"West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Lada » 2012-12-19, 6:30

Levo wrote:Not present before 1990's:
Skiing, travelling abroad, seaside holiday, going to massage, doing sports (we should take more of that!); not being satisfied with a usable car, but needing a fancy one; same for clothing - being so keen on fashion, etc...

So you dislike all this? Nostalgia? Just travel in North Korea/Cuba to feel how lucky you're now. But you seem to realize that open borders give you money:
So Russians feel like kings here, just as you said :) You guys are welcome.

Do you really dislike the fact that people travel? Or is it only about Hungarians? :hmm:
Thanks for the welcome part, Russians will definitely come in Hungary and in all other countries, travel industry grows here. :)
And I don't think they are escaping from anything else than cold Winter and cool Summer

You don't know Russian realities, like hot summer for example and mass escaping from paying taxes :P

Sol Invictus wrote:"Western aggression" sounds like Soviet propaganda not a cultural thing.

It's a cultural thing because of:
-low level of imported music/movies/food ,i.e. all kinds of mass market things
-degradation of local culture producers due to crazy promotion pressure from abroad and lack of marketing skills to resist this
-dependence on foreign goods because Soviet economy wasn't created for market and during "capitalist years" people haven't created really valuable things for mass consumption

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Varislintu » 2012-12-21, 12:21

Levo wrote:
Lada wrote:
Levo wrote:But I have never thought about it before that such people can be in so big numbers, because here it is not the case.

I agree with AndreiB, we're just too different which may be not the case with native Baltic population who feels part of Europe rather than part of another big civilisation like some Russians/ex-USSR citizens may consider themselves.
Here it's rather like: people let all customs in from more developed countries, slowly having a new lifestyle, regardless they could actually afford it or not.

I just can't get what is that "western lifestyle/customs". What's so special about it? Spending money on various things is not western custom IMHO.


Not present before 1990's:
Skiing, travelling abroad, seaside holiday, going to massage, doing sports (we should take more of that!); not being satisfied with a usable car, but needing a fancy one; same for clothing - being so keen on fashion, etc...


So basically Hungarians, thanks to media, compare their standard of living to Western Europeans instead of just Hungarians, which has increased their sense of relative poverty, since the Hungarian income levels don't really support this lifestyle, but it's still become the perceived norm.
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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Ludwig Whitby » 2012-12-21, 14:27

Saim said pretty much the same as I would say. I would just like to point out that we as a nation have an inferiority complex and other psychological difficulties. We compare ourselves to the West, get disappointed with ourselves because we don't measure up, feel sorry for ourselves and conclude that we can't really change anything anyway, so why bother.

The best the country does is copying the West when EU says that we absolutely must and than we see that we haven't even been able to copy the West properly and conclude that it can work in EU, but not here because we're just different. It just can't work properly, so why bother.

As far as lifestyle is concerned, we had the "Western" lifestyle before 1990. Now people mostly don't have money to do what Levo consideres Western lifestyle.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Sol Invictus » 2012-12-21, 18:50

Lada wrote:
Sol Invictus wrote:"Western aggression" sounds like Soviet propaganda not a cultural thing.

It's a cultural thing because of:
-low level of imported music/movies/food ,i.e. all kinds of mass market things
-degradation of local culture producers due to crazy promotion pressure from abroad and lack of marketing skills to resist this
-dependence on foreign goods because Soviet economy wasn't created for market and during "capitalist years" people haven't created really valuable things for mass consumption

But that is not Western aggression, that's local social and economic circumstances, aggression here would be like in this little piece where evil West is going to kill you if you don't take the bloody eggs :)
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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Levo » 2012-12-22, 13:41

Varislintu wrote:
Levo wrote:
Lada wrote:
Levo wrote:But I have never thought about it before that such people can be in so big numbers, because here it is not the case.

I agree with AndreiB, we're just too different which may be not the case with native Baltic population who feels part of Europe rather than part of another big civilisation like some Russians/ex-USSR citizens may consider themselves.
Here it's rather like: people let all customs in from more developed countries, slowly having a new lifestyle, regardless they could actually afford it or not.

I just can't get what is that "western lifestyle/customs". What's so special about it? Spending money on various things is not western custom IMHO.


Not present before 1990's:
Skiing, travelling abroad, seaside holiday, going to massage, doing sports (we should take more of that!); not being satisfied with a usable car, but needing a fancy one; same for clothing - being so keen on fashion, etc...


