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Winston is right about Russian user/taker mentality

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Russia, Ukraine, or the former Soviet Republics.

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Postby Winston » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:06 am

Ladislav,
I don't understand the long diatribe about cultural differences and historic ethnic prejudices, etc. It seems irrelevant. None of that changes the fact that you get SCAMMED and taken advantage of and cheated A LOT MORE than you do in other countries. That has been my experience and the experience of the OP. It has nothing to do with culture or language.

Personally I fit into the culture of Russia ok. I had a good time there. I felt at home in some ways too. My personality fit in as well. My outgoingness was reciprocated with outgoingness back.

But the fact is the fact.

I got scammed, used and leeched off of more than anywhere else in the world. And so have many others. Why do you not address this?

If you are claiming that lack of understanding the culture is to blame, then how come not understanding the culture in other countries doesn't lead to getting scammed, used and cheated as often as in Russia? Isn't that a copout?

Also, as I said, all the neighboring countries surrounding Russia have negative opinions of Russians. Doesn't that tell you something? Why do you think that is? Isn't there a reason for that?
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Postby ladislav » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:50 am

Am I writing something here that is too difficult for you to understand or am I being a bit too verbose?

Where is my logic missing, where do I not make sense and why is my reasoning circular and convoluted? Where did I use Russian style reasoning? And I do not drink vodka at all. I have got a bad liver and even beer is bad for me.

If I were Russian I would be on the next plane there. Too bad I am not.

Rude Russian tourists? This coming from the French?

Read this:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/ ... 58,00.html

http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/30457

http://www.gadling.com/2007/05/23/frenc ... -tourists/

If they keep discriminating against people by nationality, they will soon get sued in the European Court for Human Rights. It is illegal in Europe.

How come you do not get scammed in other countries where you do not know the culture? Because they are richer, less chaotic and are more stable. More urbanized and more 'civilized'. Not going through upheavals. East Slavic countries are wild and the wildness is part of the present 'culture/ways/mentality'. Know it before you go. Know how to avoid problems there. Can't hack it? Either toughen up and wise up, or stay in the "civilised" 1st world countries. Too bad girls are not pretty there.

When I went to the US I could not count the times I got scammed with "business opportunities" and investments. In America they rip you off legally. Mutual funds, the stock market, things like that. Lost a lot there. All legal, smart. And got a laugh from other people. "You naive idiot". Because I did not know the America's ways and the scams that go on. Got ripped off by a couple of schools, too. Did not know how to protect myself. Americans know scams and scammers and know what to do and what not to do. Naive immigrants do not. Look at how many just went bust with the Subprime Mortgages and rates that went up. Small print, things like that. So many tricks go on in the US but you know them. There it is kind of similar. You need to know how to play the game.

As around the world I travel, I meet lots of funny men. So will rob you with a stick gun; some with a fountain pen.

Woodie Guthrie

Personally I think E. Slavic Orthodox and Anglo Saxon or Catholic ways of life are incompatible. Too different. Almost as different as Islamic countries would be from the US or other such places. Either you like the way they do things and can live with the bad parts of it or you can't. That's just that.

Not all Russia's neighbors have a negative opinion of Russia. In Ukraine, only the West sometimes says something. Most Orthodox countries like Russia. Greece, Serbia, Macedonia all like it.
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Postby Winston » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:34 pm

Ladislav,
So you get scammed in the US but never in Russia? I find that hard to believe. That's like hitting home runs in the major league but striking out in little league. lol

Honestly though, the scams in the US, or rather the "legal scams" are very obvious and follow the same patterns. They use typical sales tactics, flood you with emotions and hype without details, make big promises on paper, etc. and contain problems and unanswerable questions. Any shrewd person recognizes them after a while.

When you got scammed with the business ventures in the US, if you had not jumped in without thinking, and instead consulted with wise knowledgeable people like Momopi first, you would not have been taken in. All you have to do to avoid scams in the US is check them out first with trusted credible sources, before agreeing to anything or handing over your money. It's so easy to avoid scams in the US.

