I don't hold most of the rather extreme (and admittedly childish) views I used to have in regards to the Russians anymore. That being said, there is still some room for criticism: many Russians tend to be overly self-centric and think their Slavic and Baltic neighbours owe them something. Also, it would be a lot easier to get along with them if they cease to think of themselves as the centre of either the Slavic or the whole "Eastern" world (a lot of them still having the Cold War "East"-vs.-"West"-mentality is a pretty annoying feature, too). I have a strong dislike for "Russia, Belarus, Ukraine – all the same people"-rhetoric, it is patronizing and disregards our independent identities. When you take a look at the history and the relations between our nations, it turns out to be plain wrong as well.

On the bright side, the Russians embody some of the finest Slavic qualities – they are straight forward, tough and persistent. Russians contributed a lot in the fields of arts, science and technology, they made it through extremely difficult political circumstances which continue up to this day and one has to respect that regardless if one likes them or not. While there are many aspects of their culture which strike me as alien, they certainly are skillful when it comes to music and poetry. As for Ukrainian-Russian relations, I do think we should have normal neighbourly relations based on mutual respect as fellow Slavs and fellow Europeans, not more and not less.


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