So basically Hungarians, thanks to media, compare their standard of living to Western Europeans instead of just Hungarians, which has increased their sense of relative poverty, since the Hungarian income levels don't really support this lifestyle, but it's still become the perceived norm.


Thank you Varislintu, exactly.

Sol Invictus, Lada, you asked something, - see above -, and I replied.
Just take the words as they stand, and don't start using your imagination what the poster's opinion could have been. Thanks. Who told you that I dislike all those things?
Lada, read twice before you start making your comments. They often sound quite furious and you seem to respond to something that only existed in your mind.
Last edited by Levo on 2012-12-22, 14:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Levo » 2012-12-22, 13:55

Ludwig Whitby wrote:Saim said pretty much the same as I would say. I would just like to point out that we as a nation have an inferiority complex and other psychological difficulties. We compare ourselves to the West, get disappointed with ourselves because we don't measure up, feel sorry for ourselves and conclude that we can't really change anything anyway, so why bother.

The best the country does is copying the West when EU says that we absolutely must and than we see that we haven't even been able to copy the West properly and conclude that it can work in EU, but not here because we're just different. It just can't work properly, so why bother.

As far as lifestyle is concerned, we had the "Western" lifestyle before 1990. Now people mostly don't have money to do what Levo consideres Western lifestyle.


That's pretty much what I was talking about too. (Despite of the sentence before the last.)

You also said: "conclude that we can't really change anything anyway, so why bother". That's the point. Until we are not at the same levels, we should just "invent" or "rediscover" something local, that satisfies people instead of the continuos "comparing".
There are very good things that come with the influence from more developed countries and there could be very good things locally too. Personally I am for a healthy mixture.
Why most people in this country tend to lack the latter one. I was curious if it is similar or not in neighbouring countries and those having similar socio-economic structure. So I opened this topic. I already got to know many interesting things.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Ludwig Whitby » 2012-12-22, 14:56

Levo wrote:
Ludwig Whitby wrote:Saim said pretty much the same as I would say. I would just like to point out that we as a nation have an inferiority complex and other psychological difficulties. We compare ourselves to the West, get disappointed with ourselves because we don't measure up, feel sorry for ourselves and conclude that we can't really change anything anyway, so why bother.

The best the country does is copying the West when EU says that we absolutely must and than we see that we haven't even been able to copy the West properly and conclude that it can work in EU, but not here because we're just different. It just can't work properly, so why bother.

As far as lifestyle is concerned, we had the "Western" lifestyle before 1990. Now people mostly don't have money to do what Levo consideres Western lifestyle.


That's pretty much what I was talking about too. (Despite of the sentence before the last.)

You also said: "conclude that we can't really change anything anyway, so why bother". That's the point. Until we are not at the same levels, we should just "invent" or "rediscover" something local, that satisfies people instead of the continuos "comparing".
There are very good things that come with the influence from more developed countries and there could be very good things locally too. Personally I am for a healthy mixture.
Why most people in this country tend to lack the latter one. I was curious if it is similar or not in neighbouring countries and those having similar socio-economic structure. So I opened this topic. I already got to know many interesting things.

My initial response was: ''It would be great, but it's impossible. Don't even bother.'' But why not try something at least? Have you thought about something more specific? What exactly do you have in mind?

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Nukalurk » 2012-12-22, 15:09

People here talk about comparing their lives to the West, when in fact they are comparing themselves to what is presented in the media where everything is shiny. My friend from the Ukraine (she lives over there for several months per year) gets that a lot. According to many people over there, we all have a great life, fat cars, a big house, expensive clothes, everything we want!

You can imagine that the reality is totally different in our cases but maybe we are just losers.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Levo » 2012-12-22, 15:39

Ludwig Whitby wrote:
Levo wrote:
Ludwig Whitby wrote:Saim said pretty much the same as I would say. I would just like to point out that we as a nation have an inferiority complex and other psychological difficulties. We compare ourselves to the West, get disappointed with ourselves because we don't measure up, feel sorry for ourselves and conclude that we can't really change anything anyway, so why bother.

The best the country does is copying the West when EU says that we absolutely must and than we see that we haven't even been able to copy the West properly and conclude that it can work in EU, but not here because we're just different. It just can't work properly, so why bother.

As far as lifestyle is concerned, we had the "Western" lifestyle before 1990. Now people mostly don't have money to do what Levo consideres Western lifestyle.


That's pretty much what I was talking about too. (Despite of the sentence before the last.)

