Cubans attitude towards Russia
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Aug 9, 2013 1:01 AM Last Post By: Caney
Sep 20, 2012 10:07 AM
Cubans attitude towards RussiaI have traveled quite a bit in Cuba and understand how they feel about me (American) and how they feel about Europeans. I'm not saying I truly understand these but I have a good idea. But I do wonder how they feel about Russia. For example do they feel abandoned by them? Hateful towards them? Thankful and understanding that their desertion was beyond Russia's control.Did Cubans enjoy it when their country was full of Russian soldiers and technocrats, ect. Did the two personalities clash? Many intermarriages? ........I bet there is a smart person on this forum that knows, please share.
Sep 21, 2012 11:13 AM
1Only 20 years after Russians left Cuba, the Russian influence is almost invisible, bar a few thousands of Ladas. The two never really mingles: most Russians were living in seperate compounds, never understood the Cuban way of life, remained music-deaf, did not manage to go beyong the 1-2-3 of casino or understand what's so special about domino, un cafe carajillo or baseball. It's true some (mostly women) married Cubans and remained on the island, but the numbers are too low when one considers the sheer numbers of Russians who used to live here or Cubans who studied in Moscow, Minsk or Novosibirsk.
Thousands of Cubans studied in the USSR, many were actually there during the collapse and they have fascinating stories to tell. Now, when it comes to Cubans' opinions on Russians that stayed here...well mostly they called them bolos (bowling balls) because of how straight-faces and predictable they were, but you only hear few negative comments. Most people I've talked to would describe Russians as simple, work-dedicated, disciplined boring, good people.
Resentment towards the USSR? Not really. It's more of a "lastima" (pity) the USSR collapsed and dragged Cuba into the awful 90's, but it's very rare (although not unheard of) to hear of people cursing them or blaming them for anything. Personally, I find Cubans' stories from the USSR much more compelling that those of Russians in Cuba; the latter seem as they have never existed for some reason, the former are an inseparable addition to the Cuban fairytale.
Sep 21, 2012 7:33 PM
Sep 22, 2012 11:17 AM
3Los muñequitos rusos are very dear for Cubans living out of the island. This woman created this blog, although it seems it stopped 2 years ago:
And also 2 years ago there was this event in Havana (as you can see in the blog above):
Oct 17, 2012 1:00 PM
4I agree that the Soviet/Russian cultural influence is quite diminished/non-existent. However, the attitude of Cubans toward Russians is quite different than that towards the westerners. For example, when a "friend" asks " where you from" and the response is "Russo", their response is multifaceted (from popping out a russian phrase to talking in russian, to getting an invite to talk with a family member that studied in Russia). As a bonus, I do not get hassled as much by the "friends" and when I travel to Cuba I find myself closer to the Cubans due to my Russian heritage. Overall, Cuban attitude towards Russia is very positive to this day. IMHO
May 19, 2013 9:57 AM
5Interesting questions and answers
My idea is at least some, or maybe many, Cubans have good memories of the Cuban period. People who had significant positions at that time, and who now may have very little, or need to find a new way of living outside the houses they live, may have good reasons to think well of the Russians.
Cubans studied in Russia and gained academic degrees that give them important functions in Cuba today. Many Cuban professionals had jobs in the Russian satellite states, much like Cuban doctors and teachers in Venezuela today. After the contract also they were able to bring home substantial values, and many, or their sons even, still earn a good living carrying people on the motor cycles that they brought home with them.
I have talked to Cubans who insist that the economic level for instance in East Germany was at a much higher level than I knew. I am not sure who had been subjected to propaganda.
But many Cubans have as Yorgo says wrecked marriages to Russians and East Europeans. (I once witnessed a German mother arriving in Santiago with three mulatto sons to meet by a reluctant Cuban father).
I have never heard that the Russians were militarily invasive to Cubans. What went on at top level I have no idea. Many Cubans have memories of this period as a time of affluence, that gave themselves or their parents work and access to money and a material level that they no longer have. They call the Russians sovjecticos in, I think, recognition to the system set up there. Gorbachov, who, in at least Western European media, is seen as a hero for having brought an end their system, is seen by at least some Cubans as traitor who sold away the system, and of course is the cause of the very difficult years for Cuba.
I never read Cuban history text books but sense from obvious clashes that Cubans have been taught and are more interested in seeing the Cold War from the Russians perspective, and some are even genuinely more interested in this perspective, in conflict with the Western common view.
Reading through John Lewis Gaddis’ books on the Cold War which have been published with success in the US, he presents the view that the Russians had good reason to resist the US and UK. Among his credentials he was awarded the Bancroft Prize in 1973, if that may warrant for his objectivity.
It makes me also think that many Cubans in their heart have deep sympathy with the Russians, and still have with their present system and leadership. I think that is also what they tell their children. Even if Western tourists bring a living and are treated well, Russians tourists also form an important part of tourism in Cuba, as well as the Chinese students are more than welcome to study Spanish in Havana.
May 19, 2013 12:09 PM
6Not sure if this attitude still exists but not many years ago, if you wanted a Cuban trying to hustle you, to leave you alone....just tell them that you are Russian. That pretty much worked, 100% of the time. I tried it a few times in the late 90's and I can vouch for its' effectiveness.
Apparently Russians that vacationed in Cuba had no money to speak of, hence they wouldn't waste their time with one.
Aug 9, 2013 1:01 AM
7Just watched the video and remember this old thread...
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