El zar de los franceses

MOSCÚ – Vladimir Putin lo ha conseguido por fin. Rusia lleva siglos pugnando por lograr el aprecio de Occidente y la aprobación de los franceses, premio anhelado desde la época de Pedro el Grande, es la más codiciada, pero, pese a la derrota de Napoleón y a la alianza en la primera guerra mundial, Rusia nunca consiguió obtener respeto alguno de Francia. De hecho, las Cartas de Rusia del Marqués de Custine sugerían que la civilización rusa equivalía a poco más que mímica de monos.

Pero ahora parece haber recibido el sello aprobatorio francés, ¡y qué sello pantagruélico es, al  encarnarse en la corpulenta constitución del actor Gérard Depardieu, quien solicitó –y ya ha recibido– la ciudadanía rusa! Junto con un pasaporte, se le ofrece un piso gratuito en la región de Mordovia (que sigue siendo un emplazamiento del Gulag) e incluso un cargo: el de ministro de Cultura local. Dos siglos después de que las tropas francesas fueran expulsadas de Moscú en 1812, Putin ha logrado que un ídolo popular francés quiera ser ruso.

En Rusia y en otros países, existe la opinión de que los franceses se sienten superiores y actúan como tales. ¿Y quién podría reprochárselo? La belleza artística francesa no tiene parangón. Los franceses son los árbitros de la cultura europea y desde hace mucho los más expertos observadores de los usos y costumbres de otros países. De hecho, en el decenio de 1830 dos franceses, Alexis de Tocqueville y Custine, fueron a los márgenes de la civilización a describir las futuras superpotencias rivales: los Estados Unidos y Rusia.

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