In this thesis only one part of the statement is correct: we aren’t Asians.
But from the fact we aren’t Asians doesn’t follow at all that we are Europeans — for we are Russians.
I explain it as one-two-three.
A certain sovereign, Ivan the Great, known also under the number IV and name “the Terrible”*, wrote to the Queen of England approximately so: you, the silly woman, put interests of trade above the state interests, and you are a servant of your merchants.
Then, for example, let’s take Peter I the Great. He traveled to Europe and told: “Oh, it’s cool how they live here”, and started, as it is widely considered, to copy everything thoughtlessly. Actually, very thoughtful it was. First, for some reason Peter didn’t copy slavery. You say “the serf peasantry”, I will answer: it was many times more humane. On the margins I notice: there was slave trade at Peter times, they sold captured Swedes bought in Europe with pleasure, and not to release them, but just for fun: that’s cool, to have a clever white slave, better than a black one. Peter took some elements of the Western culture and civilization and applied them as it was necessary for him, but not in a way it was accepted in Europe.
At the same time there was multisided Asia, with which there was a war, as with Sweden, and we took from Asians something too, that helped against them and that was pleasant. Besides, the subdued peoples weren’t chained in shackles and sent to slave markets, they kept as they were together with their culture. In cases when the local culture assumed eating the enemy’s liver, that culture was slapped on the wrist.
Paul I: the same story. Plus conquest of the Central Asia, more exact, the beginning of the process. And not because it was necessary so badly, but because England actively worked there to our detriment, plus they didn’t understand that subordinates of the Russian crown shouldn’t be killed or enslaved. When Pavel decided to extend such understanding further, behind Afghanistan, to India, he was killed. In Russia it isn’t accepted to kill foreign leaders, yet in Europe it is, and without declaration of war. By the way, such a shit happened quite recently, with a certain Gadaffi, to whom there wasn’t declared a war, but then looking at his corpse they told: “Wow!”
Alexander I was a hope of Britain and a fruit of plot. He destroyed Napoleon who, by the way, had attacked Russia simply for her refusal to be at war against England, and then suddenly begged about a truce. England didn’t win from it, yet Russia, having stopped her advance across Asia for a while, moved forward to Europe.
Let’s have a rest from the tsars and come to the USSR. By some estimations, the Russian October revolution had to allow England, France and the USA to start a “fair” division of Russia. The designed revolution developed against its designers, interventionists runaway dropping trousers. They took from Marx some interesting ideas and started them to develop.
Stalin, I won’t speak long here. All Europe is still weeping, soooo bad he was for it. One can to compare the number of publications about bad Stalin and bad Hitler in a year, and Stalin will surely win with a huge break. Do not think it is because they feel sorry about us, they feel sorry for themselves, they were not allowed to eat us.
Then it was quite a while there were no good big fellows. Now there is Putin. If he is hated, and judging by publications, he is hated — and together with him, we are (at least 86% from us) — that means we do things right.
Having considered the history, let’s return to civilization and culture.
“Oh, how cool you play violins”, Russia says to Europe.
And there appear Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and so on.
“Oh, and there are blacks in zoos, genocide of Indians, and Hindus, and other natives — that’s not cool at all”.
And nothing of the kind appears in Russia.
“Oh, quite interesting experiments with that railroad!” Russia says to Europe.
And finally we have the largest railroad network in the world.
“Oh, cool, you are suffering, working hard, but keep your culture”, Russia says to Asia.
And there’s no stupid copying of mainstream fashion, and for us Russian shirts (kosovorotka) and quilted jackets (vatnik) are quite fashionable.
“Oh, but it’s not cool to rise swords on children”, Russia says to Asia.
And Red Army soldiers do not compete in Germany in cutting of heads and don’t burn villages as civilized Europeans did, for we considered it not cool as well.
And now, when I wrote that much, I go to the very essence told by my hints, which you fairly do not care of.
The Russian civilization and culture is a pump of positive senses. We absorb all good, reconsider it, allocate with own connotations and use it pro bono. And we generously share this bono with the world.
You invented how to bomb London with rockets, and we invented how to use rockets for space exploration.
You invented colonization, and we invented how not to plunder, but to enrich and save.
You invented use of collective work, and we used it to get rid of periodic hunger.
And so on, and on, and on.
The Russian civilization, culture, music, architecture, the fine arts and so on are the global container and a sarcophagus, which keeps reliably all the best in the world and filters out all the rubbish.
It differs from the Western, and it differs from the Asian. It recognizes personality, unlike Asian, and recognizes the right of a personality for life even if a certain personality doesn’t looks like you, unlike European.
And, a sudden thing, surprisingly lying on the surface.
Russian Christians are “Orthodoxes”, that is “true believers” in English — or, in Arabic, “mu’min”.
And it belongs to our Russian Islam as well, which doesn’t recognize that mad Middle Eastern “jihad”. And the Orthodox Christians did not go to crusades.
Well, this piece is a bit mixed up, sorry, but I hope you’ve caught the essence.
PS: Many tanks to Viktor Loginov, whose Facebook post I used as a source of my translational inspiration.
*) Quite an example of mistranslation leading to deep misunderstanding! The Russian Tsar John IV was WAY more “Formidable” and “Redoubtable” than “Terrible”, and as such, he was terrible to the internal and external enemies of the state, rather than to his good subjects.