A Muscovite who spoke Ukrainian was suspected of… espionage. However, then they sorted it out and, just in case, drew up a report on petty hooliganism (further a fine or administrative arrest for up to 15 days). It is not entirely clear what includes the fact of hooliganism, i.e. what is the objective side of the offense. But they decided to do it the Russian way, straight and sharp, and what? This is really hooliganism to speak a foreign language among Russians. Any foreign language! After all, all Russians know that they almost do not have friends all over the world. There are simply no friendly foreigners. If it is a foreigner, it means an enemy, or an entrenched spy, or an infiltrated saboteur. As soon as you hear foreign gibberish, you should immediately throw him on the floor, kick him, and then call for help, tie him up hand and foot and deliver him “where he is supposed to”! Vigilance is our everything!
And this has always been the case in Russia. And this was applied to all foreigners, indiscriminately and without exception – from the Slavic Ukrainians/Belarusians to various types of Turks, including Caucasians, representatives of the peoples of the North, etc. Each of the mentioned ethnic groups had its own contemptuous nickname, its own assortment of jokes with a humiliating presentation of the national character and its own set of conditions, the fulfillment of which gave a ghostly hope for… no, come on! Not for equality! For the opportunity to occupy their niche in the Russian chauvinistic table of ranks. That niche where you will not be humiliated as diligently as before. Humble yourself and crawl under the bunk, do not stick your head out, and maybe they will forget about you for a while and you will get fewer beatings.
This is a completely fair model of building the society in the opinion of many Russians.
Probably many people have heard the question addressed to them, “Are you stupid? I am asking you in Russian, what do you want? You can speak normally, in Russian!” Everyone present turned in your direction and immediately you felt uncomfortable and ashamed for being “abnormal” with your “abnormal” language. That you were not able to immediately start the conversation properly! And in a bookstore, near the shelf with literature in indigenous languages, having seen the book you needed out of the corner of your eye, you tried not to linger too long – privileged “white” residents of the big city were staring at you with a condescending grin.
All your life you have been taught from all sides the idea that “if every “non-Russian” babbles in his own dialect in a crowded place, then what should we do with “Russian greatness”? What if random visiting malicious foreigners record all this on camera, twist it, distort it and “broadcast it all over the world on the BBC”! That, they say, in Moscow, in the capital of our Motherland, there are so many foreigners on the streets that you will not even hear the Russian language.
Do you think I am joking and I am habitually sarcastic? In no way! I see before my eyes that 18-20 year old Russian oaf who came up to me in Moscow and began to tell me that with my behavior (I drank milk from a carton and ate a bun in a crowded place) I could disgrace “our Motherland” and “our capital”, if suddenly “some foreigners” pass nearby. The guy’s terrible eloquence added the flavor – he had difficulty constructing simple sentences and literally could not find words to express primitive thoughts! His IQ, I think, fluctuated between 90-100 units, judging by his clothes and accent, he was not even a Muscovite, he came from somewhere in the village. But what they had was an understanding of greatness, I would even say, a feeling of the “civilizing burden of the Russian person”! “ It is at home that you can eat on the street, but in Moscow, do not dare!”, here is a short summary of our conversation.
If in the 21st century in the capital of the Russian Federation, special service officers dressed as Cossacks, beat protesters with whips, if in the very heart of Moscow oppositionist Nemtsov is shot in the name of the “greatness of Russia”, if the Empire has no other way to preserve this “greatness” except by starting the bloody war, then why to expect from a 20-year-old blockhead who has a TV instead of a head? It is clear that anyone who speaks a foreign language will seem a saboteur to him, and if this is the language of the opposing country, then I am surprised that such an “enemy” was not dealt with on the spot.
Start explaining to such zealots of imperial greatness that you are a citizen of the Russian Federation and a Tatar by nationality, he will tell you that it would be better for “our Motherland” if you forget the Tatar language during your stay in Moscow. You will speak the Tatar at your home, but in the capital the “greatness” requires you to speak the “great and mighty”…
Or, maybe, he is right? Otherwise, some “foreigners” will pass by, they will look and understand everything! That there is no greatness here – just arrogance, stupidity and a pretense of significance, which in fact is not here! Moreover they will realize that fascism is fascism, albeit with Russian sauce.