Russophiliarnby Ewa M. Thompsonrn• ^^H HrnPHHHHIHHII^^^^rn• ^Ji^ J^^^Arn1 ip J0<^^^ArnI M^^r ^ ^^m^Wj mrnH|^jp^rn^Kt^^^’^^^WirnWFjI^Mffr • ^^ $s^rn•i^^fSP^Mrn^rnr#’fC/ ^ 1rn^oj, t^ IrnfljK Hrn^ ^ HrnThe deluge of statements, articles, and books on Russia inrnthese turbulent (for Russia) times comes as no surprise.rnWhat surprises is the ingratiating and monotonouslv uncriticalrnterms of discourse in which American opinions about Russiarnare couched. Many of these terms date back to the Sovietrnera. No country in Europe has ever generated so much obsequiousness.rnFor months, neariv every issue of the Neu’ Xork Times has featuredrnan article saying in effect: “Let’s help the poor Mr.rnIvanov in Moscow, he is in bad economic trouble, he has beenrnhumiliated, and there may be more trouble if we do not helprnhim.” While the calls to charitv multiply, fawning upon thingsrnRussian is also very much in evidence. In recent years, almostrnevery American institution worth its mettle has sponsored a pilgrimagernto Moscow, and the pilgrims, awestruck by the Orientalrnsplendor of the last imperial city on earth, have listenedrnhumbly to their Russian guides explaining the glories and sufferingsrnof Russian history and telling where and how to send arnplane ticket enabling a victimized Russian to visit the West.rnThe notion of Russia’s victimhood, implanted in Russian andrnforeign memory by Russian writers of the 19th century, survivedrnthe years of Soviet militarv might (indeed it was nourishedrnby Moscow) and continues to find willing followersrnamong American journalists and academics.rnThe worship of Russia in America crosses ideological boundaries.rnOn the left, the pageant started with the likes of ArmandrnEwa M. Thompson is a professor of German and Slavicrnstudies at Rice University.rnHammer, who flirted with Russia’s leaders from Lenin to Gorbachev.rnMany a lesser leftist figure, e.g., Suzanne Massie in herrnpanegyric to Russia, Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of OldrnRussia, has viewed Russia as a country where life was lived accordingrnto Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker—never mind that itsrnlibretto was taken from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale. Universityrntowns in Siberia and museums that routinelv stole from conqueredrnpeoples get the ah’s and oh’s of American visitors. Onrnthe right, there is the idealization of Aleksandr Solzhenitsvn, arnman of indisputable courage and patriotism but hardlv a reliablernsource of information about the history of Russia, letrnalone about what’s best for America.rn”R)r tens of millions of Russians, life has gone from thernharsh to the intolerable,” laments Patrick Buchanan. “Ease uprnon Russia,” urges economist Padma Desai of Columbia University,rndirecting her appeal to the International MonetarvrnFund, which asked Russians to keep their budget deficit belowrnfive percent to qualify for new credits (they never complied).rnDesai says that foreign investors should likewise disregard Russianrnbudget deficits, because the shock therapy that worked uirnEastern Europe could not work in Russia. She mentions a submarinernfactory at Severodvinsk that she says would find it exceedinglyrndifficult to produce anything but submarines. ButrnProfessor Jeffrey Sachs has noted that Russia has never triedrnshock thcrap-. Unlike the Eastern European governmentsrnthat opened their financial books for the Western world to see,rnRussia continues to shroud her finances and spending in secrecy.rnOfficials in the Clinton administration believe thatrnRussia continues chemical weapons research, but no inves-rn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn