I recently had a taste of Russian patriotism during a discussion with a RW over Facebook. We made contact on a Russian dating site a year or so back. She was a sassy woman which I liked, but for one reason or another, I had excluded her as a romantic prospect. We did correspond and exchange enough information to be friends and contacts on Facebook and Skype and we kept in touch periodically during birthdays and holidays…that is until this past week.
At this point, Russian forces had occupied Crimea with talks of sanctions being implemented by the West, and the residents of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to break away from Ukraine and join the Russia Federation. I like a good political discussion, normally, but thought it would be wise not to discuss politics with the RW that I correspond with. To be frank, I don’t know very many women that can discuss politics without being personally offended. They are simply too emotional about it. And when you consider foreign women from a different culture and language barriers, well, it simply isn’t worth the trouble of explaining the different nuances.
But my RW, Elly, decided to post her opinion on Facebook. It had the tone of a rant like she was frustrated trying to justify the actions of her country and no longer wanted to endure the criticism of Russia’s actions against Ukraine. She claimed that Crimea was originally Russian territory and the people’s opinion to want to join Russia should be respected.
Now, I certainly have concerns about Russia’s actions. But I decided to take a different tone when I replied to her. I brought up two points:
- Crimea used to be part of Russia but it was given to the Ukraine SSR by Kruschev and it was later recognized internationally as Ukrainian territory after the breakup of the Soviet Union. A referendum and Russian legislation to annex Crimea isn’t good enough to legally return Crimea to Russia. The Ukrainian government must also consent and sign a treaty to the effect, which they don’t have.
- Putin will not want to establish the precedent of letting voter referendums decide matters since I’m sure the Russian Republics of Chechnya and Dagestan would certainly vote to leave Russia. Or that other Russian citizens might want to vote on their own regional governors or leaders in the Duma.
I didn’t go any further than this in my response. I wouldn’t even call it a criticism of Russia. But Elly wouldn’t have it. She flew in a tirade about how I don’t know anything about Russian history and she doesn’t want to talk politics with me. In retrospect, I probably took her comments about me not knowing history a little too literally and was trying to defend that what I had said in my two points about Russia and Ukraine was factually correct. Of course this was fruitless, but foreigners have been mocking American’s apparent ignorance of history and geography for a little too long and I was getting tired of it.
Our dialog only went on a couple more exchanges until she promptly unfriended me and blocked me. So I can’t even copy the conversation verbatim to let the reader decide for himself which one of us was the most crazy. Needless to say, my impression that women can’t discuss politics has been validated. In retrospect she was probably trying to tell me that, as a foreigner, I had no business commenting on Russian matters rather than me not knowing history. I also don’t think the language barrier was an issue since she spoke and wrote English fluently enough to grasp the nuances and discuss complicated subjects. I also know in previous conversations that she doesn’t care for Putin that much. But perhaps Crimea and Chechnya are sore spots for Russians and they probably don’t like discussing it with each other, not to mention foreigners. So these topics can cause a lot of strife in Russia much like the topics of abortion and “Obama Care” have for us in the USA.
It’s hard for me to say if I would ever back down from a person that criticizes the USA or Americans, but I doubt a bride seeker would encounter a RW that would be rude enough to do this unless she knows him extremely well. Naturally, politics should be a topic to avoid in your correspondence with RW and that’s doubly true for recent events like the Russian annexation of Crimea or the Chechnya Wars that have potential to be polarizing subjects, even in their own country. Just a thought…