Maverick Traveler

Location Independence, Geo Arbitrage, Individual Freedom

The Mysterious Disappearance Of Eastern Europe

Barcelona, Spain

When I lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of my good friends was a Brazilian guy from Espírito Santo, a state just to the northeast of Rio de Janeiro. While he certainly looked Brazilian, he didn’t act like a typical Brazilian. For starters, he spoke fluent English with an American accent. He knew all the American idioms and slang. He knew the best rodizio restaurant in Los Angeles. He could also tell you the quickest way to get from Santa Monica to Studio City.

None of that should surprise you once you learn that he spent the last 15 years of his life in America. When he was 13, he immigrated to Los Angeles and lived there until he turned 28. Then he packed up and returned to Brazil.

After spending a year adjusting to his new life in his country, he opened a cafe in Buzios, Brazil (a resort city about two hours from Rio de Janeiro). He’s doing exceptionally well now and has absolutely no plans to leave his homeland.

I’m very envious of my Brazilian friend. But not for the obvious reasons. I’m not envious of his wealth. I’m not envious of his success. I’m not envious that he’s running a very successful café/restaurant in a gorgeous Brazilian coastal city.

What I’m really envious—even jealous—of is the fact that he was able to live abroad for a while and then return and build a very meaningful life in his own country. I’m envious that he’s Brazilian—and not from some third-world country in Eastern Europe.

In addition to Brazilians, I’m also envious of Spaniards and Catalans. I’m envious that they can walk the narrow streets of Barcelona’s beautiful Gracìa neighborhood or the wide boulevards of Eìxample and proudly say that this city (and this country) is their home. I’m envious that they can spend many years studying or working in places like America, England or Australia and then return home with their newly acquired knowledge and experience and build a new life in their own country among their own people.

As a matter of fact, my envy is not limited to Catalans and Spaniards; I’m envious of all Western Europeans; from Spain and Italy in the South to Austria, Germany and Denmark in the North, there are cities and countries that are replete with seemingly unlimited wealth and opportunities: Rome is an open-air museum; Vienna is gorgeous and stately; Munich is clean and orderly; Copenhagen is rich and tidy. Everyone knows how magnificent Paris is (ignore the haters, it’s truly a fantastic city), so I’ll just spare you a long list of nice adjectives.

Between a rock and hard place

Put on a blindfold and throw a dart at a map of Western Europe. Regardless where the dart will land, there’s a pretty good chance that the city will have majestic architecture. It will have beautiful parks and streets. There will be order and stability. It will be clean. It will be a city that you’ll enjoy walking around while constantly taking random pictures to share with your family and friends back home. It might also be a city where you wouldn’t mind living for several months or even years.

Now, put on a blindfold, take a dart and throw it at the map of Eastern Europe. Should you get lucky and hit a big and well-known city, you’ll discover a place with at least a nice downtown or nightlife district. Or maybe you won’t get so lucky and the dart will land on some little village with broken down roads (or no roads at all), a village full of anti-social inhabitants.

Even if the dart lands in a relatively large and famous city, it doesn’t really matter: once you leave the decently maintained center, you’ll suddenly find yourself in a place that’s frozen in time—Soviet Union time.

Regardless how you look at it, comparing a typical neighborhood in Barcelona with its counterpart in any Eastern European city is a complete joke. And I’m not even talking about the best parts of Barcelona (or any other Western city). I dare you to compare an average neighborhood in an average Western European city with its counterpart in Eastern Europe.

Not doable. There’s no comparison whatsoever. Fine, then forget a gorgeous city like Barcelona altogether and compare another Spanish city, a smaller one, such as Valencia, Córdoba, Seville or Girona. Nah, that’s still not a very fair comparison.

I can’t think of many people who would refuse to spend time in a charming city like Cordoba or Girona, but I can’t think of many people who would accept to do the same in some medium-sized city in Bulgaria or Russia. Need more proof? Just follow the money; look at all the rich Eastern Europeans who are leaving their cities and buying up expensive villas and mansions all over the beautiful Mediterranean coasts of France and Spain.

As you head East, past the Central European nations of Austria and Hungary, things start to change. The landscape alters. Cities and towns begin to look remarkably different. In some cases, it’s because whole cities had to be rebuilt after being destroyed or damaged in World War II. Although, usually, they look different not because they’ve been destroyed by bombs but because a different ideology was employed when planning, architecting and constructing them.

