I personally also live abroad, mainly in the Czech Republic, for a long time already, from the mid-90s. I didn’t try to leave specially, just then it happened by coincidence. I didn’t run away from anyone and didn’t hide, and even a small suitcase of money, somehow I couldn’t bring with me either. So I started from scratch, and even returned to it a couple of times. Although now there seems to be nothing to complain about. Pah-pah, as they say ... It turned out that they lived and worked in the West like Germany, Switzerland and the UK, and in the "not so west" like the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. And he traveled, moreover, not as a tourist, but mainly in work and business, almost the whole of Europe - from Norway to Spain, and talked with different people. So I can share my own, although also a purely subjective opinion.
For those who have already “buried” the “West” in general, and Europe in particular, I will begin with the fact that the main holiday of the year in Belgium, and on the whole continent, is still Christmas, the attitude towards the LGBT community is far from unambiguously positive, immigrants are still here not the majority of the population, people are quite adequate to themselves and even show some human feelings. There are still a lot of production capacities and they are still working, there are sidewalks, and “buying a Kalashnikov assault rifle from under the floor for 700 Euros” in Brussels or Paris is far from as easy as some Russian media and some authors of the already mentioned articles present. If anyone does not believe - I recommend to go and try. Buying the same from Soviet servicemen in the former GDR in the early 90s was much easier and cheaper ...
Nevertheless, it should be noted that even to my again purely subjective view, the so-called “West”, which we once looked with such lust from behind the “Iron Curtain,” just after the fall of this very curtain, and in many respects also because of this fall, it began to change greatly, and in no way for the better. In Eastern Europe, the former "socialist camp" that is, it is just very well felt and seen, and even much better than with the examples of certain individual emigrants. Our once "socialist brothers" to this very "sweet west" emigrated literally whole countries and in full force, so what is happening in this form can be considered as complex as possible.
If we build an allegorical comparison, we can say that for a long time we and our Eastern European comrades looked at a beautiful cruise liner from the coast, sparkling with all the lights and proudly sailing past, and we really wanted to get there with all this beauty, too. it seemed to us to enjoy. Moreover, Eastern Europe, apparently being closer to the allegorical coastline, and literally breathing through the nearby, but well-guarded borders, the aromas of luxurious ship kitchens, hearing music on the deck and picking up objects dropped from the liner, I wanted to get on this shining ship even more ours. True to us and them, our internal propaganda stubbornly repeated that this ship, they say, rotten, will soon sink, beautiful in appearance, but in fact there is horror, dirt, rats, oppression, discrimination, sex and other bad things.
Returning a little to history, we must nevertheless pay tribute to the “West”: after recovering from the horrors of World War II, from about the 60s to the 80s of the XNUMXth century, they in fact managed to build a semblance of the very social system about which There were a lot of us in the USSR, but somehow everything didn’t come close to her, but in the “social camp” they came close, but somehow it was too slow and not very successful - that is, socialism. Not that directly according to Marxist-Leninist teachings, but people in the “West” at that time nonetheless lived well overall. Of course, there was a stratification of society, this could not be taken away, but at the same time, the salaries of, say, a skilled worker in Germany were quite enough for what our ministers and generals only dreamed about, the pension system functioned like a clock, social benefits were distributed, production grew and society in overall flourished.
In short, a ship called “West” actually sailed and sparkled with all its lights, causing observers on the “eastern” shore to choke with envy ... Some individual citizens and sometimes even entire families could not stand it, jumped into the water and sailed for their happiness, with variable success naturally ... But something then apparently all the same went wrong. Either more and more crew members decided to relax, quit work and become just passengers, or the captain and assistants decided that everything was so good and beautiful that it wasn’t worth it to control the ship either - it would float itself, or the hull and mechanisms yielded to the natural wear and tear, and most likely all of this taken together, and much more for that ... And then this sparkling airliner began in the early 90s to suddenly come closer to our, as it seemed to us, cold, stony and dull shore. As it turned out later, the purpose of the liner and its mostly lazy crew was to repair their own ship and replenish on-board supplies in exchange for a couple of cheap trinkets to stupid natives (us, that is). But for some reason, the people on the shore were simply sure that the ship was approaching the shore precisely in order to take them on board, make them happy and take them away in some beautiful fairytale direction, where there was only sun, warmth and sandy beaches ...