I never get scammed in the US even.

The scams in Russia are far more complex and often involve group conspiracies, or groups of people working together. A lot of improvisational skills are involved in them.

I take it you never read this story of mine?

http://www.happierabroad.com/The_Privat ... e_Scam.htm

If not, please read it and let me know what you think. It's a very revealing true account of how Russians can conspire in a group to scam someone, making everything look believable along the way.

You will also be shocked at what people are capable of, which I've never experienced anywhere else.

Rich vs. poor country may be a factor, but it's not the only factor here.

If it were, then all poor countries would be like Russia. But they aren't. In the Philippines for example, is it common for a girl to spike a guy's drink, take him back to his place and then rob him? That was happening a lot in Russia when I left. I saw it happen to one guy, and heard about it from several others. Do you think that would happen in India? I doubt it. So, being poor is not the only reason it happens in Russia. People must be vicious and cruel and cold hearted deep down as well to do that.

And what about all the double standards and hypocrisies? Are they due to cultural differences only? Or just pure evil and greed?

For example, in Russia, a foreigner is expected to spend without complaining, pay any high price without protesting, and be very generous to everyone, and not count his money. Yet the locals are stingier than scrooge, giving nothing away for free. Waitresses will run across the street after you if they think you shorted them just ONE rouble (approx two cents) which has happened to be several times. And the metro ticket lady will not give you a token if you are short even 10 kopeks (worth a fraction of a penny) which happened to me once too. Nothing is complimentary there at all. Apartment owners will not even let their tenants have friends stay over for the night, especially if he's a foreigner. There is obviously an extreme and utter hatred toward giving.

Yet in spite of all that, lots of Russians like to blab "Russian people are very generous. American people are very greedy and count their money." WTF?

Can you explain this one? Cause so far, no one has been able to.

Is it due to cultural difference, or pure hypocrisy and meanness?
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Postby ladislav » Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:24 am

One of the problems I see in many bitter experiences here is the 'inability to handle culture shocks'- when I mean culture, again, I mean overall practices, beliefs, good and bad. Not preparing thoroughly and looking before you leap. Not reading enough books about how things are where you go to. Not knowing what you are getting into. Studying about the dangers. Also, expecting too much. Unrealistic expectations! What did the person expect when he married into another culture, when he went to live there. If he was disappointed, he must have expected something better. Why?

I had a similar experience in Thaland and it took me a long time to overcome the bitterness after my experience. But Thailand ( as well as the US) promises many things. Friendly people- most are not. Lots of grim faces. Buddhist religion- very few people there now adhere to it properly- most are into materialism- lack of discrimination- actually, there's a lot of it there and a lot of hatred against white people and other non Orientals- they would not let you into bars at times. Things like that. And they like to invite you there. I bought into it. No more!

The US promises- "one nation under God"- why is everyone then divided into Blacks, Whites, Asians, native born, foreign born? Why are not all US citizens can just be Americans by nationality? Among other things.

It talks about the educated population. Best universities. Why so many ignorant people then?

It promises liberty but there are so many laws that micro-manage your life; the largest prison poplation in the world?

I no longer believe in promises like these.

The good thing about countries like Russia or Colombia or the Philippines is that they do not promise you jack sh*t! They do not call you there and one should not be expecting much from them. I like the Philipines because it is honest about its problems. I am realistic as to what I can expect here. I have learned my hard lessons here, have adjusted and know how to protect myself here. I have handled the culture shock quite well. It cost me dearly but I am now feeling very comfortable here.

The warning by the original poster is well meant, and I agree with him- watch out where you are going. Know how things are in Russia. It is not an easy country. But try and understand where they are coming from and see if it is for you. Do not expect to find another America there.

I would also caution against developing racial/ethnic hatreds and lashing out at people and stereotyping, as well as infusing those steretypes into others. You will slander many good people whom you have not yet met and I bet whose language you cannot speak. Also, in the case of Russia, I strongly recommend that you absolutely know the mentality well. I for one, canot imagine how one can function there without knowing the local ways. I could not.


