russian Revolution. Prominent examples included Zworykin (TV), Sikorsky (helicopters), and Nabokov (writer). They did not necessarily come to the US straight away: Many came via the great European cities, like Berlin, or Paris, where in the 1920’s, old White Army officers sat around dinghy bars, drowning their sorrows in drink and spending what remained of their money on cockroach racing. Some took more roundabout ways. One girl I know originated from Russian exiles in Harbin, Manchuria (mother’s side) and Brazil (father’s side) who met up and stayed in the US.

White Russians tend to be well-assimilated into US society, and many of the younger generations no longer speak Russian. However, many of them retain a positive affinity with traditional Russian culture – even if it tends to the gauzy and superficial, an attitude that transitions into “kvas patriotism” when taken to an extreme (kind of like Plastic Paddies). The quintessential White Russian comes from an upper-middle class family, holds moderately conservative views, and goes to the occasional Orthodox service and Russian cultural event featuring zakuski, vodka, and traditional singing and dancing.

To the extent they have detailed opinions on Russian politics, they tend to respect Putin, seeing him as a conservative restorer. Needless to say, they never support the Communists – though the antipathy does not extent to Red Army victories or space race triumphs, of which they are proud. Solzhenitsyn is their spiritual figurehead. Many however are partial to liberal forces such as Yabloko and Prokhorov; especially those who are no longer Russophones, and have to rely on Western coverage of Russia. A few kvas patriots go well beyond the call of duty to their Motherland, “telling it like it is on Trans-Dniester” and exposing “court appointed Russia friendlys.”


Arrived in: 1970’s-early 1990’s
Culturally related to: The early wave of Jewish emigration from Tsarist Russia, which included Ayn Rand.
Social origins: Normal Jewish families, with smattering of colorful dissidents and black marketeers/organized crime; also many pretend Jews.
Political sympathies (US): Republicans, neocons, libertarianism
Political sympathies (Russia): Prokhorov, Russian liberals

The Sovok Jew is a very complex figure. At home with American capitalism, he nonetheless continues to strongly identify with Soviet mannerisms (but don’t tell that to his face).

The modern Russian diaspora began in the 1970′s, when many Soviet Jews began to leave for Israel and the US. It accelerated in the late 1980′s, when the Soviet government eased emigration controls (prior to that the US had sanctioned the USSR for limiting Jewish emigration with the Jackson-Vanik amendment; bizarrely, it remains in effect to this day).

Leveraging their intelligence and entrepreneurial talent, many became very rich in the IT (California) and finance (East Coast) sectors. The ultimate example is, of course, Google founder Sergey Brin, who once opined that Russia is “Nigeria with snow.” He is the rule, not the exception. Most Sovok Jews have very poor impressions of Russia, and like to tell funny anecdotes about ethnic Russians’ stupidity and incompetence:

Ivan: What if we have to fight China? They have more than a billion people!
Pyotr: We’ll win with quality over quantity, just like the Jews with the Arabs.
Ivan: But do we have enough Jews?

The above joke courtesy of a Silicon Valley bigwig. He must have assumed I’m Jewish, given my surname. (Reality: I’m not a Jew culturally, though I’ve calculated I’m about 10% Ashkenazi Jewish at the genetic level).

Two further important points must be made. First, while they’re very successful on average, far from all Soviet Jews made the American dream: While many are millionaires, the vast majority still consists of shop assistants, office plankton, and the driving instructor I hired for a refresher lesson prior to my California driving exam. The less successful they are in America, the fonder their recollections of Soviet life. Their biggest enclave, Brighton Beach (“Little Odessa”), used to be a dump; and was the original spawning ground of the so-called “Russian Mafia” abroad, as popularized by Yuri Orlov, the gunrunner antihero from Lord of War.

Second, despite that many famous Soviet dissidents were Jewish (e.g. Brodsky, Dovlatov, – and satirized by the fictional e-persona Lev Sharansky), not to mention their appreciation for capitalism, most Russian Jews regard the USSR in a far more positive light than Russia itself. (Of course, there are exceptions, e.g. Lozansky, and I believe the DR commentator Lazy Glossophiliac). This might sound surprising at first, but one needs to bear in mind that Jews did very well in the early USSR: As Jewish Russian-American author Yuri Slezkine argues in The Jewish Century, the three major homelands of the Jews in the 20th century were the US, Israel, and the USSR, while the traditional Russia of icons and cockroaches was not a homeland, but a pogrom-land.

Furthermore, the USSR’s early philo-Semitism reversed from later Stalinism on, with rhetoric about “rootless cosmopolitanism” and “anti-Zionism” even as the US became highly pro-Israel. In a neat ideological reversal, Soviet Jews in America whose parents had sung Communism’s praises turned to libertarianism and neoconservatism, and in the 2000’s, most became hardcore anti-Putinists.

A controversial assertion, perhaps… But one need only drop a few names: Anne Applebaum (Putin stole my wallet), Miriam Elder (Putin stole my drycleaning ticket), Julia Ioffe (I hate objectivity), Masha Gessen (Putin has no face), Anna Nemtsova (Russian dudes suck)*… Or recall the blood-curdling and frankly threatening responses I got from one Irina Worthey (“Ira Birman”) when trolling a pro-Khodorkovsky Facebook group with inconvenient questions about his actual democratic credentials. Or consider that Prokhorov got 90% of the votes at Palo Alto.

Yet while they harbor little love for Russia, Jewish Russian-Americans continue to speak Russian among themselves, play durak and eat borscht, and recite Radio Yerevan jokes. They remain stuck in the Soviet attitudes and tastes that they brought with them to American shores; arguably, far more so than ethnic Russians (who have co-evolved with post-Soviet Russia). But as the USSR is dead, this Soviet identity has no future; the children of Sovok Jews tend to undergo complete Americanization.


Arrived in: 1990’s
Social origins: Academia.
Political sympathies (US): No real pattern.
Political sympathies (Russia): Communists, liberals; but increasingly, some have learned to stop worrying and love Putin.

The third major group are the Egghead Emigres – those Russians, who left during the 1990’s “brain drain”, when the Russian state lost its ability to even pay salaries regularly. There are Jews among them (e.g. Andre Geim, recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics), as well as other nationalities, but most of them are ethnic Russians. They cluster around university towns; if there’s a campus, chances are there are a few Russians around. As an in-joke among them goes: “What’s an American university?”, “It’s a place where Russian physicists lecture to Chinese students.”

Though one would think that these Russian academics are entrepreneurial go-getters – after all, they were willing to gamble on a new life abroad, right? – most are actually risk-averse and ultimately limited in their horizons. They are highly intelligent, but their ineptness at office politics limits their chances for promotion – as in companies, so within universities – where far less accomplished but socially savvier native bosses leech off their work. While they are now almost uniformly well-off, the Egghead Emigre lacks the Sovok Jew’s entrepreneurial drive, and as such there are very few truly rich among them. But on second thought this ain’t that surprising. Academia is a very safe environment (in terms of employment) and guarantees a reliable cash flow and career progression but it won’t make you a millionaire. The truly entrepreneurial Soviet academics have long since abandoned academia and made big bucks in the business world.

Many Egghead Emigres seem to be stuck in the 1990’s when it comes to their perceptions of Russia, with which they have very bad associations; after all, they ended up leaving the country back then. They feel genuinely betrayed by the Russian state – which for a time didn’t even pay them their salaries – and at the same time, many also became big fans of their adopted countries. I suspect this is in large part born of their need to justify their own emigration to themselves. After all, many of them still have Sovok mindsets, in which emigration and betrayal are near synonyms; but is it still betrayal to betray a country that betrayed you?

Consequently, some even view any “defense” of Russia, no matter how justified, as a personal attack on themselves and respond ferociously. Furthermore, and logically, the more successful they are in the West, the more anti-Russian they tend to be; whereas many of the least successful Egghead Emigres have already gone back to Russia.

Their views on the Soviet Union are mixed: While most admire it for its educational system, they also criticize it for its politicized idiocies and censorship. Nonetheless, their overall impression of the USSR is far higher than that of Russia; at least in the former, they were paid salaries and socially respected.

There’s also a generational aspect. Whereas the migrant “fathers” tended to indulge in Russia-bashing (out of a genuine sense of betrayal; overcompensating need to justify their emigration; etc), and embraced all aspects of Westernization with the fanaticism of the new convert, the effect of emigration was sometimes quite different on their “sons”. A few followed in the footsteps of the “fathers”; some (perhaps most) are largely indifferent to Russia, and have blended into the socio-cultural mainstream of Anglo-Saxon society; and others appreciate Russia to an extent that the “fathers” find puzzling, annoying, or even intolerable.

As you may have deduced, the Egghead Emigre shares many similarities with the Sovok Jew. Nonetheless, many of them still retain a few patriotic vestiges; and politically, they are considerably to the left, with social democratic, socialist, and even Communist leanings being common (whereas Sovok Jews are right-leaning, ironically, unlike purely American Jews who tend to be more leftist). Though not many are still much interested in Russian politics, those who are typically vote for Prokhorov/Yabloko or the Communist Party. That said, it should be noted that in recent years, opinion about the old homeland has improved, especially as Russia recovered under Putin, and once again started paying researchers decent salaries and courting the Egghead Emigres with generous packages on condition they return. But thus far very few of them have taken up those offers.


Arrived in: From early 1990’s
Social origins: Ordinary families
Political sympathies (US): Year 0: Adventurous, naive, wants marriage to nice American guy; Year 2: Wants American betaboy’s nice money
Political sympathies (Russia): ?

Natasha Gold-Digger is the most (in)famous type of Russian American, her image having thoroughly permeated pop culture (e.g. films such as The Russian Bride, Marina Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukraine). In practice however, Natasha isn’t only the rarest of the five major types of Russian American; frequently, she is not actually Russian, but Ukrainian or Moldovan.

A common delusion that feeds the “mail order brides” industry is that Russian women are less feminist than their over-entitled Western counterparts, eternally thankful for the opportunity to escape poor, barbaric Russia with its alcoholic Beastmen, and hotter to boot. Sounds like a good deal, no?

But while traditional gender roles are indeed far more prevalent in Russia than in the US or Britain, this does not extend into family relations – Russia’s divorce rate is over 50%, which is only slightly lower than in the US. Furthermore, the type of American man who actually orders a bride online is typically someone who does not have the social skills to compete for America’s admittedly much narrower pool of non-obese women. These Russian brides – strong and adventurous almost by definition, as per their choice to emigrate – don’t respect, let alone supplicate, to these Yankee betaboys.

The customer doesn’t get what he thought he signed up for, as his Russian wife gets her residency papers, empties his bank account, wins alimony for any children they had together, and dumps him to ride the alpha cock carousel. The embittered husbands then go on to vent their resentments to anyone who would listen and many who would not. But they have only their own loser selves to blame.


Arrived in: 2000’s
Social origins: Students, businesspeople, rich elites, yuppies
Culturally related to: The expats of all political persuasions who whirled about Europe in the time of Tsarism
Political sympathies (US): Democrat, anti-war, Ron Paul
Political sympathies (Russia): All over – Putin, Prokhorov, Communists

They might not support Putin – though many do. Take the student at Stanford University, son of a senior manager at a Russian tech company; or the Russian financier working working in New York – more likely than not, both would vote for Prokhorov, and maybe even participate in a picket of the Russian Embassy as part of a protest for free elections or the freeing of Pussy Riot. But in a sense they are all Putin’s children, as is the Russian middle class from whence it comes; a middle class that only began to develop beyond a narrow circle of oligarchs during the 2000’s.

In this sense, Russia has become a “normal country”, as this class of global expats – typically consisting of young, upwardly mobile and ambitious people – is common to all developed countries; and just as in Russia, they too tend to have specific political preferences (the US – Democrats; France – Sarkozy/UMP). And unlike previous waves of emigration, which encompassed all the four types of Russian American that I already covered, most of “Putin’s expats” will eventually go back once they finish their course of study or gain work experience in a Western country.

Paradoxically, spending a lot of time in the West does not make these expats significantly more liberal or anti-Putin; even the reverse, if anything. On closer analysis this is not surprising. Even when in Russia, they already have access to what Western “free journalists” write about their country – if not in the English-language original, then translation websites like Inosmi. When spending time in the West, many realize their own country isn’t that bad in comparison; and that typical American perceptions of Russia tend to be irredeemably skewed (“Is it always cold in Russia?”, “Do you drink vodka everyday?”, “What do you think about your dictator Putin?”). Consequently, even someone who may be relatively liberal in Russia not infrequently ends up defending many aspects of Russian politics and society that he otherwise hates when in the West.

In the future, Sovok Jews will almost all Americanize, as will a majority of Egghead Emigres and their progeny. Those Russian-Americans who survive as distinct social communities will be primarily the White Russians (largely through the Orthodox Church), as well as increasing numbers of Putin’s Expats who will continue traipsing across America and the globe even after their namesake retreats into history. And if Russia becomes a developed country, it is easy to imagine that more Russian Americans will become Putin’s Expats… or even, just Russians.




* One thing that really stands out is that it is female Jews who dislike Russia more than anything, at least among Western journalists. As this post has already pushed well beyond all respectable limits of political correctness, I might as well go the full nine yards and outline my theory of why that is the case. In my view, the reasons are ultimately psycho-sexual. Male Jews nowadays have it good in Russia, with many Slavic girls attracted to their wealth, intelligence and impeccable charm (if not their looks). But the position of Jewesses is the inverse. They find it hard to compete with those same Slavic chicks who tend to be both hotter and much more feminine than them; nor, like Jewish guys, can they compensate with intelligence, since it is considered far less important for women. This state of affairs leads to sexual frustration and  permanent singledom (pump and dump affairs don’t count of course), which in turn gives rise to the angry radical feminism and lesbianism that oozes out of this piece by Anna Nemtsova bemoaning Russia’s “useless bachelors”. Such attitudes further increase male aversion to them, thus reinforcing their vicious cycle of singledom. And the resulting frustration indelibly seeps into their work…


  1. I think this is quite accurate, funny and insightful. I love the pictures. And yes, my attitude to Putin is unusual for someone from the second category. How did I arrive at it? It’s difficult to psychoanalyze oneself. Who knows? I could say that being a nerd can insulate one from lots of general trends, not just political ones, but I don’t actually know if that was what did it.

