Why the Russian Spies May Have Won, Emotionally


Wondering who really got the best of whom in the aftermath of the U.S./Russia spy swap? A University of Michigan researcher named Igor Grossmann (full disclosure: He’s Ukrainian) has delved into the mysteries of Russian vs. American psychology to see who’s more “brooding.” As you might expect, the Russians won on that count, generally tending to “focus on their negative feelings the most.” But there’s a twist!

Rather remarkably, even though the Russians brooded the most, they were less depressed about it.

Priceless quote, from

“Among Westerners, focusing on one’s negative feelings tends to impair well-being, but among Russians, that is not the case,” the Ukrainian murmured to himself, yearning as ever for the fertile plains of his native land and his lost love Olga.

The relative emotional difference between Russians and Americans may be chalked up to Russians enjoying a lot of nice, depressing discourse about their troubles — Grossman mentions the “most basic, most rudimentary spiritual need of the Russian people is the need for suffering, ever-present and unquenchable, everywhere and in everything,” which sounds just like something a Russian would say! Hence, they may have formulated some good distancing techniques, or at the very least, they sort of weirdly enjoy suffering. Also, when all else fails, they have really good vodka.