In the US, there is no mercy for foreigners that do not know local ways/rules. Same in other countries, too.


So you get scammed in the US but never in Russia? I find that hard to believe. That's like hitting home runs in the major league but striking out in little league. lol



I lived there in the Communist times, I was a teenager. Money was not important. There were no businesses. I have not been there in 17 years- went to visit in 1991-1992. Got overcharged by a taxi driver when I was there in 1991-1992. Nothing else. Did not get involved with anyone while there.


Honestly though, the scams in the US, or rather the "legal scams" are very obvious and follow the same patterns. They use typical sales tactics, flood you with emotions and hype without details, make big promises on paper, etc. and contain problems and unanswerable questions. Any shrewd person recognizes them after a while.



Ah, see, shrewed person within the American context. Someone who knows the local culture - by culture , I mean ways, good and bad, not concerts/music etc., business culture- good/bad ways, dealings, scams. I did not know any better. To me they were not obvious.


When you got scammed with the business ventures in the US, if you had not jumped in without thinking, and instead consulted with wise knowledgeable people like Momopi first, you would not have been taken in.

Oh I see. Well, there were no such people around at that time. I was new in the country. There was no internet. No momopis.

All you have to do to avoid scams in the US is check them out first with trusted credible sources, before agreeing to anything or handing over your money. It's so easy to avoid scams in the US.

Thank you for telling me now. I can avoid them now. At that time I could not. I did not know that they were scams. Because they advertised in legit magazines, etc. See, I was a dumb greenhorn.

I never get scammed in the US even.



Good for you, congratulations to you!

The scams in Russia are far more complex and often involve group conspiracies, or groups of people working together. A lot of improvisational skills are involved in them.

I take it you never read this story of mine?

http://www.happierabroad.com/The_Privat ... e_Scam.htm



Thank you for letting me know about those. I hope they do not happen to me. I never heard of those because in Commie times, no such things were happening.


If not, please read it and let me know what you think. It's a very revealing true account of how Russians can conspire in a group to scam someone, making everything look believable along the way.



Very interesting. Thank you for this. I had no idea those things went on.

You will also be shocked at what people are capable of, which I've never experienced anywhere else.


OK.

Rich vs. poor country may be a factor, but it's not the only factor here.


Absolutely. Every country would have its unique evil-ness.

If it were, then all poor countries would be like Russia. But they aren't. In the Philippines for example, is it common for a girl to spike a guy's drink, take him back to his place and then rob him? That was happening a lot in Russia when I left. I saw it happen to one guy, and heard about it from several others.

No, not in RP. But in Thailand, it is very common.

Do you think that would happen in India? I doubt it. So, being poor is not the only reason it happens in Russia. People must be vicious and cruel and cold hearted deep down as well to do that.



In India, it would be mostly business scams. Like in the US.

And what about all the double standards and hypocrisies? Are they due to cultural differences only? Or just pure evil and greed?




Evil and greed of course. But again, I was not there in those times. Nothing like this was happening in USSR times.

For example, in Russia, a foreigner is expected to spend without complaining, pay any high price without protesting, and be very generous to everyone, and not count his money. Yet the locals are stingier than scrooge, giving nothing away for free. Waitresses will run across the street after you if they think you shorted them just ONE rouble (approx two cents) which has happened to be several times. And the metro ticket lady will not give you a token if you are short even 10 kopeks (worth a fraction of a penny) which happened to me once too. Nothing is complimentary there at all. Apartment owners will not even let their tenants have friends stay over for the night, especially if he's a foreigner. There is obviously an extreme and utter hatred toward giving.



Interesting. The same thing as in Thailand. I think what happens in those two countries is that the "Barin"- I hope you know what 'Barin' means, should be taking care of the poor classes and treat them. Plus, foreigners are rich to begin with if they have money to go to Russia. However, when I was a kid there, the one that had more shared ith others, who did not have much. It was the peasant/serf thing. But it is the same in the Philippines, as well.