Why is this?

It’s been around five years since I returned to my home continent after living in America for more than twenty years. I’ve visited almost every country in Europe. I’ve also had sojourns in an array of countries that lasted anywhere from several months to several years. And throughout my journeys, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why Eastern Europe is such a mess.

How is it possible that Eastern Europe is so underdeveloped? How can you have one continent where the left side is one of the richest regions in the world and the right side is so embarrassingly destitute? Why does Eastern Europe lag so much behind Western Europe? Why is a Ukrainian worse off than a Spaniard? Why is a Bulgarian worse off than a Fin? Why is a Lithuanian worse off than a Frenchman? Why is a Moldovan worse off than a German?

It’s far from an easy question. Chances are if you ask a hundred people to give you a reason, you’ll get a hundred different reasons. The most common ones will probably be communism, rampant corruption, undemocratic political institutions, lack of freedom of speech and poor economic policies. To some extent, they’re all true.

Napoleon Bonaparte once famously said that a country’s geography is its judgment. Most of the woes or achievements of a country or region can be easily explained by looking at the map. Want to know why there are endless conflicts and wars in the Middle East? Just look at the map. Want to know why Eastern Europe is so poor? Just look at the map.

After a careful examination on the map, you’ll see that Eastern Europe is actually stuck between a rock and a hard place—and has been stuck there for hundreds of years. It has had the misfortune to be situated between two great world powers: Germany (Prussia and, later, the German Empire), which has traditionally been (and still is) the dominant power in the West and Russia, the dominant power in the East.

Geography also explains why Eastern Europe is so poor. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Western Europe’s strategic location and its access to oceans for crucial trade allowed it to prosper relatively quickly. In the late nineteenth century, England was the site of the industrial revolution, which later spread to other Western European nations. While Western Europe was rapidly industrializing, Eastern Europe was still mostly a pastoral backwater.

The twentieth century wasn’t much kinder to Eastern Europe. Before the Bolshevik Revolution that brought Lenin to power and established Communism as the economic and political system, a big chunk of Eastern Europe was part of the Russian Empire. After the revolution, these states were given some (very limited) autonomy and re-integrated into the newly formed Soviet Union (the notable exception was Finland, which gained independence and became a sovereign country in 1917).

For almost the past century, communist Eastern European states were separated from the capitalistic Western Europe by the Iron Curtain, hampering their economic, political and social links with the rest of the world even further.

Unlimited stupidity

As a blunt Eastern European who knows the region and people pretty well, I think the real reason why Eastern Europe has failed is much simpler: Russians didn’t know what the fuck they were doing. And I say this as a guy whose native language is Russian and who also deeply respects Russia and Russians.

Russians didn’t know how to create a modern political system that allowed people to express their will—a political system that has organically developed in Western European countries like England for more than five hundred years. On top of that, they didn’t know how to create an economic system that leveraged an individual’s self-interest called capitalism.

They didn’t know how to do it during the time of the Russian Empire. They didn’t know how to do it during the time of its successor, the Soviet Union. Even in present times, when the rest of Europe is undergoing massive integration (a project called European Union), Russia is still struggling to build something resembling a modern political and economic system.

As a result of Western propaganda, most people don’t know that in terms of natural resources, Russia is a pretty wealthy country—if not one of the wealthiest in the world. It has lots of proven oil reserves (second in the world), lots of natural gas (first in the world), and tons of natural resources like iron, nickel, copper, aluminum, timber, etc.

The perennial problem is that Russians just don’t know how to build a robust socio-economic system, one that can utilize all this seemingly unlimited wealth to increase the country’s standard of living.

Why? Where did all this wealth go? A wealth of such enormous magnitude can’t just disappear into thin air—it has to go somewhere. There’s only one explanation: corruption and theft. Misappropriation of funds is what turned the world’s largest and richest country into a third-world backwater where most of the population lives in dire poverty.