    As for my own category, there’s a bit of a split between those who came from Moscow and St. Petersburg on the one hand and those who came from Ukraine and Belarus on the other hand. The Soviet Jews who were born in what used to be called the Pale of Settlement tend to regard Moscow and St. Petersburg Jews the way ethno-centric Asian-Americans see “bananas” and black Americans see “Oreos”. For their own part Moscow and St. Petersburg Jews sometimes use the word “mestechkoviye” (little-towners) to describe the Jews who came directly from the Ukraine. In its tone this has parallels with the American term “hicks”. This will probably sound ridiculous to most outsiders because the difference between these two groups is quite superficial. My grandparents only came to Moscow in the 1920s, and I have “mestechkoviye” relatives whom I’ve seen, which I think is typical of someone from my background. I’ve seen a demographic report by the city of New York that showed that a greater percentage of New Yorkers who were born in Russia lived in Manhattan, compared to those born in the Ukraine. Both groups mostly live in Brooklyn, but a Russian-born Jew is more likely to live in Manhattan than a Ukrainian-born Jew. This was not surprising to me at all. By the way, the Brighton Beach area is very much a “mestechkovoye” area.

    Anyway, it’s getting very late here, and I do have my office plankton job to go to in the morning. Maybe I’ll think of more observations tomorrow, I don’t know. As I’ve said, this is a pretty accurate and insightful post.

    • Thanks for that explanation of the difference between small-town Jews and big city Jews in ex-USSR, not to mention the general approval. I’m happy you at least think I’ve gotten things mostly right.

      Do you know to what extent these attitudes remain today? (There are many fewer Jews in Russia now than a generation ago, so surely social dynamics will have changed quite a bit). And would you say they parallel relations and attitudes between big city Russians and provincial Russians? (Like you, I have – primarily ethnic Russian – relatives in both Moscow, a couple in SPB, and many in a smattering of provincial towns).

      • Yes, I’m sure that this parallels attitudes between metropolitan and provincial ethnic Russians. It’s probably true for members of most ethnicities. Among Jews it’s definitely persisted in immigration. I’m too out of touch to know if it’s persisted among Jews in Russia and the Ukraine, but I would assume so.

  2. Leon Lentz says:

    AK: Please keep comments on topic. {Rule 8}

  3. Leon Lentz says:

    Concerning your classification item “Sovok Jews”: it is an offensive term, because “Sovok” has a negative connotation, in fact, many Jews were dissidents and certainly do not want to be identified with “Sovok”. There are those who actually like the former USSR, but would not assume that label because “Sovok” is a term of contempt and the juxtaposition of this term with word ” Jew” does sound somewhat anti Semitic. Since you are 10% Jewish and you use this classification, I wonder if there is a subconscious self loathing there?

    • I’m sure Egghead Emigres and Natasha Golddiggers wouldn’t appreciate their monikers too much either.

  4. Leon Lentz says:

    Despite my criticism, I find this article interesting and stimulating. However, there is another dimension, not at all covered by this post which can introduce a new item of classification or a dividing line across the strata just described. I am talking about people who are not concerned with material wealth, because they already have enough (just a little or a bit more than that) to suit their needs and who have other interests vs people in vehement pursuit of material careers. To me, Russia is not just a political and economic system, it is thunderstorms in May, soccer games, scientific discoveries, conversations over a beer which last past midnight, linden trees, Checkov plays, Moscow short Summer nights and white nights in St. Petersburg. Einstein said once that he was most influenced in his creation of Relativity Theory not by Ernst Mach, Hendrik Lorentz or Henri Poincare but by Dostoyevsky’s novels. I assume this is because of their ideas of transcendence which permeate his writings. I live part of the year in Russia and part in US which I can do because I take about 5 months vacation time a year. I find US singularly uninspiring, the only exception is the struggle of Black people for Civil Rights against White racism. I think that the whole American propaganda hypocrisy about Founding Fathers, US “democracy” and “freedom”, the political system and hick culture are quite despicable. Invading other countries, killing innocent people, brutally suppressing demonstrations, lying about other countries and having pride in a piece of cloth (the flag) and their history, which is slavery, genocide or segregation and not much more. Perhaps Russian mindless pursuit of material wealth can be just as unsavory, though.

    • I am commenting here in “reply” , because the above (Leon’s comment) is what I was just about to mention to Anatoly too – the missing “dimension” or the “mindset” of former Soviet scientists in the “west”. Eg. over 17 years, I did not meet a single “scientist” in Australia (btw the majority here are imported from Anglo-Saxon countries – perhaps, a float-scum 🙂 ? ), who would be interested in science more than in his/her material well-being. There were plenty in the USSR.

      Another detail it seems, missing in your analysis, is/are certain cultural “traits” of (real) Soviet intelligentsia, which is a sense makes them look like aristocracy. Most notable are: most of them won’t fight in the queue to get ahead of the others and another – many will have strong inhibition to sell anything for money (you know – really SELL – bargain, until you extract the last possible cent regardless of who from), their own labor included. You may call it “pride” and “honesty” . you may call this “Sovkovost” if you wish (but I have to warn you that I dislike the word & think it is in the same class as the word “Rushka” as a substitute for Russia) These qualities make such people unfit for “western” society.


      • Oh – forgot the most important “Sovok” quality – they won’t call anyone “Sir”

      • “Most notable are: most of them won’t fight in the queue to get ahead of the others and another – many will have strong inhibition to sell anything for money”

        Yes! For example, my wife wouldn’t let our kids participate in those sales drives at our American school.

    • anon666 says:

      *All* of your criticisms of the U.S. — and I mean every last one of them — can be applied to Russia. I’m not the most patriotic American citizen in the world, but your post is pretty dumb and serves as a pretty good example of the pot calling the kettle black. Even though I actually want to emigrate from the U.S. to a less Calvinistic country that’s more amenable to my lifestyle (like Germany), I still credit the Anglo-Saxon derived countries — especially the U.S. — for spawning a large percentage of the scientific advances and technological innovations that helped create the modern world. I don’t think that can be attributed entirely to genocide and imperialism, as such actions don’t differentiate us from the Spanish or Portuguese, who remained technological and economic backwaters in spite their success in conquering the Americas.

      • Leon Lentz says:

        All of my criticisms against US can be applied to Russia? Like 30mln Indians killed? I mean real things, not the Western exaggerations of Stalin’s atrocities. Is Russia killing children in Afghanistan and Iraq? BTW, I have no sympathy for the Czar’s Russia, nor for Brezhnev’s regime, but the latter was not nearly as criminal as US.

        Also, despite their claims on the contrary, Americans did not invent much. Computers (Von Neuman), helicopters (Sikorsky), automobiles (Benz) , TV (Belin, Zworykin), airplanes (Mozhaisky and a host of other contenders, including Brasilians), radio (Marconi, Popov), etc. were invented in Europe, although some inventors came to US after their discoveries, like Sikorski and Zworykin. Also, many inventions sometimes erroneously attributed to Edison, should be credited to Tesla, notably, the AC electric power transmission (which Edison fought tooth and nail), lasers and audio recording. The American science is being developed primarily by foreigners and this trend is on the rise. I think Alex is absolutely right, some of the emigre intelligentsia, is to an extent nonmaterialistic, because it has other values (Nastasia Filippovna burning money in a fire place may be a good example). I think most of the American faculty would gladly work as butlers if their salaries were increased tenfold. My American friends don’t believe me when I say that I choose a certain part of town to live in because there is a forest nearby. It is such a foreign concept here.
        An average American Professor has about 50 books at home and about 50-100 in the office, mainly on their subject of research. An American born English professor told me 7 years that “War and Peace” and “Crime and Punishment” are on his list to read and they still are.

        • Scowspi says:

          Invention claims of the form “[This person] invented [this device]” are usually misleading, since the process of invention usually requires multiple stages (with relevant modifications) over a long period of time.

        • It would be more appropriate to compare Czarist Russia to the U.S. up to the 1900s. Both entities conquered and subjugated other peoples for the sake of expansion. The US had slavery, while Russia had serfdom arguably worse that western Europe. Claims regarding North American genocide are pretty misleading too, as disease was responsible for most of the population drop prior to any actual warfare. You make it sound as if imperialism were something uniquely American, when in fact it was the norm for any political entity powerful enough to engage in it.

          Regarding your list of inventors, it misses the point, which is that the business environment of the US was conducive to innovation, meaning the incorporation of invention into the processes of everyday life. The birthplace of the inventors is only relevant if their country of origin gave them the opportunity to economically promote their inventions. Countries like Germany certainly did. Places like Serbia, not so much.

          You’re also making the mistake of thinking I’m bashing Russia, which I’m not. I just don’t expect moral purity from the countries I admire. All nations and civilizations followed the credo of “might makes right”, regardless of the ideologies/religions they officially and hypocritically promoted. I don’t feel the need to argue that those which I like are innocent of this.

          • I also don’t understand your unrelated aside about it being a “foreign concept” to want to live near the forest. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and most people here think it’s great to live near the forest. Maybe you just live in a shitty part of the US

            • Leon Lentz says:

              I do live in the shitty part of US, in the South. However, even in the Pacific Northwest, most people are probably less attached to nature than Russians.

              On the other subject: US has the business environment for inventions, but because of a very poor education, the inventions are increasingly made by foreigners. Unfortunately, the country with best education, Russia, is now reforming its educational system along American patterns. I expect it to go down the drain. The idea of new reform is that everybody does not need physics, chemistry and biology and they will now teach only basics of these subjects and only people intending to go into science will study them in great depth at High Schools.

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Leon:
          A figure of 30 million dead native Americans is too low. Recent studies suggest the entire American continent was fully populated prior to European arrival, possibly as high as 100 o 120 million people. (The same number as there are citizens of the Russian Federation.) There was barely any patch of ground in North America that was not settled and landscaped by thousands of years of native American cultivation.
          Based on this, it would have been impossible for the Europeans to kill that many native Americans, even if they wanted to (which they probably did). To be sure, Europeans had slightly better technology, including gunpowder. But that doesn’t matter much. Humans are smart little monkeys, and technology is instantly transferrable, hence if the settlers had guns, then native Americans would have guns too. (If the settlers had arrived with smart phones, then the Indians would have been using smart phones within, like, 30 minutes.)
          The Indians were better fighters and better organized than the ragtag settlers. Once they got guns they would be unstoppable. Therefore, modern studies suggest that the main killer of Indians was not genocide per se, but rather plague. Plague of unprecedented proportions. (Probably smallpox.) Plague that literally killed 100 million people and conveniently “emptied” the continent for the settlers. There are many links out there supporting this theory.
          After reading about this plague, I did feel somewhat mollified and less critical of the Europeans. Murderous as they were, they did not commit this crime. At least not knowingly. They just brought their germs with them. Recent studies show the plague began immediately upon their arrival, for example all of Squanto’s tribe in Roanoke died off, and he just happened to be the sole survivor because he was busy travelling at the time.

          • The plague theory is what I believed too but then it is hard to explain how come the indigenous peoples in Mexico and other parts of Latin America did not disappear. Why would they have more resistance to European diseases if they all cam from the same genetic line as the North American “Indians”?

            I think that 30 million people killed off through a combination of disease and genocide is more plausible. In Argentina there were whole tribes that were exterminated and did not die just because of disease, e.g. the Patagonians. I suspect that there is more honesty in Latin America about the recent past than in anglophone America.

            • The indigenous population was much much larger in Mexico, central America and the Andes than in other regions (the Aztec capital about the same as that of Madrid, I believe), so probably more people were left after the plagues. The Aztec capital had over 200,000 people at the time of contact. Even if 90% of them died of plague, that leaves 20,000 natives in the 16th century. In contrast Montreal had only 19,000 people by 1821, Boston 19,000 in 1790, etc. A large agricultural society with many people can probably withstand mass population loss better than can hunter-gather type societies.

              The French and Russians were not nearly as bad as the British towards their natives, yet neither Alaska nor Quebec have huge native American populations.

          • anon666 says:

            “Recent studies suggest the entire American continent was fully populated prior to European arrival, possibly as high as 100 o 120 million people.”

            I assume you mean the Americas, from Alaska all the way to Patagonia, right? Mezoamerica and the Andes were very heavily populated, but pre-Colombian estimates for modern-day U.S. and Canada range from 7 to 18 million:

            I don’t think that the Anglo conquest of North America was much different in nature or intent than the Russian Empire’s conquest of the 100+ non-Russian ethnic groups living in the Russian federation today — some major battles here and there, some massacres and informal skirmishes between conquering settlers and the soon-to-be conquered, and some bad attempts at forced assimilation. The minority subjects of the Russian Empire had a certain genetic protection against plague that the Amerindians did not, however.

            • Russia never drove its indigenous people into reservation ghettos. They are living on the lands they inhabited for milenia.

          • Jennifer Hor says:

            Dear Yalensis,

            You ought to read T R Fehrenbach’s book “Comanches: the History of a People” (aka “Comanches: the Destruction of a People”) which follows the Comanche people from their origins as an offshoot of another tribe, the Shoshoni, in the 1600s, through their conversion from desert hunters to hunting buffalo on horseback and fighting other tribes to their contacts with the Spanish, the French and ultimately the Anglo-Americans pushing into prairie country from the eastern US in the 1800s. The whole book is worthwhile reading. You learn something of the Comanche culture, customs, taboos and worldview and how the people were superbly adapted to their environment but at the same time doomed because their worldview and numerous taboos could not cope with the values and belief systems of the Anglo-Americans.

