Der Zar der Franzosen

MOSKAU – Wladimir Putin hat es endlich geschafft. Jahrhundertelang buhlte Russland um die Wertschätzung des Westens, wobei dem Land die Anerkennung durch Frankreich  – heiß ersehnt seit der Zeit Peters des Großen  – am meisten am Herzen lag.  Aber trotz der Niederlage Napoleons und des Bündnisses im Ersten Weltkrieg gelang es Russland nie, den Respekt Frankreichs zu gewinnen. Tatsächlich deutete Marquis de Custine in seinem Buch Russland im Jahre 1839 an, dass die russische Kultur wenig mehr sei, als eine Nachäffung anderer.

Doch jetzt scheint man das französische Gütesiegel verliehen bekommen zu haben. Und es ist ein gewaltiges Gütesiegel in Form des korpulenten Schauspielers Gérard Depardieu, der die russische Staatsbürgerschaft anstrebte – und nun auch zuerkannt bekam. Neben dem russischen Pass werden ihm eine kostenlose Wohnung in der Region Mordwinien (wo es immer noch Gulags gibt) und sogar ein Job als lokaler Kulturminister angeboten. Zwei Jahrhunderte nachdem französische Truppen im Jahr 1812  aus Moskau vertrieben wurden, erreichte Putin, dass ein populäres französisches Idol Russe werden wollte.

In Russland und anderswo hat man den Eindruck, dass sich die  Franzosen oftmals überlegen fühlen und sich auch so verhalten. Und wer könnte es ihnen verdenken? Die Schönheit der französischen Kunst sucht ihresgleichen. Die Franzosen gelten als Maßstab europäischer Kultur und sie zählten lange Zeit zu den aufmerksamsten Beobachten von Sitten und Gebräuchen anderer Länder. Tatsächlich erkundeten zwei Franzosen – Alexis de Tocqueville und Custine – in den 1830er Jahren die Vorposten der Zivilisation, um die später rivalisierenden Supermächte Amerika und Russland zu beschreiben.

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