For comparative purposes, take a look at a country like Dubai or Singapore. Although Dubai is swimming in oil, they’ve been able to diversify away from the black gold and build a prosperous, stable and secure society that thrives on tourism and services. Singapore is a tiny nation-state without any resources whatsoever, but its per-capita income is one of the highest in the world. Japan is another country without a drop of oil and other natural resources and look at what they’ve achieved.

Russia is the exact opposite. They squandered (and continue to squander) all their wealth. Not only did they fail to build a thriving and prosperous society for themselves, but they also failed do it for their Eastern European satellites. They had their chances, but they blew every single one of them.

After the collapse of Communism, the balance of power has now shifted to its victors: America and Western Europe (namely Germany). Now, the game is being played according to their rules.

Disappearing Eastern Europe

We’re living in an age of one globalized world economy. The name of the game is capitalism and efficiency. If someone else can do something better than you (i.e. they have a comparative advantage), they win and you lose. If you are the greatest salesman in the world with fifteen years of experience, and I’m a recluse living in my mom’s basement who enjoys programming or playing video games instead of talking to live humans, it makes much more sense for me to work for you (building products) while you sell these products to others, instead of the other way around.

Germany is an amazingly productive country. Not only can they make all kinds of cool stuff, but they also make it with impeccable quality. A German product is synonymous with quality pretty much anywhere in the world. Germany has the know-how and resources to make the best cars in the world (if you haven’t driven a BMW, you simply haven’t lived). Germany has the most efficient factories in the world for making these cars. These conditions allow Germany to produce the best cars in the world. Germany wins. Germany needs labor for their workforce, so they get labor for their workforce.

And what about Eastern Europe? What does Eastern Europe produce that other people are willing to buy? What’s Eastern Europe’s comparative advantage? Does Eastern Europe produce cars? Nope. Does Eastern Europe produce trucks? Nope. Does Eastern Europe produce high-tech machinery? Nope. Does Eastern Europe produce ships? Nope. Or, let me ask more bluntly: What the fuck are they good for?

Since Eastern Europe has always been a buffer zone between great powers, it never really developed any of its own industries. It doesn’t really produce anything of great value. Germany makes durable and high-performance cars. Sweden makes trucks and planes. Denmark is home to one of the world’s largest shipping companies. Russia is the world’s second military hardware exporter in the world. They also make their own buses, trams, (crappy) cars and other machinery.

The collapse of Soviet Union marked the ultimate triumph of liberal democracy over communism. And, as you already know, there’s no free lunch in capitalism. If you can’t produce and sell something of value to advanced countries with money, then one of your limited options is to become a source of resources to feed their hungry factories. There are two kinds of resources: natural and human. Both are being imported into Western countries. Western countries becomes richer; Eastern countries becomes emptier.

The loud sucking sound

That loud sucking sound you hear is the natural resources and people being sucked out of Eastern Europe. They’re being sucked by the West in order to be put into more efficient use. The vultures (aka capitalists) are coming, and they’re removing the people, the natural resources, and, along with them, the local economies. Eastern Europeans are migrating West to work at German factories, Danish souvenir shops, and Norwegian toilets.

As a result, Eastern Europe is being changed in a million subtle (and not so subtle) ways. From Estonia to Bulgaria, from Latvia to Moldova, and from Lithuania to Ukraine, people are migrating to countries with better economic potential and a higher standard of living.

Estonia

As the most northerly Eastern European country, Estonia is the least “Eastern European” in the economic sense. Ethnically and culturally it’s closer to Finland than to either of its Baltic or Slavic neighbors.

The country’s population has dropped to around 1.3M people. The government has realized that the entire nation is on the brink of extinction and is implementing all kinds of incentives such as the new e-Citizen program. Estonia’s tourism agency has also developed a new slogan: “Visit Estonia today because it might not be around tomorrow.”

Latvia

Latvia’s population has fallen to less than 2M people. Latvia’s most famous export is what we (Russian-speakers) call “sprats,” (canned fish). Most of that goes to Russia and other Eastern European countries. I have absolutely no clue what Latvia exports to the West.

Lithuania

I spent more than a year living in Lithuania. Lithuania is light years ahead of other post-Soviet Union countries. It’s a country with great potential. The problem is that it might not be around long enough to exploit it.