Yet in spite of all that, lots of Russians like to blab "Russian people are very generous. American people are very greedy and count their money." WTF?


It is the peasant/village/sharing thing. The one who has the money would share with others who do not. That is what they would do with their groups. That is very similar to what I observed in Thailand.
Can you explain this one? Cause so far, no one has been able to.


Peasant thing?
Is it due to cultural difference, or pure hypocrisy and meanness?


Mean peasant thing. Years of having been deprived of things. Social classes that are separated? Communal survival thing among peasants/serfs? Generous means- the peasant that has more shares with those who have less. Rural commune laws? I think that is the reason.

Did you meet any intellectual/artistic people there. Writers. poets, intelligentsia class? Did they act the same way.
Last edited by ladislav on Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby momopi » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:40 pm

*** DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL MONEY MANAGER. I OWN VANGUARD FUNDS. DO NOT BLAME ME IF YOUU TAKE MY ADVICE AND LOSE MONEY ***


I've worked in the US mutual fund industry for over 12 years. Mutual funds invest in stocks, which carry risk and don't guarentee returns. There's some misconceptions on what "risk" is, allow me to explain:

- Stock market swings up and down. The risk in buying stocks is obvious.

- Bank CD's, money market, and government bonds/t-bills are safter but produce lower rates of return. Your risk is against inflation. If your bank CD produce 3% returns and the inflation is 5%, you just lost $.

- Even if you put your $ into precious metals, such as gold, the price swings up and down like stocks and real estate. If you bought gold at $800 per oz today and had to sell it next year for $500 per oz, you just lost $.

- If you put your cash under the mattress, you're still at risk vs. inflation.

==========

Investing is taking risks to make money over cost. These are very easy to understand:

- You can manage risk through asset allocation (risk management)

- The less you pay in fees/expenses/taxes, the better off you are (cost management)



Asset allocation:

Choice #1: read a few books from this list to get educated:
http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Taylor_L ... tment_Gems

Choice #2: automatic investment for dummies:
http://socialize.morningstar.com/NewSoc ... 28297.aspx

Buy 4 mutual funds:
Money Market fund
Total Stock Market Fund
Total International Fund
Total Bond Market Fund

Invest 25% each and set up automatic investments. i.e. if you have $20,000 cash and can afford to invest $400 per month, put $5k in each fund and set-up automatic monthly investment to put $100 into each fund. Once in a while you may wish to re-balance the portfolio, but post in the Bogleheads forum and ask for advice first. Vanguard index and total market funds are suitable for this strategy.


Cost management:

If your mutual fund makes 8% per year, and you're paying 2% annual fees to the fund + 2% fee to your broker, you just lost half of your profits. If someone comes to you with a "system" they want to sell that will "make big money", chances are that they're the guy who'd ding you x% or even xx%. Tell them to take a hike.

Look for low cost index funds and total market funds, with no loads and very low annual fees. Buy directly from the mutual fund company and not your broker or financial adviser. But if you're the type who needs someone to tell you what to do, then get a good reputable financial adviser to help you set everything up first.

Check www.vanguard.com, their index funds and total market funds usually have pretty low fees. For example, the industry average for total bond index funds is 1.04%, Vanguard's VBMFX charges only 0.22% and has NO 12B-1 fees, NO purchase fee (front end load), NO redemption fee (back end load), and NO hidden charges.
Last edited by momopi on Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby momopi » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:45 pm

Recommended reading:

Boglehead's Guide to Investing
http://www.amazon.com/Bogleheads-Guide- ... 938&sr=1-1

The coffeehouse investor
http://www.amazon.com/New-Coffeehouse-I ... 997&sr=1-1

Plus anything by John C. Bogle:
http://www.amazon.com/John-C.-Bogle/e/B ... r_dp_pel_1


It amazes me that people would spend weeks researching for a car and hours bargaining with the dealership's salesman for a $20k car, but wouldn't submit a counter-offer on a 400k house or give all their life savings to some swinders promising "guarenteed cash system" after a 30 min presentation. >_>
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Postby Winston » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:03 pm

Yeah I met a few intelligentsia people at banyas and also some hippies at Rainbow Gatherings. I wasn't able to date them though. Only the low class girls in Russia were the most open to being chatted up.