            The part where the Comanches fought the Texas Rangers and US army is outstanding more for personalities like Chief Buffalo Hump, Cynthia Ann Parker and her son Quanah Parker, John Coffee Hays and Randall Mackenzie. Cynthia Ann Parker was captured at the age of nine by other Indians who sold her to the Comanches; she became the wife of the chief Peta Nocona and had three children by him. She was re-captured years later with her third child by US soldiers and returned to her relatives. She tried several times to escape but when her child died from scarlet fever, she stopped eating and died of grief. Peta Nocona also died shortly after her recapture from tetanus. From what is known of him, he never had a second wife even though as chief he was allowed to. Their son Quanah Parker became renowned as one of the greatest Comanche chiefs.

            John Coffee Hays was a captain in the Texas Rangers and revolutionised that militia’s fighting techniques by copying Comanche and other tribal fighting techniques such as fighting on horseback. He also popularised Samuel Colt’s pistols and made their maker a household name that survives today. Amazing guy – the more I read about him, the more in awe I am of him! Typical Southern gentleman type, gracious and well-mannered, not yer typical heroic beefy blond boof-head but slight in build and dark, yet laconic, minimal and exact in his methods. The Comanches were in awe of his bravery which bordered on sheer foolhardiness and Chief Buffalo Hump, who lost many men to him and his band, even sent him a souvenir addressed to his first-born son whom the chief nicknamed “Little Buffalo Hump”. (Click here:

            BTW the Comanches had a habit of giving each other scatological names like “Buffalo Hump” – a euphemism for what bison leave behind – but usually during adulthood, not as babies’ names. (You know the joke: the kid asks “How did Running Deer get his name? How did Flying Hawk get his name?” and the grandfather goes “Why do you ask, Two Dogs F******?”) That’s the level of detail you get in Fehrenbach’s book.

            There’s also a good dissection of why the Spanish imperial project failed in North America north of the Rio Grande and how ossified Spanish colonial administration was, and of the French method of colonisation through individual fur trappers and so-called coureurs du bois, some of whom were middle class or even aristocratic men wanting to escape French civilisation.

            • yalensis says:

              Fascinating history! Cynthia Parker is very interesting person, there are many other examples of Europeans (both males and females) who were raised as Indians and preferred Indian culture and lifestyle. Early European settlements had a real discipline problem with colonists defecting to join local Indian tribe. If nature had been allowed to run its course, with people intermixing and marrying, sharing technology and culture, like they usually do, then America would probably be a better and kinder country today. Instead, things went terribly wrong, and today we see America the Genocider and Bully of Nations.
              Re. plague, one of the commenters raised the question why South American Indians were not killed off in such numbers as in North Americans. I am not sure if anyone has studied this scientifically, but I would guess, like the commenter, it was a combination of (1) there were more of them to start with, so more percent of survivors, since X% of any population will have natural immunity; and (2) maybe the Spanish settlers did not bring as many germs with them as the British? Recall that English-type settlers were the descendants of those few lucky souls who survived the Black Death in Europe, hence they would be genetically immune from their own diseases. Native Americans are not genetically monolithic either, but the few who remain today are, I imagine, naturally immune to smallpox. Unfortunately for them, many of them still have odd genetic deficiencies, like not able to metabolize sugar or ethyl alcohol, etc. I cannot even imagine how disappointing it must be to not be able to just sit oneself down and drink a nice glass of red wine.

              • The most accepted reason is that a large part of South America is tropical, and European settlers can’t withstand the tropics much in the same way that the aborigines (at least initially) cannot withstand European diseases.

                Argentina, Chile, and southern Brazil were cleared of Indians just as thoroughly as America north of the Rio Grande. It is all the places in between where Indians survived in substantial numbers, and indeed in many countries there like Venezuela and Colombia mestizos form a majority of the population.

              • AK:

                Mexico City is in the highlands and has a very mild climate. I think the two factors are pre-contact population and more inclusive attitude.

              • Jennifer Hor says:


                I’ve heard that in some parts of North America near the US-Canadian border where the natives were hit with a smallpox epidemic in the early 1830s, the survivors have a very high frequency of blood group A. The smallpox epidemic almost wiped out the Mandan people. This tribe used to be speculated about a lot because some of their members had red hair and blue eyes and white Americans imagined they were descendants of Prince Madoc and a bunch of colonists from Wales over a thousand years ago.

                I believe not all the natives of Argentina and Chile died out or were assimilated. The people in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia are either extinct or assimilated into the general peopulation. There are about 800,000 Mapuche (Araucanian) people though and many Argentines and Chileans have Mapuche ancestry. The Mapuche survived mainly because they were a large tribe to begin with and acquired horses and guns from the Spanish. They and some other Pampas tribes developed horse-riding cultures parallel with those on the North American plains during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote a short story about a white child who was captured by some Pampas natives and accepted as one of their own. (For someone as hyper-European and cultured as he was, Borges had a thing for gauchos and knife-fighting.) Also northern Argentina near Bolivia still has indigenous communities.

                Some genetic studies on Argentine people indicate they are mostly Native American by mitochondrial DNA and European by Y-chromosome DNA (click this link which of course means European men mixing with aboriginal women early on.

              • Leon Lentz says:

                To Yalensis: On my screen I see no reply button to the post in which you claim the USSR did not oppress the Jews, so I am replying to this one. The oppression, i.e. discrimination was experienced y everybody under Brezhnev. Just ask any Jewish person who lived there at that time, 1967-1985. I experienced it myself. It is like claiming there was no segregation or no Holocaust. I can throw all kinds of insults at you as most people would, but I just think you are innocently ignorant. Just about everybody I know who was Jewish has left for this reason. To deny something out of ignorance is one thing, but now google the subject or talk to any US professor who is Jewish and is old enough to remember.

    • Einstein was influenced siginificantly by Berkeley actually — he uses B’s argument against absolute space

  5. Very nice, very accurate article. I have known all of those types of people you’ve mentioned, although my wife and many people whom we know are none of those (well, very loosely “eggheads” – students who came in on scholarships rather than adult professors).

    You could also mention the kids of politicians/gangsters who came over in the pre-Putin era, I knew quite a few when I was an undergraduate in the early 90’s. These guys’ parents paid for their kids’ tuition with cash. They never studied, obviously, but bought cars with cash and no drivers’ licenses, (in the early 90’s the elites’ kids could afford new Corollas, not new BMWs), shoplifted like crazy even though they didn’t have to, brawled with Americans, listened to Sektor Gaza, used “bled” as every other word, etc. Many returned to Russia or the other republics and their fortunes have grown tremendously since that time. The “eggheads” – students on scholarships, as well as professors, at the university really felt embarrassed by them.

    • I have never met a Natasha, except maybe for that time in the club years ago. I will keep my experiences to my self, I find them inappropriate for publishing… 🙂

    • Thanks. I’m aware of these obnoxious/mafiosi types, but only from movies. 🙂 Have yet to meet one in real life and as you say chances of that are unlikely as they have diminished since the 1990’s.

  6. Scowspi says:

    Hats off, sir – this is another Karlin Klassic post.

    Being now in the Chicago area again after several years in Moscow, I see 4 of your 5 categories in evidence here (in America’s most Slavic city). The missing category is White Russians: there are undoubtedly a few around here, but they are not numerous enough to form a distinct community. My vague impression is that category 2 is the largest, and that many other “Russians” are actually Ukrainian or some other type of post-Soviet. It’s largely a cultural/linguistic identity. It would be interesting to do a regional breakdown as to who lives where. You mentioned Brighton Beach (a rather obvious example), but Orthodox (or White) Russians have formed communities in some places that seem unlikely on the surface, like Florida. (A friend of mine, now a fairly well-known editor/foreign policy analyst, came from a Florida-based Russian family.)

    A minor (but telling) point: Sergei Dovlatov didn’t consider himself a dissident (his political credo was “After Communists, I hate anti-Communists the most”). Also, he was half-Armenian. I mention this just to blur your categories a little.

    • Scowspi says:

      Re “who lives where” – I can partially answer my own question. From the Urbanophile blog come these maps, showing “Where the BRICs Are” in the USA:

    • Correct on all counts. White Russians may have at one point been more prevalent, but assimilation means Sovok Jews are now numerically dominant.

      And indeed, many aren’t from Russia. The Silicon Valley bigwig I talked about in the post has an IT school. Of his ex-USSR students, about 50% are Ukrainian, 20% Moldovan, 20% Belorussian; almost all are new arrivals (he advertises on the Runet to young people there with a technical degree). Only a very small fraction were Russian.

      Thanks for that anecdote via Dovlatov.

      Re-you map. It looks like all foreigners, no matter the BRIC, live in the same places. 🙂

  7. I personally have no experience with hard science, but there are occasional Russian emigres teaching humanities. And I do not mean just the usual Russian History, but things out of exotic Third World countries that normal people do not imagine exited. These people were relatively known in the West prior to their emigration, and even published their works in Western journals. Thus when in the nineties the state collapsed and their careers with it, they had no problem finding jobs outside Russia.

    • Jennifer Hor says:

      Dear Leos,

      I met a Russian emigre who teaches adult education courses at WEA Sydney. She conducted a one-day course on the culture and history of Tokugawa Japan (1600 – 1867). Talk about knowing her stuff! – she went through the major personalities like Hideyoshi Toyotomi and his contribution to the rise of the Tokugawa shoguns, she did the rise of the samurais, their values and the code of bushido, she went through the rise of Tokyo, how and why it became a great city and the culture that developed there.

      In the winter term (July – September), this lady who only looks 30-something is taking one-day courses on the life of Joseph Stalin and on the Arab Spring’s effects on Muslim women plus some longer courses on politics in Iran and other parts of the Middle East. Talk about being a walking encyclopedia! And I am guessing that in Russia she would be just average for a history teacher.

  8. This article is both hilarious and brilliant and also very informative. I agree, it will indeed become a classic.

    This is not a subject I can usefully add much to. All I would say is that I think that there is an important qualitative difference between many (most?) Russians who leave Russia today and those who did so before 2000 and of course especially before 1991.

    Any Russian who left Russia before 1991 was making a conscious choice to break forever with his or her country. This by the way was in the main true also of the tsarist period since the tsarist authorities also imposed travel restrictions on Russian citizens though obviously not to the extent that the Soviet authorities did.

    This is absolutely not the case today. A young Russian who today leaves Russia to work or study abroad knows that he or she can return to Russia at any time without any risk or repercussions whatsoever. There is no question of any “burning of boats” or irrevocable repudiation of one’s Motherland. This I would have thought must make for a major psychological difference with those Russians who left Russia before.

  9. Tolik, you have many good points here. I’m sorry though you had bad experience with Russian Jews. I hope you will have better luck in future 🙂

    • I had many experiences with Russian Jews. Overall, they were quite positive. In the larger scheme of things that Facebook episode is of course fairly irrelevant.

  10. You can add another group, probably unfamiliar to the circles posting here: Protestant refugees. Many of them are from Ukraine, but they are Russian-speaking. They claimed religious persecution and, probably with the help of politically-connected American coreligionists, didn’t have trouble immigrating. They are Bapitsts or Pentacostals, have 6 or more children per family. There are large communities of them in Sacramento, Washington state, North Carolina and western Massachusetts. These people are usually poorly educated, from rural areas. They maintain the Russian language, tend to marry within their communities, but have little in common with, and do not mix with, the types of Rusians you have written about.

    • yalensis says:

      There are some Jehovah’s Witnesses too, and they form small colonies in American urban areas. For example, there is a colony of them in Springfield, Massachussetts. They all speak Russian at home and mind their own business.

      • I met a bunch of Pentacostals from West Springfield once, on a beach in Connecticut. They have Russian stores and everything in their town. Not very educated, but nice people, and have little contact with other Russians. They have alot of kids – a couple in that group in their mid-twenties had three children and the wife was pregnant.

    • Ah, that explains quite a few things.

      In the post, I wrote, “Much of the Russian community in the Bay Area (though not Sacramento!) are in fact Russian Jews,”

      I did not actually know what kind of people those were in Sacramento. I knew they were extremely religious but I did not realize they were Protestants. I had two experiences with them:

      (1) One of my friends (I tagged along) had been invited to a brunch at the home of one of the Sacramento Russians. The Sacramento Russian, let’s call her Lena, didn’t bother putting on a seatbelt. When my friend pointed it out to her, she said, “God is watching me.” There was an awkward pause, then my friend said, “But what if God happens to be looking somewhere else at one particular moment?” Lena thought a bit on that, and replied, “Good point!”, and fastened her seatbelt.

      (2) After brunch, I was invited to a “разборка Библии” at the home of another Sacramento Russian. We politely declined, saying we had other pre-arranged things that day – perhaps later? – and drove back.

      In general, they seem to be simple-minded (see 1) and fundamentalist; and as AP noted, they do have a lot of kids. Though I don’t want to overly criticize as they seemed nice people overall.

      • My brief encounters with them in New England suggest that they are very nice, although simple (which is not bad – there is room in this world for simple people too!).

        Sacramento is divided between the large Baptist community and the scattered examples of the five types you have written about. Thanks to the extremely generous welfare system the Baptists of Sacramento can live quite well with their mutliple children.

  11. Leon Lentz says:

    AK, in your description of “Egghead Emigres” you clearly not only reveal your values in placing high priority on career success and higher salary but you assume that Russian scientists have the same views as you do. You could not get me to be a Department Head or a high offfice holder no matter what the incentives are and I don’t give a damn about making a super successful career. I would rather solve another math problem. I think many of the professors from Russia/USSR share my views. They are just above all that office politics and dog fights over money and career which Americans like so much.

    • I agree and I think that most scientists, myself being one, are not into corporate style career development.

    • Brother Karamazov says:

      Yes, there is such type of Russian scientists – Grisha Perelman. Anybody else? Really?