I once joked that, since Lithuanian language doesn’t resemble any other language, if you’re speaking it with another friend abroad, no one will be able to understand you. My friend corrected me: “…unless you’re in England, Ireland, Denmark or Norway.” He was referring to large—and rapidly growing—Lithuanian communities in those countries.

Romania & Bulgaria

Romania and Bulgaria are experiencing similar demographic changes. During my travels, I’ve met lots of Bulgarians and Romanians in countries like Denmark and Germany (it seems that every 3rd or 4th Bulgarian is now living in Germany somewhere).

Here in Spain, I’ve also met lots of Bulgarians and Romanians.

As one of the poorest countries in Europe, Bulgaria is especially hit hard. A quick trip to the capital, Sofia, is all it takes to understand exactly what I mean.

Ukraine

In terms of natural resources, Ukraine is a pretty rich country (it was called the breadbasket of Europe), but thanks to lots of corruption and theft, most of those natural resources found their way to a select few oligarchs.

Ukraine’s industries aren’t competitive; there’s nothing that Ukraine makes or has (except for cheap labor) that’s needed by the more industrialized Western European economies.

Following the collapse of Soviet Union, Ukraine’s population has remained more or less stable, but that’s only because other countries don’t want to see Ukrainians on their territories; Ukrainians must obtain a visa for every non-former Soviet Union country. If that visa is ever abolished, Ukrainians will emigrate West to never return.

Moldova

Then there’s Moldova, Europe’s poorest country. Before WWII, it was part of Romania. There are some people in Romania who want to annex their former territory, but they won’t need to do that: Moldovans are digging up their Romanian roots, getting Romanian passports and leaving their homeland in droves. While Romania isn’t a wealthy country by any stretch of imagination, it still says a lot when people are desperate to immigrate there from somewhere even poorer.

To Eastern Europe With Love

When I lived in New York, many of my friends were immigrants like myself. They emigrated to the US when they were young, went to school and worked at various jobs. Many remained and built their lives in America, but many also moved back to their homeland. Lots of them were from the so-called “Third World”: Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, China, Taiwan, etc.

Naturally, many of my friends were also Eastern European. As opposed to my Latin American or Asian friends, I didn’t know a single Ukrainian, Belorussian or Russian who would be crazy (or stupid) enough to give up their life in America and move back to their former homeland. And I’m talking about locals who speak the language and know the culture—some of them even have friends and relatives there—never mind a foreigner who will have no clue what’s going on or how to adjust.

The only people I can see returning are those who’ve already made their money elsewhere, or are making their money online and therefore don’t need to depend on the local economy that’s riddled with rampant corruption in order to put bread on the table. This isn’t the case with my Latin American and Asian friends who can easily integrate themselves into the local economies in their respective countries.

Come to think of it, Eastern Europe won’t really disappear. Sure, the outflow of people and natural resources will turn Eastern Europe into a barren land replete with rundown factories and ugly and dirty Soviet-era buildings. But the land will still be valuable; it will continue to serve the same function it has served for hundreds of years: as a strategic buffer zone between two great powers, European Union (with Germany at its helm) and Russia.

Who knows, maybe in ten, twenty or fifty years, Eastern Europe will be the bastion of law, security and stability. But then it will no longer be “Eastern Europe” but something else entirely.

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19 Comments

  1. Interesting article!
    From someone who is from the east and grew up in the west.
    The liberated Eastern European States have struggled to move on from the influence of the Old Soviet mentality and current Russian Might.
    I think the east is stuck between West and Russia. Russia uses it to deliver it’s gas to Europe
    and wants to keep it’s governments under Russian control , like that of Chechnya.
    Russia is scared that these small countries will break away from the Russian influence .
    What’s Russia’s beef with these countries?
    Look at Russia , one of the biggest countries in the world with the most creative people.
    All wanting to run away to west. There’s nothing in Russia except empty promises of a glorious future and clinging to the old glory days.
    Russia should focus on building itself rather than living in fantasy or borrowed glory from the past.

  2. People who think that Russia is “big” are delusional. Do not look at the map. Look at the demographics. Russia is as large as Bangladesh (yes, that tiny piece to the east from India).