The Eastern Europeans, who were close to the pier, immediately joyfully jumped aboard and even started to scatter along the ship, and in gratitude for letting them onto it, the ship immediately set out to clean, scrub, paint and drag all its supplies onto it ... The most the active ones even signed up for the team ... And only then, already on the liner, these people suddenly for the first time near saw that in reality the ship was completely rusty and its mechanisms were worn out, and then it dawned on them that he was on their shore approached apparently simply because to drown.
The allegory is over. The CMEA countries and the Warsaw Pact have now become members of the EU and NATO. But after 25 years of capitalist-democratic expansion, especially in the truly developed states of Eastern Europe - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary (the so-called Visegrad Four) and the former GDR, which merged into the Federal Republic of Germany, the initial euphoria was replaced by a sober assessment of the situation. Moreover, in these countries, unlike Western Europe, people have something to compare. And then suddenly it began to become clear that it turned out that everything was not so bad. At least in comparison with what is happening in the "West" now. A quarter of a century after its solemn entry into the family of “Western European peoples,” Eastern Europe suddenly cautiously, but at the same time, very clearly began to include “reverse gear”. Eastern Europeans also realized that during the “wild privatization of the 90s” that took place here, Western companies literally robbed them, almost completely depriving their own resource-production base, and at the same time of the financial and banking system. Once inspired by the size, equipment and professionalism of the Warsaw Pact army, today they are miserable wreckage at the outskirts of NATO. And after joining the European Union, Eastern Europeans faced such a threat of loss of sovereignty and independence, in comparison with which earlier, as it seemed to them, the “social camp” and CMEA structures that oppressed them now seemed to be just a Cossack free-rein. At the same time, almost at the same time, on the other hand, from which they were just trying to move so carefully away, suddenly adequate proposals of cooperation began to sound to themselves on the basis of, so to speak, common history and for many decades of existing ties. The recent actions of the new Russian leadership among the vast majority of East Europeans cause, if not consent and support, then at least respect and understanding. And this is despite the fact that the propaganda machine works at full speed here in exactly the opposite direction.
In Russia today, many see what is missing in the West - a close mentality, the preservation of traditions, understandable and logical policies, the possibility of mutually beneficial economic development subject to international rules and interests of other states, etc. etc. And the only thing that can be opposed to this by the “West” is frankly lying media and attempts to play again and again on separate, often distorted facts from the past. But here, unlike the same Western countries, local people have good experience in filtering information received from the media, so they filter, and the further the more. And as a result of all this, a “deja vu” effect is beginning to appear in Eastern Europe - on the one hand, they are trying to “build” them, they are imposing certain principles that are absolutely alien to them, they “powder their brains” with cheap propaganda and scare them with nonexistent threats, on the other they offer a sober look at things and a reasonable alternative, only these parties in the literal sense of these words have changed places.
