Russian Stereotypes of Europe


In the spirit of Foreign Policy’s map of Chinese stereotypes about Europe, I did the same thing for Russia using the autocomplete to “why [country/people]…” in

Vast swathes of Eastern Europe are dominated by Russians asking why the local denizens don’t like them, so to make room for more interesting stereotypes, I just colored in red the countries Russians think are especially Russophobic (though in the case of Poland and the Baltic states they were frankly asking about little else).

I started working on this list in January, then dropped it, then finished it today, so this is not an up to date “snapshot” but a general impression of Russian stereotypes about Europe during the first half of this year. I generally input the first result to autocomplete, but I did select slightly for more interesting variants, and listed the primary two stereotypes for the more significant countries.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. actually USSR invaded its neighbors as an ally of The third reich (and also earlier) as you may want to enlighten yourself. Google is hardly a source for that but also note that many of these would be questions russian ask rather than opinions and for that what google is. And they ask this because they know they were not told the truth previously

  2. Mitleser says

    wears headphones

    What is the source of this impression?

  3. Anatoly Karlin says
  4. [USSR invaded its neighbors as an ally of The third reich]

    You mean the same way Poland invaded its neighbour as an ally of Germany in 1938?

  5. Sweden and rule of law?? Guess the Russian media doesn’t report when the immigrants torch Malmo or other cities.

  6. Mitleser says

    And I thought that Eurovision was irrelevant.

  7. Mitleser says

    How much do Swedish media report about them?

  8. I have very serious reservations about France and Germany.

  9. No, not the same way.
    Are you sane?
    How can you claim something like this in year 2015?

    There were dozens of victims of 1938 Polish invasion of Czechia.
    There were millions of victims of 1939 Russian invasion of Eastern Europe.

    War is war, and people of Eastern Europe understand it.
    Eastern European countries were at wars with each other all the time. And it is mostly history for amateurs. Now, we cooperate gladly.

    But the mindless, inhuman and unnecessary brutality of Nazi-German and Bolshevik-Russian is just upright repulsive.
    Both nations must be criminally deranged to be able perform such hellish acts of mass killings.
    And you are still surprised that no-one likes you.

  10. German_reader says

    Russians seem to be rather obsessed with the 2nd world war…though I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising.
    Some of the results are really weird though…Austria “can’t defeat the Turk”??? And the first thing to wonder about Spaniards is whether they’re dark-skinned? Or why they haven’t annexed Portugal (which the Chinese seem to wonder as well if I recall correctly)? Just strange.

  11. So you have nothing to say, nitwit.
    Just verbal flatulence.

  12. Anatoly Karlin says

    Here is Germany:

    The Germans apparently think everyone around them is stupid. Which to be fair is not inaccurate going by PISA results.

    That said, Greece wins. 😉

  13. Anatoly Karlin says

    But hey cheer up.

    With China you complained:

    Germany: killed Jews…why hasn’t that been replaced with “is generous and benevolent towards refugees” yet? Merkel’s rebranding of Germany apparently needs more time to work.

    In Russia at least the rebranding has worked and the latter stereotype has overtaken the former!

  14. German_reader says

    I don’t suppose though that most Russians now admire Germany for being so open towards Muslim refugees…probably more like “Wtf is wrong with those guys? From genocidal maniacs to this?”.
    The results for German perceptions of European countries are really strange though…ok, I get “They are dangerous” for Albanians 🙂 but a lot of the rest makes little sense (Irish “impenetrable to psychoanalysis”? Hungarians are “Turks”? Estonians are like “pokemon trainer”?). Really weird what people come up with.

  15. Cattle Guard says

    Yeah, the Greeks win just for “should be bombed every 50 years”, ha!

  16. “can’t defeat the Turk”?

    Had to be rescued by Poles and Saxons in 1683. What else could it mean?

  17. anonymous says

    how many americans could name more than half of the states on the map?

  18. “how many americans could name more than half of the states on the map?”

