After the Berlin Wall collapsed, the world population started to see Russians up close and personal. The world got to learn that Russians are not always walking with balalaika and vodka while being chained to a bear. European cities are filled with Russian-speaking tourists. They look normal. Ignore the small group of them dancing on the restaurant tables after a day of skiing in Courchevel. Russian export oil, weapons, and computer programmers. Americans and Russians became really good friends in Space exploration (where else?).
After 20 years of personal contacts lots of Westerners are still having troubles understanding the Russian Soul. Do you know why they are not smiling? Trying to figure out what Mr. Putin really means speaking while talking about Ukraine? Can’t figure out how on Earth a brigade of unarmed Ukrainian Soldiers can come up with an idea of marching toward Russian military pointing AK-47 at them? Spending $51B on Olympics to improve the image of Russia followed by the immediate invasion of Ukraine to seriously damage the above doesn’t make any sense to you? Russians programmers work for/with you and “trying to do better” get carried away and miss deadlines?
I got good news for you! Enroll into Coursera’s free trainig “Understanding Russians“. Spend 9 week working hard for 4-6 hours a day, and you may get a chance to understand Boris and Natasha. Does it worth the efforts?