You also said: "conclude that we can't really change anything anyway, so why bother". That's the point. Until we are not at the same levels, we should just "invent" or "rediscover" something local, that satisfies people instead of the continuos "comparing".
There are very good things that come with the influence from more developed countries and there could be very good things locally too. Personally I am for a healthy mixture.
Why most people in this country tend to lack the latter one. I was curious if it is similar or not in neighbouring countries and those having similar socio-economic structure. So I opened this topic. I already got to know many interesting things.

My initial response was: ''It would be great, but it's impossible. Don't even bother.'' But why not try something at least? Have you thought about something more specific? What exactly do you have in mind?


Let's figure it out together!

As for if I have anything in mind, I mentioned a couple of things earlier in the topic.
I need help though :) And though each societies need their own, implementable things, I believe we would have a lot in common with Serbians, for example.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Levo » 2012-12-22, 16:00

As in example, I would bring up Estonia.

I lived there one year. I was literally part of their society, living with a family and working in the social sphere, I also learned their language and took part in all their year-round customs.

They seemed to preserve their local customs more in their every-day lives than for example, in Hungary.
I really liked that we could take part in country-wide local county dance-festival, dancing to renewed Estonian melodies. Almost all Estonian young people take part at least once in life in the big Tallinn singing festival, since they seem to enjoy it a lot. It is even more common to take part at local singing-festivals.
Given their natural circumstances, cross-country skiing is still very popular. - Very good for your mental and physical well-being.
The whole institution of "saun" (sauna) is like Christmas: no-one raises a question if doing this or not. It is a general event with family and friends every now and then.

At the first given moment when tempretarues rose above 15 C, all yards were full with barbecuing people in early April. We have a much warmer climate and happy to have one like that during all Summer maybe :S

And I haven't mentioned smaller, one-time occasions, like "sledging-day" where even a mentally and physically disabled client of mine was pushed down the hill :)

People, especially back then, didn't have more money than Hungarians, neither their economy was better, still seemed to be more well-balanced and satisfied with their lives. (even though statistics)

Serbia and Central Europe has other given circumstances, and I do believe we have our own resources and possibilities to live a happier and more satisfying life from the same money we have now. It starts in the heads.
Any suggestions? :)

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Varislintu » 2012-12-22, 16:24

I hope I'm not bringing the West into the discussion unwelcomed, but in a way this reminds me of the Western idea of "downshifting". It's basically people who are tired of trying to pursue certain expensive lifestyles that consumer culture tries to tell us we need, and who for that reason try to stop wanting that, so that they can work less and enjoy more of the free or inexpensive things in life. Switching from the status-sport downhill skiing to cross country skiing or sledding or even just walking in nature is exactly what a downshifter would do.
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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Levo » 2012-12-22, 16:32

Varislintu wrote:I hope I'm not bringing the West into the discussion unwelcomed, but in a way this reminds me of the Western idea of "downshifting". It's basically people who are tired of trying to pursue certain expensive lifestyles that consumer culture tries to tell us we need, and who for that reason try to stop wanting that, so that they can work less and enjoy more of the free or inexpensive things in life. Switching from the status-sport downhill skiing to cross country skiing or sledding or even just walking in nature is exactly what a downshifter would do.


I heard about this.

Maybe, here people would be happier, if they let themselves enjoy things a below mentioned "Western downshifter" does. That is actually what they can afford here at present, (or not even that, but still closer to our reality). If they tried discovering those things too and tried them, many aspects of life were different here.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Sol Invictus » 2012-12-23, 0:02

Levo wrote:Sol Invictus, Lada, you asked something, - see above -, and I replied.
Just take the words as they stand, and don't start using your imagination what the poster's opinion could have been. Thanks. Who told you that I dislike all those things?

No, I didn't ask you anything, or did I comment on your personal lifestyle choices and I am pretty sure I know what you are going on about - well pretty much what Varislintu just said mixed in with disappointment in economic situation, which makes a pretty pointless discussion as more or less everyone can agree with at least some ideas, but nobody, usually including one talking about the perceived issue, doesn't really differ from rest of the society or intend to do anything about it.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Johanna » 2012-12-23, 16:49

Like Nukalurk said, you're not even comparing yourselves with the normal people in Western Europe, you're comparing yourselves with the upper middle class and above. Sure, we still have more money in general, but for most people, at least those who have kids, this means that for every thing you do afford there are a lot of things that you can't, like if you want a nice new car you won't be able to go abroad for a few years at least, if you want a big house it has to be in the middle of nowhere (and then you might not find a job so you can't afford it anyway), if any of your kids want to do an expensive-ish sport that new TV you're dreaming of will take quite a while saving up to etc.

