The FIFA World Cup completely changes the perception of Russia by the West, the FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes. Indeed, the world saw an unfamiliar before Russia - and now we need to decide what to do about it. Do we need to be white and fluffy - or let them continue to believe in aggressive and sullen Russians abroad?
"Russia is a hospitable and warm country. This event completely changes the perception of Russia by the West. On the streets of cities you can see the fans in the shirts of different teams, all together they celebrate this event. This is a great holiday for Russia and the world. I thank all Russians for accepting us all, "said Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president.
Indeed, the main result of the championship for Russia can already be called positive changes in the image of our country - not only in the West, but in the world in general. For example, the Islamic and, especially, the Latin American world in terms of information about the same Russia depends heavily on the world media - and if they are not directly Anglo-Saxon, they are in the western matrix.
Of course, in Asia, and in Africa, and in Latin America, there are many people who are interested in Russia. Because of our literature and music, because of the USSR, or because we saw in our countries our experts or ourselves studied in our country. And they in their majority always enthusiastically spoke about Russia and the Russians - you must, what kind of people you are!
But this is a matter of interest. And the bulk of the inhabitants of the Earth still form their own idea of the Russians and Russia from the world media and Hollywood. For them the Russians are such a strange people, unsmiling, aggressive, rude, who at the same time first flew into space, gave birth to Lenin and invented a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
And now, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of foreign fans who have visited Russia, and hundreds of millions of TV viewers who have seen reports from our country on television, the world is surprised to find a friendly, beautiful and open Russia.
This breaks the "matrix" - Hollywood and CNN lose the battle for Russia.
Of course, Russophobic traditions in the West have a centuries-old history - and for the last hundred years, since the Soviet period, there has been an open demonization. "The Empire of Evil" was invented not by Reagan, America was frightened by Communists who eat children long before him.
After the Crimea, we faced a massive campaign to sublimate Russophobia - portraying Putin as a threat to peace, the Atlantists only used one of their favorite techniques. The Russian Tsar is a threat to peace: as Nikolayev spoke about both emperors, about Stalin and even Brezhnev, now Putin's turn has come.
But now the image of the insidious Russian is melting - and the world really gets a chance to see the real Russia. And then an unexpected question arises - do we need this? Maybe it's better to be afraid of us? To be considered more wild and warlike than spiritual and understanding? Black English fans seriously feared that we are beaten by Negroes - which, of course, is very touching to hear from citizens of the country, who in the middle of the last century owned the third black Africa. It is clear that they are victims of their propaganda. But, maybe, it is profitable for us, that, roughly speaking, the soldiers of a potential enemy saw in us a terrible force? You look, and there will not be another "united Europe" campaign to the east.
And in general - are we so kind and cheerful? Here, our home-grown Europeans and cosmopolitan people blame us for being rude, smelly, lagging behind Europe for centuries, that we have despotism and Asiatic-with. And even more seriously, we know for ourselves that we can be tough and go to the end. So do we need a "soft power" - in a world that entered the era of increased turbulence, in a situation where we face tremendous challenges not just to revive the country, but to collect together all the shards of great Russia?
The thing is that this is a false opposition. We do not need to choose between the two images of Russia for the outside world. Because there is only one Russian soul - and it organically combines everything: responsiveness and openness to the world, and love for the native Fatherland, and breadth and kindness, and daring and courage, even turning to recklessness and forsaking. We can severely punish those who came to us with a sword. But for those who came to us with the ball - we are friendly and hospitable.
The Russian eagle has two heads, and from other peoples it depends which side this bird will turn to. We are open to the world - with all our mysterious Russian soul.