Heute folgt noch ein Interview mit einem russischen Politiker. ;-) Am vergangenen Wochenende hat das russische Fernsehen eine Dokumentation mit dem Titel "Urok istorii" (dt.: Geschichtsstunde) ausgestrahlt, in der ältere Schüler aus St. Petersburg, die kurz vor dem Abitur stehen, zu ihren Ansichten über den Zweiten Weltkrieg, ihr Verhältnis zu den Veteranen und ihre Zukunftspläne befragt worden sind. Ich habe den Film zufällig gesehen und fand ihn sehr interessant.
Darin wurden kurze Interviewschnipsel mit Personen älterer Jahrgänge integriert. Unter ihnen war auch Wladimir Putin. Auf seiner Webseite wurde nun das vollständige Interview in einer englischen Übersetzung veröffentlicht. Besonders wichtig erscheint mir seine Meinung, wonach die heutige Jugend in Rußland gar nicht so schlecht ist, wie der Macher des Films wohl annimmt:
"[...]Wladimir Wladimirowitsch dürfte mit seiner Einschätzung der Realität näherkommen als jene, die in der Jugend immer nur Niedergang sehen wollen. (Solche Leute gab es vor 2500 Jahren auch schon. ;-))
Question: Mr Putin, we ask school children a lot of questions in our film, including questions about the war. But we were quite struck by their responses to the question "What do you dream of?" We also asked veterans the same question: "What did you dream of?" The war altered the lives, and dreams, of most veterans. The 17 year olds of today dream about quite bourgeois things: a successful career, an apartment, a good salary, a nice car, and so on. On the one hand, there is nothing wrong with that. They are prepared to work to for all that. But on the other hand, personally, I was struck that nobody said: "I want to win the Noble Prize", "I dream of becoming the President," and the like. Do you think it is good that this new generation is so bourgeois and thinks so pragmatically or you do you feel that they are missing some real values?
Vladimir Putin: I do not think that. You know, I don't think that because I have had the opportunity to understand that when our young people find themselves in extraordinary circumstances, they meet the challenges they are faced with, and as strange and surprising as it may seem to us, they display heroism, courage, and patriotism. So in extreme situations they display these traits, while in a normal, routine environment they behave quite pragmatically, which I think is no bad thing, it is good.
Question: A 17 year-old girl asked me this, after I asked her what the differences were between their generation the generation of the 1940's. She said "They were one, that generation was better and more honest, and in general, I feel that generation had something which ours lacks. But she still said "I am proud of my motherland, of its past achievements: victory in the Great Patriotic War, Gagarin's space flight... Can you tell me what is there for me today to be proud of?" Maybe this is routine now, as they probably do not understand what the 1990's were like, when they were growing up, while today... As Prime Minister and as the second president of Russia, how would you answer that question? What is there for young people to be proud of today?
Vladimir Putin: You know, answering your previous question, I said that when people find themselves in extreme situations, they display all the traits that others think they lack. I was referring, first of all, to circumstances related to counter-terror operations and other such situations. Just recently I had a conversation with a former officer, who has seen active service and who is well known in our country.
He spent a significant amount of time fighting in various anti-terror operations in various places. Being originally from the Caucasus, he told me quite sincerely that for him there was no one better than a Russian soldier. And this is most directly manifested today in all those brave people who love their country. This statement applies not even to career officers, but to those young lads, regular soldiers. The Russian soldier is the most effective fighter.
This does not mean, of course that we should always live in a militarised environment. What I want to say is that first, our young people do have these qualities, and secondly, under normal circumstances we should always seek to surpass our competitors, to be competitive in the economy, public life, and political system. In order to ensure we are an efficient state. Only then will we have a stable future.
There are plenty of areas in which we can apply our talents: science, business, or sports. There is always an opportunity to shine. An individual should aspire to find his place in life. Of course, the state and society should help, but first and foremost, it is our own responsibility to find the right way to channel our talents and succeed. When we achieve these results in our own minds we grow in our own sights and our confidence builds. I believe that every young man and woman has this opportunity.
Question: Essentially, you are telling the young lady to be proud of her own generation as well?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course.
Solange die jungen Männer und Frauen so engagiert beim von Lew Leschtschenko vorgetragenen Lied "Djen pobedy" (dt.: Tag des Sieges) mitsingen, wie am vergangenen Sonntagabend während des Konzertes im Moskauer Lushniki-Stadion, muß man sich wohl keine Sorgen machen:
Es fehlt der Jugend nicht an gesundem Patriotismus, auch wenn sie sich heute vor allem für die Gestaltung des eigenen Lebens und nicht für irgendwelche großen Weltentwürfe und Ideologien interessiert. Diesen Kelch mußten hingegen ihre Groß- und Urgroßeltern bis zur Neige leeren.
Daneben hat mich noch ein zweiter Punkt berührt. In der vorletzten Woche habe ich den im Jahr 2000 erschienenen Interviewband "Aus erster Hand" gelesen, der die nach mehreren Fragestunden dreier Journalisten mit Putin entstanden ist. Darin äußerst sich Putin auch ausführlich zu seiner Kindheit und Familie. (BTW: Das Buch wird in deutschen Medien viel zu selten erwähnt. Nach der Lektüre erscheint die Person Putin gar nicht mehr so rätselhaft wie oft behauptet.)
Im o.g. Interview hat er diesem Bild noch ein paar Pinselstriche hinsichtlich seines Vaters (und seiner Mutter) während der Leningrader Blockade hinzugefügt:
Question: What about your personal perception of it ... Naturally, this is something that changes with age ... While in childhood, it is mainly shaped by war movies, etc., with age you come to understand the tragedy of it. How did your understanding of what the war and blockade really were change as you grew up?
Vladimir Putin: You know, with age I came to see those stories they told me as a child in a different light. For example, I knew that my mum visited my father in hospital after he had been wounded. My father had told me that he was with a partisan unit in the beginning of the war, but I later found out that in reality he was with a sabotage group. When I was President, I requested documents from the archives. My father was no longer alive then, had already passed away. Amazingly, the documents tallied with everything he had told me, right down to the tiniest detail.
I did learn that there were 28 of them who were sent across enemy lines to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage operations. Only four of those 28 survived. One thing that my father had never told me, something I learnt from the archives, was that the group was led by a Russian citizen of German descent.
Question: He wasn't interned at the beginning of the war?
Vladimir Putin: I don't know. I don't know anything about that. They only gave me the archival documents, record cards, personal records, and I was surprised to learn that the group was led by an ethnic German. It was probably because he knew German. I do not know why those in charge back then made that decision. But it was new to me, it was something I knew nothing about.
Die Feierlichkeiten zum Kriegsende
10.05.1010: Videos des Tages
Ein pragmatisches Volk
Das Laboratorium der Moderne
Foto: www.premier.gov.ru, www.ruvr.ru.