    I think the answer is clearly provided in the white box on the upper left of the map where the U.S. is listed with the following descriptions: “1. against Russia 2. against Assad 3. stupid.”

  19. My version of the German map says of Greece “they are the best.” (BTW that is the same description bestowed on Denmark and Italy.)

  20. Is there any other nation you could make such glib statements about and get away with it?

  21. Has it occured to noone that these maps are spoofs?

  22. In this article on the alt-right I propose the creation of a new “Trilateral Commission” under the ideas of the alt-right which will include the US, Europe, and Russia.

  23. The Russians lost 25-30 million in WW2. Large swathes of Russia were devastated. It was only about 65 years ago. So, yeah, I agree, not surprising.

    Austria…that’s a little bit of history, I think, it was more or less where the Ottoman Empire stopped. Probably something a lot more important to Russians constantly having to fight with Turks, I think. Kind of like Americans might joke about 1066 being the last time the French won anything or something like that (not true, I know).

    The Portugal thing is kind of understandable, look at a map, it’s a peninsula, why isn’t it one country?

    Spaniards being dark-skinned? They probably see lots of Spanish-speakers from Latin America on the news (perhaps over our immigration problems) and wonder if Spaniards are dark-skinned too. Also, there are stupid Russians, just like there are stupid Americans. I remember a joke somewhere here that because someone was American rather than Russian, he was fat rather than drunk. 😉

  24. The USA’s at least as unpopular in many areas. Greece hates Germany because they keep putting the financial screws to them in the EU deal. (I get the Germans are sick of paying for everyone because their grandparents screwed up…I think the whole thing was too ambitious anyway.)

  25. Jaakko Raipala says

    Well it seems like Finns and Russians actually agree on something since the first completion for Finland in Finnish for me is “why did Finland not become a people’s democracy”.

    It really is more than a little bit ironic considering that Finland was probably the most zealous communist hotbed during late imperial times and then ended up the only part of the empire that actually never became communist. Finnish Reds probably would have won the war in 1918 if it weren’t for German intervention on behalf of the Whites.

    Completions for Russia are “why are Russian women beautiful”, “why did Russians attack in 1808”, “why did Russians start oppressing Finns in the late 19th century”, “why did Russian oppression pause in 1905″… well, it could be worse, like “why are Swedes considered gay”.

  26. If it makes any Russians feel better, only the important nations get complaints of oppression. You never hear about anyone being oppressed by Belgium or Uruguay.

  27. reiner Tor says

    Congo was a little bit oppressed, though.

  28. Mitleser says

    Belgium is not a real nation. It is a delusion.

  29. Jaakko Raipala says

    If you’re replying to me, this isn’t a complaint, our joint struggle against Tsarist oppression is of course a common founding mythology that we found for 50 years of Finnish-Russian “friendship” after the war. We needed to quickly invent reasons for the Russians to let us stay out of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact and we suddenly remembered everything Lenin wrote on how giant Russia oppressing small Finland is part of the case against the monarchy.

    The collapse of communism is rather worrying since if Russians no longer even pretend to believe in saint Lenin and the theology of our common revolutionary struggle against oppression, well, we only ever had one saint in common and now we don’t have even that.

    The Russian empire, by the way, was not very oppressive at all to us until the last few decades but then their russification campaigns were seen as a massive insult since we had never rebelled and had no separatist movement in a hundred years.

  30. Mitleser says

    The Russian empire, by the way, was not very oppressive at all to us until the last few decades but then their russification campaigns were seen as a massive insult since we had never rebelled and had no separatist movement in a hundred years.

    The extent of Finnish autonomy was already kind of separatist.
    After all, Finland was part of the Russian Empire, but very much separate from Russia.

  31. Jaakko Raipala says

    That’s like claiming that Gibraltar is a separatist region of the UK because it has a special status with its own parliament and flag and all. Nope, they have always been more pro-empire than the British of Britain for obvious reasons, much like Finns were probably happier with the empire than actual Russians from Alexander I to Alexander III. The alternative would have been getting annexed or puppeted by some Germanic power that would want to use us for their wars against Russia.

