I am from Tajikstan and so some might say that it is an awkward and even risky venture to launch a new magazine called RussianMind and a media project called Russian Media Solutions. But my nationality is symbolic of this project, which illustrates a new global approach and a common historical heritage shared by my generation born in the Soviet Union, which used to occupy one-third of the Earth. It is interesting fact that in today’s globalizing world, all people from former Soviet Union republics can feel common “Russian-speaking origin”, which unites them, only while being in the third culture country.
The catalyst for ‘RussianMind’ was during my journey home from work one evening last year. I was reading the book “Londongrad: From Russia with Cash” and I was amazed by the empathy that the authors displayed for understanding Russia and Russian way of thinking. They found the most convenient words to describe this mentality of a population which occupies the largest country of the world.
But what is RussianMind in the 21st century? The mentality generated by the synergy of all different nationalities of this country throughout its different and tumultuous history.
We want to examine the Russian mindset where people have got used to everything being done on a large scale. This approach has brought great achievements. But at the same time this maximalism has also caused problems and developed a vulnerability to extremism and authoritarianism. For example, if Russia embraces patriotism, it ends up with nationalism and chauvinism. If it starts with communism and socialism, it ends up with Stalinism. If it is democracy, then it results in anarchy and chaos as demonstrated by the Yeltsin years. And if it established a managed democracy, then it results in authoritarianism as witnessed by the current Putin/Medvedev regime. So that is why Russia always had its own way, and no one ever seemed to be that concerned. But the great potential of Russia is that you cannot not put limit on this country and its people.
So what is RussianMind? Initially the idea was to explain the mentality and specific culture of all Russian-speaking people from former Soviet Union republics. Now we are building the media platform RussianMind.com, with the idea of creating social networking and communication field for all people interested in Russia.
One of the peculiarities of RussianMind today is the ideological vacuum in post-Soviet mentality. People lack ideology as they look at the Western countries and admire the living standards and the quality of life/ Lack of ideology creates a situation, when people are unable to see the future, what makes them fatalistic and living like there is no tomorrow, which is one of the parts of RussianMind today. Once one of my professors said, “the best ideology is an acceptance of the fact of its absence and a rare habit to work hard”.
If you ever walk on Red Square and feel how huge is Russia, how strong is the power of government, how gigantic is the architecture, how wide are the streets, then everywhere else looks like a small grain of sand in the sea. It is so different from a user-friendly London, minimalistic Amsterdam or extravagant Paris, the cities, where freedom of expression and personal individualism have been cultivated for generations.
Inside RussianMind there is nothing moderate or mild. Everything is maximum, colorful and extreme. There is no middle class,. If they are rich, they are billionaires, and if they are poor they have nothing to eat. This mentality had a great impact on all the former Soviet Union republics, which became an irreplaceable part of common Soviet heritage.
RussianMind is mostly honest, blunt and very straightforward. It lacks diplomacy, subtlety and tact. But at the same time it is generousand mercifulness of the “wide Russian soul”, which is an irreplaceable part of the national character.
Living in London, which my father describes as “the heart of capitalism”, I appreciate the main advantage of British society over Russian – the absence of any barriers and a common middle-class mindset, which is still missing in post-Soviet countries. As in the Soviet times, when “everyone was equal, besides some were more equal”, the gap between the elite and ordinary people is still cultivated as a major feature of the RussianMind. On contrary, Brits who are believed to be the snobbiest seem less complicated and much more easy-going.
I contacted the co-author of “Londongrad” Mark Hollingsworth and we meet for a coffee and discussed this idea. Now only one month after that meeting you are reading a magazine called RussianMind.
We live in the age of informational overload, informational wars and revolution. By analyzing informational streams about Russia, we witness the well-paid state propaganda facing the permanently skeptical Western media. What we are going to offer you is a third unbiased alternative, which may shed a light on the other side of Russia. As we have different heroes and idols, we are beyond everything you can find in the newspapers and Internet. We are beyond politics, corruption, conflicts, democracy and stereotypes. We are RussianMind. Open Russia with us.
Hope you will have a quality time reading our magazine.