Archive for Friday, April 15, 2011

Russian university delegates discuss impressions of government, people while visiting Lawrence

April 15, 2011


A group of Russian delegates visiting Lawrence expressed positive feelings about American open government and the friendly people, but were concerned about American perceptions about Russia.

The delegates from Russian universities are visiting Kansas University and took time this week to discuss their impressions of America.

The group is here as part of the Open World Program, which seeks to introduce current and future Russian and Eurasian decision-makers and to meet their American counterparts.

Speaking through a translator, some members of the group said they were struck by the open access they had to government facilities.

“If we wanted to do something like this in our country, it would take an immense amount of effort to do this,” said Bronyus Aysmontas, dean of the distance learning department of Moscow City University of Psychology and Education.

He also said he found the American food to be more unhealthy than what you typically find in Russia.

“I may be mistaken,” he said, “but unhealthy eating seems to be a national issue.”

While in Lawrence, they lived with host families, and members of the KU department of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies helped take the group around the region.

They met with leaders from KU, the city of Lawrence, Johnson County Community College and Park University in Parkville, Mo.

They expressed frustration with Americans’ perception of Russians.

“For some reason, drinking always comes up,” said Olga Makashina, vice dean of the department of economics and management at Ivanovo State University of Power Engineering.

She and others expressed concern that most Americans’ ideas of Russia were rooted in a different time. They stressed that modern-day Russia is different from the old Soviet Union.

On the whole, they’re not that different but Makashina said she felt that Russians were more intellectually curious on the whole.

“Russians know more about the current budget crisis in America than most Americans,” she said.


maxcrabb 7 years ago

In Soviet Russia, Russian stereotype you!

fastwalker 7 years ago

“Russians know more about the current budget crisis in America than most Americans”

what is Olga basing this on? Wait, Russians know everything.

akhmatova 7 years ago

Russians are actually very concerned with American politics and economics. Russian news casts and newspapers always have a very large amount of American news in there. I'm not sure if most Russians know MORE about the budget crisis, but many Russians in the cities and suburbs do pay close attention to these things.

Plus, their media outlets probably have a much better perspective on American politics and economics than most popular news sources here (Fox/MSNBC/CNN)

fastwalker 7 years ago

how do you qualify "much better"? i'm not about to defend the 24hour sensationalist media, mind.

akhmatova 7 years ago

I just mean that their news outlets do not get caught in the debate of what is or is not right, but just presents things fairly objectively, though sometimes with a slant of how it might affect Russia and world markets of course. Lords knows the Russian media doesn't/cannot cover Russian politics objectively, but it seems to keep a detached view of petty party vs. party politics, which hardly any American outlet is able to do.

XEPCT 7 years ago

Olga is basing this on the fact that the Soviet Union always claimed that the American system would collapse under its' own weight. That the Soviet Union dissolved doesn't stop Russians from expecting this collapse to be imminent. Russians love to talk about how the bottom is going to fall out for the dollar and they use the deficit as their main arguement.

And unhealthy eating may be a national issue in the United States, but unhealthy drinking is absolutely a national issue in Russia. One only needs to look at the life expectancy for men.

Jimo 7 years ago

Arrogant, a/k/a, something that exposes your own ignorance, 40?

Facts do seem to have a strong leftward bias. Turn off the pugnacious stupidity of the GOP Propaganda Channel and read a fact-checked book.

hujiko 7 years ago

xen·o·pho·bi·a    [zen-uh-foh-bee-uh] –noun an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.

Lawrence Morgan 7 years ago

The problem is that most American media has such a limited perspective. There is very little access to other media throughout the world. Try, for example, English speaking French television on the internet,, for a different perspective, or, United Kingdom, for 24 hour world television news from around the world. It is much different than what is shown in this country. The Journal-World, too, is very limited in its approach, although locally it does a very good job. I suggested to the Managing Editor bringing BBC World News live to the United States, but there wasn't even an answer.

wood451 7 years ago

If I had the opportunity to spend time with Olga I believe one of the first things I would ask is do you drink vodka as would most of you. In a situation where we are faced with a language barrier most people, no matter the nationality, can only converse using subjects that are easily translated. The subjects I might find to talk with her about would be family, government, taxes, vodka, food, music, internet, facebook, etc. But even at that the conversation would be very limited. What I, and she, would really like to do is discuss these subjects without a language barrier so we could have a better understanding of our different points of view. I believe what we would discover is we have more things in common than not.

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