In this difficult hour of serious trouble on our Western borders, I would like to address the American people in order to help you understand better the positions of our Russian patriots, which are shared by the majority of our society.
Difference between the two meanings of being American (in the Russian view)
1. We distinguish between two different things: the American people and the American political elite. We sincerely love the first and we profoundly hate the second.
2. The American people has its own traditions, habits, values, ideals, options and beliefs that are their own. These grant to everybody the right to be different, to choose freely, to be what one wants to be and can be or become. It is wonderful feature. It gives strength and pride, self-esteem and assurance. We Russians admire that.
3. But the American political elite, above all on an international level, are and act quite contrary to these values. They insist on conformity and regard the American way of life as something universal and obligatory. They deny other people the right to difference, they impose on everybody the standards of so called "democracy", "liberalism", "human rights" and so on that have in many cases nothing to do with the set of values shared by the non-Western or simply not North-American society. It is an obvious contradiction with inner ideals and standards of America. Nationally the right to difference is assured, internationally it is denied.
So we think that something is wrong with the American political elite and their double standards. Where habits became the norms and contradictions are taken for logic. We cannot understand it, nor can we accept it: it seems that the American political elite is not American at all.
4. So here is the contradiction: the American people are essentially good, but the American elite is essentially bad. What we feel regarding the American elite should not be applied to the American people and vise versa.
5. Because of this paradox it is not so easy for a Russian to express correctly his attitude towards the USA. We can say we love it, we can say we hate it - because both are true. But it is not easy to always express this distinction clearly. It creates many misunderstandings. But if you want to know what Russians really think about the USA you should always keep in mind this remark. It is easy to manipulate this semantic duality and interpret anti-Americanism of Russians in an improper sense. But with these clarifications in mind, all that you hear from us will be much better understood.