    • So you and Kirill say one thing, and Alex (an Egghead Emigre who I know online) and Brother Karamazov (an Egghead Emigre who I know in real life) say another. There is clearly no agreement.

      Could I suggest an alternative interpretation? When Egghead Emigres first arrived to Western shores, they were indeed altruistically interested in science. Part of the reason was sheer passion, another however surely their lack of business acumen and aptitude for wheeling-dealing. After all, if you lack that, it’s surely better to continue with the science (even if the majority of Western academics are flatout careerists) and imagine oneself an altruist.

      (This is really equivalent to the old puzzle of whether a schoolchild does badly at school because he is dumb, or because he is uninterested – as is the view of liberal educationalists. The reality is that he is most likely dumb and that is what makes him uninterested too, because why be interested in something you fail at? Ergo for Egghead Emigres and entrepreneurial talent).

      However, this is not it. Over time, the “altruistic” Egghead Emigres tend to get increasingly disillusioned with science, or rather, what passes for it in most Western universities where scientific pursuits have become almost uniformly applied and commercialized. Some become cynical careerists, and do a minimum of work and begin to pay more attention to office politics (though they still don’t have much success in the latter as they have long been considered as people near the bottom of the social hierarchy – and a reputation is very hard to alter). Others call quits, improve their social skills, go into business / set up consultancy companies, etc. The latter also become happier (and wealthier) than their peers who continue in the rat race.

  12. Mark Sleboda says:

    1.) IMHO you tend to overemphasize the West coast (ie California) in your analysis of Russian-American Jews and neglect to mention the East coast – NYC – ie Brighton Beach, Boston – the Russian village, Chicago Ukrainians etc. Probably due to your personal experience of the former and lack of with the latter. Brighton Beach is permanently locked in a 1970’s Jackson-Vannik Soviet snowglobe or stasis – the model example of your thesis on Sovok Jews. Of course I am probably just as guilty, vice versa.
    2.) With your readership you need a new category of Russian-American for your poll at the end, which you have IMHO severely neglected. The Russian-American/Westerner (or just American/Westerner) who emmigrates to live in Russia! (either short term businessmen and english teachers to long-term Russophiles…ie the American ‘mail-order’ husband…

    • I actually know rather few repatriates. People like Anatoly who came back…

    • Thanks, Mark.

      (1) The reason that I have a CA bias is, quite obviously, and as you point out, because that is where I live and mingle.

      (2) Like yourself? 😉 But I don’t think they’d be Russian Americans then. Surely they’d be American Russians?

      • Am I (we) not both and neither.
        A Russian-American, American Russian…lol..
        I don’t even know what the hell I am.
        Needless to say, my pronoun usage in political discussions is a complete mess….

  13. Branko Stojanovic says:

    What about Russian Jews in Israel. Do they have also such a bad opinion on Russia?

    • Depends on a person, and his past experiences I guess…

    • Actually, probably on average more favorable than in the US.

      I will get flak for this, but I stand by my observation that GENERALLY SPEAKING, those Russians abroad who voted for Prokhorov tend to live in communities with negative attitudes towards Russia. Prokhorov might be Putin’s stooge or whatever (though I do not consider that to be the case) but reality is his rhetoric is one of radical change that would move Russia culturally closer to the US.

      Now whereas in the US/UK Prokhorov won with 60% (rising to 90% in places like Palo Alto, populated by Jews), in Israel itself it was 50/50 between Prokhorov and Putin. This suggests that Israeli Jews are nowhere near intrinsically averse to Russia as the ones in the US.

      This kinda makes sense. Russia doesn’t have bad relations with Israel (there is visa free travel), and their relations are much like that between normal nation states based on quid pro quo. This is in stark contrast to the relations between the US and Russia, in which the former party wants to have something for nothing and dictate the law; Russia doesn’t accede to this, hence it’s vilified by American media, which is consumed by (among other people) Russian American Jews.

  14. Thank you. Refreshingly comedic bullseye.

  15. “Ivan: What if we have to fight China? They have more than a billion people!
    Pyotr: We’ll win with quality over quantity, just like the Jews with the Arabs.
    Ivan: But do we have enough Jews?

    The above joke courtesy of a Silicon Valley bigwig. He must have assumed I’m Jewish, given my surname. (Reality: I’m not a Jew culturally, though I’ve calculated I’m about 10% Ashkenazi Jewish at the genetic level).”

    Lol! Jews would probably instigate the war then sell weapons and conspire with the Chinese if it was propitious for the Jewish group interest like Iraq, Chechnya, Bosnia and Kosovo, Bolshevik revolutions, etc.

    • Jennifer Hor says:

      Dear JohnUK,

      Have you read Leni Brenner’s book “51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis”? (Click here for a synopsis:

      There’s a section in the book where the leaders of the Jewish enclave in Shanghai meet and discuss collaborating with the Japanese Imperial Army during Japan’s occupation of Shanghai in the late 1930s. There’s also some information on how the Zionist navy was founded (by Vladimir Zhabotinsky, I think) and trained by Italy in the 1930s, that is, during Benito Mussolini’s rule. Not to mention the haggling that went on among the German government, the Jewish Agency in Istanbul and Rudolf Kasztner over responsibility for resettling Hungarian Jews in 1944. As a result most Hungarian Jews ended up dying in Auschwitz while Kasztner was only able to save about 1,684 people.

      • @Jennifer Hor
        @Jennifer Hor

        I have heard of it but not read it in fact the next book I would like to buy is Sibel Edmonds Classified Women were she talks about the US trafficking and setting up Chechen terrorists cells in the North Caucasus and amongst other Turkic ethnic groups in Central Asia and the Balkans that want to control the Caspian and Central Asian energy and pipeline routes to Europe and Asia that bypass Russia something that I have been interested in since 2002 long before Sibel came forward in 2009 with her revelations.

        There is no doubt that the 9/11 hijackers were running through a protected European and North American terror network with a Chechen link to 9/11 from top to bottom.

        An FBI source that contributed a pre-9/11 warning in the US positively identifies and claims that Shamil Basayev and other individuals who at that time were on an Interpol international arrest warrant were in Atlanta, Georgia in 2000 as part of a Chechen terrorist cell.

        I have my own theory about 9/11 that fits in what Bin Ladin and the Bush administration originally stated that is the most logical and does not fit into outlandish conspiracy theories.

      • Leon Lentz says:

        You have anti Semitic scum crawling out of the most incredible places like UK and Australia. I think they have nothing to say until a word “Jew” is mentioned, then they pour all sort of things they read.

        • Jennifer Hor says:


          My comment wasn’t intended to be anti-Semitic. The book I mentioned contains many documents about how Zionists sold out on their own people at at time when they should have been helping them. The Jewish Agency in Istanbul had no interest in resettling Hungarian Jews in Palestine if Kasztner couldn’t demonstrate that they were pro-Zionist. Kasztner did what he could in the circumstances. I know he later emigrated to Israel where his family suffered vilification as he was regarded as a traitor and he was shot dead by someone who believed he sold out to the Nazis.

          • Leon Lentz says:

            Jennifer, I would agree that sometimes, especially in case of the ultra orthodox Jews in Israel, one can be anti Zionist and not anti Semitic. However, in most other cases there is at least a correlation. What is not clear to me, is why are we discussing this on this site? It is off topic and can offend a lot of Jews who view Zionism as the only reasonable defence against another Holocaust.

            • Jennifer Hor says:

              Dear Leon,

              I am sorry if my earlier comment offended you but I think it’s important that people realise that the Zionist movement hasn’t always acted in the best interest of Jewish people and at times has used the Holocaust to browbeat Jews into feeling guilty about not supporting Israel or living there (if they live outside Israel) as well as browbeating non-Jews.

              Don’t know if you heard of the incident at the 1997 Maccabiah Games in which 100 Australian athletes fell into a river when the bridge they were crossing during the opening ceremony collapsed. The river was polluted and some of the athletes became extremely sick with lung and brain infections and four people died. From what I remember, the athletes were treated poorly by the Israeli government and received compensation six years after the disaster. One female athlete Sasha Elterman who lived in my local area had to have numerous surgeries for brain infections.

              • Leon Lentz says:

                This is a site about Russia, not Israel or Zionism. Why don’t you post these comments on or some KKK site, they would love it. They will like anything anti Semitic or anti Zionist. The stuff you are talking about is a one-sided trash.

        • Jennifer Hor says:

          Dear Leon,

          My comment wasn’t intended to be anti-Semitic. There are several examples in the book I mentioned of Zionists selling out on Jewish people and the episode about Kasztner was just one such example. I believe Leni Brenner himself is Jewish. Perhaps I should have stressed in my earlier comment about the Jews in Shanghai (and it was their leaders who made the decision) that they were throwing their lot in with a country that would later ally with Nazi Germany. I did mention also that the Zionists received help from fascist Italy in building up what was to become Israel’s navy. Jewish people and Zionists are no different from everyone else in acting out of self-interest and Zionist is not a synonym for Jew.

      • Giuseppe Flavio says:

        Dear Jennifer,
        It is somewhat true that the “Zionist navy” was founded with the help of fascist Italy, but I don’t know if the book you cite gives the proper context to this little known fact.
        There are two things to consider:
        1) Italian fascism was not anti-semitic until 1938, when racial laws were enacted as a price to pay for the alliance with Nazi Germany. There were Jews in the fascist party, just like there were Jews in the anti-fascist opposition. Among the former I can cite Aldo Finzi, an important fascist whose father was Jew, and Margherita Sarfatti, lover and first biographer of Mussolini. Around 10% of Jews belonged to the fascist party, a percentage close to that of the non-Jewish Italians. So, when the Zionist accepted Italy’s help to build their navy, they didn’t betray Jewry by accepting the help of anti-semitic people.
        2) Mussolini helped the Zionist movement not out of sympathy but in order to get some influence in Palestine. It wasn’t an ideological affair, just geopolitics.
        Finally, rather than the founding of the “Zionist navy” this episode was the establishment of a naval training school in Italy after an agreement between Mussolini and Vladimir Zhabotinsky. The school lasted from 1934 to 1938.

        • Depending on the geo-political circumstances Zionist groups received help from various sources including arms from Stalin after WW2 as a move against Britain.

  16. Ignoring the borderline anti-Semitic comment above, I do think that Russian speaking Israelis that are not part of strict ultra-Orthodox communities tend to think better of Russia to the extent that they think about it at all than their co-religionists in the U.S. Probably some of that is due to the visa free travel and the growing numbers of Israelis (or Russians with Israeli passports I should say) popping up at places like Skolkovo.

    “They maintain the Russian language, tend to marry within their communities, but have little in common with, and do not mix with, the types of Rusians you have written about.” I heard a Russian lady complain bitterly about these folks as sponging off the public teet by getting welfare/food stamps for having those large families. There are similar complaints about the haredi communities in Israel which is why the Israeli government has started making noises about requiring the ultra-Orthodox to at least do military service if not go to work.

    Can totally confirm what Mark S. said that Brighton Beach is a time capsule of perestroika era, though there are now far more Pakistanis and Mexican migrants there both legal and illegal than there were during the 1970s-80s. I felt like I’d stepped on to the set of Brat 1 (not the second film set in Chicago) when stepping out over there just a few years ago.

    I think Anatoly should not get too far in thrall to the Manosphere. Sure, Game theory explains a lot — particularly the tendency of young men to ‘thug it up’ when they don’t have money in order to substitute dangerousness for wealth to hypergamous young women (this is if nothing a return to tribalism like we see in Africa or in pockets of the Caucuses). But the idea that all these ex-USSR brides who are dumping their first husbands are doing so to chase rich divorced middle-aged players is overblown, particularly if they already have children with the schleb who brought them over.

    In fact I’ll wager with Anatoly that the Ukrainian-American and Russian-American couples he would find on sites like VisaJourney have a much lower divorce rate than the norms in either the former USSR country of origin or the U.S., in part because the women are more willing to defer gratification and generally better educated than their U.S.-born age group peers.

    Nonetheless, Anatoly should do a post about Davai po zhenimsa the First Channel show. It is about three middle aged women who generally bust hypergamous gold diggers’ chops and are thoroughly tired of them. The cry-baby gals on the Bachelor could never handle such tough questioning. Ironically, when the show began Larisa and her two co-hosts were harder on the young men than the women, asking 25 year old guys why they haven’t bought apartments in Moscow yet but were merely renting. Now they hammer the girls from the regions and Ukraine if they’re just looking for money and that all-important Moscow propiska. Truly Davia po Zhemimsa is a crystal ball into America’s future (particularly if we go through our own version of the 1990s and slim American women start turning into mail order brides for Chinese or Indian grooms) when it gets tired of extreme alpha-chasing hypergamy. Roissy would totally link to it.

  17. Russia’s male leadership was publicly accused of chauvinism last week by Valentina Matviyenko, Russia’s most senior female politician, who predicted a woman would sit in the presidential chair in as little as 15 years. “Be prepared for matriarchy,” she declared. “It is approaching.” One young woman who hopes she might make it up the political ladder is Alyona Popova, a petite 29-year-old with a distinctive blonde braid, who describes herself as “unstoppable.” The single Yekaterinburg native, who is independently wealthy, has already founded two midsize IT companies in Moscow and adopted four foster children. Last fall, she ran for Parliament on an opposition ticket. When she lost, she then joined the opposition rallies in Moscow. During one protest, Popova says, police broke her arm. Despite her commitment to the cause, Popova says that many male protesters told her to sit at home and make borscht instead of turning out to organize rallies.

    This lionization of Popova by Newsweek the Daily Beast is amusing, if nothing else because a few years back she was posing and posting photos of her with Anya Chapman on her blog. I guess they left that out.

  18. It is very primitive, limited, narrow-minded and even offensive classification. There is many more colors and shades in being Russian American.

