What are we proud of?

What are we proud of as a nation, as a race, as species? Is it scientific achievements, space missions or, perhaps, hydrogen bomb that makes us proud of being human?

AN602, the Soviet Tsar Bomb, the hydrogen bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, keeps patriotic feelings of the Russians warm. A few of these devices would have been enough to send this world to hell, and we are proud of our creativity because no other nation got that far in designing mass death and destruction. Yes, Soviet physicists were ‘smarter’ and more creative, and that’s what Russians are still proud of.

Tsar Bomb explosion. Picture taken from an open websource
Tsar Bomb explosion.
Picture taken from an open websource

Kalashnikov is another word that induces Russian patriotic thrill. Simple to such an extent that even a child can assemble it, it remains the most popular weapon, efficiently taking lives around the globe. How can we not be proud of the Russian design in this case?

Jesus and Madonna are familiar with AK-47. Photo credit: http://www.neurochild.net/?p=4526
Jesus and Madonna are familiar with AK-47.
Photo credit: http://www.neurochild.net/?p=4526

What else? Stalingrad, the battle that irreversibly changed the trend of WWII. The word “Stalingrad”  became a metaphor of courage, 70 years later photographs of its ruins still have blood-chilling effect on us. The soil soaked in blood of 2 million and yet it became sacred.

Advertising power
Advertising power.
Photo credits: AP/ITAR-TASS

Countries never stop competing in who has the most powerful armies, tallest buildings, longest highways, most modern technology, biggest cities, biggest banks, best football clubs, richest people and most famous celebrities. Should we, single individuals, be proud of our country’s ‘achievements’? Why are we so startled by the biggest, longest, richest, fastest? These achievements are there to mark the power of mankind in defeating nature or to make us proud soldiers of the most powerful armies. The true glory is unknown; it does not scream from every TV station, it is in individuals.

Honestly, I do not care about Russian participation at Eurovision or World Cup, neither about its growing military power. I am proud of my grandparents though.

Living in Eastern Germany after WWII they did not get any spoils of war, not even a watch, most available and, therefore, most popular  spoils among Soviet soldiers. They did not try to become rich in 90s, when former USSR citizens were competing in enterprise. Such little facts are more precious to me then bombastic achievements of any country or nation.

5 thoughts on “What are we proud of?

  1. The Brits have Shakespeare. India has Arundhati Roy. The Yanks (when they’re not bombing folks) have Franklin, Ron Paul, Thoreau … in New Zealand we have pork and puha, in France it’s good wines, in Switzerland it’s the world’s closest approach to Democracy; different strokes for different folks.

    I look askance at folks proud of holding the biggest club but do get your point. I respect your Grands—mostly I respect well-earned self-respect.

    1. Sure, sure. Speaking about cultural heritage, I could mention many names like Dostoevsky, Kandinsky, Tchaikovsky etc etc, but it was out of the topic. Citizens of powerful countries are proud of their countries’ power. Some call it patriotism but when looking closer it might not appear so romantic. The power is in individuals, not in coountries.

      1. Wow~! No offence intended, I know that Russia has a great wealth of literature, music, philosophy … culture. Genuine heroes too.
        I think I worded my comment poorly, for which I apologise. (You let me off lightly, I’m grateful.)

      2. No offence at all, quite contrary – thank you for your time and comments. Things we are proud of can tell so much about ourselves. Are British/Spaniards/French/Dutch proud of their imperialist history? Those guys controlled the world in 16th-19th centuries. Are US guys proud of their country’s military power more then, say, Theodore Dreiser or the mission to the Moon?

  2. When much younger I was very proud of being British, and of “the greatest empire the world has ever seen”. I was conditioned that way—but eventually travel, reading, and a great deal of thinking levered me out of the trap. I was a product of my times … brrrr!

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