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Thread: Russian mass media and life in the West

  1. #1 Russian mass media and life in the West 
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    In the course of recent tensions between Russia and the West, Russian mass media is spreading "horror stories" about life in the West. Some themes are repeating. I want to check credibility of two most common themes.

    1. Are Americans prohibited to perform even small repairs of their homes and houses on their own? I'm primarily considering houses privately owned by one person, without mortgage etc. Say, can you perform any of these repairs without formal approval and not being a licensed specialist:

    a. Glue new wallpaper
    b. Repaint interior of your house
    c. Replace a door lock
    d. Repaint exterior of your house; Repaint exterior of your house in a color you like
    e. Replace broken electric switch, socket or dimmer
    Are these regulations (if any) effectively enforced? Is this state/community dependent?

    2. Is that true, that any bruise on child's skin can trigger removal of the child from his family? Are immigrant families a special interest of child protection services? Is this state/community dependent?


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  3. #2  
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    Are you going to show where these stories are being published ?

    Are they in English or just Russian?


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  4. #3  
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    As I said, these themes are repeating in different sources, in different sorts and flavours. These stories are exclusively in Russian. Some are in press, some in the news on TV, some in the blogs, that look too good to be written by unpaid individuals.

    Here is one, in Russian: Жизнь в Америке - это диетический суп без соли и сметаны // AMUR.KP.RU Комсомольская правда в Благовещенске . Here a woman complains that she has to store butter in a freezer. If her son falls from a bicycle she uses frozen butter to avoid formation of a bruise and interest from social services. Also she tells that at school children (in general) are asked in provocative manner, like "Has your father beaten you again?" (Without any previous episodes of violence) The newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" is (at least was formerly) affiliated with Young Communist League
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    About the homes: It depends entirely on where you live. If you are a renter, or in one of the more draconian home owner associations, you might well have most of those restrictions--most American's who own their homes don't.

    The part about the bruise is untrue but unfortunately even believed by many Americans who out of often biases political opinion confuse the idea that a bruise might bring a social worker or a police to the door under suspicion of child abuse, but it will only go further (e.g., charges, counseling, parent education, removal of the child from home) if there's many other reasons that confirm that suspicion.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    About the homes: It depends entirely on where you live. If you are a renter, or in one of the more draconian home owner associations, you might well have most of those restrictions--most American's who own their homes don't
    Interesting, is there a correlation between restrictiveness of association rules and quality of real estate? Say, one can buy high quality house only in tightly regulated area. Is that true, that people are being ostracized for not maintaining certain lifestyle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The part about the bruise is untrue but unfortunately even believed by many Americans who out of often biases political opinion confuse the idea that a bruise might bring a social worker or a police to the door under suspicion of child abuse, but it will only go further (e.g., charges, counseling, parent education, removal of the child from home) if there's many other reasons that confirm that suspicion.
    Is this delusion maintained artificially? Are there any movies, TV shows, newscasts that spread this idea?


    In recent time Russian media is becoming more and more grotesque. Overall it is very interesting for me to compare Western, Russian, Latvian and some Russian Israeli media. Patterns of certain campaigns are recognizable in Russian media. Generally they don't write topics titled "Horrors of living in the West", but instead create "an informational background" of a sort, very believable and partly true.
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    About modifying a home: if you own it yourself, purely cosmetic interior modifications are your choice. Paint the interior whatever color you like, hang whatever wallpaper you like. If you rent from someone else, then you have to have permission. Exterior painting is usually up to the owner, but there are some areas that have homeowners associations that will not allow odd paint schemes that don't fit with the image the association is trying to project. The majority of homes are not part of such an association. For those that are, there is usually still some latitude for the owner to choose color schemes, but you have to be careful with unusual or garish schemes. Replacing your own door lock is fine. You are generally fine replacing electrical sockets, switches, or dimmers yourself. Actual in wall wiring is best done by a licensed professional; though not necessarily illegal to do yourself, it is pretty easy for an amateur to do it wrong and cause a fire hazard or wind up with circuits that don't work right. Housing codes do vary quite a bit from place to place, if you are unsure of local rules, it is best to hire a professional contractor, then if they fail to comply with local codes you can hold them legally responsible.

