“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” So begins L.P. Hartley’s classic novel The Go-Between. An equally valid (but perhaps less elegant) opening sentence would have been, “Russia is a foreign country: they do things very differently there. I mean, really, Russians are strange.”
If you pay attention to viral videos, you sort of get the impression that if you were to travel to Russia, you’d see the following things immediately upon getting off the plane: people jumping off bridges in unison, exploding cars, trucks crashing into gas stations, people hanging from radio towers without safety harnesses, endless streams of soldiers jumping out of clown cars, and if this latest video is to be believed, random beach invasions.
It’s telling that none of the sunbathers seem particularly surprised by the sudden onslaught of tanks. Maybe if all the tanks had plummeted off a bridge while on fire, it would have elicited a stronger reaction. But things are apparently so strange in Russia that tanks on a beach only warrant a, “Huh, that was slightly out of the ordinary. I’m going to look at something else now”-type response.