    Russia is not able to produce anything good because Russians look European, but under the skin most of them are Asian. It’s nothing wrong about it per se, but it explains why their mentality cannot possibly comprehend the Western democratic system. Deep in their hearts Russians understand nothing but a “vertical” structure of the state and, no matter how they call their leaders, they always want a King. They love each of their Kings blindly and unconditionally only to begin hating him and replacing him with yet another (or, to be correct, these Kings replace each other without really asking the masses). But the Russians always hope that this current one is the godsend best, even if he keeps up with the Russian political tradition of lies, bullying, and aggression.

    I do not think that Eastern Europe (exclude Russia from it, it’s not Europe in mind and soul and will probably be consumed by China) will disappear. Eastern Europe may be slow and behind on many issues, but it also has its clear advantages. Eastern Europeans are not, or at least much less than West Europeans, corroded with political correctness. It also offers cheap labor and more natural resources than the Western Europe holds. It offers way more opportunity.

    If the Western part of Europe will continue to go down the drain with mass illegal invasion disguised as “immigration” from the third world countries that not just don’t want to, but simply cannot offer Europe anything she needs and instead impose their 4th century worldview on everything they touch; if socialist populism in Europe will continue until each and every country becomes Greece with no Germany to bail them out; if gay activism will continue its cancerous growth to soon become a new version of Taliban where ones who do not approve of it will be persecuted (as it happens in the West already – people lose jobs and businesses being sued out of existence because of disapproval of gays or just because they said something other than applauding and praising gay lifestyle) — if all this nonsense will continue, and we all know it probably will, we will see West Europeans slowly but surely leaving the West heading East bringing along their technology, their anti-corruption laws and methods to enforce them, and their work ethics (think Germans and Scandinavians here).

    Just what you, Mav, see in your great article as East Europe’s weakness, I see as a great opportunity, a real strength that will make her future very bright.

    • James

      July 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      “Russia is not able to produce anything good because Russians look European, but under the skin most of them are Asian.”

      Interesting way of looking at it. Russia is definitely much more different than the rest of Europe.

      • Hi Ed,
        I’m Asian-American, specifically Korean and Japanese. As someone who was born and raised in California, I understand your exact sentiments. Many of my friends with roots to countries in Asia have great respect for their ethnic homelands and even want to live and work there for the rest of their lives. This was not at all uncommon. At the moment, I’ve been studying Russian for three years and have traveled a lot throughout eastern europe. I absolutely love Slavic cultures, but hate the fact that so many Slavs seem to be so unmotivated in changing their countries. In the US, many of my Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish friends have zero desire to ever go back to their ancestral countries, not even to travel! As to the poster above, I find great offense in that whole belief that Russians are Asians. Asia is the world’s biggest continent with a myriad of political systems in each country. So first of all, that statement is vague and somewhat racist. The better explanation is just the HISTORY within Russia. Russians have suffered untold miseries for years and lagged behind westernization until Peter the Great came along. Russians dont LOVE dictatorships or corruption, but from the time I’ve spent living in Russia, it just seems to me that many Russians are merely tired and don’t know HOW to fix their system. And I don’t blame them. I have high hopes for eastern europe still. I believe it will take a very long time for the region as a whole to develop, but it will happen, and yes, that includes Russia. Eastern europeans are very smart people and hard-working. They are in nature, very kind as well. It’ll just take patience to see it (:

  3. Jennifer, I was born and raised in Russia. I studied history in one of the most highly reputable universities in Russia. I have also been dealing with Russians for probably too many years now because of my line of work. There is nothing racist in saying that Russians are more Asian than European in their mentality. They are more Asian than European in their mentality due to their both history and genes. Look, for centuries Russia lived under the Tatar Mongol rule. Lots of Russians have this in their blood to this very day. I am not saying that Asians are incompatible with democracy. All I am saying is no matter where you look, Japan and Korea included, Asian versions of democracy are very different from the Western ones. If you are Korean and Japanese, you should have known this better than me. If you have friends among Russians, Poles and Ukrainians and they are not being born or raised in the West you may have also noticed that Poles and Ukrainians, especially ones from central and western Ukraine (as in the east you find a lot ethnic Russians who are grandchildren of Russian peasants shipped by Stalin to eastern Ukraine to work on coal mines decades ago), are actually very different. Slavs are not the same. Take Slovenians, for example, take Slovaks, and compare them to Russians. I did as I know many Slovenians and some Slovaks. Not to mention dozens of Poles. Day and night different from Russians, if you look deep enough. Not just me, but a number of specialists believe that this is because the Tatar Mongol empire did not spread outside of what we now know as modern day Russia. It saved other Slavs, but turned Russians into a nation with actual identity crisis which they never define like this but nevertheless, it appears, suffer from it even if subconsciously. If you are into signs and their meaning, look at the Russian national coat of arms – what this is if not the clear indication of this identity crisis? I am serious. You may say that Serbs and Albanians have the similar coat of arms, yes, but they have taken it from Russia. Finally, please do not use accusations such as “racist” as this is cheap and unfair. If you want to speak, let’s leave the nauseating bs of political correctness to politicians and the academia in socialism obsessed universities without polluting meaningful discussion with that nonsense. Okay?