Of course, one cannot say that the entire former socialist camp is literally breaking into Russian arms again, but the existing contradictions with the “West” ruled by the Anglo-Saxons today are deepening. For example, even in the most “pro-American, pro-NATO and anti-Russian oriented” of the former Warsaw Pact countries of Poland, the established Catholic traditions in society for centuries do not at all agree with the imposed “Western culture” and “tolerance” to everything that directly tramples on these traditions a economy According to the acknowledgment of the Poles themselves, the country is developing successfully thanks to almost universal non-compliance with various EU norms and decrees, and not the other way around. For all this, the developed countries of Eastern Europe over the past 25 years have nevertheless greatly improved their financial situation, the population has become richer and more self-confident, and the real standard of living and purchasing power of people, for example, in the Czech Republic and Hungary today, will already be higher. than in most southern states of the so-called "old west". Of course, there are deep economic and political problems, but this is a separate issue. If you look from a historical perspective, we can say that with the Eastern Europeans in the early 90s, the Western Europeans tried to do about the same thing that the United States did with them in the late 40s - early 50s - they gave, so to speak, slightly fatten in exchange for loss of property and sovereignty. But the starting positions of the same Czechs, Poles, Slovaks, or Hungarians at the end of the XNUMXth century were still much better than those of a war-ravaged and defeated mercy of the victors and new invaders of Western Europe, so they began to recover faster and more confidently . Various attempts to pressure the East Europeans, who began to respect themselves again, began to cause more and more resistance from them.
Therefore, whether someone likes it or not, the general situation is again moving towards some new division of Europe into East and West. Moreover, now it is Eastern Europe itself that is striving to distance itself from Western with all its problems such as economic stagnation, uncontrolled tide of migrants, disproportionately growing bureaucracy, etc. Western countries, on the contrary, by all means require their eastern neighbors to participate in solving their own difficulties in exchange for "the economic assistance rendered to them." But, apparently, in what way this very assistance was provided, this will be the participation of the East Europeans in solving Western problems.
At the moment, the situation is as follows: if we take the countries of the Visegrad Four specifically, we have well-industrialized and economically developed states with a high standard of living, whose position in the international arena is still difficult to ignore, but at the same time, over 25 years of active construction of developed capitalism from most of the main problems and contradictions existing in the West, these countries somehow managed to evade - the economy is growing, unemployment is minimal, non-integrable immigrants +/- zero, legislative base in comparison the same Western Europe gives the citizens of these countries a lot more freedom, and sharply increased national pride and identity inevitably pushes the government to reconstruct sovereignty. Against the background of all this, the main paradox today is that Western neighbors are already beginning to glance with envy at it. As a result, the ubiquitous victorious advancement into the big politics of the so-called “Eurosceptics”, and the increasingly hardened positions of the eastern EU members themselves, which the West simply can’t ignore.
It is difficult, of course, to predict where all this movement will lead modern Europe. It is stupid and unreasonable to expect that the European Union is about to take it and fall apart - because in this situation, there are no real prerequisites for this, and the mutual integration of the economies of most countries simply does not allow this to happen. But I think that if Russia today wants to renew its influence on the Old Continent, then our former partners in the CMEA and the Warsaw Treaty are the best "bridgehead" to advance this goal. An important factor in support of this, in addition to the above, is also the fact that people in leadership positions in these countries now remember our common history, the population has a close mentality and views, and the general attitude towards Russia and Russians, even despite the waves Negative propaganda remains generally positive for the vast majority of adults. Of course, there are some mutual claims and problems in the relationship, but they clearly do not belong to the category of insurmountable. At least, they certainly cannot even be compared with the clashes of geopolitical contradictions in relation, for example, to the Anglo-Saxon world.
Yes, by the way, many in the east of Europe know the Russian language and even observe the Russian media. Moreover, it should be noted that such an increase in the influence of Russia and Europe itself will clearly benefit. Differentiation of interests has never hurt anyone, and in the current global economic situation, projects like “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” or “New Silk Road” in the future clearly promise the Old World more benefits than, for example, “Transatlantic Partnership” on conditions that are not very clear , and at the same time simply by their very existence they provide greater security from all points of view. And for Russia, both European markets and technological cooperation with European companies is also unlikely to be something real and adequate to replace in the foreseeable future. That is, Europe cannot be written off in any way, mutual good neighborly relations need to be established and there is no escape from this.
And if you go back to allegories, then it’s obviously more reasonable not to knock on the locked gates, but to use the gate next to us, which for almost all this time remains ajar for us ...