Moscow News, â„–08 2012
Is Russian- Bashing Good
The problem is that critics aren't always unbiased, and are often influenced by stereotypes. Thus, the distinction between candid critique and biased expressions are oftentimes blurred.
This is a natural peculiarity of human beings; we criticize each other and sometimes even offend. Similar is the approach of criticizing whole countries, yet stereotypes have a powerful influence and criticism is often wrapped in general statements and statements that may not be true. What do we think of this biased and unjust critique? The normal reaction is to take offense and to close our ears to accusations.
But I think that is a mistake. The critique may be candid, it may be a kind of advice - and that ...view middle of the document...
Or perhaps it is an expression of patriotism that doesn't allow a Russian to accept criticism from other nations.
Still, that is the way we understand criticism. Russians are accustomed to hear stereotyped opinions at their own expense and even before reading and hearing critical views we become hostile. Of course that is due to our prejudices, but we should try to listen to the critique - it may bring fresh insight and a new take on affairs and events.
But it is never easy: by shying away from foreign critique Russians are likely to criticize their own country in even sharper and more penetrating ways. They may scold their own country, fellow countrymen, government and so on - simply growling at disadvantages and reproaching the current situation. Still, I can't say they really mean it. Of course they may sound serious in their words, but I am pretty sure that the self-accusations aren't meant too literally. Meanwhile, criticism from abroad is always regarded in its full and even in an exaggerated sense, no matter whether it is a joke or a real accusation. But perhaps this sensitivity is true of all nations.
When did we become deaf to the views from abroad? Today, deafness is the result of a certain amount of arrogance. Though we are strong and understand our failures and problems (as well as achievements and victories), we want to criticize our shortcomings ourselves. We should sometimes listen to what is said abroad. It doesn't mean we should heed the advice, just be aware of it. Because one day we may lose something really relevant: criticism is a way to see hidden problems and improve. In biased criticism a candid assessment can be found.