    • Seems like another self hating russian. Actually, your examples make little sense. I dont see Russians and Slovaks as “night and day.” The mentality seems to be tje same. Kievan Rus was invaded by the Tatar-Mongol yoke, but your own standards, that would also make the vast majority of Ukrainians and Belorusians um, “Asian.” And there were genetic studies already done, modern day Russians have little to NO DNA matching them with any sort of Asian group. Yup, google is your friend. I dont care if you’re actually russian that means little to this debate. You sir suffer from an identity crisis. The majority of russians I know are proud of their heritage and do want democracy. I take great offense to you even comparing freakinf Russia to any number of Asian countries. Buddy, they dont look like us and they dont act like us. They may have some influence due to being under control, but thats to be expected from every country thats been invaded by a foreign power. from your previous comment and from this one, I sense that you are highly disturbed from current russian politics and extremely angry. I’ve met many russians like you and I dont pass harsh judgment. But what exactly is “acting asian?” Democracy in Asian countries happened very recently in some countries, and not all of them were shitholes before then. Your whole line of thinking makes zero sense. Are Nigerians asian too? Are Mexicans Asian? What about Iranians? What in the hell constitutes an asian way of life? The whole thing is vague and stinks of racism. It DOES offend me. Dont go around spreading your own ethnic self hate and acting superior because you have some godamn issues with your ethnic country. That is fine if you disagree with whatever is going on, but there is NO scientific evidence to back it up whatsoever. Any asian would laugh in your face if you even said this. Thanks for the “debate.” I’m not responding back to you because I literally have better things to do than waste my time with another insecure Russian.

      • I never said I am Russian. I said I was born and raised in Russia. Pay attention next time so your rants may not look completely ridiculous. Kievan Rus, ruled by Nordic dynasty of Rurik, included modern day Ukraine, Belarus and a very small part of Russia – Baltic Sea to Black Sea and Vistula to Taman peninsula (modern day Russian Krasnodar Region). Do your homework before you speak. Invading Mongols were Asian, whether you agree or not this is the fact. What is now Russia, most of it, was under them for centuries. What you call Kievan Rus, which is not Russia to begin with, suffered from them much lesser from Mongols. Racism has nothing to do with what I say. Russians know themselves that they have a large percentage of Mongolian blood in them. Also, if they were mentally European, they would be no different in their worldview from other Slav nations – but they are very different including from Belarus and Ukrainians (again, except parts of eastern Ukraine that was forcefully populated by Stalin who sent dozens of thousands of poor Russian peasants to work on coal mines of Donbass). Respond or not, I am not Russian, ethnically, to begin with so I cannot possibly be “another insecure Russian’, but you are clearly another insecure Californian of Japanese and Korean ancestry suffering from identity crisis. I am not angry, why would I be? Why guys like you always confuse passion to anger? What’s wring with you guys? Of course I disapprove of what Putin’s regime does in Russia and outside, but the fact is that 86% of Russians in Russia support Putin’s actions. To you, Slovaks and Russians appear the same? Well, I guess Californian Slovaks and Californian Russians are not that much different, but if you want to know how things really are – go to Slovakia, Poland, then Russia and talk to the people. Real people. Then you may have a chance to compare behaviors, mentalities, and finally, maybe, understand. You have a right to be offended under the 1st Amendment. Grow up already. Finally, you may answer or not answer, it does not matter, but making a statement that you will not reply after having a tantrum is childish and simply immature. One thing for you to learn today – you know nothing about Russians and their mentality. Feel offended all you want – the US is a free country!

