20 February 2010

Evgeni Plushenko: Russian National Insecurity On Ice

I hate writing about Olympic figure skating. I mean, if somebody laces blades to their feet they'd better have a hockey stick or an attitude like Apollo Ohno. However, the gold-medal whining from Russian ice dancer (or whatever they're called) Evgeni Plushenko after losing the Olympic gold to an American has me thinking about current Russian culture in generally -- namely, a culture of national insecurity that grows by the day.

Just in case you were watching actual sports, Russian skate spinner Evgeni Plushenko was slap-fight mad after performing a spinning thing that had more spins than his competition, apparently believing that judging performance in this event should be based solely on the number of spins one does. In a Russian show of class (which fortunately cost fewer lives than their invasion of Georgia), Plushenko actually stepped onto the gold medal podium before descending to his rightful place during the award ceremony. Meanwhile, the American winner, Evan Lysacek, remained gracious.

Without doubt Evgeni Plushenko is a spoiled brat who obviously didn't get taken to the wood shedenv enough, but this story also reflects a growing sense of insecurity within the former super power. Russia's national behavior has grown increasing nasty, pointing missiles at Poland, Claiming international oil regions in the Arctic, invading neighbors, re-engaging the space race, etc, etc, etc. They are a proud nation and their ruling elite is beginning to feel the need to ascend to super power status once again -- by any means necessary. The mentality is trickling to their population and reflecting in their representative, like Evgeni Plushenko. It is a trend America must watch.