  19. Я совсем не хотела писать здесь. Я – не “наташа”, не “яйцеголовая”, не ..не…не… Но мне стало обидно за американское еврейство! Да, “совок” громкоголос, нахален и заметен, но ведь существует и другой еврейство – музыканты, поэты, писатели, микробиологи, врачи… Я, прожив в США 35 лет, встретила все категории )
    Помогала известному микробиологу совершенно бескорыстно с переездом в США, а потом прочла в НРС, как он якобы всю жизнь ненавидел русских.. и встретила потрясающей чистоты музыканта, из своих небольших в то время заработков помогающего русскому программисту, теряющему зрение.. Сашу Избицера. Помню, он попросила меня зайти в Малый Зал Филармонии и просто передать передать привет тогдашнему директору. Я купила громадный букет от его имени, и надо было слышать восторженные восклицания милых дам! “Сашка цветы прислал!” Его помнили все! Он был автором лучших капустников, он был уже тогда журналистом – музыковедом… Я поехала по его просьбе к Гликману, профессору Ленинградской Консерватории в отставке, и в его гостеприимном доме опять были счастливые воклицания:”Сашка Избицер!”
    А вот давно издающийся журнал Адександра Лебедя. Нет в нём нелюбви к России, а есть группа друзей, пишущих хорошо и откровенно.
    Не обижайтесь, но я – против обобщений. Чаще всего они ошибочны.

    • Leon Lentz says:

      I completely agree with you. I am sorry that I write in English, this is simply due to the fact that I want to be understood by the non Russian speaking audience. AK has taken anti Semitic turn there as I have already mentioned, possibly he wants to be recognized as a true Russian, whatever this means. I don’t think that Grisha Perelman and thousands of other Jewish Scientists and intellectuals can be pigeonholed and they certainly don’t have material wealth anywhere at the top of their desirable things in life. This classification is correct to some extent, but it doesn’t give justice to admirable people in the Jewish community who made so many great things in life possible.

    • Я считаю, что обобщения и стереотипы очень полезные, так как времени у многих очень и очень мало, чтобы разбираться в деталях и подробностях.

      Также, я не считаю, что обобщения именно про евреев – признак антисемитизма. Ведь я тоже самое делал для русских, британцев, и американцев, поэтому я что – русофоб? американофоб? В этом блоге я упоминаю хорошие/полезные характеристики еврейского народа (предпринимательский талант) а также плохие/дурацкие характеристики русских (пьянство, рабский менталитет).

      Все эти капризы о антисемитизме уже давно становятся банальными и утомительными.

      • Leon Lentz says:

        “Все эти капризы о антисемитизме уже давно становятся банальными и утомительными.” You made a somewhat plausible argument just up to this sentence, but the last comment gives you away. This is an emotional issue for you. You, obviously are not tired from somebody mentioning it once or twice. It has been a pattern which irritated you many times before.
        How do you know it is a “каприз”? May be some people get really offended? Certainly they are entitled to their point of view on this subject.
        Think about it this way: if a Black person in America is called “N…”, he is likely to punch you, especially if you are White. However, a White person couldn’t care less oif he is called “Whitey”.

        • People who freak out or get grossly offended about generalizations about their ethnic group, when said generalizations are balanced and well-intentioned, are indeed engaging in capricious and attention-seeking behavior.

          You, for example, are far more anti-American than I am anti-Semitic (though I do not think I am anti-Semitic as I have many positive things to say about Jews, whereas for you the US is uniformly bad; sorry to say, but your comments almost make you look like some kind of La Americanophobe).

          Nonetheless, to Americans’ credit, they tend to be far less hysterical about such attacks than most other peoples – including Jews, for that matter.

          • Leon Lentz says:

            If you are not anti Semitic, and I am more anti American than you are anti Semitic, what does it mean at all? I am anti imperialist and a lot of my American friends are, so is Ron Paul, the candidate rom the Republican Party. Americans are not an ethnicity, so my criticism is directed at politics and culture. I would definitely be a racist if I attacked Blacks, but criticizing a dominant majority is a fair game. Also, keep in mind that a poster of comments is held to a different standard than an article contributor. The latter is to present a balanced point of view, the former doesn’t have to. I will always call anti Semitism when I see it, it is you who became hysterical when I mentioned that you have made some overtones in this direction. Anyway, I want to close this topic, it is not important to me to prove anything in this blog. It is supposed to be fun, so I am not going to continue this thread..

          • yalensis says:

            I am not an anti-Semite, BUT…
            My biggest beef against Soviet Jews was that so many of them betrayed the “Motherland”. Seriously… Soviet Union saved these people from Hitlerite extermination. Did they show any gratitude? No.o.o.o.o. So many of them became pro-American shills диссиденты who kept harping about Soviet deficiencies, took West’s side in propaganda war (and Cold War), became emigres, sponsored every right-wing anti-Soviet and anti-Russian initiative, like Jackson-Vanik, etc etc. Did everything they could to lob potshots back at Russia. That’s my biggest beef against Jews. As far as the state of Israel is concerned, I try not to take sides. Although I think it is silly to talk about Jews/Israelis nowadays as if they are the good-hearted helpless victims in all this mess.

            • Point well taken, but starting off with “I am not an anti-Semite, BUT…” is so cliche that it is best avoided. 🙂

            • Leon Lentz says:

              I actually disagree that Jews betrayed Russia who defended them. It is Jews that defended Russia. The MiGs the La-5 and 7 and a host of other war winning weapons were designed by the Jews. The heroes of the USSR is an official term which per capita had the highest persentage among the Jews. The WWII would be lost without them. On the other hand, Brezhnev’s regime organized virtual apartheid, excluding them form graduate schools, prestigious jobs and publications. It is actually the Jews who saved USSR which later betrayed them. And yes, you may be anti Semitic but don’t know it yet.

              • yalensis says:

                Well, that’s a good point about the many Jews who fought for the Soviet Union and helped to save Europe from Nazi barbarism, these heroes should not be tainted with the stain of the anti-Soviet dissidents who became pro-American shills during Cold War.
                Examples of Jewish heroes:
                Alexander Pechersky, an officer in the Red Army, who led the inmate uprising in Nazi death camp of Sobibor.
                There were also many heroic Jewish partisans, including the Bielski brothers.
                The USSR did not betray the Jews, that is simply Western propaganda promulgated mostly by America and endorsed by traitorous Soviet “dissidents” as part of the Cold War psy-ops program. That was the origin of Jackson-Vanik, it was just a stick used to beat Russia.
                Israel also fostered the lies about so-called systemic Soviet anti-Semitism in order to lure Soviet Jews to Palestine because they wanted more settlers to help out-number the Palestinians.
                The reality was: Soviet government did not oppress Jews any more than any other group. If there were some acts of individual anti-Semitism, that was just at the level of individual yahoos, same as in any other country.

  20. Very interesting article. Just a couple of things I disagree with:

    1. I don’t understand your insistence on talking about Prokhorov as if he’s a genuine political player, not a stooge approved by Putin to give a semblance of democratic competition. No one actually supports him, except in an “anyone but Putin” sense.

    2. “Paradoxically, spending a lot of time in the West does not make these expats significantly more liberal or anti-Putin… many realize their own country isn’t that bad in comparison.”

    This is absolutely false. Russians with enough money to visit the West, even now, invariably become more hostile to Putin, when they realise how backward their own country is (i.e. they realise how shit Russian roads, food and (Soviet) architecture are, how overpriced everything is, and how corruption doesn’t have to be a part of everyday life). I’m certain that there’s a direct link between the rise of Russian tourism to Europe and the anti-Putin movement that’s been gathering pace over the past six months. Go and meet meet any upwardly mobile bunch of Russians in Moscow – at Internations get-togethers for example – and ask them where they go on holiday (Vienna, Barcelona and London are almost invariably on the list) – and ask them what they think of Putin – the answer is invariably negative. Now do the same in a poor Russian city – generally they’ve been nowhere (other than Sharm) and a far higher share support Putin.

    I’m actually racking my brains trying to work out how you got this point so wildly wrong, given how insightful the rest of the article is. The only thing I can think of is that your experience is based entirely on Russians in America (even though with this point you used the term “the West”), not Russians in Europe. As far as travel to Europe goes, you’re definitely wrong, and if it’s really so different for Russians who visit the US, then that would surprise me.

    • Leon Lentz says:

      I actually would have to disagree with you, I have a lot of friends who visited US and they all think that Russia is a better place to live. At our University in US, we had a significant number of post docs and visiting faculty who were very sympathetic to Putin and became more so and anti West at the end. My mother who is an avid traveler, went all over the world and still thinks Russia is the best place to live and she likes Putin. He is actually less popular among residents of poor towns in nW Russia. The fact is, barring very obvious prevarications of the Western propaganda about Russia, there is nothing that would stop an intelligent and independent minded person from seeing that Russia under Putin is a better place than the West, especially US. We just have more individual freedom than Western Europe, which is (somewhat less so than US) but still a police state. Russia is just a so much better place to live than the West. In the last year, I have vacationed in 6 countries: Italy, Israel, Greece, Russia, Belarus and US (where I presently reside). Belarus I liked the most (even though they have problems with Lukashenko), a very clean and beautiful place. Greece and Israel are quite good too. US is hands down the most disgusting with the least individual freedom. I think you are not a thinking person, you just live according to what pabulum your venal low brow media will dish out for a consumption of semieducated Western rabble.

      • “barring very obvious prevarications of the Western propaganda about Russia, there is nothing that would stop an intelligent and independent minded person from seeing that Russia under Putin is a better place than the West, especially US.”

        It’s very hard to take someone seriously who can write a thing like that. Either: 1. you’re joking and I’m missing the joke. 2. you’ve spent so much time outside Russia that you’ve forgotten what it’s like here. 3. you had an extremely limited experience of the country that you convinced yourself was the general reality. or 4. you’re just lying.

        There is absolutely no way a sane person can reasonably claim that the MAJORITY of the 143 million people living in Russia have a higher standard of living than the majority of people living in the European Union. Doesn’t matter what criteria you base the comparison on. Average income, air quality, access to healthcare, law and order, life expectancy, state care for the elderly, road quality, food prices, corruption levels. That has nothing to do with Western propaganda, it’s called personal experience and observation.

        I’ve lived in Russia for 11 years, and if I wasn’t doing OK and able to enjoy what the country has to offer, I wouldn’t still be here. But there’s a big difference between acknowledging that and claiming that everyone else in this country has it good.

        • Leon Lentz says:

          I am replying to this letter and to a couple of shorter notes you wrote below, one of them to Kirill. I am talking about Russia today, where I spend several months every year. You probably lived somewhere in Russia during the nineties and early 2000s. The life is drastically different there now. It was not very good at all under Yeltsin. This would explain 90% of the differences in perceptions. The change in the living standards between the last 3 years and what was there 8-10 years ago is so sharp, that we may as well talk about two different countries. 8-10 years ago people did not have many cars and now Lada is considered a poor man’s car. When I go to dacha every year, I see brick palaces built everywhere, replacing primitive wooden structures. More importantly, Russia has spirituality the West doesn’t. This isn’t just my opinion, I see many Russians who come to US from many places in Russia and they all agree with me that the life in Russia is better than in US. There was a large group of students from Northern Kazakhstan which I have never thought of as a good place to live, but none of them wanted to stay in US, citing the same reason I had when criticizing US. Several grad students here were offered high paid jobs and they did not take them because they do not like to live in America. 11 years ago, Russia was so poor that $6 per hour was considered a good pay, however, recently, I needed somebody to do some work for me in Russia and I couldn’t find anybody to do it at 50$ an hour. I think I would find somebody if the job was a long term, but not for just a few days.

      • Might your experiences be due to the fact that you live, as you’ve stated, in a nasty place down South?

        My in-laws and friends live well, in downtown Moscow, which is probably a more pleasant place to live than Manhattan (unless you’re right on central park, which is much bigger and nicer than Aleksandrovsky Sad). Very few American places could compare to that.

        However consider the “average” Russian, someone living in a small flat in Tver or Oryol or elsewhere, with perhaps a single Korean car or a used car or a Zhiguli in his family, in contrast to an “average” American, who will have his own house, a car for every adult, air conditioning (a lot of people were suffering in Moscow that summer!), and disposable income to travel to Florida or wherever once a year. Russia isn’t even close to that, materially.

        I find it odd that you prefer Belarus to Italy, as a vacation spot.

        • Leon Lentz says:

          Well, you have not been too much to those smaller cities in Russia. The a.c. is not necessary most of the time, as well as cars. I also have a nice house by the lake in US as well as a car which is half the price of what it would cost in US. However, the life itself is better. I prefer an apartment in Moscow to what I have in US. There, we have no political freedom, its a fascist oppression in US. Each time I had to get to humiliating airport security, I cringe. And, no, Russians do have disposable income, Americans don’t. No matter what is their salary, they “can not afford it” meaning an extended travel to Europe. They go occasionally, but they mostly save to get their kids through school where the kids get a B.S. and learn what I did in the 8th grade by the time they are through. The place I live in isn’;t considered nasty by the yanks themselves, just a typical America. One has to drive to a forest, but in US, in small towns there is no forest to walk in, just barbed wire and private farms. I have been in 80% of US states and it is worse in most of them. I have not met a Russian or Ukrainian who like US, they just tolerate it because there are no other options at present. Belarus is beautiful, green, you definitely do not need a car, you can just walk miles. I like it better than Italy. In fact I lived in Rome for a few months as a postdoc, I still prefer Belarus or Russia.

          • I’ve been to the Urals; the average person in the Urals does not seem to live better, materially, better than does the average person in say, Pittsburgh. Not even close. The nature is somewhat nicer in the Urals (beautiful lakes, mountains are similar in size but flora and fauna are diffferent). But in America, only very poor people in housing projects live in anything resembling Khrushchovky while many many normal Russians live in such buildings. I agree that Russia is better designed for materially poor people – public transportation is excellent, and not only in large cities, so that cars are an unnecessary luxury (of course, this is also true of Canada, which is also far more prosperous than Russia)..

