Mystifying Russian Soul. Russian Statesman A.Koch on Russian Mass Voter (2017)

The “Garage Archipelago” stretches from
Kaliningrad to Vladivostok and votes for Putin.

Image by DonSimon, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

On March 15-17, 2024, one of the most critical elections in the world took place - the presidential elections in Russia. Mr. Putin again elected himself as president (and in reality, the tsar) for the next 6 years. The Russian people did not object.

Let me remind you that the next very important election will happen in early June - the European Parliament election. This “year of important elections” will end with the US presidential election in November.

Those weird Russians.

So, on March 17 the Russians once again “elected” Mr. Putin. Nobody expected any other result. The Russian opposition is either in prison (and dying there) or driven out of Russia.

Apparently, Mr. Putin has added a certain number of votes to himself with the help of his administrative resources, but still many Russians (I guess about a half of the voters) really supported his policies. The rest were silenced, because everyone can get a decent sentence in prison for a simple post in social networks.

At the same time, some (apparently small) number of Russians have always been against the barbaric war in Ukraine, some more are now bothered by it and tired, but they are not seen or heard. Many Russians want to enjoy the victories of the Russian army from their sofas, but not to go to war. They are afraid of mobilization and are silent because they can’t do anything anyway. Their Tsar is busy confronting the collective West and does not hear them. To communicate with the people, he has police, National Guard, courts and prisons.

Mr. Putin has already sacrificed several hundred thousand of his Russian fellow citizens in Ukraine, not to mention the killed Ukrainians. It’s true saying: “Kill a person and you will be put into the prison. Kill hundreds of thousands and people will erect a monument to you.”

They are weird people, those Russians. They keep their money, educate their children and own the real estate in the West, while calling the West their enemy. They fight on the territory of another country and blame everyone for that, but not themselves. And they vote for the one who sends them to their death.

The articles of “Mystifying Russian Soul” series are written to answer this question.

About the article by A. Koch.

I rarely translate other people’s materials, but I found I had collected a few nice articles by different Russian authors from different time periods specifically about the “mysterious Russian soul” (this can also be called the mentality or worldview of the nation) and I would like to share them here.

One of these articles was published in February 2017 before Mr. Putin’s previous presidential election in 2018. Since then (and over the last century as you will see from the following articles in the series) almost nothing has changed in the worldview of the Russians. The mentality of the nation actually is changing very slowly and extraordinary circumstances are needed for such changes.

The article was written by Alfred Koch - an ethnic German, born and raised in Russia writer, mathematician-economist, businessman and statesman. Mr. Koch has reached the position of deputy prime minister of Russia in 1997.
Since 2014 he lives in Germany.

The article absolutely depicts the portrait of Mr. Putin’s mass voter, his worldview, language and habits. Mr. Koch somehow managed to show in a short article the basic moral values of the Russian people and the process of transferring these values to the next generations. Such profound knowledge of the details of Russian life indicates that Mr. Koch is more Russian than German and we can trust him.
I can appreciate the authenticity of the article in Russian, but I don’t even know if I will be able to convey all the naturalness of the author’s style in English.

Unfortunately, I saved the article itself, but not its link, so I cannot refer to the original, sorry.
However, I think that doesn't make the article any worse.


On Russian Electoral Bio-Trash

Mystifying Russian Soul. Russian Statesman A.Koch on Russian Mass Voter (2017)
Alfred Koch.

February, 2017

Where does Putin's electorate live?

Just imagine a small provincial town of one hundred or two hundred thousand population. Maybe even five hundred. And there are the garages on the outskirts of these towns in wastelands, courtyards and God knows where else. They are cooperative ones or just self-built “Shanghai”. These honeycombs extending beyond the horizon were built during the years of stagnation (1980-90s – I. C.). The second generation of their owners often lives there. They grew up in these garages, smoked, drank vodka, and fuc..d a classmate for the first time after stealing the keys from the father.

These garages are quite an interesting structure, well illustrating the old idea that "necessity is the mother of invention." They are arranged in two or even three levels: the garage itself and a huge cellar under it, in which there are racks for storing pickles and jams from a country cottage (a separate story), a box for potatoes and bottles of slops called “homemade wine from our own apples,” which turns out to be a banal home brew.

Three-liter jars of home-made vodka (samogon) are placed nearby. There are various tools, used parts for cars, hardware, machine oil, and used tires upstairs in the garage. There is also “Lada” itself - a patched-up “made-in-Russia” car or an ancient right-hand drive foreign car. Also in the basement there are small table, electric or gas stove and large old sofa with a quilt without a cover.

The owners of these garages spend all their free time (and above all the weekends) there. They bring there their sons, grandsons, younger brothers, friends, etc.

