Looking west or within

Your article is protected by copyright and all rights are held exclusively by FIZ Karlsruhe. This e-offprint is for personal use only and shall not be self-archived in electronic repositories. Looking at the third wave from the West: However, it was not possible to identify values exclusively as a social or as an individual construct, as the concept is used with both meanings, even by the same author.

Looking west or within

Consider a fresh addition to the Moscow landscape—a foot-high statue, cast in bronze, of Lt. There he stands astride the Garden Ring Road, hands cradling his famous rifle, eyes gazing in the direction of the U. At the Looking west or within, a Russian Orthodox priest sprinkled holy water on the figure.

On my visit last year, on a raw morning, the sleet coming down, I found fresh flowers at his feet. Why not reverse the lens? What do they—the Russians—think of us, the Americans? Off I went to Moscow, amid what is being called, in both nations, a new Cold War.

I was no innocent abroad—I lived and worked in Moscow as a journalist, from toand have visited Russia many times since—but still, my plan was to soak up the atmosphere, the talk on the street, the chattering of intellectual types, and to distill from the experience what lessons I might.

Attire for my determinedly unofficial trek was not business suit and tie but a down jacket, dungarees, and sturdy black leather sneakers. Most of all, I was curious. Poke and prod a Russian these days, on Americans and America, and what might be the response—a grimace, a growl, possibly a grin?

Moscow can be experienced in this fashion, with the antipathy turned upside-down and devilishly transmuted into theater. It offers a good selection of draft beers; but for food, not much more than an assortment of flavored potato chips.

I strolled in on a Monday night to see if I might tap some opinions about my native country and its citizens, well-thought-out or not. Behind the bar, Andrei, suffering from a hangover, at first was in no mood.

To his back was a display of tchotchkes, among them a flag pin of Syria featuring Bashar al-Assad in sunglasses. Dmitri, seated at a bar stool and clad in black leather pants, an iron cross dangling from a chain around his neck, a glass of beer, almost surely not his first, in hand, offered an opening statement: But the gleam in his eye was unmistakable, and I demanded the bat, to exhibit a proper batting stance, elbow cocked, and took a few practice swings.

Not to be outdone, Andrei donned a Roman gladiator—style helmet signifying his allegiance to the Spartak football club in Moscow. In an earlier life, he was a soccer hooligan, he said, mixing it up with the fans of rival clubs.

Looking west or within

Such was the spirit of the evening, which ended with the American—me—escorted out of the bar as a mock prisoner, hands held high in the air, palms facing forward. The evening suggested a first lesson: It is generally conceded that the Kremlin probably did interfere in some fashion with the U. One reason for such skepticism is that Russians tend to see their own culture as under the sway of the American way of life.

It may be too soon to predict the winner of a second Cold War, but there can be no doubt of the winner in the ideological competition that defined the first go-round. The final joke is on Karl Marx. His monument still stands at Revolutionary Square in central Moscow.

The democratic instinct may be lacking in a society that rallies around a strongman to keep chaos at bay, but the market instinct is not. America, from this standpoint, represents wealth-generating capitalism at its most robust, and while Russians, in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet collapse, bridled at the Washington policymaker and the Ivy League economist preaching the gospel of Adam Smith, they are far from disliking the manner in which America has organized its economy.

For the Muscovite, in particular, sprawling New York, a cultural and a fashion mecca, another city that never sleeps though with a less efficient metro systemis akin to Moscow. On the 85th floor of one of these towers is a restaurant,that conjures the bygone Windows on the World from 1 World Trade Center, with spectacular views of the city below.

On a Sunday evening, I bundled myself in a shaggy llama coat selected from a closet kept by the proprietor and joined my dining-mates in the ice bar—a small room, the temperature set at minus 15 degrees Celsius, fashioned from blocks of ice.

The idea is for patrons to nibble caviar and knock down shots of vodka. I seated myself on a throne of ice, of magnificent scale, fit for a czar, sprays of colorful flowers exquisitely set into the side and back panels.

Looking west or within

Still, American brands can inspire adulation. Parker is popular here—as are American rappers, as I found on an after-hours visit to Garazh Garagea small nightclub in Moscow, homey rather than glitzy, frequented by bohemian sorts in hipster-ish garbs. It was loud with the electronic thump of grime, a London-originated music with hip-hop among the influences, making conversation difficult but not impossible in the booths off the dance floor.

Lena, 22, a painter, clad in black jersey and hood, her lips, nose, and the area around her eyes smeared in black makeup in a catlike pattern, told of her devotion to Eminem, 50 Cent, ASAP Rocky, and Travis Scott. Others at the club also volunteered Eminem as a favorite.

Try as I did to elicit raw expressions of animosity toward America and Americans in random encounters with Muscovites, I failed. Perhaps such conversations illustrated nothing more than a journalistic version of the Heisenberg principle—the object of observation is bound to be influenced by the observer, the question-taker by the question-asker.

Russians are not gratuitously rude to foreign visitors, even from America, and in my travels in Russia over the years, from frozen Chukotka by the Bering Strait to balmy Sochi on the Black Sea, I can recall only one instance of being accosted as an American.

She lost; Putin, two years later, coasted to victory for another six years as president, extending his undeclared reign as czar for life, presumably.

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An affinity for Sarah Jessica Parker and her fragrance, for Eminem and his razor-blade raps, for the razzle-dazzle of New York—none of this is sufficient to relax tensions born of politics. In this sense, the return to Cold War—like conditions offers a compelling refutation of what has been dubbed the Golden Arches doctrine, after the neoliberal hypothesis of New York Times columnist Thomas L.rutadeltambor.com is the leading source of nursing jobs and continuing education with thousands of jobs.

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