There are also more and more people here who can't even afford one of those things, actually it's not too uncommon not even being able to leave the town where you live unless you really, really have to, and if you can't stay with relatives or friends it's downright impossible. If you want a TV you'll have to find one that the owners don't want anyway so you can get it for free, a computer will have to be built from spare parts, furniture all second-hand and so on.

Too bad your fellow countrymen don't understand that.
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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby TeneReef » 2012-12-23, 18:05

I think Croatian people live quite well with their nonchalant attitude.
Expensive cars and signature clothes are plentiful on the streets.

Furthermore,
90% of Croatians live in their own house or apartment
(in Germany only 50% of population lives in their own house/apartment, the rest pays the rent).

When Westerners visit Croatia, they are puzzled...
since, cafés and bars are bustling with life even in the early morning,
they always ask: In Croatia, you don't work? You only relax? :rotfl:

Wages are low (mine is around 1000 eur),
but many people have additional income (for example,
my family has ''rooms for let'' service [tourists like our coast],
as well as income from agriculture and fishery :) ).

Western Europe (Trieste, Italy) is just an hour away from where I live (Rijeka, Croatia)...
And in Trieste, they're not two or three times richer, but less than 20% richer:

Consumer Prices in Trieste are 53.43% higher than in Rijeka
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Trieste are 57.17% higher than in Rijeka
Rent Prices in Trieste are 75.41% higher than in Rijeka
Restaurant Prices in Trieste are 127.00% higher than in Rijeka
Groceries Prices in Trieste are 52.15% higher than in Rijeka
Local Purchasing Power in Trieste is 19.68% higher than in Rijeka


http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/co ... y2=Trieste

The only Western coutry that is ''fashionable'' in Croatia, is the USA,
because of Hollywood movies and sitcoms...
They are never dubbed, but shown with subtitles.

Many people like using American English words when they speak Croatian.
Croanglish is being born. :lol: Some people even use/insert the whole sentences or idioms. :mrgreen:

So, Germany, Italy, France...their culture is not worshiped in Croatia.
(Most young people couldn't name a current German, Italian or French pop or movie star)...
Only the American one is. :P
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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby TeneReef » 2012-12-23, 18:59

Johanna wrote:Like Nukalurk said, you're not even comparing yourselves with the normal people in Western Europe, you're comparing yourselves with the upper middle class and above. Sure, we still have more money in general, but for most people, at least those who have kids, this means that for every thing you do afford there are a lot of things that you can't, like if you want a nice new car you won't be able to go abroad for a few years at least, if you want a big house it has to be in the middle of nowhere (and then you might not find a job so you can't afford it anyway), if any of your kids want to do an expensive-ish sport that new TV you're dreaming of will take quite a while saving up to etc.

There are also more and more people here who can't even afford one of those things, actually it's not too uncommon not even being able to leave the town where you live unless you really, really have to, and if you can't stay with relatives or friends it's downright impossible. If you want a TV you'll have to find one that the owners don't want anyway so you can get it for free, a computer will have to be built from spare parts, furniture all second-hand and so on.

Too bad your fellow countrymen don't understand that.
spot on :wink:

I think people should adjust their lifestyle ( according) to the amount of money they have.
So, Norwegians can travel to Maldives and Seychelles.
Croatians must be satisfied with India. :P
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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Lada » 2012-12-25, 14:40

Sol Invictus wrote:
Lada wrote:
Sol Invictus wrote:"Western aggression" sounds like Soviet propaganda not a cultural thing.

It's a cultural thing because of:
-low level of imported music/movies/food ,i.e. all kinds of mass market things
-degradation of local culture producers due to crazy promotion pressure from abroad and lack of marketing skills to resist this
-dependence on foreign goods because Soviet economy wasn't created for market and during "capitalist years" people haven't created really valuable things for mass consumption

But that is not Western aggression, that's local social and economic circumstances, aggression here would be like in this little piece where evil West is going to kill you if you don't take the bloody eggs :)

I agree with you and don't agree at the same time :)
Why I agree: nobody can deny that local circumstances play the major role in all this situation (probably it concerns not only Russia, but other ex-socialist countries too)
Why I disagree: eggs are a good thing to import, but "cultural goods" that are imported have very low level, if they can be called "cultural" at all according to many people. Many of them feel that the West sells only "shit" here because western locals don't consume it but it must be sold anyway and thus they use us as 3d world country. Some people may see evil plan to destroy traditional culture and Soviet cultural traditions (let's remember great Soviet movies, cartoons, music etc.). And the main goal of this plan is full degradation of cultural identity. When you have to deal with a mass, not individuals, you can easily manipulate it, that's what it all about.

