NEW YORK- When the US government first announced sanctions against certain individuals and banks in Russia, ordinary Russians laughed in response and jokingly demanded more sanctions. But now that Russia has levied an import ban on American agricultural products, American citizens don’t find it a laughing matter.
“Wait, we’re still selling food to Russia,” Clara Greene, a resident of Brooklyn, NY responded when informed of the recent embargo by our reporter. “I would have thought they could produce all their own food by now. Why did they do that?”
Anthony Stanzetti of Queens was similarly unaware of the import ban. “The Russians? Do we still have a beef with those guys? Oh yeah the thing on the news every night. Yeah the Palestinians are like killing Crimeans or something like that. Those two never stop fighting. I don’t have time for that.”
NYU professor Earnest Beckstein specializes in Russia and Eastern Europe and he gave us his theory regarding the lack of awareness among Americans regarding the relations with Russia. “You have to realize that if you don’t pay attention to the news, Russia simply doesn’t play any role in Americans’ lives. It’s been that way since 1991, but the other side hasn’t figured that out.”
A survey was carried out by Beckstein’s department regarding American responses to the sanctions. When asked what they thought about the Russian response, 35% of all respondents chose “Huh?” as their answer. Another 25% went with “What?” 30% answers “Russia? Who cares?” with 10% responding only with looks of grave confusion on their faces. The lack of concern might seem amusing were it not for its very real consequences. Consequences for people like Larry Peterson, an author who specializes in books which analyze the Russian mentality and every aspect of Russian culture.
“It’s ridiculous,” Peterson told our reporter. “If I were a Russian living in Moscow and writing about the American mentality, even if I’d never even spent any time in the United States, I’d be making all sorts of money and getting all kinds of attention in the media. Here? Forget about it! You should have seen what happened when I tried my hand at stand-up comedy. I had this routine where I made all these jokes about the Russians, and the audience just started at me before they started shouting at me to get off the stage. But make a show about “stupid Americans” in Moscow and you end up being a national celebrity. Explain to me how that’s fair.”