Praying to Putin
Arvamus 13 Nov 2009  EWR
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In the absence of meaningful civic action, many Russians continue the czarist tradition of appealing to the country’s rulers.

Galina Stolyarova, Transitions Online

ST. PETERSBURG | A sociologist here conducted some interesting research a couple of years ago, asking poll respondents – Russian citizens from various parts of the country – what they thought were the key qualities of the Russian people and what brings the nation together. The majority of the survey’s participants suggested a typical Russian is kind, open, passive, and unhappy.

I was reminded of that poll this week while reading yet another petition to the Russian president about the absurdity of the Mikhail Khodorkovsky trial. I agreed with every word in the appeal, yet I could not help thinking that one very common quality of the Russian people had somehow escaped the sociologist’s Russian national character research. Naïve, I was thinking. Just how naïve.

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