Women can only get there for one reason: under the cover of darkness they are secretly brought there to make sex on an old sofa. Wives have nothing to do there, they understand this perfectly well and are not particularly eager to get into this male ghetto, thoroughly filled with the atmosphere of salty male words and feigned cynicism. These are the people's universities that 90% of Russian boys go through before the army. This is the atmosphere which they live in for almost the rest of their lives with the exception of evening dinner and a quick sex with their wives before falling asleep, and the trips to the country cottage.

It is not surprising that by the age of sixteen each of the boys knows quite well how “Lada” works and can disassemble and reassemble it without looking. Therefore, he does not accept any other car and is surprised at people who go to the service: why to spend money?

But the most important thing in this Garage Archipelago is not car repair or storage of supplies. The most important thing there is conversations. It happens like this: someone, having looked under the hood of his “Lada” for the sake of appearance, calls the neighbors: “I brought some fat of my grandma from the village,” or: “Here’s the cinnamon samogon! I added it for an experiment. Come, take a sip,” or: “Here is the stuff I was presented at work (I sold the lumber without an invoice). Who knows the name, it’s kind of tricky - Chivas Regal? Let’s try this burp of theirs,” etc. There’s a frying pan on the stove, potatoes and onions are being fried (at grandma’s fat), someone is bringing pickles, a circle of smoked sausage… From five to seven men gather around the table, the children crowd around their fathers and older brothers, and their souls rush to the heaven.

Conversations follow the same pattern which never changes: first you need to evaluate the drink that is on the table at the moment. For your own samogon or home brew there is only one assessment: “a good stuff!” For imported drinks there is also just one: “Kind of a bullshit. I didn't understand. It stinks of bedbugs.” No other assessments are allowed. Then it comes to pickles. Here a remark is necessary, too: “They don’t salt down cucumbers abroad. They only pickle them there! I recently bought imported ones at the store. They’re so fucking sweet! Holy shit, they are freaks.”

The conversation moves to more general topics gradually. The theme of extraordinary Russian prowess and power prevails. It is also important to mention in such a conversation that the Russians are very healthy and incredibly physically strong people. This is being proven in two ways. The first is telling the stories about how much vodka a Russian person can drink (as a rule, these are stories from their own life), and the second is how much weight a Russian can lift off the ground just on a dare. Many memories on this topic are also drawn from the military experience. Then the armwrestling begins.

It is important that there is no censorship there and the children hear swear words, dirty jokes and quite realistic stories about sex. And they talk about all the famous women in the area. About the saleswoman in the neighboring store (“I was having Maika on this very sofa. Her panties are holed”), about the teacher (“She’s divorced, lives with a sport coach. She has crazy tits”), about the local doctor (“She treats everyone, but infected her neighbor with the gonorrhoea, a bitch”).

Conversations about sex directly follow conversations about the extraordinary strength of the Russians and have the goal to prove to each other one more important feature of their nation: their extraordinary sexual attractiveness.

Then there should be a pause. By that time, everyone has already drunk around 10 ounces. It’s a full pandemonium now. The topic which comes next – the “billets” (a special name for the non-white immigrants – I.C.). There is a peculiarity here: in the company there is always a Korean or Tatar, Georgian or Kazakh. Depending on the nationality of the foreigner at the moment, an exception is made for his nation and the conversation about the “billets” is preceded by a politically correct remark: “All the billets suck. What cannot be said about the Kazakhs (Chechens, Yakuts, etc.) - they are just normal guys.”

Then the conversation moves to more subtle matters – the Jews. There are a lot of stories about the extraordinary cunning and stinginess of the Jews. And what’s most important: how they help each other: “They are like a water: as soon as it finds a hole, it will immediately flood everything.” Here, too, it is important to make a stipulation: “There are Jews, and there are Yids (a rude name for the Jews – I.C.)! You need to understand the difference.”

Well, about the Americans it goes simple: f..k them, we won’t just easily surrender to them. They never really fought a war! Just let them poke their heads in! We'll kick their ass! They will die in our cold, etc.

When everyone already consumed around a pint of samogon, they begin to tell each other about their patriotism and readiness to die for their Motherland at any moment. Of course, they support the course of the president (previously, under the Soviet Union – the Communist party and government), etc.

The kids are listening to all this with their mouths open and taking all that in. The time comes and they also will be sitting in these cellars and have the same conversations with no mental acuity, real life experience and moral pivot. It’s just this kind of meaningless bullshit that they all like because the main idea is: we are cool, our life was not (is not) in vain, everything is going right and we can easily change everything if we think that something is wrong. But we change nothing because everything is going right.

Of course, this is a ritual. They never seriously thought about that, but this is how millions of our fellow citizens live. They have never been abroad. They have never read a single book about what Jews, Americans, Chechens, and Papuans really think and how they live.

Those Russians live in the closed garage world, stretching from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, and vote for Putin.

This is our people. They are just like that. I love them. And I feel pity for them. And, I don’t know, maybe they're fine as they are? Maybe they are all right? And here we come with some alien, unpleasant thoughts and ideas...
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