That's nice. But in 2006, according to New York City records, the Big Apple received 420,000 visits from Germans -- and Germans were only in third place overall, far behind the United Kingdom with over a million visitors. The United States was in second place behind Germany in sending tourists to Moscow, according to Kremlin data -- yet Russia wasn't even in the top 15 countries sending tourists to New York City. China was in third place in sending tourists to Moscow, yet it sent virtually the same number of tourists to New York City and ranked only #16 there. Overall, Moscow claimed 4 million tourists while New York City had 7.25 million - nearly twice as many.
These are damning statistics. They irrefutably show not only that Americans are far more willing to reach out towards Russia than vice versa, they show that Russians are antagonizing the entire world to a breathtaking extent, utterly failing to act like a civilized nation that can build friendships with other countries.
And when you then think about the fact that America has many other famous international tourist cities (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando) while Russia has at most one (St. Petersburg), you then realize the true extent to which tourism to the United States overall dwarfs tourism that to Russia - it's the same extent to which the mighty U.S. economy and military pulverize their Russian counterparts. Go further, and realize that no thinking person can credit statistics offered by the Kremlin as being remotely accurate, and you'll see that Russia is in fact being utterly repudiated by the tourists of the civilized world. Kommersant for instance reports that last year 9.4 million Russians left the country as tourists, but only 2.2 million foreigners entered Russia as tourists and concludes "similar to the country’s economy, the tourism is the export-targeted here." The paper states: " The number of tourist trips to Russia sank 9 percent vs. 2006."
What makes Russia so repugnant compared to a country like the United States which is supposedly hated by the entire world, and one with a far smaller amount of actual territory for tourists to actually visit?
Well, the main thing of course is that Russians simply hate foreigners and want to destroy them. Why else would a country with such a puny economy be baiting and provoking the entire Western World into a new cold war war and arms race? When Russians were asked whether foreign tourists were welcome in their country, their answer placed them #119 out of 124 countries surveyed (see page 443 of the report) by the World Economic Forum. Thus, it's no big surprise to learn that while the U.S. ranked #5 in the world in overall tourism competitiveness, "mighty" Russia ranked a pathetic #68 out of 124 (see page xvi of the report).
Then there's the cruelty and barbarism at home. Take for instance the recent report from Forbes magazine that Russia has more billionaires than any other country but the U.S. The 87 Russians who made the Forbes list of world's wealthiest people control almost $500 billion between them -- roughly half of one-year's total GDP for the entire country. This clan of Putin cohorts is sucking the blood of the impoverished nation (Russia isn't in the world's top 50 nations for purchasing power per capita GDP) like leeches, no different than what the Tsar and his court were doing to Russia's peasants a hundred years ago -- leading to the Bolshevik revolution -- and no different from what the Bolsheviks themselves then did, leading to their own downfall. The repugnance of seeing this kind of wealth displayed next to men who don't live on average to see their sixtieth year and work for $4/hour on average is enough to turn anyone's stomach.
And on top of that, to say nothing of the raw danger of visiting Russia (it has the world's fifth highest murder rate, for instance, and widespread pollution and disease leading to the loss of up to 1 million Russians from the population each year) and the godawful levels of police corruption and medical care, there's Russian hypocrisy. Russia insists that Chechnya is nobody's business but Russia's, and demands that the world leave Kosovo to Serbia, yet it has no problem actively supporting separatist regions in other countries, like Georgia for example, and uses tactics of energy blackmail to bludgeon places like Ukraine. Russia wails to high heaven about "unilateralism" from the United States, then turns around and delivers exactly that attitude towards the former Soviet slave states. Russia complains about America provoking a new cold war, yet it is Russia and not America that is buzzing the other side with nuclear bombers. How can anyone possibly take a country like this even remotely seriously as a civilized partner?
As has always been the case with Russia, the country believes it can use propaganda and sleight of hand to simply fool the world into believing it is attractive. The idea of a "Potemkin Village" rather than actual reform is a constant right the way through Russian history, and the Kremlin's recent attempts at PR blitzes are just another step along that road. The pathetic attempt of Russia Today, the Kremlin's state-owned TV propaganda campaign, to use Josef Stalin as a pitchman, is really all you need to know. Russians, just like their Soviet predecessors, really believe they are that much smarter than the rest of the world that they can get away with things like this. They live in a world of total isolation from real self analysis and criticism, the world of the Emperor's New Clothes, the world that destroyed itself many times in the past and goes merrily on doing the same without repentance, headed for oblivion.
The most recent indication of Russia's neo-Sovietization was the purchase by Gazprom of the Russian version of YouTube. The Kremlin owns Gazprom, Gazprom owns YouTube, and the people of Russia strut around naked, preening as if covered in mink.