        • Yup, completely self hating Russian. You completely have Russian citizenship, you fucking idiot. There is a difference between ethnicity and nationality. Hey moron? Did I ever say you were ethnically Russian? No. Maybe you should read my words again. Its a highly diverse country so I’m obviously not expecting everybody born and raised there to be actual ethnic ones. Nevertheless, you are russian by citizenship and by culture. Lie all you want, I dont have an identity crisis because we’re not even talking about asian americans. Why would you just twist around my words? Too angry to be logical? I have the power of google and am aware of the location of Kievan Rus (: dont worry about it. The fact is that Mongols completely demolished the entire empire even from all the way to the west of Ukraine. European counties suffered tremendously under them. But uh, yeah, theyre no asian, only russians. Im literally cracking up as I write that. Look dude, I’ve lived in russia and I’ve been to those aforementioned countries of Poland and Slovakia. They are gorgeous places with good people, with similar beliefs and mentalities. They arent the SAME, as you seem to think I meant. I said that fellow Slavs often have similar traits. You are mistaking um “asian traits” to imperialistic tendencies. Whatever that means. You still havent explained what”asian traits” mean. Im so shocked as a fellow asian to learn that we had traits just like Putin? Wow. Great. Tell me what those are, yeah? I dont know what your deal is. Youre another angry Jew or Ukrainian born and raised in Russia and you have a right to be. But you are so motherfucking biased it is POINTLESS to say anything else. I fully support Ukraine and know many russians that do. I had a great time in your evil asian empire but I guess we cant all be so lucky and open minded. Ah yeah, free country USA. merica! Thats why you went on a website promoting how unfree american men are by evil bitches like me who support neutrality and logic 😀 i hate former russians like you always spreading lies and hate. You have again, full right to be angry at the political situation, I know tons of russians are, but no right to be so blatantly fucking racist and hateful towards a diverse group. No proof of your so called fucking DNA of modern russians. Most balkan slavs have more “asian DNA” than white russians. But I never see anyone accuse them of being “asian.” I never knew we had secret ethnic agents in cool countries. Great. I suggest to you to get out of your line of work if it makes you so angry to be around such filthy and monstrous russians. I’m sorry you’ve had the injustice of being around a cruel people. Good luck to you, dude. I’m only 19 but even I think that I know far more about the world than you. Be as hateful and as illogical as you need. Continue to mislabel yourself because your self esteem is so godamn low. Im no patriot but there needs to be a healthy respect for your country of birth. I know too many people like you who only continue to see people like me as “offended liberals” because you have nothing to say for yourself. Absolutely none. You will only pursue your path of anger and discrimination because of whatever stupid and twisted thing happened to you personally. Slavic people are cool as shit and I hope to learn more as I grow older, but I want actual history and actual experiences from people who literally arent such lunatics. You want to debate with me further? Then you’re free to email me personally. This website is not for that. I am so through with people like you always spamming awesome blogs with whatever dumb shit you come up with.

          • Did you ever say I was ethnically Russian? Yes, you did: ” … because you have some godamn issues with your ethnic country. ”

            Everything else you say is a rant of offended Asian from California with serious identity crisis – this is exactly what caused your extremely stupid verbal aggression.

            You said you would not respond, and you responded…. twice. Do you want anybody to take you serious here? Really?

            And this – You say I am angry. What is it with you in overly liberal California that you see any disagreement as anger. Maybe because, as your experience here shows, you cannot debate without anger and extrapolate this to your opponents. Your low self-esteem and your complex of inferiority shows.

            I am having a great laugh. I am angry at your attempts to bite but you have no teeth. It’s funny! You call me ugly names. You put words into my mouth… Go do your homework, kiddo, and never speak about anything you have never experienced nor have a sufficient brain power to understand.

