Vladimir Pozner talked about how immigration changes people
Without exaggeration, Vladimir Pozner can be called a master of Russian journalism. He devoted more than 50 to this profession over the years, working in Russia and in America. Born in France, Vladimir Pozner, in the 1980-ies led the USSR-US teleconferences, and in 1990-s he produced a weekly program on the American channel CNBC with Phil Donahue. The last 20 years he has been working on Russian television.
In September, the TV host will once again come to the United States. September 18 will take place creative evening in los angeles, and September 29 Vladimir Pozner will visit New York. On the eve of a new tour, the journalist shared with ForumDaily their views on Russian-American relations, the difference in mentality between the people of Russia and modern Russian immigrants, and, of course, their opinions about American journalism.
- Vladimir Vladimirovich, of course, the first question is the relationship between Russia and the United States. It seems that we are witnessing a certain paradox: President Trump is in favor of improving relations with Moscow, but the more he does this, the more negative the American establishment relates to Russia. As a result, the relationship is only getting worse. Is it possible to really improve relations between states, and what should the parties do for this?
- In fact, I would not say that relations are deteriorating - rather, they remain at an extremely low level. At the same time, in those circles of the American establishment, which are responsible for making decisions, the attitude towards Donald Trump himself is rather negative, and it gets even worse when he, guided by some of his own considerations, is trying to establish interaction with Russia. This is perceived purely negative precisely because such initiatives come from Trump. His critics are constantly trying to find the reasons why he does it, speculating on the fact that the Russians may have something on the American president that allows them to put pressure on him: sexual compromising or money. This, in my opinion, is rather ridiculous assumptions.
I believe that the reason for his behavior lies entirely different.
If we proceed from the fact that Trump is not a stupid person (and I do not believe that a fool is capable of becoming president of the United States), it seems to me that he is trying not only to improve relations with Russia, but to improve relations with her in such a way as to resist China together.
In fact, the United States is now most afraid of China. Its power (economic, and not only) is now so great that in a fairly short period of time it is China, and not the United States, that will become the number one power in the world. At the same time, China has big appetites and no less great patience. Only if the United States and Russia can somehow come to an agreement can they find a way to contain its growing influence. Individually, they will not be able to do this. And American politicians should think that no mercy from China in the event of its amplification will be to anyone.
- Do you feel a low level of relations between countries, as a person who has both Russian and American citizenship?
- In Russia, I almost do not feel it. Of course, there is a certain contingent that cannot tolerate me, and the mantra “he is not ours, he is American,” “he is the fifth column, constantly needs to be repeated, he must be sent out, put in prison,” etc. But in reality it doesn’t affect me at all, at least I don’t feel it in anything. I work, I conduct my program, and not one, and do not pay attention to such things. As for the attitude towards me in America ... Today they know me less than they used to when I worked there. Of course, I have a lot of personal relationships in the USA, and they all remain at a very good level. As for how I am perceived in principle in America? I think with suspicion, if only because I live in Russia and that I am a Russian citizen.
Perhaps the level of Russophobia in America today is higher than ever. I will stress: not Putinophobia, but Russophobia. The word "Russian" is already causing a negative reaction, and I am afraid that this will in some way affect me.
- In your interview in 2009, you mentioned that in Russia only work keeps you, whereas in France you feel at home. Has this feeling changed in ten years?
- No, it has not changed at all. When I fly to my apartment in Paris, I feel great joy - just like when I travel around France.
- Would you like to live in modern America?
- I really love New York, and always miss him when I leave. When I am in this city, I always visit the house in which I grew up. I cannot say that I could live in any part of the United States, but in New York I would live with great pleasure.
- If you go back to Russia. In one of his recent interviews You have noticed that the attitude of Russians towards America has also begun to deteriorate, and in recent years this negative trend has persisted. According to your observations, does the natural interest of Russians in other countries, primarily in the United States, remain against this background: interest in foreign culture, desire to travel? Is it not supplanted by the influence of propaganda?
- I think that I will not be mistaken if I say that it is extremely interesting for Russians to travel and travel around the world. Two things prevent this desire: firstly, of course, lack of money, and secondly, the need to obtain visas, which is quite difficult. However, the World Cup in this sense was very revealing. People came from all over the world, and it is impossible to convey the feeling of fraternization that accompanied the meeting, how people were happy for each other! Indeed, for the entire time of the Championship, almost no incidents occurred at any stadium.
Despite all the tension, all the negatives, people celebrated victories together, danced all night until morning, drank. Yes, there were almost no Americans there, but there was a British national team, and in fact, relations with the British are not the best either. The British first went to Russia with caution, and left here in utter delight. In a word, one can say that the desire to be part of the world and the thirst for communicating with other people among Russians are very strong.
- Do you notice any difference in the mentality of your Russian audience and the immigrant Russian-speaking audience in the United States? Has America changed people, in your opinion?
- Of course, immigrants are completely different people. I know the immigrant environment very well, because my dad himself was from this environment. He left Soviet Russia in 1922, as part of the White emigration, and I knew many people of that wave. A distinctive feature of our immigrants is that they are no longer Russians in the full sense of the word, but have not yet become fully Americans, French or Germans. They stayed somewhere in the middle. Of course, they ardently defend their decision to leave, but at the same time they are extremely interested in what is happening now in Russia.