Levo wrote:Lada, read twice before you start making your comments. They often sound quite furious and you seem to respond to something that only existed in your mind.

Thank you for your piece of advice. Let me give you something too. If people don't understand you or they interpret your words in the wrong way and make "wrong" conclusions, it's only your fault. I've written thousands of emails and made some presentations for different groups of people - it's just my experience, taking into account that people are not robots, they have brains and they make associations and tend to lead the conversation to another topic, even if it's close to the original one.
TeneReef wrote:Furthermore,
90% of Croatians live in their own house or apartment
(in Germany only 50% of population lives in their own house/apartment, the rest pays the rent).

The same in Russia, but it's not because everyone is so rich, that's because in Soviet times people got apartments and houses for free (for good work actually or if they had many children). Now, buying an apartment is something that only rich people can do...

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Sol Invictus » 2012-12-25, 20:15

Lada wrote:Why I disagree: eggs are a good thing to import, but "cultural goods" that are imported have very low level, if they can be called "cultural" at all according to many people. Many of them feel that the West sells only "shit" here because western locals don't consume it but it must be sold anyway and thus they use us as 3d world country. Some people may see evil plan to destroy traditional culture and Soviet cultural traditions (let's remember great Soviet movies, cartoons, music etc.). And the main goal of this plan is full degradation of cultural identity. When you have to deal with a mass, not individuals, you can easily manipulate it, that's what it all about.

Yes, but if you call it aggression it's like they intentionally sell shit to degrade the local culture (or something). IMO it's just that they have new market to milk more money out of the old shit. Also, speaking of movies it isn't entirely true - I've been told that the basic business practice is to sell good movie packed together with several B rated movies, it would appear that it is buyers decision how to use shit they get and their choice to put it on at prime time not at 3 a.m. spot. And it's not like every single local product is pinnacle of art either, but you wouldn't accuse local producers of crap for trying to destroy culture

Lada wrote:
TeneReef wrote:Furthermore,
90% of Croatians live in their own house or apartment
(in Germany only 50% of population lives in their own house/apartment, the rest pays the rent).

The same in Russia, but it's not because everyone is so rich, that's because in Soviet times people got apartments and houses for free (for good work actually or if they had many children). Now, buying an apartment is something that only rich people can do...

I don't know how it was with rent in Soviet times, but here people had to buy out apartments they got in Soviet era or keep on renting, so it doesn't exactly apply. Also it seems to me that it is cheaper not to rent

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Levo » 2012-12-26, 16:43

Lada wrote:
Levo wrote:Lada, read twice before you start making your comments. They often sound quite furious and you seem to respond to something that only existed in your mind.

Thank you for your piece of advice. Let me give you something too. If people don't understand you or they interpret your words in the wrong way and make "wrong" conclusions, it's only your fault. I've written thousands of emails and made some presentations for different groups of people - it's just my experience, taking into account that people are not robots, they have brains and they make associations and tend to lead the conversation to another topic, even if it's close to the original one.


Lada, you had already given me your advices:
Lada wrote:So you dislike all this? Nostalgia? Just travel in North Korea/Cuba to feel how lucky you're now...

Those are your words and advice. Hence I dared to give mine.

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Re: "West, West, West!" in Eastern and Central Europe

Postby Lada » 2012-12-26, 19:38

Sol Invictus wrote:Yes, but if you call it aggression it's like they intentionally sell shit to degrade the local culture (or something).

Yeah, that's what some people think. They call it "undeclared war".
And it's not like every single local product is pinnacle of art either, but you wouldn't accuse local producers of crap for trying to destroy culture

Government can be evil too, enemies are everywhere for some people especially for nationalists.
I don't know how it was with rent in Soviet times, but here people had to buy out apartments they got in Soviet era or keep on renting, so it doesn't exactly apply. Also it seems to me that it is cheaper not to rent

How much did it cost to buy out the apartment? Here it was almost for free. And I think there was no rent in Soviet Union because people didn't move around the country as they do it now and any business was banned AFAIK.


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