Thoughts on Russia, from Kim Zussman

In my travels and experience with modern Russia:

  1. The average Russian is not only religious, but also very superstitious.
  2. They are nationalistic in a way different from America. Northern white Russians consider themselves as Russian race (i.e., Jewish, Azeri, etc are "not" Russian), and this race identity manifests itself in language, culture, arts.
  3. They have trouble living down the great ironic lies; that virtues described in Russian writings and music are the exception in real life, which is replete with dishonesty, graft, corruption, infidelity, alcoholism, etc.
  4. MAD (mutually assured destruction) of the post WWII period has lost potency, and the vacuum has been filled with Russian oil money and its influence.
  5. Most of the time Russia will take the other side to the US, in part out of competitive envy and in part to pad its influence account.

The fact that Russia sits on huge oil while having military deterrence makes for a formidable opponent.