            If you want to get really personal – Here you go. A moment of truth. Get ready:

            You are nothing. Just nothing. Less than zero. And I have absolutely no further use of you. And of course I am not angry. How can a man be angry at a mosquito? 🙂

        • Oh my gosh, Ed, sir, I want to apologize RIGHT now! I can’t believe my eyes. Please allow me to explain. I have a malicious ex who is still hell-bent on trying to slander my name. He’s been using my email address and using my personal information (age, location, etc.) to troll and flame people. It’s no doubt, immature and reprehensible. Ed, I have never even been to Russia and I do not know anything about current events occurring there. I am so sorry for everything that’s transpired. I have an old email address that I didn’t use for quite some time now and after figuring out the news that I was hacked, I then proceeded to check every account I have ever had. Please please please don’t feel angry or bad. I know I’m just some moronic stranger and this sounds stupid, but I feel extremely guilty for the things that were said. I’m just trying to do some damage control at the moment. I do not want my personal contact leaked, so just believe me when I’m saying that this is the truth. It is not my place to talk about these sorts of discussions because I am no scholar in this field and I do not pay attention to it, although my ex was fascinated by this. I have never heard of this website until now and I do not wish to engage in any sort of fighting or flame war over nothing. Please accept my sincere apologies for the trouble the trolling has caused you. I hope you have a great day and a nice life ahead of you. Ed, I am terribly sorry, again.

    • This article is very Russophobic, racist, full of prejudice and doesn’t make any sense at all. East Europeans ‘the fuck’ are they good for? Russians have Europeans looks, but are asian in fact, because they were ruled by Mongols?

      The author really doesn’t have an idea about what he’s talking about. First of all Russia had always been a strong nation since the middle ages. Besides the 160 nationalities living in Russia, you most certainly have ethnic Russians who live in Russia who aren’t asian at all. Those are the same Russians whose ancestors consisted out of the nation Rus, from the 9th century. The Mongols didn’t control the Russian territories, the Russians only paid tribute to them. Besides that the Russians fought the Poles, Swedes and Teutons. They sure were never enslaved by the Mongols.

      Also before you speak about the “stupid”, “backward” eastern europeans why don’t you answer the question. Who invented the radio, tram, synthetic rubber, television, who put the first man in space? Do you think a backward country could do that? Yes it were the Russians who invented those things.

    • I am curious, what are all the differences between Russians and Slovenians and Poles and Serbians? What is the Russians identity crisis? How are they more asians then European?

  4. Very good assessment. Way to much corruption. Corruption never made a good economy.

  5. Low trust societies and the culture of the dominant who controls everything (vs more democratic and egalitarian societal models)

  6. Dont be so sure Maverick. The Muslims are starting the 4th Jihad and the misfortune of Eastern Europe being poor but free from the EUs grasp will be the salvation of 500 million western europeans.

    By 2020 the ticking muslim sharia time bomb will explode and france along with germany will be 50% & 25% muslim.

    Non elite, middle class western europeans will run to their eastern neighbors and beg for shelter and protection from the islamic caliphate.

    The same people that have been looked down upon by the west will be those that will protect them because of European solidarity.

    Perhaps I should start buying moldovian land.

    • dilettante your comment made wondering if I have to cry or laugh, western Europeans coming to EE to beg for help!, no way but maybe they will arrive as the new rulers of some EE countries. Many western Europeans countries had a colonial past in Africa, Middle East, North and South America even Eastern European territories in the past.
      And now many EE countries were allowed to join the EU to be a buffering zone against Russia and the powerful western countries turned many EE countries into their colonies, we don’t see western armies invading those countries because they economically invaded those countries placing their banks, shopping malls and hyper markets transferring the huge profits into western Europe. Also they relocated many factories into many EE countries to exploit the poor labor rights in those countries and cheap wages so Westerners will enjoy cheaper products while the labor in the East will be enslaved to the bone. Plus allowing cheap labor from those countries to the west to work in their factories and clean their toilets for salaries Westerners will never accept. And all of that thanks to the corrupted privatization process and the new rich class in EE, yeah they have the money but with no culture.

  7. Very insightful really, I must read it a couple of times more! I am from Iran, where it is heavily under influence of Russia and exact signs and symptoms of other Russian related countries are observed here.

  8. We will see what happens when the whites of the West become race mixed out of existence. As these countries slowly return to the jungle, only Eastern Europe and Russia will be left. Their poverty will be their savior. Comparative advantage is flawed due to currency manipulations. Russia and Eastern Europe can manufacture and trade with themselves. They do not need to directly compete with the third world under globalism.

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