Tori Fisher / Gavel Media

Politics Through the Lens of a Russian BC Student

In  light of rising tensions between the Untied States and Russia, a new President, and a hacking scandal that continues to grab headlines, I decided to interview a Russian Boston College student regarding the sentiments of people in his homeland. He acknowledges that his perceptions are incomplete and only provide us with a snippet of the attitudes in Russia. Our conversation below has been abbreviated for clarity.

 

Could you give the readership some background about your time in Russia and the U.S.? “My name is Igor Shcherbakovskiy. I come from Russia and was born in St. Petersburg, went to elementary school there. I’ve also spent some years in Switzerland, then applied and went to Boston College in America. I’m a Sophomore in CSOM… I still consider my permanent home St. Petersburg; I return there for all vacations, I have a lot of friends and a girlfriend.”

Having experienced the political process in Russia and the U.S.—and in light of our recent election—could you speak about the different attitudes towards politics in both countries? “Yes, I think they are very different. U.S. and Russian media are very different, and it changes the minds of the people; both have media biases towards their own countries. The Russian media would portray things the way Russian citizens would want it to be portrayed, but over here they portray it in the opposite way.”

What would you say about the Russian attitude towards the Putin administration? “I would say most people support the current administration and Putin; people I talk to about this—I think everyone I’ve talked about politics with in Russia—supports him.”

What are the attributes Russians like about him? “He’s very strong-minded, he’s firm in his decisions, and I think people believe he’s a great leader. Informally, I think people would just say he’s got big balls.”

What sense do you get about how Russians perceive or talk about American politics? “I think Russians only really care about U.S. foreign policy, like the things they do with Europe—the relationship with NATO, or for example all the military bases they built around Russia.”

How did they feel about the Obama administration? “With Obama’s presidency, Russians started to have a few jokes about the way Obama rules—and they weren’t nice. They would compare Putin and Obama in a bunch of little jokes, showing Putin as a strong leader and Obama as very weak. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve talked to some Americans that agree.”

How do Russians feel about the American election—and the inauguration of President Trump? “With regards to the recent election, most Russians that express their opinion seem to like the result. Most support Trump who I’ve talked to, but I don’t know how much they really know about the candidates. I’ve heard different reasons why, but one I hear most often is that Hillary is just a crook and that she’s a psychopath… I’ve also heard from people that Trump knows you don’t want to play games with Russia—that you don’t want to mess with Russia. People hope he will make business deals and improve the relationship between the two countries.”

How do Russians feel about the hacking and election-tampering allegations from U.S. intelligence agencies? “I think most Russians would just laugh—they don’t know enough about the topic… I have worked for an IT company, and the people there were skeptical about the hacking claims. They just didn’t see the incentive behind the hacking, and they trusted Putin.”

 

(Disclaimer: the views presented in this article do not represent those of The Gavel or its staff)

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