    Of course I have to admit that what we called oppression wasn’t actually some anti-Finnish campaign but more an attempt to bring us in line with how the rest of Russia was governed but, well, we were guaranteed to find their autocratic government a form of oppression. That’s why even those of us who agree with most of what Russia is now saying about the liberal West are still having a major allergic reaction to Putinism – I just cannot comprehend how Russians can look at the last 150 years and once again conclude that more autocracy is the way to go.

  32. Russians look at 1990-99, or Mar-Nov 1917, and conclude that more democracy is certainly not the way to go.

  33. Apart from foreign invasions the worst periods of Russian history were those of anarchy and disorder: the 1990s, a part of which I saw with my own eyes, the early, pre-Stalinist Bolshevik period, the Time of Troubles (1598-1613).

  34. Mitleser says

    Gibraltar was too far away from UK to be integrated into the central realm.
    Finland was right next door to the Imperial capital.

  35. Jaakko Raipala says

    That’s precisely why the russification project was so confusing and outrageous to us. They had all their strategic interests satisfied with the creation of the Grand Duchy of Finland and then they decided to piss it all away on trivial cultural issues. They had their buffer zone that they had always wanted and then they threw it away with things like pushing Orthodoxy as the favored religion.

    That’s why it’s so hard to trust Russians. We once did have a deal where they had all their strategic interests satisfied and it was tested eg. during the Crimean War when the British and the French tried to come through us and we fought against them. Then they decided to cancel this strategically beneficial deal in favor of pushing their culture on us and risk rebellion and separatism in a region that had never made any sort of attempt at either. Our history seems to suggest that Russia is willing to give up already secured strategic military interests and mutually beneficial deals in favor of expanding Russian cultural space and if that’s what they’re after then you simply can’t negotiate with them about strategic interests or alliances.

    Also if you’ve read about amazing terms of autonomy like our own parliament, those things only existed after the Crimean War and they were basically Alexander II’s rewards for fighting in it beyond what was required. For the first 50 years, “Finnish autonomy” just meant that Germanic aristocrats kept their privileges and ran the Grand Duchy as they had ran Sweden, ethnic Finns didn’t have any sort of rights or representation in government before the Crimean War. What Nikolai II would have offered for us was de-emancipation of ethnic Finns and a return to hereditary rule by aristocrats of a different ethnicity and even the Bolsheviks would have been preferable to that.

    (And “separatism” clearly implies will, attempt or intention to separate, plus disloyalty to the larger country, and it’s rather insulting to apply it to us. It’s also insulting if you compare us to some activist people who agitated for autonomy as a condition for not separating since that’s not how the Grand Duchy came to be either. The whole Grand Duchy was crafted for us by a bunch of aristocrats of a different ethnicity who did not ask us what we wanted.)

  36. Santoculto says

    ”Belgium is not a real nation. It is a delusion.”

    and always will (not) be…

  37. Turks making progress. I was expecting to also see “Dislikes Greeks,” but maybe feelings have changed. But the “Dislikes Kurds” is odd, as many if not most Turks have Kurdish blood in them. It would be like Mexicans disliking Indians (natives, not India).

  38. Anonymous says

    “Why Russia Is Not America” is a popular controversial book about macro-economy by A.Parshev

    That is what showed up in Google autocompletion there, not the general notion but a specific title.

  39. Cattle Guard says

    England may have a new stereotype soon, thanks to the British police finding themselves to be the terrorists who left an explosive device at Old Trafford yesterday. It’s gotta be a goldmine for anybody who wants to laugh at the West.

  40. Connecticut Famer says

    It was Freud who described the Irish as being immune to psychoanalysis so I suspect that’s where this perception comes from. As to the Hungarians, bear in mind that the original Magyar invaders were in fact a Turkic tribe who came from the area of the Urals.

    What has me puzzled is the “pokemon trainer”. Does anyone even play pokemon anymore?