Questions & Answers
1. How did you get interested in America?
I grew up in the Soviet Union at the time of Cold War with the notion that America was our worst enemy. When I found myself in the US, I met and talked to the American people and realized that there was absolutely no reason to be enemies. On the contrary, I saw friendly people, who created a great and beautiful country that fascinated me. Being a journalist I wanted to tell others about what I learned there.
2. What did you find the most unique/interesting about life in the United States?
Unlimited drive. This drive fascinated me then and keeps fascinating me now. It is this drive that makes America great.
3. Is there a person in America whom you could call your hero, or, at least, who won your special respect?
Yes, this person is Elon Musk. For me, Musk personifies the wonderful spirit of pioneers. He is a man who looks into the future, the future he creates today. Not all that he conceives can be implemented. But Musk never gives up. Rather, his failures make him move forward. As we say in Russia, people like Musk are the ones who carry the world on their shoulders.
4. Sometimes, foreigners can see things in a foreign culture that the natives of that culture cannot see. What do you think Americans don't see about themselves?
I have always noticed that Americans make up their own ideas about other nations, based solely on American understanding of what is good and right, what they understand, and what they are accustomed to. If a country meets American standards, then it is deemed to be a decent and worthy country. If not ... then it is that country’s problem. It seems to me that it is not often that Americans realize that another culture is not necessarily better or worse. It is just different.
5. What do you think America and Russia can learn from each other?
Russians and Americans are different. We are different in our history, culture, the way of life and certain values. That, however, does not mean that we can’t get along. We can. Sure, it takes an effort to learn about each other and understand what motivates the other side, what is behind this or that move on their behalf. We know that anything that is unusual or unclear can cause concern, seem suspicious and even scary, even if the other side had nothing ominous in mind. So, we really need to learn to trust each other.
6. What do you like and dislike about Americans?
I like Americans’ perseverance in achieving their goals, the desire for justice, the sense of freedom, and their willingness to share knowledge and experience. But at the same time, Russians sometime perceive Americans as being overly mercantile and rational. This greatly distinguishes Americans from Russians, whose feelings often prevail over calculations.