In a commentary in “Novaya gazeta” yesterday, the Russian journalist says that in his view, “one can consider a European a country which sincerely wants to be European, even if not everything in it yet corresponds to that status. In this case, Ukraine is undoubtedly one,” but Russia is not.
Prior to the Crimean anschluss almost a year ago, “no one cast doubt on the ‘Europeanist’ nature of the Russian Federation.” Or more precisely, the journalist says, no one discussed Russia’s situation in exactly those terms. Instead, while admitting that Russia was different, these conversations were of the kind that “everything was in order.”
“Yes, [Russia has] autocracy instead of democracy, problems with human rights… but on the level of culture, mentality, and general civilization,” Troitsky says, “of course, we Russians are ‘white people’!” And Russia’s failings like corruption are to be found “not just in Nigeria” but in European countries like Greece and Italy.
But the reactions of Russians to Ukraine’s announced goal of joining Europe changed that, he continues. At the very least, that effort by a neighboring country “cast doubt” on Russia’s relationship to Europe and suggested to many that the whole notion that Russia is part of Europe was problematic,
if not wrong...