It seems then, Ladislav, that the Russia you grew up in was very different than the one now. Crime must have been very low in the USSR, and I heard nightlife was virtually nonexistent as well.

BTW Ladislav, a rule of thumb about business scams. If you tell them you want to go home and think about it or check up on it or ask your friends for advice, and they tell you that you should act NOW or else the opportunity will be gone tomorrow, that is a HUGE RED FLAG of a scam. It means they are preying on your emotions and do not wish you to think about it or investigate it. It means they have something to hide. So basically, if they don't want you to think it over, then they are trying to rip you off and know that there is a high probability that you will change your mind if you think about it or consult with others over it.
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Re: Winston is right

Postby SNS » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:34 pm

tjh14 wrote:Hello,
I am an American who lived and worked in Ukraine for a year and was married to a Russian woman for 5 years in America. I didn't know about his site until recently, but I have taken a similar life path since my divorce to the Russian. I live in Beijing now., but I digress...
I was once fascinated with everything Russian, but now I wonder what I was thinking, or what delusional state I had slipped into. I know at least 1,000 Russians and Ukrainians, and only a handful of them can be trusted. This is a summary of my observations and life experience regarding Russian/Slavic culture:

Kindness is confused with weakness
Brutality is confused with strength
The end justifies the means
It is clever to be able to rip somebody off
Lying and convoluted logic are acceptable if it will help me get what I want
A man without money is like a man without a penis

Winston has it all nailed down with the User/Taker mentality. That is at the core of all their dysfunctional behavior. They really can't seem to be able to help themselves if an opportunity arises for them to take something. It appears to be in their blood. What this means is that you really cannot ever trust your wife or best friends enough to make yourself vulnerable to them. I have had my heart broken by people who I thought loved me; maybe they did, but if they saw a chance to make a profit by betraying our relationship, they would do it. They knew it was wrong, but they couldn't resist.
If you want to understand how a Russian thinks, watch some mafia movies. They think like the mafia. Anyone is expendible for a profit.

I'd advise men to avoid the slavic countries and go to asia. People are decent here. Not so in Eastern Europe.

What you say? This hasn't been your experience? Well, this hasn't happened to you YET. You're Eligible Too.

I think the above is valid. i also think that Ladislav has some valid points too.

There are a lot of assholes in Russia and Ukraine, but there are decent folk to be had, however one must thread very, very carefully. I can understand that if you are an American and living in Ukraine or Russia you simply get fed up with watching such a corrupt zeitgeist and want to get the hell out.

On one hand the history of east Europe is fascinating, unfortunately it has a dark side too. And yes to be honest there are other places in the world that overall are more decent I'm afraid to say. I have visited Ukraine a lot and enjoy doing so for my own reasons, but not because of the women who are beautiful, but I like the fact that they go their own way and do not want to be a part of the EU or go along with the USA. it's refreshing.

I have never been to Asia, but not sure if I would like it. Yes the women there are quite cute, but my personal preferences are more white Nordic types.
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Postby ladislav » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:11 pm

