While Russians argued over what their country should do in reaction to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, an overwhelming majority of them agree over what NATO should not have done — i.e. bomb Yugoslavia. All of Russia’s major political, religious and social leaders have condemned the air strikes. And they have been supported by the vast majority of public opinion. Ominously, the war in Yugoslavia has incited a new anti-Western, and especially anti-American mood in Russia.
Russian Life sought to explore the origins and consequences of this mood-shift, and to that end Publisher Paul Richardson and Executive Editor Mikhail Ivanov met in Moscow on April 2 with the director of Russia’s prestigious USA-Canada Studies Institute, Sergei Rogov. Rogov has studied Russian-American relations for over 30 years, has lived in the US and advises the Russian government on policy toward the US. In fact, Rogov was to have been a member of the Russian delegation to the US in March, headed by [Former] Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who turned around in mid-flight when the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia began.
Paul Richardson: Nearly twenty years ago, in 1982, during my first visit to Russia, as we were entering an apartment building with some friends, they said to us, “Don’t speak English right now, it’s not safe.” Yesterday, we were going down a metro escalator, talking in English, and a young Russian girl in front of us turned and said, “Why are you guys speaking English so loudly? ... That’s not polite right now!” And today we heard how one radio announcer offered a play on words, that “nagloyazychnaya” (literally — “arrogantly-speaking”) be used instead of “angloyazychnye” (English-speaking). Are we going back to the early 1980s? Where is the US-Russian relationship going?
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