Saturday, July 10, 2021

To France.

And no, I am not talking about one of the most beautiful songs ever by Michael Oldfield. Remember? 

I wrote on France "issue" many times in this blog. I know many French people (REAL French people) read my blog and I know it may hurt them to read that today the France we all used to know is no more and it is understood through more than one cultural manifestations. I vividly recall when Russia's VKS were writing on their bombs dropped against ISIS in Syria not only "for our peoples" but also "for Paris", avenging both the terrorist act in Egypt against Russian commercial airplane A-321 carrying tourists (224 people dead) but also a series of terrorist acts on November 13 and 14 of 2015 in Paris, where 130 innocent people perished. 

Six years passed since then and French political and intellectual establishment, as was  the case for centuries, proved yet again that for them Russia and Russians are enemies or, at best, allies of the convenience. France's convenience. Since then, the break with the combined West, part of which France is, and Russia has been formalized and even human and touching argument that many French people are not Russophobes, which is true, cannot change much. Overwhelming majority of Russian bid adieu to West in general, and France in particular, because values-wise modern Europe and Russia are antagonists and might as well be considered as two different civilizations. Militarily France, as part of NATO, is Russia's enemy and France's role as economic partner of Russia is minuscule. Obviously, Airbus,  Renault and Total have some bearing on Russian market but that's about it. 

Human contacts will continue, undeniably, and for my generation which grew with Fantomas, Mylene Demongeout, REAL and only Les Trois Mousquetaires, Alain Delon, Mirelle Mathieu, Michel Platini and memory of De Gaulle, and of fighter regiment Normandy-Niemen--this France is no more and we understand that. Russian youth, I don't think they care that much about France and Paris one way or another and most of their awareness of France today comes by the way of Les Bleus who became World Champions in 2018 in Russia. Other than that--it is just another EU location to be avoided. That's about it. I know some Russians who traveled to France (including Paris) recently--they were not impressed, to put it politely. Forget about Marseilles, Russians would rather go to a friendlier locations. Many prefer Malta or Italy. Many go to Crimea, those who are wealthy--go to Sochi. 

It is anti-climatic, almost mundane, how Russia parted with France and what it represented for Russia for the last century and a half. France simply doesn't matter that much anymore to Russians, except for the thieves (a euphemism for oligarchs and their cabal) from 1990s and early 2000s who managed to buy expensive real estate in Nice and condos at ski resort at Courchevel.  This is life and even once stunningly beautiful Alizee looks today as an unwashed tattooed former porn-star still clinging to her former glory. Maybe a sad but fitting, nonetheless, end to a career of once promising pop-star or, if to draw parallels, once superpower. I will not say that I am not sad because of that, I am. But I am not 14 anymore and I lost more than my "personal" France in my life.

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