    Should you make some modification that violates building code, typically nothing will happen until the house is sold. Buyers may have the house inspected by an independent inspector before buying, if anything is found to not comply with building code the owner is responsible for correcting the issue before the home can be sold. Sometimes buyers will purchase a home without such an inspection. If code violations are found after the sale is final, the new owner will typically be responsible for bringing things up to code, though this can vary by local law. Should the house catch fire, investigation may reveal code violations that contributed to the fire. In some cases the owner may face legal penalties for code violations that contribute to a fire; also the home's builder or any contractors that did noncompliant work may be held responsible.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlasW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    About the homes: It depends entirely on where you live. If you are a renter, or in one of the more draconian home owner associations, you might well have most of those restrictions--most American's who own their homes don't
    Interesting, is there a correlation between restrictiveness of association rules and quality of real estate?
    Not necessarily. A person moving into one of those communities knows before hand that they are moving into a restrictive neighborhood/community and chances are they have sought out one of those communities to move into.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlasW View Post
    Say, one can buy high quality house only in tightly regulated area.
    The houses and property are usually well maintained but Homeowners associations are not even close to the norm here in the US and you can find high quality houses and property all over the nation without having to enter into a homeowners association.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlasW View Post
    Is that true, that people are being ostracized for not maintaining certain lifestyle?
    That's pretty much anywhere in any society that the different is punished.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlasW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The part about the bruise is untrue but unfortunately even believed by many Americans who out of often biases political opinion confuse the idea that a bruise might bring a social worker or a police to the door under suspicion of child abuse, but it will only go further (e.g., charges, counseling, parent education, removal of the child from home) if there's many other reasons that confirm that suspicion.
    Is this delusion maintained artificially? Are there any movies, TV shows, newscasts that spread this idea?
    one bruise on a child won't bring the authorities to the door. Unless of course it's a bruised eye and someone has reason to suspect a parent or guardian did it or let it happen. However, bruises on a child that keep showing up triggers what's called the "Mandated reporter law" and that's where teachers and other professionals that work with kids on behalf of the government are required to report suspected child abuse/child endangerment or face prosecution if it's later found that said professional did not report any suspicions they had about the abuse of a child.


    Quote Originally Posted by BlasW View Post
    In recent time Russian media is becoming more and more grotesque. Overall it is very interesting for me to compare Western, Russian, Latvian and some Russian Israeli media. Patterns of certain campaigns are recognizable in Russian media. Generally they don't write topics titled "Horrors of living in the West", but instead create "an informational background" of a sort, very believable and partly true.
    It looks to be based on a small nugget of truth that is grossly exaggerated and twisted out of context until it's unrecognizable. You know, the fact that they are running these types of stories at all should tell you something. The west doesn't run these types of stories about Russia. granted we did when the cold war was in full effect but since Russia has left Socialism we haven't done it. obviously Russia has an agenda now that they're re running these propaganda pieces
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlasW View Post
    In the course of recent tensions between Russia and the West, Russian mass media is spreading "horror stories" about life in the West. Some themes are repeating. I want to check credibility of two most common themes.

    1. Are Americans prohibited to perform even small repairs of their homes and houses on their own? I'm primarily considering houses privately owned by one person, without mortgage etc. Say, can you perform any of these repairs without formal approval and not being a licensed specialist:

    a. Glue new wallpaper
    b. Repaint interior of your house
    c. Replace a door lock
    d. Repaint exterior of your house; Repaint exterior of your house in a color you like
    e. Replace broken electric switch, socket or dimmer
    Are these regulations (if any) effectively enforced? Is this state/community dependent?
    There are building code requirements, but those only apply if you want to sell the house to another person. You cannot sell a house that doesn't meet the minimum requirements for structural integrity and safety.

    Some homeowners who live in some neighborhoods voluntarily enter into agreements that prohibit them from making certain changes to their house. But those are voluntary decisions. Sometimes the house you buy comes with a requirement to join such an agreement because the seller of the house had agreed to it.


    2. Is that true, that any bruise on child's skin can trigger removal of the child from his family? Are immigrant families a special interest of child protection services? Is this state/community dependent?
    Communication difficulties happen. Sometimes child services misunderstands what his happening. If they think a child is being abused or beaten excessively, they will remove the child from the family.

    It's a difficult problem for immigrants because they often don't have the ability to explain what is happening very well, especially if they can't speak English effectively.

    So, if child protection services sees a bruise on a child, they might make a mistake and believe the child is being harmed - but usually they wouldn't think that just because of a bruise. However if the child has many bruises, or broken bones, or other signs of injury that are unlikely to be accidental, they will certainly be removed from the home.
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  10. #9  
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    Thanks!

    Now I constantly see newspaper articles, newscasts etc claiming that the West is turning to fascism, it's overregulated, Russian immigrants are returning to Russia, some even claiming that people from the West are moving to Russia. (Besides Snowden, of course .)

    Seems Russia is becoming isolationist.

    Interesting that many different Russian sources related to restrictive home-owning in America never mentioned home owner associations. It is very easy to find out what it's all about when you know what to google for.
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