Their children are almost no longer occupied by Russian problems, but first-generation immigrants cannot “let go” of their homeland.
On the other hand, they treat many problems differently than people who live in Russia. In short, the difference is very great.
- A little childish question: can you name three things that you most dislike in America, and, accordingly, three that you like most.
- I do not like some external pretense, when people show rapid enthusiasm when they meet and exclaim: “How glad I am to meet you!”, And the next day they forget what your name is. This is very characteristic of America. I do not like the fact that an incredibly rich country allows itself to have so many poor people and justifies this by saying that they themselves are to blame for what happened to them. I also do not like the feeling, which, although it is not expressed directly, but is often implied: "We Americans are a special people, we have a special mission, and we are better than anyone." This also often occurs.
I like the inner freedom that Americans really feel, and their inner conviction: “I can remove the president if I want.” I really like the breadth and scope that manifests itself here in many things. And, of course, I like the sense of self-esteem inherent in Americans, when people consider that it is impossible not to reckon with them.
- In one of his last interviews you celebratedthat negative trends are appearing in the US media, in particular, they are beginning to express the opinion of corporations. Can you comment on how the American media are changing, and what are the negative aspects of these changes?
- These changes are already showing up quite brightly. If you look at the so-called "mainstream media", you will find in all of them exactly the same opinion on some issues. It seems that there is only one, and not several newspapers, that there is only one, and not several television stations. Previously, this simply did not exist. The country, unfortunately, is beginning to be governed by corporations.
I will give only one example: not the brightest, but very characteristic. If we take the mainstream media: radio, print or television over the past three years, and try to find there at least something positive about Russia or some explanation of why the Russians support Putin, we simply will not see it. I can give you an example of a professor at Princeton University Jack MatlockFor a long time he was the ambassador of the United States, first in the USSR and then in Russia. He strongly disagrees with the current US policy towards Russia, and considers it to be deeply flawed. I don’t say now that he is right, but this is the point of view of the former ambassador of the United States who teaches at Princeton University! However, his opinion is completely not represented in the major American media. In this sense, corporate censorship is no less effective, although more refined than state censorship.
- Can you talk about your attitude to Israel? This is especially interesting in the context of your new film with Ivan Urgant "Jewish happiness." Do you feel that Israel, especially Jerusalem, are special places for you?
- You know, in one of the episodes of this film I was amazed how Jerusalem is a dirty city. How many accusations of anti-Semitism have I heard after this! As I worked in Israel, I realized that this is the only country in the world that you will immediately get written off as anti-Semites for negative reviews. It is worth making the slightest criticism, for example, of foreign policy. Benjamin Netanyahu, as the use of the “anti-Semitic” card immediately follows, when you are put up practically nazi. This is absolutely amazing!
In general, Israel made a strong impression on me. They achieved really amazing results, and, by the way, Netanyahu himself in my interview with him acknowledged: "We have become so because of you." He meant that it was the emigrants from the USSR and Russia — people with higher education, mathematics and engineers — who made Israel the country that it has become today. It was a stunningly interesting confession, and he made it publicly.
They really achieved a lot, and it can not but cause admiration. But the dark religious part of the Jewish culture makes the hardest impression, as well as the failure to understand that they will sooner or later have to reckon with the Arabs. Many in Israel, unfortunately, do not understand that if the country continues to pursue modern politics, the result will be not an Jewish, but an Arab-Jewish state, and this is not at all what the founding fathers of this country dreamed of.
- In your program on Channel One, you often like to ask your guests questions from the questionnaire of Marcel Proust. Let's also try to take a couple of questions from there. What virtues do you value most?
- Most of all I appreciate the mind and good.
- And what vices deserve the greatest reprimand?
- Meanness and envy.
- What are the main vices of a journalist?
- Cowardice and lies. And narcissism, of course.
- And what are the most serious disadvantages of an immigrant?
- Hmm, never thought ... Probably, the feeling that everyone owes him.
- In his last interview ForumDaily You noted that the Russian and American understanding of patriotism is very similar. Over the past couple of years, amid the negative attitudes of many Americans towards Donald Trump, the US seems to have developed a more “dissident” understanding of patriotism. Do you think that the similarity of American Russian patriotism continues?
- Yes, they are still very similar. Due to the fact that citizens scold the president, patriotism does not become different. This is a much deeper thing. I think that the feeling of patriotism underlying our special mission is equally inherent in both Russians and Americans.
- Do you think art can stay out of politics?
- I personally know people who live outside the political context, absolutely immersed only in their art - in particular, in the field of painting. But I always told them: "You can ignore politics, but keep in mind that politics does not ignore you."
- A question from one of our readers: Oscar Wilde has a phrase: Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intellect. The second marriage is a triumph of hope over experience. Do you agree with her?
- I love Oscar Wilde, and he married three times. It is a pity that he did not say anything about the third case. But Oscar Wilde was an unusually witty and wise man. I agree with almost everything he says. Yes, perhaps with some amendments, but in general, he admires me.
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