            Way of life and culture are more subjective things; the Russian lifestyle is quite charming and less focused on materialistic pursuits. But from a material perspective it does not come close to the USA.

        • yalensis says:

          @AP: I am not sure it is even true any more that the “average” American owns a house and car. Certainly middle class does, but I think statistics show this group is shrinking with every year. There is a growing underclass that can be seen more visibly, even just walking down the street in any American city.
          The main dividing line separating these classes is OWNING A CAR. Trying to live without a car in America is the same kind of handicap as not having a horse in 19th-century Russia. Without a car, people cannot get around. It is difficult to shop and buy groceries. (Which is why so many of them live on un-nutritious convenience-store food.)
          Even if distances are short and walkable, often there are no sidewalks. You see people struggling along, trying to walk in the curb of a highway, carrying shopping bags in their hands. Or, you see people sitting in a bus stop for a an hour, surrounded by their shopping bags, waiting for a bus. (Public transportation not that good or reliable in many places.)
          If people really wanted to make a dent in urban poverty in America, the first thing they should consider is donating a good automobile to every poor family.

          • Almost every American family has a car – even very many (but not all) poor people. The poor just have old cars that require frequent repairs (so from the perspective of auto ownership poor Americans are like Soviet-era middle class Russians with Moscvitch cars which required frequent repairs even while new). In America there are over 800 cars per thousand people (including elderly and children who cannot drive). I suspect that virtually 100% of people in the top 80% of income own cars, who need them (Manhattanites don’t) and even among the poor, half probably have them. Only truly indigent ones – many of whom are chronic mentally ill or alcoholics or junkies – as a rule don’t have them.

            You are correct that living without a car in the USA, other than in the urban pockets, is like being handicapped.

            • yalensis says:

              I wonder if anyone has done a sociological study, how many poor American families have to live without an automobile? I am not talking about homeless people, but domiciled people who have a place to live, probably an apartment, but can’t afford to own a car. Or maybe they could even scrape together enough money to buy a crappy clunker, but have no place to park it?
              It would be interesting to crunch the numbers, PhD thesis, anyone?

      • Scowspi says:

        Many Russians still emigrate to the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Very few people emigrate the other way. Are all these people simply “brainwashed by Western propaganda”?

        • Leon Lentz says:

          Look at the statistics. The number of Russians leaving and going to the West is very small, the last figures I have seen show that 500 more went to US than came from there, however, even these figures are somewhat misleading because there are many Americans who just love Russia and live there without officially emigrating, there are much more of those than Russians who just “love America” and enjoy life there. I would say the latter category does not even exist.
          I think one would have to have at least $20 mln to enjoy living there. Buy a villa on the Oregon coast and a private helicopter. I would still live in Russia most of the year though.

          • Scowspi says:

            “there are many Americans who just love Russia and live there” – First, they don’t keep statistics based on how much people love a country, so I can’t say whether the statistics are misleading or not. There are such Americans, in fact I’ve known a few; but in my experience, most Americans and Europeans living in Russia are there on business, and they leave the country when their time is up. By the way, what statistical source are you using?

            Also, I notice that in one post you say: “scientists [in Russia] do not have to emigrate because they can make a living at home”

            But in another post you say: “I have not met a Russian or Ukrainian who like US, they just tolerate it because there are no other options at present”

            Please explain this apparent contradiction.

            • Leon Lentz says:

              The Russians who have not emigrated yet, will likely to stay, at least, they have a reasonable choice. The ones who have left years ago and have a tenure and a Ph.D from US, have absolutely no chance to get a comparable job at home. Russian salaries are comparable to the ones in US if you subtract the taxes and mortgage expenses, In many areas they are higher in Russia but have not caught up with the ones in US academia yet. Putin stated that he wants to double the salaries in the next couple of years for the University Professors and scientists, I believe he will do it because he has kept pretty much all his promises.
              On your other question: I do not have statistics, but I met dozens of Americans who just stay in Russia because they love it, I never met a Russian who has the same sentiments about US. According to the general theorems in statistics, having a random sample of, say, 25 people, one can get an estimate with a high degree of confidence on an assumed probability that this is true in general, i.e. that the probability that Americans will want to stay, and vice versa, that Russians would want to leave. Several dozens, chosen randomly is sufficient for a high degree of confidence. . The degree of confidence can easily be computed, So I believe, my projections on the entire population of Russians in US and Americans in Russia are accurate. Americans love to live in Russia, Russians, on the other hand, like myself, can’t wait to go back on vacations. There are exceptions of course, but I never met one. There was an interview on Russian TV with a Russian lady who lived in US for years and she claimed that Russians can never adjust to life in US, i.e. they can succeed financially but not ever like it. I completely agree. On the other hand, once American lived in a Northern city and even in Moscow, they are not likely to want to go back to their hot concrete jungle police state with no culture, Russia has more freedom and is an inspiring place.

              • Scowspi says:

                Leon, thanks for replying. I must disappoint you a little: I am an American who lived in Moscow from 2005 until this year, and while I enjoyed Moscow, I am glad to be home again in my “hot concrete jungle police state with no culture,” with my Russian wife and son. So far everything’s OK, and I haven’t been seized with regret and despair at having abandoned Russia.

                Regarding the condition of science in Russia: I don’t doubt that things are improving, but it’s worth pointing out that the 2010 Nobel winners, Geim and Novoselov, have stated that they have no intention of going back to work in Russia, even if they get an invitation to Skolkovo.

            • In my experience, the clear, unambiguous preference for “the West” over Russia is at about 90%+/10 among Sovok Jews, 80%+/20% among Egghead Emigres, and 50%/50% even among Putin’s Expats.

    • thsspkzrthstr says:

      Well 99% of the planet has crap food and architecture compared to the places you mentioned (Vienna, Barcelona, London) etc. Your other points are probably legit.

      • thsspkzrthstr –

        Perhaps. But people inevitably compare their country to countries that have a better deal – no one’s comparing Russia to Somalia.

        In my experience, this is where Russians go abroad on holiday depending on income:

        Less than $1K/month – nowhere, or possibly an occasional budget trip to Sharm-el-Sheikh or Hurghada.

        1K – 2K/month – regular trips to Turkey’s Antalya province, staying in mid-range hotels. Very occasional trips to Europe for a bus tour, seeing the usual places, but very superficially, taking tons of photos and posting them on Vkontakte.

        2K up – Turkey (staying in good hotels) Thailand, Vietnam, Cyprus, and VERY regular trips to Europe – spending large amounts of time in Barcelona, Vienna, Venice, Paris and London. The more adventurous go to other places like Croatia and Montenegro.

        Well above 2K – all those European places, plus Switzerland and Courchevel. Plus anywhere else in the world of course.

        For the sake of argument, let’s call the 1K and 2K income categories “middle class”. All of the places I listed in those categories have better and cheaper food/booze than Russia. Go to a cafe in Spain or Greece and you get excellent wine for under 5 euros. Go to a cafe in Moscow and you get shit wine for 30 euros. Go to a Moscow pub and you’ll have to pay 10 bucks for an imported beer that costs 5 times less in Prague, Vilnius or Budapest. Go to a steak house anywhere in central Europe and pay under 10 euros for top quality – go to Moscow and you’ll pay 40 euros for similar quality. And don’t even get me started on Thailand – the cuisine there is fantastic and will barely dent your wallet. After visiting Thailand, I went to a Moscow Thai restaurant to revive that holiday feeling. I paid LITERALLY 10 times more for a standard meal. Which was obviously inferior to the real thing. Every kind of foreign cuisine you can get in Moscow is either totally overpriced or just a pathetic imitation. There is such a thing as excellent Russian cuisine, but it’s incredibly expensive – totally out of the reach of ordinary Russians.

        So while it may be true that not every country has great food, it’s a fact that the countries middle-class Russians visit all have better food and booze than Russia does.

        It may sound like I’m going way over the top in trying to illustrate my point, but these things really do have a big psychological impact on Russian tourists.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I eat genuine Russian cuisine all the time, such as “grechka i kotlet”. It’s unbelievably cheap, nutritious and, in my opinion, very tasty. My cook Natasha buys the grechka and mincemeat at our local cut price “Pyatyorochka” supermarket. She’s a little treasure is Natasha, and a really good cook. When I used to drink alcohol, I washed my Russian grub down with a half litre of Yantarnoe beer. That’s a Russian brew from Yaroslav. I quite liked it. It costs about 30 rubles for 0.5l now, but 5 years ago, before I quit the booze, it cost 22 RUR a half-litre bottle. I can’t understand why so many ex-pats think Moscow is so expensive. My weekly expenditure on food and drink in Moscow is considerably less than what it was in my home country, as is my income of 60K RUR a month. I never travel abroad to places such as Turkey. Too vulgar for my taste. The Russian or Ukrainian Black Sea coast suits me fine, as does my dacha situated some 84 kilometres southwest of the capital and to which I commute by electric train in the summer months. Public transport is another thing that is considerably cheaper in Russia than it is in the West: a return ticket from Moscow to my country residence costs less than 300 rubles.

          • The bliny at that chain of bliny restaurants all over Moscow, Teremok, are quite delicious and cost about 1.50 each, if memory serves me. They are no worse than what one finds in French creperies in the US and Canada.

            Also I enjoyed the stuffed pastries, very cheap, which they sell outside metro stations (I’d avoid the hot dogs, but the ones with fruit filling make for great snacks).

            Restaurants have gotten expensive, however, but the Russian culture unlike the West emphasizes dinner parties with friends and family more than “going out” so this is not such a huge problem for natives.

            I am looking forward to New Year’s in Moscow this year….

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Exactly! Russian pastries and bliny that you can buy at kiosks are fine, but as I always say: my favourite restaurant is my kitchen. And Russians love hosting huge food-fests at home – or at the dacha al fresco, which latter is what I’ve been doing all weekend.

              This classifying the culture or quality of life in various cities according to the state of its bars, restaurants and nightclubs puzzles me as it does, I think, most Russians. I have lived in Moscow for nearly 20 years and have never been to a restaurant there. My wife had once, before I met her: in the ’80s she was a guest at some big party held in the rotating restaurant at the top of Ostankino tower. It’s still closed after a fire that happened there some years back. And when I lived in London for 2 years, I never visited a restaurant there either. Same goes for when I ived in Germany. I’ve no big thing about “eating out”.

              I’ve never been to a Moscow nightclub either. And I reckon I’ve been in only about half a dozen Moscow bars at the very most. Don’t like them: they’re not pubs. It used to irritate me when I went into a Moscow bar and some girl immediately stuck a menu under my nose and tried to get me sit down at a table. Did she not realise that in an English pub, after which most of the Moscow bars that I visited were supposedly modelled, the majority of men go there to knock back the ale in rounds and maybe have a packet of pork scratchings after, say, the 5th pint, before launching into the next round of drinks? And the majority of pub regulars in the UK are men. Who wants to drink with women?

              From what I can judge by the clientele of Moscow restaurants, most of them are either Moscow fat cats who relish paying ludicrous prices in order to display their “eliteness” or they are Western fat cats whose companies foot the bill.

              I’ll stick to my shashlyk at the dacha and my fried chicken and grits in my kitchen. All washed down with kvas, of course.


              Приятного аппетита!

        • Jennifer Hor says:

          Dear J-L,

          Sharm el Sheikh … isn’t that ex-UK PM Tony Blair’s favourite holiday place? And Hosni Mubarak used to have a big villa there.

          Restaurants with foreign cuisine in Sydney used to be crummy too until Australians started going overseas in huge numbers so it’s just a matter of time when enough Russians have been overseas and foreign cuisine places in Moscow and St Petersburg should improve. Consider also that the Moscow Thai restaurant you ate at probably had to import all or most of its ingredients from Thailand or China.

          • Jenifer,

            There are luxury hotels in Sharm, but Russians with a bit of cash tend not to go there, in my experience. You can get super-cheap package deals departing from major Russian cities, especially with the low occupancy rates since the Arab Spring, and hoteliers desperate to attract customers.

            The Moscow Thai restaurant might have to import certain spices from Thailand, but the main ingredients like rice and prawns wouldn’t be from there. But yes, the high cost of importing food is a factor. Basic foodstuffs like potatoes, cabbage and carrots are dirt cheap in Russia. Anything not grown in Russia is obviously far more expensive. For example, cucumbers and tomatoes are cheap in summer when they’re home grown, then shoot up in price in winter when they’re imported. Duties on alcohol imports are extremely high (I’m hoping Russia will slash these when it joins the WTO) – I actively compare wine prices in supermarkets to European prices to avoid getting shafted. Usually they’re around four times higher. If they’re only twice as high I consider it acceptable. The cafes and bars then mark up the supermarket price by another 300 percent, meaning that a bottle of Beajolais Nouveau that costs two or three euros in France costs 40 euros in a Moscow cafe. You even see table wine (that tramps drink out of cartons in France) sold for proper money in Moscow cafes.

            Moscow exile – when I said “excellent Russian cuisine”, I had more elaborate things in mind than home-cooked grechka with kotlety. But I know where you’re coming from, and it’s good that you enjoy Russia the way it is. However, you might want to re-think your stance on the “vulgar” holidays to Turkey – you really do get fantastic bang for your buck in Turkey. In September or October when it starts to get cold in Moscow, there’s nothing better than a cheap getaway to Side for an all-inclusive, relaxing on the beach with a good book, stocking up on duty free on the way back. Take Natasha there.

