Russians Lack Empathy for Victims of Violence

I believe that there is a deep and tragic reason behind Russian society’s attitude toward these events. Russians lack empathy for victims. They see any misfortune as a sign of weakness that does not warrant empathy.

In Europe, expressions of empathy motivate such public campaigns as “Je suis Charlie.” But for Russians, it requires no mental stretch to imagine the lot of the victim. An ancestor, neighbor or friend has already fallen victim in some way. Violence and suffering are not abstractions in Russia, but daily realities.

In fact, that fear of the aggressor and of becoming a victim actually drives Russians into the arms of the aggressor. When you rule out ever becoming a victim, you unwittingly align yourself with the aggressor.

By Gleb Kuznetsov