Bear-hounding is a hunting technique, in which a pack of dogs pursues a bear until exhaustion—at that point the hunter can make his kill. And that is to what Karen Shakhnazarov, a well-known Russian filmmaker of Armenian origin, compared Russia’s predicament in the current geopolitical situation.
As the Tariff-War Must End, Udo Keppler, Puck, U.S., 1901. Source: LOC.
The bear analogy in Russia’s case is a contrived and, often, derogatory image describing the barbaric Other outside the West. It has deep historic roots, as literary and artistic examples indicate. But it is also one that works metaphorically. As a large continental power spanning Eurasia including some of the coldest places on earth—one with nuclear capabilities—Russia is not unlike the bear. In fact, many Russians themselves have reappropriated this comparison.
Even President Vladimir Putin has used it on a number of occasions.
Translated by Nina Kouprianova
The views of the original author do not necessarily reflect those of the translator.
We must understand that the role of Igor Strelkov is fundamental. This is a type of Russian idealist, conservative, and true patriot that destroyed the abyss between principles and actions; this abyss is the paralyzing scourge of our patriotism. When Russians realize acutely that their values are being ridiculed, their interests are being sold, and their government is being appropriated not by the best, but by the most ignoble, what do they do? They yearn, whine, blame the intellectual elites (as per Augustin Cochin), drink, of course, and form minor movements that the System quickly breaks apart. The most passionate ones plunge into fights, aggression, along with meaningless violence and sacrifice. Some are bribed for the opposition’s technical purposes, others are curated by the police and secret service. This is a vicious circle. No one strikes the actual enemy, no one asserts one’s purpose, no one goes all the way to the end, firmly and with one’s head held high. After all, it is young guys that sacrifice themselves, Russian nationalists, National Bolsheviks, or “Far Eastern partisans,” dying in fights or ending up in prison without rhyme or reason. This affects no one. Russians continue their dreams of the everyday. Others spend decades on meaningless chatter and flaunting. A pathetic sight.