            • Somewat off-topic, but surprisngly perhaps Lviv in Ukraine is full of restaurants, below-ground coffeehouses (Kavyarni), with Vienna-quality foods and deserts at late 1990’s level provincial-Russian-city prices (unless prices have jumped during the Euro). Some photos of one of the best places (there, a slice of cake costs $4.00, very expensive by Lviv standards, dirt cheap by Moscow standards even though the pastries and cakes are better than anything I’ve tried in Moscow):


              • Scowspi says:

                I am very fond of cities that were once in the Habsburg realm, because they preserve the café-based, coffee-and-cake culture of that empire. I am glad to hear that Lemberg/ Lviv/ Lvov/ Lwów/ Leopolis/ (Whatever) is maintaining this tradition.

              • Interesting. I’ve heard only good things about Lvov (apart from the alleged Nazi stuff). I keep meaning to make it over there, it’s just the 48 hour train ride that puts me off.

        • I can assure you that Russia has been going through a mass gastronomic and retail revolution in the last 5 years, and of course I am not just talking about Moscow, but even cities which one might call isolated and remote. Your expectations seem somewhat unrealistic, because you cannot develop an advanced consumer and food-quality sentitive culture over a short time period and especially in a society that is still recovering from the soviet restrictions in this regard. It is more than evident that Russia is very quickly learning to appreciate good food and service at an affordable price

          Just a quick note – I am a repatriated Russian living in Izhevsk (not my home city, and not the first choice for most who come back to Russia seeking a place to settle). I have watched the impressive transformation of the local retail and food landscape during my frequent visits to the city over the last 7 years. I have been living here for almost a year now. What you mention about the quality food and price of wines seems very bizzare. I am not ruling out that Moscow is very different, but if that is the case then you are totally out of touch with the rest of the country and should not generalize here on behalf of Russians living elsewhere. Some specific non made up or theoretical examples of decent food at affordable prices: at work, we regularly go to a chinese cuisine restaraunt for lunch. Its a 15 minute walk or 5 minute drive to get there. This restaurant opened just a few months ago and the lunch offers they have are very cheap and tasty indeed. Last time (just a few days ago) for lunch I had pork soup, a generous serving of Gong Bao chicken with rice, chinese bread and tea. All in all cost me around 140 roubles, which in my opinion is extremely cheap. The lunch menu is cheaper of course than what you would pay in the evening, but I wont complain about that )) My colleagues don’t have any problems affording this kind of meal 🙂 I could give you many more examples, but I think a simple link will be sufficient. This is one of several local restaurant holdings – they control a number of restaurants throughout Izhevsk and you can find the menu and prices here Wine may be more expensive overall, but I will write a separate paragraph about that

          When it comes to beer, you have only yourself to blame if you go for the expensive imported beers. I don’t see the point because there are some excellent local beers to be enjoyed. To substantiate my claim – on Friday I enjoyed a few beers at a local summer cafe where they offered a decent locally brewed beer which cost only 90 RUR per 0.5 L. Is that expensive by your standards? At the shop I purchase 1L of fresh Zhigulevsky keg beer brewed locally for 100 RUR to accompany me while watching football (sadly, not so much anymore since the awful performance of our team yesterday)

          You cannot possible complain about the wine. I remember 5 years ago I was not aware of a single store specializing in wines in Izhevsk, and the wines on offer were either CIS-origin suspicious red mixtures or were ridiculously overprices with disregard to quality. Today you have absolutely incredible variety (in comparison) and much more affordable prices. Today, the big chains and independent importers are much more sensitive towards quality and can import large quantities of good wines and other booze. Growing competition means that they will sell these imported goods at prices which the market will accept. If you get ripped of in Moscow, then perhaps you should move to a smaller city, you may also find that there are a lot less traffic jams. 🙂

          I would argue that american-style steak houses are somewhat exotic in Russia at this point. They are expensive because the meat is imported from USA or Australia and there is little local beef of sufficient quality being produced today. However, this will change very quickly because there are several gigantic agricultural projects happening in Russia at the moment. One of them in Bryansk involves investing billions into angus meat breeds that will be fed with quality Russian grain to produce the same quality meat that is being imported today. Then Onishenko will do his magic, and voilla 🙂 If we are talking about meat in general, then why don’t you settle for decent Russian or Caucasian shashlyk? It is affordable and delicious! Check out the prices in Izhevsk

          Retail is absolutely booming, if you are primarily talking about food products then there is sufficient variety and quality in Izhevsk. That said, my main complaint would be that there is not enough Russian fruit and vegetables being sold, a lot seems to be imported from other countries. I would contribute this to the risky and long invesment cycle (much like the beef situation described above), but I also predict that it will change significantly over the years. In the past 5 years I saw at least a dozen of large shopping malls and retail chain superstores opening in Izhevsk. Many of the federal retailers have showed up here and there are also strong local players which seem to be able to compete against them

          Btw. from my knowledge many western countries, especially the ones in northern europe with a historic lack of sensitivity towards food quality, all went through a very similar gastronomical transformation fairly recently as society became more rich and open to the outside world. Norway or the UK would be prime examples of this

          • Scowspi says:

            Thanks for that detailed report from Izhevsk. I can also testify that Russian beer has improved greatly – there are some good local breweries, most of them located (for some reason I don’t know) in Chuvashia or the Urals.

            • The brewery which I was talking about is based in Sarapul. I guess there must be some relevance in the fact that the city used to have a large German community which like their beer. Same in Samara – one of the famous breweries there was started by Volga Germans

          • igolov1 –

            You make a lot of interesting observations, especially about the beef – unfortunately I’m at work right now and don’t have time to write a detailed reply.

            I totally agree that the gastronomical transformation you talk about happened only recently in northern Europe (although the beer was always good). And I can see things are changing in Moscow, but slowly.

          • hey guys,

            Please continue the discussion here.

      • I live in London, and if it comes to food, I’d choose Moscow any time. London is crap when it comes to food.

        • Scowspi says:

          Foodwise, the one advantage Moscow has is cuisines that are hard to get further west. An abundance of Georgian, Uzbek and other such restaurants, including stuff I never expected to encounter, like Uyghur and Karelian cooking.

          • Georgian, hmmm… I like Georgian… 🙂

          • Abundance of Georgian…? So you haven’t been here since 2008 I take it? There are still Georgian restaurants, but most were closed down after the war. Georgian wine is still banned. I would say sushi restaurants outnumber Georgian by about 30 to 1, and the remaining Georgian restaurants are elite and pricey.

            There are certinaly plenty of Uzbek restaurants around. At least three within a short walk from my flat. All ridiculously overpriced though. I travelled round Uzbekistan last year (amazing place) – a huge bowl of plov will cost you one or two dollars in Tashkent – at Moscow chains like Chaikhona it’s more like 15 dollars, then about 10 more for the tea.

            • This is not exactly true because there are places where immigrants from Central Asia eat – goog and cheap.

              • I can’t say I’ve ever been to such places. Where are they? The workers from Central Asia seem to spend almost no money and send it all back home, so I can’t imagine they eat out very often.

    • I think Anatoly meant Russians who live in the west (not just visist). I met a fair number of them who are not hostile to Putin – mainly becaus they are childeren of the elite and were always quite comfortable and while there are those among them who detest Russia many are (surprisisngly maybe) patriotic. But it doesn’t mean they think Russia is a good place for holidays. I think Russia a splendid place for holidays, but for different reasons 🙂

      • “I think Russia a splendid place for holidays, but for different reasons”

        I hear you there.

        I’ve heard the pussy in Rostov is legendary, but I have yet to make it down there.

        • I’m sure it is – this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind – I’m a girl. To have great holidays in Russia you’ve got to know places to go – deep in the country, impeccable nature, buying milk and produce from local farm, great lakes to swim and fish, great mountains (Ural). Banya & beer in the evening! Parties in yurta with samovar, great local lads. And No tourists! No “new Russians” 🙂

          • yalensis says:

            @AM: That was the best response I ever read to an inappropriate (but funny) comment. Awesome!

        • “I’ve heard the pussy in Rostov is legendary, but I have yet to make it down there.”

          “I’m sure it is – this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind – I’m a girl.”

          LMFAO…Le Coq, what a mysoginist a**hole…

          AK: That is pretty funny, but M.S. – as with Kirill above – please tone it down a bit.

          • “I’m sure it is – this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind – I’m a girl. To have great holidays in Russia you’ve got to know places to go – deep in the country, impeccable nature…”

            Ahem. Yes, quite right. I think perhaps the attractions of Soviet cities can be more obvious to visiting men than to women. I mean, if a foreign man tells you he’s planning a trip to Cherepovets, Cheboksary and Voronezh, it might be a fair assumption that he isn’t going there to admire the architecture. Having said that, Cheboksary, even though it doesn’t even get a mention in the Lonely Planet, is quite a nice city – poor but clean and tidy, with a very efficient public transport system and a curious local language. Voronezh and Cherepovets…. Well, the less said the better.

            I’m totally with you as far as Russian nature goes. Solovki springs to mind – phenomenally beautiful place. And I’m planning a trip to Tuva. But it can be damn hard to get to such places, and unfortunately most city-dwelling Russians never get to see the best parts of their country. To see the volcanoes of Kamchatka, you basically have to be a millionaire. Perhaps truly unspoiled nature is easier to access from Urals cities. In Moscow we have to content ourselves with compromises like Sergiev Posad.

            • Yes, a couple hours drive from Ural cities, 5-8 hours on average, and you can find great places. Also summers there tend to be so hot that you are bound to escape to the mountains – it’s unbeareble to be in the city. I think it’s a great pity that internal flights in Russia are so horribly overpriced – I think people would definitely travel inside Russia if it wasn’t for it, plus lack of general tourism infrastructure … no wonder most middle class Russians prefer Turkey.

          • “LMFAO…Le Coq, what a mysoginist a**hole…”

            Au contraire, baby. Au contraire.

            • To answer your questions about Central Asian eateries – I spend very little time in Moscow, what I did was queue where I could see them queueing for food and got a delicious Cheburek and other stuff – but it was an unsophisticated fast food place catering specifically for them.

              • When it comes to street food (not in Moscow specifically, just generally) I’m always torn between wanting to experience the real local culture, and not wanting to get food poisoning.

              • Jean-Luc,

                I sometimes horrify my wife by eating the street shawarma. It can be quite good.

                Urals lakes are beautiful…

      • Liberals hate Russia regardless of who is in power…

    • Where is the evidence that Prokhorov was Putin’s puppet. I heard people say that, but I am not convinced…

    • (1) I disagree on Prokhorov. He is more popular than Yavlinsky (or Navalny, who is less popular even than Yavlinsky). So take it up with his electorate and Russian liberals, not myself.

      Regardless, as per one of my comments above, Prokhorov in this post is a BELLWETHER of opinion. Those who tend to vote Prokhorov – tend to have more negative opinions about Russia. That is because Prokhorov has the most radical ideas of any of the other 4 candidates in relation to what Russia should be culturally, so it only makes sense that his electorate is the one that is on average the most dissatisfied with how things are at present.

      (2) I’m not talking of people who “visit” the West (i.e. London, French Riviera, Courchevel, etc. – none of which obviously compare with the roads and architecture in Zasransk) but about people who study and even better work there for appreciable amounts of time.

      Another factor is that as you yourself note, it is only richer Russians who can afford regular trips to Western Europe / the US. These people tend to be younger and far richer than average. This also happens to be the demographic that is most against Putin. Did they become disillusioned with Putin because of their foreign travels, or simply because they are younger, richer, and the sort of “cosmopolitan” Russia who would travel to those places is more anti Putin in the first place?

      • Anatoly –

        “I disagree on Prokhorov. He is more popular than Yavlinsky (or Navalny, who is less popular even than Yavlinsky)”

        These would be valid observations if the political playing field were level. Prokhorov was an approved candidate who was allowed to campaign, and had access to state media. Yavlinsky’s candidacy application was rejected (and in any case, Yavlinsky is a spent force, has no charisma, and is discredited by his role in the 90s privatizations).

        Navalny has to rely entirely on blogs, social networking, and fringe media like Dozhd to get his message across. Plus he’s a new phenomenon. Most people in the Russian provinces haven’t even heard of him yet. But give him a level playing field, let him debate openly on TV with United Russia members, and this is what you’ll get –

        I personally agree with Vladimir Pozner’s view that Navalny probably craves power, and that people who crave power can become dangerous. However, he’s certainly a far stronger political figure than Prokhorov, and would needless to say blast nonentities like Mironov off the park if he was allowed to take part in the mainstream political process.

        However, I accept your point that in your article Prokhorov serves as a bellwether of opinion rather than as a genuine potential leader.

        On the other point –

        “Did they become disillusioned with Putin because of their foreign travels, or simply because they are younger, richer, and the sort of “cosmopolitan” Russia who would travel to those places is more anti Putin in the first place?”

        It’s a chicken and eggs problem, and it would be hard to conclusively prove which is which. I’m personally convinced that tourism, and seeing how comparatively clean, prosperous and well-planned these European cities tend to be, has a big psychological impact on Russians. This blog post for example – – sets out in clinical detail many of the things that make Moscow such an unpleasant place to live in, and the writer uses his “friend from Europe” as his benchmark of comparison. I’ve heard this point of view expressed often here in Moscow. Muscovites accept such squalour as the norm until they find out that it doesn’t have to be the norm – that cities don’t have to be filthy and in permanent traffic gridlock.

        Of course, the tourism thing isn’t the only factor. But I don’t think it can be ignored.

        • Leon Lentz says:

          You really belong more to the primitive hate site, LR. Moscow is n excellent place, much better than all US cities, the only problem being the Caucasus migrants.

          AK: Please. JLC was making a civilized argument, no need to throw ad homs at him. No hard rules about it on this blog but please review Point 4 of the Comments Policy.

