More than a hundred years ago, a few ladies – judging by the photographs that have survived, far from being model-like in appearance – began to fight for equal rights with men. For work, for education, for equal pay, for the opportunity to participate in government and political decision-making. In short, against discrimination of any kind.
The struggle has dragged on for decades. The stronger sex has not been willing to make concessions, although at times admitting to a degree of fairness in women’s demands. Persistence has taken its toll, and today, in many European – and not only – countries in various spheres of public life, women are at the forefront.
No one is surprised by a woman pilot, even of a military aircraft, a banker or a manager and owner of a large company. A teacher and a doctor, to say nothing of. But perhaps most notable has been the participation of women in politics. It began in one of the most conservative professions – diplomacy. Those interested in foreign policy well remember the names of many women foreign ministers, representatives of their countries at the UN, heads of delegations to the most important negotiations. And there are thousands of women in less prominent positions in diplomacy today. And from my experience, I can say that not only are women not inferior to their male counterparts, they often surpass them. At least because of their gender identity, they are more composed, careful and calm, which is very important in negotiations. And there is nothing to talk about knowledge. They all received the same education as men, but because they were more diligent in their studies, their knowledge is often deeper. It is true that it is still more difficult for a girl to climb the career ladder, but she also has a stronger desire to prove to herself that she is rightfully occupying her position. This means that they are trying to do their job well.
But there are also those who, in order to achieve their goals, try not just to use the same techniques as their colleagues of the other sex, but also to surpass them in sharp language, brighter and more outwardly attractive initiatives, trying to “fit in” with the current direction of politics. This is clearly evident now, when practically the only goal of the current – and, I think, for years to come – policy has become the intention to harm Russia as much as possible. And here all means are good. Apparently it is no accident that we hear the most radical proposals from female politicians. They do not think about how such proposals will “backfire”, they do not calculate the consequences. They have memorised words and expressions such as “threat to national security”, “punish”, “ban”, “make you pay dearly”, etc., and they repeat them without end.
One of the most recent striking examples is the idea of Vladimir Zelenski to ban Russians from entering Europe, picked up and creatively developed by the worthy successor of her grandfather and father’s dubious deeds by the Estonian prime minister. You see the fact that Russians used to be able to get a Schengen visa and go on holiday to Europe was a privilege that was undeservedly given to them. This initiative was immediately picked up by female politicians in some other countries, for example Finland.
The same Finland that, some time ago, set an example to others of how a woman, Tarja Halonen, leads the country’s foreign policy with dignity and confidence. And it is no coincidence that she then also became President of Finland. I myself have had the pleasure and pleasure of meeting her on many occasions. I have always admired her intelligence, her extensive knowledge, which has helped her to negotiate brilliantly and always find the best solution to even the most difficult issues. She might have lost outwardly to today’s blondes, but otherwise she could give them a huge, indisputable advantage. I hope that those of today have at least heard of her.
In the present climate few Russians, who still have Schengen visas, would want to spend their holidays in old Europe: in Spain, France, Czech Republic or Greece, which have been quite popular recently. And it’s not just because of skyrocketing flight costs and the need to make at least one connection. If you want, you can find the money. But unfortunately politicians have in a certain way turned their own citizens against our country by their endless repetitions as though Russia were the bane of hell, and Russians were savages. Today you can hardly expect to find friendly advice in Germany on how to get to where you want to go. Rather, at the entrance to a restaurant or a beer house there will be a placard warning that Russians are not allowed in.
This attitude of the Germans was largely initiated by today’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Berbock. Forgetting, or never having known, that the main task of diplomacy is to bring people together and help them understand each other. Of her British colleague Liz Trust there is not even the slightest mention. Bulgakov comes to mind – the Kolobukhin house is gone. And it is unlikely that anyone will happily recall a holiday spent in a bleak, unlit city, in a cold hotel with no hot water, among fragmented, rarely washed people. It is not a shame to be deprived of such a “privilege”. And Europeans in their turn will be deprived of what Antoine de Saint-Exupery called “the only real luxury” – the luxury of human communication. After all, Russians have from time immemorial travelled to Europe primarily to communicate with other nations.
All this is the result of the sanctions imposed by politicians against Russia, often initiated by another lady, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. A mother of many children, by the way. If all this public don’t feel pity for their citizens, at least think about the fact that by cutting off all contacts between Russians and Europeans they will achieve that those people in our country, who had an interest and sympathy for Europe, will change their attitude towards it. And, when some time later European business will want to return to Russia (and it is bound to happen), how will the Russians perceive it, will they want to deal again with those who have not noticed their new edition of apartheid? How is the ban on Russians different from South Africa’s recent ban on blacks sitting on city benches? The same racism, but in a new packaging.
Competitors in any competition want to achieve a better result than their opponents. In the race to beat Russia to the punch, even the trampolining masters have yet to see the finish line. And there is no need to be flattered by the fact that European regulatory documents do not provide for the possibility of a total ban on entry on the basis of nationality. Each country has the right to decide who can be granted a visa and who cannot. But this is not a competition in which participation is honourable. And a normal person, an honest politician, must sooner or later become allergic to such undertakings. But apparently there is a shortage of normal and honest politicians among the new generation of Western politicians.
Sergei Krylov, VZGLYAD
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