I was born in Ukraine ( but I do not have citizenship there and am not eligible for it). Based on my living there as a teenager, it is not an easy place because well, you need to be street smart to live there. If you do not know the score, you will fall into traps. Yup, be warned! It is all about expectations. What did you really expect from it?
I have been beaten there as a teenager- once a girl who I thought was mine sicked her new boyfriend on me who beat me up. If you do not know the culture there, do not have connections and do not speak the language - yup- no English is spoken- you run the risk of a a failure. However, the place has many social classes and you need to find people who are of a higher edicational background- I am in touch with some college girls there now and girls who are athletes and such and they are angelic in all respects. But these do not speak English and do not actively go looking for foreigners or to emigrate. If you want to live in UA, you need to start humbly, get a job, learn the language and how to avoid pitfalls. You also need to be in the right area and get to know the right people. Otherwise, you will attract trash. There are many very honest people there- even more honest than in the USA and great girls, but it will all take time and you will need to be doing things on their terms, not your American terms. Otherwise, do yourself a favor- go to a country that had a long standing relationship with America and find a good girl that likes all things American, that speaks English and that understands Americans- the Philippines would be nice.
But UA is not it.
I was there in the summer and the people there are very much into their culture and they do not give a sh-t about the US or Russia or the EU for that matter. Or people from those countries. And going there without knowing the language or the culture is suicidal. I would never dare do that.
But your generalizations about the culture there describe some low classes. Kind of like poor people in the US- rednecks and the like. Mountain men. Hillbillies. That is the kind of people you got involved with. You did not get involved with the art community, college girls, writers, poets of whom there are millions. Nothing like that would have happened to you. But for this, you need to know the language and study about the place. Otherwise you can get into the same soup as what Koreans get into when they end up in the US- slam into in the ghetto, insulted and mistreated, attacked; never learning English and probably thinking that America is hell. They ended up with the wrong crowd. So did you.
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Postby SNS » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:45 pm

ladislav wrote:I was born in Ukraine ( but I do not have citizenship there and am not eligible for it). Based on my living there as a teenager, it is not an easy place because well, you need to be street smart to live there....... I have been beaten there as a teenager- once a girl who I thought was mine sicked her new boyfriend on me who beat me up.

Man, Ladislav shit like that happens in the USA all the time. That said i do sense a strong 'hardcoreness" in Russia and Ukraine.. and I'm not sure what it is..maybe it's the casinos.. the fact that from a business perspective Russians and Ukrainians operate on a different moral compass. Not sure.
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Postby Mr S » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:02 pm

Koreans are pretty racist and think they are the highest form of Asian race (but Japanese and Chinese think the same). They were smarter than blacks when they started immigrating to America and stole the black beauty business right from under their black American noses. (they also have the dry cleaning business market pretty much cornered as well) Actually, it's pretty funny and goes to show you the mentality of the average black in America nowadays. They could have stopped it from happening in the first place but only when they have nobody but to blame themselves do they start whining about it.

http://www.racialicious.com/2006/12/15/ ... re-market/

Do Korean-Americans control the black hair care market?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

There’s a self-funded documentary causing some buzz online. The documentary, “Black Hair,â€￾ is by a white filmmaker named Aron Ranen.

It positions itself as an expose revealing that “Koreans have come to control virtually every aspect of the multi-billion dollar, black hair care industry, from manufacturing to distribution to retail sales, while simultaneously employing tactics to put African-American merchants and wholesalers out of business,â€￾ as per this EURWeb.com article. (Thanks to mr guy for the tip!)

I haven’t had a chance to watch the entire thing yet, but it’s definitely an interesting topic. I worry though, that a project like this will only serve to escalate tensions between blacks and Koreans. In fact, one of the black distributors featured in the film was arrested for allegedly attempting to burn down the store of a Korean competitor.

Also, I wonder if the film will attempt to explore why it is that African-Americans don’t control a larger share of the black hair care market. After all, there’s been a long history of entrepreneurship among black women, in particular (think Madame CJ Walker). What happened between then and now? And how were Korean immigrants able to break into this industry when the barriers to entry — in the beginning, at least — must have been quite formidable?

Below the documentary, you can actually watch the whole thing online on YouTube:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p96aaTSdrAE
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWeLiXHcSyU
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azfEeDRvdlc
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m67P2kT7TzQ
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Postby momopi » Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:14 pm

The Korean-Black confrontation occured in 1992 LA Riots era. After that the blacks pretty much went into a demographic decline, replaced by Hispanic immigrants.

In LA the foot massage business is dominated by Mainland Chinese immigrants, the nail salons by Vietnamese, and so on. At one time 7-11's were dominated by South Asian immigrant business owners.
momopi
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Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:44 am
Location: Orange County, California

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