        • I sense I have seen that blog before. It is a blog of a liberal, which makes the term ‘clinical’ appropriate. 🙂

  21. Leon Lentz says:

    Under Putin, the real wages and the standards of living have grown threefold, the poverty went down from 40% to 12%, a lot lower level than the US’ 16%, the longevity has increased by 6 years, Putin has stopped the bloody rule by the Mafia and Oligarchs, most of them exiled, imprisoned or brought under control, the violence against Civil Freedoms when Yelstin had tanks pound shells at a democratically elected Duma to please the West, is unthinkable now, the wages are being paid, the scientists do not have to emigrate because they can make a living at home, most Russians belong to the middle class, the horrible population attrition of roughly 0.5 mln a year has now stopped and turned to an increase, all demographic figures are up, the crime is down and what is more important, Russia is no longer a lapdog of the US, it has dignity to act in its own interests, that’s why all of them are barking at Putin, he is a true patriot.

    • Leon Lentz – Having read your last post, I’m now regretting taking the time to write a detailed response to your previous post.

      To say that you lack objectivity and don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about would be a huge understatement.

      • That’s rich coming from a clown who doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of independent opinion polls that demonstrate Putin’s popularity. BTW, sunshine, there are more choices on the Russian presidential ballot than in the USA. Nobody is stopping Russians from choosing anyone other than Putin if, as is claimed without proof in the western media, Russians hate him so much.

        Yeltsin, the adored by the west “palpable humanitarian” Russian leader for some reason did not even try to push through basic legal reforms that Putin succeeded in doing. Specifically the introduction of jury trials and probation. Over 300,000 Russians were released from jail. Since 1999 Russia’s dollar wage has gone up by a factor 8. Yet patronizing SOBs from the west such as yourself try to paint the situation into some sort of regression from Yeltsin’s heady days of democracy. Then you clowns don’t like it when Russians stop swallowing your tripe and express support Putin. Putin works for Russia. You and your ilk only want to see harm come to Russia and Russians.

        AK: “That’s rich coming from a clown…” – play nice, please.

        • OK, I read as far as the second sentence of your comment, rolled my eyes, and knew not to waste any more time on it.

        • Leon Lentz says:

          These “heady days of democracy” when the tanks shot at the Duma and Berezovsky had headquarters just across Kremlin, CIA was determining what Russia should do and old school teachers were selling cigarettes on the street to supplement their pension. Just like all the other US banana republics. Most of the idiots like Sukashvili and Yuschenko, do not understand that friendship with America means they steal everything from you, leaving you cold and hungry. US has never helped anybody, they have only one goal: make sure there is profit for the rich. Once your insurance runs out, you are out on the sidewalk with your gurney.

          • Putin's Sovok White Russian Egghrad Expat says:

            I am going to try and be objective as possible. US over site of Japan and Germany seem to be a very fortunate exception. These countries are increadibly rich and are even able to act on their own if they wish (more so Germany than Japan) But then again the quality of US leaders post-WWII and post Cold War are very different things.

  22. Jennifer Hor says:

    Dear Giuseppe,

    I read Brenner’s book years ago and from what I remember the book is a list of documents so there may not have been much context given for all the documents. Grazie for the details and corrections.

  23. I got told to ‘play nice’ too over at PJM, by the one PJM blog that hasn’t banned me yet.

    Anyway brother Alex Jones covered the Moscow 2045 Transhumanist confab thanks to my email! I guess all off us alleged Kremlin plants got to stick together in the face of @ReginaldQuill and the other pyschos that insist backing Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and unlimited Federal Reserve fiat printing = being a freedom loving superpatriot.

    • yalensis says:

      So, THAT’S what Transhumanism is? OMG! All this time I thought it had something to do with people migrating to different countries due to climate change.
      That you very much, I got such a good laugh out of watching this video.
      My favorite Alex quote: “These people [Google] are cold blooded mass killers. I know. I’ve been around them.” That’s a triple-ROFLMFAO.
      I LOVE Alex Jones, normally I even agree with him about 80% of the time. But this time he lost me, especially about halfway in, when he started attacking the Borg. I LOVE THE BORG! They were really cool (until they jumped the shark when they brought in that stupid insectoid Borg Queen, now that was just silly). Call me a nerd, but I actually want to BE a borg! Eyepatch, mechanical arms, the whole 9 yards. Just lie back and relax, Alex, stop frothing at the mouth, and let Assimilation happen. Resistance is Futile!

  24. I loved the article – very accurate and obgective description. A daughter of “egghead emigres” I recognized them and their friends in every line.

  25. Reblogged this on Outlaw Presbyterianism and commented:
    I’m not quite the Slavophile I used to be (though I generally maintain all of my pro-Putin positions), but this was quite good.

  26. All I have to say is this: this post is freakin’ AWESOME. So incredibly funny and I wish I had discovered it sooner.

  27. I do agree with all of the concepts you have offered on your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for beginners. May just you please extend them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  28. This is a great masterpiece! I’m all happy that great Peter Lavelle told me about it. It’s so accurate and fun to read! Thank you very much. At least I’ve finally learned that I’m a Putin’s Expat after 14 years in the United States (born in Russia, raised myself in the States). I’ve never appreciated my roots, culture, Russia more than I do now. It was an easy decision to come back to a new Russia and continue my world exploration of my own home country. I just got a little bored of being established and successful in the US without really knowing my modern Russia.
    Very entertaining!!!!!!!!!!:-)

  29. Warning to Krypniks family Evgeniy Sadomskiy planing to attack Krypiks family Sadomskiys are always fighting they mey rob Krypniks you be aware

  30. Im a mix between gold digger, emigre, expat and sovok Jew: came here as married, devoted, got an engineering degree, always think how to fool somebody and was hoping to make lots of money. :)))

    • Alexei Tsvelik says:

      I have always belonged to academia, left USSR in 1989, 9 years in Oxford, 15 years in the US. This analysis leaves a rather disgusting aftertaste.

  31. The last comment in regards to “angry Jew feminists” is ridiculous. You don’t know what feminism is and if you call that piece angry or biased you simply know nothing about Russia.

    • Out of curiosity, who linked this article on Facebook? My visitor numbers have tripled today thanks to you guys. Thanks.

  32. I agree the last piece about the Jewish feminist is atrocious. The feminism originate with suffragettes in Britain and US. What do poor Jewish girls have to do with it? Also, I’ve lived in US for 20 yrs, I never heard of the Eggheads going back or the ex-pats going back, sorry.

  33. Post is funny. Especially for that sort of articles dividing everything into 5 categories.
    The piece still looked pretty decent till the end. P.S. regarding “piece by Anna Nemtsova” oozing “angry radical feminism and lesbianism”. WTF?! I would totally agree with Natalia (Aug 2). Did you ever set foot in Russia?!
    Disclaimer: I’m female, so you may try to label me feminist, but don’t try to stick “Jew” – not Jewish, sorry, not lesbian either.
    When I go back to Moscow, it’s very apparent that at my 5’6″ I’m towering over mos of teh man in subway. Try to argue that tall man are all seating: it still will be in support of Anna Nemtsova’s article. 🙂
    Seriously, after US it’s very noticeable that in Russia every man, even short, none-looking, not-well-off, feels he is a catch! I have my theories why, but… well, later.
    My local friend went to 30-year school reunion and saw well-groomed, in-shape women and a couple fat, old-looking, alcoholic men, the rest of men was dead! Came back with round eyes and started taking care of his health like crazy. Is he also an “angry Jew feminist”? His impression was not much different from Anna’s.
    Anna’s description is not a rant, it’s sad reality.

  34. Sergei S. says:

    Funny, but imprecise. Let’s take the White Russians, since you are putting yourself in that category and seem a little partial to it. Perhaps, you would be interested in a few minor corrections. As far as I know, all of the philosophers (already a small part of the population) stayed in France. It’s very hard to imagine the cockroach races in Berlin or Paris, at least in that time. You might have been thinking of Constantinople. Then, if we look at the timeframe, you include 1945. That kind of makes everything complicated because of WWII: Russian POWs, people forced into labor, and Nazi collaborators. Most of these people had nothing to do with the White Movement, although, of course, there were also Russian emigrants already living in Europe (who fought on both sides) and some of them ended up coming to the US. And, finally, to be fair to the other categories, you should think of a funnier name. At first I thought Pnin, but I guess that is more suitable for the contemporary inept eggheads that you describe. Vasisualy? I’m sure you can think of something if that doesn’t work.
    As far as the Jews, I have always thought that many wanted to assimilate completely or at least not stand out in Russia and be seen as Russians by others; ironically, they reached this goal in America.

  35. AK: This comment was left by “Anna,” but for some reason it wasn’t accepted and I didn’t find it in the spam filter. I’m reprinting the email she sent me:

    Lol. In actuality it’s a very skewed gradient. Although your stereotypes are largely correct, there is a tiny number of us that could easily fall through the cracks within your categories. Although mother and I immigrated in 1992, I have not once been part of local Russian kibutz community. Upon arrival I almost immediately have been thrown into forced americanization since none of our distant relatives spoke Russian. Being 15 at the time, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place since none of my high school peer groups accepted me as their own. I felt as if I was one of a kind and I kind of was. Stunningly, 3 years later I was lucky to befriend another Russian girl of similar circumstances. Needless to say we’ve been tight friends since. Though neither one of us fit into either “Russian” or “American” categories, we speak English between ourselves and feel more at home doing so. We associate more closely with Western European immigrants. I have never dated a Russian man. I married an American and our child understands some Russian, learned mostly from Grandma. My mother on the other hand is extreme example of Sovok Russian. We don’t get along; she is of extremely old-school mentality which seems to originate somewhere around post-WWII survival.

  36. Russian-speaking Israelis are a distinct group here in North America. They tend to mingle more with the Israeli-born immigrants than with Russians. In many cases they have not much in common with those coming directly from the former USSR except for the Russian language. Especially if they spent more than a decade in Israel, and even more if they left the USSR before it fell apart.

  37. Theres another class that doesnt fit in….many Ive met, they arent political, arent Jews, eggheads, whites, golddiggers, but come here espousing social liberal ideas, even economic liberal ideas but the american dream kicks them in the head, their time here is increasingly spent fighting stereotypes and ignorance by other russian emigres and mostly americans. They begin missing russia, have come to terms with putin, are somewhere between supporters of navalny and putin, even some nationalists, they miss russia, they return. Some after 1-3 yrs, others after 5-10, a few after 15 yrs. What would this class be….it cannot just be my wife. We have friends,a couple in NJ since 1991, they returned after 20 yrs, artistes, not goldiggers, jews, IT, eggheads or whites. Theyre in Piter as we speak. Bring up the American Dream and they may weep or hit you. Theyre conservative, smart, educated. Another friend, none of the above, 13 yrs here, got tired of looking for good work and being on food stamps, he returned to Russia, missing teeth, bitter, detesting Jews and Caucasians. He wears a fanny pack and hates the world.Another, young, 26, defeated, none of the above, on welfare, her ex husband in prison for growing pot, she has two kids and a grandma in Siberia. Shes not political at all. Is there a type that needs to be added? “Disillusioned working class Russians destroyed by America, returning to Russia, head hung low but happy to be in Mother Russias embrace”

    • But if they return could they still be called Russian-Amerians? 🙂

      PS. I know a couple such folks, though not closely.

  38. well its true about my parents, i am Jewish and both of parents r Jewish, but they still say in our day in ussr, i came from uzbekistan and russia and ,i do love/like living in USA more, thouh i may watch some sovok movies but only for entertainment and some haha’s , ran from anti Semitism in 1990s in 97 came to Brooklyn, wont change anything 95% is ok in my life

    • its like hello ussr is dead and it 99 % devil, anti Jewish, anti Judaism, current russia wants USA to be second/third class, and putin is big puppet master of many minds there

  39. Vasilisa Ivanovna says:

    In response to the last part of your article – who was the Jewess that broke your heart?

  40. Interesting article, even though it’s a bit older. Ran across the site recently looking up Ivan Ilyin, and stuck around to read some of the commentary considering recent events. I voted White Russian, though my paternal family history is kind of complicated on the matter considering it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. All I know for sure is that my grandfather’s family came to Pennsylvania in 1920 (the year he was born) to escape the chaos of the Civil War and the approaching Red Army, and assimilated but passed on that we were supposed to support the Tsars.

    BTW, I noticed this group in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s a sizable group of Russian Baptists and Pentecostals up there. I’m not sure how they fit in, but they mostly seem to have come over for religious reasons. I’m not sure if they go back or not.

  41. Natalia Koritskaya says:

    Good article. It’s so true )) May be, it is a little bit outdated so far.
    Does anyone know how many Russian-speaking people are in the Bay Area?

  42. Viktor S..ov says:

    Funny, although far too stereotypical. Author seems to have had a bitter personal experience with some Jewish woman and that makes him appear a bit too biased. Not sure what category our family falls into. In the 90s I was hired from Kazan by a German company & after several years working in Eastern Europe was transferred to the US. My wife was born in Boston, her Jewish parents came from Piter. Contrary to the “Sovok Jew” stereotype, they very much dislike USSR and like Russia, although with reservations – love the culture, are rather cautious about the ethnic Russians – it took a while for them to warm up to the prospect of me marrying their daughter. I understand why, too, one didn’t have to be Jewish to observe casual private and government sponsored anti-Semitism in 70s and 80s USSR (a very short sighted and idiotic policy, directed at the segment of population that valued education, and were willing to assimilate, given a chance).

    In my conversations with the people who came here in the 70s (mostly Jewish, but there was also a number of Armenians and Russians) I got a feeling that they aren’t as much “pro-Sovok” as have nostalgic feelings to the time and place of their youth, I’m yet to meet anyone who thinks USSR was a viable country.

    They do, for most part, have a dim view of modern Russia and Putin. I think they have that vivid mental picture of the 90s Russia in mind, and it’s hard for them to realize just how much had changed in the last 10-15 years. As for Putin, I am not sure I have much love for the guy myself; his biggest achievement was to end the 90s and to bring stability and some form of prosperity to the tired populace; but lately he seems to be willingly rocking the boat and trying to boost his ratings at the expense of that very prosperity.

    Anyway, it was a fun read, but does come out as overly simplistic (which is fine) and biased (which is not too cool)