söndag 6 maj 2012

Ytan är viktig i Ryssland...

Marilyn Murray, psykologen som skriver i Moscow Times berättar i sitt senaste inlägg om hur och varför både landet Ryssland och människorna här ägnar stor möda åt att bygga upp och upprätthålla sin 'image'...

Because of unending clashes with neighboring countries, the fear of invasion and suspicion of foreigners has remained a primary obsession for the majority of Russia's leadership. While battle history justifies their fear, it has often escalated to paranoia for those in power. How they deal with this critical issue has varied over time. The primary strategy has been to capitalize on the fact that they are the largest country on the planet in terms of territory, so it becomes logical that Russia creates an image that portrays itself as the strongest, most powerful and formidable country in the world. The fact that a bear has been the symbol of Russia since the 1600s is no accident. It sends a clear message that to mess with this huge Russian bear could have serious consequences.

But to set up such a powerful aura as a protection against potential invaders also carries with it the burden of maintaining this persona, even if it becomes a facade that actually hides a flawed reality.

Russian culture is known for its black and white, all-or-nothing thinking. As a result, some leaders habitually maintained that to admit any defect or weakness would create a vulnerability that would expose the country to invasion. This distorted thinking creates a system that can never acknowledge that problems exist within their supposedly invulnerable realm. As a result, when problems do occur, the standard response is to deny their reality — or if the issues have become public, to blame them upon outsiders, especially the West. 
My colleague Ralph Earle, one of the foremost psychologists in the United States, was invited to visit Russia in 1990 as president of a large psychological association. He visited many clinics, hospitals and treatment centers. I had requested that he ask the directors of these facilities what types of treatment they employed for people who had experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. He asked this question of every director and received the same answer every time: "Those issues do not exist in the Soviet Union." But he went on to say that at almost every facility, someone would slip up to him and whisper: "You do know that they are lying to you. They will never admit to an outsider that we have any problems, even though all those harmful things are very common here."

In one of my early classes in Moscow, a businessman said, "I remember as a boy thinking, 'If we are the greatest country in the world, why are we so poor?'" As I listened, I was reminded of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about the vain emperor strutting naked down the street thinking he has on a magical suit until a little boy, who is innocently naive and does not know that citizens had to deny reality and lie to survive in this kingdom, cries out, "But the emperor has no clothes!"

After several more classes, this same businessman said: "I always thought that to be a real Russian man, I needed to be strong and never admit any flaws — that to do so would be weak and cowardly. But I now realize that genuine strength exists only in truth."

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