The Previous Generation's Russia vs. My Russia

The Previous Generation's Russia vs. My Russia

by Kenneth Rayman on February 28, 2018
Have you ever created something that you knew was just right? Like you could feel it as soon as you were done that you made an impact or gave a strong message a voice? Yeah that happened with today’s Instagram post, have wanted to write this forever but never pen to paper on it until now.

As I tell my senior living communities, this, right here was my Russian “boogeyman.” Not politics, nuclear weapons, or ideas. “The tall guy in the red shorts who beat up Rocky and killed Apollo Creed.” HE was the scariest part of the Soviet Union or Russia.

My siblings had to explain why Rocky was hated in the film, why he was followed by the car in the countryside while running, why the Politburo guy was mad at the end and told the trainers they were a disgrace and him an idiot, why it was such a powerful scene when he grabbed and threw the guy down saying “I fight for me!”, and what Rocky meant by “2 guys vs. 20 million.” To a 5 year old in 1991, they just told me, “they don’t know him” ; “they’re afraid of him” ; “you don’t grab people and scream at the leader like that” ; and to the 20 million thing, I got “you’ll learn.” I think they wanted me to form my own opinion so they didn’t want to say anything, plus explaining war to a kid is difficult and the Cold War even more so.

I start my introductory talks out like this because I want them to know that the Russia I know, grew up with, and love is way different than the one they know and grew up with. That affords me the opportunity to explain the nuances of the culture, history, and country without an agenda or an end goal of getting them to think like me. Just citizen diplomacy at its finest.

Someone recently told me that they see me living in Russia at some point in my life because of how much I love the country, it’s history, and it’s people; I would love to see that day.

Screen capture images belong to United Artists production studios, Writer/Director Sylvester Stallone, and producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler.