Interestingly, the road of deception has always been one-way between Russia and the West. The Decretales Pseudo-Isidorianae, the so-called 'Sisson documents', blaming Russia for the division of Germany and for starting the Cold War (in fact, both Western initiatives)… Has Russia ever slung mud back at the corrupt West? Nope. Russians have always been forgiving.
Deceit is effective. But silence has its strong sides, too. Hardly ever mentioned in western history books, ignored by the western mainstream culture, caricatured in motion pictures, Russia is presented by the West as either non-existent or evil.
When you know nothing about a country – you will easily believe the small bits of 'information' fed to you.
"If you don't make yourself a reputation, it will be made for you by your loving enemies."
True, Russia has always been rather careless about building its own reputation. Our naïve ancestors thought their noble deeds would speak for them. Like, protecting Europe from the Tatar invasion, preserving true Christianity and traditional values, freeing Europe from Napoleon, freeing Europe from Hitler, or welcoming all cultures and taking a keen interest in them all, from Irish to Chinese… Our naïve ancestors probably counted if not on gratitude than on respect. They thought the West would let us have our ways. What a disappointment!
"Russians love their children, too," Sting sang in his touching 1985 single. And he is singing it today, again, without even realizing how demeaning the line is. It is the same as to admit, "Russians are human beings, too". How arrogant, almost nazi, the singer is in his assumption!
Our ways (traditional values, Orthodoxy, and our paradoxes) are under non-ceasing criticism. And while there is so much falsehood about us, Russia is perhaps the last stronghold of sanity in this crazy world. Even if no other nation accepts our truth, we've got to preserve it. Even if we become that last one blessed with sight (like in "The Country of the Blind" by Herbert Wells), we must not consent with the blind. We cannot change ourselves – especially when we believe we are right and, well, nice.
Ethan Hawley was a nice guy. Like him, we sometimes get disgusted by the way things work in this imperfect world. Like him, we sometimes contemplate suicide. We have attempted it twice: first, in 1917, when we dissolved our great Empire; second, in 1991, when we dissolved our socialist superpower.
Remember how Steinbeck's novel ends? Hawley was so tired and hopeless, he wanted to die.
But – unexpectedly – he got up and went back to "the madding crowd'.
Because you gotta do what you gotta do – an American principle Russians agree with.